Reference > Quotations > C.N. Douglas, comp. > Forty Thousand Quotations > Primary Author Index
C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
  A good name will wear out; a bad one may be turned; a nickname lasts forever.  1
  Age is suspicious, but is not itself often suspected.  2
  All our distinctions are accidental; beauty and deformity, though personal qualities, are neither entitled to praise nor censure; yet it so happens that they color our opinion of those qualities to which mankind have attached responsibility.  3
  An everlasting tranquility is, in my imagination, the highest possible felicity, because I know of no felicity on earth higher than that which a peaceful mind and contented heart afford.  4
  Be not so bigoted to any custom as to worship at the expense of truth.  5
  Beauty gains little, and homeliness and deformity lose much, by gaudy attire. Lysander knew this was in part true, and refused the rich garments that the tyrant Dionysius proffered to his daughters, saying “that they were fit only to make unhappy faces more remarkable.”  6
  Beauty is worse than wine; it intoxicates both the holder and the beholder.  7
  Books afford the surest relief in the most melancholy moments.  8
  By fools, knaves fatten; by bigots, priests are well clothed; every knave finds a gull.  9
  Conceit and confidence are both of them cheats; the first always imposes on itself, the second frequently deceives others too.  10
  Contempt is frequently regulated by fashion.  11
  Economy is an excellent lure to betray people into expense.  12
  Egotism is more like an offense than a crime; though it is allowable to speak of yourself, provided nothing is advanced in favor; but I cannot help suspecting that those who abuse themselves are, in reality, angling for approbation.  13
  Family pride entertains many unsocial opinions.  14
  Fools with bookish knowledge are children with edged weapons; they hurt themselves, and put others in pain.  15
  Gambling houses are temples where the most sordid and turbulent passions contend; there no spectator can be indifferent. A card or a small square of ivory interests more than the loss of an empire, or the ruin of an unoffending group of infants, and their nearest relatives.  16
  Hunger is the mother of impatience and anger.  17
  Idlers cannot even find time to be idle, or the industrious to be at leisure. We must always be doing or suffering.  18
  If you ask me which is the real hereditary sin of human nature, do you imagine I shall answer pride or luxury or ambition or egotism? No; I shall say indolence. Who conquers indolence will conquer all the rest. Indeed, all good principles must stagnate without mental activity.  19
  In fame’s temple there is always a niche to be found for rich dunces, importunate scoundrels, or successful butchers of the human race.  20
  In the sallies of badinage a polite fool shines; but in gravity he is as awkward as an elephant disporting.  21
  Incivility is the extreme of pride; it is built on the contempt of mankind.  22
  Indolent people, whatever taste they may have for society, seek eagerly for pleasure, and find nothing. They have an empty head and seared hearts.  23
  It would be a considerable consolation to the poor and discontented could they but see the means whereby the wealth they covet has been acquired, or the misery that it entails.  24
  Leisure, the highest happiness upon earth, is seldom enjoyed with perfect satisfaction, except in solitude. Indolence and indifference do not always afford leisure; for true leisure is frequently found in that interval of relaxation which divides a painful duty from an agreeable recreation; a toilsome business from the more agreeable occupations of literature and philosophy.  25
  Liberal of cruelty are those who pamper with promises; promisers destroy while they deceive, and the hope they raise is dearly purchased by the dependence that is sequent to disappointment.  26
  Many have been ruined by their fortunes; many have escaped ruin by the want of fortune. To obtain it, the great have become little, and the little great.  27
  Many species of wit are quite mechanical; these are the favorites of witlings, whose fame in words scarce outlives the remembrance of their funeral ceremonies.  28
  Never lose sight of this important truth, that no one can be truly great until he has gained a knowledge of himself, a knowledge which can only be acquired by occasional retirement.  29
  Never suffer the prejudice of the eye to determine the heart.  30
  News-hunters have great leisure, with little thought; much petty ambition to be considered intelligent, without any other pretension than being able to communicate what they have just learned.  31
  Nobility should be elective, not hereditary.  32
  Novels do not force their fair readers to sin, they only instruct them how to sin; the consequences of which are fully detailed, and not in a way calculated to seduce any but weak minds; few of their heroines are happily disposed of.  33
  One ought to love society, if he wishes to enjoy solitude. It is a social nature that solitude works upon with the most various power. If one is misanthropic, and betakes himself to loneliness that he may get away from hateful things, solitude is a silent emptiness to him.  34
  Open your mouth and purse cautiously, and your stock of wealth and reputation shall, at least in repute, be great.  35
  Pride, in boasting of family antiquity, makes duration stand for merit.  36
  Profound meditation in solitude and silence frequently exalts the mind above its natural tone, fires the imagination, and produces the most refined and sublime conceptions. The soul then tastes the purest and most refined delight, and almost loses the idea of existence in the intellectual pleasure it receives. The mind on every motion darts through space into eternity; and raised, in its free enjoyment of its powers by its own enthusiasm, strengthens itself in the habitude of contemplating the noblest subjects, and of adopting the most heroic pursuits.  37
  Put this restriction on your pleasures; be cautious that they injure no being which has life.  38
  Scholars are frequently to be met with who are ignorant of nothing—saving their own ignorance.  39
  Silence is a trick when it imposes. Pedants and scholars, churchmen and physicians, abound in silent pride.  40
  Silence is the safest response for all the contradiction that arises from impertinence, vulgarity, or envy.  41
  Sloth is the torpidity of the mental faculties; the sluggard is a living insensible.  42
  Suicides pay the world a bad compliment. Indeed, it may so happen that the world has been beforehand with them in incivility. Granted. Even then the retaliation is at their own expense.  43
  Surmise is the gossamer that malice blows on fair reputations, the corroding dew that destroys the choice blossom. Surmise is primarily the squint of suspicion, and suspicion is established before it is confirmed.  44
  Take care to be an economist in prosperity; there is no fear of your being one in adversity.  45
  That happy state of mind, so rarely possessed, in which we can say, “I have enough,” is the highest attainment of philosophy.  46
  The human mind, in proportion as it is deprived of external resources, sedulously labors to find within itself the means of happiness, learns to rely with confidence on its own exertions, and gains with greater certainty the power of being happy.  47
  The ill usage of every minute is a new record against us in heaven.  48
  The love of solitude, when cultivated in the morn of life, elevates the mind to a noble independence, but to acquire the advantages which solitude is capable of affording, the mind must not be impelled to it by melancholy and discontent, but by a real distaste to the idle pleasures of the world, a rational contempt for the deceitful joys of life, and just apprehensions of being corrupted and seduced by its insinuating and destructive gayeties.  49
  The man whose bosom neither riches nor luxury nor grandeur can render happy may, with a book in his hand, forget all his torments under the friendly shade of every tree; and experience pleasures as infinite as they are varied, as pure as they are lasting, as lively as they are unfading, and as compatible with every public duty as they are contributory to private happiness.  50
  The more you speak of yourself, the more you are likely to lie.  51
  The necessities that exist are in general created by the superfluities that are enjoyed.  52
  The purse of the patient often protracts his case.  53
  The quarter of an hour before dinner is the worst that suitors can choose.  54
  The rich and luxurious may claim an exclusive right to those pleasures which are capable of being purchased by pelf, in which the mind has no enjoyment, and which only afford a temporary relief to languor by steeping the senses in forgetfulness; but in the precious pleasures of the intellect, so easily accessible by all mankind, the great have no exclusive privilege; for such enjoyments are only to be procured by our own industry.  55
  The sluggard is a living insensible.  56
  The weak may be joked out of anything but their weakness.  57
  There appears to exist a greater desire to live long than to live well! Measure by man’s desires, he cannot live long enough; measure by his good deeds, and he has not lived long enough; measure by his evil deeds, and he has lived too long.  58
  There are few mortals so insensible that their affections cannot be gained by mildness, their confidence by sincerity, their hatred by scorn or neglect.  59
  Those beings only are fit for solitude who are like nobody, and are liked by nobody.  60
  Though fancy may be the patient’s complaint, necessity is often the doctor’s.  61
  Though our donations are made to please ourselves, we insist upon those who receive our alms being pleased with them.  62
  Thought and action are the redeeming features of our lives.  63
  Time is never more misspent than while we declaim against the want of it; all our actions are then tinctured with peevishness. The yoke of life is certainly the least oppressive when we carry it with good-humor; and in the shades of rural retirement, when we have once acquired a resolution to pass our hours with economy, sorrowful lamentations on the subject of time misspent and business neglected never torture the mind.  64
  Troops of furies march in the drunkard’s triumph.  65
  Truth lies in a small compass! The Aristotelians say, all truth is contained in Aristotle, in one place or another. Galileo makes Simplicius say so, but shows the absurdity of that speech by answering all truth is contained in a lesser compass, namely, in the alphabet.  66
  Unless the habit leads to happiness the best habit is to contract none.  67
  We never read without profit if with the pen or pencil in our hand we mark such ideas as strike us by their novelty, or correct those we already possess.  68
  We protract the career of time by employment, we lengthen the duration of our lives by wise thoughts and useful actions. Life to him who wishes not to have lived in vain is thought and action.  69
  When ill news comes too late to be serviceable to your neighbor, keep it to yourself.  70
  When soured by disappointment, we must endeavor to pursue some fixed and pleasing course of study, that there may be no blank leaf in our book of life. Painful and disagreeable ideas vanish from the mind that can fix its attention upon any subject.  71
  When we meet with better fare than was expected, the disappointment is overlooked even by the scrupulous. When we meet with worse than was expected, philosophers alone know how to make it better.  72
  Who conquers indolence conquers all other hereditary sins.  73
  Wit, to be well defined, must be defined by wit itself; then it will be worth listening to.  74

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