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


Apt quotations carry conviction.


Backed his opinion with quotations.


The devil can cite scripture for his purpose.


With just enough of learning to misquote.


Our best thought came from others.


Quotation confesses inferiority.


Full of wise saws and modern instances.


I quote others only in order the better to express myself.


Why read a book which you cannot quote?


Have at you with a proverb.


A verse may find him who a sermon flies.

George Herbert.

Fine words! I wonder where you stole them.


Great authorities are arguments.

Daniel Webster.

One must be a wise reader to quote wisely and well.

A. Bronson Alcott.

The mind will quote whether the tongue does or not.


Quotation, like much better things, has its abuses. One may quote till one compiles.

Isaac Disraeli.

Quotations are best brought in to confirm some opinion controverted.


Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it.


Some for renown on scraps of learning dote, and think they grow immortal as they quote.


Classical quotation is the parole of literary men all over the world.


It is as difficult to appropriate the thoughts of others as it is to invent.


A great man quotes bravely, and will not draw on his invention when his memory serves him with a word as good.


A fine quotation is a diamond on the finger of a man of wit, and a pebble in the hand of a fool.

Joseph Roux.

The wisdom of the wise and the experience of ages may be preserved by quotation.

Isaac Disraeli.

They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps.


A book which hath been culled from the flowers of all books.

George Eliot.

The profoundest thought or passion sleeps as in a mine, until an equal mind and heart finds and publishes it.


I will pick up a few straws here and there over the broad field, and ask you a few moments to look at them.


What is said upon a subject is gathered from an hundred people.

Dr. Johnson.

We are as much informed of a writer’s genius by what he selects as by what he originates.


Every quotation contributes something to the stability or enlargement of the language.

Sam’l Johnson.

By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight we quote.


To select well among old things is almost equal to inventing new ones.

Abbe Trublet.

Let the writer’s thought so ripen in thee that it becomes, as it were, thy own thought.


A good saying often runs the risk of being thrown away when quoted as the speaker’s own.

La Bruyère.

There is no less invention in aptly applying a thought found in a book, than in being the first author of the thought.


The multiplicity of facts and writings is become so great that everything must soon be reduced to extracts.


The art of quotation requires more delicacy in the practice than those conceive who can see nothing more in a quotation than an extract.

Isaac Disraeli.

The wise men of old have sent most of their morality down the stream of time in the light skiff of apothegm or epigram.


The obscurest sayings of the truly great are often those which contain the germ of the profoundest and most useful truths.


A couplet of verse, a period of prose, may cling to the rock of ages as a shell that survives a deluge.


A beautiful verso, an apt remark, or a well-turned phrase, appropriately quoted, is always effective and charming.

Mme. du Deffand.

I have here only made a nosegay of culled flowers, and have brought nothing of my own but the thread that ties them.


Every book is a quotation, and every house is a quotation out of all forests and mines and stone-quarries, and every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.


When we would prepare the mind by a forcible appeal, an opening quotation is a symphony preluding on the chords those tones we are about to harmonize.


He presents me with what is always an acceptable gift who brings me news of a great thought before unknown. He enriches me without impoverishing himself.


The proverb answers where the sermon fails as a well-charged pistol will do more execution than a whole barrel of gunpowder idly exploded in the air.


I have somewhere seen it observed that we should make the same use of a book that the bee does of a flower; she steals sweets from it, but does not injure it.


Luminous quotations atone, by their interest, for the dulness of an inferior book, and add to the value of a superior work by the variety which they lend to its style and treatment.


This field is so spacious that it were easy for a man to lose himself in it; and if I should spend all my pilgrimage in this walk, my time would sooner end than my way.

Bishop Hall.

To appreciate and use correctly a valuable maxim requires a genius, a vital appropriating exercise of mind, closely allied to that which first created it.

W. R. Alger.

I pluck up the good lissome herbs of sentences by pruning, eat them by reading, digest them by musing, and lay them up at length in the high seat of memory.

Queen Elizabeth.

Let every book worm, when in any fragrant, scarce old tome he discovers a sentence, a story, an illustration, that does his heart good, hasten to give it.


He that borrows the aid of an equal understanding doubles his own; he that uses that of a superior elevates his own to the stature of that he contemplates.


A man, groundly learned already, may take much profit himself in using by epitome to draw other men’s works, for his own memory sake, into short room.

Roger Ascham.

  • Of things that be strange
  • Who loveth to read,
  • In this book let him range,
  • His fancy to feed.
  • R. Robinson.

    Reader, now I send thee, like a bee, to gather honey out of flowers and weeds; every garden is furnished with either, and so is ours. Read and meditate.

    H. Smith.

    The greater part of our writers,***have become so original, that no one cares to imitate them: and those who never quote in return are seldom quoted.

    Isaac Disraeli.

    It has been said that death ends all things. This is a mistake. It does not end the volume of practical quotations, and it will not until the sequence of the alphabet is so materially changed as to place D where Z now stands.

    Harper’s Bazar.

    A good thought is a great boon, for which God is to be first thanked, then he who is the first to utter it, and then, in a lesser, but still in a considerable degree, the man who is the first to quote it to us.


    Abstracts, abridgments, summaries, etc., have the same use with burning glasses, to collect the diffused rays of wit and learning in authors, and make them point with warmth and quickness upon the reader’s imagination.


    Many useful and valuable books lie buried in shops and libraries unknown and unexamined, unless some lucky compiler opens them by chance, and finds an easy spoil of wit and learning.

    Dr. Johnson.

    It is good to respect old thoughts in the newest books, because the old works in which they stand are not read. New translations of many truths, as of foreign standard works, must be given forth every half-century.


    All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take firm root in our personal experience.


    All minds quote. Old and new make the warp and woof of every moment. There is no thread that is not a twist of these two strands.***We quote not only books and proverbs, but art, sciences, religion, customs, and laws; nay, we quote temples and houses, tables and chairs, by imitation.***


    If these little sparks of holy fire which I have thus heaped up together do not give life to your prepared and already enkindled spirit, yet they will sometimes help to entertain a thought, to actuate a passion, to employ and hallow a fancy.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    Whatever we may say against such collections, which present authors in a disjointed form, they nevertheless bring about many excellent results. We are not always so composed, so full of wisdom, that we are able to take in at once the whole scope of a work according to its merits. Do we not mark in a book passages which seem to have a direct reference to ourselves? Young people especially, who have failed in acquiring a complete cultivation of mind, are roused in a praiseworthy way by brilliant passages.


    We ought never to be afraid to repeat an ancient truth, when we feel that we can make it more striking by a neater turn, or bring it alongside of another truth, which may make it clearer, and thereby accumulate evidence. It belongs to the inventive faculty to see clearly the relative state of things, and to be able to place them in connection, but the discoveries of ages gone by belong less to their first authors than to those who make them practically useful to the world.