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


Excess always carries its own retribution.


Allow not nature more than nature needs.


Excess weakens the spirits.


Excess of power intoxicates.

Mme. de Rémusat.

All is wholesome in the absence of excess.


The ass bears the load, but not the overload.


  • A surfeit of the sweetest things
  • The deepest loathing to the stomach brings.
  • Shakespeare.

    Let pleasure be ever so innocent, the excess is always criminal.

    St. Evremond.

    Every morsel to a satisfied hunger is only a new labor to a tired digestion.


    Of what delights are we deprived by our excesses!


    Every inordinate cup is unblessed, and the ingredient is a devil.


    To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, is wasteful and ridiculous excess.


    They are sick that surfeit with too much, as they that starve with nothing.


    He does nothing who endeavors to do more than is allowed to humanity.


    The excesses of our youth are drafts upon our old age, payable with interest, about thirty years after date.


    As surfeit is the father of much fast, so every scope by the immoderate use turns to restraint.


    Let us teach ourselves that honorable step, not to outdo discretion.


    The body oppressed by excesses bears down the mind, and depresses to the earth any portion of the divine spirit we had been endowed with.


    There can be no excess to love, none to knowledge, none to beauty, when these attributes are considered in the purest sense.


    Excessive liberty and excessive servitude are equally dangerous, and produce nearly the same effect.


    The eye that gazes upon the sun sees not the orb it looks upon, confounded by the excess of its brightness.


    We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink.


    Most persons are disposed to expend more than they can afford, and to indulge more than they can endure.

    Mme. de Puisieux.

    The excess of the voluptuary, like the austerities of the recluse, triumphs in the suffrage of perverted reason.

    Dr. Parr.

    Violent delights have violent ends, and in their triumph die; like fire and powder, which as they kiss consume.


    In the history of man it has been very generally the case that when evils have grown insufferable they have touched the point of cure.


    To regard the excesses of the passions as maladies has so salutary an effect that this idea renders all moral sermons useless.


    The misfortune is that when man has found honey, he enters upon the feast with an appetite so voracious that he usually destroys his own delight by excess and satiety.


    Too much of a good thing.


    As frost, raised to its utmost intensity, produces the sensation of fire, so any good, quality, overwrought and pushed to excess, turns into its own contrary.

    William Matthews.

    He who indulges his sense in any excesses renders himself obnoxious to his own reason; and, to gratify the brute in him, displeases the man, and sets his two natures at variance.

    Walter Scott.

    The desire of power in excess caused angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall; but in charity is no excess, neither can man nor angels come into danger by it.


    If a man get a fever, or a pain in the head with overdrinking, we are subject to curse the wine, when we should rather impute it to ourselves for the excess.


    Pleasures bring effeminacy, and effeminacy foreruns ruin; such conquests, without blood or sweat, sufficiently do revenge themselves upon their intemperate conquerors.


  • The body, too, with yesterday’s excess
  • Burden’d and tired shall the pure soul depress;
  • Weigh down this portion of celestial birth,
  • The breath of God, and fix it to the earth.
  • Francis.

    Even in evil, that dark cloud which hangs over the creation, we discern rays of light and hope, and gradually come to see in suffering and temptation proofs and instruments of the sublimest purposes of wisdom and love.


    In its primary signification, all vice, that is, all excess, brings on its own punishment, even here. By certain fixed, settled and established laws of Him who is the God of nature, excess of every kind destroys that constitution which temperance would preserve. The debauchee offers up his body a “living sacrifice to sin.”


    The greatest miracle that the Almighty could perform would be to make a bad man happy, even in heaven; he must unparadise that blessed place to accomplish it. In its primary signification, all vice—that is, all excess—brings its own punishment even here.


    It is a common thing to screw up justice to the pitch of an injury. A man may be over-righteous, and why not over-grateful, too? There is a mischievous excess that borders so close upon ingratitude that it is no easy matter to distinguish the one from the other; but, in regard that there is good-will in the bottom of it, however distempered; for it is effectually but kindness out of the wits.


    There is no unmixed good in human affairs; the best principles, if pushed to excess, degenerate into fatal vices. Generosity is nearly allied to extravagance; charity itself may lead to ruin; the sternness of justice is but one step removed from the severity of oppression. It is the same in the political world; the tranquillity of despotism resembles the stagnation of the Dead Sea; the fever of innovation the tempests of the ocean. It would seem as if, at particular periods, from causes inscrutable to human wisdom, a universal frenzy seizes mankind; reason, experience, prudence, are alike blinded; and the very classes who are to perish in the storm are the first to raise its fury.

    Sir A. Alison.