François de la Rochefoucauld was a French author famous for his maxims and memoirs. Admired by many renowned writers such as Nietzsche, Swift and George Bernard Shaw, his collection of maxims, Réflexions ou Sentences et Maxims Morales, remains a classic in French literature for its wit and the cynical truths it presents. Included in this selection of his maxims are those which deal with love, and a few which have more general application to the MGTOW lifestyle. They appear numbered as they are in the final edition of the Maxims. The original French is first followed by a recent translation which folllows the original French phrasing as accurately as possible -- François de la Rochefoucauld: Maxims, translated, edited and with an introduction by Stuart D. Warner and Stéphane Douard, (South Bend, Indiana; St. Augustine's Press, 2009) -- and then by an older translation done by J. W. Willis Bund, M.A. LL.B and J. Hain Friswell, available at Project Gutenberg.

Selections from the Réflexions ou Sentences et Maxims Morales

68. Il est difficile de définir l'amour. Ce qu'on en peut dire est que dans l'âme c'est une passion de régner, dans les esprits c'est une sympathie, et dans le corps ce n'est qu'une envie cachée et délicate de posséder ce que l'on aime après beaucoup de mystères.
68. It is difficult to define love. One can say that in the soul it is a passion to rule; in the mind, it is a sympathy; and in the body, it is only a hidden and delicate desire to possess what one loves after many mysteries.
68. It is difficult to define love; all we can say is, that in the soul it is a desire to rule, in the mind it is a sympathy, and in the body it is a hidden and delicate wish to possess what we love—Plus many mysteries.

71. Il n'y a guère de gens qui ne soient honteux de s'être aimés quand ils ne s'aiment plus.
71. There are few people who are not ashamed to have loved each other once they no longer love each other.
71. There are few people who would not be ashamed of being beloved when they love no longer.

72. Si on juge de l'amour par la plupart de ses effets, il ressemble plus à la haine qu'à l'amitié.
72. If one judged love by most of its effects, it resembles hatred more than friendship.
72. If we judge of love by the majority of its results it rather resembles hatred than friendship.

74. Il n'y a que d'une sorte d'amour, mais il y en a mille différentes copies.
74. There is only one kind of love, but there are a thousand different imitations.
74. There is only one sort of love, but there are a thousand different copies.

76. Il est du véritable amour comme de l'apparition des esprits: tout le monde en parle, mais peu de gens en ont vu.
76. True love is like an apparition of spirits: everyone talks about them, but few have seen one.
76. There is real love just as there are real ghosts; every person speaks of it, few persons have seen it.

277. Les femmes croient souvent aimer encore qu'elles n'aiment pas. L'occupation d'une intrigue, l'émotion d'esprit que donne la galanterie, la pente naturelle au plaisir d'être aimées, et la peine de refuser, leur persuadent qu'elles ont de la passion lorsqu'elles n'ont que de la coquetterie.
277. Women often believe they love though they do not. The pursuit of an intrigue, the emotion of the mind that a love affair gives, the natural bent towards the pleasure of being loved, and the pain of refusing, persuade them that they have passions when they only have coquetry.
277. Women often think they love when they do not love. The business of a love affair, the emotion of mind that sentiment induces, the natural bias towards the pleasure of being loved, the difficulty of refusing, persuades them that they have real passion when they have but flirtation.

312. Ce qui fait que les amants et les maîtresses ne s'ennuient point d'être ensemble, c'est qu'ils parlent toujours d'eux-mêmes.
312. The reason lovers and mistresses are not bored to be together is that they always speak of themselves.
312. Lovers are never tired of each other,—they always speak of themselves.

361. La jalousie naît toujours avec l'amour, mais elle ne meurt pas toujours avec lui.
361. Jealousy is always born with love, but it does not always die with it.
361. Jealousy is always born with love, but does not always die with it.

417. En amour celui qui est guéri le premier est toujours le mieux guéri.
417. In love, the first cured is alwyas the best cured.
417. In love the quickest is always the best cure.

471. Dans les premières passions les femmes aiment l'amant, et dans les autres elles aiment l'amour.
471. In the first passions, women love the lover, and in the others they love love.
471. In their first passion women love their lovers, in all the others they love love.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

27. On fait souvent vanité des passions même les plus criminelles; mais l'envie est une passion timide et honteuse que l'on n'ose jamais avouer.
27. One often prides oneself on even the most criminal passions; but envy is a timid and shameful passion which one never dares confess.
27. People are often vain of their passions, even of the worst, but envy is a passion so timid and shame-faced that no one ever dare avow her.

29. Le mal que nous faisons ne nous attire pas tant de persécution et de haine que nos bonnes qualités.
29. The evil we do does not bring upon us as much persecution and hatred as our good qualities.
29. The evil that we do does not attract to us so much persecution and hatred as our good qualities.

42. Nous n'avons pas assez de force pour suivre toute notre raison.
42. We do not have enough strength to follow wholly our reason.
42. We have not enough strength to follow all our reason.

48. La félicité est dans le goût et non pas dans les choses; et c'est par avoir ce qu'on aime qu'on est heureux, et non par avoir ce que les autres trouvent aimable.
48. Felicity is in taste and not in things; and it is by having what one loves that one is happy, and not by having what others find agreeable.
48. Happiness is in the taste, and not in the things themselves; we are happy from possessing what we like, not from possessing what others like.

410. Le plus grand effort de l'amitié n'est pas de montrer nos défauts à un ami; c'est de lui faire voir les siens.
410. The greatest task of friendship is not to show our shortcomings to a friend; it is to show him his own.
410. The greatest effort of friendship is not to show our faults to a friend, but to show him his own.