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


Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.


Imitators are but a servile kind of cattle.


You may imitate, but never counterfeit.


Even a man’s exact imitation of the song of the nightingale displeases us when we discover that it is a mimicry, and not the nightingale.


Borrowed wit is the poorest wit.


Man is an imitative creature, and whoever is foremost leads the herd.


I hardly know so true a mark of a little mind as the servile imitation of others.

Lord Greville.

Imitation forms our manners, our opinions, our very lives.

John Weiss.

A good imitation is the most perfect originality.


We are all easily taught to imitate what is base and depraved.


Some imitation is involuntary and unconscious.


Human reason borrowed many arts from the instinct of animals.

Dr. Johnson.

He who imitates what is evil always goes beyond the example that is set; on the contrary, he who imitates what is good always falls short.


It is certain that either wise bearing or ignorant carriage is caught as men take diseases, one of another.


Imitation causes us to leave natural ways to enter into artificial ones; it therefore makes slaves.

Professor Vinet.

Men are so constituted that everybody undertakes what he sees another successful in, whether he has aptitude for it or not.


It is by imitation, far more than by precept, that we learn everything; and what we learn thus, we acquire not only more effectually, but more pleasantly.


Imitation pleases, because it affords matter for inquiring into the truth or falsehood of imitation, by comparing its likeness or unlikeness with the original.


For imitation is natural to man from his infancy. Man differs from other animals particularly in this, that he is imitative, and acquires his rudiments of knowledge in this way; besides, the delight in it is universal.


O imitators, a servile race, how often have your attacks roused my bile and often my laughter!


To be as good as our fathers, we must be better. Imitation is not discipleship. When some one sent a cracked plate to China to have a set made, every piece in the new set had a crack in it.

Wendell Phillips.

Since a true knowledge of nature gives us pleasure, a lively imitation of it, either in poetry or painting, must produce a much greater; for both these arts are not only true imitations of nature, but of the best nature.


No single character is ever so great that a nation can afford to form itself upon it. Imitation belittles. This appears in the instance of the Chinese. The Chinese are so many Confucii, in miniature. And so with the Jews. Moses, the lawgiver, is poorly represented by Moses, the old clothesman; or even by Dives, the banker.