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


Oaths are but words, and words but wind.


A liar is always lavish of oaths.


A good mouth-filling oath.


With paths like rivets forced into your brain.


Recognized probity is the surest of all oaths.

Mme. Necker.

  • ’Tis not the many oaths that makes the truth,
  • But the plain single vow that is vow’d true.
  • Shakespeare.

  • It is a great sin to swear unto a sin,
  • But greater sin to keep a sinful oath.
  • Shakespeare.

  • He that imposes an oath makes it,
  • Not he that for Convenience takes it.
  • Butler.

  • Or, having sworn too hard a keeping oath,
  • Study to break it and not break my troth.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Jack was embarrassed—never hero more,
  • And as he knew not what to say, he swore.
  • Byron.

    Oaths were not purposed more than law to keep the good and just in awe.

    Samuel Butler.

  • I’ll take thy word for faith, not ask thine oath;
  • Who shuns not to break one, will sure crack both.
  • Shakespeare.

    A careless and blasphemous use of the name of the Divine Being is not only sinful, but it is also prima facie evidence of vulgar associations.

    Hosea Ballou.

    It’s a hard world, neighbors, if a man’s oath must be his master.


    What use of oaths, of promise, or of test, where men regard no God but interest?


    With a bloody flux of oaths vows deep revenge.


    Rash oaths, whether kept or broken, frequently produce guilt.

    Dr. Johnson.

    Oaths are straws, men’s faiths are wafer-cakes, and hold-fast is the only dog.


    Oaths are the counterfeit money with which we pay the sacrifice of love.

    Ninon de Lenclos.

  • An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven:
  • Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?
  • No, not for Venice.
  • Shakespeare.

  • I have sworn deep oaths of thy deep kindness,
  • Oaths of thy love, thy truth, thy constancy;
  • ***I have sworn thee fair.
  • Shakespeare.

  • The gods are deaf to hot and peevish vows;
  • They are polluted offerings, more abhorr’d
  • Than spotted livers in the sacrifice.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Take not His name, who made thy mouth, in vain;
  • It gets thee nothing, and hath no excuse.
  • Herbert.

    I take the official oath to-day with no mental reservations and with no purpose to construe the Constitution by any hypercritical rules.

    Abraham Lincoln.

    And for the support of this declaration, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

    Thomas Jefferson.

    For it comes to pass oft that a terrible oath, with a swaggering accent sharply twanged off, gives manhood more approbation than ever proof itself would have earned him.


    An oath is a recognizance to heaven, binding us over in the courts above to plead to the indictment of our crimes.


  • Do not swear at all;
  • Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,
  • Which is the god of my idolatry,
  • And I’ll believe thee.
  • Shakespeare.

    You can have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the government; while I shall have the most solemn one to “preserve, protect, and defend” it.

    Abraham Lincoln.

    A father who whipped his son for swearing and swore at him while he whipped him, did more harm by his example than good by his correction.

    Thomas Fuller.

    An oath! why, it is the traffic of the soul, it is law within a man; the seal of faith, the bond of every conscience; unto whom we set our thoughts like hands.


    Of all men, a philosopher should be no swearer; for an oath, which is the end of controversies in law, cannot determine any here, where reason only must induce.

    Sir Thomas Browne.

    Come, swear it, damn thyself, lest, being like one of heaven, the devils themselves should fear to seize thee; therefore be double-damned, swear,—thou art honest.


  • They fix attention, heedless of your pain,
  • With oaths like rivets forced into the brain;
  • And e’en when sober truth prevails throughout,
  • They swear it, till affirmance breeds a doubt.
  • Cowper.

    Lord Melbourne was so accustomed to garnish his conversation in this way that Sydney Smith once said to him, “We will take it for granted that everybody is damned, and now proceed with the subject.”


    The accusing spirit, which flew up to heaven’s chancery with the oath blushed as he gave it in; and the recording angel, as he wrote it down, dropped a tear upon the word and blotted it out forever.


  • Nay, but weigh well what you presume to swear,
  • Oaths are of dreadful weight! and, if they are false,
  • Draw down damnation.
  • Sir Thomas Overbury.

  • Myself, myself confound!
  • Heaven, and fortune, bar me happy hours!
  • Day, yield me not thy light; nor night, thy rest!
  • Be opposite all planets of good luck
  • To my proceeding, if, with pure heart’s love,
  • Immaculate devotion, holy thoughts,
  • I tender not thy beauteous princely daughter!
  • Shakespeare.

    Whoever considers the number of absurd and ridiculous oaths necessary to be taken at present in most countries, on being admitted into any society or profession whatever, will be less surprised to find prevarication still prevailing, where perjury has led the way.

    Abbé Raynal.