S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
[An English poet and author; born in Devonshire, Oct. 21, 1772; while a Cambridge undergraduate enlisted as a dragoon, but was discovered and discharged; printed his first volume of poems, 1796; removed to Keswick, 1800, and lived in the society of Southey and Wordsworth; published “The Friend,” 1809, and other works between 1810 and 1825; removed to London, and died there, 1834.]
As there is much beast and some devil in man, so there is some angel and God in him.
Frederick the Great saw only the first element: “Every man has a wild beast within him,” he wrote to Voltaire, in 1759. “If a man is not rising upwards to be an angel,” said Coleridge, “depend upon it, he is sinking downwards to be a devil.”
Good and bad men are each less so than they seem.
Most of these quotations are from Coleridge’s “Table Talk:”—“A man with a bad heart,” he said, “has been sometimes saved by a strong head; but a corrupt woman is lost forever.”Talent, lying in the understanding, is often inherited; genius, being the action of reason and imagination, rarely or never.Truth is a good dog; but beware of barking too close to the heels of an error, lest you get your brains kicked out.In politics what begins in fear usually ends in folly.Carlo Dolce’s Christs are always in sugar candy.A rogue is a roundabout fool; a fool in circumbendibus.A man of maxims only is like a Cyclops with one eye, and that eye placed in the back of his head.Silence does not always mean wisdom.The man’s desire is for the woman; but the woman’s desire is rarely other than for the desire of the man.
“In her first passion, woman loves her lover:In all the others, all she loves is love.”Shakespeare is of no age.
BYRON: Don Juan, III. 3.
“He was not of an age, but for all time.”Painting is the intermediate something between a thought and a thing.Frenchmen are like grains of gunpowder, each by itself smutty and contemptible; but mass them together, they are terrible indeed!When a man mistakes his thoughts for persons and things, he is mad.Schiller is a thousand times more hearty than Goethe.Some men are like musical glasses,—to produce their finest tones you must keep them wet.What comes from the heart goes to the heart. [Of composition.]You abuse snuff. Perhaps it is the final cause of the human nose.To see Kean act was like reading Shakespeare by flashes of lightning.The largest part of mankind are nowhere greater strangers than at home.Oh the difficulty of fixing the attention of men on the world within them!In the treatment of nervous diseases, he is the best physician who is the most ingenious inspirer of hope.No mind is thoroughly well organized that is deficient in the sense of humor.There are three classes into which all elderly women that I ever knew were to be divided: first, that dear old soul; second, that old woman; third, that old witch.If you take from Virgil his diction and metre, what do you leave him?The earth with its scarred face is the symbol of the past; the air and heaven, of futurity.You may depend upon it that a slight contrast of character is very material to happiness in marriage.Intense study of the Bible will keep any writer from being vulgar in point of style.Dryden’s genius was of that sort which catches fire by its own motion: his chariot-wheels get hot by driving fast.How strange and awful is the synthesis of life and death in the gusty winds and falling leaves of an autumnal day!
I don’t wonder you think Wordsworth a small man: he runs so far before us all that he dwarfs himself in the distance.
To Mackintosh, who expressed his astonishment at Coleridge’s estimation of one so much his inferior as Wordsworth. When asked which of Wordsworth’s productions he liked best, Coleridge replied, “his daughter Dora.”Coleridge, who was a bad rider, was accosted when on horseback by a wag who asked him if he knew what happened to Balaam: “The same thing as happened to me,” replied the poet,—“an ass spoke to him.”Southey said of him, “The moment any thing assumes the shape of a duty, Coleridge feels himself incapable of discharging it.”Hookham Frere once observed, “Coleridge’s waste words would have set up a dozen of your modern poets.”