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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Jonathan Swift (1667–1745)

Thoughts on Various Subjects

I FORGET whether advice be among the lost things which Ariosto says are to be found in the moon; that, and time, ought to have been there.

The chameleon, who is said to feed upon nothing but air, hath, of all animals, the nimblest tongue.

No wise man ever wished to be younger.

Complaint is the largest tribute Heaven receives, and the sincerest part of our devotion.

Kings are commonly said to have long hands. I wish they had as long ears.

Some people take more care to hide their wisdom than their folly.

Anthony Henley’s farmer, dying of an asthma, said, “Well, if I can get this breath once out, I’ll take care it shall never get in again.”

What they do in Heaven we are ignorant of; what they do not, we are told expressly: that they neither marry nor are given in marriage.

It is a miserable thing to live in suspense; it is the life of a spider.

The stoical scheme of supplying our wants by lopping off our desires, is like cutting off our feet when we want shoes.

The reason why so few marriages are happy is, because young ladies spend their time in making nets, not in making cages.

If a man will observe, as he walks the streets, I believe he will find the merriest countenances in mourning coaches.