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


Fragile beginnings of a mighty end.

Mrs. Norton.

Children like olive plants round about thy table.

Psalm cxxviii. 3.

A rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded.


Living jewels, dropped unstained from heaven.


Children are what the mothers are.


Childhood is the sleep of reason.


A child is an angel dependent on man.

Count de Maistre.

Childhood has no forebodings; but then it is soothed by no memories of outlived sorrow.

George Eliot.

Children are the to-morrow of society.


The child is father of the man.


Heaven lies about us in our infancy.


Unblown flowers, new-appearing sweets.


Dispel not the happy delusions of children.


Children blessings seem, but torments are.


Just as the twig is bent the tree is inclined.


Your little child is your only true democrat.

Mrs. Stowe.

The sports of children satisfy the child.


In bringing up a child, think of its old age.


Children have more need of models than of critics.

Joseph Joubert.

Childhood shows the man, as morning shows the day.


The smallest children are nearest to God, as the smallest planets are nearest the sun.


Children are like grown people; the experience of others is never of any use to them.


Call not that man wretched, who whatever ills he suffers, has a child to love.


Children are God’s apostles, day by day sent forth to preach of love and hope and peace.


The clew of our destiny, wander where we will, lies at the cradle foot.


Never educate a child to be a gentleman or lady alone, but to be a man, a woman.

Herbert Spencer.

Children will grow up substantially what they are by nature—and only that.

Mrs. H. B. Stowe.

Never despair of a child. The one you weep the most for at the mercy-seat may fill your heart with the sweetest joys.

T. L. Cuyler.

Nothing has a better effect upon children than praise.

Sir P. Sidney.

Many children, many cares; no children, no felicity.


The scenes of childhood are the memories of future years.

J. O. Choules.

What gift has Providence bestowed on man, that is so dear to him as his children?


Do not try to produce an ideal child, it would find no fitness in this world.

Herbert Spencer.

The children of to-day will be the architects of our country’s destiny in 1900.

James A. Garfield.

Childhood is like a mirror, which reflects in after life the images first presented to it.

Samuel Smiles.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs xxii. 6.

  • How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is
  • To have a thankless child.
  • Shakespeare.

    The bearing and training of a child is woman’s wisdom.


    His little children, climbing for a kiss, welcome their father’s late return at night.


  • Behold the child, by nature’s kindly law
  • Pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw.
  • Pope.

    A mother’s love, in a degree, sanctifies the most worthless offspring.

    Hosea Ballou.

    The glorified spirit of the infant is as a star to guide the mother to its own blissful clime.

    Mrs. Sigourney.

    Where children are, there is the golden age.


  • Childhood, who like an April morn appears,
  • Sunshine and rain, hopes clouded o’er with fears.
  • Churchill.

    A torn jacket is soon mended; but hard words bruise the heart of a child.


    We speak of educating our children. Do we know that our children also educate us?

    Mrs. Sigourney.

    Truly there is nothing in the world so blessed or so sweet as the heritage of children.

    Mrs. Oliphant.

    A woman’s natural protector is less an aged father or tall brother than a very young child.

    Mme. de Girardin.

    The death of a child occasions a passion of grief and frantic tears, such as your end, brother reader, will never inspire.


    I would not have children much beaten for their faults, because I would not have them think bodily pain the greatest punishment.


    In the man whose childhood has known caresses, there is always a fibre of memory that can be touched to gentle issues.

    George Eliot.

    There is another accidental advantage in marriage, which has also fallen to my share; I mean the having a multitude of children.


    It seems impossible they should ever grow to be men, and drag the heavy artillery along the dusty road of life.


    Who is not attracted by bright and pleasant children, to prattle, to creep, and to play with them?


    I love these little people; and it is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us.


    As soft wax is apt to take the stamp of the seal, so are the minds of young children to receive the instruction imprinted on them.


    A man looketh on his little one as a being of better hope; in himself ambition is dead, but it hath a resurrection in his son.


    The whining schoolboy, with his satchel and shining morning face, creeping like snail unwillingly to school.


    Jesus was the first great teacher of men who showed a genuine sympathy for childhood. When He said “Of such is the kingdom of heaven,” it was a revelation.


    God has given you your child, that the sight of him, from time to time, might remind you of His goodness, and induce you to praise Him with filial reverence.

    Christian Scriver.

    Blessed be the hand that prepares a pleasure for a child, for there is no saying when and where it may bloom forth.

    Douglas Jerrold.

    Children have neither past nor future; and, what scarcely ever happens to us, they enjoy the present.

    La Bruyère.

    Let us be men with men, and always children before God; for in His eyes we are but children. Old age itself, in presence of eternity, is but the first moment of a morning.

    Joseph Joubert.

    In praising or loving a child, we love and praise not that which is, but that which we hope for.


    I have often thought what a melancholy world this would be without children, and what an inhuman world without the aged.


    The training of children is a profession where we must know to lose time in order to gain it.


    Precious Saviour! come in spirit, and lay Thy strong, gentle grasp of love on our dear boys and girls, and keep these our lambs from the fangs of the wolf.

    T. L. Cuyler.

  • Children are the keys of Paradise.
  • ***They alone are good and wise,
  • Because their thoughts, their very lives are prayer.
  • Stoddard.

    We should treat children as God does us, who makes us happiest when He leaves us under the influence of innocent delusions.


    Happy child! the cradle is still to thee a vast space; become a man, and the boundless world will be too small to thee.


    What in us the women leave uncultivated, children cultivate when we retain them near us.


    It is better to keep children to their duty, by a sense of honor, and by kindness, than by fear and punishment.


    Let your children be as so many flowers, borrowed from God. If the flowers die or wither, thank God for a loan of them.


    Children generally hate to be idle; all the care then is that their busy humor should be constantly employed in something of use to them.


    I seem, for my own part, to see the benevolence of the Deity more clearly in the pleasures of very young children than in anything else in the world.


  • Then gathering ’round his bed, they climb to share
  • His kisses, and with gentle violence there,
  • Break in upon a dream not half so fair.
  • Rogers.

    The sacred books of the ancient Persians say, “If you would be holy, instruct your children, because all the good acts they perform will be imputed to you.”


    A house is never perfectly furnished for enjoyment unless there is a child in it rising three years old, and a kitten rising three weeks.


    Children must be rendered reasonable, but not reasoners. The first thing to teach them is that it is reasonable for them to obey, and unreasonable for them to dispute.


    A child’s existence is a bright, soft element of joy, out of which, as in Prospero’s Island, wonder after wonder bodies itself forth, to teach by charming.


  • Ah! what would the world be to us,
  • If the children were no more?
  • We should dread the desert behind us
  • Worse than the dark before.
  • Longfellow.

    As in the Master’s spirit you take into your arms the little ones, His own everlasting arms will encircle them and you. He will pity both their and your simplicity; and as in unseen presence He comes again, His blessing will breathe upon you.

    James Hamilton.

    “A fig-tree looking on a fig-tree becometh fruitful,” says the Arabian proverb. And so it is with children; their first great instructor is example.

    Samuel Smiles.

    In trying to teach children a great deal in a short time, they are treated not as though the race they were to run was for life, but simply a three-mile heat.

    Horace Mann.

    “Beware,” said Lavater, “of him who hates the laugh of a child.” “I love God and little children,” was the simple yet sublime sentiment of Richter.

    Mrs. Sigourney.

    Children are very nice observers, and they will often perceive your slightest defects. In general, those who govern children forgive nothing in them, but everything in themselves.


    Is the world all grown up? Is childhood dead? Or is there not in the bosom of the wisest and the best some of the child’s heart left, to respond to its earliest enchantments?


    We should amuse our evening hours of life in cultivating the tender plants, and bringing them to perfection, before they are transplanted to a happier clime.


    Children sweeten labors, but they make misfortunes more bitter; they increase the cares of life, but they mitigate the remembrance of death.


    While childhood, and while dreams, producing childhood, shall be left, imagination shall not have spread her holy wings totally to fly the earth.


    One of the greatest pleasures of childhood is found in the mysteries which it hides from the skepticism of the elders, and works up into small mythologies of its own.

    O. W. Holmes.

    The first duty toward children is to make them happy. If you have not made them happy, you have wronged them; no other good they may get can make up for that.

    Charles Buxton.

    Call not that man wretched, who whatever else he suffers as to pain inflicted, or pleasure denied, has a child for whom he hopes and on whom he doats.


    Who feels injustice, who shrinks before a slight, who has a sense of wrong so acute, and so glowing a gratitude for kindness, as a generous boy?


    That season of childhood, when the soul, on the rainbow bridge of fancy, glides along, dry-shod, over the walls and ditches of this lower earth.


  • Oft too the mind well pleased surveys,
  • Its progress from its childish days;
  • See how the current upwards ran,
  • And reads the child o’er in the man.
  • Lloyd.

    To season them, and win them early to the love of virtue and true labor, ere any flattering seducement or vain principle seize them wandering, some easy and delightful book of education should be read to them.


    Beware of fatiguing them by ill-judged exactness. If virtue offer itself to a child under a melancholy and constrained aspect, if liberty and license present themselves under an agreeable form, all is lost, your labor is in vain.


    If I were to choose among all gifts and qualities that which, on the whole, makes life pleasantest, I should select the love of children. No circumstance can render this world wholly a solitude to one who has this possession.

    T. W. Higginson.

    I hardly know so melancholy a reflection as that parents are necessarily the sole directors of the management of children, whether they have or have not judgment, penetration or taste to perform the task.

    Lord Greville.

    The child’s grief throbs against the round of its little heart as heavily as the man’s sorrow; and the one finds as much delight in his kite or dram as the other in striking the springs of enterprise or soaring on the wings of fame.


    A man shall see, where there is a house full of children, one or two of the eldest restricted, and the youngest ruined by indulgence; but in the midst, some that are, as it were, forgotten, who many times, nevertheless, prove the best.


    A large portion of Christ’s miracles of love were wrought at the urgent request of parents for their suffering children. Is that ear gone deaf to-day? Will He not do for our children’s souls what He did for the bodies of the ruler’s daughter, and the dead youth at Nain?

    T. L. Cuyler.

    Of all the sights which can soften and humanize the heart of men, there is none that ought so surely to reach it as that of innocent children, enjoying the happiness which is their proper and natural portion.


    I never hear parents exclaim impatiently, “Children, you must not make so much noise,” that I do not think how soon the time may come when, beside the vacant seat, those parents would give all the world, could they hear once more the ringing laughter which once so disturbed them.

    A. E. Kittredge.

  • Delightful task! to rear the tender thought,
  • To teach the young idea how to shoot,
  • To pour the fresh instruction o’er the mind,
  • To breathe the enlivening spirit and to fix
  • The generous purpose in the glowing breast!
  • Thomson.

    What art can paint or gild any object in after life with the glow which nature gives to the first baubles of childhood? St. Peter’s cannot have the magical power over us that the red and gold covers of our first picture-book possessed.


    The children of the poor are so apt to look as if the rich would have been over-blest with such! Alas for the angel capabilities, interrupted so soon with care, and with after life so sadly unfulfilled?


    Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven. By these tendrils we clasp it and climb thitherward. And why do we think that we are separated from them? We never half knew them, nor in this world could.


    I do not like punishments. You will never torture a child into duty; but a sensible child will dread the frown of a judicious mother more than all the rods, dark rooms, and scolding school-mistresses in the universe.

    H. K. White.

    Good Christian people, here lies for you an inestimable loan; take all heed thereof, in all carefulness employ it: with high recompense, or else with heavy penalty, will it one day be required back.


    The plays of natural lively children are the infancy of art. Children live in a world of imagination and feeling. They invest the most insignificant object with any form they please, and see in it whatever they wish to see.


  • We are but children, the things that we do
  • Are as sports, of a babe to the Infinite view,
  • That sees all our weakness, and pities it, too.
  • And oh! when aweary, may we be so blest
  • As to sink, like a innocent child, to our rest,
  • And feel ourselves clasped to the Infinite breast.
  • F. Burge Smith.

    A mother once asked a clergyman when she should begin the education of her child, which she told him was then four years old. “Madam,” was the reply, “you have lost three years already. From the very first smile that gleams over an infant’s cheek, your opportunity begins.”


    Our children that die young are like those spring bulbs which have their flowers prepared beforehand, and leave nothing to do but to break ground, and blossom, and pass away. Thank God for spring flowers among men, as well as among the grasses of the field.


    Happy season of childhood! Kind Nature, that art to all a bountiful mother; that visitest the poor man’s hut with auroral radiance; and for thy nursling hast provided a soft swathing of love and infinite hope wherein he waxes and slumbers, danced round by sweetest dreams!


    If a boy is not trained to endure and to bear trouble, he will grow up a girl; and a boy that is a girl has all a girl’s weakness without any of her regal qualities. A woman made out of a woman is God’s noblest work: a woman made out of a man is His meanest.


    When a child can be brought to tears, not from fear of punishment, but from repentance for his offence, he needs no chastisement. When the tears begin to flow from grief at one’s own conduct, be sure there is an angel nestling in the bosom.

    Horace Mann.

    An infallible way to make your child miserable is to satisfy all his demands. Passion swells by gratification; and the impossibility of satisfying every one of his demands will oblige you to stop short at last, after he has become a little headstrong.

    Henry Home.

  • And yet we check and chide
  • The airy angels as they float about us,
  • With rules of so-called wisdom, till they grow
  • The same tame slaves to custom and the world.
  • Mrs. Osgood.

  • Look how he laughs and stretches out his arms,
  • And opens wide his blue eyes upon thine,
  • To hail his father: while his little form
  • Flutters as wing’d with joy. Talk not of pain!
  • The childless cherubs well might envy thee
  • The pleasures of a parent.
  • Byron.

    Train them to virtue; habituate them to industry, activity, and spirit. Make them consider every vice as shameful and unmanly. Fire them with ambition to be useful. Make them disdain to be destitute of any useful knowledge. Fix their ambition upon great and solid objects, and their contempt upon little, frivolous, and useless ones.

    John Adams.

  • Thine was the shout! the song! the burst of joy!
  • Which sweet from childhood’s rosy lip resoundeth;
  • Thine was the eager spirit nought could cloy,
  • And the glad heart from which all grief reboundeth.
  • Mrs. Norton.

    I can ensure a melancholy man, but not a melancholy child; the former, in whatever slough he may sink, can raise his eyes either to the kingdom of reason or of hope; but, the little child is entirely absorbed and weighed down by one black poison-drop of the present.

    Mrs. Norton.

    As hardly anything can accidentally touch the soft clay without stamping its mark on it, so hardly any reading can interest a child, without contributing in some degree, though the book itself be afterwards totally forgotten, to form the character.


    It always grieves me to contemplate the initiation of children into the ways of life when they are scarcely more than infants. It checks their confidence and simplicity, two of the best qualities that heaven gives them, and demands that they share our sorrows before they are capable of entering into our enjoyments.


    I know that a sweet child is the sweetest thing in nature, not even excepting the delicate creatures which bear them; but the prettier the kind of a thing is, the more desirable it is that it should be pretty of its kind. One daisy differs not much from another in glory; but a violet should look and smell the daintiest.


    A creature undefiled by the taint of the world, unvexed by its injustice, unwearied by its hollow pleasures; a being fresh from the source of light, with something of its universal lustre in it. If childhood be this, how holy the duty to see that in its onward growth it shall be no other!

    Douglas Jerrold.

  • To aid thy mind’s development to watch
  • Thy dawn of little joys, to sit and see
  • Almost thy very growth, to view thee catch
  • Knowledge of objects—wonders yet to thee!
  • To hold thee lightly on a gentle knee,
  • And print on thy soft cheek a parent’s kiss.
  • Byron.

    A child’s eyes, those clear wells of undefiled thought—what on earth can be more beautiful? Full of hope, love and curiosity, they meet your own. In prayer, how earnest; in joy, how sparkling; in sympathy, how tender! The man who never tried the companionship of a little child has carelessly passed by one of the great pleasures of life, as one passes a rare flower without plucking it or knowing its value.

    Mrs. Norton.

    Be very vigilent over thy child in the April of his understanding, lest the frost of May nip his blossoms; While he is a tender twig, straighten him; whilst he is a new vessel, season him; such as thou makest him, such commonly shalt thou find him. Let his first lesson be obedience, and his second shall be what thou wilt.


    Their future may, perchance, appear dark to others; but to their fearless gaze it looms up brilliant and beautiful as the walls of a fairy palace. There is no tear which a mother’s gentle hand cannot wipe away, no wound that a mother’s kiss cannot heal, no anguish which the sweet murmuring of her soft, low voice cannot soothe.

    Esaias Tegner.

  • They are idols of hearts and of households;
  • They are angels of God in disguise;
  • His sunlight still sleeps in their tresses;
  • His glory still gleams in their eyes.
  • Oh, those truants from home and from heaven,
  • They have made me more manly and mild,
  • And I know now how Jesus could liken
  • The kingdom of God to a child.
  • Dickens.

    Be ever gentle with the children God has given you; watch over them constantly; reprove them earnestly, but not in anger. In the forcible language of Scripture, “Be not bitter against them.” “Yes, they are good boys,” I once heard a kind father say. “I talk to them very much, but do not like to beat my children—the world will beat them.” It was a beautiful thought, though not elegantly expressed.

    Elihu Burritt.

    Above all things endeavor to breed them up in the love of virtue, and that holy plain way of it which we have lived in, that the world in no part of it get into my family. I had rather they were homely than finely bred as to outward behavior; yet I love sweetness mixed with gravity, and cheerfulness tempered with sobriety.

    William Penn.

    Bring your little children to the Saviour. Place them in His arms. Devote them to His service. Born in His camp, let them wear from the first His colors. Taking advantage of timely opportunities, and with all tenderness of spirit, seek to endear them to the Friend of Sinners, the Good Shepherd of the lambs, the loving Guardian of the little children. And not only teach them, but govern them. And in order to govern them, govern yourselves.

    James Hamilton.

    God sends children for another purpose than merely to keep up the race—to enlarge our hearts, to make us unselfish, and full of kindly sympathies and affections; to give our souls higher aims, and to call out all our faculties to extended enterprise and exertion; to bring round our fireside bright faces and happy smiles, and loving, tender hearts. My soul blesses the Great Father every day, that He has gladdened the earth with little children.

    Mary Howitt.

    A child is man in a small letter, yet the best copy of Adam before he tasted of Eve or the apple; and he is happy whose small practice in the world can only write his character. His soul is yet a white paper unscribbled with observations of the world, wherewith at length it becomes a blurred note-book. He is purely happy because he knows no evil, nor hath made means by sin to be acquainted with misery.

    Bishop Earle.

  • If there is anything that will endure
  • The eye of God because it still is pure,
  • It is the spirit of a little child,
  • Fresh from His hand, and therefore undefiled.
  • Nearer the gate of Paradise than we,
  • Our children breathe its airs, its angels see;
  • And when they pray God hears their simple prayer,
  • Yea, even sheathes His sword, in judgment bare.
  • Stoddard.

    Children, like dogs, have so sharp and fine a scent that they detect and hunt out everything—the bad before all the rest. They also know well enough how this or that friend stands with their parents; and as they practice no dissimulation whatever, they serve as excellent barometers by which to observe the degree of favor or disfavor at which we stand with their parents.


    Bring together all the children of the universe, you will see nothing in them but innocence, gentleness, and fear; were they born wicked, spiteful, and cruel, some signs of it would come from them; as little snakes strive to bite, and little tigers to tear. But nature having been as sparing of offensive weapons to man as to pigeons and rabbits, it cannot have given them an instinct to mischief and destruction.


  • I know he’s coming by this sign,
  • That baby’s almost wild;
  • See how he laughs and crows and starts—
  • Heaven bless the merry child!
  • He’s father’s self in face and limb,
  • And father’s heart is strong in him.
  • Shout, baby, shout! and clap thy hands,
  • For father on the threshold stands.
  • Mary Howitt.

    The least and most imperceptible impressions received in our infancy, have consequences very important, and of a long duration. It is with these first impressions, as with a river whose waters we can easily turn, by different canals, in quite opposite courses, so that from the insensible direction the stream receives at its source, it takes different directions, and at last arrives at places far distant from each other; and with the same facility we may, I think, turn the minds of children to what direction we please.