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Mahomet made the people believe that he would call a hill to him, and from the top of it offer up his prayers for the observers of his law. The people assembled; Mahomet called the hill to come to him, again and again, and when the hill stood still, he was never a whit abashed, but said, "If the hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will go to the hill."
- Francis Bacon, Essays--Of Boldness
At court one becomes a sort of human ant eater, and learns to catch one's prey by one's tongue.
- Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton
Kings will be tyrants from policy, when subjects are rebels from principle.
- Edmund Burke,
Reflections on the Revolution in France
Like Aesop's fox, when he had lost his tail, would have all his fellow foxes cut off theirs.
- Robert Burton,
Anatomy of Melancholy--Democritus to the Reader
All policies allowed in war and love.
- Mrs. Susannah Centlivre
They had best not stir the rice, though it sticks to the pot.
- Cervantes (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra),
Don Quixote (pt. II, ch. XXXVII)
To manage men one ought to have a sharp mind in a velvet sheath.
- George Eliot (pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans Cross)
Honesty is the best policy, says the familiar axiom; but people who are honest on that principle defraud no one but themselves.
- James Abram Garfield
The creed of diplomats.
- Horace Greeley
One of the old philosophers says that it is the part of wisdom to sometimes seem a fool; but in our day there are too many ready-made ones to render this a desirable policy.
- Thomas Chandler Haliburton (used pseudonym Sam Slick)
He has mastered all points who has combined the useful with the agreeable.
- Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus)
Don't throw a monkey-wrench into the machinery.
- Philander Chase Johnson,
see "Everybody's Magazine", May, 1920, p. 36
Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us.
- John Fitzgerald Kennedy
The policy of adapting one's self to circumstances makes all ways smooth.
- Johann Kaspar Lavater (John Caspar Lavater)
It is easiest to "be all things to all men," but it is not honest. Self-respect must be sacrificed every hour in the day.
- Abraham Lincoln
- Sir James Mackintosh, Vindicioe Gallicoe,
probably from "Strenua inertia", Horace "Epistles", XI, 28
When I see a merchant over-polite to his customers, begging them to taste a little brandy and throwing half his goods on the counter,--thinks I, that man as an axe to grind.
- Charles Miner,
Who'll turn Grindstones?--Essays from the Desk of Poor Robert the Scribe,
in the "Wilkesbarre Gleaner"
The publick weal requires that a man should betray, and lye, and massacre.
- Michel Eyquem de Montaigne,
Essays--Of Profit and Honesty
It is better to walk than to run; it is better to stand than to walk; it is better to sit than to stand; it is better to lie than to sit.
- Proverb, (Hindu)
In a troubled state we must do as in foul weather upon a river, not think to cut directly through, for the boat may be filled with water; but rise and fall as the waves do, and give way as much as we conveniently can.
- John Selden
The devil knew what he did when he made men politic; he crossed himself by it.
- William Shakespeare
To beguile the time,
Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye,
Your hand, your tongue; look like th' innocent flower,
But be the serpent under't.
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth
(Lady Macbeth at I, v)
Turn him to any cause of policy,
The Gordian knot of it he will unloose
Familiar as his garter; that when he speaks,
The air, a chartered libertine, is still,
And the mute wonder lurketh in men's ears
To steal his sweet and honeyed sentences; . . .
- William Shakespeare,
The Life of King Henry the Fifth
(Canterbury at I, i)
Cervantes shrewdly advises to lay a bridge of silver for a flying enemy.
- Edwin Percy Whipple
We shall not, I believe, be obliged to alter our policy of watchful waiting.
- Thomas Woodrow Wilson, Annual Message,
alluding to Mexico
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