A young man before he leaves the shelter of his father's house, and the guard of a tutor, should be fortify'd with resolution, and made acquainted with men, to secure his virtues, lest he should be led into some ruinous course, or fatal precipice, before he is sufficiently acquainted with the dangers of conversation, and his steadiness enough not to yield to every temptation.
Most of us stand poised at the edge of brilliance, haunted by the knowledge of our proximity, yet still demonstrably on the wrong side of the line, our dealings with reality undermined by a range of minor yet critical psychological flaws (a little too much optimism, an unprocessed rebelliousness, a fatal impatience or sentimentality). We are like an exquisite high-speed aircraft which for lack of a tiny part is left stranded beside the runway, rendered slower than a tractor or bicycle.Alain de Botton
A young man before he leaves the shelter of his father's house, and the guard of a tutor, should be fortify'd with resolution, and made acquainted with men, to secure his virtues, lest he should be led into some ruinous course, or fatal precipice, before he is sufficiently acquainted with the dangers of conversation, and his steadiness enough not to yield to every temptation.john locke
Dissimulation in youth is the forerunner of perfidy in old age; its first appearance is the fatal omen of growing depravity and future shame.Hugh Blair, p. 242. (Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895))
When trade is at stake, it is your last entrenchment; you must defend it, or perish...Sir, Spain knows the consequence of a war in America; whoever gains, it must prove fatal to her...is this any longer a nation? Is this any longer an English Parliament, if with more ships in your harbours than in all the navies of Europe; with above two millions of people in your American colonies, you will bear to hear of the expediency of receiving from Spain an insecure, unsatisfactory, dishonourable Convention?Denouncing the Spanish Convention of Prado in the House of Commons (6 March, 1739).William Pitt, The Speeches of the Right Honourable the Earl of Chatham in the Houses of Lords and Commons: With a Biographical Memoir and Introductions and Explanatory Notes to the Speeches (London: Aylott & Jones, 1848), pp. 6-7.
To confuse our own constructions and inventions with eternal laws or divine decrees is one of the most fatal delusions of men.Isaiah Berlin, in Essays in Honour of E. H. Carr (1974) edited by Chimen Abramsky, p. 9
All victories breed hate, and that over your superior is foolish or fatal.Baltasar Gracián, in The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1647), Maxim 7 : Avoid victories over your superiors; as translated by Joseph Jacobs (1892)
I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson (September 3, 1816). Published in Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams (UNC Press, 1988), p. 488.
Words are transient, and vanish in the air as soon as spoken, and there can be no tenor of them . . . but when a thing is written, though every omission of a letter may not make a variance, yet, if such omission makes a word of another signification, it is fatal.Holt, C.J., Queen v. Drake (1706), 3 Salkeld, 225.
The fatal futility of Fact.Henry James (1897) Prefaces
It is always a silly thing to give advice, but to give good advice is absolutely fatal.The Portrait Of Mr. W. H. (1889), p. 5.
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