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


Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.


Be sure there are domestic tyrants also.


Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.


A wicked tyrant is better than a wicked war.


Love reigns a very tyrant in my heart.


Hardness ever of hardness is mother.


’Tis time to fear, when tyrants seem to kiss.


A man’s tyranny is measured only by his power to abuse.

Donn Piatt.

Clever tyrants are never punished.


Is there no tyrant but the crowned one?


What is more cruel than a tyrant’s ear?


There is a remedy in human nature against tyranny, that will keep us safe under every form of government.


A company of tyrants in inaccessible to all seductions.


The sovereign is called a tyrant who knows no laws but his caprice.


  • I knew him tyrannous, and tyrants’ fears
  • Decrease not, but grow faster than the years.
  • Shakespeare.

    Still when the lust of tyrant power succeeds, some Athens perishes, or some Tully bleeds.


    The tyrant, it has been said, is but a slave turned inside out.

    Samuel Smiles.

  • He hath no friends but what are friends for fear;
  • Which, in his dearest need, will fly from him.
  • Shakespeare.

    None but tyrants have any business to be afraid.

    Hardouin de Péréfixe.

  • How can tyrants safely govern home,
  • Unless abroad they purchase great alliance.
  • Shakespeare.

    He who strikes terror into others is himself in continual fear.


    Where the hand of tyranny is long we do not see the lips of men open with laughter.


    Tyrants have not yet discovered any chains that can fetter the mind.


    Of all the tyrants that the world affords, our own affections are the fiercest lords.

    Earl of Sterling.

    Oppressive government is more cruel than a tiger.


    Whoever is right, the persecutor must be wrong.

    William Penn.

  • ’Twixt kings and tyrants there’s this difference known
  • Kings seek their subjects’ good, tyrants their own.
  • Herrick.

    The most insupportable of tyrants exclaim against the exercise of arbitrary power.


    Kings will be tyrants from policy, when subjects are rebels from principle.


  • Tyrants seldom die
  • Of a dry death; it waiteth at their gate,
  • Drest in the colour of their robes of state.
  • Alleyn.

    There is no tyranny so despotic as that of public opinion among a free people.

    Donn Piatt.

    Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.


    A king rules as he ought, a tyrant as he lists; a king to the profit of all, a tyrant only to please a few.


    It is not the rigor, but the inexpediency, of laws and acts of authority, which makes them tyrannical.


    Unlimited power corrupts the possessor; and this I know, that, where law ends, there tyranny begins.


    When the will of man is raised above law it is always tyranny and despotism, whether it is the will of a bashaw or of bastard patriots.

    Noah Webster.

    Tyrants commonly cut off the stairs by which they climb up unto their thrones***for fear that, if they still be left standing, others will get up the same way.

    Thomas Fuller.

    O nation miserable, with an untitled tyrant bloody-sceptered, when shalt thou see thy wholesome days again?


  • Bleed, bleed, poor country!
  • Great Tyranny! lay thou thy basis sure,
  • For goodness dares not check thee!
  • Shakespeare.

    He that by harshness of nature rules his family with an iron hand is as truly a tyrant as he who misgoverns a nation.


    A great deal of the furniture of ancient tyranny is torn to rags; the rest is entirely out of fashion.


    An extreme rigor is sure to arm everything against it, and at length to relax into a supine neglect.


    The most imperious masters over their own servants are at the same time the most abject slaves to the servants of others.


    Every wanton and causeless restraint of the will of the subject, whether practiced by a monarch, a nobility, or a popular assembly, is a degree of tyranny.


  • I grant him bloody,
  • Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful,
  • Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin
  • That has a name.
  • Shakespeare.

  • The tyrant should take heed to what he doth,
  • Since every victim-carrion turns to use,
  • And drives a chariot, like a god made wroth,
  • Against each piled injustice.
  • Mrs. Browning.

  • Men are still men. The despot’s wickedness
  • Comes of ill teaching, and of power’s excess,—
  • Comes of the purple he from childhood wears,
  • Slaves would be tyrants if the chance were theirs.
  • Victor Hugo.

    There is nothing more hostile to a city than a tyrant, under whom in the first and chiefest place, there are not laws in common, but one man, keeping the law himself to himself, has the sway, and this is no longer equal.


  • Tyranny
  • Is far the worst of treasons. Dost thou deem
  • None rebels except subjects? The prince who
  • Neglects or violates his trust is more
  • A brigand than the robber-chief.
  • Byron.

  • And many an old man’s sigh, and many a widow’s,
  • And many an orphan’s water-standing eye—
  • Men for their sons’, wives for their husbands’ fate,
  • And orphans for their parents’ timeless death,—
  • Shall rue the hour that ever thou wast born.
  • Shakespeare.

    The lust of dominion innovates so imperceptibly that we become complete despots before our wanton abuse of power is perceived; the tyranny first exercised in the nursery is exhibited in various shapes and degrees in every stage of our existence.


  • Tyranny
  • Absolves all faith; and who invades our rights,
  • Howe’er his own commence, can never be
  • But an usurper.
  • Henry Brooke.

  • Each animal,
  • By natural instinct taught, spares his own kind,
  • But man, the tyrant man! revels at large.
  • Freebooter unrestrain’d, destroys at will
  • The whole creation; men and beasts his prey;
  • These for his pleasure, for his glory those.
  • Somerville.

    It is the nature of tyranny and rapacity never to learn moderation from the ill-success of first oppressions; on the contrary, all oppressors, all men thinking highly of the methods dictated by their nature, attribute the frustration of their desires to the want of sufficient rigor.


  • Th’ oppressive, sturdy, man-destroying villains,
  • Who ravag’d kingdoms, and laid empires waste,
  • And in a cruel wantonness of power,
  • Thinn’d states of half their people, and gave up
  • To want the rest.
  • Blair.

  • Think’st thou there is no tyranny but that
  • Of blood and chains? The despotism of vice—
  • The weakness and the wickedness of luxury—
  • The negligence—the apathy—the evils
  • Of sensual sloth—produce ten thousand tyrants,
  • Whose delegated cruelty surpasses
  • The worst acts of one energetic master,
  • However harsh and hard in his own bearing.
  • Byron.