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


Censure is the tax a man pays to the public for being eminent.


The villain’s censure is extorted praise.


The death of censure is the death of genius.


There is no defense against reproach except obscurity.


Censure pardons the ravens, but rebukes the doves.


The censure of those that are opposed to us is the nicest commendation that can be given us.

St. Evremond.

Censure is often useful, praise often deceitful.


We must not stint our necessary actions in the fear to cope malicious censurers.


Censure is like the lightning which strikes the highest mountains.

Balthasar Gracian.

The readiest and surest way to get rid of censure is to correct ourselves.


He that accuses all mankind of corruption ought to remember that he is sure to convict only one.


We do not like our friends the worse because they sometimes give us an opportunity to rail at them heartily. Their faults reconcile us to their virtues.


Few persons have sufficient wisdom to prefer censure which is useful to them to praise which deceives them.

La Rochefoucauld.

Others proclaim the infirmities of a great man with satisfaction and complacence, if they discover none of the like in themselves.


These men (chronic fault-finders) should consider that it is their envy which deforms everything, and that the ugliness is not in the object, but in the eye.


Invective may be a sharp weapon, but overuse blunts its edge. Even when the denunciation is just and true it is an error of art to indulge it too long.


When the tongue is the weapon, a man may strike where he cannot reach; and a word shall do execution both further and deeper than the mightiest blow.


To arrive at perfection, a man should have very sincere friends, or inveterate enemies; because he would be made sensible of his good or ill conduct either by the censures of the one or the admonitions of the others.


Some men’s censures are like the blasts of rams’ horns before the walls of Jericho; all a man’s fame they lay level at one stroke, when all they go upon is only conceit, without any certain basis.

J. Beaumont.

Horace appears in good humor while he censures, and therefore his censure has the more weight as supposed to proceed from judgment, not from passion.


It is undoubtedly true, though it may seem paradoxical,—but, in general, those who are habitually employed in finding and displaying faults are unqualified for the work of reformation.


  • O that the too censorious world would learn
  • This wholesome rule, and with each other bear;
  • But man, as if a foe to his own species,
  • Takes pleasure to report his neighbors’ faults.
  • Judging with rigor every small offense,
  • And prides himself in scandal, Few there are
  • Who injured take the part of the transgressor
  • And plead his pardon ere he deigns to ask it.
  • Haywood.

    It is harder to avoid censure than to gain applause; for this may be done by one great or wise action in an age. But to escape censure a man must pass his whole life without saying or doing one ill or foolish thing.


    There are but three ways for a man to revenge himself of the censure of the world,—to despise it, to return the like, or to endeavor to live so as to avoid it; the first of these is usually pretended, the last is almost impossible, the universal practice is for the second.


    Plutarch tells us of an idle and effeminate Etrurian who found fault with the manner in which Themistocles had conducted a recent campaign. “What,” said the hero in reply, “have you, too, something to say about war, who are like the fish that has a sword, but no heart?” He is always the severest censor on the merits of others who has the least worth of his own.

    E. L. Magoon.

    He that abuses his own profession will not patiently bear with any one else who does so. And this is one of our most subtle operations of self-love. For when we abuse our own profession, we tacitly except ourselves; but when another abuses it, we are far from being certain that this is the case.


    It is a folly for an eminent man to think of escaping censure, and a weakness to be affected with it. All the illustrious persons of antiquity, and indeed of every age in the world, have passed through this fiery persecution. There is no defense against reproach but obscurity; it is a kind of concomitant to greatness, as satires and invectives were an essential part of a Roman triumph.