Reference > Quotations > C.N. Douglas, comp. > Forty Thousand Quotations > Primary Author Index
C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
        Man is not the creature of circumstances,
Circumstances are the creatures of men.
  A beautiful hand is an excellent thing in woman; it is a charm that never palls; and better than all, it is a means of fascinating that never disappears.  2
  A book may be as great a thing as a battle.  3
  A conservative government is an organized hypocrisy.  4
  A female friend, amiable, clever, and devoted, is a possession more valuable than parks and palaces; and without such a muse, few men can succeed in life, none be contented.  5
  A great city whose image dwells on the memory of man is the type of some great idea. Rome represents conquest; faith hovers over Jerusalem; and Athens embodies the pre-eminent quality of the antique world-art.  6
  A great man is one who affects the mind of his generation.  7
  A great thing is a great book, but greater than all is the talk of a great man.  8
  A man’s fate is his own temper; and according to that will be his opinion as to the particular manner in which the course of events is regulated. A consistent man believes in destiny, a capricious man in chance.  9
  A nation, as an individual, has duties to fulfill appointed by God and His moral law.  10
  A parsimony of words prodigal of sense.  11
  Accent and emphasis are the pith of reading; punctuation is but secondary.  12
  Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.  13
  Age is frequently beautiful, wisdom appearing like an aftermath.  14
  All is mystery; but he is a slave who will not struggle to penetrate the dark veil.  15
  All must respect those who respect themselves.  16
  Amusement, to an observing mind, is study.  17
  An amateur may not be an artist, though an artist should be an amateur.  18
  An author can have nothing truly his own but his style.  19
  An obedient wife commands her husband.  20
  And it is a singular truth that, though a man may shake off national habits, accent, manner of thinking, style of dress, though he may become perfectly identified with another nation, and speak its language well, perhaps better than his own,—yet never can he succeed in changing his handwriting to a foreign style.  21
  Apologies only account for the evil which they cannot alter.  22
  As men advance in life, all passions resolve themselves into money. Love, ambition, even poetry, end in this.  23
  As we retain but a faint remembrance of our felicity, it is but fair that the smartest stroke of sorrow should, if bitter, at least be brief.  24
  Assassination has never changed the history of the world.  25
  Be thine own privy counsellor.  26
  Beauty and health are the chief sources of happiness.  27
  Beauty can inspire miracles.  28
  But what minutes! Count them by sensation, and not by calendars, and each moment is a day and the race a life.  29
  Candor is the brightest gem of criticism.  30
  Characters never change. Opinions alter,—characters are only developed.  31
  Christianity is completed Judaism, or it is nothing.  32
  Christianity teaches us to love our neighbor as ourself; modern society acknowledges no neighbor.  33
  Coquettes are but too rare. It is a career that requires great abilities, infinite pains, a gay and airy spirit. ’T is the coquette who provides all the amusements,—suggests the riding-party, plans the picnic, gives and guesses charades, acts them. She is the stirring element amid the heavy congeries of social atoms,—the soul of the house, the salt of the banquet.  34
  Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke.  35
  Curran’s favorite mode of meditation was with his violin in his hand; for hours together would he forget himself, running voluntaries over the strings, while his imagination, collecting its tones, was opening all his faculties for the coming emergency at the bar.  36
  Despair is the conclusion of fools.  37
  Destiny bears us to our lot, and destiny is perhaps our own will.  38
  Destiny is our will, and our will is nature.  39
  Eloquence is the child of knowledge. When a mind is full, like a wholesome river, it is also clear.  40
  England is a domestic country. Here the home is revered and the hearth sacred. The nation is represented by a family,—the Royal family,—and if that family is educated with a sense of responsibility and a sentiment of public duty, It is difficult to exaggerate the salutary influence it may exercise over a nation.  41
  Enthusiasm is the breath of genius.  42
  Every production of genius must be the production of enthusiasm.  43
  Everything comes if a man will only wait.  44
  Everything in this world depends upon will.  45
  Expediency is a law of nature. The camel is a wonderful animal, but the desert made the camel.  46
  Extreme views are never just; something always turns up which disturbs the calculations formed upon their data.  47
  Fame has eagle wings, and yet she mounts not so high as man’s desires.  48
  Fear makes us feel our humanity.  49
  Female friendships are of rapid growth.  50
  For life in general, there is but one decree: youth is a blunder, manhood a struggle, old age a regret.  51
  Fortune has rarely condescended to be the companion of Genius; others find a hundred by-roads to her palace; there is but one open, and that a very indifferent one, for men of letters.  52
  Friendship is the gift of the gods, and the most precious boon to man.  53
  Generally speaking, among sensible persons, it would seem that a rich man deems that friend a sincere one who does not want to borrow his money; while, among the less favored with fortune’s gifts, the sincere friend is generally esteemed to be the individual who is ready to lend it.  54
  Great men never require experience.  55
  Great men should think of opportunity and not of time. That is the excuse of feeble and puzzled spirits.  56
  Grief is the agony of an instant: the indulgence of grief the blunder of a life.  57
  Happiness is only to be found in a recurrence to the principles of human nature; and these will prompt very simple measures.  58
  He who gains time gains everything.  59
  He wreathed the rod of criticism with roses.  60
  I am myself a gentleman of the press, and have no other escutcheon.  61
  I believe absence is a great element of charm.  62
  I do not believe such a quality as chance exists. Every incident that happens must be a link in a chain.  63
  I do not like giving advice: it is incurring an unnecessary responsibility.  64
  I do not understand how an aristocracy can exist, unless it be distinguished by some quality which no other class of the community possesses.  65
  I have a great confidence in the revelations which holidays bring forth.  66
  I have always felt that the best security for civilization is the dwelling, and that upon properly appointed and becoming dwellings depends more than anything else the improvement of mankind. Such dwellings are the nursery of all domestic virtues, and without a becoming home the exercise of those virtues is impossible.  67
  I look upon parliamentary government as the noblest government in the world, and certainly one most suited to England. But without the discipline of political connection, animated by the principle of private honor, I feel certain that a popular assembly would sink before the power or the corruption of a minister.  68
  I pride myself in recognizing and upholding ability in every party and wherever I meet it.  69
  I repeat,  *  *  *  that all power is a trust—that we are accountable for its exercise.  70
  I see before me the statue of a celebrated minister, who said that confidence was a plant of slow growth. But I believe, however gradual may be the growth of confidence, that of credit requires still more time to arrive at maturity.  71
  I think there is nothing more lovely than the love of two beautiful women who are not envious of each other’s charms.  72
  If confidence is a plant of slow growth, credit is one which matures much more slowly.  73
  If we cannot shape our destiny there is no such thing as witchcraft.  74
  Ignorance never settles a question.  75
  In art the Greeks were the children of the Egyptians. The day may yet come when we shall do justice to the high powers of that mysterious and imaginative people.  76
  In politics nothing is contemptible.  77
  In the present day, and especially among women, one would almost suppose that health was a state of unnatural existence.  78
  In the study of the fine arts, they mutually assist each other.  79
  Increased means and increased leisure are the two civilizers of men.  80
  Individuals may form communities, but it is institutions alone that can create a nation.  81
  It destroys one’s nerves to be amiable every day to the same human being.  82
  It is a great mistake to suppose that bribery and corruption, although they may be very convenient for gratifying the ambition or the vanity of individuals, have any great effect upon the fortunes or the power of parties. And it is a great mistake to suppose that bribery and corruption are means by which power can either be obtained or retained.  83
  It is much easier to be critical than to be correct.  84
  It is the lot of man to suffer; it is also his fortune to forget. Oblivion and sorrow share our being, as darkness and light divide the course of time.  85
  Literature is an avenue to glory, ever open for those ingenious men who are deprived of honors or of wealth.  86
  Lord Bacon had music often played in the room adjoining his study. Milton listened to his organ for his solemn inspirations; and music was ever necessary to Warburton. The symphonies which awoke in the poet sublime emotions might have composed the inventive mind of the great critic in the visions of his theoretical mysteries.  87
  Man is not the creature of circumstances, circumstances are the creatures of man. We are free agents, and man is more powerful than matter.  88
  Man is only truly great when he acts from the passions; never irresistible but when he appeals to the imagination.  89
  Mediocrity can talk; but it is for genius to observe.  90
  Meditation is culture.  91
  Money is power, and rare are the heads that can withstand the possession of great power.  92
  More pernicious nonsense was never devised by man than treaties of commerce.  93
  Mr. Kremlin was distinguished for ignorance; for he had only one idea, and that was wrong.  94
  Nature, like man, sometimes weeps for gladness.  95
  Never apologize for showing feeling. My friend, remember that when you do so you apologize for truth.  96
  Never argue. In society nothing must be: give only results. If any person differs from you, bow, and turn the conversation.  97
  Next to knowing when to seize an opportunity, the most important thing in life is to know when to forego an advantage.  98
  Next to the assumption of power was the responsibility of relinquishing it.  99
  No affections and a great brain,—these are the men to command the world.  100
  No conjunction can possibly occur, however fearful, however tremendous it may appear, from which a man by his own energy may not extricate himself, as a mariner by the rattling of his cannon can dissipate the impending waterspout.  101
  No enemy is so terrible as a man of genius.  102
  No one but an adventurous traveler can know the luxury of sleep.  103
  Nobody should ever look anxious except those who have no anxiety.  104
  Nonsense, when earnest, is impressive, and sometimes takes you in. If you are in a hurry, you occasionally mistake it for sense.  105
  Nothing in life is more remarkable than the unnecessary anxiety which we endure and generally occasion ourselves.  106
  Novelty is an essential attribute of the beautiful.  107
  Nurture your minds with great thoughts.  108
  Of all unfortunate men one of the unhappiest is a middling author endowed with too lively a sensibility for criticism.  109
  One should conquer the world, not to enthrone a man, but an idea; for ideas exist forever.  110
  Opportunity is more powerful even than conquerors and prophets.  111
  Our domestic affections are the most salutary basis of all good government.  112
  Patience is a necessary ingredient of genius.  113
  Patriotism depends as much on mutual suffering as on mutual success; and it is by that experience of all fortunes and all feelings that a great national character is created.  114
  Perseverance and tact are the two great qualities most valuable for all men who would mount, but especially for those who have to step out of the crowd.  115
  Plagiarists, at least, have the merit of preservation.  116
  Popular privileges are consistent with a state of society in which there is great inequality of position. Democratic rights, on the contrary, demand that there should be equality of condition as the fundamental basis of the society they regulate.  117
  Predominant opinions are generally the opinions of the generation that is vanishing.  118
  Principle is ever my motto, no expediency.  119
  Propriety of manners and consideration for others are the two main characteristics of a gentleman.  120
  Proverbs were anterior to books, and formed the wisdom of the vulgar, and in the earliest ages were the unwritten laws of morality.  121
  Proverbs were bright shafts in the Greek and Latin quivers.  122
  Quit the world, and the world forgets you.  123
  Religion is civilization, the highest.  124
  Religion should be the rule of life, not a casual incident of it.  125
  Romance has been elegantly defined as the offspring of fiction and love.  126
  She is calm because she is the mistress of her subject,—the secret of self-possession.  127
  Silence is the mother of truth.  128
  Silence often expresses more powerfully than speech the verdict and judgment of society.  129
  Solitude is the nurse of enthusiasm, and enthusiasm is the true parent of genius. In all ages solitude has been called for, has been flown to.  130
  Some steam process should be invented for arranging guests when they are above five hundred.  131
  Some will read only old books, as if there were no valuable truths to be discovered in modern publications: others will only read new books, as if some valuable truths are not among the old. Some will not read a book because they know the author: others … would also read the man.  132
  Success is the child of audacity.  133
  Sweet reader! you know what a toady is?—that agreeable animal which you meet every day in civilized society.  134
  Taste, when once obtained, may be said to be no acquiring faculty, and must remain stationary; but knowledge is of perpetual growth and has infinite demands. Taste, like an artificial canal, winds through a beautiful country, but its borders are confined and its term is limited. Knowledge navigates the ocean, and is perpetually on voyages of discovery.  135
  Terror has its inspiration, as well as competition.  136
  That divine gift which makes a woman charming.  137
  That soul-subduing sentiment, harshly called flirtation, which is the spell of a country house.  138
  That youthful fervor, which is sometimes called enthusiasm, but which is a heat of imagination subsequently discovered to be inconsistent with the experience of actual life.  139
  The affections are the children of ignorance; when the horizon of our experience expands, and models multiply, love and admiration imperceptibly vanish.  140
  The age does not believe in great men, because it does not possess any.  141
  The art of conversation is to be prompt without being stubborn, to refute without argument, and to clothe great matters in a motley garb.  142
  The Athanasian creed is the most splendid ecclesiastical lyric ever poured forth by the genius of man.  143
  The author who speaks about his own books is almost as bad as a mother who talks about her own children.  144
  The celebrated Boerhaave, who had many enemies, used to say that he never thought it necessary to repeat their calumnies. “They are sparks,” said he, “which, if you do not blow them, will go out of themselves.”  145
  The character of a woman rapidly develops after marriage, and sometimes seems to change, when in fact it is only complete.  146
  The conduct of men depends upon the temperament, not upon a bunch of musty maxims.  147
  The constitution of England is not a paper constitution. It is an aggregate of institutions, many of them founded merely upon prescription, some of them fortified by muniments, but all of them the fruit and experience of an ancient and illustrious people.  148
  The Continent will not suffer England to be the workshop of the world.  149
  The difference between talent and genius is this: while the former usually develops some special branch of our faculties, the latter commands them all. When the former is combined with tact, it is often more than a match for the latter.  150
  The Disappointment of Manhood succeeds to the delusion of Youth; let us hope that the heritage of Old Age is not Despair.  151
  The Duke of Wellington brought to the post of first minister immortal fame; a quality of success which would almost seem to include all others.  152
  The enterprise of America precedes that of Europe, as the industry of England precedes that of the rest of Europe.  153
  The eyes of the social herd, who always observe little things, and generally form from them their opinions of great affairs.  154
  The feathered arrow of satire has oft been wet with the heart’s blood of its victims.  155
  The fight of Balaklava—that was a feat of chivalry, fiery with consummate courage and bright with flashing valor.  156
  The girl of the period sets up to be natural, and is only rude; mistakes insolence for innocence; says everything that comes first to her lips, and thinks she is gay when she is only giddy.  157
  The Greeks adored their gods by the simple compliment of kissing their hands; and the Romans were treated as atheists if they would not perform the same act when they entered a temple. This custom, however, as a religious ceremony declined with paganism, but was continued as a salutation by inferiors to their superiors, or as a token of esteem among friends.  158
  The indulgence in grief is a blunder.  159
  The Italians say it is not necessary to be a stag; but we ought not to be a tortoise.  160
  The legacy of heroes—the memory of a great name, and the inheritance of a great example.  161
  The magic of first love is the ignorance that it can ever end.  162
  The more you are talked about, the less powerful you are.  163
  The originality of a subject is in its treatment.  164
  The people of England are the most enthusiastic in the world. There are others more excitable, but there are none so enthusiastic.  165
  The praise of a fool is incense to the wisest of us.  166
  The press is not only free; it is powerful. That power is ours. It is the proudest that man can enjoy. It was not granted by monarchs, it was not gained for us by aristocracies; but it sprang from the people, and, with an immortal instinct, it has always worked for the people.  167
  The profound thinker always suspects that he is superficial.  168
  The self-educated are marked by stubborn peculiarities.  169
  The stage is a supplement to the pulpit, where virtue, according to Plato’s sublime idea, moves our love and affection when made visible to the eye.  170
  The sympathy of sorrow is stronger than the sympathy of prosperity.  171
  The unfortunate are always egotistical.  172
  The wisdom of the wise and the experience of ages.  173
  The world is a wheel, and it will all come round right.  174
  There are few faces that can afford to smile: a smile is sometimes bewitching, in general vapid, often a contortion.  175
  There are few young women in existence who have not the power of fascinating, if they choose to exert it.  176
  There are some silent people who are more interesting than the best talkers.  177
  There can be no economy where there is no efficiency.  178
  There is a great difference between nationality and race. Nationality is the miracle of political independence. Race is the principle of physical analogy.  179
  There is a magic in the memory of schoolboy friendships; it softens the heart, and even affects the nervous system of those who have no hearts.  180
  There is a thread in our thoughts as there is a pulse in our feelings; he who can hold the one knows how to think, and he who can move the other knows how to feel.  181
  There is anguish in the recollection that we have not adequately appreciated the affection of those whom we have loved and lost.  182
  There is no diplomacy like silence.  183
  There is no education like adversity.  184
  There is no gambling like politics.  185
  There is no greater sin than to be trop prononcé.  186
  There is nothing in which the power of circumstances is more evident than in politics.  187
  There is scarcely any popular tenet more erroneous than that which holds that when time is slow, life is dull.  188
  Those authors who appear sometimes to forget they are writers, and remember they are men, will be our favorites.  189
  Those who cannot themselves observe can at least acquire the observation of others.  190
  Time is precious; but truth is more precious than time.  191
  To a mother, a child is everything; but to a child, a parent is only a link in the chain of her existence.  192
  To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge.  193
  To be famous when you are young is the fortune of the gods.  194
  To govern men, you must either excel them in their accomplishments, or despise them.  195
  To tax the community for the advantage of a class is not protection; it is plunder, and I disclaim it; but I ask you to protect the rights and interests of labor generally; in the first place by allowing no free imports from countries which meet you with countervailing duties; and, in the second place, with respect to agricultural produce, to compensate the soil for the burdens from which other classes are free by an equivalent duty. This is my view of what is called protection.  196
  Travel teaches toleration.  197
  Trust not overmuch to the blessed Magdalen; learn to protect yourself.  198
  Turtle makes all men equal.  199
  Twilight makes us pensive; Aurora is the goddess of activity; despair curses at midnight; hope blesses at noon.  200
  Upon the education of the people of this country the fate of this country depends. There is no period in the history of the world in which I believe it has been more important that the disposition and mind of the people should be considered by the State than it is at present.  201
  Variety is the mother of enjoyment.  202
  We are now in want of an art to teach how books are to be read rather than to read them. Such an art is practicable.  203
  We are taught words, not ideas.  204
  We make our fortunes, and we call them “fate.”  205
  What we call the heart is a nervous sensation, like shyness, which gradually disappears in society. It is fervent in the nursery, strong in the domestic circle, tumultuous at school.  206
  What wonderful things are events! The least are of greater importance than the most sublime and comprehensive speculations.  207
  Whatever they did, the Elysians were careful never to be vehement.  208
  When men are pure, laws are useless; when men are corrupt, laws are broken.  209
  When we would prepare the mind by a forcible appeal, an opening quotation is a symphony preluding on the chords those tones we are about to harmonize.  210
  Whenever you see a man who is successful in society, try to discover what makes him pleasing, and if possibly adopt his system.  211
  Wherever is found what is called a paternal government, was found a State education. It had been discovered that the best way to insure implicit obedience was to commence tyranny in the nursery.  212
  Without tact you can learn nothing. Tact teaches you when to be silent. Inquirers who are always inquiring never learn anything.  213
  Women carry a beautiful hand with them to the grave, when a beautiful face has long ago vanished.  214
  You know who the critics are? The men who have failed in literature and art.  215
  You must not contrast too strongly the hours of courtship with the years of possession.  216
  You must originate, and you must sympathize; you must possess, at the same time, the habit of communicating and the habit of listening. The union is rather rare, but irresistible.  217

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.