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


An honest man’s the noblest work of God.


The finest fruit earth holds up to its Maker is a finished man.


God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man.


Lords of humankind.


Man is more than constitutions.


Man is man, and master of his fate.


A man’s a man for a’ that.


The Highest Being reveals himself in man.


The precious porcelain of human clay.


Men, in general, are but great children.


Mankind is unamendable.


All true manliness grows around a core of divineness.

Charles H. Parkhurst.

Man is a piece of the universe made alive.


Look what a little vain dust we are!


Poor pensioner on the bounty of an hour.


Man is an animal that cooks his victuals.


No man is so great as mankind.

Theodore Parker.

Man,—the aristocrat amongst the animals.


The lot of man, to suffer and to die.


Man is to man either a god or a wolf.


Man is a reasoning rather than a reasonable animal.

Alexander Hamilton.

God never made anything else so beautiful as man.

Henry Ward Beecher.

Thou pendulum betwixt a smile and tear.


Men may live fools, but fools they cannot die.


Man is a substance clad in shadows.

John Sterling.

A Christian is the gentlest of men; but then he is a man.

C. H. Spurgeon.

Before man made us citizens, great Nature made us men.

James Russell Lowell.

Man, in sooth, marvelous, vain, fickle, and unstable subject.


Three fifths of him genius, and two fifths sheer fudge.


Mankind are earthen jugs with spirits in them.


I am a part of all that I have met.


The noble man is only God’s image.

Ludwig Tieck.

The proper study of mankind is man.


We are the miracle of miracles, the great inscrutable mystery of God.


Trouble teaches men how much there is in manhood.

Henry Ward Beecher.

Men may rise on stepping-stones of their dead selves to higher things.


Man is the merriest species of creation; all above and below him are serious.


For we are animals no less, although of different species.

Samuel Butler.

Man is a noble animal, splendid in ashes and pompous in the grave.

Sir Thomas Browne.

When faith is lost, when honor dies, the man is dead!


The style is the man himself.


Lord of himself,—that heritage of woe!


Man has been lent, not given, to life.

Publius Syrus.

  • Where soil is, men grow,
  • Whether to weeds or flowers.
  • Keats.

    Half dust, half deity, alike unfit to sink or soar.


  • Fond man! the vision of a moment made!
  • Dream of a dream! and shadow of a shade!
  • Young.

    The manly part is to do with might and main what you can do.


    Beloved brother, let us not forget that man can never get away from himself.


    Man—living, feeling man—is the easy sport of the overmastering present.


    Man is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of the man.


    Man is the jewel of God, who has created this material world to keep his treasure in.

    Theodore Parker.

    Obedience, submission, discipline, courage—these are among the characteristics which make a man.

    Samuel Smiles.

    Man was born for two things—thinking and acting.


    There are but three classes of men, the retrograde, the stationary, and the progressive.


  • Man is his own star, and that soul that can
  • Be holiest, is the only perfect man.
  • Fletcher.

    Art may make a suit of clothes; but nature must produce a man.


    The man, whom I call deserving the name, is one whose thoughts and exertions are for others rather than himself.

    Walter Scott.

  • Man wants but little here below,
  • Nor wants that little long.
  • Goldsmith.

    Unless above himself he can erect himself, how poor a thing is man!


    Men are the sport of circumstances, when the circumstances seem the sport of men.


    Men are made by nature unequal. It is vain, therefore, to treat them as if they were equal.


    Of all the things which a man has, next to the gods his soul is the most divine and most truly his own.


    The only competition worthy of a wise man is with himself.

    Mrs. Jameson.

    Man’s moral nature is a riddle which only eternity can solve.


  • Nature ne’er meant her secrets to be found,
  • And man’s a riddle which man can’t expound.
  • R. T. Paine.

    That crawling insect, who from mud began, warmed by my beams, and kindled into man!


    All go into one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.


    The hearts of men are their books, events are their tutors, great actions are their eloquence.


  • They say, best men are moulded out of faults,
  • And, for the most, become much more the better,
  • For being a little bad.
  • Shakespeare.

    There is but one temple in the universe, and that is the body of man.


    Man is not an organism; he is an intelligence served by organs.

    Sir W. Hamilton.

  • How poor, how rich, how abject, how august,
  • How complicate, how wonderful, is man!
  • Young.

    Every man is a volume, if you know how to read him.


  • Let each man think himself an act of God,
  • His mind a thought, his life a breath of God.
  • Bailey.

    The history of the race is but that of the individual “writ large.”

    G. H. Lewes.

    Creation lives, grows, and multiplies; man is but a witness.

    Victor Hugo.

    We touch heaven when we lay our hand on a human body!


    Sent into the world to be a growing and exhaustless force.


    Man is of soul and body, formed for deeds of high resolve, on fancy’s boldest wing.


    Vast chain of being, which from God began, Nature’s ethereal, human, angel, man.


    God’s men are better than the devil’s men, and they ought to act as though they thought they were.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

    To despise our species is the price we must often pay for our knowledge of it.


  • He was a man, take him for all in all,
  • I shall not look upon his like again.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Vain, weak-built isthmus, which dost proudly rise
  • Up between two eternities!
  • Abraham Cowley.

    Man is an animal that makes bargains; no other animal does this, one dog does not change a bone with another.

    Adam Smith.

    Man is the metre of all things, the hand is the instrument of instruments, and the mind is the form of forms.


    The gods are immortal men, and men are mortal gods.


    God gave man an upright countenance to survey the heavens, and to look upward to the stars.


  • In their looks divine
  • The image of their glorious Maker shone,
  • Truth, wisdom, sanctitude serene and pure.
  • Milton.

    Man should be ever better than he seems; and shape his acts, and discipline his mind, to walk adorning earth, with hope of heaven.

    Sir Aubrey de Vere.

    Born to be ploughed with years, and sown with cares, and reaped by Death, lord of the human soil.


    Bounded in his nature, infinite in his desires, man is a fallen god who has a recollection of heaven.


    It has always struck me that there is a far greater distinction between man and man than between many men and most other animals.

    Basil Hall.

  • Men are but children of a larger growth;
  • Our appetites are apt to change as theirs,
  • And full as craving, too, and full as vain.
  • Dryden.

  • But we all are men,
  • In our own natures frail; and capable
  • Of our flesh, few are angels.
  • Shakespeare.

    Man that is born of a woman, is of few days and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down; fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.


    What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving, how express and admirable; in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a God!


    Man has wants deeper than can be supplied by wealth or nature or domestic affections. His great relations are to his God and to eternity.

    Mark Hopkins.

    Man is that name of power which rises above them all, and gives to every one the right to be that which God meant he should be.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

  • His life was gentle; and the elements
  • So mix’d in him, that nature might stand up
  • And say to all the world, “This was a man!”
  • Shakespeare.

    God’s creature is one. He makes man, not men. His true creature is unitary and infinite, revealing himself, indeed, in every finite form, but compromised by none.

    Henry James.

    A man may twist as he pleases, and do what he pleases, but he inevitably comes back to the track to which nature has destined him.


    Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one rascal less in the world.


    There are but three general events which happen to mankind: birth, life, and death. Of their birth they are insensible, they suffer when they die, and neglect to live.

    La Bruyère.

    Man is the crowning of history and the realization of poetry, the free and living bond which unites all nature to that God who created it for Himself.

    F. Godet.

    There is the supreme and indissoluble consanguinity between men, of which the heathen poet saith, we are all His generation.


    So weak is man, so ignorant and blind, that did not God sometimes withhold in mercy what we ask, we should be ruined at our own request.

    Hannah More.

    He is a man who knows how to die for his God and his country; his heart, his lips, his arms, are faithful unto death.

    Ernest Arndt.

    If man should commence by studying himself, he would see how impossible it is to go further.


    The way of the superior man is threefold, but I am not equal to it. Virtuous, he is free from anxieties; wise, he is free from perplexities; bold, he is free from fear.


    The soul of man createth its own destiny of power; and as the trial is intenser here, his being hath a nobler strength in heaven.

    N. P. Willis.

    A man is a great thing upon the earth and through eternity; but every jot of the greatness of man is unfolded out of woman.

    Walt Whitman.

    What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form, and moving, how express and admirable! in action, how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!


    Mankind divides itself into two classes,—benefactors and malefactors. The second class is vast; the first a handful.


    It is better to be a self-made man,—filled up according to God’s original pattern,—than to be half a man, made after some other man’s pattern.

    J. G. Holland.

    He is the whole encyclopedia of facts. The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn; and Egypt, Greece, Rome, Gaul, Britain, America, lie folded already in the first man.


    Oh, we are ridiculous animals; and if the angels have any fun in them, how we must divert them!

    Horace Walpole.

    Man himself is the crowning wonder of creation; the study of his nature the noblest study the world affords.


    Man passes away; his name perishes from record and recollection; his history is as a tale that is told, and his very monument becomes a ruin.

    Washington Irving.

    A pygmy standing on the outward crust of this small planet, his far-reaching spirit stretches outward to the infinite, and there alone finds rest.


  • But what am I?
  • An infant crying in the night;
  • An infant crying for the light,
  • And with no language but a cry.
  • Tennyson.

    The very substance which last week was grazing in the field, waving in the milk pail, or growing in the garden, is now become part of the man.

    Dr. Watts.

    What were unenlightened man? A savage, roaming through the woods and wilds in quest of prey.


    Of all the animals which fly in the air, walk on the land, or swim in the sea, from Paris to Peru, from Japan to Rome, the most foolish animal in my opinion is man.


    It is an error to suppose that a man belongs to himself. No man does. He belongs to his wife, or his children, or his relations, or to his creditors, or to society in some form or other.

    G. A. Sala.

  • ’Tis man’s pride,
  • His highest, worthiest, noblest boast,
  • The privilege he prizes most,
  • To stand by helpless woman’s side.
  • Mrs. Holford.

    Let us not undervalue the dignity of human nature. Man although fallen, still retains some traces of his primeval glory and excellence—broken columns of a celestial temple, magnificent, even in its ruins.

    John McC. Holmes.

  • Let us (since life can little more supply
  • Than just to look about us and to die)
  • Expatiate free o’er all this scene of man;
  • A mighty maze! but not without a plan.
  • Pope.

    The history of mankind is little else than a narrative of designs which have failed, and hopes that have been disappointed.


  • Without our hopes, without our fears,
  • Without the home that plighted love endears,
  • Without the smile from partial beauty won,
  • O! what were man?—a world without a sun.
  • Campbell.

  • All that hath been majestical
  • In life or death, since time began,
  • Is native in the simple heart of all,
  • The angel-heart of man.
  • James Russell Lowell.

    Man is a central creature between the animals, that is to say, the most perfect form, which unites the traits of all in the most complete epitome.


    Man is too near all kinds of beasts,—a fawning dog, a roaring lion, a thieving fox, a robbing wolf, a dissembling crocodile, a treacherous decoy, and a rapacious vulture.


    For man is a plant, not fixed in the earth, nor immovable, but heavenly, whose head, rising as it were from a root upwards, is turned towards heaven.


    Whenever I contemplate man in the actual world or the ideal, I am lost amidst the infinite multiformity of his life, but always end in wonder at the essential unity of his nature.

    Henry Giles.

    Do you know what a man is? Are not birth, beauty, good shape, discourse, manhood, learning, gentleness, virtue, youth, liberality, and such like, the spice and salt that season a man?


  • In the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat bread,
  • Till thou return unto the ground; for thou
  • Out of the ground wast taken; know thy birth,
  • For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return.
  • Milton.

    A man ought to carry himself in the world as an orange-tree would if it could walk up and down in the garden,—swinging perfume from every little censer it holds up to the air.


    Man is physically as well as metaphysically a thing of shreds and patches, borrowed unequally from good and bad ancestors, and a misfit from the start.


    Man is improvable. Some people think he is only a machine, and that the only difference between a man and a mill is, that one is carried by blood and the other by water.

    Horace Mann.

    An individual man is a fruit which it cost all the foregoing ages to form and ripen. He is strong, not to do, but to live; not in his arms, but in his heart; not as an agent, but as a fact.


    Man, if he compare himself with all that he can see, is at the zenith of power; but if he compare himself with all that he can conceive, he is at the nadir of weakness.


    Man is greater than a world, than systems of worlds; there is more mystery in the union of soul with the physical than in the creation of a universe.

    Henry Giles.

    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.


  • Consider, man; weigh well thy frame,
  • The king, the beggar, is the same;
  • Dust form’d us all. Each breathes his day,
  • Then sinks into his native clay.
  • Gay.

  • Man, whose heaven-erected face
  • The smiles of love adorn,—
  • Man’s inhumanity to man
  • Makes countless thousands mourn!
  • Burns.

    The record of life runs thus: Man creeps into childhood,—bounds into youth,—sobers into manhood,—softens into age,—totters into second childhood, and slumbers into the cradle prepared for him,—thence to be watched and cared for.

    Henry Giles.

    I consider how little man is, yet, in his own mind, how great. He is lord and master of all things, yet scarce can command anything.


    What a chimera is man! what a confused chaos! what a subject of contradiction! a professed judge of all things, and yet a feeble worm of the earth! the great depositary and guardian of truth, and yet a mere huddle of uncertainty! the glory and the scandal of the universe!


    Man is by nature weak; he is born in and to a state of dependence; he therefore naturally seeks and looks about for help, and where he observes the greatest power, it is there that he applies and prays for protection.


    In that vast march, the van forgets the rear; the individual is lost; and yet the multitude is many individuals. He faints and falls and dies; man is forgotten; but still mankind move on, still worlds revolve, and the will of God is done in earth and heaven.

    G. W. Curtis.

    The older I grow—and I now stand upon the brink of eternity—the more comes back to me that sentence in the Catechism which I learned when a child, and the fuller and deeper its meaning becomes, “What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

    Thomas Carlyle.

    Every man’s powers have relation to some kind of work; and whenever he finds that kind of work which he can do best—that to which his powers are best adapted—he finds that which will give him the best development, and that by which he can best build up, or make, his manhood.

    J. G. Holland.

  • A sacred spark created by his breath,
  • The immortal mind of man his image bears;
  • A spirit living ’midst the forms of death,
  • Oppressed, but not subdued, by mortal cares.
  • Sir H. Davy.

    The Divine government of the world is like a stream that rolls under us; men are only bubbles that rise on its surface; some are brighter and larger, and sparkle longer in the sun than others; but all must break; whilst the mighty current rolls on in its wonted majesty!

    David Thomas.

    He is compounded of two very different ingredients, spirit and matter; but how such unallied and disproportioned substances should act upon each other, no man’s learning yet could tell him.

    Jeremy Collier.

    A man would have no pleasures in discovering all the beauties of the universe, even in heaven itself, unless he had a partner to whom he might communicate his joys.


    They that deny a God, destroy man’s nobility, for certainly man is of kin to the beasts by his body; and if he be not of kin to God by His spirit, he is an ignoble creature.


    Man, considered not merely as an organized being, but as a rational agent and a member of society, is perhaps the most wonderfully contrived, and to us the most interesting specimen of Divine wisdom that we have any knowledge of.


  • Like leaves on trees the race of man is found,—
  • Now green in youth, now withering on the ground;
  • Another race the following spring supplies;
  • They fall successive; and successive rise.
  • Homer.

  • Chaos of thought and passion, all confused;
  • Still by himself abused and disabused;
  • Created half to rise, and half to fall;
  • Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
  • Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurled;
  • The glory, jest and riddle of the world!
  • Pope.

  • But man, proud man,
  • Drest in a little brief authority,
  • Most ignorant of what he’s most assur’d,—
  • His glassy essence,—like an angry ape,
  • Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven,
  • As make the angels weep.
  • Shakespeare.

    Man is the highest product of his own history. The discoverer finds nothing so grand or tall as himself, nothing so valuable to him. The greatest star is at the small end of the telescope,—the star that is looking, not looked after nor looked at.

    Theodore Parker.

    Every want, not of a low kind, physical as well as moral, which the human breast feels, and which brutes do not feel, and cannot feel, raises man by so much in the scale of existence, and is a clear proof, and a direct instance, of the favor of God toward his so much favored human offspring.

    Daniel Webster.

    Can anything be imagined so ridiculous that this miserable and wretched creature, who is not so much as master of himself, but subject to the injuries of all things, should call himself master and emperor of the world, of which he has not power to know the least part, much less to command the whole?


    A man that is temperate, generous, valiant, chaste, faithful, and honest, may, at the same time, have wit, humour, mirth, good breeding, and gallantry. While he exerts these latter qualities, twenty occasions might be invented to show he is master of the other noble virtues.


  • Pouter, tumbler, and fantail are from the same source;
  • The racer and hack may be traced to one Horse;
  • So men were developed from monkeys of course,
  • Which nobody can deny.
  • Lord Neaves.

    Omit a few of the most abstruse sciences, and mankind’s study of man occupies nearly the whole field of literature. The burden of history is what man has been; of law, what he does; of physiology, what he is; of ethics, what he ought to be; of revelation, what he shall be.

    George Finlayson.

  • Man doom’d to care, to pain, disease, and strife,
  • Walks his short journey through the vale of life,
  • Watchful, attends the cradle and the grave,
  • And passing generations longs to save:
  • Last dies himself; yet wherefore should we mourn?
  • For man must to his kindred dust return;
  • Submit to the destroying hand of fate,
  • As ripen’d ears the harvest-sickle wait.
  • Euripides.

  • Behold the child, by Nature’s kindly law
  • Pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw;
  • Some livelier plaything gives his Youth delight,
  • A little louder, but as empty quite;
  • Scarfs, Garters, Gold amuse his riper stage;
  • And beads and pray’r-books are the toys of age;
  • Pleas’d with this Bauble still, as that before;
  • Till tir’d he sleeps, and Life’s poor play is o’er.
  • Pope.

    Great men stand like solitary towers in the city of God, and secret passages running deep beneath external nature, give their thoughts intercourse with higher intelligences, which strengthens and consoles them, and of which the labourers on the surface do not even dream.


    Now the basest thought possible concerning man is, that he has no spiritual nature; and the foolishest misunderstanding of him possible is, that he has, or should have, no animal nature. For his nature is nobly animal, nobly spiritual,—coherently and irrevocably so; neither part of it may, but at its peril, expel, despise, or defy the other.


    God hath given to mankind a common library, his creatures; and to every man a proper book, himself, being an abridgement of all the others: if thou read with understanding, it will make thee a great master of philosophy, and a true servant to the divine Author; if thou but barely read, it will make thee thy own wise man, and the Author’s fool.


    Man perfected by society is the best of all animals; he is the most terrible of all when he lives without law and without justice. If he finds himself an individual who cannot live in society, or who pretends he has need of only his own resources, do not consider him as a member of humanity; he is a savage beast or a god.


    O rich and various man! thou palace of sight and sound, carrying in thy senses the morning and the night, and the unfathomable galaxy; in thy brain, the geometry of the city of God; in thy heart, the power of love and the realms of right and wrong. An individual man is a fruit which it cost all the foregoing ages to form and ripen. He is strong, not to do, but to live; not in his arms, but in his heart; not as an agent, but as a fact.


    “We touch heaven when we lay our hand on a human body!” This sounds much like a mere flourish of rhetoric; but it is not so. If well meditated, it will turn out to be a scientific fact; the expression, in such words as can be had, of the actual truth of the thing. We are the miracle of miracles,—the great inscrutable mystery of God. We cannot understand it, we know not how to speak of it; but we may feel and know, if we like, that it is verily so.


    It is of dangerous consequence to represent to man how near he is to the level of beasts, without showing him at the same time his greatness. It is likewise dangerous to let him see his greatness without his meanness. It is more dangerous yet to leave him ignorant of either; but very beneficial that he should be made sensible of both.


    While some animals exhibit individual powers in higher perfection, man stands for their superior, not only in combining in his own body all the senses and faculties which they possess, but in being endowed with moral and intellectual powers which are denied to them, and which at once place him at the head of the living creation, and constitute him a moral, religious, intelligent, and responsible being.


    Man was sent into the world to be a growing and exhaustless force. The world was spread out around him to be seized and conquered. Realms of infinite truth burst open above him, inviting him to tread those shining coasts along which Newton dropped his plummet, and Herschel sailed,—a Columbus of the skies.


    A man in old age is like a sword in a shop window. Men that look upon the perfect blade do not imagine the process by which it was completed. Man is a sword, daily life is the workshop, and God is the artificer; and those cares which beat upon the anvil, and file the edge, and eat in, acid-like, the inscription upon his hilt,—these are the very things that fashion the man.


  • O man! while in thy early years,
  • How prodigal of time,
  • Misspending all thy precious hours,
  • Thy glorious youthful prime!
  • Alternate follies take the sway;
  • Licentious passions burn;
  • Which tenfold force give nature’s law,
  • That man was made to mourn.
  • Burns.

    Men are born with two eyes, but with one tongue, in order that they should see twice as much as they say; but from their conduct one would suppose that they were born with two tongues, and one eye; for those talk the most who observe the least, and obtrude their remarks upon everything, who have seen into nothing.


    But if, indeed, there be a nobler life in us than in these strangely moving atoms; if, indeed, there is an eternal difference between the fire which inhabits them, and that which animates us,—it must be shown, by each of us in his appointed place, not merely in the patience, but in the activity of our hope, not merely by our desire, but our labor, for the time when the dust of the generations of men shall be confirmed for foundations of the gates of the city of God.

    John Ruskin.

    Man is an animal, formidable both from his passions and his reasons; his passions often urging him to great evils, and his reason furnishing means to achieve them. To train this animal, and make him amenable to order, to inure him to a sense of justice and virtue, to withhold him from ill courses by fear, and encourage him in his duty by hopes; in short to fashion and model him for society, hath been the aim of civil and religious institutions; and, in all times, the endeavour of good and wise men, The aptest method for attaining this end hath been always judged a proper education.

    Bishop Berkeley.

    It is a painful fact, but there is no denying it, the masts are the tools of circumstances; thistle-down on the breeze, straw on the river, their course is shaped for them by the currents and eddies of the stream of life; but only in proportion as they are things, not men and women. Man was meant to be not the slave, but the master, of circumstances, and in proportion as he recovers his humanity, in every sense of the great obsolete word,—in proportion as he gets back the spirit of manliness, which is self-sacrifice, affection, loyalty to an idea beyond himself, a God above himself, so far will he rise above circumstances, and wield them at his will.