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


Education is the cheap defence of nations.


Just education forms the man.


A boy is better unborn, than untaught.


The secret of education lies in respecting the pupil.


Love is the greatest of educators.

Mrs. Osgood.

Capacity without education is deplorable.


To form a brave man, educate boldly.


Hew the block off, and get out the man.


Teach the children! It is painting in fresco.


By education most have been misled.


I carry my satchel still.

Michael Angelo.

We are taught words, not ideas.


Education is only second to nature.

Horace Bushnell.

The best and most important part of every man’s education is that which he gives himself.


Education should be as broad as man.


Education is the apprenticeship of life.


We should ask, not who is the most learned, but who is the best learned.

Lady Montagu.

There are many things which we can afford to forget which it is yet well to learn.


To breed up the son to common sense is evermore the parent’s least expense.


Each excellent thing, once well learned, serves for a measure of all other knowledge.

Sir P. Sidney.

Schoolhouses are the republican line of fortifications.

Horace Mann.

  • ’Tis education forms the common mind,
  • Just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined.
  • Pope.

    Man must either make provision of sense to understand, or of a halter to hang himself.


    In this country every one gets a mouthful of education, but scarcely any one a full meal.

    Theodore Parker.

    Capacity without education is deplorable, and education without capacity is thrown away.


    Observation more than books, experience rather than persons, are the prime educators.

    A. Bronson Alcott.

    The world is only saved by the breath of the school children.


    The best education is to be had at a price, as well as the best broadcloth.

    Anthony Trollope.

    We shall one day learn to supersede politics by education.


    Whose school-hours are all the days and nights of our existence.


    Learned women are ridiculed because they put to shame unlearned men.

    George Sand.

    The education of life perfects the thinking mind, but depraves the frivolous.

    Mme. de Staël.

    The acquirements of science may be termed the armor of the mind.


    Man forms and educates the world, but woman educates man.

    Julie Burow.

    Education alone can conduct us to that enjoyment which is at once best in quality and infinite in quantity.

    Horace Mann.

    No woman is educated who is not equal to the successful management of a family.


    Education may work wonders as well in warping the genius of individuals as in seconding it.

    A. Bronson Alcott.

    Education is a capital to the poor man, and an interest to the rich man.

    Horace Mann.

  • Men must be taught as if you taught them not,
  • And things unknown proposed as things forgot.
  • Pope.

    Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.


    Education is only like good culture,—it changes the size, but not the sort.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

    The worst education, which teaches self-denial, is better than the best which teaches everything else and not that.

    John Sterling.

    What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to an human soul.


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

    Mrs. Sigourney.

    No inheritance can supply the want of a virtuous education.

    Thomas Wilson.

    Every fresh acquirement is another remedy against affliction and time.


    Education is our only political safety. Outside of this ark all is deluge.

    Horace Mann.

    The wisest man may always learn something from the humblest peasant.

    J. Petit-Senn.

    The self-educated are marked by stubborn peculiarities.

    Isaac Disraeli.

  • Learning by study must be won;
  • ’Twas ne’er entail’d from sire to son.
  • Gay.

    Delightful task! to rear the tender thought, to teach the young idea how to shoot.


    The best education in the world is that got by struggling to get a living.

    Wendell Phillips.

    Public instruction should be the first object of government.


    A college education shows a man how little other people know.


    The best that we can do for one another is to exchange our thoughts freely; and that, after all, is about all.


    Education is the only interest worthy the deep, controlling anxiety of the thoughtful man.

    Wendell Phillips.

    Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend.


    Education must bring the practice as nearly as possible to the theory. As the children now are, so will the sovereigns soon be.

    Horace Mann.

    A complete and generous education fits a man to perform justly, skilfully and magnanimously all the offices of peace and war.


    Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither justice nor freedom can be permanently maintained.

    James A. Garfield.

    He is to be educated because he is a man, and not because he is to make shoes, nails, and pins.


    Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company, and education must finish him.


    The pains we take in books or arts which treat of things remote from the necessaries of life is a busy idleness.


    In exalting the faculties of the soul, we annihilate, in a great degree, the delusion of the senses.


    I think I should know how to educate a boy, but not a girl; I should be in danger of making her too learned.


    On the diffusion of education among the people rests the preservation and perpetuation of our free institutions.


    Prussia is great because her people are intelligent. They know the alphabet. The alphabet is conquering the world.

    G. W. Curtis.

    The true purpose of education is to cherish and unfold the seed of immortality already sown within us.

    Mrs. Jameson.

    Restraint of discipline, emulation, examples of virtue and of justice, form the education of the world.


    I have hope that society may be reformed, when I see how much education may be reformed.


    It is not the mediocrity of women’s education which makes their weakness; it is their weakness which necessarily causes their mediocrity.

    De Maistre.

    The opening of the first grammar-school was the opening of the first trench against monopoly in Church and State.


    Nothing so good as a university education, nor worse than a university without its education.


    All of us who are worth anything, spend our manhood in unlearning the follies, or expiating the mistakes of our youth.


    Women, like men, must be educated with a view to action, or their studies cannot be called education.

    Harriet Martineau.

    When you introduce into our schools a spirit of emulation, you have present the keenest spur admissible to the youthful intellect.

    Horace Mann.

    Modern education too often covers the fingers with rings, and at the same time cuts the sinews at the wrist.

    Earl of Sterling.

    The reason why education is usually so poor among women of fashion is, that it is not needed for the life which they elect to lead.

    Julia Ward Howe.

    Only the refined and delicate pleasures that spring from research and education can build up barriers between different ranks.

    Mme. de Staël.

    Do not then train boys to learning by force and harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds.


    Finally, education alone can conduct us to that enjoyment which is, at once, best in quality and infinite in quantity.

    Horace Mann.

    No education deserves the name unless it develops thought, unless it pierces down to the mysterious spiritual principle of mind, and starts that into activity and growth.

    E. P. Whipple.

    The fruit of liberal education is not learning, but the capacity and desire to learn; not knowledge, but power.

    C. W. Eliot.

    Do not ask if a man has been through college. Ask if a college has been through him; if he is a walking university.


    To be thoroughly imbued with the liberal arts refines the manners, and makes men to be mild and gentle in their conduct.


    As the fertilest ground must be manured, so must the highest flying wit have a Dædalus to guide him.

    Sir P. Sidney.

    Unless the people can be kept in total darkness, it is the wisest way for the advocates of truth to give them full light.


    Education, however indispensable in a cultivated age, produces nothing on the side of genius. When education ends, genius often begins.

    Isaac Disraeli.

  • To pour the fresh instruction o’er the mind,
  • To breathe the enliv’ning spirit, and to fix
  • The generous purpose in the glowing breast.
  • Thomson.

    God hath blessed you with a good name: to be a well-favored man is the gift of fortune, but to write and read comes by nature.


  • A free school
  • For th’ education of young gentlemen,
  • To study how to drink and take tobacco.
  • Randolph.

    The best system of education is that which draws its chief support from the voluntary effort of the community, from the individual efforts of citizens, and from those burdens of taxation which they voluntarily impose upon themselves.


    Education is the constraining and directing of youth towards that right reason, which the law affirms, and which the experience of the best of our elders has agreed to be truly right.


    The awakening of our best sympathies, the cultivation of our best and purest tastes, strengthening the desire to be useful and good, and directing youthful ambition to unselfish ends,—such are the objects of true education.

    J. T. Headley.

    Jails and state prisons are the complement of schools; so many less as you have of the latter, so many more you must have of the former.

    Horace Mann.

    Education commences at the mother’s knee, and every word spoken within the hearing of little children tends toward the formation of character. Let parents bear this ever in mind.

    Hosea Ballou.

    But it was in making education not only common to all, but in some sense compulsory on all, that the destiny of the free republics of America was practically settled.


    Enflamed with the study of learning, and the admiration of virtue; stirred up with high hopes of living to be brave men, and worthy patriots, dear to God, and famous to all ages.


  • He can write and read and cast accompt.
  • O monstrous!
  • We took him setting of boys’ copies.
  • Here’s a villain!
  • Shakespeare.

    Girls, like the priestesses of old, should be educated only in sacred places, and never hear, nor much less see, what is rude, immoral, or violent.


    Wherever is found what is called a paternal government, was found a State education. It had been discovered that the best way to insure implicit obedience was to commence tyranny in the nursery.


    They who provide much wealth for their children, but neglect to improve them in virtue, do like those who feed their horses high, but never train them to the manage.


    Were it not better for a man in a fair room to set up one great light, or branching candlestick of lights, than to go about with a rushlight into every dark corner.


    A journalist is a grumbler, a censurer, a giver of advice, a regent of sovereigns, a tutor of nations. Pour hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.


    Slavery is but half abolished, emancipation is but half completed, while millions of freemen with votes in their hands are left without education.

    Robert C. Winthrop.

    An acquaintance with the muses, in the education of youth, contributes not a little to soften manners. It gives a delicate turn to the imagination and a polish to the mind.


    Education keeps the key of life; and a liberal education insures the first conditions of freedom, namely, adequate knowledge and accustomed thought.

    Julia Ward Howe.

    Very few men are wise by their own counsel, or learned by their own teaching; for he that was only taught by himself had a fool to his master.

    Ben Jonson.

  • ’Tis pleasing to be school’d in a strange tongue
  • By female lips and eyes—that is, I mean,
  • When both the teacher, and the taught are young,
  • They smile so when one’s right; and when one’s wrong
  • They smile still more.
  • Byron.

    The fruits of the earth do not more obviously require labor and cultivation to prepare them for our use and subsistence than our faculties demand instruction.


    A true teacher should penetrate, to whatever is vital in his pupil, and develop that by the light and heat of his own intelligence.

    E. P. Whipple.

    It is wonderful what a difference learning makes upon people even in the common intercourse of life, which does not appear to be much connected with it.

    Dr. Johnson.

    If Nature be not improved by instruction, it is blind; if instruction be not assisted by Nature, it is maimed; and if exercise fail of the assistance of both, it is imperfect.


  • Oh ye, who teach th’ ingenuous youth of nations—
  • Holland, France, England, Germany, or Spain—
  • I pray ye flog them upon all occasions;
  • It mends their morals; never mind the pain.
  • Byron.

  • A little learning is a dangerous thing,
  • Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring,
  • There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
  • And drinking largely sobers us again.
  • Pope.

    The greatest defect of common education is, that we are in the habit of putting pleasure all on one side, and weariness on the other; all weariness in study, all pleasure in idleness.


    How can man be intelligent, happy, or useful, without the culture and discipline of education? It is this that unlocks the prison-house of his mind, and releases the captive.

    Rev. Dr. Humphrey.

    An intelligent class can scarce ever be, as a class, vicious; never, as a class, indolent. The excited mental activity operates as a counterpoise to the stimulus of sense and appetite.

    Edward Everett.

    As an apple is not in any proper sense an apple until it is ripe, so a human being is not in any proper sense a human being until he is educated.

    Horace Mann.

    It depends on education (that holder of the keys which the Almighty hath put into our hands) to open the gates which lead to virtue or to vice, to happiness or misery.

    Jane Porter.

    All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth.


    Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army. If we retrench the wages of the schoolmaster, we must raise those of the recruiting sergeant.

    Edward Everett.

    I consider that it is on instruction and education that the future security and direction of the destiny of every nation chiefly and fundamentally rests.


    A good education is generally considered as reflecting no small credit on its possessor; but in the majority of cases it reflects credit on the wise solicitude of his parents or guardians, rather than on himself.

    James Cotter Morison.

    The most important part of education is right training in the nursery. The soul of the child in his play should be trained to that sort of excellence in which, when he grows to manhood, he will have to be perfected.


    The essential difference between a good and a bad education is this, that the former draws on the child to learn by making it sweet to him, the latter drives the child to learn, by making it sour to him if he does not.

    Charles Buxton.

    I consider a human soul without education like marble in the quarry, which shows none of its inherent beauties until the skill of the polisher fetches out the colors and makes the surface shine.


    Bonaparte asked Mme. de Staël in what manner he could best promote the happiness of France. Her reply is full of political wisdom. She said, “Instruct the mothers of the French people.”

    Daniel Webster.

    School is no place of education for any children whatever till their minds are well put in action. This is the work which has to be done at home, and which may be done in all homes where the mother is a sensible woman.

    Harriet Martineau.

    We are inclined to think that the study of the classics is, on the whole, advantageous to public morals, by inspiring an elegance of sentiments and an elevation of soul which we should in vain seek for elsewhere.

    Robert Hall.

    The young boys that went to Athens, the first year, were wise men; the second year, philosophers, lovers of wisdom; the third year, mere orators; and the fourth but plebeians, and understood nothing but their own ignorance.


    I have no sympathy whatever with those who would grudge our workmen and our common people the very highest acquisitions which their taste or their time or their inclination would lead them to realize.


    The greatest of all warriors that went to the siege of Troy had not the pre-eminence because Nature had given him strength and he carried the largest bow, but because self-discipline had taught him how to bend it.

    Daniel Webster.

    The most distinguished professional men bear witness, with an overwhelming authority, in favor of a course of education in which to train the mind shall be the first object, and to stock it, the second.


    If you suffer your people to be ill educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them—you first make thieves and then punish them.

    Sir Thomas More.

    Into what boundless life does education admit us. Every truth gained through it expands a moment of time into illimitable being—positively enlarges our existence, and endows us with qualities which time cannot weaken or destroy.


    That there should one man die ignorant who had capacity for knowledge, this I call a tragedy, were it to happen more than twenty times in a minute, as by some computations it does.


    The true order of learning should be first, what is necessary; second, what is useful, and third, what is ornamental. To reverse this arrangement is like beginning to build at the top of the edifice.

    Mrs. Sigourney.

    Promote as an object of primary importance institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it should be enlightened.


    Education is the leading human souls to what is best, and making what is best out of them; and these two objects are always attainable together, and by the same means. The training which makes men happiest in themselves also makes them most serviceable to others.


    The different steps and degrees of education may be compared to the artificer’s operations upon marble; it is one thing to dig it out of the quarry, and another to square it, to give it gloss and lustre, call forth every beautiful spot and vein, shape it into a column, or animate it into a statue.

    Thomas Gray.

    The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think than what to think,—rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with the thoughts of other men.


    Upon the education of the people of this country the fate of this country depends. There is no period in the history of the world in which I believe it has been more important that the disposition and mind of the people should be considered by the State than it is at present.


    We shall one day learn to supersede politics by education. What we call our root-and-branch reforms of slavery, war, gambling, intemperance, is only medicating the symptoms. We must begin higher up, namely, in education.


    A father inquires whether his boy can construe Homer, if he understands Horace, and can taste Virgil; but how seldom does he ask, or examine, or think whether he can restrain his passions,—whether he is grateful, generous, humane, compassionate, just and benevolent.

    Lady Hervey.

    It was the German schoolhouse which destroyed Napoleon III. France, since then, is making monster cannon and drilling soldiers still, but she is also building schoolhouses. As long as war is possible, anything that makes better soldiers people want.


    I believe that our experience instructs us that the secret of education lies in respecting the pupil. It is not for you to choose what he shall know and what he shall do. It is chosen and foreordained, and he only holds the key to his own secret.


    Could we know by what strange circumstances a man’s genius became prepared for practical success, we should discover that the most serviceable items in his education were never entered in the bills which his father paid for.


    Any who says (with Mandeville in his treatise against charity schools), “If a horse knew as much as a man, I should not like to be his rider,” ought to add, “If a man knew as little as a horse, I should not like to trust him to ride.”


    Virtue and talents, though allowed their due consideration, yet are not enough to procure a man a welcome wherever he comes. Nobody contents himself with rough diamonds, or wears them so. When polished and set, then they give a lustre.


    Education is all paint: it does not alter the nature of the wood that is under it, it only improves its appearance a little. Why I dislike education so much is that it makes all people alike, until you have examined into them; and it is sometimes so long before you get to see under the varnish!

    Lady Hester Stanhope.

    I am always for getting a boy forward in his learning, for that is sure good. I would let him at first read any English book which happens to engage his attention; because you have done a great deal when you have brought him to have entertainment from a book. He’ll get better books afterwards.

    Dr. Johnson.

    The education of the present race of females is not very favorable to domestic happiness. For my own part, I call education, not that which smothers a woman with accomplishments, but that which tends to consolidate a firm and regular system of character; that which tends to form a friend, a companion, and a wife.

    Hannah More.

    What we do not call education is more precious than that which we call so. We form no guess, at the time of receiving a thought, of its comparative value. And education often waste its efforts in attempts to thwart and balk this natural magnetism, which is sure to select what belongs to it.


    The real object of education is to give children resources that will endure as long as life endures; habits that time will ameliorate, not destroy; occupation that will render sickness tolerable, solitude pleasant, age venerable, life more dignified and useful, and death less terrible.

    Sydney Smith.

    I shall detain you no longer in the demonstration of what we should not do, but straight conduct ye to a hillside, where I will point ye out the right path of a virtuous and noble education; laborious indeed at the first ascent, but else so smooth, so green, so full of goodly prospect, and melodious sounds on every side, that the harp of Orpheus was not more charming.


    We know that the gifts which men have do not come from the schools. If a man is a plain, literal, factual man, you can make a great deal more of him in his own line by education than without education, just as you can make a great deal more of a potato if you cultivate it than if you do not; but no cultivation in this world will ever make an apple out of a potato.


    Knowledge does not comprise all which is contained in the large term of education. The feelings are to be disciplined, the passions are to be restrained; true and worthy motives are to be inspired; a profound religious feeling is to be instilled, and pure morality inculcated under all circumstances. All this is comprised in education.


    Whatever expands the affections, or enlarges the sphere of our sympathies, whatever makes us feel our relation to the universe, “and all that it inherits,” in time and in eternity, to the great and beneficent Cause of all, must unquestionably refine our nature, and elevate us in the scale of being.


    When a king asked Euclid, the mathematician, whether he could not explain his art to him in a more compendious manner, he was answered, that there was no royal way to geometry. Other things may be seized by might, or purchased with money; but knowledge is to be gained only by study, and study to be prosecuted only in retirement.


    Education is either from nature, from man, or from things; the developing of our faculties and organs is the education of nature; that of man is the application we learn to make of this very developing; and that of things is the experience we acquire in regard to the different objects by which we are affected. All that we have not at our birth, and that we stand in need of at the years of maturity, is the gift of education.


    Begin the education of the heart, not with the cultivation of noble propensities, but with the cutting away of those that are evil. When once the noxious herbs are withered and rooted out, then the more noble plants, strong in themselves, will shoot upwards. The virtuous heart, like the body, becomes strong and healthy more by labor than nourishment.


    If we work upon marble, it will perish; if we work upon brass, time will efface it; if we rear temples, they will crumble into dust; but if we work upon immortal minds, if we imbue them with principles, with the just fear of God and love of our fellow-men, we engrave on those tablets something which will brighten to all eternity.

    Daniel Webster.

  • And say to mothers what a holy charge
  • Is theirs—with what a kingly power their love
  • Might rule the fountains of the new-born mind;
  • Warn them to wake at early dawn, and sow
  • Good seed before the world has sown its tares.
  • Mrs. Sigourney.

    There is, between the sexes, a law of incessant reciprocal action, of which God avails himself in the constitution of the family, when He permits brothers and sisters to nestle about the same hearthstone. Its ministration is essential to the best educational results. Our own educational institutions should rest upon this divine basis.

    Caroline H. Dall.

    Curiosity is as much the parent of attention as attention is of memory; therefore the first business of a teacher—first not only in point of time, but of importance—should be to excite not merely a general curiosity on the subject of the study, but a particular curiosity on particular points in that subject. To teach one who has no curiosity to learn, is to sow a field without ploughing it.


    I too acknowledge the all-but omnipotence of early culture and nurture; hereby we have either a doddered dwarf-bush, or a high-towering, wide-shadowing tree! either a sick yellow cabbage, or an edible luxuriant green one. Of a truth, it is the duty of all men, especially of all philosophers, to note down with accuracy the characteristic circumstances of their education,—what furthered, what hindered, what in any way modified it.


    A statue lies hid in a block of marble, and the art of the statuary only clears away the superfluous matter and removes the rubbish. The figure is in the stone; the sculptor only finds it. What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul. The philosopher, the saint, or the hero,—the wise, the good, or the great man,—very often lies hid and concealed in a plebeian, which a proper education might have disinterred, and have brought to light.


    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.


    Minds that are stupid and incapable of science are in the order of nature to be regarded as monsters and other extraordinary phenomena; minds of this sort are rare. Hence I conclude that there are great resources to be found in children, which are suffered to vanish with their years. It is evident, therefore, that it is not of nature, but of our own negligence, we ought to complain.


    All that a university or final highest school can do for us is still but what the first school began doing—teach us to read. We learn to read in various languages, in various sciences; we learn the alphabet and letters of all manner of books. But the place where we are to get knowledge, even theoretic knowledge, is the books themselves. It depends on what we read, after all manner of professors have done their best for us. The true university of these days is a collection of books.


    Thalwell thought it very unfair to influence a child’s mind by inculcating any opinions before it had come to years of discretion to choose for itself. I showed him my garden, and told him it was a botanical garden. “How so?” said he; “it is covered with weeds.” “O,” I replied, “that is only because it has not yet come to its age of discretion and choice. The weeds, you see, have taken the liberty to grow, and thought it unfair in me to prejudice the soil towards roses and strawberries.”


    Every man has two educations—that which is given to him, and the other, that which he gives to himself. Of the two kinds, the latter is by far the most valuable. Indeed, all that is most worthy in a man, he must work out and conquer for himself. It is that that constitutes our real and best nourishment. What we are merely taught seldom nourishes the mind like that which we teach ourselves.


    Man is an animal, formidable both from his passions and his reason; his passions often urging him to great evils, and his reason furnishing means to achieve them. To train this animal, and make him amenable to order; to inure him to a sense of justice and virtue; to withhold him from ill courses by fear, and encourage him in his duty by hopes; in short, to fashion and model him for society, hath been the aim of civil and religious institutions; and, in all times, the endeavor of good and wise men. The aptest method for attaining this end hath been always judged a proper education.

    Bishop Berkeley.

    There have been periods when the country heard with dismay that “the soldier was abroad.” That is not the case now. Let the soldier be abroad; in the present age he can do nothing. There is another person abroad—a less important person in the eyes of some, an insignificant person, whose labors have tended to produce this state of things. The schoolmaster is abroad! And I trust more to him, armed with his primer, than I do to the soldier in full military array, for upholding and extending the liberties of his country.