Reference > Quotations > James Wood, comp. > Dictionary of Quotations
James Wood, comp.  Dictionary of Quotations.  1899.
  A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.  1
  All men are bores except when we want them.  2
  An arc in the movement of a large intellect does not differ sensibly from a straight line.  3
  Children of wealth or want, to each is given / One spot of green, and all the blue of heaven.  4
  Don’t be “consistent,” but be simply true.  5
  Easy-crying widows take new husbands soonest; there’s nothing like wet weather for transplanting.  6
  Every event that a man would master must be mounted on the run, and no man ever caught the reins of a thought except as it galloped past him.  7
  Every real master of speaking or writing uses his personality as he would any other serviceable material.  8
  Everybody likes and respects self-made men. It is a great deal better to be made in that way than not to be made at all.  9
  Faith always implies the disbelief of a lesser fact in favour of a greater. A little mind often sees the unbelief, without seeing the belief, of large ones.  10
  Faith loves to lean on Time’s destroying arm.  11
  Fame usually comes to those who are thinking about something else; very rarely to those who say to themselves, “Go to now, let us be a celebrated individual.”  12
  Genius grafted on womanhood is like to overgrow it and break its stem.  13
  Genius is always a surprise, but it is born with great advantages when the stock from which it springs has been long under cultivation.  14
  Genius is always impatient of its harness; its wild blood makes it hard to train.  15
  Good-breeding is surface Christianity.  16
  He who ordained the Sabbath loves the poor.  17
  How many men live on the reputation of the reputation they might have made!  18
  Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked.  19
  Knowledge and timber should not be much used until they are seasoned.  20
  Laughter and tears are meant to turn the wheels of the same machinery of sensibility; one is wind-power, and the other water-power, that is all.  21
  Life, as we call it, is nothing but the edge of the boundless ocean of existence where it comes upon soundings.  22
  Little-minded people’s thoughts move in such small circles that five minutes’ conversation gives you an arc long enough to determine their whole curve.  23
  Love is sparingly soluble in the words of men, therefore they speak much of it; but one syllable of woman’s speech can dissolve more of it than a man’s heart can hold.  24
  Love prefers twilight to daylight.  25
  Men are tatooed with their special beliefs like so many South Sea islanders; but a real human heart, with divine love in it, beats with the same glow under all the patterns of all earth’s thousand tribes.  26
  Men, like peaches and pears, grow sweet a little while before they begin to decay.  27
  Observation may trip now and then without throwing you, for her gait is a walk; but inference always gallops, and if she stumbles, you are gone.  28
  Old books, as you well know, are books of the world’s youth, and new books are fruits of its age.  29
  Our brains are seventy-year clocks. The angel of life winds them up once for all, then closes the case, and gives the key into the hands of the angel of the resurrection.  30
  People that make puns are like wanton boys that put coppers on the railroad tracks. They amuse themselves and other children, but their little trick may upset a freight train of conversation for the sake of a battered witticism.  31
  People who honestly mean to be true really contradict themselves much more rarely than those who try to be consistent.  32
  Poetry uses the rainbow tints for special effects, but always keeps its essential object in the purest white light of truth.  33
  Poets are never young in one sense. Their delicate ear hears the far-off whispers of eternity, which coarser souls must travel towards for scores of years before their dull sense is touched by them. A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.  34
  Science is a first-rate piece of furniture for a man’s upper chamber if he has common-sense on the ground-floor. But if a man has not got plenty of good common-sense, the more science he has the worse for his patient.  35
  Sea Islanders; but a real human heart, with Divine love in it, beats with the same glow under all the patterns of all earth’s thousand tribes.  36
  Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all.  37
  Some books are edifices to stand as they are built; some are hewn stones ready to form a part of future edifices; some are quarries from which stones are to be split for shaping and after use.  38
  Stillness of person and steadiness of features are signal marks of good breeding. Vulgar persons can’t sit still, or at least they must work their limbs or features.  39
  Talking is one of the fine arts.  40
  The axis of the earth sticks out visibly through the centre of each and every town or city.  41
  The best part of our knowledge is that which teaches us where knowledge leaves off and ignorance begins.  42
  The brain-women never interest us like the heart-women; white roses please less than red.  43
  The poet’s delicate ear hears the far-off whispers of eternity, which coarser souls must travel towards for scores of years before their dull sense is touched by them.  44
  The riotous tumult of a laugh is the mob-law of the features, and propriety the magistrate who reads the Riot Act.  45
  The sea belongs to eternity, and not time, and of that it sings its monotonous song for ever and ever.  46
  The sound of a kiss is not so loud as that of a cannon, but its echo lasts a deal longer.  47
  The wisest woman you talk with is ignorant of something that you know, but an elegant woman never forgets her elegance.  48
  The world is always ready to receive talent with open arms. Very often it does not know what to do with genius. Talent is a docile creature. It bows its head meekly while the world slips the collar over it. It backs into the shafts like a lamb.  49
  The world’s great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great men.  50
  There is nothing like the cold dead hand of the past to take down our tumid egotism, and lead us into the solemn flow of the life of our race.  51
  They govern the world, these sweet-lipped women, because beauty is the index of a larger fact than wisdom.  52
  To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.  53
  Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch; nay, you may kick it about all day like a football, and it will be round and full at evening. Does not Mr. Bryant say that Truth gets well if she is run over by a locomotive, while Error dies of lockjaw if she scratches her finger?  54
  We don’t always care most for those flat-pattern flowers that press best in the herbarium.  55
  What a blessed thing it is that Nature, when she invented, manufactured, and patented her authors, contrived to make critics out of the chips that were left!  56
  Whatever comes from the brain carries the hue of the place it came from; and whatever comes from the heart carries the heat and colour of its birthplace.  57
  Wit strews a single ray (of the prism) separated from the rest upon an object; never white light, that is the province of wisdom.  58
  Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; a mother’s secret hope outlives them all!  59

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