There are many who think a wise prince ought, when he has the chance, to foment astutely some enmity, so that by suppressing it he will augment his greatness.
Everyone sees what you seem to be, few know what you really are; and those few do not dare take a stand against the general opinion.
Thus it will always happen that he who is not your friend will demand your neutrality, whilst he who is your friend will entreat you to declare yourself with arms.
I was born in poverty, and at an early age learned how to script rather than to thrive.
When Princes devote themselves rather to pleasure than to arms, they lose their dominions.
From want of foresight men make changes which relishing well at first do not betray their hidden venom, as I have already observed respecting hectic fever. Nevertheless, the ruler is not truly wise who cannot discern evils before they develop themselves, and this is a faculty given to few.