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


  • Boys must not have th’ ambitious care of men,
  • Nor men the weak anxieties of age.
  • Curst is the wretch enslaved to such a vice,
  • Who ventures life and soul upon the dice.
  • False praise can please, and calumny affright
  • None but the vicious, and the hypocrite.
  • He alone can claim this name, who writes
  • With fancy high, and bold and daring Flights.
  • He that cuts off twenty years of life
  • Cuts off so many years of fearing death.
  • In form so delicate, so soft his skin,
  • So fair in feature, and so smooth his chin,
  • Quite to unman him nothing wants but this;
  • Put him in coats, and he’s a very miss.
  • Still though the headlong cavalier,
  • O’er rough and smooth, in wild career,
  • Seems racing with the wind;
  • His sad companion, ghastly pale,
  • And darksome as a widow’s veil,
  • Care keeps her seat behind.
  • The maid whom now you court in vain
  • Will quickly run in quest of man.
  • The truly generous is the truly wise;
  • And he who loves not others, lives unblest.
  • When discord dreadful bursts her brazen bars,
  • And shatters locks to thunder forth her wars.
  • Who then is free?—the wise, who well maintains
  • An empire o’er himself; whom neither chains,
  • Nor want, nor death, with slavish fear inspire;
  • Who boldly answers to his warm desire;
  • Who can ambition’s vainest gifts despise;
  • Firm in himself, who on himself relies;
  • Polish’d and round, who runs his proper course,
  • And breaks misfortune with superior force.
  • With equal pace, impartial fate,
  • Knocks at the palace and the cottage gate.
  • A corrupt judge does not carefully search for the truth.

    A good resolve will make any port.

    A picture is a poem without words.

    A stomach that is seldom empty despises common food.

    A wise God shrouds the future in obscure darkness.

    Abridge your hopes in proportion to the shortness of the span of human life; for while we converse, the hours, as if envious of our pleasure, fly away; enjoy, therefore, the present time, and trust not too much to what to-morrow may produce.

    Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant.

    Aiming at brevity, I become obscure.

    Alas! the fleeting years are passing away.

    All-powerful money supplies the place of birth and beauty.

    Amiability shines by its own light.

    Anger is a short madness.

    As a neighboring funeral terrifies sick misers, and fear obliges them to have some regard for themselves; so, the disgrace of others will often deter tender minds from vice.

    Avoid greatness; in a cottage there may be found more real happiness than kings or their favorites enjoy in palaces.

    Away, ye imitators, servile herd!

    Be brief, that the mind may catch thy precepts, and the more easily retain them.

    Be this thy brazen bulwark, to keep a clear conscience, and never turn pale with guilt.

    Believe that each day is the last to shine upon thee.

    Better one thorn pluck’d out than all remain.

    Blind self-love, vanity, lifting aloft her empty head, and indiscretion, prodigal of secrets more transparent than glass, follow close behind.

    Busy not yourself in looking forward to the events of to-morrow; but whatever may be those of the days Providence may yet assign you neglect not to turn them to advantage.

    Cease to inquire what the future has in store, and to take as a gift whatever the day brings forth.

    Change generally pleases the rich.

    Consider well what your strength is equal to, and what exceeds your ability.

    Dare to be wise.

    Death alone of the gods loves not gifts, nor do you need to offer incense or libations; he cares not for altar nor hymn; the goddess of Persuasion alone of the gods has no power over him.

    Death is the last limit of all things.

    Death is the ultimate boundary of human matters.

    Each passing year robs us of some possession.

    Enjoy the present day, trusting little to the morrow.

    Envy is not to be conquered but by death.

    Everything that is in superabundance overflows from the full bosom.

    Everything, virtue, glory, honor, things human and divine, all are slaves to riches.

    Fate with impartial hand turns out the doom of high and low; her capacious urn is constantly shaking the names of all mankind.

    Fidelity is the sister of justice.

    For everything divine and human, virtue, fame and honor, now obey the alluring influence of riches.

    For man learns more readily and remembers more willingly what excites his ridicule than what deserves esteem and respect.

    Glory drags all men along, low as well as high, bound captive at the wheels of her glittering car.

    God can change the lowest to the highest, abase the proud, and raise the humble.

    Gold loves to make its way through guards, and breaks through barriers of stone more easily than the lightning’s bolt.

    Govern your passions or otherwise they will govern you.

    Happy and thrice happy are they who enjoy an uninterrupted union, and whose love, unbroken by any complaints, shall not dissolve until the last day.

    He appears mad indeed but to a few, because the majority is infected with the same disease.

    He has carried every point, who has mingled the useful with the agreeable.

    He has mastered all points who has combined the useful with the agreeable.

    He is not poor who has the use of necessary things.

    He possesses dominion over himself and is happy, who can every day say, “I have lived.” To-morrow the Heavenly Father may either involve the world in dark clouds or cheer it with clear sunshine; he will not, however, render ineffectual the things which have already taken place.

    He pulls down, he builds up, he changes squares into circles.

    He who is always in a hurry to be wealthy and immersed in the study of augmenting his fortune has lost the arms of reason and deserted the post of virtue.

    He will always be a slave, who does not know how to live upon a little.

    Hence these tears.

    How does it happen, Mæcenas, that no one is content with that lot in life which he has chosen, or which chance has thrown in his way, but praises those who follow a different course?

    However rich or elevated, a nameless something is always wanting to our imperfect fortune.

    Humble things become the humble.

    I am not what I once was.

    I attend to the business of other people, having lost my own.

    I court not the votes of the fickle mob.

    I have completed a monument more lasting than brass, and more sublime than the regal elevation of pyramids, which neither the wasting shower, the unavailing north-wind, or an innumerable succession of years, and the flight of seasons, shall be able to demolish.

    I wrap myself up in my virtue.

    If a man’s fortune does not fit him, it is like the shoe in the story; if too large it trips him up, if too small it pinches him.

    In adversity be spirited and firm, and with equal prudence lessen your sail when filled with a too fortunate gale of prosperity.

    In laboring to be concise, I become obscure.

    In the capacious urn of death, every name is shaken.

    Increasing wealth is attended by care and by the desire of greater increase.

    Instruction enlarges the natural powers of the mind.

    It is not scholarship alone, but scholarship impregnated with religion, that tells on the great mass of society. We have no faith in the efficacy of mechanics’ institutes, or even of primary and elementary schools, for building up a virtuous and well-conditioned peasantry so long as they stand dissevered from the lessons of Christian piety. Unless your cask is perfectly clean, whatever you pour into it turns sour.

    It is of no consequence of what parents any man is born, so that he be a man of merit.

    It is right for him who asks forgiveness for his offenses to grant it to others.

    It is sweet and glorious to die for one’s country.

    Knowledge is the foundation and source of good writing.

    Let him who has enough ask for nothing more.

    Let the character as it began be preserved to the last; and let it be consistent with itself.

    Let your literary compositions be kept from the public eye for nine years at least.

    Luck cannot change birth.

    Man is never watchful enough against dangers that threaten him every hour,

    Mediocrity is not allowed to poets, either by the gods or men.

    Mingle a little folly with your wisdom.

    Money is a handmaiden, if thou knowest to use it; a mistress if thou knowest not.

    Most virtue lies between two vices.

    My cares and my inquiries are for decency and truth, and in this I am wholly occupied.

    Never inquire into another man’s secret; but conceal that which is intrusted to you, though pressed both by wine and anger to reveal it.

    No man is born without faults, he is best who has the fewest.

    Noble descent and worth, unless united with wealth, are esteemed no more than seaweed.

    Not even for an hour can you bear to be alone, nor can you advantageously apply your leisure time, but you endeavor, a fugitive and wanderer, to escape from yourself, now vainly seeking to banish remorse by wine, and now by sleep; but the gloomy companion presses on you, and pursues you as you fly.

    Not to be lost in idle admiration is the only sure means of making and of preserving happiness.

    Nothing is too high for the daring of mortals: we storm heaven itself in our folly.

    O imitators, a servile race, how often have your attacks roused my bile and often my laughter!

    Of what use are laws inoperative through public immorality?

    Often turn the stile [correct with care,] if you expect to write anything worthy of being read twice.

    One cannot know everything.

    One day is pressed on by another.

    One deviates to the right, another to the left; the error is the same with all, but it deceives them in different ways.

    Painters and poets have equal license in regard to everything.

    Pale death enters with impartial step the cottages of the poor and the palaces of the rich.

    Physicians attend to the business of physicians and workmen handle the tools of workmen.

    Punishment follows close on crime.

    Remember to be calm in adversity.

    Riches either serve or govern the possessor.

    Ridicule is often employed with more power and success than severity.

    Ridicule often cuts the Gordian knot more effectively than the severity of satire.

    Seest thou how pale the sated guest rises from supper, where the appetite is puzzled with varieties? The body, too, burdened with yesterday’s excess, weighs down the soul, and fixes to the earth this particle of the divine essence.

    Shun the inquisitive, for thou wilt be sure to find him leaky; open ears do not keep conscientiously what has been intrusted to them, and a word once spoken flies never to be recalled.

    Shun to seek what is hid in the womb of the morrow, and set down as gain in life’s ledger whatever time fate shall have granted thee.

    Silver is less valuable than gold, gold than virtue.

    Sorrowful words become the sorrowful; angry words suit the passionate; light words a playful expression; serious words suit the grave.

    Sovereign money procures a wife with a large fortune, gets a man credit, creates friends, stands in place of pedigree, and even of beauty.

    Splendidly mendacious.

    Strength, wanting judgment and policy to rule, overturneth itself.

    Superfluous advice is not retained by the full mind.

    Surely oak and threefold brass surrounded his heart who first trusted a frail vessel to the merciless ocean.

    That destructive syren sloth is ever to be avoided.

    That man lives happy and in command of himself, who from day to day can say I have lived. Whether clouds obscure, or the sun illumines the following day, that which is past is beyond recall.

    The accumulation of wealth is followed by an increase of care, and by an appetite for more.

    The body oppressed by excess bears down the mind, and depresses to the earth any portion of the divine spirit we had been endowed with.

    The chief pleasure (in eating) does not consist in costly seasoning or exquisite flavor, but in yourself. Do you seek for sauce by sweating.

    The common people are but ill judges of a man’s merits; they are slaves to fame, and their eyes are dazzled with the pomp of titles and large retinue. No wonder, then, that they bestow their honors on those who least deserve them.

    The covetous man.

    The earth opens impartially her bosom to receive the beggar and the prince.

    The gods my protectors.

    The good hate sin because they love virtue.

    The human race afraid of nothing, rushes on through every crime.

    The illustration which solves one difficulty by raising another, settles nothing.

    The lazy ox wishes for horse-trappings, and the steed wishes to plough.

    The lofty pine is oftenest agitated by the winds—high towers rush to the earth with a heavier fall—and the lightning most frequently strikes the highest mountains.

    The man who is just and resolute will not be moved from his settled purpose, either by the misdirected rage of his fellow citizens, or by the threats of an imperious tyrant.

    The mind that is cheerful in its present state, will be averse to all solicitude as to the future, and will meet the bitter occurrences of life with a placid smile.

    The miser acquires, yet fears to use his gains.

    The more a man denies himself the more he shall obtain from God.

    The naked truth.

    The sorrowful dislike the gay, and the gay the sorrowful.

    The wolf dreads the pitfall, the hawk suspects the snare, and the kite the covered hook.

    There is a mean in all things. Even virtue itself hath its stated limits; which not being strictly observed it ceases to be virtue.

    There is likewise a reward for faithful silence.

    These trifles will lead to serious mischief.

    They change their sky not their mind who cross the sea. A busy idleness possesses us: we seek a happy life, with ships and carriages: the object of our search is present with us.

    Those who are unacquainted with the world take pleasure in the intimacy of great men; those who are wiser dread the consequences.

    Those who covet much suffer from the want.

    Time will bring to light whatever is hidden; it will conceal and cover up what is now shining with the greatest splendor.

    Too indolent to bear the toil of writing; I mean of writing well; I say nothing about quantity.

    Virtue consists in avoiding vice, and is the highest wisdom.

    We are more speedily and fatally corrupted by domestic examples of vice, and particularly when they are impressed on our minds as from authority.

    We hate virtue when it is safe; when removed from our sight we diligently seek it.

    What can be found equal to modesty, uncorrupt faith, the sister of justice, and undisguised truth?

    What does it avail you, if of many thorns only one be removed.

    What does not destructive time destroy?

    What does not wasting time change! The age of our parents, worse than that of our grandsires, has brought us forth more impious still, and we shall produce a more vicious progeny.

    What exile from his country is able to escape from himself.

    What has this unfeeling age of ours left untried, what wickedness has it shunned?

    What will this boaster produce worthy of this mouthing? The mountains are in labor; a ridiculous mouse will be born.

    “What you demand is here, or at Ulubræ.” You traverse the world in search of happiness, which is within the reach of every man; a contented mind confers it on all.

    What’s well begun, is half done.

    Whatever advice you give, be short.

    Whatever precepts you give, be short.

    Whatever things injure your eye you are anxious to remove; but things which affect your mind you defer.

    When reduced by adversity, a man forgets the lofty tone and supercilious language of prosperity.

    Who is a good man? He who keeps the decrees of the fathers, and both human and divine laws.

    Who knows whether the gods will add to-morrow to the present hour?

    Who loves the golden mean is safe from the poverty of a tenement, is free from the envy of a palace.

    Who then is free? The wise man who can govern himself.

    Wise were the kings who never chose a friend till with full cups they had unmasked his soul, and seen the bottom of his deepest thoughts.

    Ye who write, choose a subject suited to your abilities.

    You may turn nature out of doors with violence, but she will return.

    You traverse the world in search of happiness, which is within the reach of every man; a contented mind confers it on all.

    You tread on smoldering fires covered by deceitful ashes.

    Your own property is concerned when your neighbor’s house is on fire.