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

Human Nature

A rational nature admits of nothing but what is serviceable to the rest of mankind.


In so complex a thing as human nature, we must consider it is hard to find rules without exception.

George Eliot.

It is the talent of human nature to run from one extreme to another.


The scrutiny of human nature on a small scale is one of the most dangerous of employments; the study of it on a large scale is one of the safest and truest.

Isaac Taylor.

If we did not take great pains, and were not at great expense to corrupt our nature, our nature would never corrupt us.

Lord Clarendon.

As there is much beast and some devil in man, so is there some angel and some God in him. The beast and the devil may be conquered, but in this life never wholly destroyed.


Console yourself, dear man and brother; whatever you may be sure of, be sure at least of this, that you are dreadfully like other people. Human nature has a much greater genius for sameness than for originality.


Human nature is so weak that the honest men who have no religion make me fret with their perilous virtue, as rope-dancers with their dangerous equilibrium.

De Lévis.

A man’s nature is best perceived in privateness, for there is no affectation; in passion, for that putteth a man out of his precepts; and in a new case or experiment, for there custom leaveth him.


There do remain dispersed in the soil of human nature divers seeds of goodness, of benignity, of ingenuity, which being cherished, excited, and quickened by good culture, do by common experience thrust out flowers very lovely, and yield fruits very pleasant of virtue and goodness.

Mrs. L. M. Child.

The fact of our deriving constant pleasure from whatever is a type or semblance of divine attributes, and from nothing but that which is so, is the most glorious of all that can be demonstrated of human nature; it not only sets a great gulf of specific separation between us and the lower animals, but it seems a promise of a communion ultimately deep, close, and conscious, with the Being whose darkened manifestations we here feebly and unthinkingly delight in.


No doubt hard work is a great police agent. If everybody were worked from morning till night, and then carefully locked up, the register of crime might be greatly diminished. But what would become of human nature? Where would be the room for growth in such a system of things? It is through sorrow and mirth, plenty and need, a variety of passions, circumstances, and temptations, even through sin and misery, that men’s natures are developed.

Arthur Helps.