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


True statesmanship is the art of changing a nation from what it is into what it ought to be.

W. R. Alger.

  • No statesman e’er will find it worth his pains
  • To tax our labours and excise our brains.
  • Churchill.

  • It is strange so great a statesman should
  • Be so sublime a poet.
  • Bulwer-Lytton.

  • And lives to clutch the golden keys,
  • To mould a mighty state’s decrees,
  • And shape the whisper of the throne.
  • Tennyson.

    Why don’t you show us a statesman who can rise up to the emergency, and cave in the emergency’s head?

    Artemus Ward.

    A disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman.


    I look upon an able statesman out of business like a huge whale, that will endeavor to overturn the ship unless he has an empty cask to play with.


  • An honest statesman to a prince,
  • Is like a cedar planted by a spring;
  • The spring bathes the tree’s root, the grateful tree
  • Rewards it with his shadow.
  • Webster.

  • And statesmen at her council met
  • Who knew the seasons when to take
  • Occasion by the hand, and make
  • The bounds of freedom wider yet.
  • Tennyson.

  • Forbear, you things
  • That stand upon the pinnacles of state,
  • To boast your slippery height! when you do fall,
  • You dash yourselves in pieces, ne’er to rise:
  • And he that lends you pity, is not wise.
  • Ben Jonson.

  • Who would not praise Patricio’s high desert,
  • His hand unstain’d, his uncorrupted heart,
  • His comprehensive head? all interests weigh’d,
  • All Europe sav’d, yet Britain not betray’d.
  • Pope.

    What most of all enables a man to serve the public is not wealth, but content and independence; which, requiring no superfluity at home, distracts not the mind from the common good.


  • Statesman, yet friend to truth! of soul sincere,
  • In action faithful, and in honor clear;
  • Who broke no promise, served no private end,
  • Who gain’d no title, and who lost no friend;
  • Ennobled by himself, by all approv’d,
  • And prais’d, unenvied, by the muse he lov’d.
  • Pope.

  • You have not, as good patriots should do, studied
  • The public good, but your particular ends:
  • Factious among yourselves; preferring such
  • To offices and honors, as ne’er read
  • The elements of saving policy;
  • But deeply skill’d in all the principles
  • That usher to destruction.
  • Massinger.

  • For as two cheats, that play one game,
  • Are both defeated of their aim;
  • So those who play a game of state,
  • And only cavil in debate,
  • Altho’ there’s nothing lost nor won,
  • The public bus’ness is undone,
  • Which still the longer ’tis in doing,
  • Becomes the surer way to ruin.
  • Butler.

    It is curious that we pay statesmen for what they say, not for what they do; and judge of them from what they do, not from what they say. Hence they have one code of maxims for profession and another for practice, and make up their consciences as the Neapolitans do their beds, with one set of furniture for show and another for use.