Reference > Quotations > C.N. Douglas, comp. > Forty Thousand Quotations > Primary Author Index
C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
        When two discourse, if the one’s anger rise,
The man who lets the contest fall is wise.
  A constant friend is a thing rare and hard to find.  2
  A few vices are sufficient to darken many virtues.  3
  A friend should be like money, tried before being required, not found faulty in our need.  4
  A Spartan, being asked why his people drank so little, replied: “That we may consult concerning others, and not others concerning us.”  5
  Among real friends there is no rivalry or jealousy of one another, but they are satisfied and contented alike whether they are equal or one of them is superior.  6
  Anger turns the mind out of doors and bolts the entrance.  7
  Apothegms are the most infallible mirror to represent a man truly what he is.  8
  As in the case of painters, who have undertaken to give us a beautiful and graceful figure, which may have some slight blemishes, we do not wish them to pass over such blemishes altogether, nor yet to mark them too prominently. The one would spoil the beauty, and the other destroy the likeness of the picture.  9
  As small letters hurt the sight, so do small matters him that is too much intent upon them; they vex and stir up anger, which begets an evil habit in him in reference to greater affairs.  10
  As soft wax is apt to take the stamp of the seal, so are the minds of young children to receive the instruction imprinted on them.  11
  As those that pull down private houses adjoining to the temples of the gods, prop up such parts as are continguous to them; so, in undermining bashfulness, due regard is to be had to adjacent modesty, good-nature and humanity.  12
  Blinded as they are to their true character by self-love, every man is his own first and chiefest flatterer, prepared, therefore, to welcome the flatterer from the outside, who only comes confirming the verdict of the flatterer within.  13
  Cæsar’s wife should be above suspicion.  14
  Cato the elder, when somebody was praising a man for his foolhardy bravery, said “that there was an essential difference between a really brave man and one who had merely a contempt for life.”  15
  Concerning the dead nothing but good shall be spoken.  16
  Courage consists not in hazarding without fear, but being resolutely minded in a just cause.  17
  Distressed valor challenges great respect, even from enemies.  18
  Do not speak of your happiness to a man less fortunate than yourself.  19
  Ease and speed in doing a thing do not give the work lasting solidity or exactness of beauty.  20
  Eat not thy heart; which forbids to afflict our souls, and waste them with vexatious cares.  21
  Education and study, and the favors of the muses, confer no greater benefit on those that seek them than these humanizing and civilizing lessons, which teach our natural qualities to submit to the limitations prescribed by reason, and to avoid the wildness of extremes.  22
  Euripides was wont to say, silence was an answer to a wise man; but we seem to have greater occasion for it in our dealing with fools and unreasonable persons; for men of breeding and sense will be satisfied with reason and fair words.  23
  For man is a plant, not fixed in the earth, nor immovable, but heavenly, whose head, rising as it were from a root upwards, is turned towards heaven.  24
  For to err in opinion, though it be not the part of wise men, is at least human.  25
  For, in the language of Heraclitus, the virtuous soul is pure and unmixed light, springing from the body as a flash of lightning darts from the cloud. But the soul that is carnal and immersed in sense, like a heavy and dank vapor, can with difficulty be kindled, and caused to raise its eyes heavenward.  26
  Friendship is the most pleasant of all things, and nothing more glads the heart of man.  27
  Friendship requires a steady, constant, and unchangeable character, a person that is uniform in his intimacy.  28
  God alone is entirely exempt from all want: of human virtues, that which needs least is the most absolute and divine.  29
  God is the brave man’s hope and not the coward’s excuse.  30
  Had I a careful and pleasant companion that should show me my angry face in a glass, I should not at all take it ill; to behold man’s self so unnaturally disguised and dishonored will conduce not a little to the impeachment of anger.  31
  Hatred is blind as well as love.  32
  He regarded nothing to be cheap that was superfluous, for what one does not need is dear at a penny; and it was better to possess fields, where the plough goes and cattle feed, than fine gardens that require much watering and sweeping.  33
  If any man think it a small matter, or of mean concernment, to bridle his tongue, he is much mistaken; for it is a point to be silent when occasion requires, and better than to speak, though never so well.  34
  If Nature be not improved by instruction, it is blind; if instruction be not assisted by Nature, it is maimed; and if exercise fail of the assistance of both, it is imperfect.  35
  If we traverse the world, it is possible to find cities without walls, without letters, without kings, without wealth, without coin, without schools and theatres; but a city without a temple, or that practiseth not worship, prayer, and the like, no one ever saw.  36
  If you hate your enemies, you will contract such a vicious habit of mind, as by degrees will break out upon those who are your friends, or those who are indifferent to you.  37
  If you light upon an impertinent talker, that sticks to you like a burr, to the disappointment of your important occasions, deal freely with him, break off the discourse, and pursue your business.  38
  In human life there is a constant change of fortune; and it is unreasonable to expect an exemption from the common fate. Life itself decays, and all things are daily changing.  39
  In words are seen the state of mind and character and disposition of the speaker.  40
  It is a true proverb that if you live with a lame man you will learn to halt.  41
  It is an observation no less just than common, that there is no stronger test of a man’s real character than power and authority, exciting, as they do, every passion, and discovering every latent vice.  42
  It is difficult to speak to the belly because it has no ears.  43
  It is no disgrace not to be able to do everything; but to undertake, or pretend to do what you are not made for, is not only shameful, but extremely troublesome and vexatious.  44
  It is no flattery to give a friend a due character; for commendation is as much the duty of a friend as reprehension.  45
  It is the admirer of himself, and not the admirer of virtue, that thinks himself superior to others.  46
  Lamentation is the only musician that always, like a screech-owl, alights and sits on the roof of any angry man.  47
  Learn to be pleased with everything, with wealth so far as it makes us beneficial to others; with poverty, for not having much to care for; and with obscurity, for being unenvied.  48
  Let a prince be guarded with soldiers, attended by councillors, and shut up in forts; yet if his thoughts disturb him, he is miserable.  49
  Let us carefully observe those good qualities wherein our enemies excel us; and endeavor to excel them, by avoiding what is faulty, and imitating what is excellent in them.  50
  Lycurgus being asked why he, who in other respects appeared to be so zealous for the equal rights of men, did not make his government democratical rather than oligarchical, “Go you,” replied the legislator, “and try a democracy in your own house.”  51
  Man is neither by birth nor disposition a savage, nor of unsocial habits, but only becomes so by indulging in vices contrary to his nature.  52
  Men who marry wives very much superior to themselves are not so truly husbands to their wives as they are unawares made slaves to their position.  53
  Nor is drunkenness censured for anything so much as its intemperate and endless talk.  54
  Philosophy finds talkativeness a disease very difficult and hard to cure. For its remedy, conversation, requires hearers: but talkative people hear nobody, for they are ever prating. And the first evil this inability to keep silence produces is an inability to listen.  55
  Philosophy is the art of living.  56
  Pompey bade Sylla recollect that more worshipped the rising than the setting sun.  57
  Poverty is dishonorable, not in itself, but when it is a proof of laziness, intemperance, luxury, and carelessness; whereas in a person that is temperate, industrious, just and valiant, and who uses all his virtues for the public good, it shows a great and lofty mind.  58
  Prosperity is no just scale; adversity is the only balance to weigh friends.  59
  Real excellence, indeed, is most recognized when most openly looked into.  60
  Rest is the sweet sauce of labor.  61
  Riches for the most part are hurtful to them that possess them.  62
  So also it is good not always to make a friend of the person who is expert in twining himself around us; but, after testing them, to attach ourselves to those who are worthy of our affection and likely to be serviceable to us.  63
  Speech is like cloth of Arras opened and put abroad, whereby the imagery doth appear in figure; whereas in thoughts they lie but as in packs.  64
  Talkativeness has another plague attached to it, even curiosity; for praters wish to hear much that they may have much to say.  65
  That state of life is most happy where superfluities are not required and necessaries are not wanting.  66
  The belly has no ears.  67
  The conduct of a wise politician is ever suited to the present posture of affairs. Often by foregoing a part he saves the whole, and by yielding in a small matter secures a greater.  68
  The crowns of kings do not prevent those who wear them from being tormented sometimes by violent headaches.  69
  The flatterer’s object is to please in everything he does; whereas the true friend always does what is right, and so often gives pleasure, often pain, not wishing the latter, but not shunning it either, if he deems it best.  70
  The giving riches and honors to a wicked man is like giving strong wine to him that hath a fever.  71
  The human heart becomes softened by hearing of instances of gentleness and consideration.  72
  The talkative listen to no one, for they are ever speaking. And the first evil that attends those who know not to be silent is that they hear nothing.  73
  Themistocles replied that a man’s discourse was like to a rich Persian carpet, the beautiful figures and patterns of which can only be shown by spreading and extending it out; when it is contracted and folded up, they are obscured and lost.  74
  There is never the body of a man, how strong and stout soever, if it be troubled and inflamed, but will take more harm and offense by wine being poured into it.  75
  There is no perfecter endowment in man than political virtue.  76
  Those who are greedy of praise prove hat they are poor in merit.  77
  Thus the greater proportion of mankind are more sensitive to contemptuous language than unjust acts; for they can less easily bear insult than wrong.  78
  To be ignorant of the lives of the most celebrated men of antiquity is to continue in a state of childhood all our days.  79
  To do an evil action is base; to do a good action, without incurring danger, is common enough; but it is the part of a good man to do great and noble deeds, though he risks everything.  80
  To please the many is to displease the wise.  81
  Under the veil of these curious sentences are hid those germs of morals which the masters of philosophy have afterwards developed into so many volumes.  82
  We must prune it with care, so as only to remove the redundant branches, and not injure the stem, which has its root in the generous sensitiveness to shame.  83
  We ought to give our friend pain if it will benefit him, but not to the extent of breaking off our friendship; but just as we make use of some biting medicine that will save and preserve the life of the patient. And so the friend, like a musician, in bringing about an improvement to what is good and expedient, sometimes slackens the chords, sometimes tightens them, and is often pleasant, but always useful.  84
  We ought to regard books as we do sweetmeats, not wholly to aim at the pleasantest, but chiefly to respect the wholesomest; not forbidding either, but approving the latter most.  85
  What can they suffer that do not fear to die?  86
  What most of all enables a man to serve the public is not wealth, but content and independence; which, requiring no superfluity at home, distracts not the mind from the common good.  87
  What sort of tree is there which will not, if neglected, grow crooked and unfruitful; what but will, if rightly ordered, prove productive and bring its fruit to maturity? What strength of body is there which will not lose its vigor and fall to decay by laziness, nice usage, and debauchery?  88
  When Anaxagoras was told of the death of his son, he only said, “I knew he was mortal.” So we in all casualties of life should say “I knew my riches were uncertain, that my friend was but a man.” Such considerations would soon pacify us, because all our troubles proceed from their being unexpected.  89
  When I myself had twice or thrice made a resolute resistance unto anger, the like befell me that did the Thebans; who, having once foiled the Lacedæmonians (who before that time had held themselves invincible), never after lost so much as one battle which they fought against them.  90
  When malice is joined to envy, there is given forth poisonous and feculent matter, as ink from the cuttle-fish.  91
  When one is transported by rage, it is best to observe attentively the effects on those who deliver themselves over to the same passion.  92
  When Philip of Macedon was told that a certain city was impregnable, “Is there not a pathway to it,” he asked, “wide enough for an ass laden with gold!”  93
  Whenever anything is spoken against you that is not true, do not pass by or despise it because it is false; but forthwith examine yourself, and consider what you have said or done that may administer a just occasion of reproof.  94
  Wickedness is a wonderfully diligent architect of misery, of shame, accompanied with terror, and commotion, and remorse, and endless perturbation.  95
  Wisdom is neither gold, nor silver, nor fame, nor wealth, nor health, nor strength, nor beauty.  96

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