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Francesco Guicciardini quotes
Be careful how you do one man a pleasure which must needs occasion equal displeasure in another. For he who is thus slighted will not forget, but will think the offence to himself the greater in that another profits by it; while he who receives the pleasure will either not remember it, or will consider the favour done him less than it really was.
Conspiracies, since they cannot be engaged in without the fellowship of others, are for that reason most perilous; for as most men are either fools or knaves, we run excessive risk in making such folk our companions.
I know no man who feels deeper disgust than I do at the ambition, avarice, and profligacy of the priesthood, as well because every one of these vices is odious in itself, as because each of them separately and all of them together are utterly abhorrent in men making profession of a life dedicated to God.
If you attempt certain things at the right time, they are easy to accomplish - in fact, they almost get done by themselves. If you undertake them before the time is right, not only will they fail, but they will often become impossible to accomplish even when the time would have been right.
Like other men, I have sought honours and preferment, and often have obtained them beyond my wishes or hopes. Yet never have I found in them that content which I had figured beforehand in my mind. A strong reason, if we well consider it, why we should disencumber ourselves of vain desires.
Pay no heed to those who tell you that they have relinquished place and power of their own accord, and from their love of quiet. For almost always they have been brought to this retirement by their insufficiency and against their will.