Avoid affairs of honor. This is the first take of prudence. Those of great capacity are not easily taxed to their limits. It takes much to drive them to one side or the other, for they always keep to the middle course of their common sense. Being slow to come to a rupture, it is much easier for them to get into something than to get out of something well. These affairs are the tempters of good sense, and it is safer to flee from them than to win through them. One matter of honor drags in another and a worse, and things are then close to the edge of downfall. There are persons who by nature, or even by nationality, are easily excited; they find it easy to involve themselves in obligations of this sort. But one who walks by the light of reason always considers carefully and will deem braver not to become ensnarled than to win. Even the ever-present fool opt out on the ground that one fool is enough without another.
~ Baltasar Gracian, The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1647)