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James Wood, comp. Dictionary of Quotations. 1899.

Bulwer Lytton

A fool flatters himself, a wise man flatters the fool.

Beneath the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword.

Business dispatched is business well done, but business hurried is business ill done.

Castles in the air cost a vast deal to keep up.

Dandies, when first-rate, are generally very agreeable men.

Debt is to a man what the serpent is to the bird; its eye fascinates, its breath poisons, its coil crushes both sinew and bone; its jaw is the pitiless grave.

Emulation, even in the brutes, is sensitively nervous; see the tremor of the thoroughbred racer before he starts.

Enthusiasm is the genius of sincerity, and truth accomplishes no victories without it.

Evening is the delight of virtuous age; it seems an emblem of the tranquil close of busy life.

Every man of sound brain whom you meet knows something worth knowing better than yourself.

Every man who observes vigilantly and resolves steadfastly grows unconsciously into a genius.

Genius, the Pythian of the beautiful, leaves its large truths a riddle to the dull.

He who esteems trifles for themselves is a trifler; he who esteems them for the conclusions he draws from them or the advantage to which they can be put, is a philosopher.

He whom God has gifted with a love of retirement possesses, as it were, an extra sense.

If we are wise, we may thank ourselves; if we are great, we must thank fortune.

In life, as in art, the beautiful moves in curves.

In science read the newest works; in literature, the oldest.

In the lexicon of youth, which fate reserves for a bright manhood, there is no such word as fail.

It is in trifles that the mind betrays itself.

It is not wisdom, but ignorance which teaches men presumption.

It is the glorious doom of literature that the evil perishes and the good remains.

Knowledge has its penalties and pains as well as its prizes.

Knowledge perverted is knowledge no longer.

Love is the business of the idle, but the idleness of the busy.

Men who make money rarely saunter; men who save money rarely swagger.

More is got from one book on which the thought settles for a definite end in knowledge, than from libraries skimmed over by a wandering eye. A cottage flower gives honey to the bee, a king’s garden none to the butterfly.

Music, once admitted into the soul, becomes a sort of spirit, and never dies.

Nine times out of ten it is over the Bridge of Sighs that we pass the narrow gulf from youth to manhood. That interval is usually occupied by an ill-placed or disappointed affection. We recover and we find ourselves a new being. The intellect has become hardened by the fire through which it has passed. The mind profits by the wrecks of every passion, and we may measure our road to wisdom by the sorrows we have undergone.

No one ever possessed superior intellectual qualities without knowing them.

Nothing is superficial to a deep observer. It is in trifles that the mind betrays itself.

One of the sublimest things in the world is plain truth.

Only when man weeps he should be alone, not because tears are weak, but they should be secret.

Oratory, like a drama, abhors lengthiness; like the drama, it must be kept doing.

Philosophy, while it soothes the reason, damps the ambition.

Power is so characteristically calm, that calmness in itself has the aspect of strength.

Rank is a great beautifier.

Reading without purpose is sauntering, not exercise.

Remorse is the echo of a lost virtue.

Science is an ocean. It is as open to the cockboat as the frigate. One man carries across it a freightage of ingots, another may fish there for herrings.

Shame is like the weaver’s thread; if it breaks in the web, it is wholly imperfect.

Society is a long series of uprising ridges, which from the first to the last offer no valley of repose. Wherever you take your stand, you are looked down upon by those above you, and reviled and pelted by those below you.

Take away desire from the heart, and you take away the air from the earth.

That man will never be a perfect gentleman who lives only with gentlemen. To be a man of the world we must view that world in every grade and in every perspective.

The conscience is the most elastic material in the world. To-day you cannot stretch it over a mole-hill, to-morrow it hides a mountain.

The distinguishing trait of people accustomed to good society is a calm, imperturbable quiet, which pervades all their actions and habits.

The lessons of adversity are not always salutary; sometimes they soften and amend, but as often they indurate and pervert.

The mind profits by the wrecks of every passion, and we may measure our road to wisdom by the sorrows we have undergone.

The pen is mightier than the sword.

The prudent man may direct a state, but it is the enthusiast who regenerates or ruins it.

The world considers eccentricity in great things genius: in small things, folly.

There are some cases in which human nature and its deep wrongs will be ever stronger than the world and its philosophy.

There is but one philosophy, and its name is Fortitude; to bear is to conquer our fate.

There is certainly something of exquisite kindness and thoughtful benevolence in that rarest of gifts—fine breeding.

There is in the heart of woman such a deep well of love that no age can freeze it.

There is no man so friendless but that he can find a friend sincere enough to tell him disagreeable truths.

There is no policy like politeness; and a good manner is the best thing in the world, either to get a good name or to supply the want of it.

There is not so agonizing a feeling in the whole catalogue of human suffering as the first conviction that the heart of the being whom we most tenderly love is estranged from us.

There is nothing; so agonising to the fine skin of vanity as the application of a rough truth.

There is scarcely a good critic of books born in our age, and yet every fool thinks himself justified in criticising persons.

There is sentiment in all women, and sentiment gives delicacy to thought, and tact to manner. But sentiment with men is generally acquired, an offspring of the intellectual quality, not, as with the other sex, of the moral.

We are great philosophers to each other, but not to ourselves.

We tell our triumphs to the crowd, but our own hearts are the sole confidants of our sorrows.

What is past is past. There is a future left to all men, who have the virtue to repent and the energy to atone.

What men want is not talent; it is purpose.

Whatever our wanderings, our happiness will always be found within a narrow compass, and amidst the objects more immediately within our reach.

When the world has once got hold of a lie, it is astonishing how hard it is to get it out of the world. You beat it about the head, till it seems to have given up the ghost, and lo! the next day it is as healthy as ever.

Woman is seldom merciful to the man who is timid.

“Wonder,” says Aristotle, “is the first cause of philosophy.” This is quite as true in the progress of the individual as in that of the concrete mind; and the constant aim of philosophy is to destroy its parent.

Yet all that poets sing, and grief hath known, / Of hopes laid waste, knells in that word—Alone.