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Fools are not planted or sowed; they grow of



The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.


To fools, the treasures dug from wisdom's mine
Are Jewels thrown to Cocks, and Pearls to Swine.*

People utter not a word, even in jest,

But what sensible men learn a lesson therefrom.
But if to the fool a hundred chapters on wisdom
People read, they would be as jesting to his ear.

Forbid a fool a thing, and that he will do.

Even stones may be dissolved, but not the heart of a fool.


But of all burdens that a man can bear,

Most is, a fool's talk to bear and hear.


A fool was teaching an ass,

Wasting effort on him continually.

A sage said to him, "O fool! why art thou taking

this trouble?

In this madness fear the ridicule of the reviler,

*From Bewick's Select Falles.

+ Translated by Platts,

Beasts will not learn speech of thee;

Learn thou silence of beasts."


Solon being in company and holding his peace according to his custom, there was a young giddybrained fellow, who told him he was silent, because he was a fool. Solon, without any concern, answered him wisely, that there never was a fool that could hold his tongue.

One never so much needs his wit, as when he argues with a fool.


Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.


Be it your unerring rule
Ne'er to contradict a fool;
For if folly dare but brave you,
All your wisdom cannot save you.


Fools may our scorn, not envy, raise,

For envy is a kind of praise.


Thou foolishly settest thy price-mark on thyself,

When thou choosest fools for thy company.

I sought some advice of some sages:

* Translated by Platts.

They said to me, "Mix not with fools,

For if thou art a man of sense, thou wilt appear

an ass,

And if thou art a fool, thou wilt appear more foolish."


The mouth of a wise man is in his heart, the heart of a fool is in his mouth, because what he knoweth or thinketh he uttereth.

The wise man's eyes are in his head, but the fool walketh in darkness.


Prudence guides the wise, but passion governs the


The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.


A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil; but the fool rageth, and is confident.


The wise man knows he knows nothing: the fool thinks he knows all.

The wise, of themselves, know the approach of danger, or they put trust in others: but a foolish man does not believe information without personal experience.†


* Translated by Platts.
+ From Colebrooke's Essays.


Fools ask what time it is, but the wise know their


That which the fool does in the end, the wise man does at the beginning.



Hatred and strife will not arise between two wise men;
Nor will a wise man contend with a fool.
If a fool, through brutal ignorance, says a hard thing,
A wise man wins his heart with gentleness.


Wise men learn more by fools, than fools do by wise

It never occurs to fools that merit and good fortune are closely united.

People are never so near playing the fool as when they think themselves wise.

Learned fools exceed all fools.



The oracle at Delphi pronounced Socrates the wisest of men. Socrates could not understand it, and yet he was unwilling to disbelieve the oracle, so he went about from one person reputed wise to another, in order to be able to say, "here is a wiser man than I am," or at

* Translated by Platts.

least find out what the oracle meant. He went to many, but he found that, while they in reality knew almost nothing that was worth knowing, they thought they knew a great deal, and were angry with one who tried to convince them of their ignorance. So that at last Socrates came to recognise that there was a truth in what had been said about him; to use nearly his own words," He left them, saying to himself, I am wiser than these men; for neither they nor I, it would seem, know anything valuable: but they, not knowing, fancy that they do know; I, as I really do not know, so I do not think that I know. I seem therefore to be in one small matter wiser than they.'



1. Solon of Athens, whose motto was,
"Know thyself."

2. Chilo of Sparta, whose motto was,
"Consider the end.”

3. Thales of Miletos, whose motto was-
"Who hateth suretyship is sure."

4. Bias of Priéne, whose motto was,


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Cleobulos of Lindos, whose motto was,

"The golden mean," or "Avoid extremes."
6. Pittacos of Mytylénë-whose motto was,
"Seize time by the forelock. "

7. Periander of Corinth-whose motto was,
Nothing is impossible to industry. "†

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*From Theism by Rabert Flint.

+ From Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.

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