Reference > Quotations > C.N. Douglas, comp. > Forty Thousand Quotations > Primary Author Index
C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
        For seldom shall she hear a tale
So sad, so tender, yet so true.
        Sloth views the towers of fame with envious eyes,
Desirous still, still impotent to rise.
        So sweetly she bade me adieu,
I thought that she bade me return.
        Whoe’er has travel’d life’s dull round,
  Where’er his stages may have been,
May sigh to think he still has found
  The warmest welcome, at an inn.
  A court of heraldry sprung up to supply the place of crusade exploits, to grant imaginary shields and trophies to families that never wore real armor, and it is but of late that it has been discovered to have no real jurisdiction.  5
  A large retinue upon a small income, like a large cascade upon a small stream, tends to discover its tenuity.  6
  A large, branching, aged oak is perhaps the most venerable of all inanimate objects.  7
  A man has generally the good or ill qualities which he attributes to mankind.  8
  A miser grows rich by seeming poor; an extravagant man grows poor by seeming rich.  9
  A person that would secure to himself great deference will, perhaps, gain his point by silence as effectually as by anything he can say.  10
  A poet that fails in writing becomes often a morose critic. The weak and insipid white wine makes at length excellent vinegar.  11
  A rich dress adds but little to the beauty of a person. It may possibly create a deference, but that is rather an enemy to love.  12
  A wound in the friendship of young persons, as in the bark of young trees, may be so grown over as to leave no scar. The case is very different in regard to old persons and old timber. The reason of this may be accountable from the decline of the social passions, and the prevalence of spleen, suspicion, and rancor towards the latter part of life.  13
  Amid the most mercenary ages it is but a secondary sort of admiration that is bestowed upon magnificence.  14
  Anger and the thirst of revenge are a kind of fever; fighting and lawsuits, bleeding,—at least, an evacuation. The latter occasions a dissipation of money; the former, of those fiery spirits which cause a preternatural fermentation.  15
  Applause is of too coarse a nature to be swallowed in the gross, though the extract or tincture be ever so agreeable.  16
  Avarice is the most opposite of all characters to that of God Almighty, whose alone it is to give and not receive.  17
  Bashfulness is more frequently connected with good sense than we find assurance; and impudence, on the other hand, is often the mere effect of downright stupidity.  18
  Critics must excuse me if I compare them to certain animals called asses, who, by gnawing vines, originally taught the great advantage of pruning them.  19
  Deference is the most complicate, the most indirect, and the most elegant of all compliments.  20
  Deference often shrinks and withers as much upon the approach of intimacy as the sensitive plant does upon the touch of one’s finger.  21
  Fashion is a great restraint upon your persons of taste and fancy; who would otherwise in the most trifling instances be able to distinguish themselves from the vulgar.  22
  Flattery of the verbal kind is gross. In short, applause is of too coarse a nature to be swallowed in the gross, though the extract or tincture be ever so agreeable.  23
  Fools are very often united in the strictest intimacies, as the lighter kinds of woods are the most closely glued together.  24
  Glory relaxes often and debilitates the mind; censure stimulates and contracts—both to an extreme. Simple fame is, perhaps, the proper medium.  25
  Grandeur and beauty are so very opposite that you often diminish the one as you increase the other. Vanity is most akin to the latter, simplicity to the former.  26
  Harmony of period and melody of style have greater weight than is generally imagined in the judgment we pass upon writing and writers. As a proof of this, let us reflect what texts of scripture, what lines in poetry, or what periods we most remember and quote, either in verse or prose, and we shall find them to be only musical ones.  27
  However, I think a plain space near the eye gives it a kind of liberty it loves; and then the picture, whether you choose the grand or beautiful, should be held up at its proper distance. Variety is the principal ingredient in beauty; and simplicity is essential to grandeur.  28
  I consider your very testy and quarrelsome people in the same light as I do a loaded gun, which may, by accident, go off and kill one.  29
  I fancy the proper means of increasing the love we bear our native country is to reside some time in a foreign one.  30
  I hate a style, as I do a garden, that is wholly flat and regular,—that slides like an eel, and never rises to what one can call an inequality.  31
  I have been formerly so silly as to hope that every servant I had might be made a friend; I am now convinced that the nature of servitude generally bears a contrary tendency. People’s characters are to be chiefly collected from their education and place in life; birth itself does but little.  32
  Immoderate assurance is perfect licentiousness.  33
  In a heavy oppressive atmosphere, when the spirits sink too low, the best cordial is to read over all the letters of one’s friends.  34
  In designing a house and gardens, it is happy when there is an opportunity of maintaining a subordination of parts; the house so luckily placed as to exhibit a view of the whole design. I have sometimes thought that there was room for it to resemble an epic or dramatic poem.  35
  It is true there is nothing displays a genius, I mean a quickness of genius, more than a dispute; as two diamonds, encountering, contribute to each other’s luster. But perhaps the odds is much against the man of taste in this particular.  36
  It seems with wit and good-nature, Utrum horum mavis accipe. Taste and good-nature are universally connected.  37
  It should seem that indolence itself would incline a person to be honest, as it requires infinitely greater pains and contrivance to be a knave.  38
  Jealousy is the apprehension of superiority.  39
  Laws are generally found to be nets of such a texture, as the little creep through, the great break through, and the middle size are alone entangled in.  40
  Learning, like money, may be of so base a coin as to be utterly void of use.  41
  Let the gulled fool the toil of war pursue, where bleed the many to enrich the few.  42
  Let us be careful to distinguish modesty, which is ever amiable, from reserve, which is only prudent.  43
  Long sentences in a short composition are like large rooms in a little house.  44
  Lost in the dreary shades of dull obscurity.  45
  Love can be founded upon Nature only.  46
  May I always have a heart superior, with economy suitable, to my fortune.  47
  Men are sometimes accused of pride, merely because their accusers would be proud themselves were they in their places.  48
  Men of quality never appear more amiable than when their dress is plain. Their birth, rank, title and its appendages are at best invidious; and as they do not need the assistance of dress, so by their disclaiming the advantage of it, they make their superiority sit more easy.  49
  Misers, as death approaches, are heaping up a chest of reasons to stand in more awe of him.  50
  Not the entrance of a cathedral, not the sound of a passing bell, not the furs of a magistrate, nor the sables of a funeral, were fraught with half the solemnity of face!  51
  Notwithstanding all that Rousseau has advanced so very ingeniously upon plays and players, their profession is, like that of a painter, one of the imitative arts, whose means are pleasure, and whose end is virtue.  52
  One may easily enough guard against ambition till five-and-twenty. It is not ambition’s day.  53
  Patience is the panacea; but where does it grow, or who can swallow it?  54
  People say, “Do not regard what he says now he is in liquor.” Perhaps it is the only time he ought to be regarded: Aperit prae cordia liber.  55
  Persons are oftentimes misled in regard to their choice of dress by attending to the beauty of colors, rather than selecting such colors as may increase their own beauty.  56
  Prudent men lock up their motives, letting familiars have a key to their hearts, as to their garden.  57
  Reserve is no more essentially connected with understanding than a church organ with devotion, or wine with good-nature.  58
  She pleased while distant, but when near she charm’d.  59
  So sweetly she bade me adieu, I thought that she bade me return.  60
  Some men are called sagacious, merely on account of their avarice; whereas a child can clench its fist the moment it is born.  61
  Some men use no other means to acquire respect than by insisting on it; and it sometimes answers their purpose, as it does a highwayman’s in regard to money.  62
  Superiority in wit is more frequently the cause of vanity than superiority of judgment; as the person that wears an ornamental sword is ever more vain than he that wears a useful one.  63
  Taste and good-nature are universally connected.  64
  Taste is pursued at a less expense than fashion.  65
  Thanks, oftenest obtrusive.  66
  The amiable and the severe, Mr. Burke’s sublime and beautiful, by different proportions, are mixed in every character. Accordingly, as either is predominant, men imprint the passions of love or fear. The best punch depends on a proper mixture of sugar and lemons.  67
  The best time to frame an answer to the letters of a friend is the moment you receive them. Then the warmth of friendship, and the intelligence received most forcibly co-operate.  68
  The difference there is betwixt honor and honesty seems to be chiefly the motive; the mere honest man does that from duty which the man of honor does for the sake of character.  69
  The fund of sensible discourse is limited; that of jest and badinerie is infinite.  70
  The lines of poetry, the periods of prose, and even the texts of Scripture most frequently recollected and quoted, are those which are felt to be pre-eminently musical.  71
  The love of popularity seems little else than the love of being beloved; and is only blamable when a person aims at the affections of a people by means in appearance honest, but in their end pernicious and destructive.  72
  The lowest people are generally the first to find fault with show or equipage; especially that of a person lately emerged from his obscurity. They never once consider that he is breaking the ice for themselves.  73
  The making presents to a lady one addresses is like throwing armor into an enemy’s camp, with a resolution to recover it.  74
  The manner of a vulgar man hath freedom without ease, and the manner of a gentleman hath ease without freedom.  75
  The most reserved of men, that will not exchange two syllables together in an English coffee-house, should they meet at Ispahan, would drink sherbet and eat a mess of rice together.  76
  The persons who have the most sublime contempt for money are the same that have the strongest appetite for the pleasures it enables them to procure.  77
  The proper means of increasing the love we bear our native country is to reside some time in a foreign one.  78
  The regard one shows economy is like that we show an old aunt who is to leave us something at last.  79
  The works of a person that builds begin immediately to decay, while those of him who plants begin directly to improve. In this, planting promises a more lasting pleasure than building; which, were it to remain in equal perfection, would at best begin to moulder and want repairs in imagination. Now trees have a circumstance that suits our taste, and that is annual variety.  80
  Theirs is the present who can praise the past.  81
  There are no persons more solicitous about the preservation of rank than those who have no rank at all. Observe the humors of a country christening, and you will find no court in Christendom so ceremonious as the quality of Brentford.  82
  There is a certain flimsiness of poetry which seems expedient in a song.  83
  There would not be any absolute necessity for reserve if the world were honest; yet even then it would prove expedient. For, in order to attain any degree of deference, it seems necessary that people should imagine you have more accomplishments than you discover.  84
  They begin with making falsehood appear like truth, and end with making truth itself appear like falsehood.  85
  Those who are incapable of shining but by dress would do well to consider that the contrast between them and their clothes turns out much to their disadvantage.  86
  Trifles discover a character, more than actions of importance.  87
  Virtues, like essences, lose their fragrance when exposed. They are sensitive plants, which will not bear too familiar approaches.  88
  We may daily discover crowds acquire sufficient wealth to buy gentility, but very few that possess the virtues which ennoble human nature, and (in the best sense of the word) constitute a gentleman.  89
  When misfortunes happen to such as dissent from us in matters of religion, we call them judgments; when to those of our own sect, we call them trials; when to persons neither way distinguished, we are content to attribute them to the settled course of things.  90
  When self-interest inclines a man to print, he should consider that the purchaser expects a pennyworth for his penny, and has reason to asperse his honesty if he finds himself deceived.  91
  Whoe’er excels in what we prize, appears a hero in our eyes.  92
  Wit is the refractory pupil of judgment.  93
  Yet why repine? I have seen mansions on the verge of Wales that convert my farm-house into a Hampton Court, and where they speak of a glazed window as a great piece of magnificence. All things figure by comparison.  94

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