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


  • And let men so conduct themselves in life
  • As to be always strangers to defeat.
  • A man does not wonder at what he sees frequently, even though he be ignorant of the reason. If anything happens which he has not seen before, he calls it a prodigy.

    A man of courage is also full of faith.

    A man would have no pleasures in discovering all the beauties of the universe, even in heaven itself, unless he had a partner to whom he might communicate his joys.

    A perverse temper and fretful disposition will, wherever they prevail, render any state of life whatsoever unhappy.

    A sensual and intemperate youth hands over a worn-out body to old age.

    A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.

    A youth of sensuality and intemperance delivers over a worn-out body to old age.

    All great men are in some degree inspired.

    All the arts which belong to polished life have some common tie, and are connected as it were by some relationship.

    All the arts, which have a tendency to raise man in the scale of being, have a certain common band of union, and are connected, if I may be allowed to say so, by blood-relationship with one another.

    An army abroad is of little use unless there are prudent counsels at home.

    An evil at its birth is easily crushed, but it grows and strengthens by endurance.

    Any man may commit a mistake, but none but a fool will continue in it.

    As fire when thrown into water is cooled down and put out, so also a false accusation when brought against a man of the purest and holiest character boils over and is at once dissipated and vanishes.

    As the grace of man is in the mind, so the beauty of the mind is eloquence.

    As the scale of the balance must give way to the weight that presses it down, so the mind must of necessity yield to demonstration.

    As thou sowest, so shalt thou reap.

    Avarice in old age is foolish; for what can be more absurd than to increase our provisions for the road, the nearer we approach to our journey’s end?

    Be a pattern to others, and then all will go well; for as a whole city is infected by the licentious passions and vices of great men, so it is likewise reformed by their moderation.

    Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.

    Brevity is a great praise of eloquence.

    Brevity is the best recommendation of a speech, not only in the case of a senator, but in that, too, of an orator.

    By Hercules! I prefer to err with Plato, whom I know how much you value, than to be right in the company of such men.

    Can any one find out in what condition his body will be, I do not say a year hence, but this evening?

    Care should be taken that the punishment does not exceed the guilt; and also that some men do not suffer for offenses for which others are not even indicted.

    Certain signs precede certain events.

    Confidence is that feeling by which the mind embarks in great and honorable courses with a sure hope and trust in itself.

    Cultivation is as necessary to the mind as food is to the body.

    Death approaches, which is always impending over us like the stone over Tantalus; then comes superstition, with which he who is racked can never find peace of mind.

    Death is dreadful to the man whose all is extinguished with his life; but not to him whose glory never can die.

    Diligence which, as it avails in all things, is also of the utmost moment in pleading causes. Diligence is to be particularly cultivated by us; it is to be constantly exerted; it is capable of effecting almost everything.

    Dissimulation creeps gradually into the minds of men.

    Ease with dignity.

    Economy is a great revenue.

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

    Every evil in the bud is easily crushed; as it grows older it becomes stronger.

    Every generous action loves the public view; yet no theatre for virtue is equal to a consciousness of it.

    Every man should bear his own grievances rather than detract from the comforts of another.

    Every one cleaves to the doctrine he has happened upon, as to a rock against which he has been thrown by tempest.

    Every one is least known to himself, and it is very difficult for a man to know himself.

    Exile is terrible to those who have, as it were, a circumscribed habitation; but not to those who look upon the whole globe but as one city.

    Extreme justice is extreme injustice.

    Fear is not a lasting teacher of duty.

    Fewer possess virtue than those who wish us to believe that they possess it.

    Flattery is the handmaid of the vices.

    For every man’s nature is concealed with many folds of disguise, and covered as it were with various veils. His brows, his eyes, and very often his countenance, are deceitful, and his speech is most commonly a lie.

    For my own part, I had rather be old only a short time than be old before I really am so.

    For not only is Fortune herself blind, but she generally causes those men to be blind whose interests she has more particularly embraced. Therefore they are often haughty and arrogant; nor is there anything more intolerable than a prosperous fool. And hence we often see that men who were at one time affable and agreeable are completely changed by prosperity, despising their old friends, and clinging to new.

    Fortune befriends the bold.

    Fortune favors the bold.

    Fortune, not wisdom, human life doth sway.

    Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.

    Friendship is given us by nature, not to favor vice, but to aid virtue.

    Friendship is infinitely better than kindness.

    Friendship is the only thing in the world concerning the usefulness of which all mankind are agreed.

    Friendship throws a greater luster on prosperity, while it lightens adversity by sharing in its griefs and anxieties.

    Glory follows virtue as if it were its shadow.

    Habit is, as it were, a second nature.

    Hatred is a settled anger.

    He is an eloquent man who can speak of low things acutely, and of great things with dignity, and of moderate things with temper.

    He is never less at leisure than when at leisure, nor less alone than when he is alone.

    He only employs his passion who can make no use of his reason.

    He removes the greatest ornament of friendship who takes away from it respect.

    He used to raise a storm in a teapot.

    He who has once deviated from the truth usually commits perjury with as little scruple as he would tell a lie.

    History is the witness of the times, the torch of truth, the life of memory, the teacher of life, the messenger of antiquity.

    Honor is the reward of virtue.

    Hunger was the best seasoning for meat.

    I am of opinion that there is nothing so beautiful but that there is something still more beautiful, of which this is the mere image and expression,—a something which can neither be perceived by the eyes, the ears, nor any of the senses; we comprehend it merely in the imagination.

    I follow nature as the surest guide, and resign myself with implicit obedience to her sacred ordinances.

    I prefer the wisdom of the uneducated to the folly of the loquacious.

    I shall always consider the best guesser the best prophet.

    I speak of that learning which makes us acquainted with the boundless extent of nature, and the universe, and which even while we remain in this world, discovers to us both heaven, earth, and sea.

    I will adhere to the counsels of good men, although misfortune and death should be the consequence.

    If I am mistaken in my opinion that the human soul is immortal, I willingly err; nor would I have this pleasant error extorted from me; and if, as some minute philosophers suppose, death should deprive me of my being, I need not fear the raillery of those pretended philosophers when they are no more.

    If you wish to remove avarice you must remove its mother, luxury.

    In a promise, what you thought, and not what you said, is always to be considered.

    In all great arts, as in trees, it is the height that charms us; we care nothing for the roots or trunks, yet it could not be without the aid of these.

    In everything satiety closely follows the greatest pleasures.

    In friendship we find nothing false or insincere; everything is straightforward, and springs from the heart.

    In prosperity let us most carefully avoid pride, disdain, and arrogance.

    It is a great proof of talents to be able to recall the mind from the senses, and to separate thought from habit.

    It is a man’s own dishonesty, his crimes, his wickedness, and boldness, that takes away from him soundness of mind; these are the furies, these the flames and firebrands, of the wicked.

    It is a truth but too well known, that rashness attends youth, as prudence does old age.

    It is besides necessary that whoever is brave should be a man of great soul.

    It is difficult to persuade mankind that the love of virtue is the love of themselves.

    It is disgraceful when the passers-by exclaim, “O ancient house, alas, how unlike is thy present master to thy former one.”

    It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor.

    It is folly to tear one’s hair in sorrow, as if grief could be assuaged by baldness.

    It is foolish to pluck out one’s hair for sorrow, as if grief could be assuaged by baldness.

    It is fortune, not wisdom, that rules man’s life.

    It is graceful in a man to think and to speak with propriety, to act with deliberation, and in every occurrence of life to find out and persevere in the truth. On the other hand, to be imposed upon, to mistake, to falter, and to be deceived, is as ungraceful as to rave or to be insane.

    It is necessary for a Senator to be thoroughly acquainted with the constitution; and this is a knowledge of the most extensive nature; a matter of science, of diligence, of reflection, without which no Senator can possibly be fit for his office.

    It is not enough merely to possess virtue, as if it were an art; it should be practised.

    It is not only arrogant, but it is profligate, for a man to disregard the world’s opinion of himself.

    It is the act of a bad man to deceive by falsehood.

    It is the part of a prudent man to conciliate the minds of others, and to turn them to his own advantage.

    It is the peculiar quality of a fool to perceive the faults of others, and to forget his own.

    It is the soul itself which sees and hears, and not those parts which are, as it were, but windows to the soul.

    It is the stain and disgrace of the age to envy virtue, and to be anxious to crush the very flower of dignity.

    It shows a weak mind not to bear prosperity as well as adversity with moderation.

    Judge not by the number, but by the weight.

    Justice consists in doing no injury to men; decency, in giving them no offence.

    Learning maketh young men temperate, is the comfort of old age, standing for wealth with poverty, and serving as an ornament to riches.

    Let our friends perish, provided that our enemies fall at the same time.

    Let war be so carried on that no other object may seem to be sought but the acquisition of peace.

    Long life is denied us; therefore let us do something to show that we have lived.

    Man was born for two things—thinking and acting.

    Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.

    Men resemble the gods in nothing so much as in doing good to their fellow-creatures.

    Men think they may justly do that for which they have a precedent.

    Men, in whatever anxiety they may be, if they are men, sometimes indulge in relaxation.

    Mental stains cannot be removed by time, nor washed away by any waters.

    My precept to all who build is, that the owner should be an ornament to the house, and not the house to the owner.

    Nature has inclined us to love men.

    Nature has lent us life, as we do a sum of money; only no certain day is fixed for payment. What reason then to complain if she demands it at pleasure, since it was on this condition that we received it?

    Nature loves nothing solitary, and always reaches out to something, as a support, which ever in the sincerest friend is most delightful.

    “No doubt,” replied Scipio, “those are alive who have broken loose from the chains of the body as from a prison; it is yours, that is called life, that is really death.”

    No grief is so acute but time ameliorates it.

    No liberal man would impute a charge of unsteadiness to another for having changed his opinion.

    No man can be brave who thinks pain the greatest evil; nor temperate, who considers pleasure the highest good.

    No man in his senses will dance.

    No man was ever great without divine inspiration.

    No one could ever meet death for his country without the hope of immortality.

    No one dies too soon who has finished the course of perfect virtue.

    No one sees what is before his feet: we all gaze at the stars.

    No one should so act as to take advantage of another’s folly.

    No one would ever meet death in defence of his country without the hope of immortality.

    Not only is there an art in knowing a thing, but also a certain art in teaching it.

    Not to be covetous is money, not to be a purchaser is a revenue.

    Not to know what has been transacted in former times is to continue always a child. If no use is made of the labors of past ages, the world must remain always in the infancy of knowledge.

    Nothing is more disgraceful than insincerity.

    Nothing is more noble, nothing more venerable than fidelity. Faithfulness and truth are the most sacred excellences and endowments of the human mind.

    Nothing is so great an adversary to those who make it their business to please as expectation.

    Nothing is so swift as calumny; nothing is more easily uttered; nothing more readily received; nothing more widely dispersed.

    Nothing maintains its bloom forever; age succeeds to age.

    Now it was well paid, whoever said it, “That he who hath the loan of money has not repaid it, and he who has repaid has not the loan; but he who has acknowledged a kindness has it still, and he who has a feeling of it has requited it.”

    O mighty power of truth!

    Of all the rewards of virtue,… the most splendid is fame, for it is fame alone that can offer us the memory of posterity.

    Oh, how great is the power of truth! which of its own power can easily defend itself against all the ingenuity and cunning and wisdom of men, and against the treacherous plots of all the world.

    Old age, especially an honored old age, has so great authority that this is of more value than all the pleasures of youth.

    Orators are most vehement when they have the weakest cause, as men get on horseback when they cannot walk.

    Other relaxations are peculiar to certain times, places and stages of life, but the study of letters is the nourishment of our youth, and the joy of our old age. They throw an additional splendor on prosperity, and are the resource and consolation of adversity; they delight at home, and are no embarrassment abroad; in short, they are company to us at night, our fellow-travellers on a journey, and attendants in our rural recesses.

    Our country is the common parent of all.

    Our generosity never should exceed our abilities.

    Our minds possess by nature an insatiable desire to know the truth.

    Peace is liberty in tranquillity.

    Philosophy, if rightly defined, is naught but the love of wisdom.

    Prosperity demands of us more prudence and moderation than adversity.

    Prudence is the knowledge of things to be sought, and those to be shunned.

    Quacks pretend to cure other men’s disorders, but fail to find a remedy for their own.

    Reason is as it were a light to lighten our steps and guide us through the journey of life.

    Reason is mistress and queen of all things.

    Reason should direct and appetite obey.

    Religion is not removed by removing superstition.

    Religion is the pious worship of God.

    Scurrility has no object in view but incivility; if it is uttered from feelings of petulance, it is mere abuse; if it is spoken in a joking manner, it may be considered raillery.

    Secret enmities are more to be feared than open ones.

    Superstition is a senseless fear of God.

    That last day does not bring extinction to us, but change of place.

    That which is usually called dotage is not the weak point of all old men, but only of such as are distinguished by their levity.

    That which leads us to the performance of duty by offering pleasure as its reward, is not virtue, but a deceptive copy and imitation of virtue.

    The administration of government, like a guardianship, ought to be directed to the good of those who confer, and not of those who receive the trust.

    The authority of those who teach is very often an impediment to those who desire to learn.

    The authors who affect contempt for a name in the world put their names to the books which they invite the world to read.

    The beginnings of all things are small.

    The contemplation of celestial things will make a man both speak and think more sublimely and magnificently when he descends to human affairs.

    The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intentions.

    The cultivation of the mind is a kind of food supplied for the soul of man.

    The diseases of the mind are more and more destructive than those of the body.

    The divinity who rules within us forbids us to leave this world without his command.

    The dutifulness of children is the foundation of all virtues.

    The eyes, being in the highest part, have the office of sentinels.

    The first bond of society is marriage; the nest, our children; then the whole family and all things in common.

    The forehead is the gate of the mind.

    The great theatre for virtue is conscience.

    The greatest incitement to guilt is the hope of sinning with impunity.

    The happiest end of life is this: when the mind and the other senses being unimpaired, the same nature which put it together takes asunder her own work.

    The impulse which directs to right conduct, and deters from crime, is not only older than the ages of nations and cities, but coeval with that Divine Being who sees and rules both heaven and earth.

    The judgment of posterity is truer, because it is free from envy and malevolence.

    The law is silent during war.

    The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.

    The man who is always fortunate cannot easily have a great reverence for virtue.

    The memory is the receptacle and sheath of all science.

    The more virtuous any man is, the less easily does he suspect others to be vicious.

    The noblest spirit is most strongly attracted by the love of glory.

    The office of liberality consisteth in giving with judgment.

    The rabble estimate few things according to their real value, most things according to their prejudices.

    The recovery of freedom is so splendid a thing that we must not shun even death when seeking to recover it.

    The whole life of a philosopher is the meditation of his death.

    The whole of virtue consists in its practice.

    The wise are instructed by reason, ordinary minds by experience; the stupid by necessity; and brutes by instinct.

    The world has not yet learned the riches of frugality.

    There are countless roads on all sides to the grave.

    There are more men ennobled by study than by nature.

    There is a certain virtue in every good man, which night and day stirs up the mind with the stimulus of glory, and reminds it that all mention of our name will not cease at the same time with our lives, but that our fame will endure to all posterity.

    There is no moment without some duty.

    There is no more sure tie between friends than when they are united in their objects and wishes.

    There is no mortal whom pain and disease do not reach.

    There is no place more delightful than one’s own fireside.

    There is no praise in being upright, where no one can, or tries to corrupt you.

    There is not a moment without some duty.

    There is nothing better fitted to delight the reader than change of circumstances and varieties of fortune.

    There is nothing so charming as the knowledge of literature; of that branch of literature, I mean, which enables us to discover the infinity of things, the immensity of Nature, the heavens, the earth, and the seas; this is that branch which has taught us religion, moderation, magnanimity, and that has rescued the soul from obscurity; to make her see all things above and below, first and last, and between both; it is this that furnishes us wherewith to live well and happily, and guides us to pass our lives without displeasure and without offence.

    There is nothing which wings its flight so swiftly as calumny, nothing which is uttered with more ease; nothing is listened to with more readiness, nothing dispersed more widely.

    There is, I know not how, in the minds of men, a certain presage, as it were, of a future existence, and this takes the deepest root, and is most discoverable, in the greatest geniuses and most exalted souls.

    These (literary) studies are the food of youth, and consolation of age; they adorn prosperity; and are the comfort and refuge of adversity; they are pleasant at home, and are no incumbrance abroad; they accompany us at night, in our travels, and in our rural retreats.

    They who dare to ask anything of a friend, by their very request seem to imply that they would do anything for the sake of that friend.

    This is a proof of a well-trained mind, to rejoice in what is good and to grieve at the opposite.

    This is the part of a great man, after he has maturely weighed all circumstances, to punish the guilty, to spare the many, and in every state of fortune not to depart from an upright, virtuous conduct.

    This, therefore, is a law not found in books, but written on the fleshly tablets of the heart, which we have not learned from man, received or read, but which we have caught up from Nature herself, sucked in and imbibed; the knowledge of which we were not taught, but for which we were made; we received it not by education, but by intuition.

    Though laughter is allowable, a horse-laugh is abominable.

    Thus in the beginning the world was so made that certain signs come before certain events.

    Time destroys the groundless conceits of man, but confirms that which is founded on nature and reality.

    Time is the herald of truth.

    To be content with what we possess is the greatest and most secure of riches.

    To be endowed with strength by nature, to be actuated by the powers of the mind, and to have a certain spirit almost divine infused into you.

    To disregard what the world thinks of us is not only arrogant but utterly shameless.

    To live long, it is necessary to live slowly.

    To study philosophy is nothing but to prepare one’s self to die.

    To stumble twice against the same stone is a proverbial disgrace.

    True glory takes root, and even spreads; all false pretenses, like flowers, fall to the ground; nor can any counterfeit last long.

    Vicious habits are so great a stain to human nature, and so odious in themselves, that every person actuated by right reason would avoid them, though he were sure they would be always concealed both from God and man, and had no future punishment entailed upon them.

    Vicious habits are so odious and degrading that they transform the individual who practices them into an incarnate demon.

    Virtue is uniform, conformable to reason, and of unvarying consistency; nothing can be added to it that can make it more than virtue; nothing can be taken from it, and the name of virtue be left.

    Wars, therefore, are to be undertaken for this end, that we may live in peace, without being injured; but when we obtain the victory, we must preserve those enemies who behaved without cruelty or inhumanity during the war.

    We are all excited by the love of praise, and the noblest are most influenced by glory.

    We can more easily avenge an injury than requite a kindness; on this account, because there is less difficulty in getting the better of the wicked than in making one’s self equal with the good.

    We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink.

    We have always considered taxes to be the sinews of the state.

    We have been born to associate with our fellow-men, and to join in community with the human race.

    We ought to regard amiability as the quality of woman, dignity that of man.

    We should be as careful of our words as of our actions, and as far from speaking ill as from doing ill.

    We should be careful that our benevolence does not exceed our means.

    We should never so entirely avoid danger as to appear irresolute and cowardly; but, at the same time, we should avoid unnecessarily exposing ourselves to danger, than which nothing can be more foolish.

    What fervent love of herself would Virtue excite if she could be seen!

    What gift has Providence bestowed on man, that is so dear to him as his children?

    What is becoming is honest, and whatever is honest must always be becoming.

    What is dishonestly got vanishes in profligacy.

    What is there that is illustrious that is not also attended by labor?

    Whatever is graceful is virtuous, and whatever is virtuous is graceful.

    Whatever that be which thinks, which understands, which wills, which acts, it is something celestial and divine, and upon that account must necessarily be eternal.

    When I consider the wonderful activity of the mind, so great a memory of what is past, and such a capacity of penetrating into the future; when I behold such a number of arts and sciences, and such a multitude of discoveries thence arising,—I believe and am firmly persuaded that a nature which contains so many things within itself cannot be mortal.

    When money is unreasonably coveted, it is a disease of the mind which is called avarice.

    When time and need require, we should resist with all our might, and prefer death to slavery and disgrace.

    When you are aspiring to the highest place, it is honorable to reach the second or even the third rank.

    Wickedness consists in the very hesitation about an act, even though it be not perpetrated.

    Wisdom is the only thing which can relieve us from the sway of the passions and the fear of danger, and which can teach us to bear the injuries of fortune itself with moderation, and which shows us all the ways which lead to tranquillity and peace.

    Wise men are instructed by reason; men of less understanding by experience; the most ignorant, by necessity, and beasts, by nature.

    Without your knowledge, the eyes and ears of many will see and watch you, as they have done already.

    Ye immortal gods! where in the world are we?

    You may trust him in the dark.