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James Wood, comp. Dictionary of Quotations. 1899.


The question is this: Is man an ape or angel? I, my lord, I am on the side of the angels.At a Church Conference in Oxford, Bp. Wilberforce in the chair.

Whatever you may think now, they (the deeds of each day) are only biding their time; and when you are weak and at their mercy, when the world, you fancied you were beyond, has leisure to hear their story and scoff at you, they will come forward and tell all the bitter tale.To young men.

You are prosperous, you are great, you are “beyond the world,” as I have heard people say, meaning the power or the caprice thereof; but you are not beyond the power of events.To young men.

Your acts are detectives, keener and more unerring than ever the hand of sensational novelist depicted; they will dog you from the day you sinned till the hour your trial comes off.To young men.

A book may be as great a thing as a battle.

A consistent man believes in destiny, a capricious man in chance.

A great man is one who affects the mind of his generation.

A great thing is a great book, but greater than all is the talk of a great man.

A man’s fate is his own temper.

Candour is the brightest gem of criticism.

Change is inevitable in a progressive country—is constant.

Characters are developed, and never change.

Christianity teaches us to love our neighbour. Modern society acknowledges no neighbour.

Circumstances are beyond the control of man, but his conduct is in his own power.

Colonies don’t cease to be colonies because they are independent.

Critics are men who have failed in literature and art.

Description is always a bore, both to the describer and the describee.

Destiny is our will, and will is nature.

Duty scorns prudence, and criticism has few terrors for a man with a great purpose.

Economy does not consist in the reckless reduction of estimates; on the contrary, such a course almost necessarily tends to increased expenditure. There can be no economy where there is no efficiency.

Eloquence is the child of knowledge. When the mind is full, like a wholesome river, it is also clear.

England is a domestic country: here home is revered and the hearth sacred.

Every cottage should have its porch, its oven, and its tank.

Every production of genius must be the production of enthusiasm.

Everything comes if a man will only wait.

Everything in this world depends upon will.

Female friendships are of rapid growth.

Flattery is the destruction of all good fellowship.

Great countries are those that produce great men.

Great men should think of opportunity, and not of time. Time is the excuse of feeble and puzzled spirits.

Great revolutions, whatever may be their causes, are not lightly commenced, and are not concluded with precipitation.

Grief is the agony of an instant; the indulgence of grief the blunder of a life.

His Christianity was muscular.

Ignorance never settles a question.

Imagination is too often accompanied with a somewhat irregular logic.

Increased means and increased leisure are the two civilisers of men.

Individuals may form communities, but it is institutions alone can create a nation.

It is much easier to be critical than to be correct.

It is the lot of man to suffer.

Justice is truth in action.

Life’s a tumble-about thing of ups and downs.

Love and religion are both stronger than friendship.

Man is neither the vile nor the excellent being which he sometimes imagines himself to be.

Man is not the creature of circumstances; circumstances are the creatures of men. We are free agents, and man is more powerful than matter.

Man is only truly great when he acts from his passions; never irresistible but when he appeals to the imagination.

Next to the assumption of power is the responsibility of relinquishing it.

Nine-tenths of existing books are nonsense, and the clever books are the refutation of that nonsense.

No affections and a great brain; these are the men to command the world.

One should never think of death. One should think of life: that is real piety.

Opportunity is more powerful even than conquerors and prophets.

Patience is a necessary ingredient of genius.

Patriotism depends as much on mutual suffering as on mutual success.

Perseverance and tact are the two great qualities most valuable for all men who would mount, but especially for those who have to step out of the crowd.

Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.

Predominant opinions are generally the opinions of the generation that is vanishing.

Principle is ever my motto, not expediency.

Quit the world, and the world forgets you.

Religion should be the rule of life, not a casual incident in it.

Scientific, like spiritual truth, has ever from the beginning been descending from heaven to man.

Silence is the mother of truth.

Silence often expresses more powerfully than speech the verdict and judgment of society.

Success is the child of audacity.

Sweet reader, do you know what a toady is? That agreeable animal which you meet every day in civilised society.

Sympathy is the solace of the poor, but for the rich there is consolation.

The legacy of heroes—the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.

The more you are talked about, the less powerful you are.

The necessities of things are sterner stuff than the hopes of men.

The people of England are the most enthusiastic in the world.

The secret of success is constancy to purpose.

The world is a wheel, and it will all come round right.

There are few faces that can afford to smile. A smile is sometimes bewitching; in general vapid; often a contortion.

There is a magic in the memory of schoolboy friendships; it softens the heart, and even affects the nervous system of those who have no hearts.

There is more serfdom in England now than at any time since the Conquest.

There is no education like adversity.

There is no gambling like politics…. Nothing in which the power of circumstance is more evident.

There is no index of character so sure as the voice.

There is nothing in which the power of circumstance is more evident than in politics.

To govern men, you must either excel them in their accomplishments or despise them.

To tax the community for the advantage of a class is not protection; it is plunder, and I disclaim it.

Travel teaches toleration.

Upon the education of the people of this country the fate of this country depends.

Variety is the mother of enjoyment.

We are not indebted to the reason of man for any of the great achievements which are the landmarks of human action and human progress.

What art was to the ancient world, science is to the modern.

When men are pure, laws are useless; when men are corrupt, laws are broken.

Youth is a blunder; manhood, a struggle; old age, a regret.