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

Hannah More

  • A crown! what is it?
  • It is to bear the miseries of a people!
  • To hear their murmurs, feel their discontents,
  • And sink beneath a load of splendid care!
  • But since, howe’er protracted, death will come,
  • Why fondly study, with ingenious pains,
  • To put it off?—To breathe a little longer
  • Is to defer our fate, but not to shun it.
  • Fountain of mercy! whose pervading eye
  • Can look within and read what passes there,
  • Accept my thoughts for thanks; I have no words.
  • My soul o’erfraught with gratitude, rejects
  • The aid of language—Lord!—behold my heart.
  • How short is human life; the very breath,
  • Which frames my words, accelerates my death.
  • If faith produce no works, I see
  • That faith is not a living tree,
  • Thus faith and works together grow;
  • No separate life they e’er can know;
  • They’re soul and body, hand and heart:
  • What God hath joined, let no man part.
  • Imagination frames events unknown,
  • In wild, fantastic shapes of hideous ruin,
  • And what it fears creates.
  • Prompt sense of equity! to thee belongs
  • The swift redress of unexamined wrongs!
  • Eager to serve, the cause perhaps untried,
  • But always apt to choose the suffering side!
  • Since trifles make the sum of human things,
  • And half our misery from our foibles springs;
  • Since life’s best joys consist in peace and ease,
  • And few can save or serve, but all may please;
  • Oh! let th’ ungentle spirit learn from hence
  • A small unkindness is a great offense,
  • Large bounties to restore we wish in vain,
  • But all may shun the guilt of giving pain.
  • Small habits well pursued, betimes,
  • May reach the dignity of crimes.
  • The keen spirit
  • Seizes the prompt occasion—makes the thought
  • Start into instant action, and at once
  • Plans and performs, resolves and executes!
  • The soul on earth is an immortal guest,
  • Compell’d to starve at an unreal feast:
  • A spark, which upward tends by nature’s force:
  • A stream diverted from its parent source;
  • A drop dissever’d from the boundless sea;
  • A moment, parted from eternity;
  • A pilgrim panting for the rest to come;
  • An exile, anxious for his native home.
  • Who flatters is of all mankind the lowest,
  • Save he who courts the flattery.
  • Yes, Thou art ever present, Power supreme!
  • Not circumscrib’d by time, nor fix’d to space,
  • Confin’d to altars, nor to temples bound.
  • In wealth, in want, in freedom, or in chains,
  • In dungeons or on thrones, the faithful find Thee!
  • A crown! what is it? It is to bear the miseries of a people,—to hear their murmurs, feel their discontents, and sink beneath a load of splendid care.

    A sad estate of human wretchedness! so weak is man, so ignorant and blind, that did not God sometimes withhold in mercy what we ask, we should be ruined at our own request.

    A slowness to applaud betrays a cold temper or an envious spirit.

    A small unkindness as a great offence.

    Affliction is a sort of moral gymnasium in which the disciples of Christ are trained to robust exercise, hardy exertion, and severe conflict.

    Affliction is the school in which great virtues are acquired, in which great characters are formed.

    Christianity bears all the marks of a divine original; it came down from heaven, and its gracious purpose is to carry us up thither. Its author is God; it was foretold from the beginning, by prophecies, which grew clearer and brighter as they approached the period of their accomplishment. It was confirmed by miracles, which continued until the religion they illustrated was established. It was ratified by the blood of its author; its doctrines are pure, sublime, consistent; its precepts just and holy; its worship is spiritual; its service reasonable and rendered practicable by the offers of divine aid to human weakness. It is sanctioned by the promise of eternal happiness to the faithful, and the threat of everlasting misery to the disobedient.

    Fell luxury! more perilous to youth than storms or quicksands, poverty or chains.

    For earthly blessings, moderate be thy prayer, and qualified: for light, for strength, for grace, unbounded thy petition.

    For if a young lady has that discretion and modesty, without which all knowledge is little worth, she will never make an ostentatious parade of it, because she will rather be intent on acquiring more, than on displaying what she has.

    Genius, without religion, is only a lamp on the outer gate of a palace. It may serve to cast a gleam of light on those that are without while the inhabitant sits in darkness.

    Gentleness is the outgrowth of benignity.

    Glory darts her soul-pervading ray on thrones and cottages, regardless still of all the artificial nice distinctions vain human customs make.

    Half our misery from our foibles springs.

    He who cannot find time to consult his Bible will one day find he has time to be sick; he who has no time to pray must find time to die; he who can find no time to reflect is most likely to find time to sin; he who cannot find time for repentance will find an eternity in which repentance will be of no avail; he who cannot find time to work for others may find an eternity in which to suffer for himself.

    How goodness heightens beauty!

    If a young lady has that discretion and modesty without which all knowledge is little worth, she will never make an ostentatious parade of it, because she will rather be intent on acquiring more than on displaying what she has.

    Life is a short day; but it is a working-day. Activity may lead to evil; but inactivity cannot be led to good.

    Love never reasons, but profusely gives; gives, like a thoughtless prodigal, its all, and trembles then lest it has done too little.

    Luxury and dissipation, soft and gentle as their approaches are, and silently as they throw their silken chains about the heart, enslave it more than the most active and turbulent vices.

    Method is the hinge of business, and there is no method without order and punctuality.

    My retirement was now become solitude; the former is, I believe, the best state for the mind of man, the latter almost the worst. In complete solitude, the eye wants objects, the heart wants attachments, the understanding wants reciprocation. The character loses its tenderness when it has nothing to strengthen it, its sweetness when it has nothing to soothe it.

    My soul, o’erfraught with gratitude, rejects the aid of language. Lord, behold my heart.

    Nothing raises the price of a blessing like its removal; whereas it was its continuance which should have taught us its value. There are three requisitions to the proper enjoyment of earthly blessings—a thankful reflection on the goodness of the Giver, a deep sense of our unworthiness, a recollection of the uncertainty of long possessing them. The first would make us grateful; the second, humble; and the third, moderate.

    O jealousy, thou ugliest fiend of hell! thy deadly venom preys on my vitals, turns the healthful hue of my fresh cheek to haggard sallowness, and drinks my spirit up.

    O, unhappy state of kings! it is well the robe of majesty is gay, or who would put it on?

    Our infinite obligations to God do not fill our hearts half as much as a petty uneasiness of our own; nor His infinite perfections as much as our smallest wants.

    Our merciful Father has no pleasure in the sufferings of His children; He chastens them in love; He never inflicts a stroke He could safely spare; He inflicts it to purify as well as to punish, to caution as well as to cure, to improve as well as to chastise.

    Outward attacks and troubles rather fix than unsettle the Christian, as tempests from without only serve to root the oak faster; whilst an inward canker will gradually rot and decay it.

    Perfect purity, fullness of joy, everlasting freedom, perfect rest, health and fruition, complete security, substantial and eternal good.

    Perish discretion when it interferes with duty.

    Prayer is not eloquence, but earnestness; not the definition of helplessness, but the feeling of it; not figures of speech, but compunction of soul.

    Proportion and propriety are among the best secrets of domestic wisdom; and there is no surer test of integrity than a well-proportioned expenditure.

    Rage is for little wrongs; despair is dumb.

    Sensibility appears to me to be neither good nor evil in itself, but in its application. Under the influence of Christian principle, it makes saints and martyrs; ill-directed, or uncontrolled, it is a snare, and the source of every temptation; besides, as people cannot get it if it is not given them, to descant on it seems to me as idle as to recommend people to have black eyes or fair complexions.

    So weak is man, so ignorant and blind, that did not God sometimes withhold in mercy what we ask, we should be ruined at our own request.

    Sound economy is a sound understanding brought into action; it is calculation realized; it is the doctrine of proportion reduced to practice; it is foreseeing contingencies, and providing against them.

    Sweet is the breath of praise when given by those whose own high merit claims the praise they give.

    That silence is one of the great arts of conversation is allowed by Cicero himself, who says there is not only an art, but an eloquence in it.

    The artful injury, whose venomed dart scarce wounds the hearing, while it stabs the heart.

    The education of the present race of females is not very favorable to domestic happiness. For my own part, I call education, not that which smothers a woman with accomplishments, but that which tends to consolidate a firm and regular system of character; that which tends to form a friend, a companion, and a wife.

    The habitual indulgence in such reading is a silent, mining mischief.

    The keen spirit seizes the prompt occasion.

    The roses of pleasure seldom last long enough to adorn the brow of him who plucks them; for they are the only roses which do not retain their sweetness after they have lost their beauty.

    The secret heart is fair devotion’s temple; there the saint, even on that living altar, lights the flame of purest sacrifice, which burns unseen, not unaccepted.

    The sober comfort, all the peace which springs from the large aggregate of little things.

    The soul on earth is an immortal guest, compelled to starve at an unreal feast.

    There are only two bad things in this world, sin and bile.

    There is one single fact, which one may oppose to all the wit and argument of infidelity, namely, that no man ever repented of being a Christian on his death-bed.

    To be good and disagreeable is high treason against the royalty of virtue.

    We are apt to mistake our vocation by looking out of the way for occasions to exercise great and rare virtues, and by stepping over the ordinary ones that lie directly in the road before us.

    We have employment assigned to us for every circumstance in life. When we are alone, we have our thoughts to watch; in the family, our tempers; and in company, our tongues.

    When we read, we fancy we could be martyrs; when we come to act, we cannot bear a provoking word.

    Where bright imagination reigns, the fine-wrought spirit feels acuter pains.

    Where evil may be done, it is right to ponder; where only suffered, know the shortest pause is much too long.

    Wisdom views with an indifferent eye all finite joys, all blessings born to die.