Home  »  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical  »  Cities—Citizen

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


In the busy haunts of men.

Mrs. Hemans.

Even cities have their graves!


Far from gay cities, and the ways of men.


The people are the city.


If you would know and not be known, live in a city.


I always seem to suffer some loss of faith on entering cities.


Before man made us citizens, great Nature made us men.


  • Towered cities please us then,
  • And the busy hum of men.
  • Milton.

    Like Melrose Abbey, large cities should especially be viewed by moonlight.


    Cities force growth, and make men talkative and entertaining, but they make them artificial.


    Cities give us collision. ’Tis said London and New York take the nonsense out of a man.


    Great towns are but a large sort of prison to the soul, like cages to birds, or pounds to beasts.


    I have found by experience that they who have spent all their lives in cities contract not only an effeminacy of habit, but of thinking.


    The number of objects we see from living in a large city amuses the mind like a perpetual raree-show, without supplying it with any ideas.


  • I live not in myself, but I become
  • Portion of that around me; and to me
  • High mountains are a feeling, but the hum
  • Of human cities torture.
  • Byron.

  • Take heed what you say, sir.
  • An hundred honest men! why, if there were
  • So many i’ th’ city, ’twere enough to forfeit
  • Their charter.
  • Shirley.

    Men, by associating in large masses, as in camps and in cities, improve their talents, but impair their virtues, and strengthen their minds, but weaken their morals.


    If you suppress the exorbitant love of pleasure and money, idle curiosity, iniquitous pursuits and wanton mirth, what a stillness would there be in the greatest cities.

    La Bruyère.

    The city an epitome of the social world. All the belts of civilization intersect along its avenues. It contains the products of every moral zone. It is cosmopolitan, not only in a national, but a spiritual sense.


    The union of men in large masses is indispensable to the development and rapid growth of the higher faculties of men. Cities have always been the fireplaces of civilization whence light and heat radiated out into the dark cold world.

    Theodore Parker.

    Dante might choose his home in all the wide beautiful world; but to be out of the streets of Florence was exile to him. Socrates never cared to go beyond the bounds of Athens. The great universal heart welcomes the city as a natural growth of the eternal forces.

    F. B. Sanborn.

    A great city whose image dwells on the memory of man is the type of some great idea. Rome represents conquest; faith hovers over Jerusalem; and Athens embodies the pre-eminent quality of the antique world-art.


    There is such a difference between the pursuits of men in great cities that one part of the inhabitants lives to little other purpose than to wonder at the rest. Some have hopes and fears, wishes and aversions, which never enter into the thoughts of others, and inquiry is laboriously exerted to gain that which those who possess it are ready to throw away.


    The conditions of city life may be made healthy, so far as the physical constitution is concerned; but there is connected with the business of the city so much competition, so much rivalry, so much necessity for industry, that I think it is a perpetual, chronic, wholesale violation of natural law. There are ten men that can succeed in the country, where there is one that can succeed in the city.


    I bless God for cities. Cities have been as lamps of life along the pathway of humanity and religion. Within them science has given birth to her noblest discoveries. Behind their walls freedom has fought her noblest battles. They have stood on the surface of the earth like great breakwaters, rolling back or turning aside the swelling tide of oppression. Cities, indeed, have been the cradles of human liberty. They have been the active centres of almost all church and state reformation.

    Rev. Dr. Guthrie.

    The most delicate beauty in the mind of women is, and ever must be, an independence of artificial stimulants for content. It is not so with men. The links that bind men to capitals belong to the golden chain of civilization,—the chain which fastens all our destinies to the throne of Jove. And hence the larger proportion of men in whom genius is pre-eminent have preferred to live in cities, though some of them have bequeathed to us the loveliest pictures of the rural scenes in which they declined to dwell.


    Our large trading cities bear to me very nearly the aspect of monastic establishments in which the roar of the mill-wheel and the crane takes the place of other devotional music, and in which the worship of Mammon and Moloch is conducted with a tender reverence and an exact propriety; the merchant rising to his Mammon matins with the self-denial of an anchorite, and expiating the frivolities into which he may be beguiled in the course of the day by late attendance at Mammon vespers.