It's no joke -- here are some wise quotes about foolishness

Barry Wood

Some holidays move around, but April Fools' Day is always on April 1. This year, it's today.

Because I've been on vacation the past week, I decided to let other people (thanks, Bartlett's "Familiar Quotations") write my column for me. Here, then, are some of the wisest words ever said or written about fools:

"A fool's mouth is his destruction." -- Proverbs

"Let a fool hold his tongue and he will pass for a sage. -- Publilius Syrus

"In Greece, wise men speak and fools decide." -- Anacharsis

"Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish." -- Euripides

"Talking and eloquence are not the same: to speak, and to speak well, are two things. A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks." -- Ben Jonson

"I am two fools, I know,

"For loving, and for saying so

"In whining poetry." -- John Donne

"Penny wise, pound foolish." -- Robert Burton

"A fool and his money are soon parted." -- English proverb

"Young men think old men are fools; but old men know young men are fools." -- George Chapman

"The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool." -- George Santayana

"Lord, I wonder what fool it was that first invented kissing!" -- Jonathan Swift

"I'm not denyin' the women are foolish; God Almighty made 'em to match the men." -- George Eliot

"The silliest woman can manage a clever man; but it needs a very clever woman to manage a fool." -- Rudyard Kipling

"For fools rush in where angels fear to tread." -- Alexander Pope

"Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other." -- Benjamin Franklin

"God looks after fools, drunkards and the United States." -- Anonymous

"It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied." -- John Stuart Mill

"It is better to be a fool than to be dead." -- Robert Louis Stevenson

"I'm no fool, no sirree, I'm gonna live to be a hundred and three. I play safe for you and me 'cause I'm no fool." -- Jiminy Cricket

"Ninety-nine percent of the people in the world are fools, and the rest of us are in great danger of contagion." -- Thornton Wilder

"Nature never makes any blunders; when she makes a fool, she means it." -- Josh Billings

"I am a great and sublime fool. But then I am God's fool, and all his works must be contemplated with respect." -- Mark Twain

"A fool must now and then be right, by chance." -- William Cowper

"A learned fool is more foolish than an ignorant one." -- Moliere

"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes." -- Proverbs

"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool." -- William Shakespeare

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"It is true that you may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can't fool all of the people all the time." -- Abraham Lincoln

"Because no battle is ever won, he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools." -- William Faulkner

"We're waist deep in the Big Muddy

"And the big fool says to push on." -- Pete Seeger

"Lord, what fools these mortals be." -- William Shakespeare, after Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Happy April Fools' Day! As Red Green says, "We're all in this together."

Barry Wood is a senior copy editor for the Register Star. Contact him at or write to Wood on Words, Rockford Register Star, 99 E. State St., Rockford, IL 61104.