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


Conjecture as to things useful is good; but conjecture as to what it would be useless to know, such as whether men went upon all-fours, is very idle.


Wise man was he who counselled that speculation should have free course, and look fearlessly towards all the thirty-two points of the compass, whithersoever and howsoever it listed.


  • The history of humankind to trace
  • Since Eve, the first of dupes, our doom unriddled,
  • A certain portion of the human race
  • Has certainly a taste for being diddled.
  • Witness the famous Mississippi dreams!
  • A rage that time seems only to redouble—
  • The banks, joint stocks, and all the flimsy schemes,
  • For rolling in Pactolian streams
  • That cost our modern rogues so little trouble
  • No matter what, to pasture cows on stubble
  • To twist sea-sand into a solid rope,
  • To make French bricks and fancy bread of rubble,
  • Or light with gas the whole celestial cope—
  • Only propose to blow a bubble,
  • And Lord! what hundreds will subscribe for soap!
  • Hood.

    The besetting evil of our age is the temptation to squander and dilute thought of a thousand different lines of inquiry.

    Sir John Herschel.