Reference > Quotations > C.N. Douglas, comp. > Forty Thousand Quotations > Primary Author Index
C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
H. W. Shaw
  A man cannot learn to be wise any more than he can learn to be handsome.  1
  A slander is like a hornet; if you cannot kill it dead the first blow, better not strike at it.  2
  A witty writer is like a porcupine; his quill makes no distinction between friend and foe.  3
  Admiration is a youthful fancy which scarcely ever survives to mature years.  4
  Advice is like kissing: it costs nothing and is a pleasant thing to do.  5
  Advice may be wrong, but examples prove themselves.  6
  Ambition is like hunger; it obeys no law but its appetite.  7
  And now the lads and lasses, following the example of the birds, bill and coo together.  8
  As a general thing, an individual who is neat in his person is neat in his morals.  9
  As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand.  10
  As the flint contains the spark, unknown to itself, which the steel alone can awaken to life, so adversity often reveals to us hidden gems, which prosperity or negligence would forever have hidden.  11
  Biography is the best form of history.  12
  Brevity is the child of silence, and is a credit to its parentage.  13
  Caution, though very often wasted is a good risk to take.  14
  Clothes form the intellect of the dandy.  15
  Common sense is instinct, and enough of it is genius.  16
  Common sense is the favorite daughter of Reason.  17
  Debt is like any other trap, easy enough to get into, but hard enough to get out of.  18
  Delicacy is the coquetry of truth; fastidiousness is the prudery of falsehood.  19
  Despatch is taking time by the ears; hurry is taking it by the end of the tail.  20
  Dr. Holmes says, both wittily and truly, that crying widows are easiest consoled.  21
  Early genius, like early cabbage, does not head well.  22
  Economy is a savings-bank, into which men drop pennies, and get dollars in return.  23
  Error will slip through a crack, while truth will stick in a doorway.  24
  Every man should know something of law; if he knows enough to keep out of it, he is a pretty good lawyer.  25
  Everybody in this world wants watching, but nobody more than ourselves.  26
  Experience is a grindstone; and it is lucky for us if we can get brightened by it, and not ground.  27
  Fools carry their daggers in their open mouths.  28
  Fortune is like a coquette; if you don’t run after her, she will run after you.  29
  Fun is a sugar-coated physic.  30
  Fuss is half-sister to hurry, and neither of them can do anything without getting in their own way.  31
  Habits are like the wrinkles on a man’s brow; if you will smooth out the one, I will smooth out the other.  32
  Hunting after happiness is like hunting after a lost sheep in the wilderness—when you find it, the chances are that it is a skeleton.  33
  I do not know of a better cure for sorrow than to pity somebody else.  34
  If a man should happen to reach perfection in this world, he would have to die immediately to enjoy himself.  35
  If mankind were only just what they pretend to be, the problem of the millennium would be immediately solved.  36
  If men were stubborn just in proportion as they were right, stubbornness would take her seat among the virtues; but men are generally stubborn just in proportion as they are ignorant and wrong.  37
  If you do not know how to lie, cheat, and steal, turn your attention to politics and learn.  38
  Ignorance is the wet-nurse of prejudice.  39
  Ill-nature is a sort of running sore of the disposition.  40
  Incredulity is the wisdom of a fool.  41
  It is a great art to be superior to others without letting them know it.  42
  It is a great deal easier for a man to find a pedigree to fit his virtues than virtues to fit his pedigree.  43
  It is a statistical fact that the wicked work harder to reach hell than the righteous do to enter heaven.  44
  It is easier to be virtuous than it is to appear so, and it pays better.  45
  It is easy to assume a habit; but when you try to cast it off, it will take skin and all.  46
  It is not much trouble to doctor sick folks, but to doctor healthy ones is troublesome.  47
  Jealousy is one of love’s parasites.  48
  Knowledge is like money,—the more a man gets, the more he craves.  49
  Laziness is a good deal like money, the more a man has of it, the more he seems to want.  50
  Liberty, like chastity, once lost, can never be regained in its original purity.  51
  Men are seldom underrated; the mercury in a man finds its true level in the eyes of the world just as certainly as it does in the glass of a thermometer.  52
  Men who have much to say use the fewest words.  53
  Method is the arithmetic of success.  54
  Morally considered, laughter is next to the Ten Commandments.  55
  Nature makes all the noblemen; wealth, education, or pedigree never made one yet.  56
  Occasions are rare; and those who know how to seize upon them are rarer.  57
  Old maids sweeten their tea with scandal.  58
  Opinions should be formed with great caution, and changed with greater.  59
  Our continual desire for praise ought to convince us of our mortality, if nothing else will.  60
  Our necessities are few, but out wants are endless.  61
  Peace is the soft and holy shadow that virtue casts.  62
  Pedantry is paraded knowledge.  63
  Pedigrees seldom improve by age; the grandson is too often a weak infringement on the grandsire’s patent.  64
  People travel to learn; most of them before they start should learn to travel.  65
  People who have nothing to say are never at a loss in talking.  66
  Perseverance is king.  67
  Politeness is better than logic. You can often persuade when you cannot convince.  68
  Poverty is the stepmother of genius.  69
  Prejudice assumes the garb of reason, but the cheat is too this.  70
  Prejudice is a house-plant which is very apt to wilt if you take it out-of-doors among folks.  71
  Pride seems to be equally distributed; the man who owns the carriage and the man who drives it seem to have it just alike.  72
  Rivalry and envy are Siamese twins.  73
  Rumor is a vagrant without a home, and lives upon what it can pick up.  74
  Rumor is like bees; the more you fight them the more you don’t get rid of them.  75
  Satire that is seasonable and just is often more effectual than law or gospel.  76
  Self-made men are most always apt to be a little too proud of the job.  77
  Selfish people, with no heart to speak of, have the best time of it.  78
  Seneca devoted much of his time to writing essays in praise of poverty, and to lending money at usurious rates.  79
  Shame is the dying embers of virtue.  80
  Show me a thoroughly contented person, and I will show you a useless one.  81
  Silence is one of the hardest kind of arguments to refute. There is no good substitute for wisdom; but silence is the best that has yet been discovered.  82
  Silence never makes any blunders.  83
  Society is composed of slow Christians and wide-awake sinners.  84
  Stupidity,—unconscious ignorance.  85
  Success covers a multitude of blunders.  86
  Success does not consist in never making blunders, but in never making the same one the second time.  87
  Successful writers learn at last what they should learn at first,—to be intelligently simple.  88
  Take the humbug out of this world, and you haven’t much left to do business with.  89
  Take the selfishness out of this world and there would be more happiness than we should know what to do with.  90
  Tears are a good alterative, but a poor diet.  91
  The best reformers the world has ever seen are those who have commenced on themselves.  92
  The books are balanced in heaven, not here.  93
  The easiest thing for our friends to discover in us, and the hardest thing for us to discover in ourselves, is that we are growing old.  94
  The greatest thief this world has ever produced is procrastination, and he is still at large.  95
  The highest philosophers, in explaining the mystery of this world, are obliged to call in the aid of another.  96
  The most sublime courage I have ever witnessed has been among that class too poor to know they possessed it, and too humble for the world to discover it.  97
  The nearest we can come to perfect happiness is to cheat ourselves with the belief that we have got it.  98
  The soul has more diseases than the body.  99
  The unfortunate do not pity the unfortunate.  100
  The very thing that men think they have got the most of, they have got he least of; and that is judgment.  101
  Theory looks well on paper, but does not amount to anything without practice.  102
  There are people who are always anticipating trouble, and in this way they manage to enjoy many sorrows that never really happen to them.  103
  There is a significant Latin proverb, to wit, Who will guard the guards?  104
  There is a sort of charm in ugliness, if the person has some redeeming qualities and is only ugly enough.  105
  There is gravity in wisdom, but no particular wisdom in gravity.  106
  There is no accomplishment so easy to acquire as politeness, and none more profitable.  107
  There is no limit to the vanity of this world. Each spoke in the wheel thinks the whole strength of the wheel depends upon it.  108
  There is no passion of the human heart that promises so much and pays so little as revenge.  109
  There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness.  110
  There never yet was a mother who taught her child to be an infidel.  111
  Time is like money? the less we have of it to spare, the farther we make it go.  112
  Titles are valuable; they make us acquainted with many persons who otherwise would be lost among the rubbish.  113
  Too many individuals are like Shakespeare’s definition of “echo,”—babbling gossips of the air.  114
  True valor is like honesty; it enters into all that a man sees and does.  115
  Truth is the edict of God.  116
  Unless we put heart and soul into our labor we but brutify our actions.  117
  Vanity is a strange passion; rather than be out of a job it will brag of its vices.  118
  Virtue does not consist in the absence of the passions, but in the control of them.  119
  We have some writers so abstruse and deep that they drown themselves in their fathomless sentences.  120
  We mingle in society not so much to meet others as to escape ourselves.  121
  When good-natured people leave us we look forward with extra pleasure to their return.  122
  Where religion is a trade, morality is a merchandise.  123
  Wisdom deprives even poverty of half its power.  124
  Wise men have but few confidants, and cunning ones none.  125
  Words are often seen hunting for an idea, but ideas are never seen hunting for words.  126
  You can reach stupidity only with a cannon ball.  127
  You cannot analyze a kiss any more than you can dissect the fragrance of flowers.  128
  Young widows still bide their time.  129
  Zoroaster said, when in doubt abstain; but this does not always apply. At cards, when in doubt take the trick.  130

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