Letter to Francesco Vettori, January 31, 1515 (Machiavelli)

“Anyone who saw out letters, my friend, and noted their diversity would be quite amazed, for at one point he would think that we are very serious, involved in weighty matters, and that we never entertained a thought which was not lofty and honest. But then, turning the page, he would discover that these same serious men are frivolous, inconstant, lustful, and occupied with trifles. Although to some this way of being may appear disgraceful, it seems worthy of praise to me because we imitate nature, which is various, and anyone who imitates nature cannot be criticized.”