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


He who knows himself knows others.


Know thyself; this is the great object.


Oh, the difficulty of fixing the attention of men on the world within them!


It is easy to look down on others; to look down on ourselves is the difficulty.


What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.


There are two persons in the world we never see as they are,—one’s self and one’s other self.

Arsène Houssaye.

I study myself more than any other subject; it is my metaphysic, it is my physic.


I will chide no breather in the world but myself, against whom I know most faults.


We neither know nor judge ourselves; others may judge, but cannot know us; God alone judges, and knows too.

Wilkie Collins.

Though not always called upon to condemn ourselves, it is always safe to suspect ourselves.


Observe thyself as thy greatest enemy would do; so shalt thou be thy greatest friend.

Jeremy Taylor.

A man has generally the good or ill qualities which he attributes to mankind.


  • Go to your bosom;
  • Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know.
  • Shakespeare.

  • One self-approving hour whole years outweighs
  • Of stupid starers and of loud huzzas.
  • Pope.

  • There is a luxury in self-dispraise;
  • And inward self-disparagement affords
  • To meditative spleen a grateful feast.
  • Wordsworth.

    Whatever you dislike in another person, take care to correct in yourself by the gentle reproof.


    O that you could turn your eyes towards the napes of your necks, and make but an interior survey of your good selves!


    How shall we learn to know ourselves? By reflection? Never; but only through action. Strive to do thy duty; then shalt thou know what is in thee.


  • Speak no more:
  • Thou turn’st mine eyes into my very soul;
  • And there I see such black and grained spots
  • As will not leave their tinct.
  • Shakespeare.

    It is greatly wise to talk with our past hours, and ask them what report they bore to heaven, and how they might have borne more welcome news.


    When you descant on the faults of others, consider whether you be not guilty of the same. To gain knowledge of ourselves, the best way is convert the imperfections of others into a mirror for discovering our own.

    Henry Home.

    Inspect the neighborhood of thy life; every shelf, every nook of thy abode; and, nestling in, quarter thyself, in the farthest and most domestic winding of thy snail-house!


    If any speak ill of thee, fly home to thy own conscience and examine thy heart. If thou art guilty, it is a just correction; if not guilty, it is a fair instruction.

    George Herbert.

    Never lose sight of this important truth, that no one can be truly great until he has gained a knowledge of himself, a knowledge which can only be acquired by occasional retirement.


    It belongs to every large nature, when it is not under the immediate power of some strong unquestioning emotion, to suspect itself, and doubt the truth of its own impressions, conscious of possibilities beyond its own horizon.

    George Eliot.

    We should every night call ourselves to an account: What infirmity have I mastered to-day? what passion opposed? what temptation resisted? what virtue acquired? Our vices will abate of themselves if they be brought every day to the shrift.


    Of all literary exercitations, whether designed for the use or entertainment of the world, there are none of so much importance, or so immediately our concern, as those which let us into the knowledge of our own nature. Others may exercise the understanding or amuse the imagination; but these only can improve the heart and form the human mind to wisdom.

    Bishop Warburton.

    Let not sleep fall upon thy eyes till thou hast thrice reviewed the transactions of the past day. Where have I turned aside from rectitude? What have I been doing? What have I left undone, which I ought to have done? Begin thus from the first act, and proceed; and in conclusion, at the ill which thou hast done, be troubled, and rejoice for the good.


    If thou seest anything in thyself which may make thee proud, look a little further and thou shalt find enough to humble thee; if thou be wise, view the peacock’s feathers with his feet, and weigh thy best parts with thy imperfections.


    In order to judge of the inside of others, study your own; for men in general are very much alike, and though one has one prevailing passion, and another has another, yet their operations are much the same; and whatever engages or disgusts, pleases, or offends you in others, will, mutatis mutandis, engage, disgust, please, or offend others in you.


    Never let us be discouraged with ourselves. It is not when we are conscious of our faults that we are the most wicked; on the contrary, we are less so. We see by a brighter light; and let us remember for our consolation, that we never perceive our sins till we begin to cure them.


  • Summe up at night what thou hast done by day;
  • And in the morning what thou hast to do.
  • Dresse and undresse thy soul; mark the decay
  • And growth of it: if, with thy watch, that too
  • Be down, then winde up both; since we shall be
  • Most surely judg’d, make thy accounts agree.
  • Herbert.