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A Ramble through Smilie Land

Balthasar Gracian-The art of getting ahead at any

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Well now am 1/4 of the way through The art of Worldly wisdom, that is I ended up buying the book and reading that way although I am still reading them via subscription in my emails.
Must say though the book is a bit of a disappointment I misunderstood what it was I was buying and I thought I was getting a copy that was printed in such a way that there was only 1-2 maxims per page and Id thus have room for personal comments all around.
Sadly I missed the fact that it was a pocket book .
But definitely if I ever find a copy that has space for jotting notes Ill be buying that.

Anyway as to the title of this entry, I was thinking that really I wouldnt want to meet anyone who lived completly by these maxims, old Balthasar was really conniving and decitfal for a monk, and he seems to have preached it as a good thing too, for example
Quote Originally Posted by Aphorism/maxim 5
Create a Feeling of Dependence.

Not he that adorns but he that adores makes a divinity. The wise man would rather see men needing him than thanking him. To keep them on the threshold of hope is diplomatic, to trust to their gratitude boorish; hope has a good memory, gratitude a bad one. More is to be got from dependence than from courtesy. He that has satisfied his thirst turns his back on the well, and the orange once sucked falls from the golden platter into the waste-basket. When d disappears, good behaviour goes with it as well as respect. Let it be one of the chief lessons of experience to keep hope alive without entirely satisfying it, by preserving it to make oneself always needed even by a patron on the throne. But let not silence be carried to excess lest you go wrong, nor let another's failing grow incurable for the sake of your own advantage.
Now that's just mean and he goes on in this vein

Quote Originally Posted by A/M 64
Avoid Worry.

Such prudence brings its own reward. It escapes much, and is thus the midwife of comfort and so of happiness. Neither give nor take bad news unless it can help. Some men's ears are stuffed with the sweets of flattery; others with the bitters of scandal, while some cannot live without a daily annoyance no more than Mithridates could without poison. It is no rule of life to prepare for yourself lifelong trouble in order to give a temporary enjoyment to another, however near and dear. You never ought to spoil your own chances to please another who advises and keeps out of the affair, and in all cases where to oblige another involves disobliging yourself, tis a standing rule that it is better he should suffer now than you afterwards and in vain.
and then the keep people dangling thing again
Quote Originally Posted by A/m70
Know how to Refuse.

One ought not to give way in everything nor to everybody. To know how to refuse is therefore as important as to know how to consent. This is especially the case with men of position. All depends on the how. Some men's No is thought more of than the Yes of others: for a gilded No is more satisfactory than a dry Yes. There are some who always have No on their lips, whereby they make everything distasteful. No always comes first with them, and when sometimes they give way after all, it does them no good on account of the unpleasing herald. Your refusal need not be point-blank: let the disappointment come by degrees. Nor let the refusal be final; that would be to destroy dependence; let some spice of hope remain to soften the rejection. Let politeness compensate and fine words supply the place of deeds. Yes and No are soon said, but give much to think over.
did I mention this one?

Id actually quite like to know if there is any rhyme or reason to the way these are ordered there doesn't seem to be a common theme in clusters on first reading at least.

Im not saying its all bad mind you there's alot of fine advice in here too...
for instance

Quote Originally Posted by A/M 3
Keep Matters for a Time in Suspense.
Quote Originally Posted by A/m 4
Knowledge and Courage
Quote Originally Posted by A/m9
Avoid the Faults of your Nation.
Quote Originally Posted by a/m19
Arouse no Exaggerated Expectations on entering.
Quote Originally Posted by a/m 25
Know how to take a Hint.
Quote Originally Posted by a/m 32
Have the Reputation of being Gracious.
Quote Originally Posted by a/m 40
The Goodwill of People.
Quote Originally Posted by a/m41
Never Exaggerate.
Quote Originally Posted by a/m 50
Never lose Self-respect,
Quote Originally Posted by a/m 53
Diligent and Intelligent.
Quote Originally Posted by A/M 72
Be Resolute.
some of my favourite lines

Quote Originally Posted by a/m 6
We are not born perfect: every day we develop in our personality and in our calling till we reach the highest point of our completed being, to the full round of our accomplishments, of our excellences
Quote Originally Posted by a/m 10
It was and is the sister of the giants; it always goes to extremes--horrible monsters or brilliant prodigies.
Quote Originally Posted by a/m 14
Fine behaviour is a joy in life, and a pleasant expression helps out of a difficulty in a remarkable way.
Quote Originally Posted by a/m27
Even among men giants are commonly the real dwarfs. Some reckon books by the thickness, as if they were written to try the brawn more than the brain.
Quote Originally Posted by a/m28
While vulgar folly wonders wisdom watches for the trick.
Quote Originally Posted by a/m32
Those make friends who do friendly acts.
Quote Originally Posted by a/m35
Many never lose their common sense, because they have none to lose.
Quote Originally Posted by a/m48
There are natures all frontage, like houses thatfor want of means have the portico of a palace leading to the rooms of a cottage. It is no use boring into such persons, although they bore you, for conversation flags after the first salutation.
Quote Originally Posted by a/m53
Festina lente is a royal motto.
my book has this inturpretted as "make haste slowly"
Quote Originally Posted by a/m54
There is no joke about courage
"courage is no joking matter"
Quote Originally Posted by A/m 63
Many a man would have been a veritable Phnix if he had been the first of the sort.
Quote Originally Posted by a/m 65
Big bites for big mouths, lofty things for lofty spirits.
Anyway yes really enjoying this and everyone else should read it too get the subscription

Updated 08-20-2008 at 05:20 PM by Nightshade

Litnet Challenge


  1. motherhubbard's Avatar
    I liked that very much. I'm really glad that you took the time to post this and that I took the time to read this!