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Quotations of Cato the Elder


Grasp the subject, the words will follow.


An angry man opens his mouth and shuts his eyes.


If you are ruled by mind you are a king; if by body, a slave.


After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one.


It is thus with farming, if you do one thing late, you will be late in all your work.


Old age has deformities enough of its own. It should never add to them the deformity of vice.


It is a difficult matter to argue with the belly since it has no ears.


I think the first virtue is to restrain the tongue; he approaches nearest to gods who knows how to be silent, even though he is in the right.


From lightest words sometimes the direst quarrel springs.


Patience is the greatest of all virtues.


Tis sometimes the height of wisdom to feign stupidity.


Wise men profit more from fools than fools from wise men; for the wise men shun the mistakes of fools, but fools do not imitate the successes of the wise.


Buy not what you want, but what you have need of; what you do not want is dear at a farthing.


Don't promise twice what you can do at once.


Those who are serious in ridiculous matters will be ridiculous in serious matters.


We cannot control the evil tongues of others; but a good life enables us to disregard them.


An honest man is seldom a vagrant.


Be firm or mild as the occasion may require.


Consider in silence whatever any one says: speech both conceals and reveals the inner soul of man.


Consider it the greatest of all virtues to restrain the tongue.


Flee sloth; for the indolence of the soul is the decay of the body.


Good-breeding is the art of showing men, by external signs, the internal regard we have for them. It arises from good sense, improved by conversing with good company.


In conversation avoid the extremes of forwardness and reserve.


Never travel by sea when you can go by land.


Some have said that it is not the business of private men to meddle with government--a bold and dishonest saying, which is fit to come from no mouth but that of a tyrant or a slave. To say that private men have nothing to do with government is to say that private men have nothing to do with their own happiness or misery; that people ought not to concern themselves whether they be naked or clothed, fed or starved, deceived or instructed, protected or destroyed.


Some men are more beholden to their bitterest enemies than to friends who appear to be sweetness itself. The former frequently tell the truth, but the latter never.


Speak briefly and to the point.


The greatest comfort of my old age, and that which gives me the highest satisfaction, is the pleasing remembrance of the many benefits and friendly offices I have done to others.


I can pardon everybody's mistakes except my own.


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