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


Proverbs are potted wisdom.

Charles Buxton.

Apothegms form a short cut to much knowledge.


All generalizations are dangerous, even this one.

Dumas, Fils.

The Sibyl, speaking with inspired mouth, sends her voice to remotest ages.


Quotations are best brought in to confirm some opinion controverted.


Proverbs are, for the most part, rules of morals, and as such are often effective.

Rev. Dr. Sharp.

Aphorisms are portable wisdom, the quintessential extracts of thought and feeling.

W. R. Alger.

Apothegms are the most infallible mirror to represent a man truly what he is.


The genius, wit, and spirit of a nation are discovered by their proverbs.


Short, isolated sentences were the mode in which ancient wisdom delighted to convey its precepts for the regulation of human conduct.

Bishop Warburton.

Apothegms are, in history, the same as the pearls in the sand, or the gold in the mine.


What gems of painting or statuary are in the world of art, or what flowers are in the world of Nature, are gems of thought to the cultivated and thinking.

O. W. Holmes.

It is astonishing the influence foolish apothegms have upon the mass of mankind, though they are not unfrequently fallacies.

Sydney Smith.

Aphorisms, representing a knowledge broken, do invite men to inquire further; whereas methods carrying the show of a total do secure men, as if they were at furthest.


Out of monuments, names, words, proverbs, traditions, private records and evidences, fragments of stories, passages of books, and the like, we do save and recover somewhat from the deluge of time.


The little and short sayings of nice and excellent men are of great value, like the dust of gold, or the least sparks of diamonds.


A man of maxims only is like a Cyclops with one eye, and that eye placed in the back of his head.


He that lays down precepts for the governing of our lives, and moderating our passions, obliges humanity not only in the present, but in all future generations.


Thoughts take up no room. When they are right, they afford a portable pleasure, which one may travel with, without any trouble or encumbrance.

Jeremy Collier.

I am of opinion that there are no proverbial sayings which are not true, because they are all sentences drawn from experience itself, who is the mother of all sciences.


We content ourselves to present to thinking minds the original seeds from whence spring vast fields of new thought, that may be further cultivated, beautified, and enlarged.

Chevalier Ramsay.

Few of the many wise apothegms which have been uttered, from the time of the seven sages of Greece to that of poor Richard, have prevented a single foolish action.


The excellence of aphorisms consists not so much in the expression of some rare or abstruse sentiment, as in the comprehension of some useful truth in few words.


Under the veil of these curious sentences are hid those germs of morals which the masters of philosophy have afterwards developed into so many volumes.


Ethical maxims are bandied about as a sort of current coin of discourse, and, being never melted down for use, those that are of base metal are never detected.

Bishop Whately.

A maxim is the exact and noble expression of an important and indisputable truth. Sound maxims are the germs of good; strongly imprinted in the memory, they nourish the will.


Abstracts, abridgments, summaries, etc., have the same use with burning-glasses,—to collect the diffused rays of wit and learning in authors, and make them point with warmth and quickness upon the reader’s imagination.


An epigram often flashes light into regions where reason shines but dimly. Holmes disposed of a bigot at once, when he compared his mind to the pupil of the eye,—the more light you let into it the more it contracts.


He may justly be numbered among the benefactors of mankind who contracts the great rules of life into short sentences, that may be easily impressed on the memory, and taught by frequent recollection to recur habitually to the mind.


A few words worthy to be remembered suffice to give an idea of a great mind. There are single thoughts that contain the essence of a whole volume, single sentences that have the beauties of a large work, a simplicity so finished and so perfect that it equals in merit and in excellence a large and glorious composition.


The wise men of old have sent most of their morality down to the stream of time in the light skiff of apothegm or epigram; and the proverbs of nations, which embody the common sense of nations, have the brisk concussion of the most sparkling wit.