Reference > Quotations > James Wood, comp. > Dictionary of Quotations
James Wood, comp.  Dictionary of Quotations.  1899.
  A man must become wise at his own expense.  1
  A strong memory is generally joined to a weak judgment.  2
  A well-bred man is always sociable and complaisant.  3
  Ambition is not a vice of little people.  4
  Confidence in another man’s virtue is no slight evidence of a man’s own.  5
  Every one is well or ill at ease according as he finds himself.  6
  Every period of life has its peculiar prejudices. Whoever saw old age that did not applaud the past and condemn the present?  7
  Fear sometimes adds wings to the heels, and sometimes nails them to the ground and fetters them from moving.  8
  Few men have been admired by their domestics.  9
  Friendship, unlike love, which is weakened by fruition, grows up, thrives, and increases by enjoyment; and being of itself spiritual, the soul is reformed by the habit of it.  10
  From obedience and submission spring all other virtues, as all sin does from self-opinion.  11
  Have you known how to compose your manners, you have achieved a great deal more than he who has composed books. Have you known how to attain repose, you have achieved more than he who has taken cities and subdued empires.  12
  He who has been once very foolish will never be very wise.  13
  I have never seen a greater monster or miracle in the world than myself.  14
  I quote others only in order the better to express myself.  15
  If you have lived one day, you have seen all.  16
  It happens as with cages, the birds without despair to get in, and those within despair of getting out.  17
  It is easier to write an indifferent poem than to understand a good one.  18
  It is fruition, and not possession, that renders us happy.  19
  It is good to rub and polish our brains against that of others.  20
  It is not want, but rather abundance that creates avarice.  21
  Knowledge by rote is no knowledge, it is only a retention of what has been intrusted to the memory.  22
  L’âme qui n’a point de but établi, elle se perd; c’est n’être en aucun bien, qu’être par tout—The soul which has no fixed purpose in life is lost; to be everywhere is to be nowhere.  23
  L’éloquence a fleuri le plus à Rome lorsque les affaires ont été en plus mauvais état—Eloquence flourished most in Rome when its affairs were in the worst condition.  24
  La plupart des troubles de ce monde sont grammairiens—The majority of the troubles in this world are the fault of the grammarian.  25
  La vieillesse nous attache plus de rides en l’esprit qu’en visage—Old age contracts more wrinkles on the mind than the countenance.  26
  Le pays du mariage a cela de particulier, que les étrangers ont envie de l’habiter, et les habitans naturels voudroient en être exilés—The land of matrimony possesses this peculiarity, that strangers to it would like to dwell in it, and the natural inhabitants wish to be exiled.  27
  Learning is a dangerous weapon, and apt to wound its master if it is wielded by a feeble hand, and by one not well acquainted with its use.  28
  Learning is not to be tacked to the mind, but we must fuse and blend them together, not merely giving the mind a slight tincture, but a thorough and perfect dye.  29
  Let us a little permit Nature to take her own way; she better understands her own affairs than we.  30
  Life in itself is neither good nor evil, but the scene of good or evil, as you make it; and if you have lived one day, you have lived all days.  31
  Lying is a disgraceful vice, “affording testimony,” as Plutarch says, “that one first despises God and then fears men.”  32
  Malice sucks up the greatest part of our own venom, and poisons herself.  33
  Nous ne sommes hommes, et nous tenons les uns aux autres, que par la parole—We are men, and associate together, solely in virtue of speech.  34
  Obstinacy and heat in argument are surest proofs of folly.  35
  Our energies are actually cramped by overanxiety for success, and by straining our mental faculties beyond due bounds.  36
  Our religion is meant to root out our vices, but it covers, nourishes, and excites them.  37
  Peu d’hommes ont été admirés par leurs domestiques—Few men have been looked up to by their domestics.  38
  Pleasure itself is painful at bottom.  39
  Presumption is our natural and original disease.  40
  Profound joy has more of severity than gaiety in it.  41
  Qui aura esté une fois bien fol ne sera nulle autre fois bien sage—He who has once been very foolish will never be very wise.  42
  Raillery is a mode of speaking in favour of one’s wit against one’s good nature.  43
  Repentance is nothing else but a renunciation of our will, and a controlling of our fancies, which lead us which way they please.  44
  The finest lives, in my opinion, are those who rank in the common model and with the human race, but without miracle, without extravagance.  45
  The most certain sign of wisdom is a continual cheerfulness.  46
  The most unhappy and frail of all creatures is man, and yet he is the proudest.  47
  The most universal quality is diversity.  48
  The question is not who is the most learned, but who is the best.  49
  The reason why borrowed books are so seldom returned to their owners is, that it is much easier to retain the books than what is in them.  50
  The smallest annoyances disturb us most.  51
  The study of books is a languishing and feeble motion that hearts not, whereas conversation teaches and exercises at once.  52
  The too good opinion man has of himself is the nursing-mother of all false opinions, both public and private.  53
  The way of the world is to make laws, but follow customs.  54
  Those who give the first shock to a state are naturally the first to be overwhelmed in its ruin. The fruits of public commotion are seldom enjoyed by the man who was the first to set it a-going; he only troubles the waters for another’s net.  55
  ’Tis not want, but rather abundance, that creates avarice.  56
  To accuse a man of lying is as much as to say he is brave towards God and a coward towards man.  57
  To know by rote is no knowledge; it is only to retain in the memory what is entrusted to it.  58
  We are created to seek truth; to possess it is the prerogative of a higher power.  59
  We are never present with, but always beyond ourselves. Fear, desire, and hope are still pushing us on towards the future.  60
  We do not correct the man we hang; we correct others by him.  61
  We may grasp virtue so hard as to convert it into a vice.  62
  Whatever the benefits of fortune are, they yet require a palate fit to relish and taste them; it is fruition, and not possession, that renders us happy.  63
  Wit is a dangerous weapon, even to the possessor, if he knows not how to use it discreetly.  64

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