Reference > Quotations > C.N. Douglas, comp. > Forty Thousand Quotations > Primary Author Index
C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
        When I’m not thank’d at all, I’m thank’d enough,
I’ve done my duty, and I’ve done no more.
  A beau is everything of a woman but the sex, and nothing of a man beside it.  2
  A broken heart is a distemper which kills many more than is generally imagined, and would have a fair title to a place in the bills of mortality, did it not differ in one instance from all other diseases, namely, that no physicians can cure it.  3
  A good conscience is never lawless in the worst regulated state, and will provide those laws for itself which the neglect of legislators had forgotten to supply.  4
  A good heart will, at all times, betray the best head in the world.  5
  A grave aspect to a grave character is of much more consequence than the world is generally aware of; a barber may make you laugh, but a surgeon ought rather to make you cry.  6
  A rich man without charity is a rogue; and perhaps it would be no difficult matter to prove that he is also a fool.  7
  A strenuous soul hates cheap success.  8
  A tender-hearted and compassionate disposition, which inclines men to pity and feel the misfortunes of others, and which is, even for its own sake, incapable of involving any man in ruin and misery, is of all tempers of mind the most amiable; and though it seldom receives much honor, is worthy of the highest.  9
  A truly elegant taste is generally accompanied with an excellency of heart.  10
  A wonder lasts but nine days, and then the puppy’s eyes are open.  11
  Adversity is the trial of principle. Without it a man hardly knows whether he is honest or not.  12
  Affectation proceeds from one of these two causes,—vanity or hypocrisy; for as vanity puts us on affecting false characters, in order to purchase applause; so hypocrisy sets us on an endeavor to avoid censure, by concealing our vices under an appearance of their opposite virtues.  13
  Amiable weakness.  14
  As a conquered rebellion strengthens a government, or as health is more perfectly established by recovery from some diseases; so anger, when removed, often gives new life to affection.  15
  As a great part of the uneasiness of matrimony arises from mere trifles, it would be wise in every young married man to enter into an agreement with his wife, that in all disputes of this kind the party who was most convinced they were right should always surrender the victory. By which means both would be more forward to give up the cause.  16
  As it is the nature of a kite to devour little birds, so it is the nature of some minds to insult and tyrannize over little people; this being the means which they use to recompense themselves for their extreme servility and condescension to their superiors; for nothing can be more reasonable than that slaves and flatterers should exact the same taxes on all below them which they themselves pay to all above them.  17
  As it often happens that the best men are but little known, and consequently cannot extend the usefulness of their examples a great way, the biographer is of great utility, as, by communicating such valuable patterns to the world, he may perhaps do a more extensive service to mankind than the person whose life originally afforded the pattern.  18
  As the malicious disposition of mankind is too well known, and the cruel pleasure which they take in destroying the reputation of others, the use we are to make of this knowledge is, to afford no handle for reproach; for bad as the world is, it seldom falls on any one who hath not given some slight cause for censure.  19
  As they suspect a man in the city who is ostentatious of his riches, so should the woman he who makes the most noise of her virtue.  20
  Beauty may be the object of liking—great qualities of admiration—good ones of esteem—but love only is the object of love.  21
  Commend a fool for his wit, or a knave for his honesty, and they will receive you into their bosom.  22
  Conscience is a judge in every man’s breast, which none can cheat or corrupt, and perhaps the only incorrupt thing about him; yet, inflexible and honest as this judge is (however polluted the bench on which he sits), no man can, in my opinion, enjoy any applause which is not there adjudged to be his due.  23
  Considering the unforeseen events of this world, we should be taught that no human condition should inspire men with absolute despair.  24
  Contempt of others is the truest symptom of a base and bad heart,—while it suggests itself to the mean and the vile, and tickles their little fancy on every occasion, it never enters the great and good mind but on the strongest motives; nor is it then a welcome guest,—affording only an uneasy sensation, and bringing always with it a mixture of concern and compassion.  25
  Custom may lead a man into many errors; but it justifies none.  26
  Dignity and love were never yet boon companions.  27
  Domestic happiness is the end of almost all our pursuits, and the common reward of all our pains. When men find themselves forever barred from this delightful fruition, they are lost to all industry, and grow careless of all their worldly affairs. Thus they become bad subjects, bad relations, bad friends, and bad men.  28
  Fear hath the common fault of a justice of peace, and is apt to conclude hastily from every slight circumstance, without examining the evidence on both sides.  29
  For parents to restrain the inclinations of their children in marriage is an usurped power.  30
  Fraud and falsehood are his weak and treacherous allies; and he lurks trembling in the dark, dreading every ray of light, lest it should discover him, and give him up to shame and punishment.  31
  Gaming is a vice the more dangerous as it is deceitful; and, contrary to every other species of luxury, flatters its votaries with the hopes of increasing their wealth; so that avarice itself is so far from securing us against its temptations that it often betrays the more thoughtless and giddy part of mankind into them.  32
  Giving comfort under affliction requires that penetration into the human mind, joined to that experience which knows how to soothe, how to reason, and how to ridicule; taking the utmost care never to apply those arts improperly.  33
  Good-breeding is not confined to externals, much less to any particular dress or attitude of the body; it is the art of pleasing or contributing as much as possible to the ease and happiness of those with whom you converse.  34
  Good-humor will even go so far as often to supply the lack of wit.  35
  Good-nature is that benevolent and amiable temper of mind which disposes us to feel the misfortunes and enjoy the happiness of others, and, consequently, pushes us on to promote the latter and prevent the former; and that without any abstract contemplation on the beauty of virtue, and without the allurements or terrors of religion.  36
  Gravity is the best cloak for sin in all countries.  37
  Great vices are the proper objects of our detestation, smaller faults of our pity, but affectation appears to be the only true source of the ridiculous.  38
  Guilt has very quick ears to an accusation.  39
  Habit hath so vast a prevalence over the human mind that there is scarce anything too strange or too strong to be asserted of it. The story of the miser who, from long accustoming to cheat others, came at last to cheat himself, and with great delight and triumph picked his own pocket of a guinea to convey to his hoard, is not impossible or improbable.  40
  He from our sight, retires awhile, and then rises and shines o’er all the world again.  41
  He that can heroically endure adversity will bear prosperity with equal greatness of soul; for the mind that cannot be dejected by the former is not likely to be transported with the latter.  42
  Heroes, notwithstanding the high ideas which, by the means of flatterers, they may entertain of themselves, or the world may conceive of them, have certainly more of mortal than divine about them.  43
  If you make money your god, it will plague you like the devil.  44
  In a debate, rather pull to pieces the argument of thy antagonists than offer him any of thy own; for thus thou wilt fight him in his own country.  45
  In affairs of this world men are saved, not by faith, but by the want of it.  46
  In the forming of female friendships beauty seldom recommends one woman to another.  47
  Ingratitude never so thoroughly pierces the human breast as when it proceeds from those in whose behalf we have been guilty of transgressions.  48
  It is a secret, well known to all great men, that by conferring an obligation they do not always procure a friend, but are certain of creating many enemies.  49
  It is admirably remarked, by a most excellent writer, that zeal can no more hurry a man to act in direct opposition to itself than a rapid stream can carry a boat against its own current.  50
  It is an error common to many to take the character of mankind from the worst and basest amongst them; whereas, as an excellent writer has observed, nothing should be esteemed as characteristical of a species but what is to be found amongst the best and the most perfect individuals of that species.  51
  It is not from nature, but from education and habits that our wants are chiefly derived.  52
  It is with jealousy as with the gout. When such distempers are in the blood, there is never any security against their breaking out, and that often on the slightest occasions, and when least suspected.  53
  It may be laid down as a general rule that no woman who hath any great pretensions to admiration is ever well pleased in a company where she perceives herself to fill only a second place.  54
  Let no man be sorry he has done good, because others concerned with him have done evil! If a man has acted right, he has done well, though alone: if wrong, the sanction of all mankind will not justify him.  55
  Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.  56
  Love may be likened to a disease in this respect, that when it is denied a vent in one part, it will certainly break out in another; hence what a woman’s lips often conceal, her eyes, her blushes, and many little involuntary actions betray.  57
  Most men like in women what is most opposite their own characters.  58
  Neither great poverty nor great riches will hear reason.  59
  Nothing can be so quick and sudden as the operations of the mind, especially when hope, or fear, or jealousy, to which the other two are but journeymen, set it to work.  60
  O innocence, how glorious and happy a portion art thou to the breast that possesses thee! thou fearest neither the eyes nor the tongues of men. Truth, the most powerful of all things, is thy strongest friend; and the brighter the light is in which thou art displayed, the more it discovers thy transcendent beauties.  61
  O this poor brain! ten thousand shapes of fury are whirling there, and reason is no more.  62
  O vanity, how little is thy force acknowledged or thy operations discerned! How wantonly dost thou deceive mankind under different disguises! Sometimes thou dost wear the face of pity; sometimes of generosity; nay, thou hast the assurance to put on those glorious ornaments which belong only to heroic virtue.  63
  One hour’s sleep before midnight is worth two after.  64
  Perhaps the summary of good-breeding may be reduced to this rule. “Behave unto all men as you would they should behave unto you.” This will most certainly oblige us to treat all mankind with the utmost civility and respect, there being nothing that we desire more than to be treated so by them.  65
  Prudence is a duty which we owe ourselves, and if we will be so much our own enemies as to neglect it, we are not to wonder if the world is deficient in discharging their duty to us; for when a man lays the foundation of his own ruin, others too often are apt to build upon it.  66
  Republic of letters.  67
  Riches without charity are nothing worth. They are a blessing only to him who makes them a blessing to others.  68
  Sensuality not only debases both body and mind, but dulls the keen edge of pleasure.  69
  Setting down in writing, is a lasting memory.  70
  She is no better than she should be.  71
  Sir, money, money, the most charming of all things—money, which will say more in one moment than the most eloquent lover can in years. Perhaps you will say a man is not young, I answer, he is rich; he is not genteel, handsome, witty, brave, good-humored, but he is rich, rich, rich, rich, rich—that one word contradicts everything you can say against him.  72
  So looks the lily after a shower, while drops of rain run gently down its silken leaves, and gather sweetness as they pass.  73
  Some general officers should pay a stricter regard to truth than to call the depopulating other countries the service of their own.  74
  Some virtuous women are too liberal in their insults to a frail sister; but virtue can support itself without borrowing any assistance from the vices of other women.  75
  Success is a fruit of slow growth.  76
  Superstition renders a man a fool.  77
  That constant desire of pleasing, which is the peculiar quality of some, may be called the happiest of all desires in this, that it scarcely ever fails of attaining its ends, when not disgraced by affectation.  78
  The exceptions of the scrupulous put one in mind of some general pardons where everything is forgiven except crimes.  79
  The good or evil we confer on others very often, I believe, recoils on ourselves; for as men of a benign disposition enjoy their own acts of beneficence equally with those to whom they are done, so there are scarce any natures so entirely diabolical as to be capable of doing injuries without paying themselves some pangs for the ruin which they bring on their fellow-creatures.  80
  The greatest part of mankind labor under one delirium or another; and Don Quixote differed from the rest, not in madness, but the species of it. The covetous, the prodigal, the superstitious, the libertine, and the coffeehouse politician, are all Quixotes in their several ways.  81
  The highest friendship must always lead us to the highest pleasure.  82
  The life of a coquette is one constant lie; and the only rule by which you can form any correct judgment of them is that they are never what they seem.  83
  The man who is wantonly profuse of his promises ought to sink his credit as much as a tradesman would by uttering a great number of promissory notes payable at a distant day. The truest conclusion in both cases is, that neither intend or will be able to pay. And as the latter most probably intends to cheat you of your money, so the former at least designs to cheat you of your thanks.  84
  The only incorruptible thing about us.  85
  The prudence of the best heads is often defeated by the tenderness of the best of hearts.  86
  The raillery which is consistent with good-breeding is a gentle animadversion of some foible, which, while it raises the laugh in the rest of the company, doth not put the person rallied out of countenance, or expose him to shame or contempt. On the contrary, the jest should be so delicate that the object of it should be capable of joining in the mirth it occasions.  87
  The slander of some people is as great a recommendation as the praise of others.  88
  The woman and the soldier who do not defend the first pass will never defend the last.  89
  There are persons of that general philanthropy and easy tempers, which the world in contempt generally calls good-natured, who seem to be sent into the world with the same design with which men put little fish into a pike pond, in order only to be devoured by that voracious water-hero.  90
  There are those who never reason on what they should do, but what they have done; as if Reason had her eyes behind, and could only see backwards.  91
  There are two considerations which always imbitter the heart of an avaricious man—the one is a perpetual thirst after more riches, the other the prospect of leaving what he has already acquired.  92
  There cannot be a more glorious object in creation than a human being replete with benevolence, meditating in what manner he might render himself most acceptable to his Creator by doing most good to His creatures.  93
  There is a sort of knowledge beyond the power of learning to bestow, and this is to be had in conversation; so necessary is this to the understanding the characters of men, that none are more ignorant of them than those learned pedants whose lives have been entirely consumed in colleges and among books; for however exquisitely human nature may have been described by writers the true practical system can be learned only in the world.  94
  There is no zeal blinder than that which is inspired with a love of justice against offenders.  95
  There is nothing so useful to man in general, nor so beneficial to particular societies and individuals, as trade. This is that alma mater, at whose plentiful breast all mankind are nourished.  96
  There is scarcely any man, how much soever he may despise the character of a flatterer, but will condescend in the meanest manner to flatter himself.  97
  Thirst teaches all animals to drink, but drunkenness belongs only to man.  98
  This story will never go down.  99
  Though we may sometimes unintentionally bestow our beneficence on the unworthy, it does not take from the merit of the act. For charity doth not adopt the vices of its objects.  100
  To the generality of men you cannot give a stronger hint for them to impose upon you than by imposing upon yourself.  101
  Want of compassion (however inaccurate observers have reported to the contrary) is not to be numbered among the general faults of mankind. The black ingredient which fouls our disposition is envy. Hence our eyes, it is to be feared, are seldom turned up to those who are manifestly greater, better, wiser, or happier than ourselves, without some degree of malignity, while we commonly look downward on the mean and miserable with sufficient benevolence and pity.  102
  We are as liable to be corrupted by books as by companions.  103
  We endeavor to conceal our vices under the disguise of the opposite virtues.  104
  We must eat to live, not live to eat.  105
  We should not be too hasty in bestowing either our praise or censure on mankind, since we shall often find such a mixture of good and evil in the same character, that it may require a very accurate judgment and a very elaborate inquiry to determine on which side the balance turns.  106
  What caricature is in painting, burlesque is in writing; and in the same manner the comic writer and painter correlate to each other; as in the former, the painter seems to have the advantage, so it is in the latter infinitely on the side of the writer. For the monstrous is much easier to paint than describe, and the ridiculous to describe than paint.  107
  What was said by the Latin poet of labor—that it conquers all things—is much more true when applied to impudence.  108
  Wicked companions invite us to hell.  109
  Wine and youth are fire upon fire.  110
  Wine is a turncoat; first a friend, and then an enemy.  111
  Wisdom is the talent of buying virtuous pleasures at the cheapest rate.  112
  Wit, like hunger, will be with great difficulty restrained from falling on vice and ignorance, where there is great plenty and variety of food.  113
  With the latitude of unbounded scurrility, it is easy enough to attain the character of a wit, especially when it is considered how wonderfully pleasant it is to the generality of the public to see the folly of their acquaintance exposed by a third person.  114
  Worth begets in base minds envy; in great souls, emulation.  115

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