Home  »  Dictionary of Quotations  »  To pour oil to True eloquence

James Wood, comp. Dictionary of Quotations. 1899.

To pour oil to True eloquence

To pour oil on the fire is not the way to quench it.Proverb.

To prefer one future mode of life to another, upon just reasons, requires faculties which it has not pleased our Creator to give us.Johnson.

To promise is already to give, to hope already to enjoy.Delille.

To prove, as to doubt, the existence of God, is to prove or doubt the existence of existence.Jean Paul.

To put the cart before the horse.Proverb.

To raise the weaker sex in self-respect, as well as in the esteem of the stronger, is the first step from barbarism to civilisation.Canning.

To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.Burke.

To receive a simple primitive phenomenon, to recognise it in its high significance, and to go to work with it, requires a productive spirit, which is able to take a wide survey, and is a rare gift, only to be found in very superior natures.Goethe.

To receive gifts is to lose liberty.Saadi.

To reconcile despotism with freedom is to make your despotism just.Carlyle.

To reform a world, to reform a nation, no wise man will undertake; and all but foolish men know that the only solid, though a far slower, reformation, is what each man begins and perfects on himself.Carlyle.

To reign is worth ambition, though in hell: / Better to reign in hell than serve in heav’n.Milton.

To rejoice in the prosperity of another is to partake of it.William Austin.

To remember one worthy thing, how many thousand unworthy must a man be able to forget!Carlyle.

To repel one’s cross is to make it heavier.Amiel.

To require two things is the way to have them both undone.Johnson.

To rescue, to avenge, to instruct, or protect a woman is all the same as to love her.Jean Paul.

To revenge is no valour, but to bear.Timon of Athens, iii. 5.

To run away / Is but a coward’s trick; to run away / From this world’s ills, that at the very worst / Will soon blow o’er.Blair.

To say of a man “He means well,” is worth nothing except he does well.Plautus.

To say that we have a clear conscience is to utter a solecism; had we never sinned, we would have had no conscience.Carlyle.

To scorn delights and live laborious days.Milton.

To secure and promote the feeling of cheerfulness should be the supreme aim of all our endeavours after happiness.Schopenhauer.

To see a world in a grain of sand / And a heaven in a wild flower, / Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, / And eternity in an hour.William Blake.

To see and listen to the wicked is already the beginning of wickedness.Confucius.

To see clearly is poetry, prophecy, and religion—all in one.Ruskin.

To see her is to love her, / And love but her for ever.Burns.

To see some small soul pirouetting throughout life on a single text, and judging all the world because it cannot find a partner, is not a Christian sight.Prof. Drummond.

To see the best is to see most clearly, and it is the lover’s privilege.J. M. Barrie.

To seek to change opinions by laws is worse than futile.Buckle.

To seem and not to be, is throwing the shuttle without weaving.Proverb.

To seize a character, even that of one man, in its life and secret mechanism, requires a philosopher; to delineate it with truth and impressiveness, is work for a poet.Carlyle.

To serve from the lowest station upwards (von unten hinauf) is in all things necessary.Goethe.

To serve God and love him is higher and better than happiness, though it be with wounded feet, and bleeding brow, and a heart loaded with sorrow.W. R. Greg.

To shape the whole future is not our problem but only to shape faithfully a small part of it, according to rules laid down.Carlyle.

To shoot wide of the mark—i.e., guess foolishly when you don’t know.Proverb.

To show mercy is nothing—thy soul must be full of mercy; to be pure in act is nothing—thou shalt be pure in heart also.Ruskin.

To sigh, yet feel no pain; / To weep, yet scarce know why; / To sport an hour with beauty’s charm, / Then throw it idly by.Moore.

To sigh, yet not recede; to grieve, yet not repent.Crabbe.

To simplify complications is, in all branches of knowledge, the first essential of success.Buckle.

To sow is not so difficult as to reap.Goethe.

To spend much and gain little is the sure road to ruin.German Proverb.

To spend too much time in studies is sloth.Bacon.

To spur a free horse soon makes a jade of him.Sterne.

To step aside is human.Burns.

To strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.Proverb.

To strive to get rid of an evil is to aim at something definite, but to desire a better fortune than we have is blind folly.Goethe.

To study nature or man, we ought to know things that are in the ordinary course, not the unaccountable things that happen out of it.Fisher Ames.

To succeed in the world it is much more necessary to be able to diagnose a fool than a clever man.Cato.

To talk without effort is, after all, the great charm of talking.Hare.

To taste of human flesh is less criminal in the eyes of God than to stifle human thought.Draper.

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

To tell our own secrets is generally folly, but that folly is without guilt; to communicate those with which we are intrusted is always treachery, and treachery for the most part combined with folly.Johnson.

To the capable man this world is not dumb.Goethe.

To the exiled wanderer how godlike / The friendly countenance of man appears.Goethe.

To the Hindu the world is the dream of Brahma.Amiel.

To the innocent, deliverance and reparation; to the misled, compassion; and to the guilty, avenging justice.Goethe.

To the man of firm purpose all men and things are servile.Goethe.

To the minnow every cranny and pebble, and quality and accident, of its little native creek may have become familiar; but does the minnow understand the ocean tides and periodic currents, the trade-winds, and monsoons, and moon’s eclipses; by all of which the condition of its little creek is regulated, and may (from time to time, unmiraculously enough) be quite overset and reversed? Such a minnow is man; his creek, this planet earth; his ocean, the immeasurable All; his monsoons and periodic currents, the mysterious course of Providence through æons of æons.Carlyle.

To the noble mind / Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.Hamlet, iii. 1.

To the persevering mortal the blessed immortals are swift.Zoroaster.

To the strictly just and virtuous person everything is annexed.Hitopadesa.

To the understanding of anything, two conditions are equally required—intelligibility in the thing itself being no whit more indispensable than intelligence in the examiner of it.Carlyle.

To the unregenerate Prometheus Vinctus of a man, it is ever the bitterest aggravation of his wretchedness that he is conscious of virtue, that he feels himself the victim not of suffering only, but of injustice.Carlyle.

To the vulgar eye few things are wonderful that are not distant. It is difficult for men to believe that the man, the mere man whom they see, may perhaps painfully feel, toiling at their side through the poor jostlings of existence, can be made of finer clay than themselves.Carlyle.

To the wisest man, wide as is his vision, Nature remains of quite infinite depth, of quite infinite expansion; and all experience thereof limits itself to some few computed centuries and measured square miles.Carlyle.

To the “Worship of sorrow” (Goethe’s definition of Christianity) ascribe what origin and genesis thou pleasest, has not that worship originated and been generated? Is it not here? Feel it in thy heart, and then say whether it is of God!Carlyle.

To think and to feel constitute the two grand divisions of men of genius—the men of reasoning and the men of imagination.I. Disraeli.

To think aright is the sum of human duty.Pascal.

To think is to act.Emerson.

To this burden women are born; they must obey their husbands, be they never such blockheads.Cervantes.

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

To those that have lived long together, everything heard and everything seen recalls some pleasure communicated or some benefit conferred, some petty quarrel or some slight endearment.Johnson.

To those to whom we owe affection, let us be dumb until we are strong, though we should never be strong.Emerson.

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

To those whose god is honour, disgrace alone is sin.Hare.

To threats the stubborn sinner oft is hard, / Wrapp’d in his crimes, against the storm prepared; / But, when the milder beams of mercy play, / He melts, and throws his cumbrous cloak away.Dryden.

To toy with human hearts is more than human hearts will brook.Dr. Walter Smith.

To tread upon the brink is safe, but to come a step further is destruction.Johnson.

To try things oft, and never to give over, doth wonders.Bacon.

To understand one thing well is better than understanding many things by halves.Goethe.

To understand that the sky is blue everywhere, we need not go round the world.Goethe.

To understand the serious side of things requires a matured faculty; the ridiculous is caught more easily.Froude.

To understand things we must once have been in them, and then have come out of them.Amiel.

To unpractised eyes, a Peak of Teneriffe, nay, a Strasburg Minster, when we stand on it, may seem higher than a Chimborazo; because the former rise abruptly, without abutement or environment; the latter rises gradually, carrying half a world along with it; and only the deeper azure of the heavens, the widened horizon, the “eternal sunshine,” disclose to the geographer that the “region of change” lies far below.Carlyle.

To use books rightly is to go to them for help.Ruskin.

To use studies too much for ornament is affectation.Bacon.

To vice, innocence must always seem only a superior kind of chicanery.Ouida.

To wail friends lost / Is not by much so wholesome, profitable, / As to rejoice at friends but newly found.Love’s L’s. Lost, v. 2.

To wed unequally is to suffer equally.Anonymous.

To what base uses we may return, Horatio!Hamlet, v, 1.

To what excesses men go for a religion of whose truth they are so little persuaded, and to whose precepts they pay so little regard.La Bruyère.

To what they know best entice all neatly; / For so thou dost thyself and him a pleasure.George Herbert.

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

To wilful men / The injuries that they themselves procure / Must be their schoolmasters.King Lear, ii. 4.

To work without money, and be poor; to work without pleasure, and be chaste; to work according to orders, and be obedient.Rules of the Order of St. Francis.

To write a good love-letter, you ought to begin without knowing what you mean to say, and to finish without knowing what you have written.Rousseau.

To write down to children’s understandings is a mistake; set them on the scent and let them puzzle it out.Scott.

To write prose, one must have something to say, but he who has nothing to say can still make verses.Goethe.

To write well is to think well, to feel well, and to render well; it is to possess at once intellect, soul, and taste.Buffon.

To write what is worth publishing, to find honest men to publish it, and get sensible men to read it, are the three great difficulties in authorship.Colton.

To yield my breath, / Life’s purpose unfulfilled! this is thy sting, O Death.Sir Noel Paton.

To yourself be critic most severe.Dryden.

Tobacco and opium have broad backs, and will cheerfully carry the load of armies, if you choose to make them pay high for such joy as they give and such harm as they do.Emerson.

Tocher’s nae word in a true lover’s parle.Burns.

Todte Hunde beissen nicht—Dead dogs don’t bite.German Proverb.

[Greek]—Character is simply prolonged habit.Plutarch.

Toga virilis—The manly robe.

[Greek]—What maintains me in life, that I regard as God. (?)

[Greek]—Doing more than one is able for argues a want of intelligence. (?)

Toil is polish’d man’s vocation; / Praises are the meed of skill; / Kings may vaunt their crown and station, / We will vaunt our labour still.Mangan.

Toil on, faint not, keep watch, and pray.Bonar.

Toils of empires pleasures are.Waller.

Toleration is good for all, or it is good for none.Burke.

Tolle jocos; non est jocus esse malignum—Away with such jokes; there is no joking where there is malignity.Horace.

Tolle periclum, / Jam vaga prosiliet frænis natura remotis—Take away the danger, remove restraint, and vagrant nature bounds forth free.Horace.

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

[Greek]—All are wont to praise him who is no more.Thucydides.

[Greek]—Speak not evil of the dead.Chilon.

Too austere a philosophy makes few wise men; too rigorous politics, few good subjects; and too hard a religion, few religious persons whose devotion is of long continuance.St. Evremond.

Too early and too thoroughly we cannot be trained to know that Would, in this world of ours, is as mere zero to Should, and, for most part, the smallest of fractions to Shall.Carlyle.

Too elevated qualities often unfit a man for society.Chamfort.

Too fair to worship, too divine to love.Milman.

Too low they build who build beneath the stars.Young.

Too many cooks spoil the broth.Proverb.

Too many instances there are of daring men, who by presuming to sound the deep things of religion, have cavilled and argued themselves out of all religion.Thomas à Kempis.

Too much gravity argues a shallow mind.Lavater.

Too much idleness, I have observed, fills up a man’s time much more completely, and leaves him less his own master, than any sort of employment whatsoever.Burke.

Too much is always bad; old proverbs call / Even too much honey nothing else than gall.Anonymous.

Too much mercy is want of mercy.Tennyson.

Too much of a good thing.As You Like It, iv. 1.

Too much of one thing is good for nothing.Thales and Solon.

Too much painstaking speaks disease in one’s mind, as much as too little.Carlyle.

Too much rest is rust.Scott.

Too much rest itself becomes a pain.Homer.

Too much sensibility creates unhappiness; too much insensibility creates crime.Talleyrand.

Too much wit / Makes the world rotten.Tennyson.

Too surely, every setting day, / Some lost delight we mourn.Keble.

Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.Romeo and Juliet, ii. 6.

Tooth of time.Meas. for Meas., v. 1.

Top and bottom teeth sometimes come into awkward collision.Chinese Proverb.

Torrens dicendi copia multis / Et sua mortifera est facundia—To many a torrent flow of speech and their own eloquence is fatal.Juvenal.

Toss’d on a sea of troubles, soul, my soul, / Thyself do thou control; / And to the weapons of advancing foes / A stubborn breast oppose.Archilochus.

Tot capita, tot sensus—So many heads, so many opinions.Terence.

Tot homines, quot sententiæ—So many men, so many minds.

Tot rami quot arbores—So many branches, so many trees.Motto.

Tota in minimis existit natura—The whole of nature exists in the very smallest things.Quoted by Emerson.

Totidem verbis—In so many words.

Toties quoties—As often, so often.

Toto cœlo—By the whole heavens; as wide as the poles asunder.

Totus in toto, et totus in qualibet parte—Whole in the whole, and whole in every part.Said of the human mind.

Totus mundus exercet histrioniam—All the world acts the player.

Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness, / Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.Mrs. van Alstyne.

Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out.Bible.


Toujours en vedette—Always on the lookout.Motto of Frederick the Great.

Toujours perdrix—Always partridges.French.

“Toujours perdrix” is sickening.John Wagstaffe.

Toujours prêt—Always ready.

Toujours propice—Always propitious.Motto.

Toujours tout droit, Dieu t’aidera!—Always straightforward, and God will help you!Motto.

Tour d’adresse—A trick of sleight of hand.French.

Tour de force—A feat of strength or skill.French.

Tourner autour du pot—To beat about the bush.French.

Tourner casaque—To change sides; become a turncoat.Proverb.

Tous frais faits—All charges paid.French.

Tous les genres sont bons hors le genre ennuyeux—All kinds are good except the kind that bores you.Voltaire.

Tous les hommes sont foux, et malgré tous leurs soins, / Ne diffèrent entr’eux, que du plus ou du moins—All men are fools, and notwithstanding all their care, they differ but in degree.Boileau.

Tous les méchants sont buveurs d’eau; / C’est bien prouvé par le déluge—All the wicked are water-drinkers; this the deluge proves.


Tout bien ou rien—All or nothing.Motto.

Tout chemin mène à Rome—Every road leads to Rome.

Tout d’en haut—All from above.Motto.

Tout doit tendre au bon sens: mais pour y parvenir / Le chemin est glissant et pénible a tenir—Everything ought to lead to good sense; but in order to attain to it, the road is slippery and difficult to walk in.Boileau.

Tout éloge imposteur blesse une âme sincère—Praise undeservedly bestowed wounds an honest heart.Boileau.

Tout est contradiction chez nous: la France, à parler sérieusement, est le royaume de l’esprit et de la sottise, de l’industrie et de la paresse, de la philosophie et du fanatisme, de la gaieté et du pédantisme, des loix et des abus, de bon goût et de l’impertinence—With us all is inconsistency. France, seriously speaking, is the country of wit and folly, of industry and idleness, of philosophy and fanaticism, of gaiety and pedantry, laws and their abuses, good taste and impertinence.Voltaire.

Tout est perdu fors l’honneur—All is lost save our honour.Francis I., after his defeat at Pavia.

Tout est pour le mieux dans le meilleur des mondes possibles—All is for the best in the best possible of worlds.Voltaire, in mockery of Leibnitz’s optimism.

Tout faiseur de journaux doit tribut au malin—Every journalist owes tribute to the evil one.La Fontaine.

Tout finit par des chansons—Everything in the end passes into song.Beaumarchais.

Tout flatteur vît au dépens de celui qui l’écoute—Every flatterer lives at the expense of him who listens to him.La Fontaine.

Tout notre mal vient de ne pouvoir être seul—All our unhappiness comes from our inability to be alone.La Bruyère.

Tout par raison—Everything agreeable to reason.Richelieu.

Tout soldat français porte dans sa giberne le bâton de maréchal de France—Every private in the French army carries a field-marshal’s baton in his knapsack.Napoleon.

Tout va à qui n’a pas besoin—Everything goes to him who does not need it.French Proverb.

Tout vient à point à qui sait attendre—Everything comes in time to the man who knows how to wait.French Proverb.

Tout vient de Dieu—Everything comes from God.Motto.

Toute révélation d’un secret est la faute de celui qui l’a confié—The disclosure of a secret is always the fault of him who confided it.French.

Toutes les fois que je donne une place vacante, je fais cent mécontents, et un ingrat—Every time I appoint to a vacant post, I make a hundred discontented and one ungrateful.Louis XIV.

Towards great persons use respective boldness: / That temper gives them theirs, and yet doth take / Nothing from thine.George Herbert.

Towers are measured by their shadows.Chinese Proverb.

Trade’s proud empire hastes to swift decay.Johnson.

Traditions make up the reasonings of the simple, and serve to silence every inquiry.Goldsmith.

Traduttori, traditori—Translators, traitors.Italian Proverb.

Tragedy has the great moral defect of giving too much importance to life and death.Chamfort.

Tragedy warms the soul, elevates the heart, can and ought to create heroes. In this sense, perhaps, France owes a part of her great actions to Corneille.Napoleon.

Trahit ipse furoris / Impetus, et visum est lenti quéesisse nocentem—The very violence of their rage drags them on, and to inquire who is guilty were a waste of time.Lucan.

Trahit sua quemque voluptas—Each man is led by his own liking.Virgil.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it.Bible.

Tranquil pleasures last the longest. We are not fitted to bear long the burden of great joys.Bovee.

Tranquillity is better than jollity, and to appease pain than to invent pleasure.Sir T. Browne.

Transeat in exemplum—Let it stand as a precedent, or an example.

Transitory is all human work, small in itself, contemptible; only the worker thereof and the spirit that dwelt in him is significant.Carlyle.

Trau keinem Freunde sonder Mängel, / Und lieb’ ein Mädchen, keinen Engel—Trust no friend without faults, and love a maiden, but no angel.Lessing.

Travel gives a character of experience to our knowledge, and brings the figures upon the tablet of memory into strong relief.Tuckerman.

Travel in the younger sort is a part of education; in the older, a part of experience.Bacon.

Travel is the frivolous part of serious lives, and the serious part of frivolous ones.Mme. Swetchine.

Travel teaches toleration.Disraeli.

Travelling is a fool’s paradise.Emerson.

Travelling is like gambling; it is ever connected with winning and losing, and generally where least expected we receive more or less than we hoped for.Goethe.

Tre lo sanno, tutti lo sanno—If three know it, all know it.Italian Proverb.

Tre taceranno, se due vi non sono—Three may keep counsel if two be away.Italian Proverb.

Treachery don’t come natural to beaming youth: but trust and pity, love and constancy, they do.Dickens.

Treason doth never prosper; what’s the reason? / Why if it prosper, none dare call it treason.Sir J. Harrington.

Treason has done his worst; nor steel, nor poison, / Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing / Can touch him further.Macbeth, iii. 2.

Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but justice delivers from death.Bible.

Trees and fields tell me nothing; men are my teachers.Plato.

Tremblez, tyrans; vous êtes immortels—Tremble, ye tyrants; ye cannot die.Delille.

Tria juncta in uno—Three joined in one.Motto.

Tribulation will not hurt you unless it does—what, alas! it too often does—unless it hardens you, and makes you sour and narrow and sceptical.Chapin.

Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools that have not wit enough to be honest.Ben. Franklin.

Trifles light as air / Are to the jealous confirmations strong / As proofs of holy writ.Othello, iii. 3.

Trifles make perfection, but perfection is no trifle.Michael Angelo.

Trifles make up the happiness or misery of mortal life.Alexander Smith.

Trifles themselves are elegant in him.Pope.

Trifles unconsciously bias us for or against a person from the very beginning.Schopenhauer.

Trifling precautions will often prevent great mischiefs; as a slight turn of the wrist parries a mortal thrust.R. Sharp.

Trinitas in Trinitate—Trinity in Trinity.Motto.

Tristis eris, si solus eris—You will be sad if you are alone.Ovid.

Triumphs for nothing and lamenting toys, / Is jollity for apes and grief for boys.Cymbeline, iv. 2.

Troops of furies march in the drunkard’s triumph.Zimmermann.

Trop de zèle gâte tout—Too much zeal spoils all.French Proverb.

Tros Tyriusve mihi nullo discrimine agetur—Trojan or Tyrian, it shall make no difference to me.Virgil.

Trotz alledem und alledem—For ’a that and ’a that.F. Freiligrath.

Trouble is a thing that will come without our call; but true joy will not spring up without ourselves.Bp. Patrick.

Trouble teaches men how much there is in manhood.Ward Beecher.

Truditur dies die, / Novæque pergunt interire lunæ—Day presses on the heels of day, and new moons hasten to their wane.Horace.

True art is like good company; it constrains us in the most charming way to recognise the standard after which and up to which our innermost being is shaped by culture.Goethe.

True art, which requires free and healthy faculties, is opposed to pedantry, which crushes the soul under a burden.Hamerton.

True bravery proposes a just end, measures the dangers, and, if necessary, the affront, with coldness.Francis la None.

True blue will never stain.Proverb.

True comeliness, which nothing can impair, / Dwells in the mind; all else is vanity and glare.Thomson.

True coral needs no painter’s brush.Proverb.

True dignity is never gained by place, and never lost when honours are withdrawn.Massinger.

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, / As those move easiest who have learned to dance.Pope.

True eloquence consists in saving all that is proper, and nothing more.La Rochefoucauld.

True eloquence scorns eloquence.Pascal.