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


Even reproof, from authority ought to be grave, and not taunting.


There is no fettering of authority.


Self-possession is the backbone of authority.


A dog is obeyed in office.


Nothing is more gratifying to the mind of man than power of dominion.


Though authority be a stubborn bear, yet he is oft led by the nose with gold.


The love of power and the love of liberty are in eternal antagonism.

J. Stuart Mill.

Every legitimate authority should respect its extent and its limits.


Authority, though it err like others, hath yet a kind of medicine in itself, that skins the vice of the top.


A man in authority is but as a candle in the wind, sooner wasted or blown out than under a bushel.

Beaumont and Fletcher.

The reason why the simpler sort are moved by authority is the consciousness of their own ignorance.


God, who prepares His work through ages, accomplishes it, when the hour is come, with the feeblest instruments.

Merle D’Aubigné.

  • Authority bears so credent bulk,
  • That no particular scandal once can touch:
  • But it confounds the breather.
  • Shakespeare.

    All authority must be out of a man’s self, turned***either upon an art, or upon a man.


    Authority is by nothing so much strengthened and confirmed as by custom; for no man easily distrusts the things which he and all men have been always bred up to.

    Sir W. Temple.

    There is nothing sooner overthrows a weak head than opinion of authority, like too strong a liquor for a frail glass.

    Sir P. Sidney.

  • Authority forgets a dying king,
  • Laid widow’d of the power in his eye
  • That bow’d the will.
  • Tennyson.

    Three means to fortify belief are experience, reason, and authority. Of these the more potent is authority; for belief upon reason or experience will stagger.


    Mankind are apt to be strongly prejudiced in favor of whatever is countenanced by antiquity, enforced by authority, and recommended by custom.

    Robert Hall.

  • Shall remain!
  • Hear you this Triton of the minnows? mark you
  • His absolute “shall”?
  • Shakespeare.

    An argument from authority is but a weak kind of proof,—it being but a topical probation, and an inartificial argument depending on naked asseveration.

    Sir T. Browne.

  • Man, proud man!
  • Dress’d in a little brief authority:
  • Most ignorant of what he’s most assur’d.
  • His glassy essence—like an angry ape
  • Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven,
  • As make the angels weep.
  • Shakespeare.

    Meek young men grow up in libraries, believing it their duty to accept the views which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon have given; forgetful that Cicero, Locke, and Bacon were only young men in libraries when they wrote these books.


  • Not from gray hairs authority doth flow,
  • Nor from bald heads, nor from a wrinkled brow;
  • But our past life, when virtuously spent,
  • Must to our age those happy fruits present.
  • Denham.

    Authority is properly the servant of justice, and political powers are arbitrary and illegitimate if not based upon qualification for that service. This is the doctrine of the ethical derivation of authority or public power, as opposed to that of an unconditioned and inherent sovereignty.

    D. A. Wasson.

  • Thou hast seen a farmer’s dog bark at a beggar,
  • And the creature run from the cur: There,
  • There, thou might’st behold the great image of authority;
  • A dog’s obeyed in office.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Authority intoxicates,
  • And makes mere sots of magistrates;
  • The fumes of it invade the brain,
  • And make men giddy, proud and vain;
  • By this the fool commands the wise;
  • The noble with the base complies;
  • The sot assumes the role of wit,
  • And cowards make the base submit.
  • Butler.

    Most of our fellow-subjects are guided either by the prejudice of education or by a deference to the judgment of those who perhaps in their own hearts disapprove the opinions which they industriously spread among the multitude.