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


Ceremonies are the outworks of manners.


Truth and ceremony are two things.

Marcus Antoninus.

  • What art thou, thou idol ceremony?
  • What kind of god art thou, that suffer’st more
  • Of mortal griefs than do thy worshippers?
  • Shakespeare.

    There are ceremonious bows that repel one like a cudgel.


    When love begins to sicken and decay it useth an enforced ceremony.


    Ceremony is all backbone.


  • To feed were best at home;
  • From thence the sauce to meat is ceremony;
  • Meeting were bare without it.
  • Shakespeare.

    Candlesticks and incense not being portable into the maintop, the sailor perceives these decorations to be, on the whole, inessential to a maintop mass. Sails must be set and cables bent, be it never so strict a saint’s day; and it is found that no harm comes of it. Absolution on a lee-shore must be had of the breakers, it appears, if at all; and they give plenary and brief without listening to confession.


  • Ceremony was but devis’d at first
  • To set a gloss on faint deeds, hollow welcomes,
  • Recanting goodness, sorry ere ’tis shown.
  • Shakespeare.

    Forms and regularity of proceeding, if they are not justice, partake much of the nature of justice, which, in its highest sense, is the spirit of distributive order.


    If we use no ceremony towards others, we shall be treated without any. People are soon tired of paying trifling attentions to those who receive them with coldness, and return them with neglect.


    As ceremony is the invention of wise men to keep fools at a distance, so good breeding is an expedient to make fools and wise men equal.


  • What infinite heart’s ease,
  • Must kings neglect, that private men enjoy?
  • And what have kings that privates have not too,
  • Save ceremony, save general ceremony?
  • Shakespeare.

  • O ceremony, show me but thy worth!
  • What is thy soul of adoration?
  • Art thou aught else but place, degree, and form,
  • Creating awe and fear in other men?
  • Shakespeare.

    Ceremony keeps up things; ’tis like a penny glass to a rich spirit, or some excellent water; without it the water were spilt, and the spirit lost.