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James Wood, comp. Dictionary of Quotations. 1899.


A proverb is much matter decocted into few words.

An ounce of cheerfulness is worth a pound of sadness to serve God with.

Anger is one of the sinews of the soul.

Beard was never the true standard of brains.

Clothes are for necessity; warm clothes, for health; cleanly, for decency; lasting, for thrift; and rich, for magnificence.

Contentment consisteth not in adding more fuel, but in taking away some fire.

Curiosity is the kernel of the forbidden fruit.

Esteem a man of many words and many lies much alike.

Ethics makes man’s soul mannerly and wise, but logic is the armoury of reason, furnished with all offensive and defensive weapons.

Fame may be compared to a scold; the best way to silence her is to let her alone, and she will at last be out of breath in blowing her own trumpet.

Fame sometimes hath created something of nothing.

Fancy runs most furiously when a guilty conscience drives it.

Frost is God’s plough.

Generosity, wrong placed, becomes a vice. A princely mind will undo a private family.

Good counsels observed are chains to grace.

Gravity is the ballast of the soul, which keeps the mind steady.

Gunpowder is the emblem of politic revenge, for it biteth first and barketh afterwards; the bullet being at the mark before the noise is heard, so that it maketh a noise not by way of warning, but of triumph.

Haste and rashness are storms and tempests, breaking and wrecking business; but nimbleness is a full, fair wind, blowing it with speed to the haven.

He knows little who will tell his wife all he knows.

He that falls into sin, is a man; that grieves at it, is a saint; that boasteth of it, is a devil; yet some glory in that shame, counting the stains of sin the best complexion of their souls.

He that will lose his friend for a jest, deserves to die a beggar by the bargain.

If thou art a master, be sometimes blind; If a servant, sometimes deaf.

Learn to hold thy tongue. Five words cost Zecharias forty weeks’ silence.

Learning hath gained most by those books by which printers have lost.

Many hope that the tree may be felled who expect to gather chips by the fall.

Memory is like a purse: if it be over-full, that it cannot be shut, all will drop out of it.

Music is but wild sounds civilised into time and tune.

Often the cock-loft is empty in those whom Nature hath built many storeys high.

Parents are commonly more careful to bestow wit on their children than virtue, the art of speaking well than of doing well; but their manners ought to be the great concern.

Poetry is music in words, and music is poetry in sound; both excellent sauce, but they have lived and died poor that made them their meal.

Rashness is the faithful but unhappy parent of misfortune.

Real worth floats not with people’s fancies, no more than a rock in the sea rises and falls with the tide.

Reasons are the pillars of the fabric of a sermon, but similitudes are the windows which give the best light.

Remember Atlas was weary.

Search others for their virtues, and thyself for thy vices.

Silver from the living / Is gold in the giving: / Gold from the dying / Is but silver a-flying. / Gold and silver from the dead / Turn too often into lead.

Soar not too high to fall, but stoop to rise.

Spill not the morning (the quintessence of the day) in recreation, for sleep itself is a recreation. Add not, therefore, sauce to sauce.

The beams of joy are made hotter by reflection.

The blush is Nature’s alarm at the approach of sin, and her testimony to the dignity of virtue.

The frost is God’s plough, which he drives through every inch of ground, opening each clod and pulverising the whole.

The greatest man living may stand in need of the meanest as much as the meanest does of him.

The image of God cut in ebony—i.e., the negro.

The lion is not so fierce as painted.

The press beginneth to be an oppression of the land.

The pyramids, doting with age, have forgotten the names of their founders.

There are heads sometimes so little that there is no room for wit, sometimes so long that there is no wit for so much room.

There is a Spanish proverb that a lapidary who would grow rich must buy of those who go to be executed, as not caring how cheap they sell; and sell to those who go to be married, as not caring how dear they buy.

They that marry ancient people merely in expectation to bury them, hang themselves in hope that one will come and cut the halter.

They who play with the devil’s rattles will be brought by degrees to wield his sword.

Thou mayest as well expect to grow stronger by always eating, as wiser by always reading.

Thou mayest be more prodigal of praise when thou writest a letter than when thou speakest in presence.

Tombs are the clothes of the dead—a grave but a plain suit, and a rich monument one embroidered.

Trust not in him that seems a saint.

Wanton jests make fools laugh and wise men frown.

When a pepin is planted on a pepin-stock, the fruit growing thence is called a renate, a most delicious apple, as both by sire and dame well descended. Thus his blood must needs be well purified who is gentilely born on both sides.

When thou makest presents, let them be of such things as will last long; to the end they may be in some sort immortal, and may frequently refresh the memory of the receiver.

When worthy men fall out, only one of them may be faulty at the first; but if strife continue long, commonly both become guilty.