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


  • A penny saved is two pence clear,
  • A pin a day’s a groat a year.
  • Are women books? says Hodge, then would mine were
  • An Almanack, to change her every year.
  • A Bible and a newspaper in every house, a good school in every district—all studied and appreciated as they merit—are the principal support of virtue, morality and civil liberty.

    A cheerful face is nearly as good for an invalid as healthy weather.

    A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats.

    A fat kitchen makes a lean will.

    A good conscience is a continual Christmas.

    A little neglect may breed great mischief. For want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost, being overtaken and slain by the enemy; all for want of a little care about a horse-shoe nail.

    A man may, if he knows not how to save as he gets, keep his nose all his life to the grindstone and die not worth a groat at last.

    A man must have a good deal of vanity who believes, and a good deal of boldness who affirms, that all the doctrines he holds are true, and all he rejects are false.

    A nod from a lord is a breakfast for a fool.

    After crosses and losses, men grow humbler and wiser.

    An undutiful daughter will prove an unmanageable wife.

    Applause waits on success; the fickle multitude, like the light straw that floats along the stream, glide with the current still, and follow fortune.

    As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and His religion, as He left them to us, is the best the world ever saw, or is likely to see.

    As we must account for every idle word, so we must for every idle silence.

    At a great pennyworth pause a while.

    At the workingman’s house, hunger looks in, but dares not enter.

    Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing.

    Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.

    Buy what thou hast no need of, and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessaries.

    Carelessness does more harm than a want of knowledge.

    Charming women can true converts make; we love the precept for the teacher’s sake.

    Christianity commands us to pass by injuries; policy to let them pass by us.

    Christians are directed to have faith in Christ, as the effectual means of obtaining the change they desire.

    Constant complaint is the poorest sort of pay for all the comforts we enjoy.

    Covetousness is ever attended with solicitude and anxiety.

    Creditors have better memories than debtors; and creditors are a superstitious sect, great observers of set days and times.

    Diligence is the mother of good luck, and God gives all things to industry. Then plough deep while sluggards sleep, and you shall have corn to sell and to keep.

    Display is as false as it is costly.

    Do not let fancy outrun your means.

    Dost thou love life, then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.

    Each year one vicious habit rooted out, in time might make the worst man good.

    Eat to please thyself, but dress to please others.

    Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to gain leisure; and, since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.

    Energy and persistence conquer all things.

    Ere fancy you consult, consult your purse.

    Even peace may be purchased at too high a price.

    Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other, and scarcely in that; for it is true, we may give advice, but we cannot give conduct. Remember this; they that will not be counseled cannot be helped. If you do not hear reason she will rap you over your knuckles.

    Fatigue is the best pillow.

    Fiction or fable allures to instruction.

    Fish and visitors smell in three days.

    Fools make feasts, and wise men eat them.

    Fraud and deceit are ever in a hurry. Take time for all things. Great haste makes great waste.

    Gain may be temporary and uncertain; but ever while you live expense is constant and certain; and it is easier to build two chimneys than to keep one in fuel.

    Games lubricate the body and the mind.

    God governs in the affairs of men; and if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, neither can a kingdom rise without His aid.

    God helps them that help themselves.

    Hast thou virtue? acquire also the graces and beauties of virtue.

    He that blows the coals in quarrels he has nothing to do with has no right to complain if the sparks fly in his face.

    He that can have patience can have what he will.

    He that hath a trade hath an estate; and he that hath a calling hath a place of profit and honor. A ploughman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees.

    He that lives upon hopes will die fasting.

    He that riseth late must tread all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night.

    He that takes a wife takes care.

    Here you would know, and enjoy, what posterity will say of Washington. For a thousand leagues have nearly the same effect with a thousand years.

    I give vanity fair quarter, wherever I meet with it, being persuaded that it is often productive of good to the possessor, and to others who are within his sphere of action; and therefore, in many cases, it would not be altogether absurd if a man were to thank God for his vanity, among the other comforts of life.

    I look upon death to be as necessary to our constitution as sleep. We shall rise refreshed in the morning.

    Idleness and pride tax with a heavier hand than kings and parliaments.

    If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him.

    If any man flatters me, I’ll flatter him again, though he were my best friend.

    If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be without it?

    If principle is good for anything, it is worth living up to.

    If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality, since lost time is never found again; and what we call time enough always proves little enough. Let us then be up and doing, and doing to the purpose; so by diligence shall we do more with less perplexity.

    If we can sleep without dreaming, it is well that painful dreams are avoided. If, while we sleep, we can have any pleasing dreams, it is as the French say, tant gagné, so much added to the pleasure of life.

    If you do what you should not, you must bear what you would not.

    If you have time don’t wait for time.

    If you know how to spend less than you get you have the philosopher’s stone.

    If you will not hear Reason, she will surely rap your knuckles.

    If you would be loved, love and be lovable.

    If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as of getting.

    If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself.

    If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some; for he that goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing.

    If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.

    In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eat about twice as much as nature requires.

    In humility imitate Jesus and Socrates.

    In reality, there is perhaps no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, stifle it, mortify it as much as you please, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself.

    In success be moderate.

    Industry need not wish.

    Industry pays debts, while despair increaseth them.

    Infinite in degree, and endless in duration.

    It is easier to suppress the first desire than to satisfy all that follow it.

    It is easy to see, hard to foresee.

    It is foolish to lay out money in the purchase of repentance.

    Keep flax from fire, youth from gaming.

    Laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him.

    Leisure is time for doing something useful; this leasure the diligent man will obtain; but the lazy man, never.

    Let honesty and industry be thy constant companions and spend one penny less than thy clear gains; then shall thy hide-bound pocket soon begin to thrive and will never again cry with the empty belly-ache; neither will creditors insult thee, nor want oppress, nor hunger bite, nor nakedness freeze thee.

    Let honesty be as the breath of thy soul, and never forget to have a penny, when all thy expenses are enumerated and paid: then shalt thou reach the point of happiness and independence shall be thy shield and buckler, thy helmet and crown; then shall thy soul walk upright nor stoop to the silken wretch because he hath riches, nor pocket an abuse because the hand which offers it wears a ring set with diamonds.

    Let thy child’s first lesson be obedience, and the second will be what thou wilt.

    Let thy discontents be thy secrets.

    Let thy vices die before thee.

    Life is rather a state of embryo,—a preparation for life. A man is not completely born until he has passed through death.

    Little boats should keep near shore.

    Mankind are dastardly when they meet with opposition.

    Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. There is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of its filling a vacuum, it makes one. If it satisfies one want, it doubles and trebles that want another way. That was a true proverb of the wise man, rely upon it; “Better is little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure and trouble there with.”

    Necessity has no law.

    Necessity never made a good bargain.

    Never leave that till to-morrow which you can do to-day.

    No better relation than a prudent and faithful friend.

    None preaches better than the ant, and she says nothing.

    Nothing is certain but death and taxes.

    One to-day is worth two to-morrows.

    Opportunity is the great bawd.

    Our necessities never equal our wants.

    Pity and forbearance should characterize all acts of justice.

    Plough deep while sluggards sleep.

    Poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue. It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright.

    Practice makes perfect.

    Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy.

    Pride is as loud a beggar as want, and a great deal more saucy. When you have bought one fine thing, you must buy ten more, that your appearance may be all of a piece; but it is easier to suppress the first desire than to satisfy all that follow it.

    Rather go to bed supperless than rise in debt.

    Reckless haste makes poor speed.

    Reckless youth makes rueful age.

    Remember this: they that will not be counselled cannot be helped. If you do not hear Reason, she will rap your knuckles.

    Scarcely have I ever heard or read the introductory phrase, “I may say without vanity,” but some striking and characteristic instance of vanity has immediately followed.

    Since I cannot govern my own tongue, though within my own teeth, how can I hope to govern the tongue of others?

    Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry all easy; and he that riseth late must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night; while laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him.

    Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears, while the key often used is always bright.

    Some of the domestic evils of drunkenness are houses without windows, gardens without fences, fields without tillage, barns without roofs, children without clothing, principles, morals or manners.

    Stand firm, don’t flutter!

    Strict punctuality is a cheap virtue.

    Temperance puts wood on the fire, meal in the barrel, flour in the tub, money in the purse, credit in the country, contentment in the house, clothes on the back, and vigor in the body.

    That man alone loves himself rightly who procures the greatest possible good to himself through the whole of his existence, and so pursues pleasure as not to give for it more than it is worth.

    The ancients tell us what is best; but we must learn of the moderns what is fittest.

    The best is the cheapest.

    The body of Benjamin Franklin, Printer (like the cover of an old book, its contents torn out and stript of its lettering and gilding), lies here, food for worms; but the work shall not be lost, for it will (as he believed) appear once more in a new and more elegant edition, revised and corrected by the author.

    The early morning has gold in its mouth.

    The eye of the master will do more work than both his hands.

    The eyes of other people are the eyes that ruin us.

    The great secret of succeeding in conversation is to admire little, to hear much; always to distrust our own reason, and sometimes that of our friends; never to pretend to wit, but to make that of others appear as much as possibly we can; to hearken to what is said, and to answer to the purpose.

    The modest temple of wisdom.

    The most trifling actions that affect a man’s credit are to be regarded. The sound of your hammer at five in the morning, or nine at night, heard by a creditor, makes him easy six months longer; but if he sees you at a billiard table, or hears your voice at a tavern, when you should be at work, he sends for his money the next day.

    The riches of a country are to be valued by the quantity of labor its inhabitants are able to purchase, and not by the quantity of silver and gold they possess; which will purchase more or less labor, and therefore is more or less valuable, as is said before, according to its scarcity or plenty.

    The taxes were indeed very heavy, and if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly; and from these taxes the commissioners cannot ease or deliver us, by allowing an abatement.

    The use of money is all the advantage there is in having money.

    The way to wealth is as plain as the way to market. It depends chiefly on two words, industry and frugality; that is, waste neither time nor money, but make the best use of both.

    There are three faithful friends—an old wife, an old dog, and ready money.

    There is much money given to be laughed at, though the purchasers don’t know it; witness A.’s fine horse, and B.’s fine house.

    There is no little enemy.

    There is none deceived but he that trusts.

    There never was a good war or a bad peace.

    There was never yet a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous.

    Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead.

    Time is an herb that cures all diseases.

    To be thrown on one’s own resources is to be cast on the very lap of fortune; for our faculties undergo a development, and display an energy, of which they were previously unsusceptible.

    To bear other people’s afflictions, every one has courage enough and to spare.

    To whom you betray your secret you sell your liberty.

    Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools that have not wit enough to be honest.

    Vicious actions are not hurtful because they are forbidden, but forbidden because they are hurtful.

    Virtue alone is sufficient to make a man great, glorious, and happy.

    We are more heavily taxed by our idleness, pride and folly than we are taxed by government.

    We must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately.

    Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.

    What can laws do without morals?

    What maintains one vice, would bring up two children. Remember, many a little makes a mickle; and farther, beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.

    Where liberty dwells, there is my country.

    Where there’s marriage without love there will be love without marriage.

    Who has deceived thee so often as thyself?