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


Error is worse than ignorance.


Every error is truth abused.


A man’s errors are what make him amiable.


Error is frail.


Error is always more busy than truth.

Hosea Ballou.

Error is but the shadow of the truth.


Error is ever talkative.


Honest error is to be pitied, not ridiculed.

Lord Chesterfield.

Dark error’s other hidden side is truth.

Victor Hugo.

The cautious seldom err.


Man on the dubious waves of error toss’d.


The smallest errors are always the best.


Men err from selfishness, women because they are weak.

Mme. de Staël.

  • While man’s desires and aspirations stir,
  • He can not choose but err.
  • Goethe.

    Verily, there is nothing so true that the damps of error hath not warp’d it.


    An error is the more dangerous in proportion to the degree of truth which it contains.


    Error will slip through a crack, while truth will stick in a doorway.

    H. W. Shaw.

    If the wise erred not, it would go hard with the fools.

    George Herbert.

  • Shall Error in the round of time
  • Still father Truth?
  • Tennyson.

  • Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow;
  • He who would search for pearls must dive below.
  • Dryden.

    Great errors seldom originate but with men of great minds.


    Find earth where grows no weed, and you may find a heart wherein no error grows.


    There are few, very few, that will own themselves in a mistake.


    In all science error precedes the truth, and it is better it should go first than last.

    Horace Walpole.

    Spurn not a seeming error, but dig below its surface for the truth.


    There are some errors so sweet that we repent them only to bring them to memory.

    J. Petit-Senn.

    An error gracefully acknowledged is a victory won.

    Caroline L. Gascoigne.

    For to err in opinion, though it be not the part of wise men, is at least human.


  • The error of our eye directs our mind:
  • What error leads must err.
  • Shakespeare.

    Our follies and errors are the soiled steps to the Grecian temple of our perfection.


    Sometimes we may learn more from a man’s errors than from his virtues.


    Mistake, error, is the discipline through which we advance.


    There are men who never err, because they never propose anything rational.


    To stumble twice against the same stone is a proverbial disgrace.


    From the errors of others, a wise man corrects his own.


    The progress of rivers to the ocean is not so rapid as that of man to error.


    Weeds are omnipresent; errors are to be found in the heart of the most lovable.

    George Sand.

    No tempting form of error is without some latent charm derived from truth.


  • Error’s monstrous shapes from earth are driven
  • They fade, they fly—but truth survives the flight.
  • Bryant.

    Truth is a good dog; but beware of barking too close to the heels of an error, lest you get your brains kicked out.


    Error is sometimes so nearly allied to truth that it blends with it as imperceptibly as the colors of the rainbow fade into each other.

    W. B. Clulow.

    There will be mistakes in divinity while men preach, and errors in governments while men govern.

    Sir Dudley Carlton.

    How full of error is the judgment of mankind! They wonder at results when they are ignorant of the reasons.


    There is in some minds a nucleus of error which attracts and assimilates everything to itself.


    One deviates to the right, another to the left; the error is the same with all, but it deceives them in different ways.


    Our understandings are always liable to error. Nature and certainty is very hard to come at; and infallibility is mere vanity and pretense.

    Marcus Antoninus.

    There is scarcely any popular tenet more erroneous than that which holds that when time is slow, life is dull.


    Error, when she retraces her steps, has farther to go before she can arrive at truth than ignorance.


    By Hercules! I prefer to err with Plato, whom I know how much you value, than to be right in the company of such men.


    Knowledge being to be had only of visible and certain truth, error is not a fault of our knowledge, but a mistake of our judgment, giving assent to that which is not true.

    John Locke.

    It is much easier to meet with error than to find truth; error is on the surface, and can be more easily met with; truth is hid in great depths, the way to seek does not appear to all the world.


    How happy he who can still hope to lift himself from this sea of error! What we know not, that we are anxious to possess, and cannot use what we know.


    All errors spring up in the neighborhood of some truth; they grow round about it, and, for the most part, derive their strength from such contiguity.

    Rev. T. Binney.

    My principal method for defeating error and heresy is by establishing the truth. One purposes to fill a bushel with tares, but if I can fill it first with wheat, I may defy his attempts.


    There are errors which no wise man will treat with rudeness while there is a probability that they may be the refraction of some great truth still below the horizon.


    Consciousness of error is, to a certain extent, a consciousness of understanding; and correction of error is the plainest proof of energy and mastery.


    For the first time, the best may err, art may persuade, and novelty spread out its charms. The first fault is the child of simplicity; but every other the offspring of guilt.


    The more secure we feel against our liability to any error to which, in fact, we are liable, the greater must be our danger of falling into it.


    Error is always more busy than ignorance. Ignorance is a blank sheet on which we may write; but error is a scribbled one from which we must first erase.


  • Those things which now seem frivolous and slight,
  • Will be of serious consequence to you,
  • When they have made you once ridiculous.
  • Roscommon.

    It is only an error of judgment to make a mistake, but it argues an infirmity of character to adhere to it when discovered. Or, as the Chinese better say, “The glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time you fall.”


    He who only tastes his error will long dwell with it, will take delight in it as in a singular felicity; while he who drains it to the dregs will, if he be not crazy, find it to be what it is.


  • O hateful Error, Melancholy’s child!
  • Why dost thou show to the apt thoughts of men
  • The things that are not? O Error, soon conceiv’d,
  • Thou never com’st unto a happy birth,
  • But kill’st the mother that engender’d thee.
  • Shakespeare.

    Truth only is prolific. Error, sterile in itself, produces only by means of the portion of truth which it contains. It may have offspring, but the life which it gives, like that of the hybrid races, cannot be transmitted.

    Madame Swetchine.

  • Error is a hardy plant; it flourisheth in every soil;
  • In the heart of the wise and good, alike with the wicked and foolish;
  • For there is no error so crooked, but it hath in it some lines of truth.
  • Tupper.

    Errors to be dangerous must have a great deal of truth mingled with them; it is only from this alliance that they can ever obtain an extensive circulation; from pure extravagance, and genuine, unmingled falsehood, the world never has, and never can sustain any mischief.

    Sydney Smith.

    If a crooked stick is before you, you need not explain how crooked it is. Lay a straight one down by the side of it, and the work is well done. Preach the truth, and error will stand abashed in its presence.


    Error soon passes away, unless upheld by restraint on thought. History tells us (and the lesson is invaluable) that the physical force which has put down free inquiry has been the main bulwark of the superstitions and illusions of past ages.


    The more readily we admit the possibility of our own cherished convictions being mixed with error, the more vital and helpful whatever is right in them will become; and no error is so conclusively fatal as the idea that God will not allow us to err, though He has allowed all other men to do so.


    The blindness of bigotry, the madness of ambition, and the miscalculations of diplomacy seek their victims principally amongst the innocent and the unoffending. The cottage is sure to suffer for every error of the court, the cabinet, or the camp. When error sits in the seat of power and of authority, and is generated in high places, it may be compared to that torrent which originates indeed in the mountain, but commits its devastation in the vale.


    The little I have seen of the world teaches me to look upon the errors of others in sorrow, not in anger. When I take the history of one poor heart that has sinned and suffered, and represent to myself the struggles and temptations it has passed through, the brief pulsations of joy, the feverish inquietude of hope and fear, the pressure of want, the desertion of friends, I would fain leave the erring soul of my fellowman with Him from whose hand it came.