C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.
A beautiful eye makes silence eloquent, a kind eye makes contradiction an assent, an enraged eye makes beauty deformed. This little member gives life to every other part about us; and I believe the story of Argus implies no more than that the eye is in every part; that is to say, every other part would be mutilated were not its force represented more by the eye than even by itself.
A brother’s sufferings claim a brother’s pity.
A cheerful temper, joined with innocence, will make beauty attractive, knowledge delightful, and wit good natured. It will lighten sickness, poverty and affliction; convert ignorance into an amiable simplicity, and render deformity itself agreeable.
A contemplation of God’s works, a generous concern for the good of mankind, and the unfeigned exercise of humility only, denominate men great and glorious.
A contented mind is the greatest blessing a man can enjoy in this world; and if in the present life his happiness arises from the subduing of his desires, it will arise in the nest from the gratification of them.
A few persons of an odious and despised country could not have filled the world with believers, had they not shown undoubted credentials from the divine person who sent them on such a message.
A fine coat is but a livery when the person who wears it discovers no higher sense than that of a footman.
A friend exaggerates a man’s virtues; an enemy inflames his crimes.
A friendship that makes the least noise is very often the most useful; for which reason I should prefer a prudent friend to a zealous one.
A good character, good habits, and iron industry are impregnable to the assaults of all the ill-luck that fools ever dreamed of.
A good conscience is to the soul what health is to the body; it preserves a constant ease and serenity within us, and more than countervails all the calamities and afflictions that can possibly befall us.
A just and reasonable modesty does not only recommend eloquence, but sets off every great talent which a man can be possessed of. It heightens all the virtues which it accompanies; like the shades of paintings, it raises and rounds every figure, and makes the colors more beautiful, though not so glowing as they would be without it.
A man improves more by reading the story of a person eminent for prudence and virtue, than by the finest rules and precepts of morality.
A man may smoke, or drink, or take snuff, till he is unable to pass away his time without it, not to mention how our delight in any particular study, art, or science, rises and improves in proportion to the application which we bestow upon it. Thus, what was at first an exercise, becomes at length an entertainment.
A man must be excessively stupid, as well as uncharitable, who believes there is no virtue but on his own side.
A man who has any relish for fine writing either discovers new beauties or receives stronger impressions from the masterly strokes of a great author every time he peruses him; besides that he naturally wears himself into the same manner of speaking and thinking.
A man with great talents, but void of discretion, is like Polyphemus in the fable, strong and blind, endued with an irresistible force, which for want of sight is of no use to him.
A man’s first care should be to avoid the reproaches of his own heart; his next, to escape the censures of the world. If the last interferes with the former, it ought to be entirely neglected; but otherwise there cannot be a greater satisfaction to an honest mind, than to see those approbations which it gives itself seconded by the applause of the public.
A man’s reputation draws eyes upon him that will narrowly inspect every part of him.
A money-lender. He serves you in the present tense; he lends you in the conditional mood; keeps you in the subjunctive; and ruins you in the future!
A religious hope does not only bear up the mind under her sufferings but makes her rejoice in them.
A satire should expose nothing but what is corrigible, and should make a due discrimination between those that are and those that are not the proper objects of it.
A solid and substantial greatness of soul looks down with neglect on the censures and applauses of the multitude.
A source of cheerfulness to a good mind is the consideration of that Being on whom we have our dependence, and in whom, though we behold Him as yet but in the first faint discoveries of His perfections, we see everything that we can imagine as great, glorious, or amiable. We find ourselves everywhere upheld by His goodness and surrounded by an immensity of love and mercy.
A statue lies hid in a block of marble, and the art of the statuary only clears away the superfluous matter and removes the rubbish. The figure is in the stone; the sculptor only finds it. What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul. The philosopher, the saint, or the hero,—the wise, the good, or the great man,—very often lies hid and concealed in a plebeian, which a proper education might have disinterred, and have brought to light.
A true critic ought rather to dwell upon excellences than imperfections, to discern the concealed beauties of a writer, and communicate to the world such things as are worth their observation.
A virtuous mind in a fair body is indeed a fine picture in a good light, and therefore it is no wonder that it makes the beautiful sex all aver charms.
A well regulated commerce is not, like law, physic, or divinity, to be overstocked with hands; but, on the contrary, flourishes by multitudes, and gives employment to all its professors.
Admiration is a very short-lived passion, that immediately decays upon growing familiar with its object, unless it be still fed with such discoveries, and kept alive by a new perpetual succession of miracles rising up to its view.
All of heaven we have below.
Allegories, when well chosen, are like so many tracks of light in a discourse, that make everything about them clear and beautiful.
Amidst the soft variety I’m lost.
Among the English authors, Shakespeare has incomparably excelled all others. That noble extravagance of fancy, which he had in so great perfection, thoroughly qualified him to touch the weak, superstitious part of his readers’ imagination, and made him capable of succeeding where he had nothing to support him besides the strength of his own genius.
Among the writers of antiquity there are none who instruct us more openly in the manners of their respective times in which they lived than those who have employed themselves in satire, under whatever dress it may appear.
Among those evils which befall us, there are many which have been more painful to us in the prospect than by their actual pressure.
An evil intention perverts the best actions, and makes them sins.
An idol may be undeified by many accidental causes. Marriage, in particular, is a kind of counter apotheosis, as a deification inverted. When a man becomes familiar with his goddess she quickly sinks into a woman.
An indiscreet man is more hurtful than an ill-natured one; for as the latter will only attack his enemies, and those he wishes ill to, the other injures indifferently both friends and foes.
An ostentatious man will rather relate a blunder or an absurdity he has committed, than be debarred from talking of his own dear person.
Animals in their generation are wiser than the sons of men; but their wisdom is confined to a few particulars, and lies in a very narrow compass.
Arguments out of a pretty mouth are unanswerable.
Arnobius tells us that this martyrdom first of all made them seriously inquisitive into that religion which could endue the mind with so much strength and overcome the fear of death.
As for the ass’s behavior in such nice circumstances, whether he would starve sooner than violate his neutrality to the two bundles of hay, I shall not presume to determine.
As to be perfectly just is an attribute of the Divine nature, to be so to the utmost of our abilities is the glory of man.
As vivacity is the gift of woman, gravity is that of man.
Beauty commonly produces love, but cleanliness preserves it. Age itself is not unamiable while it is preserved clean and unsullied; like a piece of metal constantly kept smooth and bright, we look on it with more pleasure than on a new vessel cankered with rust.
Beauty soon grows familiar to the lover, fades in his eyes, and palls upon the sense.
Books are the legacies that genius leaves to mankind, to be delivered down from generation to generation, as presents to the posterity of those that are yet unborn.
By anticipation we suffer misery and enjoy happiness before they are in being. We can set the sun and stars forward, or lose sight of them by wandering into those retired parts of eternity when the heavens and earth shall be no more.
Charity is a virtue of the heart and not of the hands.
Charity is the perfection and ornament of religion.
Cheerfulness bears the same friendly regard to the mind as to the body; it banishes all anxious care and discontent, soothes and composes the passions and keeps them in a perpetual calm.
Cheerfulness is, in the first place, the best promoter of health. Repining and secret murmurs of heart give imperceptible strokes to those delicate fibres of which the vital parts are composed.
Cleanliness may be defined to be the emblem of purity of mind.
Complaisance renders a superior amiable, an equal agreeable, and an inferior acceptable.
Complaisance, though in itself it be scarce reckoned in the number of moral virtues, is that which gives a lustre to every talent a man can be possessed of. It was Plato’s advice to an unpolished writer that he should sacrifice to the graces. In the same manner I would advise every man of learning, who would not appear in the world a mere scholar or philosopher, to make himself master of the social virtue which I have here mentioned.
Content thyself to live obscurely good.
Contentment produces, in some measure, all those effects which the alchemist usually ascribes to what he calls the philosopher’s stone; and if it does not bring riches, it does the same thing by banishing the desire for them.
Courage that grows from constitution very often forsakes a man when he has occasion for it, and, when it is only a kind of instinct in the soul, breaks out on all occasions, without judgment or discretion. That courage which proceeds from the sense of our duty, and from the fear of offending Him that made us, acts always in a uniform manner, and according to the dictates of right reason.
Cunning has only private selfish aims, and sticks at nothing which may make them succeed. Discretion has large and extended views, and, like a well-formed eye, commands a whole horizon; cunning is a kind of short-sightedness, that discovers the minutest objects which are near at hand, but is not able to discern things at a distance.
Cunning is only the mimic of discretion, and may pass upon weak men, in the same manner as vivacity is often mistaken for wit, and gravity for wisdom.
Dependence is a perpetual call upon humanity, and a greater incitement to tenderness and pity than any other motive whatever.
Devotion, when it does not lie under the check of reason, is apt to degenerate into enthusiasm.
Discretion is the perfection of reason, and a guide to win all the duties of life.
E’en the rough rocks with tender myrtle bloom, and trodden weeds send out a rich perfume.
Encourage innocent amusement.
Eternity, thou pleasing, dreadful thought!
Even the greatest actions of a celebrated person labor under this disadvantage, that however surprising and extraordinary they may be, they are no more than what are expected from him.
Every man in the time of courtship and in the first entrance of marriage, puts on a behavior like my correspondent’s holiday suit.
Every one knows the veneration which was paid by the Jews to a name so great, wonderful, and holy. They would not let it enter even into their religious discourses. What can we then think of those who make use of so tremendous a name, in the ordinary expression of their anger, mirth, and most impertinent passions?
Every passion gives a particular cast to the countenance, and is apt to discover itself in some feature or other. I have seen an eye curse for half an hour together, and an eyebrow call a man a scoundrel.
Fables take off from the severity of instruction, and enforce it at the same time that they conceal it.
Facts are plain spoken; hopes and figures are its aversion.
Fame is a good so wholly foreign to our natures that we have no faculty in the soul adapted to it, nor any organ in the body to relish it; an object of desire placed out of the possibility of fruition.
Fine sense and exalted sense are not half so useful as common sense; there are forty men of wit for one man of good sense; and he that will carry nothing about with him but gold, will be every day at a loss for readier change.
For my own part, I am apt to join in the opinion with those who believe that all the regions of Nature swarm with spirits, and that we have multitudes of spectators on all our actions when we think ourselves most alone.
Forever singing, as they shine, the hand that made us is divine.
Foul with stains of gushing torrents and descending rains.
From social intercourse are derived some of the highest enjoyments of life; where there is a free interchange of sentiments, the mind acquires new ideas; and by a frequent exercise of its powers, the understanding gains fresh vigor.
Gifts and alms are the expressions, not the essence, of this virtue.
God discovers the martyr and confessor without the trial of flames and tortures, and will hereafter entitle many to the reward of actions which they had never the opportunity of performing.
Gold is a wonderful clearer of the understanding; it dissipates every doubt and scruple in an instant, accommodates itself to the meanest capacities, silences the loud and clamorous, and brings over the most obstinate and inflexible.
Good breeding shows itself most where, to an ordinary eye, it appears the least.
Good nature will always supply the absence of beauty; but beauty cannot supply the absence of good nature.
Good-nature is more agreeable in conversation than wit, and gives a certain air to the countenance which is more amiable than beauty. It shows virtue in the fairest light; takes off in some measure from the deformity of vice; and makes even folly and impertinence supportable.
Government mitigates the inequality of power, and makes an innocent man, though of the lowest rank, a match for the mightiest of his fellow-subjects.
Guard thy heart on this weak side, where most our nature fails.
Half the misery of human life might be extinguished, would men alleviate the general curse they lie under, by mutual offices of compassion, benevolence, and humanity.
He who would pass the declining years of his life with honor and comfort, should when young, consider that he may one day become old, and remember, when he is old, that he has once been young.
Health and cheerfulness mutually beget each other.
Here the marble statues breathe in rows.
His fancy lost in pleasant dreams.
How can it enter into the thoughts of man, that the soul, which is capable of such immense perfections, and of receiving new improvements to all eternity, shall fall away into nothing almost as soon as it is created?
How is it possible for those who are men of honor in their persons, thus to become notorious liars in their party?
Hudibras has defined nonsense, as Cowley does wit, by negatives. Nonsense, he says, is that which is neither true nor false. These two great properties of nonsense, which are always essential to it, give it such a peculiar advantage over all other writings, that it is incapable of being either answered or contradicted.
Hunting is not a proper employment for a thinking man.
Hypocrisy itself does great honor, or rather justice, to religion, and tacitly acknowledges it to be an ornament to human nature. The hypocrite would not be at so much pains to put on the appearance of virtue, if he did not know it was the most proper and effectual means to gain the love and esteem of mankind.
I am sick of this bad world! The daylight and the sun grow painful to me.
I believe that everyone, some time or other, dreams that he is reading papers, books, or letters; in which case the invention prompts so readily that the mind is imposed upon, and mistakes its own suggestions for the composition of another.
I consider a human soul without education like marble in the quarry, which shows none of its inherent beauties until the skill of the polisher fetches out the colors and makes the surface shine.
I have always preferred cheerfulness to mirth. The latter I consider as an art, the former as a habit of mind. Mirth is short and transient, cheerfulness fixed and permanent.
I have often reflected within myself on this unaccountable humor in womankind of being smitten with everything that is showy and superficial, and on the numberless evils that befall the sex from this light fantastical disposition.
I never knew a critic who made it his business to lash the faults of other writers that was not guilty of greater himself—as the hangman is generally a worse malefactor than the criminal that suffers by his hand.
I think I may define it to be that faculty of the soul which discerns the beauties of an author with pleasure, and the imperfections with dislike.
I tremble at his vehemence of temper.
I would have every zealous man examine his heart thoroughly, and I believe he will often find that what he calls a zeal for his religion is either pride, interest, or ill-repute.
I’m weary of conjectures: this must end them.
If friends to a government forbear their assistance, they put it in the power of a few desperate men to ruin the welfare of those who are superior to them in strength and interest.
If gratitude, when exerted towards another, naturally produces a very pleasing sensation in the mind of a grateful man, it exalts the soul into rapture when it is employed on this great object of gratitude to the beneficent Being who has given us everything we already possess, and from whom we expect everything we yet hope for.
If our zeal were true and genuine we should be much more angry with a sinner than a heretic.
If ridicule were employed to laugh men out of vice and folly, it might be of some use.
If the minds of men were laid open, we should see but little difference between them and that of the fool; there are infinite reveries and numberless extravagancies pass through both.
If we look into communities and divisions of men, we observe that the discreet man, not the witty, nor the learned, nor the brave, guides the conversation, and gives measure to society.
If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius.
In England we see people lulled asleep with solid and elaborate discourses of piety, who would be warmed and transported out of themselves by the bellowings and distortions of enthusiasm.
In love to our wives there is desire, to our sons there is ambition; but in that to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express.
In private conversation between intimate friends, the wisest men very often talk like the weakest; for indeed the talking with a friend is nothing else but thinking aloud.
In rising sighs and falling tears.
In short, heaven is not to be looked upon only as the reward, but as the natural effect, of a religious life.
In that disputable point of persecuting men for conscience sake, I see such dreadful consequences rising, I would be as fully convinced of the truth of it as a mathematical demonstration, before I would venture to act upon it or make it a part of my religion.
In the common run of mankind, for one that is wise and good you find ten of a contrary character.
In the founders of great families, titles or attributes of honor are generally correspondent with the virtues of the person to whom they are applied; but in their descendants they are too often the marks rather of grandeur than of merit. The stamp and denomination still continue, but the intrinsic value is frequently lost.
In the loss of an object we do not proportion our grief to the real value it bears, but to the value our fancies set upon it.
In the recognition of beauty, the eye takes the most delight in color.
Instability of temper ought to be checked when it disposes men to wander from one scheme to another; since such a fickleness cannot but be attended with fatal consequences.
Irregularity and want of method are only supportable in men of great learning or genius, who are often too full to be exact, and therefore choose to throw down their pearls in heaps before the reader rather than be at the pains of stringing them.
Irresolution on the schemes of life which offer themselves to our choice, and inconstancy in pursuing them, are the greatest causes of all our unhappiness.
It generally takes its rise either from an ill-will to mankind, a private inclination to make ourselves esteemed, an ostentation of wit, and vanity of being thought in the secrets of the world; or from a desire of gratifying any of these dispositions of mind in those persons with whom we converse.
It happened very providentially, to the honor of the Christian religion, that it did not take its rise in the dark illiterate ages of the world, but at a time when arts and sciences were at their height.
It has been said in praise of some men, that they could talk whole hours together upon anything; but it must be owned to the honor of the other sex that there are many among them who can talk whole hours together upon nothing. I have known a woman branch out into a long extempore dissertation on the edging of a petticoat, and chide her servant for breaking a china cup, in all the figures of rhetoric.
It is a fine simile in one of Mr. Congreve’s prologues which compares a writer to a battering gamester that stakes all his winnings upon one cast, so that if he loses the last throw he is sure to be undone.
It is a folly for an eminent man to think of escaping censure, and a weakness to be affected with it. All the illustrious persons of antiquity, and indeed of every age in the world, have passed through this fiery persecution. There is no defense against reproach but obscurity; it is a kind of concomitant to greatness, as satires and invectives were an essential part of a Roman triumph.
It is a great presumption to ascribe our successes to our own management, and not to esteem ourselves upon any blessing, rather as it is the bounty of heaven, than the acquisition of our own prudence.
It is always to be understood, that a lady takes all you detract from the rest of her sex to be a gift to her.
It is certain that there is no other passion which does produce such contrary effects in so great a degree. But this may be said for love, that if you strike it out of the soul, life would be insipid, and our being but half animated.
It is folly to seek the approbation of any being besides the Supreme.
It is heaven itself that points out an hereafter, and intimates eternity to man.
It is impossible for authors to discover beauties in one another’s works: they have eyes only for spots and blemishes.
It is much easier to decide what is not humorous than what is, and very difficult to define it otherwise than Cowley has done, by negatives.
It is not the business of virtue to extirpate the affections of the mind, but to regulate them.
It is observed by Cicero, that men of the greatest and most shining parts are most actuated by ambition.
It is odd to consider the connection between despotism and barbarity, and how the making one person more than man makes the rest less.
It is of unspeakable advantage to possess our minds with an habitual good intention, and to aim all our thoughts, words, and actions at some laudable end.
It is pleasant to see a notorious profligate seized with a concern for religion, and converting his spleen into zeal.
It is ridiculous for any man to criticise on the works of another who has not distinguished himself by his own performances.
It is the privilege of posterity to set matters right between those antagonists who, by their rivalry for greatness, divided a whole age.
It is wonderful to see persons of sense passing away a dozen hours together in shuffling and dividing a pack of cards.
It must be a prospect pleasing to God Himself to see His creation forever beautifying in His eyes, and drawing nearer Him by greater degrees of resemblance.
Justice discards party, friendship, kindred, and is always, therefore, represented as blind.
Knavery is ever suspicious of knavery.
Labor or exercise ferments the humors, casts them into their proper channels, throws off redundancies, and helps nature in those secret distributions without which the body cannot subsist in its vigor nor the soul act with cheerfulness.
Lampoons and satires, that are written with wit and spirit, are like poisoned darts, which not only inflict a wound, but make it incurable.
Learning, like traveling and all other methods of improvement, as it finishes good sense, so it makes a silly man ten thousand times more insufferable by supplying variety of matter to his impertinence, and giving him an opportunity of abounding in absurdities.
Let fierce contending nations know what dire effects from civil discord flow.
Look what a little vain dust we are!
Love, anger, pride and avarice all visibly move in those little orbs.
Make not my ear a stranger to thy thoughts.
Man is the merriest species of creation; all above and below him are serious.
Mankind are more indebted to industry than ingenuity; the gods set up their favors at a price, and industry is the purchaser.
Many actions calculated to procure fame are not conducive to ultimate happiness.
Marriage enlarges the scene of our happiness and miseries. A marriage of love is pleasant; a marriage of interest, easy; and a marriage where both meet, happy. A happy marriage has in it all the pleasures of friendship, all the enjoyments of sense and reason, and, indeed, all the sweets of life.
Men may change their climate, but they cannot change their nature. A man that goes out a fool cannot ride or sail himself into common sense.
Men naturally warm and heady are transported with the greatest flush of good-nature.
Mere bashfulness without merit is awkwardness.
Method is not less requisite in ordinary conversation than in writing, provided a man would talk to make himself understood.
Misery and ignorance are always the cause of great evils. Misery is easily excited to anger, and ignorance soon yields to perfidious counsels.
Modesty is not only an ornament, but also a guard to virtue.
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.
Music is the only sensual gratification which mankind may indulge in to excess without injury to their moral or religious feelings.
Music when thus applied raises in the mind of the hearer great conceptions. It strengthens devotion, and advances praise into rapture.
Music, among those who were styled the chosen people, was a religious art.
Must one rash word, the infirmity of age, throw down the merit of my better years?
Mutability of temper and inconsistency with ourselves is the great weakness of human nature.
My heart leaps at the trumpet’s voice.
Nature has laid out all her art in beautifying the face; she has touched it with vermilion, planted in it a double row of ivory, made it the seat of smiles and blushes, lighted it up and enlivened it with the brightness of the eyes, hung it on each side with curious organs of sense, given it airs and graces that cannot be described, and surrounded it with such a flowing shade of hair as sets all its beauties in the most agreeable light.
Nature has sometimes made a fool; but a coxcomb is always of a man’s own making.
Nature seems to have taken a particular care to disseminate her blessings among the different regions of the world, with an eye to their mutual intercourse and traffic among mankind, that the nations of the several parts of the globe might have a kind of dependence upon one another and be united together by their common interest.
No man writes a book without meaning something, though he may not have the faculty of writing consequentially and expressing his meaning.
Nothing is more gratifying to the mind of man than power of dominion.
Nothing lies on our hands with such uneasiness as time. Wretched and thoughtless creatures! In the only place where covetousness were a virtue we turn prodigals.
Nothing makes a woman more esteemed by the opposite sex than chastity; whether it be that we always prize those most who are hardest to come at, or that nothing besides chastity, with its collateral attendants, truth, fixity, and constancy, gives the man a property in the person he loves, and consequently endears her to him above all things.
Nothing makes men sharper than want.
Nothing that is not a real crime makes a man appear so contemptible and little in the eyes of the world as inconstancy.
Nothing, says Longinus, can be great, the contempt of which is great.
Notwithstanding that natural love in brutes is much more violent and intense than in rational creatures, Providence has taken care that it should be no longer troublesome to the parent than it is useful to the young; for so soon as the wants of the latter cease, the mother withdraws her fondness, and leaves them to provide for themselves.
Novelty serves us for a kind of refreshment, and takes off from that satiety we are apt to complain of in our usual and ordinary entertainments.
Of all hardness of heart there is none so inexcusable as that of parents toward their children. An obstinate, inflexible, unforgiving temper is odious upon all occasions; but here it is unnatural.
Of his shallow species there is not a more unfortunate, empty and conceited animal than that which is generally known by the name of a critic.
One may know a man that never conversed in the world, by his excess of good-breeding.
One of the most important, but one of the most difficult things to a powerful mind is to be its own master; a pond may lay quiet in a plain, but a lake wants mountains to compass and hold it in.
One would fancy that the zealots in atheism would be exempt from the single fault which seems to grow out of the imprudent fervor of religion. But so it is, that irreligion is propagated with as much fierceness and contention, wrath and indignation, as if the safety of mankind depended upon it.
One would think that the larger the company is in which we are engaged, the greater variety of thoughts and subjects would be started into discourse; but, instead of this we find that conversation is never so much straightened and confined, as in numerous assemblies.
Others proclaim the infirmities of a great man with satisfaction and complacence, if they discover none of the like in themselves.
Our admiration of a famous man lessens upon our nearer acquaintance with him; and we seldom hear of a celebrated person without a catalogue of some notorious weaknesses and infirmities.
Our Grub-street biographers watch the death of a great man like so many undertakers on purpose to make a penny of him.
Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience, and we soon shall see them in proper figures.
Our sight is the most perfect and most delightful of all our senses; it fills the mind with the largest variety of ideas;—converses with its objects at the greatest distance, and continues the longest in action without being tired or satiated with its proper enjoyments.
Peaceable times are the best to live in, though not so proper to furnish materials for a writer.
Pedantry in learning is like hypocrisy in religion—a form of knowledge without the power of it.
Persons in great stations have seldom their true character drawn till several years after their death. Their personal friendships and enmities must cease, and the parties they were engaged in be at an end, before their faults or their virtues can have justice done them. When writers have the least opportunities of knowing the truth, they are in the best disposition to tell it.
Physic, for the most part, is nothing else but the substitute of exercise and temperance.
Plutarch has written an essay on the benefits which a man may receive from his enemies; and, among the good fruits of enmity, mentions this in particular, that by the reproaches which it casts upon us, we see the worst side of ourselves.
Plutarch says very finely that a man should not allow himself to hate even his enemies.
Poverty palls the most generous spirits; it cows industry, and casts resolution itself into despair.
Prejudice and self-sufficiency naturally proceed from inexperience of the world and ignorance of mankind.
Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. As by the one, health is preserved, strengthened, and invigorated; by the other, virtue (which is the health of the mind) is kept alive, cherished, and confirmed.
Reason shows itself in all occurrences of life; whereas the brute makes no discovery of such a talent, but in what immediately regards his own preservation or the continuance of his species.
Religion contracts the circle of our pleasures, but leaves it wide enough for her votaries to expatiate in.
Religion prescribes to every miserable man the means of bettering his condition; nay, it shows him that the bearing of his afflictions as he ought to do, will naturally end in the removal of them.
Riches are apt to betray a man into arrogance.
Riches expose a man to pride and luxury, and a foolish elation of heart.
Ridicule is generally made use of to laugh men out of virtue and good sense, by attacking everything praiseworthy in human life.
Should a writer single out and point his raillery at particular persons, or satirize the miserable, he might be sure of pleasing a great part of his readers, but must be a very ill man if he could please himself.
Should I publish any favors done me by your lordship, I am afraid it would look more like vanity than gratitude.
Silence never shows itself to so great an advantage as when it is made the reply to calumny and defamation, provided that we give no just occasion for them.
Simonides, a poet famous in his generation, is, I think, author of the oldest satire that is now extant, and, as some say, of the first that was ever written.
Sir Francis Bacon observed that a well-written book, compared with its rivals and antagonists, is like Moses’ serpent, that immediately swallowed up and devoured those of the Egyptians.
Speechless with wonder and half dead with fear.
Supposing all the great points of atheism were formed into a kind of creed, I would fain ask whether it would not require an infinite greater measure of faith than any set of articles which they so violently oppose.
Sweet are the slumbers of the virtuous man.
Talking with a friend is nothing else but thinking aloud.
Temperance gives nature her full play, and enables her to exert herself in all her force and vigor.
Thanks to the gods; my boy has done his duty.
That charity which is the perfection and ornament of religion.
That courage which arises from the sense of our duty, and from the fear of offending Him that made us, acts always in a uniform manner, and according to the dictates of right reason.
That fine part of our construction, the eye, seems as much the receptacle and seat of our passions as the mind itself; and at least it is the outward portal to introduce them to the house within, or rather the common thoroughfare to let our affections pass in and out.
The care of our national commerce redounds more to the riches and prosperity of the public than any other act of government.
The chief ingredients in the composition of those qualities that gain esteem and praise are good nature, truth, good sense, and good breeding.
The consciousness of being loved softens the keenest pang even at the moment of parting; yea, even the eternal farewell is robbed of half of its bitterness when uttered in accents that breathe love to the last sigh.
The courage that grows from constitution very often forsakes a man when he has occasion for it; and when it is only a kind of instinct in the soul, it breaks out on all occasions, without judgment or discretion.
The first of all virtues is innocence; the next is modesty. If we banish modesty out of the world, she carries away with her half the virtue that is in it.
The first race of mankind used to dispute, as our ordinary people do now-a-days, in a kind of wild logic, uncultivated by rule of art.
The friendships of the world are oft confederacies in vice, or leagues of pleasure.
The gods in bounty work up storms about us, that give mankind occasion to exert their hidden strength, and throw out into practice virtues that shun the day, and lie concealed in the smooth seasons and the calms of life.
The great art in writing advertisements is the finding out a proper method to catch the reader’s eye; without, a good thing may pass over unobserved, or be lost among commissions of bankrupt.
The great number of the Jews furnishes us with a sufficient cloud of witnesses that attest the truth of the Bible.
The greatest parts, without discretion, as observed by an elegant writer, may be fatal to their owner; as Polyphemus, deprived of his eyes, was only the more exposed on account of His enormous strength and stature.
The head has the most beautiful appearance, as well as the highest station, in a human figure.
The hours of a wise man are lengthened by his ideas, as those of a fool are by his passions. The time of the one is long, because he does not know what to do with it; so is that of the other, because he distinguishes every moment of it with useful or amusing thoughts—or, in other words, because the one is always wishing it away, and the other always enjoying it.
The intelligence of affection is carried on by the eye only; good-breeding has made the tongue falsify the heart, and act a part of continued restraint, while nature has preserved the eyes to herself, that she may not be disguised or misrepresented.
The jealous man’s disease is of so malignant a nature that it converts all it takes into its own nourishment.
The lives of great men cannot be writ with any tolerable degree of elegance or exactness within a short time after their decease.
The man who will live above his present circumstances is in great danger of living in a little time much beneath them, or, as the Italian proverb says: “The man who lives by hope will die by despair.”
The memory is perpetually looking back when we have nothing present to entertain us. It is like those repositories in animals that are filled with food, on which they may ruminate when their present pastures fail.
The moderns cannot reach their beauties, but can avoid their imperfections.
The moral perfections of the Deity, the more attentively we consider, the more perfectly still shall we know them.
The most exquisite words and finest strokes of an author are those which very often appear the most doubtful and exceptionable to a man who wants a relish for polite learning; and they are those which a sour undistinguishing critic generally attacks with the greatest violence.
The most skillful flattery is to let a person talk on, and be a listener.
The natural homage which such a creature as Man bears to an infinitely wise and good God, is a firm Reliance on Him for the blessings and conveniences of life, and an habitual Trust in Him for deliverance out of all such dangers and difficulties as may befall us. The man who always lives in this disposition of mind, when he reflects upon his own weakness and imperfection, comforts himself with the contemplation of those Divine attributes which are employed for his safety and welfare. He finds his want of foresight made up by the omniscience of Him who is his support. He is not sensible of his own want of strength when he knows that his Helper is Almighty. In short, the person who has a firm Trust on the Supreme Being, is powerful in his power, wise by his wisdom, happy by his happiness.
The passion for praise, which is so very vehement in the fair sex, produces excellent effects in women of sense, who desire to be admired for that which only deserves admiration.
The peacock in all his pride does not display half the colors that appear in the garments of a British lady when she is dressed.
The person who has a firm trust in the Supreme Being is powerful in his power, wise by his wisdom, happy by his happiness.
The pleasantest part of a man’s life is generally that which passes in courtship, provided his passion be sincere, and the party beloved kind with discretion. Love, desire, hope, all the pleasing emotions of the soul, rise in the pursuit.
The pride of woman, natural to her, never sleeps until modesty is gone.
The productions of a great genius, with many lapses and inadvertences, are infinitely preferable to the works of an inferior kind of author which are scrupulously exact, and conformable to all the rules of correct writing.
The schoolboy counts the time till the return of the holidays; the minor longs to be of age; the lover is impatient till he is married.
The sense of honor is of so fine and delicate a nature, that it is only to be met with in minds which are naturally noble, or in such as have been cultivated by good examples, or a refined education.
The soul, considered with its Creator, is like one of those mathematical lines that may draw nearer to another for all eternity without a possibility of touching it; and can there be a thought so transporting as to consider ourselves in these perpetual approaches to Him, who is not only the standard of perfection, but of happiness?
The stars shall fade away, the sun himself grow dim with age, and Nature sink in years.
The statue lies hid in a block of marble; and the art of the statuary only clears away the superfluous matter, and removes the rubbish.
The talent of turning men into ridicule, and exposing to laughter those one converses with, is the gratification of little minds and ungenerous tempers. A young man with this cast of mind cuts himself off from all manner of improvement.
The time never lies heavy upon him; it is impossible for him to be alone.
The truth of it is, there is nothing in history which is so improving to the reader as those accounts which we meet with of the death of eminent persons and of their behavior in that dreadful season.
The ungrown glories of his beamy hair.
The utmost we can hope for in this world is contentment; if we aim at anything higher, we shall meet with nothing but grief and disappointment. A man should direct all his studies and endeavors at making himself easy now and happy hereafter.
The very first discovery of beauty strikes the mind with an inward joy, and spreads a cheerfulness and delight through all its faculties.
The voice of reason is more to be regarded than the bent of any present inclination; since inclination will at length come over to reason, though we can never force reason to comply with inclination.
The woman that deliberates is lost.
The world is so full of ill-nature that I have lampoons sent me by people who cannot spell, and satires composed by those who scarce know how to write.
There are greater depths and obscurities, greater intricacies and perplexities, in an elaborate and well-written piece of nonsense, than in the most abstruse and profound tract of school divinity.
There are many more shining qualities in the mind of man, but there is none so useful as discretion.
There are no more useful members in a commonwealth than merchants. They knit mankind together in a mutual intercourse of good offices, distribute the gifts of Nature, find work for the poor, and wealth to the rich, and magnificence to the great.
There in nothing in which men more deceive themselves than in what they call zeal.
There is a great affinity between designing and art.
There is a kind of grandeur and respect which the meanest and most insignificant part of mankind endeavor to procure in the little circle of their friends and acquaintance. The poorest mechanic, nay, the man who lives upon common alms, gets him his set of admirers, and delights in that superiority which he enjoys over those who are in some respects beneath him. This ambition, which is natural to the soul of man, might, methinks, receive a very happy turn; and, if it were rightly directed, contribute as much to a person’s advantage, as it generally does to his uneasiness and disquiet.
There is a sort of economy in Providence that one shall excel where another is defective, in order to make men more useful to each other, and mix them in society.
There is more of turn than of truth in a saying of Seneca, “That drunkenness does not produce but discover faults.” Common experience teaches the contrary. Wine throws a man out of himself, and infuses qualities into the mind which she is a stranger to in her sober moments.
There is no defense against reproach but obscurity; it is a kind of concomitant to greatness, as satires and invectives were an essential part of a Roman triumph.
There is no greater sign of a general decay of virtue in a nation than a want of zeal in its inhabitants for the good of their country.
There is no passion that is not finely expressed in those parts of the inspired writings which are proper for divine songs and anthems.
There is no passion which steals into the heart more imperceptibly, and covers itself under more disguises, than pride.
There is no society or conversation to be kept up in the world without good-nature, or something which must bear its appearance, and supply its place. For this reason mankind have been forced to invent a kind of artificial humanity, which is what we express by the word “good-breeding.” For, if we examine thoroughly the idea of what we call so, we shall find it to be nothing else but an imitation and mimicry of good-nature, or, in other terms, affability, complaisance, and easiness of temper reduced into an art.
There is no talent so pernicious as eloquence to those who have it under command.
There is no virtue so truly great and godlike as justice.
There is nobody so weak of invention that cannot make some little stories to villify his enemy.
There is not a more melancholy object than a man who has his head turned with religious enthusiasm.
There is not a more pleasing exercise of the mind than gratitude. It is accompanied with such an inward satisfaction that the duty is sufficiently rewarded by the performance.
There is not so variable a thing in nature as a lady’s head-dress.
There is not, in my opinion, anything more mysterious in nature than this instinct in animals, which thus rise above reason and fall infinitely short of it.
There is nothing that makes its way more directly to the soul than beauty.
There is nothing truly valuable which can be purchased without pains and labor. The gods have set a price upon every real and noble pleasure.
There is nothing which one regards so much with an eye of mirth and pity as innocence when it has in it a dash of folly.
There is nothing which strengthens faith more than the observance of morality.
There is something so wild, and yet so solemn, in the speeches of his ghosts, fairies, witches, and the like imaginary persons, that we cannot forbear thinking them natural, though we have no rule by which to judge of them, and must confess, if there are such beings in the world, it looks highly probable they should talk and act as he has represented them.
There is something very sublime, though very fanciful, in Plato’s description of the Supreme Being,—that truth is His body and light His shadow. According to this definition there is nothing so contradictory to his nature as error and falsehood.
They consume a considerable quantity of our paper manufacture, employ our artisans in printing, and find business for great numbers of indigent persons.
This party spirit has so ill an effect on our morals, it has likewise a very great one upon our judgments.
Though a man cannot abstain from being weak, he may from being vicious.
Though we seem grieved at the shortness of life in general, we are wishing every period of it at an end. The minor longs to be at age, then to be a man of business, then to make up an estate, then to arrive at honors, then to retire.
’T is not my talent to conceal my thoughts, or carry smiles and sunshine in my face when discontent sits heavy at my heart.
’Tis pride, rank pride, and haughtiness of soul: I think the Romans call it stoicism.
’T is the Divinity that stirs within us.
Title and ancestry render a good man more illustrious, but an ill one more contemptible. Vice is infamous, though in a prince; and virtue honorable, though in a peasant.
To be exempt from the passions with which others are tormented is the only pleasing solitude.
To check the starts and sallies of the soul, and break off all its commerce with the tongue.
To look upon the soul as going on from strength to strength, to consider that she is to shine forever with new accessions of glory, and brighten to all eternity; that she will be still adding virtue to virtue, and knowledge to knowledge,—carries in it something wonderfully agreeable to that ambition which is natural to the mind of man.
To this end, nothing is to be more carefully consulted than plainness. In a lady’s attire this is the single excellence; for to be what some people call fine, is the same vice, in that case, as to be florid is in writing or speaking.
Tom hinted at his dislike at some trifle his mistress had said; she asked him how he would talk to her after marriage if he talked at this rate before.
Troops of heroes undistinguished die.
True fortitude is seen in great exploits, that justice warrants and that wisdom guides.
True happiness is of a retired nature, and an enemy to pomp and noise. It arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one’s self, and, in the next, from the friendship and conversation of a few select friends.
True modesty avoids everything that is criminal; false modesty everything that is unfashionable.
True religion and virtue give a cheerful and happy turn to the mind, admit of all true pleasures, and even procure for us the highest.
Two persons who have chosen each other out of all the species with a design to be each other’s mutual comfort and entertainment have, in that action, bound themselves to be good-humored, affable, discreet, forgiving, patient, and joyful, with respect to each other’s frailties and perfections, to the end of their lives.
Upon laying a weight in one of the scales, inscribed eternity, though I threw in that of time, prosperity, affliction, wealth, and poverty, which seemed very ponderous, they were not able to stir the opposite balance.
Vanity is the natural weakness of an ambitious man, which exposes him to the secret scorn and derision of those he converses with, and ruins the character he is so industrious to advance by it.
Virgil has very finely touched the female passion for dress and shows, in the character of Camilla; who, though she seems to have shaken off all the other weaknesses of her sex, is still described as a woman in this particular.
Virtues that shun the day and lie concealed in the smooth seasons and the calm of life.
Vivacity is the gift of woman.
Waning moons their settled periods keep, to swell the billows and ferment the deep.
We are apt to rely upon future prospects, and become really expensive while we are only rich in possibility. We live up to our expectations, not to our possessions, and make a figure proportionable to what we may be, not what we are.
We make provisions for this life as if it were never to have an end, and for the other life as though it were never to have a beginning.
We see the pernicious effects of luxury in the ancient Romans, who immediately found themselves poor as soon as this vice got footing among them.
Were a man’s sorrows and disquietudes summed up at the end of his life, it would generally be found that he had suffered more from the apprehension of such evils as never happened to him than from those evils which had really befallen him.
Were not this desire of fame very strong, the difficulty of obtaining it, and the danger of losing it when obtained, would be sufficient to deter a man from so vain a pursuit.
What an absurd thing it is to pass over all the valuable parts of a man, and fix our attention on his infirmities!
What are these wondrous civilizing arts, this Roman polish, and this smooth behavior that render man thus tractable and tame?
What can be nobler than the idea it gives us of the Supreme Being?
What can that man fear who takes care to please a Being that is able to crush all his adversaries?
What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to an human soul.
When a man has been guilty of any vice or folly, I think the best atonement he can make for it is to warn others not to fall into the like.
When a man is made up wholly of the dove, without the least grain of the serpent in his composition, he becomes ridiculous in many circumstances of life, and very often discredits his best actions.
When I behold a fashionable table set out in all its magnificence, I fancy that I see gouts and dropsies, fevers and lethargies, with other innumerable distempers lying in ambuscade among the dishes. Nature delights in the most plain and simple diet. Every animal but man keeps to one dish. Herbs are the food of this species, fish of that, and flesh of a third. Man falls upon everything that comes in his way; not the smallest fruit or excrescence of the earth, scarce a berry or a mushroom can escape him.
When I look upon the tombs of the great, every motion of envy dies; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire forsake me; when I meet with the grief of parents upon a tombstone, my heart melts with compassion; when I see the tombs of the parents themselves, I reflect how vain it is to grieve for those whom we must quickly follow; when I see kings lying beside those who deposed them, when I behold rival wits placed side by side, or the holy men who divided the world with their contests and disputes, I reflect with sorrow and astonishment on the frivolous competitions, factions, and debates of mankind.
When I read rules of criticism I inquire immediately after the works of the author who has written them, and by that means discover what it is he likes in a composition.
When time itself shall be no more.
Where vice prevails, and impious men bear sway, the post of honor is a private station.
Whether dark presages of the night proceed from any latent power of the soul during her abstraction, or from any operation of subordinate spirits, has been a dispute.
Whether zeal or moderation be the point we aim at, let us keep fire out of the one and frost out of the other.
Who does not more admire Cicero as an author than as a consul of Rome?
Who rant by note, and through the gamut rage; in songs and airs express their martial fire; combat in trills, and in a fugue expire.
Why will any man be so impertinently officious as to tell me all prospect of a future state is only fancy and delusion? Is there any merit in being the messenger of ill news? If it is a dream, let me enjoy it, since it makes me both the happier and better man.
Why will any man be so impertinently officious as to tell me all this is only fancy? If it is a dream, let me enjoy it.
Wine displays every little spot of the soul in its utmost deformity.
Wine heightens indifference into love, love into jealousy, and jealousy into madness. It often turns the good-natured man into an idiot, and the choleric into an assassin. It gives bitterness to resentment, it makes vanity insupportable, and displays every little spot of the soul in its utmost deformity.
Wine often turns the good-natured man into an idiot and the choleric into an assassin.
With what astonishment and veneration may we look into our own souls, where there are such hidden stores of virtue and knowledge, such inexhaustible sources of perfection. We know not yet what we shall be, nor will it ever enter into the heart to conceive the glory that will be always in reserve for it.
Without constancy, there is neither love, friendship, nor virtue in the world.