François-Marie Arouet (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), known by his nom de plume Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and separation of church and state.

Enjoy the best Voltaire picture quotes.

Read more about Voltaire on Wikipedia.

Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.

God gave us the gift of life, it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.

I know many books which have bored their readers but I know of none which has done real evil.

It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.

The infinitely little have a pride infinitely great.

What most persons consider as virtue after the age of 40 is simply a loss of energy.

Anyone who seeks to destroy the passions, instead of controlling them, is trying to play the angel.

What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error, let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly - that is the first law of nature.

Better is the enemy of good.

It is lamentable that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind.

Let us read and let us dance - two amusements that will never do any harm to the world.

Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung.

Injustice in the end produces independence.

It is not known precisely where angels dwell, whether in the air, the void, or the planets. It has not been God's pleasure that we should be informed of their abode.

I hate women because they always know where things are.

History should be written as philosophy.

The multitude of books is making us ignorant.

History is only the register of crimes and misfortunes.

The safest course is to do nothing against one's conscience. With this secret we can enjoy life and have no fear from death.

It is vain for the coward to flee, death follows close behind, it is only by defying it that the brave escape.

To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.

Nature has always had more force than education.

What a heavy burden is a name that has become too famous.

Tears are the silent language of grief.

Chance is a word void of sense, nothing can exist without a cause.

Do well and you will have no need for ancestors.

Governments need to have both shepherds and butchers.

The mouth obeys poorly when the heart murmurs.

I have never made but one prayer to God a very short one: "O Lord make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it.

There are truths which are not for all men nor for all times.

We must cultivate our own garden. When man was put in the garden of Eden he was put there so that he should work which proves that man was not born to rest.

Love has features which pierce all hearts he wears a bandage which conceals the faults of those beloved. He has wings he comes quickly and flies away the same.

Clever tyrants are never punished.

Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too.

Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.

The best way to be boring is to leave nothing out.

When he to whom one speaks does not understand and he who speaks himself does not understand that is metaphysics.

The world embarrasses me and I cannot dream that this watch exists and has no watchmaker.

Every one goes astray but the least imprudent are they who repent the soonest.

Of all religions the Christian should of course inspire the most tolerance but until now Christians have been the most intolerant of all men.

An ideal form of government is democracy tempered with assassination.

He who is not just is severe he who is not wise is sad.

The opportunity for doing mischief is found a hundred times a day and of doing good once in a year.

Ice-cream is exquisite - what a pity it isn't illegal.

We have a natural right to make use of our pens as of our tongue at our peril risk and hazard.

Our country is that spot to which our heart is bound.

Life is thickly sown with thorns and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes the greater is their power to harm us.

All murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.

The best government is a benevolent tyranny tempered by an occasional assassination.

I should like to lie at your feet and die in your arms.

Divorce is probably of nearly the same date as marriage. I believe however that marriage is some weeks the more ancient.

Men hate the individual whom they call avaricious only because nothing can be gained from him.

The first step my son which one makes in the world is the one on which depends the rest of our days.

No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.

Fear follows crime and is its punishment.

Friendship is the marriage of the soul and this marriage is liable to divorce.

We are all full of weakness and errors, let us mutually pardon each other our follies - it is the first law of nature.

He must be very ignorant for he answers every question he is asked.

He shines in the second rank who is eclipsed in the first.

Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.

It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue.

The best is the enemy of the good.

Never argue at the dinner table for the one who is not hungry always gets the best of the argument.

The ancient Romans built their greatest masterpieces of architecture their amphitheaters for wild beasts to fight in.

Paradise was made for tender hearts, hell for loveless hearts.

Satire lies about literary men while they live and eulogy lies about them when they die.

In general the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give to another.

It is an infantile superstition of the human spirit that virginity would be thought a virtue and not the barrier that separates ignorance from knowledge.

Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.

The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reason.

He who has not the spirit of this age has all the misery of it.

Everything's fine today that is our illusion.

Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable.

The true triumph of reason is that it enables us to get along with those who do not possess it.

It is not love that should be depicted as blind but self-love.

Men use thought only as authority for their injustice and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts.

In the case of news we should always wait for the sacrament of confirmation.

Common sense is not so common.

Stand upright speak thy thoughts declare The truth thou hast that all may share, Be bold proclaim it everywhere: They only live who dare.

What then do you call your soul? What idea have you of it? You cannot of yourselves without revelation admit the existence within you of anything but a power unknown to you of feeling and thinking.

It is not enough to conquer, one must learn to seduce.

The very impossibility in which I find myself to prove that God is not discovers to me his existence.

We are rarely proud when we are alone.

I have lived eighty years of life and know nothing for it but to be resigned and tell myself that flies are born to be eaten by spiders and man to be devoured by sorrow.

The ear is the avenue to the heart.

The sovereign is called a tyrant who knows no laws but his caprice.

Tyrants have always some slight shade of virtue, they support the laws before destroying them.

A witty saying proves nothing.

Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others?

The Holy Roman Empire is neither Holy nor Roman nor an Empire.

Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.

Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy the mad daughter of a wise mother. These daughters have too long dominated the earth.

We never live, we are always in the expectation of living.

Originality is nothing but judicious imitation. The most original writers borrowed one from another.

Very learned women are to be found in the same manner as female warriors, but they are seldom or ever inventors.

Prejudices are what fools use for reason.

Nothing can be more contrary to religion and the clergy than reason and common sense.

The progress of rivers to the ocean is not so rapid as that of man to error.

Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.

Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.

The little may contrast with the great in painting but cannot be said to be contrary to it. Oppositions of colors contrast, but there are also colors contrary to each other that is which produce an ill effect because they shock the eye when brought very near it.

How pleasant it is for a father to sit at his child's board. It is like an aged man reclining under the shadow of an oak which he has planted.

This self-love is the instrument of our preservation, it resembles the provision for the perpetuity of mankind: it is necessary it is dear to us it gives us pleasure and we must conceal it.

If God did not exist it would be necessary to invent Him.

We must distinguish between speaking to deceive and being silent to be reserved.

Love is a canvas furnished by nature and embroidered by imagination.

The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.

All styles are good except the tiresome kind.

God is not on the side of the big battalions but on the side of those who shoot best.

It is better to risk saving a guilty man than to condemn an innocent one.

Opinion has caused more trouble on this little earth than plagues or earthquakes.

It is said that the present is pregnant with the future.

To hold a pen is to be at war.

Woe to the makers of literal translations who by rendering every word weaken the meaning! It is indeed by so doing that we can say the letter kills and the spirit gives life.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

I am very fond of truth but not at all of martyrdom.

The art of government is to make two-thirds of a nation pay all it possibly can pay for the benefit of the other third.

The secret of being a bore... is to tell everything.

One merit of poetry few persons will deny: it says more and in fewer words than prose.

Let us work without theorizing tis the only way to make life endurable.

I do not agree with what you have to say but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.

Business is the salt of life.

The husband who decides to surprise his wife is often very much surprised himself.

We cannot wish for that we know not.

Doubt is not a pleasant condition but certainty is absurd.

In every author let us distinguish the man from his works.

Society therefore is an ancient as the world.

Very often say what you will a knave is only a fool.

Perfection is attained by slow degrees, it requires the hand of time.

If God created us in his own image we have more than reciprocated.

As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities.

God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.

We cannot always oblige, but we can always speak obligingly.

The public is a ferocious beast, one must either chain it or flee from it.

My life is a struggle.

All men are born with a nose and ten fingers but no one was born with a knowledge of God.

One great use of words is to hide our thoughts.

The superfluous a very necessary thing.

In this country it is a good thing to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others.

It is not sufficient to see and to know the beauty of a work. We must feel and be affected by it.

To the wicked everything serves as pretext.

Indeed history is nothing more than a tableau of crimes and misfortunes.

All the reasonings of men are not worth one sentiment of women.

No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

Time which alone makes the reputation of men ends by making their defects respectable.

It is the flash which appears the thunderbolt will follow.

It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.

To the living we owe respect but to the dead we owe only the truth.

Weakness on both sides is as we know the motto of all quarrels.

By appreciation we make excellence in others our own property.

It is forbidden to kill, therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbours kindle it at home communicate it to others and it becomes the property of all.

If there were no God it would be necessary to invent him.

The ideal form of government is democracy tempered with assassination.

Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification knowing without thinking merging finitude in infinity.

Illusion is the first of all pleasures.

The ancients recommended us to sacrifice to the Graces but Milton sacrificed to the Devil.

He was a great patriot a humanitarian a loyal friend, provided of course he really is dead.

To believe in God is impossible not to believe in Him is absurd.

Use do not abuse, neither abstinence nor excess ever renders man happy.

Froth at the top dregs at bottom but the middle excellent.

He is a hard man who is only just and a sad one who is only wise.

Whoever serves his country well has no need of ancestors.

Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.

The flowery style is not unsuitable to public speeches or addresses which amount only to compliment. The lighter beauties are in their place when there is nothing more solid to say, but the flowery style ought to be banished from a pleading a sermon or a didactic work.

When it is a question of money everybody is of the same religion.