The maxims of Mme de Pompadour

By permission of Schena Editore and Angelina Frejaville, thanks for her kindness.
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These maxims were isolated reading "between the lines" of the letters of Madame de Pompadour.

Blessed are the indifferent!

Ambition is the greatest torment.

For many, health is more important than glory.

If you wish perfect friends, look for them among the angels.

No fights between friends.

We shouldn't play with human life.

The lords of Italy are always in need of protectors.

Very few kings are worth having as friends.

To please is more difficult than to cheat.

Everyone has two souls: one to appreciate the good, the other to act evilly.

Love create heroes and makes them wise.

Love victory, not the mud.

Gentleness means being lovable.

Glory is a cruel goddess who sells her favours at a high price.

Marriage is the best remedy for weak souls.

Good qualities attract more hate than bad ones.

Love your mother as much as she loves you.

The world is false because it promises happiness but can't deliver.

Women are much more difficult to govern than men.

Intelligence has no gender.

Every man has more reason to protect his own house than does his neighbor.

Don't pity the dead, but those who survive.

Priests are created to pray to God, not to govern the people.

It is a duty to serve merit and courage.

Peace is the greatest good that a king can give his people.

Love God and virtue.

The cannon respects no one.

To play politics, you need to be reasonable and have common sense.

Pleasure is not a gift God concedes to ambition.

War against the English is a war of survival.

We must honor merit and virtue.

Freedom is a food that is not good for every stomach.

To please God and the people, be honest and reliable.

If we can't avoid a storm, we should at least try to avoid its consequences.

It is easier to change one's expression than one's mood.

Feed the dogs even if they bite you.

Whoever falls into disgrace no longer has friends.

Pleasure comes not from contemplating gold in caskets, but from making it circulate.

A shoemaker is like any other man.

Friendship is the true balm for life.

A king has no rights over consciences.

Death is a liberation.

Defects are part of the human inheritance.

Overwhelming sadness ages people.

Madness is to be pitied, not mocked.

Countries which hate each other are unable to keep peace for long.

The ambition and vanity of princes are the ruin of peoples.

You have to have virtues yourself in order to see them in others.

When you die, pity the decent people who love you.

Beautiful women inspire delicate thoughts.

It is more difficult to keep peace than to make it.

The hedgehog gives up his prickly quills only when the wolf loses his teeth.

A fair person forgives unintentional mistakes.

Usually the majority wins in an assembly, even if sometimes it would be better to let the majority decide.

Distrust flaterers who praise you for a quality you don't have.

The English don't know how to negotiate.

In matters of state, it is better to be a lucky negotiator than a capable one.

God is adored for His goodness.

Vices are illnesses of the soul which are not cured by sermons.

The only gratitude you can expect from the ones youy help is that they distinguish themselves.

Getting old means getting wiser.

Merit stands between courage and virtue.

A good king must suffer like a good father.

Friendship makes everything noble.

Friendship is a pleasure for any age, but becomes a necessity in old age.

Love is a pleasure for a season while friendship lasts your entire life.

A diplomat must be able at lying and trickery: if he's honest, he will become a victim of others.

A bad Englishman is a monster, a good Englishman is almost a God.

One must be capable of being loved.

Great men shouldn't make small mistakes.

Strength destroys any right and invalidates everything.

Fight the privileged thieves.

France will never be a naval power.

Those who want war never lack for good pretexts.

Wars always do very little good and very great harm.

Satisfied vanity is not happiness.

Every woman can be right and give good advice.

Esteem merit and honor virtue.

The truth irritates more than a lie.

Flatterers are animals who think that everybody is just the same as they are.

The secret in politics is to tell a lie at the right moment.

Thieves don't take in order to give back.

An absolute monarch can do all the evil he wishes to do; a constitutional king can't always do the good he wishes to do.

Decent people and great geniuses are always good Christians.

Politics doesn't match with beautiful women.

God often uses men to accomplish His miracles.

Self-esteem and truth must always be taken into consideration.

Love is the human passion.

Kindnesses are small things but bring big results.

Justice and moderation matter for the people: those who practice them are superiors.

A man who intrigues beats a man of worth.

We don't have to perform injustices to please God.

Reverence is hommage to virtue.

God protects good faith dealings.

Bliss is found in the joy of the public.

Tears are not useless.

Those who love money take advantage of the winners, without running the risks of the conquered.

The death of a man often changes the fortunes of others.

Virtue and courage protect from the caprices of fortune.

A battle is a game that almost always makes the losers look stupid.

The human heart has great resources.

Those who fall into misfortune suffer doubly when they remember being happy.

No one must thank us for what we do from our heart.

It is lucky to observe the world as spectators.

Jealousy is the best compliment for great men.

There is no forgiveness for the ones who lead their people into desperation.

Honor the memory of the great, to encourage the people to strive to equal them.

Sincerity and modesty are the best weapons for success.

Beauty looks for beauty.

A gentleman doesn't fear the tongue of a woman.

A good diploimat is more useful than a good general.

Paper strategies are always unjust and unreasonable.

The rabble loves and hates without reason.

Those who face risks have a right to be honoured.

Sterile projects don't serve the real needs of the people.

The dead don't care for the living.

To write poor poetry is not the same as to govern.

Be worth the esteem of honest people.

Don't perform injustices to obtain favours.

Arrogant behaviour is not good for the defeated.

Those who want to conquer by themselves are defeated.

The honour of a country is in its independence.

As do honours, old age changes people's character.

Truth and justice don't admit any contradictions.

The people usually obey, but get rid of their masters when they abuse power.

To be a Christian requires more than just having religious ideas.

It is better to be an ambassador of a conqueror than of a loser.

Luck doesn't belong to ambition but to modesty.

In a war, the only things that matter are luck and the incompetence of the enemy.

Germany has always been the grave of the French.

Blessed are those who don't love.

Only God can give peace.

Only the pilot can keep to the route, not the crew.

Love doesn't deserve either honours or reproaches.

Politics makes men nasty and jealous, instead of making them more lovable.

Working for their native country is the great merit of noble souls.

Leaders need to feel the happiness of being loved.

Wisdom is simple and sweet.

A good diplomat must be a good liar for his country.

Young people love the world because they don't know it.

Joy makes people crazy, pain makes them unhappy.

Be correct so as not to give offense.

Virtue goes beyond feeling.

Charity is worth much more than all the rest.

The greatest pleasure is to promote those who deserve it.

Better to be mediocre in your own country than to be lucky elsewhere.

The sinner believes in God when he has a fever.

A beautiful woman is more frightened by the end of her youth than by death.

The pleasure of friendship goes beyond the stormy delights of passion.

No one learns from good lessons.

Friendship puts the same soul into two bodies.

People often are scared for no good reason.

Comprehension makes life more bearable.

We must please others without trying too hard to do it.

Friends and enemies have the same language.

For ambition, there is no happiness.