Miguel de Cervantes Quotes

A blot in thy escutcheon to all futurity.

A closed mouth catches no flies.

A man must eat a peck of salt with his friend, before he knows him.

A person dishonored is worst than dead.

A private sin is not so prejudicial in this world, as a public indecency.

A proverb is a short sentence based on long experience.

Absence – that common cure of love.

Alas! all music jars when the soul’s out of tune.

Among the attributes of God, although they are equal, mercy shines with even more brilliance than justice.

And for the citation of so many authors, ’tis the easiest thing in nature. Find out one of these books with an alphabetical index, and without any farther ceremony, remove it verbatim into your own… there are fools enough to be thus drawn into an opinion of the work; at least, such a flourishing train of attendants will give your book a fashionable air, and recommend it for sale.

Be a terror to the butchers, that they may be fair in their weight; and keep hucksters and fraudulent dealers in awe, for the same reason.

Be slow of tongue and quick of eye.

By such innovations are languages enriched, when the words are adopted by the multitude, and naturalized by custom.

By the street of by-and-by, one arrives at the house of never.

Captivity is the greatest of all evils that can befall one.

Death eats up all things, both the young lamb and old sheep; and I have heard our parson say, death values a prince no more than a clown; all’s fish that comes to his net; he throws at all, and sweeps stakes; he’s no mower that takes a nap at noon-day, but drives on, fair weather or foul, and cuts down the green grass as well as the ripe corn: he’s neither squeamish nor queesy-stomach d, for he swallows without chewing, and crams down all things into his ungracious maw; and you can see no belly he has, he has a confounded dropsy, and thirsts after men’s lives, which he gurgles down like mother’s milk.

Delay always breeds danger; and to protract a great design is often to ruin it.

Diligence is the mother of good fortune, and idleness, its opposite, never brought a man to the goal of any of his best wishes.

Do but take care to express yourself in a plain, easy Manner, in well-chosen, significant and decent Terms, and to give a harmonious and pleasing Turn to your Periods: study to explain your Thoughts, and set them in the truest Light, labouring as much as possible, not to leave them dark nor intricate, but clear and intelligible.

Drink moderately, for drunkeness neither keeps a secret, nor observes a promise.

Eat not garlic nor onions, lest they find out thy boorish origin by the smell; walk slowly and speak deliberately, but not in such a way as to make it seem thou art listening to thyself, for all affectation is bad. Dine sparingly and sup more sparingly still; for the health of the whole body is forged in the workshop of the stomach. Be temperate in drinking, bearing in mind that wine in excess keeps neither secrets nor promises. Take care, Sancho, not to chew on both sides, and not to eruct in anybody’s presence.

Eruct! said Sancho; I don’t know what that means.

Eruct, I shall say henceforth, and I swear not to forget it, said Sancho.

Every man is as God made him, ay, and often worse.

Every man is as heaven made him, and sometimes a great deal worse.

Every man is the son of his own works.

Faint heart never won fair lady.

Fair and softly goes far.

Fear has many eyes and can see things underground.

For a man to attain to an eminent degree in learning costs him time, watching, hunger, nakedness, dizziness in the head, weakness in the stomach, and other inconveniences.

For historians ought to be precise, truthful, and quite unprejudiced, and neither interest nor fear, hatred nor affection, should cause them to swerve from the path of truth, whose mother is history, the rival of time, the depository of great actions, the witness of what is past, the example and instruction of the present, the monitor of the future.

Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory.

From reading too much, and sleeping too little, his brain dried up on him and he lost his judgment.

God bears with the wicked, but not forever.

Good actions ennoble us, and we are the sons of our own deeds.

Good painters imitate nature, bad ones spew it up.

He had a face like a blessing.

He is mad past recovery, but yet he has lucid intervals.

He preaches well that lives well.

He who loses wealth loses much; he who loses a friend loses more; but he that loses his courage loses all.

Hold you there, neither a strange hand nor my own, neither heavy nor light shall touch my bum.

I believe there’s no proverb but what is true; they are all so many sentences and maxims drawn from experience, the universal mother of sciences.

I do not say a proverb is amiss when aptly and reasonably applied, but to be forever discharging them, right or wrong, hit or miss, renders conversation insipid and vulgar.

I have always heard, Sancho, that doing good to base fellows is like throwing water into the sea.

If you are ambitious of climbing up to the difficult, and in a manner inaccessible, summit of the Temple of Fame, your surest way is to leave on one hand the narrow path of Poetry, and follow the narrower track of Knight-Errantry, which in a trice may raise you to an imperial throne.

In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.

In truth, senor, said Sancho, one of the counsels and cautions I mean to bear in mind shall be this, not to belch, for I’m constantly doing it.

It is one thing to praise discipline, and another to submit to it.

It seldom happens that any felicity comes so pure as not to be tempered and allayed by some mixture of sorrow.

Jests that give pains are no jests.

Laziness never arrived at the attainment of a good wish.

Liberty is one of the most precious gifts which heaven has bestowed on man; with it we cannot compare the treasures which the earth contains or the sea conceals; for liberty, as for honor, we can and ought to risk our lives; and, on for the other hand, captivity is the greatest evil that can befall man.

Liberty, as well as honor, man ought to preserve at the hazard of his life, for without it life is insupportable.

Love and war are the same thing, and stratagems and policy are as allowable in the one as in the other.

Make it thy business to know thyself, which is the most difficult lesson in the world. Yet from this lesson thou will learn to avoid the frog’s foolish ambition of swelling to rival the bigness of the ox.

Man appoints, and God disappoints.

Mere flimflam stories, and nothing but shams and lies.

Miracle me no miracles.

Modesty, tis a virtue not often found among poets, for almost every one of them thinks himself the greatest in the world.

My grandma used to say, There were but two families in the world, have-much and have-little.

Never stand begging for that which you have the power to earn.

No fathers or mothers think their own children ugly.

No man is more than another unless he does more than another.

No padlocks, bolts, or bars can secure a maiden better than her own reserve.

Nor has his death the world deceiv’d than his wondrous life surprise d; if he like a madman liv’d least he like a wise one dy’d.

Now blessings light on him that first invented this same sleep: it covers a man all over, thoughts and all, like a cloak; ’tis meat for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, heat for the cold, and cold for the hot. ‘Tis the current coin that purchases all the pleasures of the world cheap; and the balance that sets the king and the shepherd, the fool and the wise-man even. There is only one thing…that I dislike in sleep; ’tis that it resembles death; there’s very little difference between a man in his first sleep, and a man in his last sleep.

One man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars; and the world will be better for this.

One of the most considerable advantages the great have over their inferiors is to have servants as good as themselves.

One shouldn’t talk of halters in the hanged man’s house.

One who has not only the four S’s, which are required in every good lover, but even the whole alphabet; as for example… Agreeable, Bountiful, Constant, Dutiful, Easy, Faithful, Gallant, Honorable, Ingenious, Kind, Loyal, Mild, Noble, Officious, Prudent, Quiet, Rich, Secret, True, Valiant, Wise; the X indeed, is too harsh a letter to agree with him, but he is Young and Zealous.

Our greatest foes, and whom we must chiefly combat, are within.

Our hours in love have wings; in absence, crutches.

Patience and shuffle the cards.

Pray look better, Sir… those things yonder are no giants, but windmills.

Proverbs are short sentences drawn from long experience.

She fights and vanquishes in me, and I live and breathe in her, and I have life and being.

Take away the cause, and the effect ceases.

Tell me thy company, and I’ll tell thee what thou art.

That which costs little is less valued.

That’s the nature of women, not to love when we love them, and to love when we love them not.

The bow cannot always stand bent, nor can human frailty subsist without some lawful recreation.

The brave man carves out his fortune, and every man is the son of his own works.

The eyes those silent tongues of love.

The gratification of wealth is not found in mere possession or in lavish expenditure, but in its wise application.

The greatest foes, and whom we must chiefly combat, are within.

The knowledge of yourself will preserve you from vanity.

The man who is prepared has his battle half fought.

The most difficult character in comedy is that of the fool, and he must be no simpleton that plays that part.

The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune’s spite; revive from ashes and rise.

There are only two families in the world, my old grandmother used to say, the Haves and the Have-nots.

There is a strange charm in the thoughts of a good legacy, or the hopes of an estate, which wondrously removes or at least alleviates the sorrow that men would otherwise feel for the death of friends.

There is also this benefit in brag, that the speaker is unconsciously expressing his own ideal. Humor him by all means, draw it all out, and hold him to it.

There is no greater folly in the world than for a man to despair.

There is nothing so subject to the inconstancy of fortune as war.

There’s no taking trout with dry breeches.

Those who’ll play with cats must expect to be scratched.

Thou camest out of thy mother’s belly without government, thou hast liv’d hitherto without government, and thou mayst be carried to thy long home without government, when it shall please the Lord. How many people in this world live without government, yet do well enough, and are well look’d upon?

Thou hast seen nothing yet.

Though God’s attributes are equal, yet his mercy is more attractive and pleasing in our eyes than his justice.

Time ripens all things; no man is born wise.

‘Tis a dainty thing to command, though ’twere but a flock of sheep.

‘Tis an old saying, the Devil lurks behind the cross. All is not gold that glitters. From the tail of the plough, Bamba was made King of Spain; and from his silks and riches was Rodrigo cast to be devoured by the snakes.

‘Tis ill talking of halters in the house of a man that was hanged.

‘Tis said of love that it sometimes goes, sometimes flies; runs with one, walks gravely with another; turns a third into ice, and sets a fourth in a flame: it wounds one, another it kills: like lightning it begins and ends in the same moment: it makes that fort yield at night which it besieged but in the morning; for there is no force able to resist it.

‘Tis the maddest trick a man can ever play in his whole life, to let his breath sneak out of his body without any more ado, and without so much as a rap o’er the pate, or a kick of the guts; to go out like the snuff of a farthing candle, and die merely of the mulligrubs, or the sullens.

‘Tis the only comfort of the miserable to have partners in their woes.

To be prepared is half the victory.

To eruct, Sancho, said Don Quixote, means to belch, and that is one of the filthiest words in the Spanish language, though a very expressive one; and therefore nice folk have had recourse to the Latin, and instead of belch say eruct, and instead of belches say eructations; and if some do not understand these terms it matters little, for custom will bring them into use in the course of time, so that they will be readily understood; this is the way a language is enriched; custom and the public are all-powerful there.

To withdraw is not to run away, and to stay is no wise action, when there’s more reason to fear than to hope.

Too much sanity may be madness and the maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be.

True valor lies between cowardice and rashness.

Truth indeed rather alleviates than hurts, and will always bear up against falsehood, as oil does above water.

Truth may be stretched, but cannot be broken, and always gets above falsehood, as does oil above water.

Truth will rise above falsehood as oil above water.

Valor lies just halfway between rashness and cowardice.

Virtue is the truest nobility.

Well, now there’s a remedy for everything except death.

Well, there’s a remedy for all things but death, which will be sure to lay us flat one time or other.

When the severity of the law is to be softened, let pity, not bribes, be the motive.

When thou art at Rome, do as they do at Rome.

You are a king by your own fireside, as much as any monarch in his throne.