Quotable Literary Quotes #3

Wickedness is always wickedness, but folly is not always folly. – Emma, by Jane Austen

This has always been one of my favorite quotes, although I am not sure I could tell you why that is. It is partly because of my own life and history, although I dare not try to unravel here the tangled mess which are my thoughts on that subject.

Mostly however it stays with me as a reminder: That it would do us all well to keep our eyes on our own paper, endeavor to do good and not wickedness, and leave most others (not all as there are people in our charge), but most all others to decipher for themselves what is folly outside of general truisms.

What a disaster it would be to offer counsel from our vantage point which is a stark contrast to what is folly from theirs.

3 thoughts on “Quotable Literary Quotes #3

  1. Elspeth says:


    What may be folly to me (accepting a job as a bookkeeper with no education or experience) may not be folly to someone else who is equally uneducated but has a rare and special mathematical/financial savvy.

    Another example: I read a line once that the late comedian Bernie Mac used on his then HS girlfriend: ” “Girl you better get on this train cause I’m gonna be rich and famous!” When she was 19, she married him when he didn’t have 2 nickels to rub together, and stayed on that train until it was filled with gravy, LOL. She married him in 1976 (she was 19), he didn’t get his first “big break” until 1990. She carried the load a lot during those years, but stuck with him. They were married until the day he died. I am certain her decision would be seen by many today as “folly”. But it wasn’t folly for her.


  2. Robyn says:

    I LOVE that quote! I think the folly could just as easily (but not as eloquently) be described as, each our own little free flowing dramas. Wickedness either is or it isn’t. And even then sometimes it can get sticky, for instance, stealing is wicked; however, David took from the temple to feed his men, and on the Sabbath to boot! Yes, different story this side of the cross, but Jesus hadn’t made history of the cross at that point. So pretty serious (wicked?). Then there’s the whole business of Jesus Himself, being sent, by God, “in disguise” as a human.

    I dare say what some would call wickedness, others might call, stealthy or even cunning … as a serpent.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elspeth says:

    Yes, it is a very good quote, worth remembering. I don’t know about Jesus’ disguise, but for sure the incident with David and his men falls into that category of gray areas.


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