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


Reason is mistress and queen of all things.


Reason may cure illusions, but not suffering.

Alfred de Musset.

Reason lies between the spur and the bridle.

George Herbert.

Reason gains all men by compelling none.

Aaron Hill.

The feast of reason and the flow of soul.


Love reasons without reason.


Strong reasons make strong actions.


But it is not reason that governs love.


Every why hath a wherefore.


What is reason now was passion heretofore.


Good reasons must, of force, give place to better.


Men possessed with an idea cannot be reasoned with.


If I go to heaven I want to take my reason with me.

R. G. Ingersoll.

Remember always, that man is a creature whose reason is often darkened with error.

Sir P. Sidney.

Now see that noble and most sovereign reason, like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh.


He is next to the gods whom reason, and not passion, impels.


Nothing can be lasting when reason does not rule.

Quintus Curtius Rufus.

  • I have no other but a woman’s reason:
  • I think him so, because I think him so.
  • Shakespeare.

    Wouldst thou subject all things to thyself? Subject thyself to reason.


    There is no opposing brutal force to the stratagems of human reason.


    Reason can tell how love affects us, but cannot tell what love is.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

    Reason is a very light rider, and easily shook off.


  • Who reasons wisely, is not therefore wise,
  • His pride in reasoning, not in acting lies.
  • Pope.

    Reason’s progressive; instinct is complete; swift instinct leaps; slow reason feebly climbs.


    There is a just Latin axiom, that he who seeks a reason for everything subverts reason.

    Epes Sargent.

    Neither great poverty nor great riches will hear reason.


    Indued with sanctity of reason.


    It is not from reason and prudence that people marry, but from inclination.

    Dr. Johnson.

    There is occasions and causes why and wherefore in all things.


    Reason can discover things only near,—sees nothing that’s above her.


    The philosophy of reasoning, to be complete, ought to comprise the theory of bad as well as of good reasoning.

    John Stuart Mill.

    Give you a reason on compulsion! If reasons were as plentiful as blackberries, I would give no man a reason upon compulsion.


    When a man has not a good reason for doing a thing, he has one good reason for letting it alone.

    Walter Scott.

    I will it, I so order, let my will stand for a reason.


    Reason is a permanent blessing of God to the soul. Without it there can be no large religion.

    Henry Ward Beecher.

    An idle reason lessens the weight of the good ones you gave before.


    Human reason is like a drunken man on horseback; set it up on one side, and it tumbles over on the other.


    We love without reason, and without reason we hate.


  • Say first, of God above or man below,
  • What can we reason but from what we know?
  • Pope.

    Reason can in general do more than blind force.

    Corn Gallus.

    Reason is the test of ridicule—not ridicule the test of truth.


    The reasoning of the strongest is always the best.

    La Fontaine.

  • And what is reason? Be she thus defined:
  • Reason is upright stature in the soul.
  • Young.

    Reason cannot show itself more reasonable than to cease reasoning on things above reason.

    Sir P. Sidney.

    Reason is an historian, but the passions are actors.


    But for tradition, we walk evermore to higher paths by brightening reason’s lamp.

    George Eliot.

  • Reason raise o’er instinct as you can,
  • In this ’tis God directs, in that ’tis man.
  • Pope.

    Reason is a bee, and exists only on what it makes; his usefulness takes the place of beauty.


    Reason is as it were a light to lighten our steps and guide us through the journey of life.


    If reason justly contradicts an article, it is not of the household of faith.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    If you will not hear Reason, she will surely rap your knuckles.

    Benjamin Franklin.

    Reason will by degrees submit to absurdity, as the eye is in time accommodated to darkness.

    Dr. Johnson.

    Let our reason, and not our senses, be the rule of our conduct; for reason will teach us to think wisely, to speak prudently, and to behave worthily.


    Reason is the glory of human nature, and one of the chief eminences whereby we are raised above the beasts, in this lower world.

    Dr. Watts.

    Wise men are instructed by reason; men of less understanding by experience; the most ignorant, by necessity, and beasts, by nature.


    Reason exercises merely the function of preserving order, is, so to say, the police in the region of art. In life it is mostly a cold arithmetician summing up our follies.


  • While Reason drew the plan, the Heart inform’d
  • The moral page and Fancy lent it grace.
  • Thomson.

    What can give us more sure knowledge than our senses? How else can we distinguish between the true and the false?


  • Reason, however able, cool at best,
  • Cares not for service, or but serves when prest,
  • Stays till we call, and then not often near.
  • Pope.

    Yea, marry, now it is somewhat, for now it is rhyme; before it was neither rhyme nor reason.

    Sir Thos. More.

  • Subdue
  • By force, who reason for their law refuse,
  • Right reason for their law.
  • Milton.

    There are few things reason can discover with so much certainty and ease as its own insufficiency.

    Jeremy Collier.

    He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool and he that dares not reason is a slave.

    Sir W. Drummond.

    Sound and sufficient reason falls, after all, to the share of but few men, and those few men exert their influence in silence.


    Reasons are the pillars of the fabric of a sermon, but similitudes are the windows which give the best light.


    Reason! how many eyes hast thou to see evils, and how dim, nay, blind, thou art in preventing them.

    Sir P. Sidney.

    Every sect, as far as reason will help them, gladly use it; when it fails them, they cry out it is a matter of faith, and above reason.


    The proper work of man, the grand drift of human life, is to follow reason, that noble spark kindled in us from heaven.


    God enters by a private door into every individual. Long prior to reflection is the thinking of the mind.


    Reason is the director of man’s will, discovering in action what is good; for the jaws of well-doing are the dictates of right reason.


    The weakness of human reason appears more evidently in those who know it not than in those who know it.


  • Man is not the prince of creatures,
  • But in reason; fail that, he is worse
  • Than horse or dog, or beast of wilderness.
  • Field.

    Clear-sighted reason, wisdom’s judgment leads; and sense, her vassal, in her footsteps treads.

    Sir J. Denham.

  • Without an helm or pilot her to sway;
  • Full sad and dreadful is that ship’s event,
  • So is the man that wants intendiment.
  • Spenser.

    To be rational is so glorious a thing that two-legged creatures generally content themselves with the title.


    Many are destined to reason wrongly; others, not to reason, at all; and others, to persecute those who do reason.


    His reasons are two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff; you shall seek all day ere you find them; and when you have them, they are not worth the search.


    Polished steel will not shine in the dark; no more can reason, however refined, shine efficaciously, but as it reflects the light of Divine truth, shed from heaven.


  • Reason the hoary dotard’s dull directress,
  • That loses all, because she hazards nothing;
  • Reason! the tim’rous pilot, that, to shun
  • The rocks of life, forever flies the port.
  • Dr. Johnson.

    Though reason is not to be relied upon as universally sufficient to direct us what to do, yet it is generally to be relied upon and obeyed where it tells us what we are not to do.


    Reason is progressive; instinct, stationary. Five thousand years have added no improvement to the hive of the bee, nor the house of the beaver.


  • Whether with reason or with instinct blest,
  • Know, all enjoy that power which suits them best;
  • To bliss alike by that direction tend,
  • And find the means proportion’d to their end.
  • Pope.

    As reason is a rebel unto faith, so passion unto reason; as the propositions of faith seem absurd unto reason, so the theories of reason unto passion.

    Sir Thomas Browne.

    The soul is cured of its maladies by certain incantations; these incantations are beautiful reasons, from which temperance is generated in souls.


    Sir, you are giving a reason for it; but that will not make it right. You may have a reason why two and two should make five; but they will still make but four.


    There are those who never reason on what they should do, but what they have done; as if Reason had her eyes behind, and could only see backwards.


    Reason elevates our thoughts as high as the stars, and leads us through the vast space of this mighty fabric; yet it comes far short of the real extent of our corporeal being.


    Women never reason, or, if they do, they either draw correct inferences from wrong premises, or wrong inferences from correct premises; and they always poke the fire from the top.


  • Within the brain’s most secret cells,
  • A certain lord chief justice dwells,
  • Of sov’reign power, whom one and all,
  • With common voice we reason call.
  • Churchill.

    Let cavillers deny that brutes have reason; sure ’t is something more: ’t is heaven direct, and statagems inspire, beyond the short extent of human thought.

    William Somerville.

    He is not a reasonable man who by chance stumbles upon reason, but he who derives it from knowledge, from discernment, and from taste.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    Let us not dream that reason can ever be popular. Passions, emotions, may be made popular; but reason remains ever the property of an elect few.


    The authority of reason is far more imperious than that of a master; for he who disobeys the one is unhappy, but he who disobeys the other is a fool.


    He that speaketh against his own reason speaks against his own conscience, and therefore it is certain no man serves God with a good conscience who serves Him against his reason.

    Jeremy Taylor.

  • Sure, He that made us with such large discourse,
  • Looking before and after, gave us not
  • That capability and god-like reason
  • To fust in us unus’d.
  • Shakespeare.

    The voice of reason is more to be regarded than the bent of any present inclination; since inclination will at length come over to reason, though we can never force reason to comply with inclination.


    In the matter of faith, we have the added weight of hope to that of reason in the convictions which we sustain relating to a future state.


    Reason can no more influence the will, and operate as a motive, than the eyes which show a man his road can enable him to move from place to place, or that a ship provided with a compass can sail without a wind.


    Revelation may not need the help of reason, but man does, even when in possession of revelation. Reason may be described as the candle in the man’s hand, to which revelation brings the necessary flame.


    Men do not often dare to avow, even to themselves, the slow progress reason has made in their minds; but they are ready to follow it if it is presented to them in a lively and striking manner, and forces them to recognize it.


    The way to subject all things to thyself is to subject thyself to reason; thou shalt govern many, if reason govern thee. Wouldst thou be crowned the monarch of a little world? command thyself.


    Philosophers have done wisely when they have told us to cultivate our reason rather than our feelings, for reason reconciles us to the daily things of existence; our feelings teach us to yearn after the far, the difficult, the unseen.


    He that takes away reason to make way for revelation puts out the light of both, and does much the same as if he would persuade a man to put out his eyes, the better to receive the remote light of an invisible star by a telescope.


    I do not call reason that brutal reason which crushes with its weight what is holy and sacred, that malignant reason which delights in the errors it succeeds in discovering, that unfeeling and scornful reason which insults credulity.


    Reason ought not, like vanity, to adorn herself with ancient parchments, and the display of a genealogical tree; more dignified in her proceedings, and proud of her immortal nature, she ought to derive everything from herself.

    Mme. Necker.

    Some persons there are who intellectually are reasonable enough, but whose life is quite irrational; and there are, on the other hand, those whose life is rational, and whose minds are devoid of reason.


    The thread and train of consequences in intellective ratiocination is often long, and chained together by divers links, which cannot be done in imaginative ratiocination, by some attributed to brutes.

    Sir M. Hale.

    All reason is retrospect; it consists in the application of facts and principles previously known. This will show the very great importance of knowledge, especially that kind which is called experience.

    John Foster.

  • Thought
  • Precedes the will to think, and error lives
  • Ere reason can be born. Reason, the power
  • To guess at right and wrong, the twinkling lamp
  • Of wand’ring life, that winks and wakes by turns
  • Fooling the follower ’twixt shade and shining.
  • Congreve.

  • But all was false and hollow; though his tongue
  • Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear
  • The better reason, to perplex and dash
  • Maturest counsels.
  • Milton.

    He that follows the advice of reason has a mind that is elevated above the reach of injury; that sits above the clouds, in a calm and quiet ether, and with a brave indifferency hears the rolling thunders grumble and burst under his feet.

    Walter Scott.

    When my reason is afloat, my faith cannot long remain in suspense, and I believe in God as firmly as in any other truth whatever; in short, a thousand motives draw me to the consolatary side, and add the weight of hope to the equilibrium of reason.


    How often do we contradict the right rules of reason in the whole course of our lives! Reason itself is true and just, but the reason of every particular man is weak and wavering, perpetually swayed and turned by his interests, his passions, and his vices.


    We are afraid to put men to live and trade each on his own private stock of reason; because we suspect that this stock in each man is small, and that the individuals would do better to avail themselves of the general bank and capital of nations and of ages.


  • ’Tis reason’s part
  • To govern and to guard the heart,
  • To lull the wayward soul to rest,
  • When hopes and fears distract the breast;
  • Reason may calm this doubtful strife,
  • And steer thy bark through various life.
  • Cotton.

    Those who follow the banners of Reason are like the well-disciplined battalions which, wearing a more sober uniform and making a less dazzling show than the light troops commanded by Imagination, enjoy more safety, and even more honor, in the conflicts of human life.

    Sir Walter Scott.

  • Two angels guide
  • The path of man, both aged and yet young,
  • As angels are, ripening through endless years,
  • On one he leans; some call her Memory,
  • And some Tradition; and her voice is sweet,
  • With deep mysterious accords; the other,
  • Floating above, holds down a lamp which streams
  • A light divine and searching on the earth,
  • Compelling eyes and footsteps. Memory yields,
  • Yet clings with loving check, and shines anew,
  • Reflecting all the rays of that bright lamp
  • Our angel Reason holds. We had not walked
  • But for Tradition; we walk evermore
  • To higher paths by brightening Reason’s lamp.
  • George Eliot.

  • Reason was given to curb our headstrong will,
  • And, yet but shows a weak physician’s skill;
  • Gives nothing while the raging fit doth last,
  • But stays to cure it when the worst is past;
  • Reason’s a staff for age, when nature’s gone,
  • But youth is strong enough to walk alone.
  • Dryden.

    No doubt the testimony of natural reason, on whatever exercised, must, of necessity, stop short of those truths which it is the object of revelation to make known; still it places the existence and personal attributes of the Deity on such grounds as to render doubts absurd and atheism ridiculous.

    Sir John Herschel.

    Accurate and just reasoning is the only catholic remedy, fitted for all persons and all dispositions; and is alone able to subvert that abstruse philosophy and metaphysical jargon, which, being mixed up with popular superstition, renders it in a manner impenetrable to careless reasoners, and gives it the air of science and wisdom.