Reference > Quotations > C.N. Douglas, comp. > Forty Thousand Quotations > Primary Author Index
C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
  A beautiful smile is to the female countenance what the sunbeam is to the landscape; it embellishes an inferior face and redeems an ugly one.  1
  A fop of fashion is the mercer’s friend, the tailor’s fool, and his own foe.  2
  A frequent intercourse and intimate connection between two persons make them so like, that not only their dispositions are moulded like each other, but their very face and tone of voice contract a certain analogy.  3
  A gift—its kind, its value and appearance; the silence or the pomp that attends it; the style in which it reaches you—may decide the dignity or vulgarity of the giver.  4
  A great passion has no partner.  5
  Act well at the moment, and you have performed a good action to all eternity.  6
  Actions, looks, words, steps from the alphabet by which you may spell characters.  7
  All affectation is the vain and ridiculous attempt of poverty to appear rich.  8
  All belief which does not render more happy, more free, more loving, more active, more calm, is, I fear, an erroneous and superstitious belief.  9
  All finery is a sign of littleness.  10
  An entirely honest man, in the severe sense of the word, exists no more than an entirely dishonest knave; the best and the worst are only approximations to those qualities. Who are those that never contradict themselves? yet honesty never contradicts itself. Who are they that always contradict themselves? yet knavery is mere self-contradiction. Thus the knowledge of man determines not the things themselves, but their proportions, the quantum of congruities and incongruities.  11
  And still, laughter is akin to weeping.  12
  As a man’s salutation, so is the total of his character; in nothing do we lay ourselves so open as in our manner of meeting and salutation.  13
  As the interest of man, so his God; as his God, so he.  14
  As the present character of a man, so his past, so his future. Who recollects distinctly his past adventures knows his destiny to come.  15
  As you treat your body, so your house, your domestics, your enemies, your friends. Dress is a table of your contents.  16
  As your enemies and your friends, so are you.  17
  Avoid connecting yourself with characters whose good and bad sides are unmixed and have not fermented together; they resemble vials of vinegar and oil; or palletts set with colors; they are either excellent at home and insufferable abroad, or intolerable within doors and excellent in public; they are unfit for friendship, merely because their stamina, their ingredients of character are too single, top much apart; let them be finely ground up with each other, and they are incomparable.  18
  Avoid him who from mere curiosity asks three questions running about a thing that cannot interest him.  19
  Avoid pretension; Nature never pretends.  20
  Be assured those will be thy worst enemies, not to whom thou hast done evil, but who have done evil to thee. And those will be thy best friends, not to whom thou hast done good, but who have done good to thee.  21
  Be certain that he who has betrayed thee once will betray thee again.  22
  Be neither too early in the fashion, nor too long out of it; nor at any time in the extremes of it.  23
  Beware of biting jests; the more truth they carry with them, the greater wounds they give, the greater smarts they cause, and the greater scars they leave behind them.  24
  Borrowed wit is the poorest wit.  25
  Call him wise whose actions, words, and steps are all a clear because to a clear why.  26
  Calmness of will is a sign of grandeur. The vulgar, far from hiding their will, blab their wishes. A single spark of occasion discharges the child of passions into a thousand crackers of desire.  27
  Certain trifling flaws sit as disgracefully on a character of elegance as a ragged button on a court dress.  28
  Close thine ear against him that shall open his mouth secretly against another. If thou receivest not his words, they fly back and wound the reporter. If thou dost receive them, they fly forward and wound the receiver.  29
  Copiousness and simplicity, variety and unity, constitute real greatness of character.  30
  Defeat serves to enlighten us.  31
  Depend on no man, on no friend, but him who can depend on himself.  32
  Desire is the uneasiness a man finds in himself upon the absence of anything whose present enjoyment carries the idea of delight with it.  33
  Do not believe that a book is good, if in reading it thou dost not become more contented with thy existence, if it does not rouse up in thee most generous feelings.  34
  Dread more the blunderer’s friendship than the calumniator’s enmity.  35
  Dress is an index of your contents.  36
  Each particle of matter is an immensity, each leaf a world, each insect an inexplicable compendium.  37
  Evasions are the common shelter of the hard-hearted, the false and impotent when called upon to assist; the really great alone plan instantaneous help, even when their looks or words presage difficulties.  38
  Every day should be distinguished by at least one particular act of love.  39
  Every man has his devilish minutes.  40
  Faces are as legible as books, only with these circumstances to recommend them to our perusal, that they are read in much less time, and are much less likely to deceive us.  41
  Genius always gives its best at first, prudence at last.  42
  Good-humor is always a success.  43
  Habit is altogether too arbitrary a master for me to submit to.  44
  Half talent is no talent.  45
  Happy the heart to whom God has given enough strength and courage to suffer for Him, to find happiness in simplicity and the happiness of others.  46
  Have I done aught of value to my fellow-men? Then have I done much for myself.  47
  He alone has energy that cannot be deprived of it.  48
  He alone is a man who can resist the genius of the age, the tone of fashion with vigorous simplicity and modest courage.  49
  He alone is an acute observer who can observe minutely without being observed.  50
  He can feel no little wants who is in pursuit of grandeur.  51
  He has oratory who ravishes his hearers while he forgets himself.  52
  He is incapable of a truly good action who knows not the pleasure in contemplating the good actions of others.  53
  He knows not how to speak who cannot be silent; still less how to act with vigor and decision. Who hastens to the end is silent; loudness is impotence.  54
  He knows very little of mankind who expects, by any facts or reasoning, to convince a determined party man.  55
  He only is great who has the habits of greatness; who, after performing what none in ten thousand could accomplish, passes on like Samson, and “tells neither father nor mother of it.”  56
  He scatters enjoyment who can enjoy much.  57
  He submits himself to be seen through a microscope, who suffers himself to be caught in a fit of passion.  58
  He who always prefaces his tale with laughter is poised between impertinence and folly.  59
  He who attempts to make others believe in means which he himself despises is a puffer; he who makes use of more means than he knows to be necessary is a quack; and he who ascribes to those means a greater efficacy than his own experience warrants is an impostor.  60
  He who can at all times sacrifice pleasure to duty approaches sublimity.  61
  He who can conceal his joys is greater than he who can hide his griefs.  62
  He who comes from the kitchen, smells of its smoke; and he who adheres to a sect, has something of its cant; the college air pursues the student; and dry inhumanity him who herds with literary pedants.  63
  He who freely praises what he means to purchase, and he who enumerates the faults of what he means to sell, may set up a partnership with honesty.  64
  He who gives himself airs of importance exhibits the credentials of impotence.  65
  He who goes round about in his requests wants commonly more than he chooses to appear to want.  66
  He who has no taste for order will be often wrong in his judgment, and seldom considerate or conscientious in his actions.  67
  He who has not forgiven an enemy has never yet tasted one of the most sublime enjoyments of life.  68
  He who is passionate and hasty is generally honest. It is your cool, dissembling hypocrite of whom you should beware.  69
  He who prorogues the honesty of to-day till to-morrow will probably prorogue his to-morrows to eternity.  70
  He who reforms himself has done more toward reforming the public than a crowd of noisy, impotent patriots.  71
  He who sedulously attends, pointedly asks, calmly speaks, coolly answers, and ceases when he has no more to say, is in possession of some of the best requisites of man.  72
  He who seeks to imbitter innocent pleasure has a cancer in his heart.  73
  He who seldom speaks, and with one calm well-timed word can strike dumb the loquacious, is a genius or a hero.  74
  He who, when called upon to speak a disagreeable truth, tells it boldly and has done, is both bolder and milder than he who nibbles in a low voice and never ceases nibbling.  75
  He whom common, gross, or stale objects allure, and when obtained, content, is a vulgar being, incapable of greatness in thought or action.  76
  He whose pride oppresses the humble may perhaps be humbled, but will never be humble.  77
  His calumny is not only the greatest benefit a rogue can confer on us, but the only service he will perform for nothing.  78
  How few our real wants, and how vast our imaginary ones!  79
  Humility and love, whatever obscurities may involve religious tenets, constitute the essence of true religion. The humble is formed to adore; the loving, to associate with eternal love.  80
  If you see one cold and vehement at the same time, set him down for a fanatic.  81
  If you wish to appear agreeable in society you must consent to be taught many things which you know already.  82
  In the society of ladies, want of sense is not so unpardonable as want of manners.  83
  Injustice arises either from precipitation or indolence, or from a mixture of both. The rapid and the slow are seldom just; the unjust wait either not at all, or wait too long.  84
  Intuition is the clear conception of the whole at once. It seldom belongs to man to say without presumption, “I came, I saw, I conquered.”  85
  It is one of my favorite thoughts that God manifests Himself to men in all the wise, good, humble, generous, great, and magnanimous men.  86
  It is possible that a wise and good man may be prevailed on to game; but it is impossible that a professed gamester should be a wise and good man.  87
  Joy and grief decide character. What exalts prosperity? what imbitters grief? what leaves us indifferent? what interests us? As the interest of man, so his God,—as his God, so he.  88
  Just as you are pleased at finding faults, you are displeased at finding perfections.  89
  Let the degree of egotism be the measure of confidence.  90
  Loudness is impotence.  91
  Malice is poisoned by her own venom.  92
  Man without religion is a diseased creature, who would persuade himself he is well and needs not a physician; but woman without religion is raging and monstrous.  93
  Mistrust the man who finds everything good, the man who finds everything evil, and still more, the man who is indifferent to everything.  94
  Modesty is silent when it would be improper to speak; the humble, without being called upon, never recollects to say anything of himself.  95
  Neither refinement nor delicacy is indispensable to produce elegance.  96
  No communication or gift can exhaust genius or impoverish charity.  97
  Not every one who has the gift of speech understands the value of silence.  98
  Nothing is so pregnant as cruelty; so multifarious, so rapid, so ever teeming a mother is unknown to the animal kingdom; each of her experiments provokes another and refines upon the last; though always progressive, yet always remote from the end.  99
  Obstinacy is the strength of the weak. Firmness founded upon principle, upon the truth and right, order and law, duty and generosity, is the obstinacy of sages.  100
  Receive no satisfaction for premeditated impertinence; forget it, forgive it, but keep him inexorably at a distance who offered it.  101
  Say not you know another, until you have divided an inheritance with him.  102
  Sensibility is the power of woman.  103
  She neglects her heart who studies her glass.  104
  She whom smiles and tears make equally lovely may command all hearts.  105
  Softness of smile indicates softness of character.  106
  Strange that cowards cannot see that their greatest safety lies in dauntless courage.  107
  Superstition always inspires littleness, religion grandeur of mind; the superstitious raises beings inferior to himself to deities.  108
  The affectation of sanctity is a blotch on the face of piety.  109
  The conscience is more wise than science.  110
  The countenance is more eloquent than the tongue.  111
  The craftiest wiles are too short and ragged a cloak to cover a bad heart.  112
  The creditor whose appearance gladdens the heart of a debtor may hold his head in sunbeams and his foot on storms.  113
  The cruelty of the effeminate is more dreadful than that of the hardy.  114
  The enemy of art is the enemy of nature; art is nothing but the highest sagacity and exertions of human nature; and what nature will he honor who honors not the human?  115
  The freer you feel yourself in the presence of another, the more free is he.  116
  The friend of order has made half his way to virtue.  117
  The generous who is always just, and the just who is always generous, may, unannounced, approach the throne of heaven.  118
  The great rule of moral conduct is, next to God, to respect time.  119
  The jealous is possessed by a “fine mad devil” and a dull spirit at once.  120
  The less you can enjoy, the poorer, the scantier yourself,—the more you can enjoy, the richer, the more vigorous.  121
  The man who loves with his whole heart truth will love still more he who suffers for truth.  122
  The manner of giving shows the character of the giver more than the gift itself.  123
  The mingled incentives which lead to action are often too subtle and lie too deep for us to analyze.  124
  The miser robs himself.  125
  The more anyone speaks of himself the less he likes to hear another talked of.  126
  The more honesty a man has, the less he affects the air of a saint. The affectation of sanctity is a blotch on the face of piety.  127
  The most stormy ebullitions of passion, from blasphemy to murder, are less terrific than one single act of cool villainy; a still rabies is more dangerous than the paroxysms of a fever. Fear the boisterous savage of passion less than the sedately grinning villain.  128
  The obstinacy of the indolent and weak is less conquerable than that of the fiery and bold.  129
  The paralysis of the soul.  130
  The policy of adapting one’s self to circumstances makes all ways smooth.  131
  The procrastinator is not only indolent and weak, but commonly false, too; most of the weak are false.  132
  The proportion of genius to the vulgar is like one to a million.  133
  The proverbial wisdom of the populace at gates, on roads, and in markets instructs the attentive ear of him who studies man more fully than a thousand rules ostentatiously arranged.  134
  The prudent sees only the difficulties, the bold only the advantages, of a great enterprise; the hero sees both, diminishes those, makes these preponderate, and conquers.  135
  The qualities of your friends will be those of your enemies; cold friends, cold enemies—half friends, half enemies—fervid enemies, warm friends.  136
  The true friend of truth and good loves them under all forms, but he loves them most under the most simple form.  137
  The worst of all knaves are those who can mimic their former honesty.  138
  The worst of faces still is human.  139
  There are but three classes of men, the retrograde, the stationary, and the progressive.  140
  There are many kinds of smiles, each having a distinct character. Some announce goodness and sweetness, others betray sarcasm, bitterness, and pride; some soften the countenance by their languishing tenderness, others brighten by their spiritual vivacity.  141
  There are no friends more inseparable than pride and hardness of heart, humility and love, falsehood and impudence.  142
  There is a manner of forgiveness so divine that you are ready to embrace the offender for having called it forth.  143
  There is no mortal truly wise and restless at once; wisdom is the repose of minds.  144
  Thinkers are scarce as gold; but he whose thoughts embrace all his subject, and who pursues it uninterruptedly and fearless of consequences, is a diamond of enormous size.  145
  Those who speak always and those who never speak are equally unfit for friendship. A good proportion of the talent of listening and speaking is the base of social virtues.  146
  Too much gravity argues a shallow mind.  147
  True love, like the eye, can bear no flaw.  148
  True philosophy is that which renders us to ourselves, and all others who surround us, better, and at the same time more content, more patient, more calm, and more ready for all decent and pure enjoyment.  149
  True worth is as inevitably discovered by the facial expression, as its opposite is sure to be clearly represented there. The human face is nature’s tablet, the truth is certainly written thereon.  150
  Trust him little who praises all, him less who censures all, and him least who is indifferent about all.  151
  Trust him not with your secrets who, when left alone in your room, turns over your papers.  152
  Trust him with little who, without proofs, trusts you with everything, or, when he has proved you, with nothing.  153
  Truth, wisdom, love, seek reasons; malice only seeks causes.  154
  Vanity and rudeness are seldom seen together.  155
  Weaknesses, so called, are nothing more nor less than vice in disguise!  156
  What do I owe to my times, to my country, to my neighbors, to my friends? Such are the questions which a virtuous man ought to ask himself often.  157
  What is the elevation of the soul? A prompt, delicate, certain feeling for all that is beautiful, all that is grand; a quick resolution to do the greatest good by the smallest means; a great benevolence joined to a great strength and great humility.  158
  What knowledge is there of which man is capable that is not founded on the exterior,—the relation that exists between visible and invisible, the perceptible and the imperceptible?  159
  Whatever obscurities may involve religious tenets, humility and love constitute the essence of true religion; the humble is formed to adore, the loving to associate with eternal love.  160
  Where pride begins, love ceases.  161
  Where there is much pretension, much has been borrowed; nature never pretends.  162
  Who affects useless singularities has surely a little mind.  163
  Who forces himself on others is to himself a load. Impetuous curiosity is empty and inconstant. Prying intrusion may be suspected of whatever is little.  164
  Who gives a trifle meanly is meaner than the trifle.  165
  Who has a daring eye tells downright truths and downright lies.  166
  Who in the same given time can produce more than many others, has vigor; who can produce more and better, has talents; who can produce what none else can, has genius.  167
  Who makes quick use of the moment is a genius of prudence.  168
  Who partakes in another’s joys is a more humane character than he who partakes in his griefs.  169
  Who purposely cheats his friend, would cheat his God.  170
  Who, in the midst of just provocation to anger, instantly finds the fit word which settles all around him in silence is more than wise or just; he is, were he a beggar, of more than royal blood, he is of celestial descent.  171
  Wisdom is the repose of the mind.  172
  Women are proverbially credulous.  173
  Words are the wings of actions.  174
  You are not very good if you are not better than your best friends imagine you to be.  175
  You may depend upon it that he is a good man whose intimate friends are all good.  176

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