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Folly   /fˈɑli/   Listen
Folly

noun
(pl. follies)
1.
The trait of acting stupidly or rashly.  Synonyms: foolishness, unwiseness.
2.
A stupid mistake.  Synonyms: betise, foolishness, imbecility, stupidity.
3.
The quality of being rash and foolish.  Synonyms: craziness, foolishness, madness.  "Adjusting to an insane society is total foolishness"
4.
Foolish or senseless behavior.  Synonyms: craziness, foolery, indulgence, lunacy, tomfoolery.



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"Folly" Quotes from Famous Books



... know anything of love Folly to fret over what cannot be undone Go down into the grave before us (Our children) He who kills a cat is punished (for murder) In those days men wept, as well as women Lovers delighted in nature then ...
— Quotations From Georg Ebers • David Widger

... sun may become degraded by a continuous course of oppression and misrule. Whilst extravagant dreams of the progressive advancement of the human race are entertained, a large tract of the globe has been gradually relapsing into barbarism. Whilst the folly of fashion requires an acquaintance with the deserts of Africa, and a most ardent thirst for a knowledge of the customs of Timbuctoo,—whilst the trumpet tongue of many an orator excites thousands to the rational and charitable object of ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 110, December, 1866 - A Magazine of Literature, Science, Art, and Politics • Various

... the place became a byword, even in the back-blocks; and when at last the good Bishop Methuen had the hardihood to include it in an episcopal itinerary, there were admirers of that dear divine who roundly condemned his folly, and enemies who no longer denied ...
— Stingaree • E. W. (Ernest William) Hornung

... though it had cost us something more, yet the difference of that price was by no means worth saving at so great a hazard. But as this is usually the fate of young heads, so reflection upon the folly of it is as commonly the exercise of more years, or of the dear-bought experience of time - so it was with me now; and yet so deep had the mistake taken root in my temper, that I could not satisfy myself in my station, but was continually poring upon ...
— Robinson Crusoe • Daniel Defoe

... drop it: you will make me say some folly, and there are certain things which dear, good creatures ...
— The Wandering Jew, Complete • Eugene Sue

... seemingly unlike parts, from the wide-spread effects of small conditions, from the utter dying out of races like the Tasmanians or the Paraguay Indians under circumstances different from those with which their ancestors were familiar. What folly to interfere with a marvellous instinct which now preserves this balance intact, in favour of an untried artificial system which would probably wreck it as helplessly as the modern system of higher education for women is wrecking ...
— Falling in Love - With Other Essays on More Exact Branches of Science • Grant Allen

... which gave us Hamlet, and Lear, Cordelia, and Puck, and all the rest, and indeed explaining to us how he could give us all these;—while we hardly go so far, we agree with his other wise words:—"There is a weakness and folly in all misplaced and excessive affection;" which in Shakspeare's case is the more distressing, when we consider that "Mr. W. H., the only begetter of these ensuing sonnets," was, in all likelihood, William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, ...
— Spare Hours • John Brown

... indifference a scene of such unjustifiable extravagance; it contributed to render her thoughtful and uneasy, and to deprive her of all mental power of participating in the gaiety of the assembly. Mr Arnott was yet more deeply affected by the mad folly of the scheme, and received from the whole evening no other satisfaction than that which a look of sympathetic concern from ...
— Cecilia vol. 2 - Memoirs of an Heiress • Frances (Fanny) Burney (Madame d'Arblay)

... words. Mme. de Sevigne found her admirable, and even the grave Pomponne begged his friend not to forget to send him all her witticisms. Of the agreeable but rather light Comtesse de Fiesque, she said: "What preserves her beauty is that it is salted in folly." Of James II of England, she remarked, "The Holy Spirit has eaten up his understanding." The saying that the eight generals appointed at the death of Turenne were "the small change for Turenne" has been attributed to her. It is certainly ...
— The Women of the French Salons • Amelia Gere Mason

... bear a little with my folly; and indeed do bear with me. [11:2]For I am zealous for you with a godly zeal, for I joined you, a chaste virgin, to one husband, to present to Christ; [11:3]but I fear lest as the serpent deceived Eve with his craftiness, so also your minds may be ...
— The New Testament • Various

... for what might come next; and Miss Carlyle moved away also. Not more shivery was that wretched man than Lady Isabel, as she walked by her side. A sorry figure to cut, that, for her once chosen cavalier. What did she think of his beauty now? I know what she thought of her past folly. ...
— East Lynne • Mrs. Henry Wood

... a year squandered in idleness or in foolish pursuits means the sacrifice of all the advantages just mentioned. And any one who keeps up idleness or folly for a year, usually ends in having ...
— Stories Worth Rereading • Various

... if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly; and from these taxes the commissioners can not ease or deliver us by allowing an abatement. However, let us hearken to good advice, and something may be done for us; 'God helps them that help ...
— Brave Men and Women - Their Struggles, Failures, And Triumphs • O.E. Fuller

... coarseness than his wife, upbraided Victorine for not striving for the rose with her sisters. "Were you but cured of your folly, child," he said, "there is no doubt of your success as Rosiere, for you are a great favourite, Victorine, notwithstanding ...
— The Young Lord and Other Tales - to which is added Victorine Durocher • Camilla Toulmin

... the staff of the great specialist, and resorted daily to the busy offices in the Athenian Building. A brief vacation had served to convince him of the folly that lay in indulging a parcel of incoherent prejudices at the expense of even that somewhat nebulous thing popularly called a "career." Dr. Lindsay made flattering offers; the work promised to be light, with sufficient opportunity for whatever hospital practice ...
— The Web of Life • Robert Herrick

... mysterious terror which linked Hugh Guinness and Catharine together. It was there he would revenge himself. Some day he would put out his dead hand from the grave to work the child's destruction. She had reasoned and laughed at her own folly in the matter for years. But the belief was there. ...
— Lippincott's Magazine, Volume 11, No. 26, May, 1873 • Various

... always the incarnation of kindness, recommended its suppression. At least Ferguson read enough of Montesquieu to make some fluent generalities sound plausible. He knows that the investigation of savage life will throw some light upon the origins of government. He sees the folly of generalizing easily upon the state of nature. He insists, probably after conversation with Adam Smith, upon the social value of the division of functions. He does not doubt the original equality of men. He thinks the luxury of his age has reached the limit of its useful growth. Property he ...
— Political Thought in England from Locke to Bentham • Harold J. Laski

... shrouded By evening's paler ray, Smiles beauteous and unclouded Before the eye of day; So let our souls, benighted Too long in folly's shade, By the kind smiles be lighted To ...
— A Biographical Sketch of the Life and Character of Joseph Charless - In a Series of Letters to his Grandchildren • Charlotte Taylor Blow Charless

... in flower and the crickets at their concerts, a second wish often came to me. Along the road, I light upon a dead mole, a snake killed with a stone, victims both of human folly. The mole was draining the soil and purging it of its vermin. Finding him under his spade, the laborer broke his back for him and flung him over the hedge. The snake, roused from her slumber by the soft warmth ...
— The Life of the Fly - With Which are Interspersed Some Chapters of Autobiography • J. Henri Fabre

... like this, but it is true; he would not have entered a village of Casembe or Moamba or Chikumbi as he did Chapi's man's village: the people here are simply men of more metal than he imagined, and his folly in beginning a war in which, if possible, his slaves will slip through his hands is apparent to all, even to himself. Syde sent four barrels of gunpowder and ten men, who ...
— The Last Journals of David Livingstone, in Central Africa, from 1865 to His Death, Volume I (of 2), 1866-1868 • David Livingstone

... you, and I will no longer be the tool of an impostor," replied he, morosely. "Am I to be the laughing-stock of Vienna, while men of distinction see through the tricks of the charlatan? I must and will have the strength to confess my folly, and to admit ...
— Joseph II. and His Court • L. Muhlbach

... the people of the Metropolis to elect me their legislatorial attorney, was, that he might be elected for Manchester at the ensuing meeting. On this proposition I at once put a negative, by referring to the Gazette, and to the proclamation, adding, that it would be worse than folly to run our heads against such a post; and I further declared, that I saw no good that was to be derived from such a measure. In this the committee at once concurred, and it was agreed, that every intention of that ...
— Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq. Volume 3 • Henry Hunt

... can do no better with it than to pay off its debts; but to do this, when there was every prospect of a Mormon war to raise the expenditure, little prospect of retrenchment in any branch of service, and a daily diminishing revenue at all points,—it was purely a piece of folly, a want of ordinary forecast, to get rid of the cash in hand. Mr. Buchanan and Mr. Cobb were guilty of this folly, and, for the sake of the poor eclat of coming to the relief of the money-market, (which ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 1, No. 6, April, 1858 • Various

... of that day had almost made Mrs. Ponsonby fear that there was nothing to understand, and that only dear Aunt Kitty's affection could perceive anything but amiable folly, and it was not much better when the young gentleman reappeared, looking very debonnaire, and, sitting down beside Mrs. Frost, said, in a voice meant for her alone—'Henry IV; Part II., the insult to ...
— Dynevor Terrace (Vol. I) - or, The Clue of Life • Charlotte M. Yonge

... retreat, merely because a momentary resistance was offered by a party of Americans who had taken refuge in the log-barracks! The British troops reluctantly obeyed their general's order and returned to their boats, men and officers being acutely sensible to his folly, and wondering by what means so incompetent a commander had been placed over them. If Sir George Prevost had studied the history of the war of the American revolution, it could only have been with an eye to copy all the indecisions and blunders of the formalising, badly instructed ...
— The Life and Correspondence of Sir Isaac Brock • Ferdinand Brock Tupper

... for the happiness of public or private life, our wit or folly have so refined; that they seldom subsist but in idea; a true friend, a good marriage, a perfect form of government, with some others, require so many ingredients, so good in their several kinds, and so much niceness in mixing them, that for some thousands of years men have despaired ...
— A Book of English Prose - Part II, Arranged for Secondary and High Schools • Percy Lubbock

... consideration, he cannot make too much haste to perform it. "Be not rash with thy mouth," saith the preacher. That is, do not vow rashly, but, "When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it: for He hath no pleasure in fools (slow performance is folly); pay that which thou hast vowed." Speedy paying (like speedy giving) is double payment; whereas slow payment is no payment or as bad as none, for it is foolish payment. A bond, if I mistake not, is presently due in law, if no day be specified in the bond. It is so I am ...
— The Covenants And The Covenanters - Covenants, Sermons, and Documents of the Covenanted Reformation • Various

... of a proposal touches a girl's pride and may prove the entering-wedge of love; hence the proverbial folly of accepting a girl's first refusal as final. And if she accepts, the thought that she, the most perfect being in the world, prefers him above all men, inflates his pride to the point of exultation; thenceforth he can talk and think only in "three pil'd hyperboles." ...
— Primitive Love and Love-Stories • Henry Theophilus Finck

... Fitch's boats had made trips in the Delaware only some twenty years earlier, the fact did not seem to be generally known. People had all along spoken of Fulton as a half-crazy dreamer and had called his boat "Fulton's Folly." "Of course, the thing will not move," said one scoffer. "That any man with common sense well knows," another replied. And yet they all stood watching for Fulton's signal ...
— Stories of Later American History • Wilbur F. Gordy

... at Trooditissa no arrivals of despairing wives occurred, but in the exhausted conditions of the finance throughout the island, it would have been the height of folly to have desired an increase of family, and thereby multiply expenses; possibly the uncertainty respecting the permanence of the English occupation may deter the ladies, who may postpone their pilgrimage to the monastery until their offspring should be born with the rights ...
— Cyprus, as I Saw it in 1879 • Sir Samuel W. Baker

... stand intact in their pristine beauty. May they never suffer the terrible fate of a very beautiful one which was erected in the fourteenth century at Bristol! Pope, writing a century and a half ago, describes it as "a very fine old cross of Gothic curious work, but spoiled with the folly of new gilding it, that takes away all ...
— A Cotswold Village • J. Arthur Gibbs

... was starting for his home on the south side of the river. Occasionally some smart man came from St. James's Street to bury himself in his flat in Queen Anne's Mansions. A belated Tommy Atkins crossed the bridge to make for the St. James's Barracks. One or two of the daughters of folly went loungingly by—wandering, not altogether purposeless, among the open roads of the Park. None of all these had taken any notice of ...
— The Dictator • Justin McCarthy

... folly here, Is wisdom in that favoured sphere; The wisdom we so highly prize Is blatant folly ...
— Fifty Bab Ballads • William S. Gilbert

... than folly! To give up what you have worked for all these years—the men who worship ...
— Captain Desmond, V.C. • Maud Diver

... pleasantly and profitably spent. The stupendous church of St. Peter's, with its chapels and galleries, being in itself an imposing object lesson. Its glories have already been inadequately described by some of the most famous of literary men, and where they have failed it would be folly for a mere ball player to make the attempt. In St. Peter's we spent almost an entire day, and leaving it we felt that there was still more to be seen. The second day we visited the palace of the Caesars, ...
— A Ball Player's Career - Being the Personal Experiences and Reminiscensces of Adrian C. Anson • Adrian C. Anson

... turmoil Of uproar and folly— That renders the smile Of creation unholy? If that which we love Is life's best assistant, The thought still must rove To the dear and the distant. Would, then, that I were 'Mid nature's wild grandeur— From this folly afar, As I wont was ...
— The Modern Scottish Minstrel, Volumes I-VI. - The Songs of Scotland of the Past Half Century • Various

... died without knowing of its loss, without suspecting that the stone in the royal parure is but a sham and an imitation," replied the count. "It all came of the youth, the recklessness, the folly of the crown prince. Monsieur may have heard of his—his many ...
— Cleek: the Man of the Forty Faces • Thomas W. Hanshew

... the conception which you have formed is a vain shadow, do not quarrel with me on that account, as the manner of women is when their first children are taken from them. For I have actually known some who were ready to bite me when I deprived them of a darling folly; they did not perceive that I acted from goodwill, not knowing that no god is the enemy of man—that was not within the range of their ideas; neither am I their enemy in all this, but it would be wrong for me to admit falsehood, or to stifle the truth. ...
— Theaetetus • Plato

... women, and removed every trace of the ceremony, and all that was unusual or extravagant. She set the simplest of meals; she managed in some way, without a word, to give the worried squire the assurance that all the folly and waste and hurryment were over for ever; and that his life was to fall back into a calm, ...
— The Squire of Sandal-Side - A Pastoral Romance • Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

... comparison with what the heroes or senators of Rome performed; but, on the contrary, if it be once condemned, nothing can be found ill enough to compare it with; and people are in pain till they find out some extravagant expression to represent the folly on't. Only there is this difference, that as all are more forcibly inclined to ill than good, they are much apter to exceed in detraction than in praises. Have I not reason then to desire this from you; ...
— A Letter Book - Selected with an Introduction on the History and Art of Letter-Writing • George Saintsbury

... circumstances of my parents, and desired to leave my paternal hearth, hankering after the halls of kings and of the great, and daily longing more and more to array myself in the gayest and most luxurious costume." Ingulphus lived to repent, and to be ashamed of his weakness and folly.] ...
— Henry of Monmouth, Volume 1 - Memoirs of Henry the Fifth • J. Endell Tyler

... can speak truth if you will. We boast ourselves as even better men than our fathers; we took seven-gated Thebes, though the wall was stronger and our men were fewer in number, for we trusted in the omens of the gods and in the help of Jove, whereas they perished through their own sheer folly; hold not, then, our fathers ...
— The Iliad • Homer

... Gordon, that it is no part of my purpose to keep him as he is. It is my duty to save him from the consequences of his folly and of his perverted view of his relations with the world—to make him ...
— The Fate of Felix Brand • Florence Finch Kelly

... [Footnote A: To the folly of intoxication he added the horrors of debt, and was so hunted by the sheriffs' officers that he usually walked the streets with a sword (sheathed) in his hand; and if he saw any of them at a distance, he would roar out, ...
— The Palmy Days of Nance Oldfield • Edward Robins

... the wealth of the land. It was not likely they would speedily depart; but if they did, it would only be to return again, in far greater force than at present. Other opportunities would occur for rejoining them, and it would be folly to throw away his life, and that of his companion, in an attempt that the latter evidently felt to be desperate. He had already had proof of the vigilance of the Aztec scouts, and doubtless that vigilance ...
— By Right of Conquest - Or, With Cortez in Mexico • G. A. Henty

... saying, his mighty spear, with all his force, Full at the flank against the ribs he drave, And pierced the bellying framework of the horse. Quivering, it stood; the hollow chambers gave A groan, that echoed from the womb's dark cave, Then, but for folly or Fate's adverse power, His word had made us with our trusty glaive Lay bare the Argive ambush, and this hour Should Ilion stand, and thou, ...
— The Aeneid of Virgil - Translated into English Verse by E. Fairfax Taylor • Virgil

... of bloodless murders! Without affirming such horrors of the Rev. Mr. Stoker, it would not be libellous to say that his fancy was tampering with future possibilities, as it constantly happens with those who are getting themselves into training for some act of folly, or some crime, it may be, which will in its own time evolve itself as an idea in the consciousness, and by and by ripen ...
— The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... significance of her folly came to her. She had driven a team of dogs worth at least a thousand dollars to oblivion. Their chief means of travel was gone, and hundreds of miles lay between them and civilization. How could she confess the loss to Jim? What ...
— Colorado Jim • George Goodchild

... Shakespeare's spirit, with transporting fire, The animated scene throughout inspire; If in the piercing wit of Vanbrugh drest, Each sees his darling folly made a jest; If Garth's and Dryden's genius, through each line, In artful praise and well-turn'd satire shine,— To us ...
— Some Diversions of a Man of Letters • Edmund William Gosse

... impulses of despair or of frenzy from within. The abbey was amply provisioned. With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion. The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think. The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All ...
— The Raven • Edgar Allan Poe

... induced to lend small sums to his interested companions. After such sprays, as he called them, were over, and his temper once more cool, he seldom failed to thank God, and the Duke of York, who had made it much more difficult for an old soldier to ruin himself by his folly, than had been the case ...
— A Legend of Montrose • Sir Walter Scott

... in the latter a sponge, toady, or swindler. Nor has the colonist to consider how the making of chance acquaintances may affect his own social standing. In his own small world his social standing is a settled thing, and cannot be injured otherwise than by his own folly or misconduct. Moreover, most of the Islanders are, or have been, brought face to face with the solitude of nature, and many of all classes have travelled. These things make them more sociable, self-confident, ...
— The Long White Cloud • William Pember Reeves

... wonderful invention. The old lady's tongue was caustic, and her language eloquent, and this occasion was not one to be lost. For a truly bad quarter of an hour she instilled into poor Britt a sense of his folly and faults, and finally demanded his services ...
— Chatterbox, 1906 • Various

... has to go to the dominions of Yama and suffering great misery there, he has to take birth in an intermediate order of being,[509] Listen to me as I tell thee what the different acts are by doing which the diva, stupefied by folly, has to take birth in different orders of being, as declared in the Vedas, the scriptures, and the (sacred) histories. Mortals have to go to the frightful regions of Yama. In those regions, O king, there are places that are fraught with every merit and that are worthy on that account ...
— The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4 • Kisari Mohan Ganguli

... failure of "self-government" in ancient America the most general and comprehensive was, of course, the impracticable nature of the system itself. In the light of modern culture, and instructed by history, we readily discern the folly of those crude ideas upon which the ancient Americans based what they knew as "republican institutions," and maintained, as long as maintenance was possible, with something of a religious fervor, even when the results were visibly disastrous. To us of to-day it is clear that the word "self-government" ...
— The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce • Ambrose Bierce

... humour, and chase away misfortune from our cottage with a smile. At a father's command, I could almost submit to what every female heart knows to be the most mortifying, to marry a weak man, and blush at my husband's folly in every company I visited. But to marry a depraved wretch, whose only virtue is a polished exterior; [who is actuated by the unmanly ambition of conquering the defenceless; whose heart, insensible to the emotions of patriotism, ...
— The Contrast • Royall Tyler

... upon the great theatre of life; and he sincerely believes that his only motive was to do good. He cast about to find the method of writing calculated to do the most general good. He wanted to whip vice and folly out of the country; he thought of 'Hudibras' and 'McFingal,' and pondered well whether he should attempt the masterly style of those writings. He found this would not do, for, like most modern rhymers, he is no poet, ...
— Noah Webster - American Men of Letters • Horace E. Scudder

... Seraphina - ' He hesitated at the name, and Gotthold glanced aside. 'Well,' the Prince continued, 'what has come of it? Taxes, army, cannon - why, it's like a box of lead soldiers! And the people sick at the folly of it, and fired with the injustice! And war, too - I hear of war - war in this teapot! What a complication of absurdity and disgrace! And when the inevitable end arrives - the revolution - who will be to blame in the sight of God, who will be gibbeted in ...
— Prince Otto • Robert Louis Stevenson

... start of surprise, apparently not mixed with pleasure, at seeing Lemuel. She had never been able to share her husband's interest in him, while insisting upon his responsibility; she disliked him not logically, but naturally, for the wrong and folly which he had been the means of her husband's involving himself in; Miss Vane's kindliness toward Lemuel, which still survived, and which expressed itself in questions about him whenever she met the minister, was something that Mrs. Sewell could ...
— The Minister's Charge • William D. Howells

... Laura was a fool—nobody claims for her that she was not; but fools are not rare, either male or female; as they arrange the world and its ways in great measure, it is odd that they do not understand one another better, and whether Laura showed her folly most or least in thinking that she could have been obscurely happy as the wife of a man who belonged to a different class of life from her own (she herself having small intellectual endowments, and but little ...
— Fated to Be Free • Jean Ingelow

... ever," said Algitha, "until a few dare to break through the tradition, and then everyone will wonder at its folly. If only I could talk the matter over, in a friendly spirit, with mother, but she won't let me. Ah! if it were not that one is born with feelings and energies and ambitions of one's own, parents might treat ...
— The Daughters of Danaus • Mona Caird

... object of his hatred. He had made himself believe that all women were alike. Was there, then, only one kind of woman in a world filled with many kinds of men? Because he had been a fool, because he had been deceived by one woman, he had concluded, in his folly, that every woman was a vampire or a parasite,—"a rag and a bone and a ...
— The Heart of Thunder Mountain • Edfrid A. Bingham

... giving you better habits, and rousing the slumbering powers of your own constitution. As to deception, you have none to complain of, except what proceeded from your own foolish imagination, which persuaded you that a physician was to regulate his conduct by the folly and intemperance of his patient. As to all the rest, he only promised to exert all the secrets of his art for your cure; and this, I am witness he has done so effectually, that, were you to reward him with half your fortune, it would hardly be ...
— The History of Sandford and Merton • Thomas Day

... country to die in the defence of Ghent. You came hither to do, if occasion offers, some knightly deeds, and feeling pity for the starving people here you offer them knightly aid, and will fight for them as long as there is a chance that fighting may avail them, but beyond that it would be folly indeed to go; and when you see the day hopelessly lost, you and your men-at-arms may well try to make your way out of the crowd of combatants, and to ride whither you will. I say not to return here, for that would indeed ...
— A March on London • G. A. Henty

... to him—that of presenting himself at M. Dambreuse's house and applying for the post of secretary. This post, it was perfectly certain, could not be obtained without purchasing a certain number of shares. He recognised the folly of his project, ...
— Sentimental Education, Volume II - The History of a Young Man • Gustave Flaubert

... her. She knew, with absolute certainty, that Dr. Angus had gauged her fatal habit of conceited anxiety to help other people when he cabled to her not to marry a drunkard whom she had merely put to him as a hypothetical case. And she knew the doctor was inevitably right about the folly of marrying ...
— Captivity • M. Leonora Eyles

... by the sarcastic method that Swift exposed the unreasonableness of loving and having children. In Gulliver, the folly of love and marriage is urged by graver arguments and advice. In the famous Lilliputian kingdom, Swift speaks with approval of the practice of instantly removing children from their parents and educating them by the State; and amongst his favourite horses, a pair of foals are stated ...
— Henry Esmond; The English Humourists; The Four Georges • William Makepeace Thackeray

... inculcate the idea that a change in conditions means the acquisition of unqualified bliss, and they assume that the poor are necessarily unhappy and endeavor to convince them—not a difficult task, that it is the fault of someone else that they are not rich! Folly! The hod-carrier and helot who works from dawn to dusk, who goes in rags, who fares on coarsest food, whose wife and children live in squalor, may be considered unhappy, but they never experience real suffering, acute, unasuageable, poignant grief, until they become possessed ...
— Volume 10 of Brann The Iconoclast • William Cowper Brann

... distinction between my own children and the children of Pandu. My own sons were prone to wilfulness and despised me because I am old. Blind as I am, because of my miserable plight and through paternal affection, I bore it all. I was foolish after the thoughtless Duryodhana ever growing in folly. Having been a spectator of the riches of the mighty sons of Pandu, my son was derided for his awkwardness while ascending the hall. Unable to bear it all and unable himself to overcome the sons of Pandu in the field, and though a soldier, unwilling yet to obtain ...
— The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa - Translated into English Prose - Adi Parva (First Parva, or First Book) • Kisari Mohan Ganguli (Translator)

... gossip about his secret engagement, and possibly approaching marriage, should be spread abroad prematurely; and that the report might either frighten Madame Hanska into dismissing him altogether, or might reach the ears of her relations, and cause them to remonstrate with her anew on the folly of her proceedings. ...
— Honore de Balzac, His Life and Writings • Mary F. Sandars

... did strive that I look all-ways, lest any harm did come upon us, and in the same moment to reason Mine Own from her pretty folly, she did grow very husht, so that I lookt round upon her in an instant. And truly, she had cut the strap with her belt-knife, and did run away very swift among the trees. And surely my heart did slow a little in my breast, because that there did seem ...
— The Night Land • William Hope Hodgson

... not a few doubters. Efforts to educate the deaf were even declared quixotic and absurd. When the state of Illinois was erecting a building to be used as a school, it was by some called "the state's folly."[194] The legislatures themselves occasionally had misgivings, and now and then an appropriation was voted for a school more in hope than otherwise.[195] The work was thus with many often misunderstood, and a few of the schools did not have ...
— The Deaf - Their Position in Society and the Provision for Their - Education in the United States • Harry Best

... from more than one quarter, that Violante might cease to be an heiress if she married himself. "But perhaps," suggests some candid and youthful conjecturer,—"perhaps Randal Leslie is in love with this fair creature?" Randal in love!—no! He was too absorbed by harder passions for that blissful folly. Nor, if he could have fallen in love, was Violante the one to attract that sullen, secret heart; her instinctive nobleness, the very stateliness of her beauty, womanlike though it was, awed him. Men of that kind may love some soft slave,—they cannot ...
— My Novel, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... surely at random. The Lady Edith Vernon is but a child; a very beautiful child," he added reverently, "and such that when she grows up, the bravest knight in England might be proud to win. What folly for me, the son of a city bowyer, and as yet but an apprentice, to raise mine ...
— Saint George for England • G. A. Henty

... Old Costobarus is not so mired in folly as to send his daughter into the Pit to provide you with money ...
— The City of Delight - A Love Drama of the Siege and Fall of Jerusalem • Elizabeth Miller

... Act was passed in the British Parliament, on the news reaching Boston the bells were muffled, and rang a funeral peal. In New York the "Act" was carried through the streets with a death's head bearing this inscription: "The Folly of England and the Ruin of America." So great was the opposition to the "Act," that it was repealed during the spring of 1766. This shows how quickly the evils of society can be put down if people set to ...
— Public School Education • Michael Mueller

... Solomon's folly.—Alas for the happiness of the people, Solomon was a different kind of a man from his father. Like so many other sons of good kings he was spoiled by too much luxury and too little discipline. He had the reputation of ...
— Hebrew Life and Times • Harold B. Hunting

... As his immediate concern was to escape the consequences of his folly in shooting a fellow mortal, he assured her that he was always glad of an opportunity to fling business cares aside. She explained that the inn was much affected by cottagers in neighboring summer settlements and that many of the ...
— Blacksheep! Blacksheep! • Meredith Nicholson

... which Goneril dismisses with such scorn is indeed the text, or it will be, when the word which her commentary on it contains has been added to it: for it is 'the foolishness' of struggling with great Nature, and her LAW of KINDS—it is the folly of ignorance, the stupidity of living without respect to nature and its sequent effects, as ...
— The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakspere Unfolded • Delia Bacon

... is folly, sheer folly. How could she look like Mrs. Urquhart? Imagination carries me too far. Equal innocence and a like gentle temper have produced a like result in sweetening the expression. That is all, and yet I remember the one woman when I look at the other, and shudder; for the woman who calls this ...
— The Forsaken Inn - A Novel • Anna Katharine Green

... Where faint the fledge-foot seraphin, Blest Fool! Be ensign of our wars, And shame us all to warriors! Unbanner your bright locks,—advance Girl, their gilded puissance, I' the mystic vaward, and draw on After the lovely gonfalon Us to out-folly the excess Of your sweet foolhardiness; To adventure like ...
— New Poems • Francis Thompson

... soon over, and our bird again started on its journey. But just then a hungry hawk, who had watched it for a long time, pounced upon it. Fortunately, the fairy, who was near, seeing the bird was sufficiently punished for its folly, took compassion on it, changed it into a squirrel again, and placed it safely in its own tree. The squirrel was ...
— Our Gift • Teachers of the School Street Universalist Sunday School, Boston

... but still the common principles of sympathy would force even Sir John's philosophy to yield to the animating throng of people and carriages down St. James's Street, and follow their example all the time he was abusing their folly. ...
— Before and after Waterloo - Letters from Edward Stanley, sometime Bishop of Norwich (1802;1814;1814) • Edward Stanley

... folly, and you may think that my troubles have driven me mad. But I have a feeling here—a feeling without any reason or proof to back it—that the woman now sleeping off her exhaustion in Anitra's room is ...
— The Chief Legatee • Anna Katharine Green

... preconceived plan or were they, after all, playing with the fires of spring? He recalled several of Miss Pelham's socialistic remarks concerning the privileges of the "upper ten," the intolerance of caste and the snobbish morality which attaches folly to none but the girl who "works for ...
— The Man From Brodney's • George Barr McCutcheon

... more melancholy disgrace for a creature who professes either reason or pleasure for his guide, than to spend the smallest fraction of his income upon that which he does not desire; and to keep a carriage in which you do not wish to drive, or a butler of whom you are afraid, is a pathetic kind of folly. Money, being a means of happiness, should make both parties happy when it changes hands; rightly disposed, it should be twice blessed in its employment; and buyer and seller should alike have their twenty shillings' worth of profit out of every pound. Benjamin ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 16 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... foretells the truth. Or if some erring crossbow-bolt should break Thine unarmed head, shot from behind a house, So, evil falls, and a fool foretells the truth." "Well," quoth Lord Raoul, with languid utterance, "'Tis very well — and thou'rt a foolish fool, Nay, thou art Folly's perfect witless man, Stupidity doth madly dote on thee, And Idiocy doth fight her for thy love, Yet Silliness doth love thee best of all, And while they quarrel, snatcheth thee to her And saith 'Ah! 'tis my sweetest No-brains: ...
— The Poems of Sidney Lanier • Sidney Lanier

... imitation. Knowing the somewhat excessive degree of adulation which some sections of the British public are disposed to pay to their special idol, Lord Dufferin, in 1883, was almost apologetic to his countrymen for abstaining from an act of political folly. He pleaded strenuously for delay in the introduction of parliamentary institutions into Egypt, on the ground that our attempts "to mitigate predominant absolutism" in India had been slow, hesitating, and tentative. He brought poetic metaphor to ...
— Political and Literary essays, 1908-1913 • Evelyn Baring

... "It's all folly," she went on, "I don't believe it. Good heavens, what is that?" she added, as a footstep crunched in the hall-way. "You've got me all unstrung, you and ...
— Young Hilda at the Wars • Arthur Gleason

... nobody had he such complete ascendance as Mrs Quilp herself—a pretty little, mild-spoken, blue-eyed woman, who having allied herself in wedlock to the dwarf in one of those strange infatuations of which examples are by no means scarce, performed a sound practical penance for her folly, ...
— The Old Curiosity Shop • Charles Dickens

... if you would leave us alone and let us fight." Then the king says: "So help me God, all that thou sayest is of no avail." "Why is that?" he asks. "Because I will not consent. I will not so trust in thy folly and pride as to allow thee to be killed. A man is a fool to court death, as thou dost in thy ignorance. I know well that thou hatest me because I wish to save thy life. God will not let me see and witness thy death, if I can help ...
— Four Arthurian Romances - "Erec et Enide", "Cliges", "Yvain", and "Lancelot" • Chretien de Troyes

... it? Amn't I after saying it is himself has me destroyed, and he a liar on walls, a talker of folly, a man you'd see stretched the half of the day in the brown ferns with his ...
— The Playboy of the Western World • J. M. Synge

... to answer this handsome and cunning fool according to his folly, in what position should I find myself? No doubt my reply would induce a rejoinder, and that compel another note from me, and that invite yet another from him; and however his might improve in warmth, ...
— Uncle Silas - A Tale of Bartram-Haugh • J.S. Le Fanu

... ancient nations, even in their primitive condition, saw the folly of this, and when one wished either to be inspired with the thoughts of others or to be himself a diviner of the thoughts of others, fasting was necessary, and a people from whom I think a great many ...
— Model Speeches for Practise • Grenville Kleiser

... he was ready to execrate his folly for not having retraced his steps along the ledge and made good his escape by way of the mouth of the cavern, instead of continuing his journey, as he had done; for his ill-judged action had resulted in placing him at the wrong end of the cavern, and, to escape, he would be obliged ...
— Two Gallant Sons of Devon - A Tale of the Days of Queen Bess • Harry Collingwood

... must be nothing better than a vast frippery shop, an ever-varying galantee show, an eternal vanity fair, a vortex of folly, a pandemonium of vice. ...
— The Diary of an Ennuyee • Anna Brownell Jameson

... touch the hem of my garment." He meant, when he was to be transformed into one of their deities, and that God and he should be mixed into one divinity, which is the reward of a Bonza after death. Though the king could not hear his madness without smiling, yet he had so much compassion on his folly, that he took upon him to confute those extravagant propositions; but Xavier desired him to defer it to a fitter time, till he had digested his fury, and was more capable of hearing reason. Then the king said only to Faxiondono, "That he should go and do penance for the pride and ...
— The Works of John Dryden, Volume XVI. (of 18) - The Life of St. Francis Xavier • John Dryden

... who aim at gentility gradually fall into the same practice. The influence of this custom extends across the ocean, and here, in this democratic land, we find many who measure their grade of gentility by the late hour at which they arrive at a party. And this aristocratic folly is growing upon us, so that, throughout the nation, the hours for visiting and retiring are constantly becoming later, while the hours for ...
— The American Woman's Home • Catherine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe

... most of the natives with them: but they first wanted to give us 4 Hogs. These we refused to except of them, as they would take nothing in return. Thus we are likely to leave these people in disgust with our behaviour towards them, owing wholy to the folly of 2 of our men, for it does not appear that the natives had any hand in inticing them away, and therefore were not the first Agressors. However, it is very certain that had we not taken this step we never should ...
— Captain Cook's Journal During the First Voyage Round the World • James Cook

... thence home to dinner, staying till past one o'clock for Harris, whom I invited, and to bring Shadwell the poet with him; but they came not, and so a good dinner lost through my own folly. And so to dinner alone, having since church heard the boy read over Dryden's Reply to Sir R. Howard's Answer about his Essay of Poesy, and a Letter in answer to that; the last whereof is mighty silly, ...
— The Diary of Samuel Pepys • Samuel Pepys

... 'Womanly weakness! unmanly folly!' you say, some one who has never felt keenly and suddenly the pangs of such a passion unrequited. Perhaps so. But out of our great weakness sometimes grows our strength; out of our bitterest disappointments ...
— Gladys, the Reaper • Anne Beale

... What thought of folly Ravidus (poor churl!) Upon my iambs thus would headlong hurl? What good or cunning counsellor would fain Urge thee to struggle in such strife insane? Is't that the vulgar mouth thy name by rote? 5 What will'st thou? Wishest on ...
— The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus • Caius Valerius Catullus

... forgive me, were I not to show thee the fields which he taketh delight to cultivate after the newest and best fashion; for which, I promise thee, he hath received much praise from good judges, as well as some ridicule from those who think it folly to improve on the ...
— Redgauntlet • Sir Walter Scott

... in the ordinary affairs of life we are governed far more by what we believe than by what we know; by FAITH and ANALOGY, than by REASON. The "Age of Reason" of the French Revolution taught, we know, what a folly it is to enthrone Reason by itself as supreme. Reason is at fault when it deals with the Infinite. There we must revere and believe. Notwithstanding the calamities of the virtuous, the miseries of the deserving, the prosperity of tyrants and the murder of ...
— Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry • Albert Pike

... closer scrutiny than it has received. At present people are beginning to realize that it is folly for the great English-speaking Republic to rely for defence upon a navy composed partly of antiquated hulks, and partly of new vessels rather more worthless than the old. It is worth while to study with some care that period of our history during which our ...
— The Naval War of 1812 • Theodore Roosevelt

... wise-men's folly fall'n] Sir Thomas Hammer reads, folly shewn. [The sense is, But wise men's folly, when it is once fallen into extravagance, overpowers their discretion. Revisal.] I explain it thus. The folly which he shows with proper adaptation ...
— Johnson's Notes to Shakespeare Vol. I Comedies • Samuel Johnson

... astonishment was felt at this ruthless destruction of all who bore one name. Still nobody suspected the true culprits, search was fruitless, inquiries led nowhere: the marquise put on mourning for her brothers, Sainte-Croix continued in his path of folly, and all things went on as before. Meanwhile Sainte-Croix had made the acquaintance of the Sieur de Saint Laurent, the same man from whom Penautier had asked for a post without success, and had made friends with him. Penautier had meanwhile become the heir of his father-in-law, the Sieur Lesecq, ...
— CELEBRATED CRIMES, COMPLETE - THE MARQUISE DE BRINVILLIERS • ALEXANDRE DUMAS, PERE

... of the Skie shall sing My chereful Anthems to the gladsome Spring; A Pray'r book now shall be my looking glasse, In which I will adore sweet vertues face. Here dwell no hateful locks, no Pallace cares, No broken vows dwell here, nor pale fac'd fears, Then here I'l sit and sigh my hot loves folly, And learn t'affect an holy melancholy. And if contentment be a stranger, then I'l nere look for it, ...
— The Compleat Angler - Facsimile of the First Edition • Izaak Walton

... did not exceed forty miles, made some impression upon them, which was increased upon our finding some bear-berry plants (arbutus uva ursi,) which are reported by the Indians not to grow to the eastward of that river. They then deplored their folly and impatience in breaking the canoe, being all of opinion, that had it not been so completely demolished on the 23d, it might have been repaired sufficiently to take the party over. We again closely interrogated Peltier and Vaillant as to its state, with the intention of sending for it; but they ...
— Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea, in the years 1819-20-21-22, Volume 2 • John Franklin

... with his small hazel eyes, but the young man showed no feeling, and Braybrooke began to think that really perhaps he had made a mountain out of a molehill, that he had done Adela Sellingworth an injustice. If she had really been inclined to any folly about his young friend she would certainly not have left London ...
— December Love • Robert Hichens

... the limitations of Milton. They are those of a man who lived in the time of a great national struggle, deliberately chose his own side in it, and from thenceforth saw nothing in the other but folly, obstinacy and crime. He has in him nothing whatever of the universal, and universally sympathetic, insight of Shakspeare. And he has paid the price of his narrowness in the open dislike, or at best grudging recognition, of that half of the world which ...
— Milton • John Bailey

... put it on his head, and then, without thinking, wished himself back in the ship that was starting for Famagosta. In a second he was standing at the prow, while the anchor was being weighed, and while the Sultan was repenting of his folly in allowing Fortunatus to try on the cap, the vessel ...
— The Grey Fairy Book • Various

... to see you again. I should have done better to stay in exile all my days. But exile without means of subsistence would be madness; I will not add another folly to the rest. Death is better than a maimed life; I cannot think of myself in any position in which my overweening vanity would not ...
— Lost Illusions • Honore De Balzac

... to avoid this awful subject. Preachers of the Gospel do not speak of it in the pulpit as they once did. It is considered too shocking for our modern notions. I have no patience with such weakness, such folly—worse than folly. It seems to me even more wrong to try and hide this terrible danger from ourselves and from others than to deny it altogether, as some poor deluded souls do. Mr. Lyndsay, have you ever realised what the place of ...
— Cecilia de Noel • Lanoe Falconer

... in me, Esther?" he asked her gently. Suddenly she seemed to him most pathetic in her wilful folly. She had always been, she would always be, he knew, a creature who ruled through her weakness, found it an asset, traded on it perhaps, and whereas once this had seemed to him enchanting, now, in the face of ill-fortune it ...
— The Prisoner • Alice Brown

... mythology at some length, but it is only a small part of what they have upon the subject. My first feeling on reading it was that any amount of folly on the part of the unborn in coming here was justified by a desire to escape from such intolerable prosing. The mythology is obviously an unfair and exaggerated representation of life and things; and had its authors ...
— Erewhon • Samuel Butler

... name and broke in with a question. A volley of talk between the two was enlivened with expressive gestures by Taung S'Ali, who several times pointed to Iris, and Jenks now anathematized his thoughtless folly in permitting the Dyak to approach so near. The Mahommedan, of course, had never seen her, and might have persuaded the other that in truth there were two men only on ...
— The Wings of the Morning • Louis Tracy

... as Josiah Christmas, merchant of Bristol city, and his maternal uncle, walked into the office, whither the lad followed slowly, looking stubborn and ill-used, for Mike Bannock's poison was at work, and in his youthful ignorance and folly, he felt too angry to ...
— The Adventures of Don Lavington - Nolens Volens • George Manville Fenn

... hard and vainly endeavored to recapture the mood in which he had interpreted the Ballade, and then he fell to laughing at his spleen. A great artist to be annoyed by the first adverse feather that happened to tickle him in an awkward way. What folly! What vanity! Mychowski laughed and ordered a big glass of ...
— Melomaniacs • James Huneker

... objects, this high correlation between parent and child does not prove inheritance,—it obviously proves infection. The family relations are so intimate that it is folly to overlook this factor in ...
— Applied Eugenics • Paul Popenoe and Roswell Hill Johnson

... weigh carefully things which, as they appeared to him, were on the face insignificant. This had led him into strange trends of thought, had encouraged, in a way, superstitious fancies not altogether good for him. He knew that, and he had cursed his folly, and yet on this morning after the storm, on the after-deck of a throbbing tugboat he nodded his head sharply, outward acquiescence to an inward conviction that somehow, somewhere, he was going to see that face again and hear ...
— Dan Merrithew • Lawrence Perry

... the antiquary, "although she is an excellent woman, has the defect of allowing herself to be shocked by any little act of folly. In these provincial towns, my dear friend, the slightest slip is dearly paid for. I see nothing particular in your having gone to the Troyas' house. I fancy that Don Inocencio, under his cloak of piety, is something of a ...
— Dona Perfecta • B. Perez Galdos

... example, &c., &c. I, of course, took such observations at their true value; I knew Short and Kosinski too well to give two thoughts to the matter. Still when, on top of all this mysterious talk, I received Giannoli's letter, in which he spoke of his folly in trusting his supposed friend, and accused him of being neither more nor less than an agent in the hands of the International police, I felt my brain whirl, and really wondered whether I was the sole sane person in a mad world, or whether the ...
— A Girl Among the Anarchists • Isabel Meredith

... heresies in the world would instantly disappear. If they would use their own eyes, their own ears, their own understandings, instead of the eyes, and ears, and understandings of others, imbecility, credulity and folly would be as rare as they are now common in community. But, unhappily, to borrow the words of Ganganelli, a large majority of mankind are 'mere abortions:' calling themselves rational and intelligent beings, they act as if they had neither brains nor conscience, and as if there ...
— Thoughts on African Colonization • William Lloyd Garrison

... partnership with Fletcher, a possible interpolation by Jonson; but in the descent from these to the alleged adulteration of the text by Middleton and Rowley we have surely sounded the very lowest depth of folly attainable by the utmost alacrity in sinking which may yet be possible to the bastard brood of Scriblerus. For my part, I shall not be surprised though the next discoverer should assure us that half at least of Hamlet is evidently due to the collaboration of Heywood, ...
— A Study of Shakespeare • Algernon Charles Swinburne

... which a general improvement among the people would necessarily have on the manner of their being governed.—The people arrived, in this age, at a state which renders it impracticable to preserve national tranquillity without improving their minds and making some concession to their claims.—Folly and probable calamity of an obstinate resolution to maintain subordination in the nations of Europe in the arbitrary and despotic manner of former times.—Facility and certain success of a ...
— An Essay on the Evils of Popular Ignorance • John Foster

... lordship that the rejuvenated car would arrive at the College Green Hotel, Bristol, on Friday evening. At the very moment that he realized the imminence of Cynthia's disappearance into the void it was doubly disconcerting to be hailed by a woman who knew his world so intimately that it would be folly to smile vacantly at ...
— Cynthia's Chauffeur • Louis Tracy

... guarantee to the islands order at home and protection from foreign invasion. But no one can prophesy the exact date when it will be wise to consider independence as a fixed and definite policy. It would be worse than folly to try to set down such a date in advance, for it must depend upon the way in which the Philippine people themselves develop the power ...
— State of the Union Addresses of Theodore Roosevelt • Theodore Roosevelt

... see Kay once more came over her. There had been a time when she thought she loved Cliff; then Kay had come into her life, and she had known that other affair was folly. She had never told Kay of the bitter scene between Cliff and herself, how he had raved against Kay and sworn to win ...
— Astounding Stories of Super-Science, November, 1930 • Various

... scholar is willing to learn, He with silent submission should hear; Too late they their folly discern, The effect to this day ...
— The Posy Ring - A Book of Verse for Children • Various

... fault really lie in the folly—I may almost say sin,—of demanding of men to believe so many things that neither reason nor enlightened moral sense can accept, and making of these dogmas five-barred gates through which alone there ...
— The Arena - Volume 4, No. 24, November, 1891 • Various



Words linked to "Folly" :   mishegoss, mishegaas, foolery, fatuousness, meshugaas, caper, prank, gambol, Seward's Folly, error, fatuity, fault, wisdom, frolic, injudiciousness, foolishness, mistake, japery, romp, play, imbecility, buffoonery, frivolity, harlequinade, absurdity, trait, asininity, silliness, indiscretion, clowning



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