Keep a Store of Sarcasms

Thought of the Day

“Keep a store of sarcasms and know how to use them.This is the point of greatest tact in human intercourse.Such sarcsasms are often thrown out to test people’s moods, and by their means one often obtains the most subtle and penetrating touchstone of the heart. Other sarcasms are malicious, insolent, poisoned by envy or envenomed by passion, unexpected flashes that destroy at once all favour and esteem. Struck by the slightest word of this kind, many fall away from the closest intimacy with superiors or inferiors that would not have been the slightest shaken by a whole conspiracy of popular insinuation or private malevolence. Other sarcasms work favourably, confirming and assisting one’s reputation. But the greater the skill with which they are launched, the greater the caution with which they should be anticipated and received. For here a knowledge of malice is in itself a means of defence, and a shot foreseen always misses its mark.” The Art of Worldly Wisdom,  Balthasar Gracian (first published 1637)

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