C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


The worst men often give the best advice.


Necessity is the only successful adviser.

Charles Reade.

Agreeable advice is seldom useful advice.


We ask advice, but we mean approbation.


Good counsels observed are chains to grace.


Good counsel has no price.


Many receive advice, only the wise profit by it.

Publius Syrus.

Men give away nothing so liberally as their advice.

La Rochefoucauld.

We give advice, but we do not inspire conduct.

La Rochefoucauld.

Do not take a blind guide nor a bad adviser.

Unknown Author.

Bad advice is often most fatal to the adviser.


A fop sometimes gives important advice.


Hazard not your wealth on a poor man’s advice.

Manuel Conde Lucanor.

Whatever advice you give, be short.


One can advise comfortably from a safe port.


Superfluous advice is not retained by the full mind.


We give advice by the bucket, but take it by the grain.

W. R. Alger.

It is not advice, but approval, which we crave.


The greatest trust between man and man is the trust of giving counsel.


He who was taught only by himself had a fool for a master.

Ben Jonson.

We all, when we are well, give good advice to the sick.


To attempt to advise conceited people is like whistling against the wind.


If you would convince a person of his mistake, accost him not when he is ruffled.

Dr. Watts.

Downright admonition, as a rule, is too blunt for the recipient.


I do not like giving advice: it is incurring an unnecessary responsibility.


Advice is like kissing: it costs nothing and is a pleasant thing to do.

H. W. Shaw.

Before giving advice we must have secured its acceptance, or, rather, have made it desired.


Any one can give advice, such as it is, but only a wise man knows how to profit by it.


When a wise man gives thee better counsel, give me mine again.


Begin nothing without considering what the end may be.

Lady M. W. Montagu.

Advice is seldom welcome. Those who need it most like it least.


He who can take advice is sometimes superior to him who can give it.

Von Knebel.

Advice is seldom welcome; and those who want it the most always like it the least.


Even the ablest pilots are willing to receive advice from passengers in tempestuous weather.


  • Know when to speak, for many times it brings
  • Danger to give the best advice to kings.
  • Herrick.

    Do not give to thy friends the most agreeable counsels, but the most advantageous.


    How is it that even castaways can give such good advice?

    Ninon de Lenclos.

    Admonish your friends privately, but praise them openly.

    Publius Syrus.

    The greatest trust between man and man is the trust of giving counsel.


    Wait for the season when to cast good counsels upon subsiding passion.


    Mishaps are mastered by advice discreet, and counsel mitigates the greatest smart.


    Let no man value at a little price a virtuous woman’s counsel.

    George Chapman.

    The pride of men will not often suffer reason to have any scope until it can be no longer of service.


    Let no man presume to give advice to others that has not first given good counsel to himself.


    How is it possible to expect that mankind will take advice when they will not so much as take warning.


    Those who give bad advice to the prudent, both lose their pains and are laughed to scorn.


    Every man, however wise, requires the advice of some sagacious friend in the affairs of life.


    Harsh counsels have no effect; they are like hammers which are always repulsed by the anvil.


    He had only one vanity; he thought he could give advice better than any other person.

    Samuel L. Clemens.

  • And may you better reck the rede,
  • Than ever did th’ adviser.
  • Burns.

  • ’Twas good advice, and meant,
  • “My son, be good.”
  • George Crabbe.

  • Bosom up my counsel,
  • You’ll find it wholesome.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Be niggards of advice on no pretense;
  • For the worst avarice is that of sense.
  • Pope.

  • For women with a mischief to their kind
  • Pervert with bad advice our better mind.
  • Dryden.

  • Here comes a man of comfort, whose advice
  • Hath often still’d my brawling discontent.
  • Shakespeare.

    It is always safe to learn even from our enemies, seldom safe to instruct even our friends.


    Advice is like snow: the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into, the mind.


  • I pray thee cease thy counsel,
  • Which falls into mine ears as profitless
  • As water in a sieve.
  • Shakespeare.

    Who will ever give counsel, if the counsel be judged by the event, and if it be not found wise, shall therefore be thought wicked?

    Sir P. Sidney.

    Remember this: they that will not be counselled cannot be helped. If you do not hear Reason, she will rap your knuckles.


    There is nearly as much ability requisite to know how to profit by good advice as to know how to act for one’s self.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    It has been well observed that few are better qualified to give others advice than those who have taken the least of it themselves.


    Counsel and conversation is a good second education, that improves all the virtue and corrects all the vice of the former, and of nature itself.


  • Let no man value at a little price
  • A virtuous woman’s counsel; her wing’d spirit
  • Is feather’d oftentimes with heavenly words.
  • George Chapman.

    In order to convince it is necessary to speak with spirit and wit; to advise, it must come from the heart.


    When we feel a strong desire to thrust our advice upon others, it is usually because we suspect their weakness; but we ought rather to suspect our own.


  • Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet,
  • To think how mony counsels sweet,
  • How mony lengthened, sage advices,
  • The husband frae the wife despises.
  • Burns.

  • Direct not him, whose way himself will choose;
  • ’Tis breath thou lack’st, and that breath wilt thou lose.
  • Shakespeare.

    I forget whether advice be among the lost things which Ariosto says are to be found in the moon: that and time ought to have been there.


  • She had a good opinion of advice,
  • Like all who give and eke receive it gratis,
  • For which small thanks are still the market price,
  • Even when the article at highest rate is.
  • Shakespeare.

    Advice, as it always gives a temporary appearance of superiority, can never be very grateful, even when it is most necessary or most judicious; but, for the same reason, every one is eager to instruct his neighbors.


    He who calls in the aid of an equal understanding doubles his own; and he who profits by a superior understanding raises his powers to a level with the height of the superior understanding he unites with.


    Vanity is so frequently the apparent motive of advice, that we, for the most part, summon our powers to oppose it without any very accurate inquiry whether it is right.

    Dr. Johnson.

    There is nothing of which men are more liberal than their good advice, be their stock of it ever so small; because it seems to carry in it an intimation of their own influence, importance, or worth.


    He that gives good advice builds with one hand; he that gives good counsel and example builds with the other; but he that gives good admonition and bad example builds with one hand and pulls down with the other.


    No man is so foolish but he may give another good counsel sometimes, and no man so wise but he may easily err, if he takes no other counsel than his own. He that was taught only by himself had a fool for a master.

    Ben Jonson.

    A man takes contradiction and advice much more easily than people think, only he will not bear it when violently given, even though it be well founded. Hearts are flowers; they remain open to the softly falling dew, but shut up in the violent downpour of rain.


    There is as much difference between the counsel that a friend giveth and that a man giveth himself, as there is between the counsel of a friend and of a flatterer; for there is no such flatterer as a man’s self, and there is no such remedy against flattery of a man’s self as the liberty of a friend.


    No one was ever the better for advice: in general, what we called giving advice was properly taking an occasion to show our own wisdom at another’s expense; and to receive advice was little better than tamely to afford another the occasion of raising himself a character from our defects.

    Lord Shaftesbury.

    If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men’s cottages, princes’ palaces. It is a good divine that follows his own instructions: I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done, than be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching.


  • Love all, trust a few,
  • Do wrong to none; be able for thine enemy
  • Rather in power than use; and keep thy friend
  • Under thine own life’s key; be checked for silence,
  • But never taxed for speech.
  • Shakespeare.

    It was the maxim, I think, of Alphonsus of Aragon, that dead counsellors are safest. The grave puts an end to flattery and artifice, and the information we receive from books is pure from interest, fear, and ambition. Dead counsellors are likewise most instructive, because they are heard with patience and with reverence.


  • Give thy thoughts no tongue,
  • Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
  • Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
  • The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
  • Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
  • But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
  • Of each new-hatched, unfledged comrade. Beware
  • Of entrance to a quarrel; but being in,
  • Bear it that the opposed may beware of thee;
  • Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice;
  • Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.
  • Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
  • But not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
  • For the apparel oft proclaims the man.
  • *****
  • Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
  • For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
  • And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
  • This above all: To thine own self be true,
  • And it must follow, as the night the day,
  • Thou canst not then be false to any man.
  • Shakespeare.

    It would truly be a fine thing if men suffered themselves to be guided by reason, that they should acquiesce in the true remonstrances addressed to them by the writings of the learned and the advice of friends. But the greater part are so disposed that the words which enter by one ear do incontinently go out of the other, and begin again by following the custom. The best teacher one can have is necessity.

    Francois la Noue.

    I lay very little stress either upon asking or giving advice. Generally speaking, they who ask advice know what they wish to do, and remain firm to their intentions. A man may allow himself to be enlightened on various points, even upon matters of expediency and duty; but, after all, he must determine his course of action for himself.

    Wilhelm von Humboldt.

    Advice is offensive, not because it lays us open to unexpected regret, or convicts us of any fault which has escaped our notice, but because it shows us that we are known to others as well as ourselves; and the officious monitor is persecuted with hatred, not because his accusation is false, but because he assumes the superiority which we are not willing to grant him, and has dared to detect what we desire to conceal.