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


We take less pains to be happy than to appear so.

La Rochefoucauld.

There is in us more of the appearance of sense and virtue than of the reality.

Marguerite de Valois.

A man may smile, and smile, and be a villain.


A miser grows rich by seeming poor; an extravagant man grows poor by seeming rich.


There is no vice so simple, but assumes some mark of virtue on its outward parts.


Polished brass will pass upon more people than rough gold.


A man of the world must seem to be that he wishes to be.

La Bruyère.

Men are like Geneva watches with crystal faces, which expose the whole movement.


Tangible language, which often tells more falsehoods than truths.

Abraham Lincoln.

  • Thy plain and open nature sees mankind
  • But in appearance, not what they are.
  • Froude.

    Even when the bird walks one feels that it has wings.


    Behavior is a mirror in which every one shows his image.


    To succeed in the world, we must be foolish in appearance, but really wise.


    How little do they see what is, who frame their hasty judgments upon that which seems!


    She looks as if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth.


    That gloomy outside, like a rusty chest, contains the shining treasure of a soul resolved and brave.


  • He has, I know not what
  • Of greatness in his looks, and of high fate
  • That almost awes me.
  • Dryden.

    O place! O form, how often dost thou with thy case, thy habit, wrench awe from fools, and tie the wiser souls to thy false seeming!


    There are no greater wretches in the world than many of those whom people in general take to be happy.


  • Appearances deceive
  • And this one maxim is a standing rule:
  • Men are not what they seem.
  • Havard.

    An emperor in his nightcap will not meet with half the respect of an emperor with a crown.


    Some men, like modern shops, hang everything in their show windows; when one goes inside, nothing is to be found.


    Men in general judge more from appearances than from reality. All men have eyes, but few have the gift of penetration.


    Weeds grow sometimes very much like flowers, and you can’t tell the difference between true and false merely by the shape.

    Paxton Hood.

    He had a head which statuaries loved to copy, and a foot the deformity of which the beggars in the streets mimicked.


  • We understood
  • Her by her sight; her pure and eloquent blood
  • Spoke in her cheeks, and so distinctly wrought,
  • That one might almost say her body thought.
  • Donne.

  • Within the oyster’s shell uncouth
  • The purest pearl may hide,
  • Trust me you’ll find a heart of truth
  • Within that rough outside.
  • Mrs. Osgood.

  • ’Tis not the fairest form that holds
  • The mildest, purest soul within;
  • ’Tis not the richest plant that holds
  • The sweetest fragrance in.
  • Dawes.

  • A sweet attractive kinde of grace,
  • A full assurance given by lookes,
  • Continuall comfort in a face
  • The lineaments of gospell bookes.
  • Matthew Royden.

    By a kind of fashionable discipline, the eye is taught to brighten, the lip to smile, and the whole countenance to emanate with the semblance of friendly welcome, while the bosom is unwarmed by a single spark of genuine kindness and good-will.

    Washington Irving.

    In all professions every one affects a particular look and exterior, in order to appear what he wishes to be thought; so that it may be said the world’s made up of appearances.

    La Rochefoucauld.

  • Why should the sacred character of virtue
  • Shine on a villain’s countenance? Ye powers!
  • Why fix’d you not a brand on treason’s front
  • That we might know t’ avoid perfidious mortals.
  • Dennis.

    In the condition of men, it frequently happens that grief and anxiety lie hid under the golden robes of prosperity; and the gloom of calamity is cheered by secret radiations of hope and comfort; as in the works of nature, the bog is sometimes covered with flowers, and the mine concealed in the barren crags.


    Surely you will not calculate any essential difference from mere appearances; for the light laughter that bubbles on the lip often mantles over brackish depths of sadness, and the serious look may be the sober veil that covers a divine peace. You know that the bosom can ache beneath diamond brooches; and how many blithe hearts dance under coarse wool!


    It is not every man that can afford to wear a shabby coat; and worldly wisdom dictates to her disciples the propriety of dressing somewhat beyond their means, but of living somewhat within them,—for every one sees how we dress, but none see how we live, except we choose to let them. But the truly great are, by universal suffrage, exempted from these trammels, and may live or dress as they please.


    In civilized society external advantages make us more respected. A man with a good coat upon his back meets with a better reception than he who has a bad one. You may analyze this and say, What is there in it? But that will avail you nothing, for it is a part of a general system.