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C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
 
Thackeray
 
        A humble flower long time I pined
  Upon the solitary plain,
And trembled at the angry wind,
  And shrunk before the bitter rain.
And oh! ’twas in a blessed hour
  A passing wanderer chanced to see,
And, pitying the lonely flower,
  To stoop and gather me.
  1
        Although I enter not,
Yet round about the spot
  Ofttimes I hover;
And near the sacred gate,
With longing eyes I wait,
  Expectant of her.
  2
        He fought a thousand glorious wars,
  And more than half the world was his,
And somewhere, now, in yonder stars,
  Can tell, mayhap, what greatness is.
  3
        Know ye the willow-tree,
  Whose grey leaves quiver,
Whispering gloomily
  To yon pale river?
  
Lady, at even-tide
  Wander not near it:
They say its branches hide
  A sad, lost spirit!
  4
        The play is done; the curtain drops,
  Slow falling to the prompter’s bell:
A moment yet the actor stops,
  And looks around, to say farewell,
It is an irksome word and task:
  And, when he’s laughed and said his say,
He shows, as he removes the mask,
  A face that’s anything but gay.
  5
  A clever, ugly man every now and then is successful with the ladies; but a handsome fool is irresistible.  6
  A gentleman is a rarer thing than some of us think for. Which of us can point out many such in his circle—men whose aims are generous, whose truth is constant and elevated; who can look the world honestly in the face, with an equal manly sympathy for the great and the small? We all know a hundred whose coats are well made, and a score who have excellent manners; but of gentlemen how many? Let us take a little scrap of paper and each make out his list.  7
  A good laugh is sunshine in a house.  8
  A good woman is the loveliest flower that blooms under heaven; and we look with love and wonder upon its silent grace, its pure fragrance, its delicate bloom of beauty. Sweet and beautiful! the fairest and the most spotless! is it not pity to see them bowed down or devoured by grief or death inexorable, wasting in disease, pining with long pain, or cut off by sudden fate in their prime? We may deserve grief, but why should these be unhappy?—except that we know that heaven chastens those whom it loves best; being pleased, by repeated trials, to make these pure spirits more pure.  9
  A man is seldom more manly than when he is what you call unmanned,—the source of his emotion is championship, pity, and courage; the instinctive desire to cherish those who are innocent and unhappy, and defend those who are tender and weak.  10
  A marriage or a refusal or a proposal thrills through a whole household of women, and sets their hysterical sympathies at work.  11
  A pair of bright eyes with a dozen glances suffice to subdue a man; to enslave him, and inflame; to make him even forget; they dazzle him so that the past becomes straightway dim to him; and he so prizes them that he would give all his life to possess them. What is the fond love of dearest friends compared to his treasure? Is memory as strong as expectancy, fruition as hunger, gratitude as desire?  12
  A snob is that man or woman who is always pretending to be something better—especially richer or more fashionable—than he is.  13
  A woman’s heart is just like a lithographer’s stone,—what is once written upon it cannot be rubbed out.  14
  Ah! gracious Heaven gives us eyes to see our own wrong, however dim age may make them; and knees not too stiff to kneel, in spite of years, cramp, and rheumatism.  15
  Ah! thank heaven, travelers find Samaritans as well as Levites on life’s hard way.  16
  Ah! Vanitas vanitatum! Which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire, or, having it, is satisfied?  17
  Alas! we are the sport of destiny.  18
  All is vanity, look you; and so the preacher is vanity too.  19
  Almost all women have hearts full of pity.  20
 
 
  An immense percentage of snobs, I believe, is to be found in every rank of this mortal life.  21
  An intelligent wife can make her home, in spite of exigencies, pretty much what she pleases.  22
  And lo! in a flash of crimson splendor, with blazing scarlet clouds running before his chariot, and heralding his majestic approach, God’s sun rises upon the world.  23
  As if the ray which travels from the sun would reach me sooner than the man who blacks my boots.  24
  As nature made every man with a nose and eyes of his own, she gave him a character of his own, too; and yet we, O foolish race! must try our very best to ape some one or two of our neighbors, whose ideas fit us no more than their breeches!  25
  At certain periods of life, we live years of emotion in a few weeks, and look back on those times as on great gaps between the old life and the new.  26
  Be it remembered that man subsists upon the air more than upon his meat and drink; but no one can exist for an hour without a copious supply of air. The atmosphere which some breathe is contaminated and adulterated, and with its vital principles so diminished that it cannot fully decarbonize the blood, nor fully excite the nervous system.  27
  Be sure there are domestic tyrants also.  28
  Benevolence and feeling ennoble the most trifling actions.  29
  Black care sits behind all sorts of horses, and gives a trink-gilt to postilions all over the map.  30
  Charming Alnaschar visions! it is the happy privilege of youth to construct you.  31
  Choose a good disagreeable friend, if you be wise—a surly, steady, economical, rigid fellow.  32
  Come forward, some great marshal, and organize equality in society, and your rod shall swallow up all the juggling old court gold-sticks.  33
  Diffidence is a sort of false modesty.  34
  Every man ought to be in love a few times in his life, and to have a smart attack of the fever. You are better for it when it is over: the better for your misfortune, if you endure it with a manly heart; how much the better for success, if you win it and a good wife into the bargain!  35
  Follow your honest convictions, and be strong.  36
  For my part, I believe that remorse is the least active of all a man’s moral senses,—the very easiest to be deadened when wakened, and in some never wakened at all.  37
  Frequent the company of your betters.  38
  Happy! Who is happy? Was there not a serpent in Paradise itself? And if Eve had been perfectly happy beforehand, would she have listened to the tempter?  39
  He who meanly admires a mean thing is a snob—perhaps that is a safe definition of the character.  40
  Hint at the existence of wickedness in a light, easy, and agreeable manner, so that nobody’s fine feelings may be offended.  41
  How can you make a fool perceive that he is a fool? Such a personage can no more see his own folly than he can see his own ears.  42
  How grateful are we—how touched a frank and generous heart is for a kind word extended to us in our pain! The pressure of a tender hand nerves a man for an operation, and cheers him for the dreadful interview with the surgeon.  43
  Humor is the mistress of tears.  44
  Humor is wit and love.  45
  I believe that remorse is the least active of all a man’s moral senses.  46
  I have seen no men in life loving their profession so much as painters, except, perhaps, actors, who, when not engaged themselves, always go to the play.  47
  I set it down as a maxim, that it is good for a man to live where he can meet his betters, intellectual and social.  48
  I suppose as long as novels last, and authors aim at interesting their public, there must always be in the story a virtuous and gallant hero; a wicked monster, his opposite; and a pretty girl, who finds a champion. Bravery and virtue conquer beauty; and vice, after seeming to triumph through a certain number of pages, is sure to be discomfited in the last volume, when justice overtakes him, and honest folks come by their own.  49
  I want a sofa, as I want a friend, upon which I can repose familiarly. If you can’t have intimate terms and freedom with one and the other, they are of no good.  50
  I wonder is it because men are cowards in heart that they admire bravery so much, and place military valor so far beyond every other quality for reward and worship.  51
  I would rather make my name than inherit it.  52
  If fathers are sometimes sulky at the appearance of the destined son-in-law, is it not a fact that mothers become sentimental and, as it were, love their own loves over again.  53
  If fun is good, truth is still better, and love best of all.  54
  If people only made prudent marriages, what a stop to population there would be!  55
  If the secret history of books could be written, and the author’s private thoughts and meanings noted down alongside of his story, how many insipid volumes would become interesting, and dull tales excite the reader.  56
  If thou hast never been a fool, be sure thou wilt never be a wise man.  57
  If you had told Sycorax that her son Caliban was as handsome as Apollo, she would have been pleased, witch as she was.  58
  If you take temptations into account, who is to say that he is better than his neighbor?  59
  If you will fling yourself under the wheels, Juggernaut will go over you; depend upon it.  60
  In effective womanly beauty form is more than face, and manner more than either.  61
  Is beauty beautiful, or is it only our eyes that make it so?  62
  It is a friendly heart that has plenty of friends.  63
  It is an awful thing to get a glimpse, as one sometimes does, when the time is past, of some little, little wheel which works the whole mighty machinery of fate, and see how our destinies turn on a minute’s delay or advance.  64
  It is an old saying, that we forget nothing, as people in fever begin suddenly to talk the language of their infancy; we are stricken by memory sometimes, and old affections rush back on us as vivid as in the time when they were our daily talk, when their presence gladdened our eyes, when their accents thrilled in our ears,—when, with passionate tears and grief, we flung ourselves upon their hopeless corpses. Parting is death,—at least, as far as life is concerned. A passion comes to an end; it is carried off in a coffin, or, weeping in a postchaise, it drops out of life one way or the other, and the earth-clods close over it, and we see it no more. But it has been part of our souls, and it is eternal.  65
  It is comparatively easy to leave a mistress, but very hard to be left by one.  66
  It is from the level of calamities, not that of every-day life, that we learn impressive and useful lessons.  67
  It was in his own home that Fielding knew and loved her (Amelia); from his own wife that he drew the most charming character in English fiction.  68
  It’s a great comfort to some people to groan over their imaginary ills.  69
  Let us be very gentle with our neighbors’ failings, and forgive our friends their debts as we hope ourselves to be forgiven.  70
  Let us people who are so uncommonly clever and learned have a great tenderness and pity for the poor folks who are not endowed with the prodigious talents which we have.  71
  Life is the soul’s nursery.  72
  Life without laughing is a dreary blank.  73
  Love makes fools of us all, big and little.  74
  Lucky he who has been educated to bear his fate, whatsoever it may be, by an early example of uprightness, and a childish training in honor.  75
  Malice is of the boomerang character, and is apt to turn upon the projector.  76
  Might I give counsel to any young hearer, I would say to him, try to frequent the company of your betters. In books and life is the most wholesome society; learn to admire rightly; the great pleasure of life is that. Note what the great men admire,—they admired great things; narrow spirits admire basely, and worship meanly.  77
  Mother is the name of God in the lips and hearts of little children.  78
  My dear, your everlasting blue velvet quite tires me.  79
  Never lose a chance of saying a kind word. As Collingwood never saw a vacant place in his estate but he took an acorn out of his pocket and popped it in, so deal with your compliments through life. An acorn costs nothing; but it may sprout into a prodigious bit of timber.  80
  Next to the very young, I suppose the very old are the most selfish. Alas! the heart hardens as the blood ceases to run.  81
  Not only is the world informed of everything about you, but of a great deal more.  82
  Novels are sweets. All people with healthy literary appetites love them; almost all women; a vast number of clever, hard-headed men. Judges, bishops, chancellors, mathematicians, are notorious novel readers, as well as young boys and girls, and their kind, tender mothers.  83
  Novelty has charms that our minds can hardly withstand. The most valuable things, if they have for a long while appeared among us, do not make any impression as they are good, but give us a distaste as they are old. But when the influence of this fantastical humor is over, the same men or things will come to be admitted again by a happy return of our good taste.  84
  Oh, brother wearers of motley, are there not moments when one grows sick of grinning and trembling and the jingling of cap and bells?  85
  One of the greatest of a great man’s qualities is success: ’t is the result of all the others; ’t is a latent power in him which compels the favor of the gods, and subjugates fortune.  86
  One tires of a page of which every sentence sparkles with points, of a sentimentalist who is always pumping the tears from his eyes or your own.  87
  Our measure of rewards and punishments is most partial and incomplete, absurdly inadequate, utterly worldly; and we wish to continue it into the next world. Into that next and awful world we strive to pursue men, and send after them our impotent paltry verdicts of condemnation or acquittal. We set up our paltry little rod to measure heaven immeasurable.  88
  Out of the fictitious book I get the expression of the life, of the times, of the manners, of the merriment, of the dress, the pleasure, the laughter, the ridicules of society. The old times live again. Can the heaviest historian do more for me?  89
  Parting and forgetting? What faithful heart can do these? Our great thoughts, our great affections, the truths of our life, never leave us. Surely they cannot separate from our consciousness; shall follow it whithersoever that shall go; and are of their nature divine and immortal.  90
  People hate, as they love, unreasonably.  91
  People who do not know how to laugh, are always pompous and self-conceited.  92
  Perhaps there is no greater test of a man’s regularity and easiness of conscience than his readiness to face the postman. Blessed is he who is made happy by the sound of a rat-tat! The good are eager for it; but the naughty tremble at the sound thereof.  93
  Society having ordained certain customs, men are bound to obey the law of society, and conform to its harmless orders.  94
  Sure, occasion is the father of most that is good in us.  95
  Taste is something quite different from fashion, superior to fashion.  96
  That which we call a snob, by any other name would still be snobbish.  97
  The acknowledgment of weakness which we make in imploring to be relieved from hunger and from temptation is surely wisely put in our daily prayer. Think of it, you who are rich, and take heed how you turn a beggar away.  98
  The affection of young ladies is of as rapid growth as Jack’s bean-stalk, and reaches up to the sky in a night.  99
  The best of women are hypocrites.  100
  The death of a child occasions a passion of grief and frantic tears, such as your end, brother reader, will never inspire.  101
  The great moments of life are but moments like the others. Your doom is spoken in a word or two. A single look from the eyes, a mere pressure of the hand, may decide it; or of the lips though they cannot speak.  102
  The great quality of Dulness is to be unalterably contented with itself.  103
  The ladies—Heaven bless them!—are, as a general rule, coquettes from babyhood upwards.  104
  The rich never want kindred.  105
  The tallest and the smallest among us are so alike diminutive and pitifully base, it is a meanness to calculate the difference.  106
  The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar, and familiar things new.  107
  The wicked are wicked, no doubt, and they go astray and they fall, and they come by their deserts; but who can tell the mischief which the very virtuous do?  108
  The world is full of love and pity. Had there been less suffering, there would have been less kindness.  109
  There are other books in a man’s library besides Ovid, and after dawdling ever so long at a woman’s knee, one day he gets up and is free. We have all been there; we have all had the fever—the strongest and the smallest, from Samson, Hercules, Rinaldo, downward: but it burns out, and you get well.  110
  There is no man that can teach us to be gentlemen better than Joseph Addison.  111
  They say it was Liston’s firm belief, that he was a great and neglected tragic actor; they say that every one of us believes in his heart, or would like to have others believe, that he is something which he is not.  112
  Time passes, Time the consoler, Time the anodyne.  113
  To be rich, to be famous? do these profit a year hence, when other names sound louder than yours, when you lie hidden away under ground, along with the idle titles engraven on your coffin? But only true love lives after you, follows your memory with secret blessings or pervades you, and intercedes for you. Non omnis moriar, if, dying, I yet live in a tender heart or two; nor am lost and hopeless, living, if a sainted departed soul still loves and prays for me.  114
  To be thought rich is as good as to be rich.  115
  To endure is greater than to dare.  116
  To our betters we can reconcile ourselves, if you please—respecting them sincerely, laughing at their jokes, making allowance for their stupidities, meekly suffering their insolence; but we can’t pardon our equals going beyond us.  117
  True love is better than glory.  118
  Vanity is often the unseen spur.  119
  We are most of us very lonely in this world; you who have any who love you, cling to them and thank God.  120
  We may deserve grief; but why should women be unhappy?—except we know heaven chastens those it loves best, being pleased by repeated trials to make these pure spirits more pure.  121
  We pass by common objects or persons without noticing them; but the keen eye detects and notes types everywhere and among all classes.  122
  What a dignity it gives an old lady, that balance at the bankers! How tenderly we look at her faults if she is a relative; what a kind, good-natured old creature we find her!  123
  What is it to be a gentleman? Is it to be honest, to be gentle, to be generous, to be brave, to be wise, and, possessing all these qualities, to exercise them in the most graceful outward manner? Ought a gentleman to be a loyal son, a true husband, an honest father? Ought his life to be decent, his bills to be paid, his taste to be high and elegant, his aims in life lofty and noble?  124
  What man’s life is not overtaken by one or more of those tornadoes that send us out of the course, and fling us on rocks to shelter as best we may?  125
  What stories are new? All types of all characters march through all fables.  126
  When a man is in love with one woman in a family, it is astonishing how fond he becomes of every person connected with it. He ingratiates himself with the maids; he is bland with the butler; he interests himself about the footman; he runs on errands for the daughters; he gives advice and lends money to the youngest son at college; he pats little dogs which he would kick otherwise; he smiles at old stories which would make him break out in yawns, were they uttered by any one but papa; he drinks sweet port wine, for which he would curse the steward and the whole committee of a club; he bears even with the cantankerous old maiden aunt; he beats time when darling little Fanny performs her piece on the piano; smiles when wicked, lively little Bobby upsets the coffee over his shirt.  127
  When a mother, as fond mothers will, vows that she knows every thought in her daughter’s heart, I think she pretends to know a great deal too much.  128
  When Fate wills that something should come to pass, she sends forth a million of little circumstances to clear and prepare the way.  129
  Which of us that is thirty years old has not had his Pompeii? Deep under ashes lies Life, Youth, the careless sports, the pleasures and passions, the darling joy.  130
  Who feels injustice, who shrinks before a slight, who has a sense of wrong so acute, and so glowing a gratitude for kindness, as a generous boy?  131
  Who has not seen how women bully women? What tortures have men to endure compared to those daily repeated shafts of scorn and cruelty with which poor women are riddled by the tyrants of their sex?  132
  Women equitable, logical, and utterly just! Mercy upon us! If they were, population would cease, the world would be a howling wilderness.  133
  You can’t order remembrance out of the mind; and a wrong that was a wrong yesterday must be a wrong to-morrow.  134
  You who are ashamed of your poverty, and blush for your calling, are a snob; as are you who boast of your pedigree, or are proud of your wealth.  135
  You, who forget your own friends, meanly to follow after those of a higher degree, are a snob.  136
  Young ladies may have been crossed in love, and have had their sufferings, their frantic moments of grief and tears, their wakeful nights, and so forth; but it is only in very sentimental novels that people occupy themselves perpetually with that passion, and I believe what are called broken hearts are a very rare article indeed.  137
 
 
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