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James Wood, comp. Dictionary of Quotations. 1899.


Giving away is the instrument for accumulated treasures; it is like a bucket for the distribution of the waters deposited in the bowels of a well.

Good counsel tendered to fools rather provokes than satisfies them. A draught of milk to serpents only increases their venom.

Good fortune is the offspring of our endeavours, although there be nothing sweeter than ease.

Great attention to what is said and sweetness of speech, a great degree of kindness and the appearance of awe, are always tokens of a man’s attachment.

Great warmth at first is the certain ruin of every great achievement. Doth not water, although ever so cool, moisten the earth?

Greatness doth not approach him who is for ever looking down.

Having sown the seed of secrecy, it should be properly guarded and not in the least broken; for being broken, it will not prosper.

He by whom the geese were formed white, parrots stained green, and peacocks painted of various hues—even He will provide for their support.

He is a great and a good man from whom the needy, or those who come for protection, go not away with disappointed hopes and discontented countenances.

He is a man who doth not suffer his members and faculties to cause him uneasiness.

He is a minister who doth not behave with insolence and pride.

He is a wise man who knoweth that his words should be suited to the occasion, his love to the worthiness of the object, and his anger according to his strength.

He is a worthy person who is much respected by good men.

He is happy who is forsaken by his passions.

He is kind who guardeth another from misfortune.

He that hath sense hath strength.

He who doth not speak an unkind word to his fellow-creatures is master of the whole world to the extremities of the ocean.

He who entereth uncalled for, unquestioned speaketh much, and regardeth himself with satisfaction, to his prince appeareth one of a weak judgment.

He who formeth a connection with an honest man from his love of truth, will not suffer thereby.

He who is in disgrace with the sovereign is disrespected by all.

He who is not possessed of such a book as will dispel many doubts, point out hidden treasures, and is, as it were, a mirror of all things, is even an ignorant man.

He who, in opposition to his own happiness, delighteth in the accumulation of riches, carrieth burdens for others and is the vehicle of trouble.

He whose days are passed away without giving or enjoying, puffing like the bellows of a blacksmith, liveth but by breathing.

He whose understanding can discern what is, and judge what should or should not be applied to prevent misfortune, never sinketh under difficulties.

How are riches the means of happiness? In acquiring they create trouble, in their loss they occasion sorrow, and they are the cause of endless divisions amongst kindred!

I esteem that wealth which is given to the worthy, and which is day by day enjoyed; the rest is a reserve for one knoweth not whom.

If we are rich with the riches which we neither give nor enjoy, we are rich with the riches which are buried in the caverns of the earth.

In a noble race, levity without virtue is seldom found. In a mine of rubies, when shall we find pieces of glass?

In granting and in refusing, in joy and in sorrow, in liking and in disliking, good men, because of their own likeness, show mercy unto all things which have life.

In misfortune, in error, and when the time appointed for certain affairs is about to elapse, a servant who hath his master’s welfare at heart ought to speak unasked.

In peace, who is not wise?

In times of danger it is proper to be alarmed until danger be near at hand; but when we perceive that danger is near, we should oppose it as if we were not afraid.

In times of misfortune men’s understandings even are sullied.

In times of necessity the words of the wise are worthy to be observed.

Is it not the same to whoso wears a shoe as if the earth were thatched all over with leather?

Is there anything of its own nature beautiful or not beautiful? The beauty of a thing is even that by which it shineth.

It is a maxim of those who are esteemed perfect, that abundance is the perverter of reason.

It is a virtue in hermits to forgive their enemies as well as their friends; but it is a fault in princes to show clemency towards those who are guilty.

It is better to live by begging one’s bread than to gratify the mouth at the expense of others.

It is better to live in a haunted forest … than to live amongst relations after the loss of wealth.

It is not good to pass by that we dislike, even to gain that which we like; for the water of life becometh mortal when mixed with a poison.

It is not proper to place confidence in one who cometh without any apparent cause.

It should not be suspected of a man, whose life hath been spent in noble deeds, that his reason is lost, when he is only involved in trouble. A fire may be overturned, but its flames will never descend.

Knowledge introduceth man to acquaintance; and, as the humble stream to the ocean, so doth it conduct him into the hard-acquired presence of the prince, whence fortune floweth.

Knowledge produceth humility; from humility proceedeth worthiness; from worthiness riches are acquired; from riches religion, and thence happiness.

Labour bestowed on nothing is fruitless.

Learning is a companion on a journey to a strange country.

Learning is a livelihood.

Learning is a superior sight.

Learning is better than hidden treasure.

Learning is strength inexhaustible.

Learning is the source of renown, and the fountain of victory in the senate.

Learning to a man is a name superior to beauty.

Learning to the inexperienced is a poison.

Let a hoard always be made, but not too great a hoard.

Let this be an example for the acquisition of all knowledge, virtue, and riches. By the fall of drops of water, by degrees, a pot is filled.

Man should not be over-anxious for a subsistence, for it is provided by the Creator. The infant no sooner droppeth from the womb than the breasts of the mother begin to stream.

Meat is devoured by the birds in the air, by the beasts in the fields, and by the fishes in the waters; so, in every situation, there is plenty.

No man beholdeth prosperity who doth not encounter danger; but having encountered danger, if he surviveth, he beholdeth it.

No man should enter into alliance with his enemy, even with the tightest bonds of union. Water made ever so hot will still quench fire.

No man should ever display his bravery who is unprepared for battle; nor bear the marks of defiance, until he hath experienced the abilities of his enemy.

No man should form an acquaintance, nor enter into any amusements, with one of an evil character. A piece of charcoal, if it be hot, burneth; and if it be cold, blackeneth the hand.

No man should strive to precede his fellows; for, should the work succeed, the booty is equal, and if it fail, the leader is punished.

No one is by nature noble, respected of any one, nor a wretch. His own actions conduct him either to wretchedness or to the reverse.

No patient will ever recover his health merely from the description of a medicine.

No wise man should make known the loss of fortune, any malpractices in his house, his being cheated, or his having been disgraced.

Of all things, knowledge is esteemed the most precious treasure; because of its incapacity to be stolen, to be given away, or even to be consumed.

One may forsake a person to save a family; one may desert a whole family for the sake of a village; and sacrifice a village for the safety of the community; but for one’s self one may abandon the whole world.

One may give him a hundred instances from Holy Writ that he should not dispute; still, it is the character of a fool to make a disturbance without a cause.

One should abandon that country wherein there is neither respect, nor employment, nor connections, nor the advancement of science.

One should not lift the rod against our enemies upon the private information of another.

One who is master of ever so little art may be able, on a great occasion, to root up trees with as much ease as the current of a river the reeds and grass.

One who is out of his own country is defeated by a very trifling enemy.

One, although not possessed of a mine of gold, may find the offspring of his own nature, that noble ardour, which hath for its object the accomplishment of the whole assemblage of virtues.

Rivers flow with sweet waters; but, having joined the ocean, they become undrinkable.

Servants and houses should be suited to the situation. A gem should not be placed at the feet. The same is to be understood of an able man.

She is a wife who is the soul of her husband.

She is a woman who can command herself.

Some straw, a room, water, and in the fourth place, gentle words. These things are never to be refused in good men’s houses.

Store of grain, O king! is the best of stores. A gem cast into the mouth will not support life.

Subdue fate, and exert human strength to the utmost of your power; and if, when pains have been taken, success attend not, in whom is the blame?

Such a friend as speaketh kindly to a man’s face, and behind his back defeateth his designs, is like a pot of poison with a surface of milk.

Teeth, hair, nails, and the human species, prosper not when separated from their place. A wise man, being informed of this, should not totally forsake his native home.

That is friendship which is not feigned.

That is not a council wherein there are no sages.

That is not a duty in which there is not virtue.

That is not possible which is impossible.

That is not virtue from which fear approacheth us.

That man is learned who reduceth his learning to practice.

That which is possible is ever possible.

The birth of a golden deer is impossible.

The clouds never pass against the wind.

The disputes of two of equal strength and fortune are worthy of attention; but not of two, the one great, the other humble.

The efforts of him who contendeth with one stronger than himself are as feeble as the exertions of an insect’s wings.

The fate of a man of feeling is, like that of a tuft of flowers, twofold; he may either mount upon the head of all, or go to decay in the wilderness.

The fool is always discovered if he stayeth too long; like the ass dressed in a tiger’s skin, from his voice.

The gift which is to be given should be given gratuitously.

The good are always ready to be the upholders of the good in their misfortunes. Elephants even are wont to bear the burthens of elephants who have sunk in the mire.

The house of the childless is empty; and so is the heart of him that hath no wife.

The king protecteth the people, and they support the greatness of their sovereign. But protection is better than greatness; for the one cannot exist without the other.

The life of an animal, until the hour of his death, passeth away in disciplines, in elevations and depressions, in unions and separations.

The loss of territory, or of a wise and virtuous servant, is a great loss,… for servants are not easily to be found.

The marks of attachment, even to a fault, are an accumulation of virtues.

The mind of a fool is empty; and everything is empty where there is poverty.

The mind of a good man doth not alter, even when he is in distress; the waters of the ocean are not to be heated by a torch of straw.

The moon doth not withhold the light even from the cottage of a Chandala (outcast).

The natural qualities pass over all others and mount upon the head.

The ocean may have bounds.

The peevish, the niggard, the dissatisfied, the passionate, the suspicious, and those who live upon others’ means, are for ever unhappy.

The people of this world having been once deceived, suspect deceit in truth itself.

The precepts of philosophy effect not the least benefit to one confirmed in fear.

The regions of eternal happiness are provided for those women who love their husbands the same in a wilderness as in a city; be he a saint, or be he sinner.

The risings and sinkings of human affairs are like those of a ball which is thrown by the hand.

The stranger who turneth away from a house with disappointed hopes leaveth there his own offences, and departeth, taking with him all the good actions of the owner.

The strength of aquatic animals is the waters; of those who dwell in towns, a castle; of foot-soldiers, their own ground; of princes, an obedient army.

The tempest never rooteth up the grass, which is feeble, humble, and shooteth not up on high; but exerteth its power even to distress the lofty trees; for the great use not their might but upon the great.

The tree doth not withdraw its shade, even from the woodcutter.

The tree which yieldeth both fruit and shade is highly to be esteemed; but if Providence, perchance, may have denied it fruit, by whom is its shade refused?

The virtuous delight in the virtuous; but he who is destitute of the practice of virtue delighteth not in the virtuous. The bee retireth from the forest to the lotus, whilst the frog is destitute of shelter.

The virtuous man, from his justice and the affection he hath for mankind, is the dispeller of sorrow and pain.

The wise man may strive to conquer, but he should never fight; because victory, it is observed, cannot be constant to both combatants.

The wise man moveth with one foot, and standeth fast with the other. A man should not quit one place until he hath fixed upon another.

The wise man should study the acquisition of science and riches as if he were not subject to sickness and death; but to the duties of religion he should attend as if death had seized him by the hair.

The wise man, even destitute of riches, enjoyeth elevated and very honourable stations; whilst the wretch, endowed with wealth; acquireth the post of disgrace.

There are a thousand occasions for sorrow, and a hundred for fear that day by day assail the fool; not so the wise man.

There is no one the friend of another; there is no one the enemy of another: friends, as well as enemies, are created through our transactions.

There is no ordinance obliging us to fight those who are stronger than ourselves. Such fighting, as it were, with an elephant, is the same as men’s fighting against rocks.

They are not sages who do not declare men’s duty.

Those who first study fate, and say, Fate is the only cause of fortune and misfortune, terrify themselves.

Those who have even studied good books may still be fools.

Time drinketh up the essence of every great and noble action which ought to be performed, and is delayed in the execution.

Time is trouble and the author of destruction; he seizeth even from afar.

To a child in confinement its mother’s knee is a binding-post.

To corporeal beings unthought-of troubles arise; so, in like manner, do blessings make their appearance. In this, I think Providence hath extended them farther than usual.

To the strictly just and virtuous person everything is annexed.

To those by whom liberality is practised, the whole world is but as one family.

To those who are fallen into misfortunes, what was a blessing becometh an evil.

To whom is the mere glare of the fire a virtue?

Truth being weighed against a thousand Aswamedha sacrifices, was found to be of more consequence than the whole thousand offerings.

Union (combination) is best for men, either with their own tribe or with strangers; for even a grain of rice groweth not when divided from its husk.

Want maketh even servitude honourable.

Wealth of every species necessarily flows to the hands of him who exerteth himself.

What hath he to do with a soul who doth not keep his passions in subjection?

What is a foreign country to those who have science?

What is distance to the indefatigable?

What is done for those who have not their passions in subjection, is like washing the elephant.

What is happiness? To animals in this world, health.

What is kindness? A principle in the good.

What is not to be, that is not to be; if it be to come to pass, it cannot be otherwise. This reasoning is an antidote. Why doth not the afflicted one drink of it?

What is philosophy? An entire separation from the world.

What is religion? Compassion for all things that have life.

What is the use of a lamp to a blind man, although it be burning in his hand?

What is too great a load for those who have strength?

What, is any one, simply by birth, to be punished or applauded?

What, though thou wert rich and of high esteem, dost thou yield to sorrow because of thy loss of fortune?

Whatever hath been well consulted and well resolved, whether it be to fight well or to run away well, should be carried into execution in due season, without any further examination.

Whatever may be the natural propensity of any one, it is very hard to overcome. If a dog were made king, would he not gnaw his shoe-straps?

When a husband is embraced without affection, there must be some reason for it.

When a man is in indigence, picking herbs is his philosophy; the enjoyment of his wife his only commerce, and vassalage his food.

When a wise man findeth an occasion, he may bear away his enemy upon his shoulder, as it were.

When pleasure is arrived, it is worthy of attention; when trouble presenteth itself, the same. Pain and pleasures have their revolutions like a wheel.

When the master passeth over all alike without distinction, then the endeavours of those who are capable of exertion are entirely lost.

When the quality of bravery is near, a great man’s terrors are at a distance. In the hour of misfortune such a great man overcometh bravery.

Where have they who are running here and there in search of riches such happiness as those placid spirits enjoy who are gratified at the immortal fountain of happiness?

Where there is a splashing of dirt, it is good not to meddle and to keep far away.

Whether a child, or an old man, or a youth, be come to thy house, he is to be treated with respect; for of all men, thy guest is the superior.

Whilst a man confideth in Providence, he should not slacken his own exertions; for without labour he is unworthy to obtain the oil from the seed.

Who is a stranger to those who have the habit of speaking kindly.

Without enjoyment, the wealth of the miser is the same to him as if it were another’s. But when it is said of a man “he hath so much,” it is with difficulty he can be induced to part with it.

Work, go, fall, rise, speak, be silent! In this manner do the rich sport with those needy men, who are held by the grip of dependence.

Youth, abundant wealth, high birth, and inexperience, are, each of them, the source of ruin. What then must be the fate of him in whom all four are combined?