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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



... ocean life. One ought never to dip into museums. If you have lots and lots of time (I mean weeks, not hours), or if you have special interest in a definite field of study, museums may be profitable. But "doing" museums is the last word in tourist folly. Yes, I know that skeletons and the cutest little fish are in those museums. I am not ashamed to confess that I never darkened their doors. Life is short, and while the Artist revels in his subjects, I find more interest in studying the living Monegasques ...
— Riviera Towns • Herbert Adams Gibbons

... vessel also travel'd there, To bring us back assurance in that faith, Which is the entrance to salvation's way. But I, why should I there presume? or who Permits it? not, Aeneas I nor Paul. Myself I deem not worthy, and none else Will deem me. I, if on this voyage then I venture, fear it will in folly end. Thou, who art wise, better my meaning know'st, Than I can speak." As one, who unresolves What he hath late resolv'd, and with new thoughts Changes his purpose, from his first intent Remov'd; e'en such was I on that ...
— The Divine Comedy • Dante

... Time had never moved so slowly before. She tried to lie still, to relax; then to direct her thought in other channels; but all of these meandering streams flowed back into the main current which was Ben. Yet it was folly to worry about him; any moment she would hear his step at the edge of the forest. But the night was so dark, and the storm so wild. A half-hour dragged its interminable ...
— The Sky Line of Spruce • Edison Marshall

... how vain Against the Omnipotent to rise in arms; Who out of smallest things could without end Have raised incessant armies to defeat Thy folly; or, with solitary hand, Reaching beyond all limit, at one blow, Unaided, could have finished thee, and whelmed Thy legions ...
— Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel • Ignatius Donnelly

... will of the people, it will be uniform and coherent; but fluctuation, contradiction, and inconsistency of councils must be expected under those governments where every evolution in the ministry of a court produces one in the State—such being the folly and pride of all ministers, that they ever pursue measures directly opposite to those of ...
— Phrases for Public Speakers and Paragraphs for Study • Compiled by Grenville Kleiser

... fourteen used stories and poetry, three used poetry and drawing or painting, two used poetry and painting. Dr. Miles notes that "those who replied 'no' seemed to take pride in the fact that they had been guilty of no such youthful folly." This is in line with the belief parents sometimes express that the son or daughter who poetizes early is "loony." Some who were not ashamed of these child-expressions volunteered information concerning them, and we learn: ...
— The Child and Childhood in Folk-Thought • Alexander F. Chamberlain

... still the symbol of good-fellowship. Winstanley, who was an enemy of what he called "this Heathenish Weed," and who thought the "folly" of smoking might never have spread so much if stringent "means of prevention" had been exercised, yet had to declare in 1660 that "Tobacco it self is by few taken now as medicinal, it is grown ...
— The Social History of Smoking • G. L. Apperson

... may be wiser far Than love, and put his folly to our measure, Yet shall we learn, poor wizards that we are, That love chimes not nor motions at our pleasure. We bid him come, and light an eager fire, And he goes down the road without debating; We cast him from the house of ...
— Georgian Poetry 1920-22 • Various

... was going on to tell you," said the old man, who seemed thoroughly wrapped up in his subject, "I couldn't stand any such folly as that, and so I soon left him and went to live with Colonel Rasteryaieff. I stayed there a long, long time. There I became a gardener, and there I learned almost all the poetry that I know. The colonel had a daughter, who was a little child when I went there; ...
— St. Nicholas Magazine for Boys and Girls, V. 5, April 1878 - Scribner's Illustrated • Various

... wrong!" he said; "they are too impetuous. Their rash gallantry will cost them dear. See, they are not even waiting now for their companions to join them; they are trying to rush the heights alone! Folly—madness! They will lose everything by such rashness! There! did ...
— French and English - A Story of the Struggle in America • Evelyn Everett-Green

... at my own folly that could have rested brow and lips on those hands, and let the world wag. "Another time," I said. "Rest in the sunshine now, and think that all is well. All will be well, ...
— To Have and To Hold • Mary Johnston

... with many advantages over France and America. The science of government is better understood now than when they started; the folly of placing too many checks on the people is recognized; and the British system of responsible leadership by a cabinet in the legislature is fully developed. All these features are embodied in the Constitution, and it only remains for ...
— Proportional Representation Applied To Party Government • T. R. Ashworth and H. P. C. Ashworth

... the back yard of a suburban place. Although so anxious to get started on their way back to where they had left their camouflaged ship, neither Jack nor his comrade would take chances in trying to make haste; they had long ago learned the folly of one false move when engaged in their accustomed job of spying upon a suspected law-breaker whom they had tracked down ...
— Eagles of the Sky - With Jack Ralston Along the Air Lanes • Ambrose Newcomb

... and, oh, recognising, that I was lost in wonder. And long must I have remained standing at that door, for I heard the sound often, often. I must have rung again and again, tenaciously, vehemently, in my folly. ...
— And Even Now - Essays • Max Beerbohm

... become a certainty and clear fact, to those who are curious about it. Fact surely of a rather horrible sort;—yet better, I must say, than was suspected: not quite so bad in the state of fact as in that of rumor. Crime enough is in it, sin and folly on both sides; there is killing too, but NOT assassination (as it turns out); on the whole there is nothing of atrocity, or nothing that was not accidental, unavoidable;—and there is a certain greatness of DECORUM on the part of those Hanover Princes and official gentlemen, a depth ...
— History Of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. I. (of XXI.) - Frederick The Great—Birth And Parentage.—1712. • Thomas Carlyle

... the fortune didn't come quite so soon as he expected. At any rate, neither he nor his family had ever taken up abode there. A fine house it was, too, and went in the neighbourhood by the name of Stack's Folly. It stood in the middle of a small farm of about a hundred and fifty acres, besides moor and waste; and, as luck would have it, a brother-in-law of Tummels, by name William Sleep, rented the farm and kept the keys of ...
— Merry-Garden and Other Stories • Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... a storm. But, as is often the case, he reckoned without his host; for it so happened that, in searching for a tool of this description, he found in Joe Smith one not precisely what he had calculated upon. He wanted a compound of roguery and folly as his tool and slave; Smith was a rogue and an unlettered man, but he was what Rigdon was not aware of—a man of bold conception, full of courage and mental energy, one of those unprincipled, yet lofty, aspiring beings, who, centuries past, ...
— Monsieur Violet • Frederick Marryat

... He has been commending himself—a task which is never congenial to him. But his opponents in the Corinthian Church had forced this upon him; and now he asks that he may be borne with a little in "his folly." He is pleased to speak of his conduct in this way, with that touch of humorous irony not unfamiliar to him when writing under some excitement. He pleads with his old converts for so much indulgence, ...
— Religion and Theology: A Sermon for the Times • John Tulloch

... at the sodden map showed Smith that he had been driven at least fifty miles out of his course. He could not afford time to return to the Euphrates: he would now have to follow the course of the Tigris until it joined the larger river. It would be folly to attempt a direct flight to Karachi, for in so doing he would have to pass over the mountainous districts of Southern Persia and Baluchistan, where, if any mishap befel the aeroplane, there would ...
— Round the World in Seven Days • Herbert Strang

... punts across the swollen waters of the Hayakuchi, the Yuwase, and the Mochida, and finally forded three branches of my old friend the Yonetsurugawa, with the foam of its hurrying waters whitening the men's shoulders and the horses' packs, and with a hundred Japanese looking on at the "folly" ...
— Unbeaten Tracks in Japan • Isabella L. Bird

... Great Britain to give it a more proper tone and a juster way of thinking. When ignorance and corruption have usurped the professor's chair, and placed themselves in the seats of science and of virtue, it is high time for us to speak out. We know that the doctrines of folly are of great use to the professors of vice. We know that it is one of the signs of a corrupt and degenerate age, and one of the means of insuring its further corruption and degeneracy, to give mild and lenient epithets ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. XI. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... must be aware he's getting into bad odour everywhere. The clergy are quite disgusted with his folly. They say Carpe would be glad to get Barton out of the curacy if he could; but he can't do that without coming to Shepperton himself, as Barton's a licensed curate; and he ...
— Scenes of Clerical Life • George Eliot

... But it was folly to move, even to seek dinner or supper, while the shells were flying in such quantities over his head. As he turned once more and lay on his back he caught glimpses as of swift shadows passing high above, and the whistling and screaming of shells and shrapnel was continuous. It was true that ...
— The Forest of Swords - A Story of Paris and the Marne • Joseph A. Altsheler

... suddenly, in a fit of ungovernable fury. "If it has begun, then it has begun. Hang the new life! Good Lord, how stupid it is!... And what lies I told to-day! How despicably I fawned upon that wretched Ilya Petrovitch! But that is all folly! What do I care for them all, and my fawning upon them! It is not that at all! It is not that ...
— Crime and Punishment • Fyodor Dostoyevsky

... be easy, on the same view, to explain hypothetically, how, if one of the rubbing bodies be a conductor, as the amalgam of an electrical machine, the state of the other when it comes from under the friction is (as a mass) exalted; but it would be folly to go far into such speculation before that already advanced has been confirmed or corrected by fit experimental evidence. I do not wish it to be supposed that I think all excitement by friction is of this kind; on the contrary, certain experiments lead me to believe, that in ...
— Experimental Researches in Electricity, Volume 1 • Michael Faraday

... brick of the chimney, which she ought to know was out of her reach? So she had decided it, and had therefore already taught herself to regard the declaration made to her as the ebullition of a young man's folly. But not the less had she known how great had been the thing suggested to her,—how excellent was this top brick of the chimney; and as to the young man himself, she could not but feel that, had matters been different, she might have loved him. Now there had come a sudden change; but ...
— Dr. Wortle's School • Anthony Trollope

... one thought," she said (praying that, without breaking her word to Eleanor, and betraying what was so terribly Eleanor's own affair, she might make Maurice's heart so ready for the pathos that he would not be repelled by the folly), "her one desire is that you ...
— The Vehement Flame • Margaret Wade Campbell Deland

... years, eating the while the faeces of such persons as live upon the flesh of dead kine and buffalos, of men called Pukkasas, of others that live in the outskirts of cities and villages, and of men that publish, under the influence of wrath and folly, the acts and the ommissions of others.[208] Those foolish men who do give unto a Brahmana observant of the vow of Brahmacharyya the offerings made in Sraddhas (unto one's deceased ancestors), have to go, O monarch into regions ...
— The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4 • Kisari Mohan Ganguli

... was, Ester had a perfectly royal taste in all these matters. Give her but the wherewithal, and she would speedily have glistened in silk, and sparkled with jewels; yet she honestly thought that her bitter denunciation of fashion and folly in this form was outward evidence of a mind elevated far above such trivial subjects, and looked down, accordingly, with cool contempt on those whom she was pleased ...
— Ester Ried • Pansy (aka. Isabella M. Alden)

... those of the mass of suspended banks, as they would have been after three years of the present war. It is frightful to think of the condition to which the currency would have been reduced at this time, if the Government had been guilty of the folly of conducting its immense operations in the suspended paper of irresponsible local banks. No one can doubt that the Treasury notes have been of immense service to the nation in its hour of trial; and if the limitation proposed by ...
— Continental Monthly, Vol. 5, Issue 2, February, 1864 • Various

... poor things will only go farther to fare the worse. We are as well without them, however; and if they should find their way home, so much the better for us. They might have kept us a little warmer though. We must fight the cold as we best can for the rest of the night, for it would only be folly to leave the spot before it is light enough to ...
— Ranald Bannerman's Boyhood • George MacDonald

... cannot do it; for I am directed to consult the Council about requiring troops, and they will never advise it, let the case be ever so desperate. Indeed, I no more dare apply for troops than the Council dare advise me to it. Ever since I have perceived that the wickedness of some and the folly of others will in the end bring troops here, I have conducted myself so as to be able to say, and swear to it, if the Sons of Liberty shall require it, that I have never applied for troops; and therefore, my Lord, I beg that nothing I now write may be considered ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 9, No. 56, June, 1862 • Various

... John was only heaping up dirt; for when he had dug the fivescore holes, no pot of gold came to light. Then the neighbors called the orchard "Jacobs's 20 folly"; ...
— Story Hour Readings: Seventh Year • E.C. Hartwell

... And as he came down I saw him holding a knife and trying to cut his name on the scaffolding. He had time to try and do this for he must have had nearly three hundred feet to fall. And I could think of nothing but his folly in doing this futile thing, for not only would the man be unrecognizably dead in three seconds, but the very pole on which he tried to scratch whatever of his name he had time for was certain to be burnt in a ...
— Fifty-One Tales • Lord Dunsany [Edward J. M. D. Plunkett]

... triumphs in personal quarrels; and, above all else, the great love affair of my dreams. Who that is a man and twenty-one has not such dreams? And who that is a man and seventy would have been without them? Youth and folly go together, each sweetening the other. The greatest fool, I think, is he who would have gone through life entirely without folly. What then mattered religion to me? Or what mattered the rivalry of parties, except as they might serve my own personal ambitions and desires? Youth was ...
— An Enemy To The King • Robert Neilson Stephens

... present always fails to give "under the sun," and which he, who was wiser than all who came before him, Solomon, warns his readers against! Oh, poor blind rationalism! missing all the beauties of God's Word in its own exceeding cleverness, or—folly! How would the present application of such reasoning sound! The Victorian era is certainly one of the most "brilliant and prosperous of" English "history"; hence no one can ever speak now of "the good old times." Such language is simply impossible; we never hear it! So if some astute reasoner of ...
— Old Groans and New Songs - Being Meditations on the Book of Ecclesiastes • F. C. Jennings

... outward form of inalterable certainty is so precious to some minds that to renounce it explicitly is for them out of the question. They will claim it even where the facts most patently pronounce its folly. But the safe thing is surely to recognize that all the insights of creatures of a day like ourselves must be provisional. The wisest of critics is an altering being, subject to the better insight of the morrow, ...
— The Varieties of Religious Experience • William James

... that this poor simpleton was neither fatuous, nec naturaliter idiota, as is expressed in the brieves of furiosity, but simply a crack-brained knave, who could execute very well any commission which jumped with his own humour, and made his folly a plea for avoiding every other. 'He has made an interest with us,' continued the Baron, 'by saving Rose from a great danger with his own proper peril; and the roguish loon must therefore eat of our bread and drink ...
— Waverley, Or 'Tis Sixty Years Hence, Complete • Sir Walter Scott

... sighed the rose, "for it was here that my folly brought me. How could I go back with you whom I never so much as smiled upon? And do they not hate and deride me in the valley? I would rather die here in misery ...
— The Holy Cross and Other Tales • Eugene Field

... much, citizen Tournefort," broke in Chauvelin with some acerbity, "that though we have traced the diamonds and the thief so far, we have, through your folly last night, lost complete track of the ci-devant Comtesse de Sucy and of the man Bertin. We want Rateau to show ...
— The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel • Baroness Orczy

... outlet, sally, sortie. salir to go out, set out, issue; or to turn out. salmodiar to chant. salon m. parlor. saltar to leap. salto leap. salud f. health. saludar to greet, salute. saludo salute. salvar to save. salve hail! san ( santo) saint. sandez f. folly, stupidity. sangre f. blood; —— fria coolness, composure. sangriento bloody. sanguinario cruel, bloody. santidad f. holiness. santificacion f. sanctification. santiguar to make the sign of the cross. santo ...
— Novelas Cortas • Pedro Antonio de Alarcon

... Show the folly of trying to escape this law, by pointing out how it invariably works in the results of deeds of crime, of acts of honest labor, of ...
— Teachers' Outlines for Studies in English - Based on the Requirements for Admission to College • Gilbert Sykes Blakely

... books in Tyrian dyes, Then brushes off the dust and flies, Nor reads one line to make him wise, Spends lavish gold and—FOLLY buys. ...
— The Care of Books • John Willis Clark

... There was the grave, with the gray headstone. He stood there staring at it. Somehow he was possessed by a feeling that the grave had something to do with the vanishing of Frank Merriwell, although his reason told him that such a thing was folly. ...
— Frank Merriwell's Cruise • Burt L. Standish

... she insisted upon my taking her home; 'Come in,' said she, when the carnage stopped at her door: 'if you will come in, I will give it to you now, and you need not have the trouble of calling again.' I had the folly to yield, though I saw that it was a trick to decoy me into her house, and to make it pass for a visit. It all flashed upon me, and yet I could not resist, for I thought I must obtain the locket at all hazards. I resolved to get it from her before I left the house, and then I ...
— Helen • Maria Edgeworth

... Pearce; and damn the coffee; and damn you; and damn my own folly in having lavished MY hard-earned knowledge and the treasure of my regard and intimacy on a heartless guttersnipe. [He goes out with impressive decorum, and spoils it by slamming ...
— Pygmalion • George Bernard Shaw

... we have just pointed out, brains which are absorbed in some bit of wisdom, or folly, or, as it often happens, in both at once, are but slowly accessible to the things of actual life. Their own destiny is a far-off thing to them. There results from such concentration a passivity, which, if it were the outcome of reasoning, ...
— Les Miserables - Complete in Five Volumes • Victor Hugo

... brougham to drive in the Park, and a decent provision not only for the young people, but for the little Belgravians to come; and if these are the necessaries of life (and they are with many honest people), to talk of any other arrangement is an absurdity: of love in lodgings—a babyish folly of affection: that can't pay coach-hire or afford a decent milliner—as mere wicked balderdash and childish romance. If on the other hand your opinion is that people, not with an assured subsistence, but with a fair chance to obtain ...
— The History of Pendennis • William Makepeace Thackeray

... anxious thought that greed has builded, From the fetters that envy has wrought and pride has gilded, From the noise of the crowded ways and the fierce confusion, From the folly that wastes its days in a world of illusion, (Ah, but the life is lost that frets and languishes there!) I would escape and be free in the joy of the open air. By the breadth of the blue that shines in silence o'er me, By the length of the mountain-lines that stretch before me, By ...
— Songs Out of Doors • Henry Van Dyke

... early months of 1648 the opposition of the Parliament was intensified by the folly and unpopularity of Emery, the superintendent of the finances, and by the failure of Mazarin to master the details of the French administrative system. Moreover, he had given some justification for the attacks ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 11 • Various

... performed nor attempted to perform miracles. His wisdom and sincerity forbid the supposition. Am I an unbeliever in the historical Jesus because I hold him innocent of the absurdities which superstition and folly tax him with? No more than I should disbelieve in Shakespeare, by denying that he walked on the Avon, or changed its waters into wine. M. Renan ought to have made no account of these stories of miracles. He should have dropped them entirely, as did Rammohun ...
— Orthodoxy: Its Truths And Errors • James Freeman Clarke

... second, the young man was on his feet. He dusted the earth from his knees and elbows, approached the window, and said in a calm but resolute voice: "Mister Colonel, I sincerely regret having brought you back to life, but possibly the folly of which I have been guilty is not irreparable. I hope soon to have an opportunity to find out if it be! As for you, Mademoiselle, ...
— The Man With The Broken Ear • Edmond About

... So they had changed their minds! He cursed his drunken folly for having tried to bluff two gentlemen of their stamp, and Mrs. Hewlet set up a wail of lamentation—as she would have done upon any provocation whatsoever, real or fancied. Nancy alone stood apparently unmoved before this blow, but her eyes ...
— Sunlight Patch • Credo Fitch Harris

... humiliation and exposure complete. Rachel had despised fainting ladies, and had really hitherto been so superabundant in strength that she had no experience of the symptoms, or she might have escaped in time. But there she lay, publicly censured before the dignitaries of her county for moral folly, and entirely conquered before the rest of the world by the physical weakness ...
— The Clever Woman of the Family • Charlotte M. Yonge

... being so fair and loving him so well, you can teach him to forget his folly and to escape with you. In four days' time we must start for the king's kraal, and if you win over Nahoon, it will be easy for us to turn our faces southwards and across the river that lies between the land of the Amazulu and Natal. For ...
— Black Heart and White Heart • H. Rider Haggard

... leave Paris, 'twere madness to attempt to go. We would but increase the danger, the humiliation we already have to endure. The only wise course is to await Brunswick and the allies. I see now the folly of this plan of escape—indeed, I was never fully persuaded of its wisdom. The confidence I felt in this young American—his devotion to us and that of those other friends—blinded me to the dangers ...
— Calvert of Strathore • Carter Goodloe

... make me so. Obey me, or, by all the wrongs I suffer, I'll scale the window and come in by force, Let the sad consequence be what it will! This creature's trifling folly makes me mad! ...
— The Orphan - or, The Unhappy Marriage • Thomas Otway

... particle of copper. On a scale of profits nearly as great as in the above instance, piles of cinders, abounding with minute globules of metallic copper, were purchased; yet with these advantages, the mining associations, as is well known, contrived to lose immense sums of money. The folly of the greater number of the commissioners and shareholders amounted to infatuation;—a thousand pounds per annum given in some cases to entertain the Chilian authorities; libraries of well-bound geological books; miners brought out for particular metals, as tin, which are not found in Chile; ...
— A Naturalist's Voyage Round the World - The Voyage Of The Beagle • Charles Darwin

... acquaintance with her. I easily discovered her abode; meeting her one day she scowled at me, and turned off in another direction. But I found out she had a favourite walk in a lonely direction. I hid myself until she approached too near to get away, seized her hand, implored her to forgive the folly of a mere boy, who had ever regretted his ignorant stupidity, but who was now a man, and longed to prove his devotion to her. Here I had unbuttoned my trousers with the other hand, and pulled out a very fair ...
— The Romance of Lust - A classic Victorian erotic novel • Anonymous

... watched yet lingered in her manner. "It is an old story; a sorrow gone by, past, at least it ought to be, only sometimes I am foolish"—her tones were softening now—"and it is punishment enough that you have seen my folly." ...
— The Grey Woman and other Tales • Mrs. (Elizabeth) Gaskell

... I, little Dame Dolly, Wearing smart caps in all my folly. If any gentleman takes my whim, I'll set my holiday cap at him. To laugh at my cap would be very rude; I wish you well, and I won't intrude. Gentlemen now at the door do stand, They will walk in with drawn swords in hand, And if you ...
— The Peace Egg and Other tales • Juliana Horatia Ewing

... not 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, ...
— The Last Journals of David Livingstone, in Central Africa, from 1865 to His Death, Volume I (of 2), 1866-1868 • David Livingstone

... thoughts, which he allowed to run away with themselves as they listed. Of course he was going to be married. That was a thing settled. And he was perfectly satisfied with himself in that he had done nothing in a hurry, and could accuse himself of no folly even if he had no great cause for triumph. He had been long thinking that he should like to have Clara Amedroz for his wife long thinking that he would ask her to marry him; and having for months indulged such thoughts, ...
— The Belton Estate • Anthony Trollope

... from the past to the present condition of affairs in Newbern. Secession would never have originated there. When South-Carolina passed its act of folly and madness, it met with a firm opposition from the old Whig party, which still had here a vital existence. Every exertion was made throughout the State to repel the insidious influences of the demagogues of South-Carolina and Virginia, and but for the Jesuitical ...
— Continental Monthly, Vol. II. July, 1862. No. 1. • Various

... airy verse, and all manner of adventurous speculation, were what this young man went upon; and was getting more and more loved for; introduced, even, to the superior circles, and recognized there as one of the brightest young fellows ever seen. Which tended, of course, to confirm him in his folly, and open other outlooks and harbors of refuge than the ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. X. (of XXI.) - Frederick The Great—At Reinsberg—1736-1740 • Thomas Carlyle

... declining to accept a sum of L10 and a silver cup of 32 ozs., which the city offered him by way of gratuity, as being inadequate to his deserts. As nothing further is recorded of the matter, it is probable that the offended tailor had reason to repent of his folly. For more than a week the city was given up to merry-making, in honour of the birth of an heir to the crown. The conduits ran with wine; a solemn mass was sung at St. Paul's, and the mayor and aldermen rode in state to Westminster, accompanied ...
— London and the Kingdom - Volume I • Reginald R. Sharpe

... a character which history sees in a colder light. But though Blennerhassett was not the ideal that Wirt imagined, he was the generous victim of a cold and selfish man's ambition, and the ruin of his happy home and gentle hope is none the less pathetic because his own folly was partly to blame ...
— Stories Of Ohio - 1897 • William Dean Howells

... bleeding kingdoms carrying along with them a movable guillotine, beneath which thousands perished. And these made war, not only upon their species, but upon the arts and sciences, which they regarded as allies of the aristocracy. Scenes of folly alternated with those of rage and brutality: Vandalism obtained the possession of the beautiful country of France. The fine tone of society was superseded by the rudest manners; and even the better sort affected them that they might not be suspected of favouring aristocracy. As a climax to ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.III. - From George III. to Victoria • E. Farr and E. H. Nolan

... left Porchester Terrace, had at last succeeded in calling his fair friend Madalina, and had promised that he would endeavour to open the artist's eyes to the folly of painting his picture in Broughton's house without ...
— The Last Chronicle of Barset • Anthony Trollope

... to her liking. She expresses discontent only that she had not been left free to kill or spare the officers at her discretion. Personally Ralegh cannot be accounted amenable for the atrocity. He is not named in Grey's despatch to the Council. But it would be folly to pretend that he disapproved it. Hooker, his eulogist, claims it for him as an eminent distinction. He cordially sympathized with Grey's ideal of a ...
— Sir Walter Ralegh - A Biography • William Stebbing

... to him, also, that he was standing on a loose stone which might wabble when he pulled his gun, and he cursed himself silently for his hasty folly. Pierre, doubtless, had noticed that stone, and therefore he had made the suggestion that they stand where they were. Otherwise, how could there be that singular calm in the steady eyes which looked across ...
— Riders of the Silences • John Frederick

... is in a situation resembling arbitrary, yet never was there heard of in the history of the world, that is, in that mixed chaos of human wisdom and folly, such a thing as an intermediate arbitrary power,—that is, of an officer of government who is to exert authority over the people without any law at all, and who is to have the benefit of all laws, and all forms of law, when he is called to an account. For that is to let a wild beast (for such ...
— The Works Of The Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. IX. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... northeast from the village of Mackinaw, half a mile from the mission house. Soon after the settlement of the modern Mackinaw, Capt. Robinson, of the English army, then commanding this port, had a summer house built on the brow of this bluff, now called Robinson's Folly, for the purpose of enjoying the prospect from that cool and elevated spot. Often he and his brother officers resorted there during the summer days, to while away lonely and tedious hours. Pipes, cigars, and wine, were brought into requisition. No Englishman ...
— Old Mackinaw - The Fortress of the Lakes and its Surroundings • W. P. Strickland

... both for her desertion of his business and her criminal folly in abandoning it so as to help mend the shattered bodies of fools and knaves who, by joining the forces of militarism, had betrayed the Sacred Cause of the International Solidarity of Labour. His first ground for complaint was scarcely tenable; with his dwindling ...
— The Red Planet • William J. Locke

... human nature, it is good that an officer should know enough that he will be able to win friends and influence people. But it is folly to believe that he should pursue his studies in this subject until he habitually looks at men as would a scientist putting some specimen ...
— The Armed Forces Officer - Department of the Army Pamphlet 600-2 • U. S. Department of Defense

... so that the Puritan and the man of the world might find a common ground on which to meet and to learn each from the other; it was his endeavour 'to enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality ... till I have recovered them out of that desperate state of vice and folly into which the age is fallen. [Footnote: Spectator 10.] It was a happy thing for that and for all succeeding ages that a man of Addison's character and genius was ready to undertake the work. He was well versed in the pleasures of society and letters, ...
— The Coverley Papers • Various

... took me to Gallipoli. There has been very little sympathy in England for armed intervention in Russia; the Ironside expedition, the Judenitch folly, the vast undertakings with regard to Koltchak and Denikin, were highly unpopular with the masses if indulged in by society. This was not because English people affected Bolshevism, but because they dislike military adventures in the ...
— Europe—Whither Bound? - Being Letters of Travel from the Capitals of Europe in the Year 1921 • Stephen Graham

... modern swains, possessed of Cymon's powers, In Cymon's manner waste their leisure hours, Th' offended guests would not, with blushing, see These fair green walks disgraced by infamy. Severe the fate of modern fools, alas! When vice and folly mark them as they pass. Like noxious reptiles o'er the whitened wall, The filth they leave still ...
— The Works Of Lord Byron, Vol. 3 (of 7) • Lord Byron

... should be conveyed beyond any consequences of their folly, Major," said Brant frigidly, "and I look to you for her safe convoy. There is nothing in this attack to show that the enemy has received any information regarding us. But I would suggest that it would be better to see that my orders are carried out regarding ...
— Clarence • Bret Harte

... do you not, Fan? that I should take you into my house and clothe you—a poor homeless girl; for I don't suppose that you can do anything for me, and you will therefore only be an extra expense. A great piece of folly, my friends would probably say. But don't be afraid, I care nothing for what others say. What I do, I do only to please myself, and not others. If I am disappointed in you, and find you different from what I imagine, I shall not keep you, and there will be an end of ...
— Fan • Henry Harford

... Grey. They saw in Shakespeare a man of profound reading, one who might well have worn out his eyes in poring over classic tomes. They clutched at anything to show his deliberate imitation of the Ancients. There could be no better instance of the ingenious folly of this type of criticism than the passage in the Notes on Shakespeare, where Grey argues from Gloucester's words in Richard III., "Go you before and I will follow you," that Shakespeare knew, and was indebted to, Terence's Andria. About the same time Peter Whalley, the editor ...
— Eighteenth Century Essays on Shakespeare • D. Nichol Smith

... fault or folly," said Taee, with some petulance. "But she spoke this morning to my father; and, after she had spoken, he summoned me, as a chief among the children who are commissioned to destroy such lives as threaten ...
— The Coming Race • Edward Bulwer Lytton

... achevee. "Pray, sir," says Adams, "what is a coquette? I have met with the word in French authors, but never could assign any idea to it. I believe it is the same with une sotte, Anglice, a fool." Sir, answered the gentleman, perhaps you are not much mistaken; but, as it is a particular kind of folly, I will endeavour to describe it. Were all creatures to be ranked in the order of creation according to their usefulness, I know few animals that would not take place of a coquette; nor indeed hath this creature much pretence ...
— Joseph Andrews, Vol. 2 • Henry Fielding

... the credit of having done his utmost to render the Prince's visit a failure. But his efforts were not necessary. The insolence of the courtiers, and the folly of the youth himself, were quite sufficient to ruin more promising prospects. In addition to other outrages, the Irish had seen their few remaining estates bestowed on the new comers; and even the older Anglo-Norman and Welsh settlers were expelled to make room ...
— An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800 • Mary Frances Cusack

... to stay!" protested Sam. In wild alarm he suspected she was preparing to make him elope with her—and he did not know to what length of folly his infatuation might whirl him. "You've no place to go," ...
— Susan Lenox: Her Fall and Rise • David Graham Phillips

... make of himself. Last time it was only the sudden entrance of Robert that had prevented some such manifestation. And to-day, her smile and her attentive attitude told him that she expected him to be a fool, that she looked to his folly for ...
— Anne Severn and the Fieldings • May Sinclair

... captain, "I did not. I wanted to do it,—you do not know how much,—but I made up my mind it would be the worst kind of folly to try and get anything else out of that mound. We have now all that is good for us to have. The only question is whether or not we have not more than is good for us. I was not sure that I should not find something, if I looked for it, which would make me as sick as Shirley was ...
— The Adventures of Captain Horn • Frank Richard Stockton

... waiting for them to collect their full force and come and attack him, cooped {91} up on the St. John's? Such bold moves make the fame of commanders when they succeed, and when they fail are called criminal folly. ...
— French Pathfinders in North America • William Henry Johnson

... and cause the false prophet, "and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land," and the glory of the Lord shall dwell in the land, Psal. lxxxv. 9. But, withal, we must take heed that we "turn not again to folly," Psal. lxxxv. 8; that our hearts start not aside, "like a deceitful bow," Psal. lxxviii. 57; that we "keep the ways of the Lord," Psal. xviii. 21, and do not wickedly depart from our God. Thus ...
— The Works of Mr. George Gillespie (Vol. 1 of 2) • George Gillespie

... joined 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 ...
— The Web of Life • Robert Herrick

... my own sins, young man. I have sowed folly, and now I am reaping the crop. I am——" Here his further speech was interrupted by a fit of coughing, which shook his lean figure severely. At its conclusion he was so exhausted that he was forced to support himself against ...
— The Silent House • Fergus Hume

... subject of comparative anatomy), but who, on account of decrepitude, had become quite incapable of teaching. The agitation my friend inspired was so successful because in the German Universities an age limit is not demanded for academic work. Age is no protection against folly. In the hospital here I had for years the honor to serve under a chief who, long fossilized, was for decades notoriously feebleminded, and was yet permitted to continue in his responsible office. A trait, after the manner of the find in the Lido, ...
— Dream Psychology - Psychoanalysis for Beginners • Sigmund Freud

... is easy to say that the greatest love is the greatest unselfishness, yet do we find a weakness in our hearts which we cannot believe wholly wrong, strongly prompting us to yearn and cling—even unwisely—to those who have our best affection. "And what seems wise to-day may be proved folly to-morrow," is our argument, "so let us cling ...
— Bressant • Julian Hawthorne

... priest? Ah, God help me, what have I done? What have I come to in my miserable folly?" she cried, covering her ...
— Castle Craneycrow • George Barr McCutcheon

... don't keep up your anger; recollect you are old enough to be her father, and that she likes you next in the whole world to William. Shake hands with them, and be friends; and if you ever had the folly to think of marrying her, keep your own secret, and nobody will ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 364, February 1846 • Various

... him! Faith, what next? It had been better far for thee That thou had'st ne'er been born, than this. Brood on thy folly, and return, But when ...
— Heiress of Haddon • William E. Doubleday

... any great cleverness to understand how easily Mignon arrived at the truth by questioning the young penitents as they came before him. The boarders who had played at being ghosts confessed their folly, saying that they had been helped by a young novice of sixteen years of age, named Marie Aubin. She acknowledged that this was true; it was she who used to get up in the middle of the night, and open the dormitory door, which her more timid room-mates ...
— Celebrated Crimes, Complete • Alexandre Dumas, Pere

... me if you can, or as much as you can—it is right —it is God's will—that you should resist, to the very last, any trial which is not inevitable. There are in this world countless sorrows, which, so far appears, we actually bring on ourselves and others by our own folly, wickedness, or weakness—which is often as fatal as wickedness; and then we blame providence for it, and sink into total despair. But when, as sometimes happens, His heavy hand is laid upon us in a visible, inevitable misfortune which we can ...
— A Noble Life • Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

... My Heavens! Have we always been bunglers in this fair land of ours? Not a liberal idea which has not been unpopular, not a just thing that has not caused scandal, not a great man who has not been mobbed or knifed! "The history of the human mind is the history of human folly!" as ...
— The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters • George Sand, Gustave Flaubert

... 1637. On a hill N.E. from the church stands the tall red-brick observatory erected by John Stratton in 1789, in order, as it is said, that from its summit he might watch his ships in the Thames. The tower has been called "Stratton's Folly". ...
— Hertfordshire • Herbert W Tompkins

... time. It is all a mistake. I mean Herbert was wrong. He might as well have let me have my earthly span of happiness or folly—call it what ...
— The Crack of Doom • Robert Cromie

... his hands to heaven and praying stood: "Son of the white Sea Spirit, high in rule, Storm-lord Palaemon, Oh, be merciful: Or sit ye there the warrior twins of Zeus, Or something loved of Him, from whose great thews Was-born the Nereids' fifty-fluted choir." Another, flushed with folly and the fire Of lawless daring, laughed aloud and swore 'Twas shipwrecked sailors skulking on the shore, Our rule and custom here being known, to slay All strangers. And most thought this was the way ...
— The Iphigenia in Tauris • Euripides

... little cages—larks and linnets and goldfinches. She had given them names to represent the different things which the cruel Chancery Court required to carry on these shameful suits, such as Hope, Youth, Rest, Ashes, Ruin, Despair, Madness, Folly, Words, Plunder and Jargon. She used to say that when the Jarndyce case was decided she would open the cages and let the ...
— Tales from Dickens • Charles Dickens and Hallie Erminie Rives

... of genius, with all his onset of natural passion, his natural power of letting himself go, could doubtless do more analysing, both before and after his work, than any one else without being damaged by it. What shall be said of the folly of trying to teach men of talent, and the mere pupils of men of talent, by analysis—by a method, that is, which, even if it succeeds in doing what it tries to do, can only, at the very best, reveal to the pupil the roots of his ...
— The Lost Art of Reading • Gerald Stanley Lee

... 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 ...
— Celebrated Crimes, Complete • Alexandre Dumas, Pere

... travel from Edinburgh to Sterling and from Sterling to Edinburgh every other Day in a crowded and uncomfortable Stage." I perfectly agreed with her in her sentiments on the affair, and secretly blamed Sir Edward for thus sacrificing his Daughter's Pleasure for the sake of a ridiculous old woman whose folly in marrying so young a man ought to be punished. His Behaviour however was entirely of a peice with his general Character; for what could be expected from a man who possessed not the smallest atom of Sensibility, who scarcely knew the meaning of simpathy, ...
— Persuasion • Jane Austen

... of the event it is customary to refer to this expedition as the climax of folly, and yet it is clear that if the commander in chief had not wasted time in interminable delays the Athenians might easily have won their objective. At first the Syracusans felt hopeless because of the large army and fleet dispatched ...
— A History of Sea Power • William Oliver Stevens and Allan Westcott

... Her mind was set upon an object which absorbed all her faculties, all her brain, all her feelings. Had she been able to pause, even for one moment, reason must have asserted itself and she would have understood the folly of what she was doing. But that moment was denied her. All the latent passions of a strong nature had been let loose and she was swept on by their irresistible tide. She believed that she was the appointed avenger of the man she ...
— The Hound From The North • Ridgwell Cullum

... intelligent person, and yet give no hint of what I meant. For the thing is not an intelligible process, a matter of reasoning and logic; it is an intuition. And therefore it is that those who cannot believe in anything that they do not understand, will think these words of mine to be folly and vanity. The only case where I have found a difficulty in deciding, is when I talk to one who has lived much with those who had the secret, and has caught, by a kind of natural imitation, some ...
— The Thread of Gold • Arthur Christopher Benson

... cross its summit. How often is it a barrier to prejudice and fanaticism? In passing over these heights of land, through their thin atmosphere, the follies of the plain are refined and purified; and as many species of plants do not scale their summits, so many species of folly no doubt do not cross the Alleghanies; it is only the hardy mountain plant that creeps quite over the ridge, and ...
— Excursions • Henry D. Thoreau

... among them as we read, and we, for a time, abandon ourselves to a belief in their reality. It was, however, begun as a political satire; in the insignificance of the court of pigmies, he attacks the feebleness and folly of the new reign. Flimnap, the prime minister of Lilliput, is a caricature of Walpole; the Big Indians and Little Indians represent the Protestants and Roman Catholics; the High Heels and Low ...
— English Literature, Considered as an Interpreter of English History - Designed as a Manual of Instruction • Henry Coppee

... the purpose of protecting her majesty. "For," he added, "observe what we have to guard against—it is not any traitorous attempt against the peace of the nation by conspiring to take away the life of the sovereign, but it is the folly or malignity of wretches who are guilty of acts prompted by motives which are scarcely assignable. The law, in its charity to human nature, has omitted to provide for the case of any being formed like a ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.III. - From George III. to Victoria • E. Farr and E. H. Nolan

... were willing to risk everything for the glitter of gold rather demurred at this strong paternalism, but when it was all over they thanked their stars that the Mounted Police had been on hand to head off the folly of fools. ...
— Policing the Plains - Being the Real-Life Record of the Famous North-West Mounted Police • R.G. MacBeth

... first intellectual power of his nation, fell beneath the murderer's knife; the bullet of an insurgent struck down the friend by his side. And yet no feeling of hatred, no breath of anger could ever obscure, even for a moment, the spotless mirror of his soul. Untouched by human folly, unmoved by human malice, he proceeds with a firm and regular step on his way, like ...
— The History of Freedom • John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton



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



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