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


One sin another doth provoke.


Human nature is not of itself vicious.

Thomas Paine.

Vice lives and thrives best by concealment.


To vice innocent must always seem only a superior kind of chicanery.


Vice itself lost half its evil by losing all its grossness.


The vices of some men are magnificent.


We pardon familiar vices.


Spare the person, but lash the vice.


To sanction vice and hunt decorum down.


And poor misfortune feels the lash of vice.


Vices are seldom single.

Robert Hall.

Vice, that digs her own voluptuous tomb!


Vice in its own pure native ugliness.


Few love to hear the sins they love to act.


Vice is a peripatetic, always in progression.

Owen Feltham.

Vice, like disease, floats in the atmosphere.


Vice gets more in this vicious world than piety.


There is no truth which personal vice will not distort.

J. G. Holland.

And lash the vice and follies of the age.

Susannah Centlivre.

Vices are often habits rather than passions.


Vices are seldom single.

Bishop Hall.

Let thy vices die before thee.


Vice is but a nurse of agonies.

Sir P. Sidney.

The vicious obey their passions, as slaves do their masters.


What maintains one vice bring up two children.


This is the essential evil of vice: it debases a man.


  • The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
  • Make instruments to plague us.
  • Shakespeare.

    One vice worn out makes us wiser than fifty tutors.


    It is but a step from companionship to slavery when one associates with vice.

    Hosea Ballou.

    The world will tolerate many vices, but not their diminutives.

    Arthur Helps.

    Vice stings us even in our pleasures, but virtue consoles us even in our pains.


    We try to make a virtue of vices we are loth to correct.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    I prefer an accommodating vice to an obstinate virtue.


    Vice repeated is like the wandering wind, blows dust in others’ eyes to spread itself.


  • No vice so great, but we can kill
  • And conquer it, if we but will.
  • Chas. Noel Douglas.

    Great parts produce great vices as well as virtues.


    The cunning tempter, by avoiding the grossness of vice, often silences objections.


    Most men are more willing to indulge in easy vices than to practise laborious virtues.

    Dr. Johnson.

    Do but see his vice; ’t is to his virtue a just equinox, the one as long as the other.


    Who called thee vicious was a lying elf; thou art not vicious, for thou art vice itself.


    Many a man’s vices have at first been nothing worse than good qualities run wild.

    J. C. and A. W. Hare.

    So in the wicked there’s no vice of which the saints have not a spice.

    Samuel Butler.

    Crimes sometimes shock us too much; vices almost always too little.


    There are some faults so nearly allied to excellence that we can scarce weed out the vice without eradicating the virtue.


    If vices were profitable, the virtuous man would be the sinner.


    Vices that are familiar we pardon, and only new ones reprehend.

    Publius Syrus.

    Vicious actions are not hurtful because they are forbidden, but forbidden because they are hurtful.


    The end of a dissolute life is most commonly a desperate death.


    When our vices have left us, we flatter ourselves that we have left them.

    La Rochefoucauld.

  • I hate when vice can bolt her arguments,
  • And virtue has no tongue to check her pride.
  • Milton.

  • Count all th’ advantage prosp’rous vice attains,
  • ’Tis but what virtue flies from, and disdains.
  • Pope.

  • No penance can absolve our guilty fame;
  • Nor tears, that wash out sin, can wash out shame.
  • Prior.

    One principal characteristic of vice in the present age is the contempt of fame.

    Thomas Gray.

  • Virtue itself turns vice, being missapplied,
  • And vice sometime ’s by action dignified.
  • Shakespeare.

    There is no vice so simple, but assumes some mark of virtue on its outward parts.


    Vice can deceive under the guise and shadow of virtue.


    A few vices are sufficient to darken many virtues.


    The same vices which are huge and insupportable in others we do not feel in ourselves.

    La Bruyère.

    No man e’er reach’d the heights of vice at first.


    So blinded are we by our passions, that we suffer more to be damned than to be saved.


  • When to mischief mortals bend their will,
  • How soon they find fit instruments of ill!
  • Pope.

    No one is born without vices, and he is the best man who is encumbered with the least.


    Though a man cannot abstain from being weak, he may from being vicious.


  • The heart resolves this matter in a trice,
  • “Men only feel the smart, but not the vice.”
  • Pope.

  • O dishonest wretch!
  • Wilt thou be made a man out of my vice?
  • Shakespeare.

    Vice is contagious, and there is no trusting the sound and the sick together.


  • Led by my hand, he saunter’d Europe round,
  • And gather’d every vice on Christian ground.
  • Pope.

    Vice is the greatest of all Jacobins, the archleveller.


    Vice and virtue chiefly imply the relation of our actions to men in this world; sin and holiness rather imply their relation to God and the other world.

    Dr. Watts.

  • Ah, Vice! how soft are thy voluptuous ways!
  • While boyish blood is mantling, who can ’scape
  • The fascination of thy magic gaze?
  • Byron.

    There is some virtue in almost every vice, except hypocrisy; and even that, while it is a mockery of virtue, is at the same time a compliment to it.


    I never heard yet that any of these bolder vices wanted less impudence to gainsay what they did, than to perform it first.


    The vices operate like age,—bring on disease before its time, and in the prime of youth, leave the character broken and exhausted.


    People do not persist in their vices because they are not weary of them, but because they cannot leave them off. It is the nature of vice to leave us no resource but in itself.


    To attack vices in the abstract, without touching persons, may be safe fighting indeed, but it is fighting with shadows.


    Long careers of vice, that prosper even in their epitaphs, make cemeteries seem ridiculous, and death anything but a leveller.

    John Weiss.

    What often prevents our abandoning ourselves to a single vice is, our having more than one.

    La Rochefoucauld.

  • But all have prices,
  • From crowns to kicks, according to their vices.
  • Byron.

    The reason that men are so slow to confess their vices is because they have not yet abandoned them.


    It will be found a work of no small difficulty to dispossess a vice from the heart, where long possession begins to plead prescription.


    The vices and the virtues are written in a language the world cannot construe; it reads them in a vile translation, and the translators are Failure and Success.


    He that has energy enough in his constitution to root out a vice should go a little farther, and try to plant in a virtue in its place, otherwise he will have his labor to renew.


  • Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
  • As, to be hated, needs but to be seen;
  • Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
  • We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
  • Pope.

    It is not possible now to keep a young gentleman from vice by a total ignorance of it, unless you will all his life mew him up in a closet and never let him go into company.


    Why is there no man who confesses his vices? It is because he has not yet laid them aside. It is a waking man only who can tell his dreams.


    Beware of the beginnings of vice. Do not delude yourself with the belief that it can be argued against in the presence of the exciting cause. Nothing but actual flight can save you.

    B. R. Haydon.

    Vices and frailties correct each other, like acids and alkalies. If each vicious man had but one vice, I do not know how the world could go on.


  • O, what a mansion have those vices got
  • Which for their habitation chose out thee,
  • Where beauty’s veil doth cover every blot,
  • And all things turn to fair that eyes can see!
  • Shakespeare.

    The vices enter into the composition of the virtues, as poisons into that of medicines. Prudence collects and arranges them, and uses them beneficially against the ills of life.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    The scandalous bronze-lacquer age of hungry animalisms, spiritual impotences, and mendacities, will have to run its course, till the pit follow it.


    Wise men will apply their remedies to vices, not to names; to the causes of evil which are permanent, not the occasional organs by which they act, and the transitory modes in which they appear.


    There are vices which have no hold upon us, but in connection with others; and which, when you cut down the trunk, fall like the branches.


  • When men of infamy to grandeur soar,
  • They light a torch to show their shame the more,
  • Those governments which curb not evils, cause!
  • And a rich knave’s a libel on our laws.
  • Young.

    As a stick, when once it is dry and stiff you may break it, but you can never bend it into a straighter posture; so doth the man become incorrigible who is settled and stiffened into vice.


    It is only in some corner of the brain which we leave empty that Vice can obtain a lodging. When she knocks at your door be able to say: “No room for your ladyship; pass on.”


  • Saint Augustine! well hast thou said,
  • That of our vices we can frame
  • A ladder, if we will but tread
  • Beneath our feet each deed of shame.
  • Longfellow.

    There will be nothing more that posterity can add to our immoral habits; our descendants must have the same desires and act the same follies as their sires. Every vice has reached its zenith.


    It may be said that the vices await us in the journey of life like hosts with whom we must successively lodge; and I doubt whether experience would make us avoid them if we were to travel the same road a second time.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    Say everything for vice which you can say, magnify any pleasure as much as you please, but don’t believe you have any secret for sending on quicker the sluggish blood, and for refreshing the faded nerve.

    Sydney Smith.

    What we call vice in our neighbor may be nothing less than a crude virtue. To him who knows nothing more of precious stones than he can learn from a daily contemplation of his breastpin, a diamond in the mine must be a very uncompromising sort of stone.


    In its primary signification all vice—that is, all excess—brings its own punishment even here. By certain fixed, settled, and established laws of Him who is the God of Nature, excess of every kind destroys that constitution that temperance would preserve.


    Vices are often hid under the name of virtues, and the practice of them followed by the worst consequences. I have seen ladies indulge their own ill-humor by being very rude and impertinent, and think they deserve approbation by saying, “I love to speak the truth.”

    Lady Montagu.

    Vice leaves repentance in the soul, like an ulcer in the flesh, which is always scratching and lacerating itself; for reason effaces all other griefs and sorrows, but it begets that of repentance, which is so much the more grievous, by reason it springs within, as the cold and hot of fevers are more sharp than those that only strike upon the outward skin.