C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.
A boy will learn more true wisdom in a public school in a year than by a private education in five. It is not from masters, but from their equals, that youth learn a knowledge of the world.
A French woman is a perfect architect in dress: she never, with Gothic ignorance, mixes the orders; she never tricks out a snobby Doric shape with Corinthian finery; or, to speak without metaphor, she conforms to general fashion only when it happens not to be repugnant to private beauty.
A man’s own heart must ever be given to gain that of another.
A silent address is the genuine eloquence of sincerity.
Age, that lessens the enjoyment of life, increases our desire of living.
All his faults are such that one loves him still the better for them.
All that philosophy can teach is to be stubborn or sullen under misfortunes.
All that the wisdom of the proud can teach is to be stubborn or sullen under misfortune.
Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way.
An emperor in his nightcap will not meet with half the respect of an emperor with a crown.
An Englishman fears contempt more than death.
And even his failings leaned to virtue’s side.
And learn the luxury of doing good.
And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew, that one small head should carry all he knew.
And the weak soul, within itself unblessed, leans for all pleasure on another’s breast.
As boys should be educated with temperance, so the first greatest lesson that should be taught them is to admire frugality. It is by the exercise of this virtue alone they can ever expect to be useful members of society.
Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no fibs.
Aspiring beggary is wretchedness itself.
Books are necessary to correct the vices of the polite; but those vices are ever changing, and the antidote should be changed accordingly—should still be new.
Both wit and understanding are trifles without integrity. The ignorant peasant without fault is greater than the philosopher with many. What is genius or courage without a heart?
But winter lingering chills the lap of May.
Conscience is a coward; and those faults it has not strength enough to prevent it seldom has justice enough to accuse.
Creation’s heir, the world, the world, is mine.
Error is always talkative.
Every absurdity has a champion to defend it; for error is always talkative.
Every acknowledgment of gratitude is a circumstance of humiliation; and some are found to submit to frequent mortifications of this kind, proclaiming what obligations they owe, merely because they think it in some measure cancels the debt.
Every want that stimulates the breast becomes a source of pleasure when redressed.
Fancy restrained may be compared to a fountain, which plays highest by diminishing the aperture.
Fear guides more to their duty than gratitude; for one man who is virtuous from the love of virtue, from the obligation he thinks he lies under to the Giver of all, there are ten thousand who are good only from their apprehension of punishment.
Filial obedience is the first and greatest requisite of a state; by this we become good subjects to our emperors, capable of behaving with just subordination to our superiors, and grateful dependents on heaven; by this we become fonder of marriage, in order to be capable of exacting obedience from others in our turn; by this we become good magistrates, for early submission is the truest lesson to those who would learn to rule. By this the whole state may be said to resemble one family.
Fine declamation does not consist in flowery periods, delicate allusions or musical cadences, but in a plain, open, loose style, where the periods are long and obvious, where the same thought is often exhibited in several points of view.
For the first time, the best may err, art may persuade, and novelty spread out its charms. The first fault is the child of simplicity; but every other the offspring of guilt.
Fortune is ever seen accompanying industry, and is as often trundling in a wheelbarrow as lolling in a coach and six.
Friendship is a disinterested commerce between equals.
Friendship is made up of esteem and pleasure; pity is composed of sorrow and contempt: the mind may for some time fluctuate between them, but it can never entertain both at once.
Handsome is that handsome does.
He watched and wept and prayed and felt for all.
Here let me sit in sorrow for mankind.
Here Vanity assumes her pert grimace.
His best companions innocence and health, and his best riches ignorance of wealth.
His conduct still right with his argument wrong.
I always get the better when I argue alone.
I am amazed how men can call her blind, when, by the company she keeps, she seems so very discriminating.
I armed her against the censures of the world; showed her that books were sweet unreproaching companions to the miserable, and that if they could not bring us to enjoy life, they would at least teach us to endure it.
I chose my wife, as she did her wedding gown, for qualities that would wear well.
I do not love a man who is zealous for nothing.
I fancy the character of a poet is in every country the same,—fond of enjoying the present, careless of the future; his conversation that of a man of sense, his actions those of a fool.
I have found by experience that they who have spent all their lives in cities contract not only an effeminacy of habit, but of thinking.
I learn several great truths; as that it is impossible to see into the ways of futurity, that punishment always attends the villain, that love is the fond soother of the human breast.
I love everything that’s old,—old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine.
If a man wishes to become rich he must appear to be rich.
If the soul be happily disposed, every thing becomes capable of affording entertainment, and distress will almost want a name.
In a polite age almost every person becomes a reader, and receives more instruction from the press than the pulpit.
In proportion as society refines, new books must ever become more necessary.
Is it that Nature, attentive to the preservation of mankind, increases our wishes to live, while she lessens our enjoyments, and as she robs the senses of every pleasure, equips imagination in the spoil?
It has been remarked that almost every character which has excited either attention or pity has owed part of its success to merit, and part to a happy concurrence of circumstances in its favor. Had Cæsar or Cromwell exchanged countries, the one might have been a sergeant and the other an exciseman.
It has been well observed that few are better qualified to give others advice than those who have taken the least of it themselves.
It is impossible to combat enthusiasm with reason; for though it makes a show of resistance, it soon eludes the pressure, refers you to distinctions not to be understood, and feelings which it cannot explain. A man who would endeavor to fix an enthusiast by argument might as well attempt to spread quicksilver with his finger.
It would be well had we more misers than we have among us.
Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law.
Learn the luxury of doing good.
Life at the greatest and best is but a froward child, that must be humored and coaxed a little till it falls asleep, and then all the care is over.
Like the tiger, that seldom desists from pursuing man after having once preyed upon human flesh, the reader who has once gratified his appetite with calumny makes ever after the most agreeable feast upon murdered reputations!
Lords of humankind.
Man little knows what calamities are beyond his patience to bear till he tries them; as in ascending the heights of ambition, which look bright from below, every step we rise shows us some new and gloomy prospect of hidden disappointment; so in our descent from the summits of pleasure, though the vale of misery below may appear, at first, dark and gloomy, yet the busy mind, still attentive to its own amusement, finds, as we descend, something to flatter and to please. Still as we approach, the darkest objects appear to brighten, and the mortal eye becomes adapted to its gloomy situation.
Man seems the only growth that dwindles here.
Measures, not men, have always been my mark.
Mortifications are often more painful than real calamities.
Nor is there on earth a more powerful advocate for vice than poverty.
Nothing is so contemptible as that affectation of wisdom, which some display, by universal incredulity.
Novels teach the youthful mind to sigh after happiness that never existed.
O friendship! thou fond soother of the human breast, to thee we fly in every calamity; to thee the wretched seek for succor; on thee the care-tired son of misery fondly relies; from thy kind assistance the unfortunate always hopes relief, and may be sure of disappointment.
O luxury! thou curst by heaven’s decree.
Of all kinds of ambition, that which pursues poetical fame is the wildest.
Oh, blest retirement! friend to life’s decline, how blest is he who crowns, in shades like these, a youth of labor with an age of ease!
One should not quarrel with a dog without a reason sufficient to vindicate one through all the courts of morality.
One writer excels at a plan or a title-page; another works away at the body of the book; and a third is a dab hand at an index.
Our bounty, like a drop of water, disappears, when diffus’d too widely.
Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
Paltry affectation, strained allusions, and disgusting finery are easily attained by those who choose to wear them; they are but too frequently the badges of ignorance or of stupidity, whenever it would endeavor to please.
People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy after.
Pity, though it may often relieve, is but, at best, a short-lived passion, and seldom affords distress more than transitory assistance; with some it scarce lasts from the first impulse till the hand can be put into the pocket.
Politics resemble religion; attempting to divest either of ceremony is the most certain mode of bringing either into contempt.
Popular glory is a perfect coquette; her lovers must toil, feel every inquietude, indulge every caprice, and perhaps at last be jilted into the bargain. True glory, on the other hand, resembles a woman of sense; her admirers must play no tricks. They feel no great anxiety, for they are sure in the end of being rewarded in proportion to their merit.
Praise, in the beginning is agreeable enough, and we receive it as a favor; but when it comes in great quantities, we regard it only as a debt, which nothing but our merit could extort.
Processions, cavalcades, and all that fund of gay frippery, furnished out by tailors, barbers, and tire-women, mechanically influence the mind into veneration; an emperor in his nightcap would not meet with half the respect of an emperor with a crown.
Prudery is ignorance.
Quality and title have such allurements that hundreds are ready to give up all their own importance, to cringe, to flatter, to look little, and to pall every pleasure in constraint, merely to be among the great, though without the least hopes of improving their understanding or sharing their generosity. They might be happier among their equals.
Religion does what philosophy could never do; it shows the equal dealings of Heaven to the happy and the unhappy, and levels all human enjoyments to nearly the same standard. It gives to both rich and poor the same happiness hereafter, and equal hopes to aspire after it.
Remembrance wakes with all her busy train, swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain.
Remote, unfriended, melancholy, slow.
Ridicule has ever been the most powerful enemy of enthusiasm, and properly the only antagonist that can be opposed to it with success.
She who makes her husband and her children happy, who reclaims the one from vice, and trains up the other to virtue, is a greater character than ladies described in romance, whose whole occupation is to murder mankind with their eyes.
Such is the patriot’s boast where’er we roam; his first, best country ever is his own.
Taste is the power of relishing or rejecting whatever is offered for the entertainment of the imagination.
Teach erring man to spurn the rage of gain.
Tenderness is a virtue.
Tenderness, without a capacity of relieving, only makes the man who feels it more wretched than the object which sues for assistance.
That virtue which requires to be ever guarded is scarce worth the sentinel.
The bounds of a man’s knowledge are easily concealed, if he has but prudence.
The English laws punish vice; the Chinese laws do more, they reward virtue.
The Europeans are themselves blind who describe fortune without sight. No first-rate beauty ever had finer eyes, or saw more clearly. They who have no other trade but seeking their fortune need never hope to find her; coquette-like, she flies from her close pursuers, and at last fixes on the plodding mechanic who stays at home and minds his business.
The first fault is the child of simplicity, but every other the offspring of guilt.
The first time I read an excellent book, it is to me just as if I had gained a new friend. When I read over a book I have perused before, it resembles the meeting with an old one.
The fortunate circumstances of our lives are generally found at last to be of our own producing.
The hours we pass with happy prospects in view are more pleasing than those crowned with fruition. In the first instance, we cook the dish to our own appetite; in the latter, Nature cooks it for us.
The ingratitude of the world can never deprive us of the conscious happiness of having acted with humanity ourselves.
The land of scholars, and the nurse of arms.
The little mind who loves itself will write and think with the vulgar; but the great mind will be bravely eccentric, and scorn the beaten road, from universal benevolence.
The loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind.
The more various our artificial necessities, the wider is our circle of pleasure; for all pleasure consists in obviating necessities as they rise; luxury, therefore, as it increases our wants, increases our capacity for happiness.
The person whose clothes are extremely fine I am too apt to consider as not being possessed of any superiority of fortune, but resembling those Indians who are found to wear all the gold they have in the world in a bob at the nose.
The polite of every country seem to have but one character. A gentleman of Sweden differs but little, except in trifles, from one of any other country. It is among the vulgar we are to find those distinctions which characterize a people.
The soul may be compared to a field of battle, where the armies are ready every moment to encounter. Not a single vice but has a more powerful opponent, and not one virtue but may be overborne by a combination of vices.
The sports of children satisfy the child.
The true use of speech is not so much to express our wants as to conceal them.
The unaffected of every country nearly resemble each other, and a page of our Confucius and your Tillotson have scarce any material difference. Paltry affectation, strained allusions, and disgusting finery are easily attained by those who choose to wear them; they are but too frequently the badges of ignorance or of stupidity, whenever it would endeavor to please.
The very pink of perfection.
The volumes of antiquity, like medals, may very well serve to amuse the curious; but the works of the moderns, like the current coin of a kingdom, are much better for immediate use.
The way to acquire lasting esteem is not by the fewness of a writer’s faults, but the greatness of his beauties, and our noblest works are generally most replete with both.
The work of eradicating crimes is not by making punishment familiar, but formidable.
The youth who follows his appetites too soon seizes the cup, before it has received its best ingredients, and by anticipating his pleasures, robs the remaining parts of life of their share, so that his eagerness only produces a manhood of imbecility and an age of pain.
There are but few talents requisite to become a popular preacher; for the people are easily pleased if they perceive any endeavors in the orator to please them. The meanest qualifications will work this effect if the preacher sincerely sets about it.
There are some faults so nearly allied to excellence that we can scarce weed out the vice without eradicating the virtue.
There is a greatness in being generous, and there is only simple justice in satisfying creditors. Generosity is the part of the soul raised above the vulgar.
There is no arguing with Johnson; for if his pistol misses fire, he knocks you down with the butt end of it.
There is one way by which a strolling player may be ever secure of success; that is, in our theatrical way of expressing it, to make a great deal of the character. To speak and act as in common life is not playing, nor is it what people come to see; natural speaking, like sweet wine, runs glibly over the palate, and scarcely leaves any taste behind it; but being high in a part resembles vinegar, which grates upon the taste, and one feels it while he is drinking.
There is probably no country so barbarous that would not disclose all it knew, if it received equivalent information; and I am apt to think that a person who was ready to give more knowledge than he received would be welcome wherever he came.
There is unspeakable pleasure attending the life of a voluntary student.
There is yet a silent agony in which the mind appears to disdain all external help, and broods over its distresses with gloomy reserve. This is the most dangerous state of mind; accidents or friendships may lessen the louder kinds of grief, but all remedies for this must be had from within, and there despair too often finds the most deadly enemy.
These little things are great to little men.
These people, however fallen, are still men, and that is a very good title to my affection.
They say women and music should never be dated.
They would talk of nothing but high life and high-lived company, with other fashionable topics, such as pictures, taste, Shakespeare, and the musical glasses.
This is that eloquence the ancients represented as lightning, bearing down every opposer; this the power which has turned whole assemblies into astonishment, admiration and awe—that is described by the torrent, the flame, and every other instance of irresistible impetuosity.
This same philosophy is a good horse in the stable, but an arrant jade on a journey.
Those who place their affections at first on trifles for amusement, will find these trifles become at last their most serious concerns.
Those who think must govern those who toil.
Thou source of all my bliss and all my woe, that found’st me poor at first, and keep’st me so.
Thus love is the most easy and agreeable, and gratitude the most humiliating, affection of the mind. We never reflect on the man we love without exulting in our choice, while he who has bound us to him by benefits alone rises to our ideas as a person to whom we have in some measure forfeited our freedom.
Titles and mottoes to books are like escutcheons and dignities in the hands of a king. The wise sometimes condescend to accept of them; but none but a fool would imagine them of any real importance. We ought to depend upon intrinsic merit, and not the slender helps of the title.
To be poor, and to seem poor, is a certain method never to rise.
To make a fine gentleman, several trades are required, but chiefly a barter.
To me more dear, congenial to my heart, one native charm, than all the gloss of art.
To what fortuitous occurrence do we not owe every pleasure and convenience of our lives.
To what happy accident is it that we owe so unexpected a visit?
True generosity is a duty as indispensably necessary as those imposed upon us by the law. It is a rule imposed upon us by reason, which should be the sovereign law of a rational being.
Villainy, when detected, never gives up, but boldly adds impudence to imposture.
We are all sure of two things, at least; we shall suffer, and we shall all die.
We sometimes had those little rubs which Providence sends to enhance the value of its flavors.
Were I to be angry at men being fools, I could here find ample room for declamation; but, alas! I have been a fool myself; and why should I be angry with them for being something so natural to every child of humanity?
What cities, as great as this, have***promised themselves immortality! posterity can hardly trace the situation of some. The sorrowful traveler wanders over the awful ruins of others.
What real good does an addition to a fortune already sufficient procure? Not any. Could the great man, by having his fortune increased, increase also his appetites, then precedence might be attended with real amusement.
Whatever be the motives which induce men to write,—whether avarice or fame,—the country becomes more wise and happy in which they most serve for instructors.
Whatever mitigates the woes or increases the happiness of others is a just criterion of goodness; and whatever injures society at large, or any individual in it, is a criterion of iniquity. One should not quarrel with a dog without a reason sufficient to vindicate one through all the courts of morality.
Whatever the skill of any country be in sciences, it is from excellence in polite learning alone that it must expect a character from posterity.
Where smiling Spring its earliest visit paid.
Where’er I roam, whatever realms to see, my heart, untraveled, fondly turns to thee.
Whichever way we look the prospect is disagreeable. Behind, we have left pleasures we shall never enjoy, and therefore regret; and before, we see pleasures which we languish to possess, and are consequently uneasy till we possess them.
While fashion’s brightest arts decoy, the heart, distrusting, asks if this be joy.
While selfishness joins hands with no one of the virtues, benevolence is allied to them all.
Who, born for the universe, narrowed his mind, and to party gave up what was meant for mankind.
Winter, lingering, chills the lap of May.
Wisdom makes but a slow defence against trouble, though at last a sure one.
Wit generally succeeds more from being happily addressed than from its native poignancy. A jest, calculated to spread at a gaming-table, may be received with perfect indifference should it happen to drop in a mackerel-boat.