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


Be sure your sin will find you out.


The ghostly consciousness of wrong.


Guilt’s a terrible thing.

Ben Jonson.

Guilt is a spiritual Rubicon.

Jane Porter.

The mind of guilt is full of scorpions.


No one becomes guilty by fate.


Let the galled jade wince.


He who flees from trial confesses his guilt.


Guilt soon learns to lie.

Miss Braddon.

Guilt has very quick ears to an accusation.


My hands are guilty, but my heart is free.


  • And then it started like a guilty thing
  • Upon a fearful summons.
  • Shakespeare.

    The guilt being great, the fear doth still exceed.


    A land of levity is a land of guilt.


    Guilt is ever at a loss, and confusion waits upon it.


    Guilt is a timorous thing ere perpetration; despair alone makes guilty men be bold.


    Thus conscience does make cowards of us all.


    Wickedness consists in the very hesitation about an act, even though it be not perpetrated.


    A wicked conscience mouldeth goblins swift as frenzy thoughts.


    There are no greater prudes than those women who have some secret to hide.

    George Sand.

    The sin lessens in human estimation only as the guilt increases.


    He that commits a sin shall find the pressing guilt lie heavy on his mind.


    Guiltiness will speak, though tongues were out of use.


    All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.


    From the body of one guilty deed a thousand ghostly fears and haunting thoughts proceed.


    It is easy to defend the innocent; but who is eloquent enough to defend the guilty?

    Publius Syrus.

    One fault begets another; one crime renders another necessary.


    The guilty mind debases the great image that it wears, and levels us with brutes.


    Beside one deed of guilt, how blest is guiltless woe!


  • Thou need’st not answer; thy confession speaks,
  • Already redd’ning in thy guilty cheeks.
  • Byron.

    Men’s minds are too ingenious in palliating guilt in themselves.


    Alas! how difficult it is to prevent the countenance from betraying guilt.


  • How guilt, once harbor’d in the conscious breast,
  • Intimidates the brave, degrades the great!
  • Dr. Johnson.

  • All fear, but fear of heaven, betrays a guilt,
  • And guilt is villainy.
  • N. Lee.

  • Let guilty men remember, their black deeds
  • Do lean on crutches made of slender reeds.
  • John Webster.

    I esteem death a trifle, if not caused by guilt.


    He is not guilty who is not guilty of his own free will.


    Life is not the supreme good; but of all earthly ills the chief is guilt.


    I’ll haunt thee like a wicked conscience still.


    The guilt being great, the fear doth still exceed.


    God hath yoked to guilt her pale tormentor,—misery.


    The greatest incitement to guilt is the hope of sinning with impunity.


    They whose guilt within their bosoms lie imagine every eye beholds their blame.


    If one know them they are in the terrors of the shadow of death.


  • Where, where for shelter shall the guilty fly,
  • When consternation turns the good man pale?
  • Young.

  • Guilt is the source of sorrow; ’tis the fiend,
  • The avenging fiend, that follows us behind
  • With whips and stings.
  • Rowe.

    Let wickedness escape as it may at the bar, it never fails of doing justice upon itself; for every guilty person is his own hangman.


    Our sins, like to our shadows, when our day was in its glory, scarce appeared; toward our evening, how great and monstrous!


  • Thoughts cannot form themselves in words so horrid
  • As can express my guilt.
  • Dryden.

    Guilt alone, like brain-sick frenzy in its feverish mood, fills the light air with visionary terrors, and shapeless forms of fear.


  • O, she is fallen
  • Into a pit of ink, that the wide sea
  • Hath drops too few to wash her clean again.
  • Shakespeare.

    Every man bears something within him that, if it were publicly announced, would excite feelings of aversion.


    Action and care will in time wear down the strongest frame; but guilt and melancholy are poisons of quick despatch.

    Thomas Paine.

    Let no man trust the first false step of guilt; it hangs upon a precipice, whose steep descent in last perdition ends.


    All good men and women should be on their guard to avoid guilt, and even the suspicion of it.


  • To what gulfs
  • A single deviation from the track
  • Of human duties leads!
  • Byron.

    It is base to filch a purse, daring to embezzle a million, but it is great beyond measure to steal a crown. The sin lessens as the guilt increases.


    When guilt is in its blush of infancy, it trembles in a tenderness of shame; and the first eye that pierces through the veil that hides the secret brings it to the face.


    Guilt has always its horrors and solicitudes; and, to make it yet more shameful and detestable, it is doomed often to stand in awe of those to whom nothing could give influence or weight but their power of betraying.


    Fraud and falsehood are his weak and treacherous allies; and he lurks trembling in the dark, dreading every ray of light, lest it should discover him, and give him up to shame and punishment.


    He who is conscious of secret and dark designs, which, if known, would blast him, is perpetually shrinking and dodging from public observation, and is afraid of all around him, and much more of all above him.


    Guilt was never a rational thing: it distorts all the faculties of the human mind, it perverts them, it leaves a man no longer in the free use of his reason, it puts him into confusion.


  • He swears, but he is sick at heart;
  • He laughs, but he turns deadly pale;
  • His restless eye and sudden start—
  • These tell the dreadful tale
  • That will be told: it needs no words from thee
  • Thou self-sold slave to guilt and misery.
  • Dana.

    Think not that guilt requires the burning torches of the furies to agitate and torment it. Their own frauds, their crimes, their remembrances of the past, their terrors of the future,—these are the domestic furies that are ever present to the mind of the impious.

    Robert Hall.

    Guilt is a poor, helpless, dependent being. Without the alliance of able, diligent, and let me add, fortunate fraud, it is inevitably undone. If the guilty culprit be obstinately silent, it forms a deadly presumption against him; if he speaks, talking tends only to his discovery, and his very defence often furnishes the materials for his conviction.


    Guilt, though it may attain temporal splendor, can never confer real happiness; the evil consequences of our crimes long survive their commission, and, like the ghosts of the murdered, forever haunt the steps of the malefactor; while the paths of virtue, though seldom those of worldly greatness, are always those of pleasantness and peace.

    Sir Walter Scott.

    What we call real estate—the solid ground to build a house on—is the broad foundation on which nearly all the guilt of this world rests.

    Nathaniel Hawthorne.

    They who once engage in iniquitous designs miserably deceive themselves when they think that they will go so far and no farther; one fault begets another, one crime renders another necessary; and thus they are impelled continually downward into a depth of guilt, which at the commencement of their career they would have died rather than have incurred.


    There is no man so good, that so squares all his thoughts and actions to the laws, that he is not faulty enough to deserve hanging ten times in his life. Nay, and such a one, too, as it were great pity to make away, and very unjust to punish. And such a one there may be, as has no way offended the laws, who nevertheless would not deserve the character of a virtuous man, and that philosophy would justly condemn to be whipped; so unequal and perplexed is this relation.