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


Superstition is a senseless fear of God.


Superstition is but the fear of belief.

Lady Blessington.

Superstition is part of the poetry of life.


Hold each strange tale devoutly true.


Superstition renders a man a fool.


My right eye itches, some good luck is near.


There are proselytes from atheism, but none from superstition.


I die adoring God, loving my friends, not hating my enemies, and detesting superstition.


Religion worships God, while superstition profanes that worship.


Superstition is the only religion of which base souls are capable.


Religion is not removed by removing superstition.


Superstition is a quality that seems indigenous to the ocean.

James Fenimore Cooper.

Men are probably nearer to the essential truth in their superstitions than in their science.


Look how the world’s poor people are amazed at apparitions, signs and prodigies!


Heart-chilling superstition! thou canst glaze even Pity’s eye with her own frozen tear.


Danger is the very basis of superstition. It produces a searching after help supernaturally when human means are no longer supposed to be available.

B. R. Haydon.

A foolish superstition introduces the influences of the gods even in the smallest matters.


Superstition always inspires littleness, religion grandeur of mind; the superstitious raises beings inferior to himself to deities.


I think we cannot too strongly attack superstition, which is the disturber of society; nor too highly respect genuine religion, which is the support of it.


Why is it that we entertain the belief that for every purpose odd numbers are the most effectual?


The greatest burden in the world is superstition, not only of ceremonies in the church, but of imaginary and scarecrow sins at home.


Superstition is the poesy of practical life; hence, a poet is none the worse for being superstitious.


Superstition changes a man to a beast, fanatacism makes him a wild beast, and despotism a beast of burden.

La Harpe.

A peasant can no more help believing in a traditional superstition than a horse can help trembling when be sees a camel.

George Eliot.

Superstition moulds nature into an arbitrary semblance of the supernatural, and then bows down to the work of its own hands.

John Sterling.

These terrors are not to be charged upon religion; they proceed either from the want of religion or from superstitious mistakes about it.


  • England, a fortune-telling host,
  • As num’rous as the stars could boast;
  • Matrons, who toss the cup, and see
  • The grounds of fate in grounds of tea.
  • Churchill.

    There is but one thing that can free a man from superstition, and that is belief. All history proves it. The most sceptical have ever been the most credulous.

    George MacDonald.

    The child taught to believe any occurrence a good or evil omen, or any day of the week lucky, hath a wide inroad made upon the soundness of his understanding.

    Dr. Watts.

    You will not think it unnatural that those who have an object depending, which strongly engages their hopes and fears, should be somewhat inclining to superstition.


    Piety is different from superstition. To carry piety to the extent of superstition is to destroy it. The heretics reproach us with this superstitious submission. It is doing what they reproach us with.


    The master of superstition is the people, and in all superstition wise men follow fools, and arguments are fitted to practice in a reversed order.


    Death approaches, which is always impending over us like the stone over Tantalus; then comes superstition, with which he who is racked can never find peace of mind.


    Superstitious notions propagated in infancy are hardly ever totally eradicate, not even in minds grown strong enough to despise the like credulous folly in others.


    The general root of superstition is that men observe when things hit, and not when they miss; and commit to memory the one, and forget and pass over the other.


    Superstition is not, as has been defined, an excess of religious feeling, but a misdirection of it, an exhausting of it on vanities of man’s devising.


  • Midnight hags,
  • By force of potent spells, of bloody characters,
  • And conjurations horrible to hear,
  • Call fiends and spectres from the yawning deep,
  • And set the ministers of hell at work.
  • Nicholas Rowe.

    They that are against superstition oftentimes run into it of the wrong side. If I wear all colors but black, then I am superstitious in not wearing black.


  • ’Tis a history
  • Handed from ages down; a nurse’s tale—
  • Which children, open-ey’d and mouth’d devour;
  • And thus as garrulous ignorance relates,
  • We learn it and believe.
  • Southey.

    Superstition is related to this life, religion to the next; superstition is allied to fatality, religion to virtue; it is by the vivacity of earthly desires that we become superstitious; it is, on the contrary, by the sacrifice of these desires that we become religious.

    Mme. de Staël.

    Superstition, without a veil, is a deformed thing; for, as it addeth deformity to an ape to be so like a man, so the similitude of superstition to religion makes it the more deformed; and as wholesome meat corrupteth to little worms, so good forms and orders corrupt into a number of petty observances.


    That the corruption of the best thing produces the worst, is grown into a maxim, and is commonly proved, among other instances, by the pernicious effects of superstition and enthusiasm, the corruptions of true religion.


    Superstition is the poetry of life. It is inherent in man’s nature; and when we think it is wholly eradicated, it takes refuge in the strangest holes and corners, whence it peeps out all at once, as soon as it can do it with safety.


    It were better to have no opinion of God at all than such an opinion as is unworthy of him; for the one is unbelief, and the other is contumely; and certainly superstition is the reproach of the Deity.


  • Foul Superstition! howsoe’er disguised,
  • Idol, saint, virgin, prophet, crescent, cross,
  • For whatsoever symbol thou art prized,
  • Thou sacerdotal gain, but general loss!
  • Who from true worship’s gold can separate thy dross?
  • Byron.

    We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible. You cannot educate a man wholly out of the superstitious fears which were implanted in his imagination, no matter how utterly his reason may reject them.

    O. W. Holmes.

    Superstition! that horrid incubus which dwelt in darkness, shunning the light, with all its racks, and poison chalices, and foul sleeping draughts, is passing away without return. Religion cannot pass away. The burning of a little straw may hide the stars of the sky; but the stars are there and will reappear.


  • Alas! you know the cause too well;
  • The salt is spilt, to me it fell.
  • Then to contribute to my loss,
  • My knife and fork were laid across;
  • On Friday, too! the day I dread;
  • Would I were safe at home, in bed!
  • Last night (I vow to Heaven ’tis true)
  • Bounce from the fire a coffin flew.
  • Next post some fatal news shall tell:
  • God send my Cornish friends be well!
  • Gay.

  • Force first made conquest, and that conquest law,
  • Till Superstition taught the tyrant awe,
  • Then shar’d the tyranny, then lent it aid,
  • And gods of conqu’rors, slaves of subjects made:
  • She, ’midst the lightning’s blaze and thunder’s sound,
  • When rock’d the mountains, and when groan’d the ground,
  • She taught the weak to bend, the proud to pray
  • To Power unseen, and mightier fat than they:
  • She, from the rending earth and bursting skies,
  • Saw gods descend, and fiends infernal rise;
  • Here fixed the dreadful, there the blest abodes;
  • Fear made her devils, and weak hope her gods.
  • Pope.

    Superstition, in all times and among all nations, is the fear of a spirit whose passions are those of a man, whose acts are the acts of a man; who is present in some places, not in others; who makes some places holy and not others; who is kind to one person, unkind to another; who is pleased or angry according to the degree of attention you pay him, or praise you refuse to him; who is hostile generally to human pleasure, but may be bribed by sacrifice of a part of that pleasure into permitting the rest. This, whatever form of faith it colors, is the essence of superstition.