Born Thursday 5 October 1713, died Saturday 31 July 1784
Professions: Critic, Editor, Philosopher, Writer
Bad company is as instructive as licentiousness. One makes up for the loss of one's innocence with the loss of one's prejudices.
Gaiety is a quality of ordinary men. Genius always presupposes some disorder in the machine.
Genius is present in every age, but the men carrying it within them remain benumbed unless extraordinary events occur to heat up and melt the mass so that it flows forth.
The God of the Christians is a father who makes much of his apples, and very little of his children.
Our observation of nature must be diligent, our reflection profound, and our experiments exact. We rarely see these three means combined; and for this reason, creative geniuses are not common.
If there is one realm in which it is essential to be sublime, it is in wickedness. You spit on a petty thief, but you can't deny a kind of respect for the great criminal.
Only a very bad theologian would confuse the certainty that follows revelation with the truths that are revealed. They are entirely different things.
One declaims endlessly against the passions; one imputes all of man's suffering to them. One forgets that they are also the source of all his pleasures.
There is no kind of harassment that a man may not inflict on a woman with impunity in civilized societies.
There is no good father who would want to resemble our Heavenly Father.
Power acquired by violence is only a usurpation, and lasts only as long as the force of him who commands prevails over that of those who obey.
His hands would plait the priest's guts, if he had no rope, to strangle kings.
Patriotism is an ephemeral motive that scarcely ever outlasts the particular threat to society that aroused it.
The pit of a theatre is the one place where the tears of virtuous and wicked men alike are mingled.
It is not human nature we should accuse but the despicable conventions that pervert it.
We are far more liable to catch the vices than the virtues of our associates.
The blood of Jesus Christ can cover a multitude of sins, it seems to me.
Gratitude is a burden, and every burden is made to be shaken off.
Poetry must have something in it that is barbaric, vast and wild.
Skepticism is the first step on the road to philosophy.