Reference > Quotations > Hoyt & Roberts, comps. > Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations
Hoyt & Roberts, comps.  Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations.  1922.
Public, The
  Nec audiendi sunt qui solent dicere vox populi, vox dei; cum tumultus vulgi semper insaniæ proxima sit.
  We would not listen to those who were wont to say the voice of the people is the voice of God, for the voice of the mob is near akin to madness.
        Alcuin—Epistle to Charlemagne. Froben’s Ed. Vol. I. P. 191. (Ed. 1771). Also credited to Eadmer.
  Vox populi habet aliquid divinum: nam quomo do aliter tot capita in unum conspirare possint?
  The voice of the people has about it something divine: for how otherwise can so many heads agree together as one?
        Bacon—9. Laus, Existimatio.
The great unwashed.
        Attributed to Lord Brougham.
  The individual is foolish; the multitude, for the moment is foolish, when they act without deliberation; but the species is wise, and, when time is given to it, as a species it always acts right.
        Burke—Speech. Reform of Representation in the House of Commons. May 7, 1782.
  The tyranny of a multitude is a multiplied tyranny.
        Burke—To Thomas Mercer. Feb. 26, 1790.
  The public! why, the public’s nothing better than a great baby.
        Thos. Chalmers—Letter. Quoted by Ruskin—Sesame and Lilies. Sec. I. 40.
  Le public! le public! combien faut-il de sots pour faire un public?
  The public! the public! how many fools does it require to make the public?
  Qui ex errore imperitæ multitudinis pendet, hic in magnis viris non est habendus.
  He who hangs on the errors of the ignorant multitude, must not be counted among great men.
        Cicero—De Officiis. I. 19.
  Vulgus ex veritate pauca, ex opinione multa æstimat.
  The rabble estimate few things according to their real value, most things according to their prejudices.
        Cicero—Oratio Pro Quinto Roscio Comœdo. X. 29.
Mobile mutatur semper cum principe vulgus.
  The fickle populace always change with the prince.
        Claudianus—De Quarto Consulatu Honorii Augusti Panegyris. CCCII.
Hence ye profane; I hate you all;
Both the great vulgar, and the small.
        Cowley—Of Greatness. Translation of Horace, Ode I. Bk. III.
This many-headed monster, Multitude.
        Daniel—History of the Civil War. Bk. II. St. 13.
La clef des champs.
  The key of the fields (street).
        Used by Dickens in Pickwick Papers. Ch. XLVII. Also by George Augustus Sala in Household Words, Sept. 6, 1851.
The multitude is always in the wrong.
        Wentworth Dillon—Essay on Translated Verse. L. 184.
For who can be secure of private right,
If sovereign sway may be dissolved by might?
Nor is the people’s judgment always true:
The most may err as grossly as the few.
        Dryden—Absalom and Achitophel. Pt. I. L. 779.
  The man in the street does not know a star in the sky.
        Emerson—Conduct of Life. Worship.
  Bona prudentiæ pars est nosse stultas vulgi cupiditates, et absurdas opiniones.
  It is a good part of sagacity to have known the foolish desires of the crowd and their unreasonable notions.
        Erasmus—De Utilitate Colloquiorum. Preface.
A stiff-necked people.
        Exodus. XXXIII. 3.
Classes and masses.
        Used by Gladstone. See Moore—Fudges in England. Letter 4.
Ich wünschte sehr, der Menge zu behagen,
Besonders weil sie lebt und leben lässt.
  I wish the crowd to feel itself well treated,
  Especially since it lives and lets me live.
        Goethe—Faust Vorspiel auf dem Theater. L. 5.
Wer dem Publicum dient, ist ein armes Thier;
Er quält sich ab, niemand bedankt sich dafür.
  He who serves the public is a poor animal; he worries himself to death and no one thanks him for it.
        Goethe—Sprüche in Reimen. III.
  Knowing as “the man in the street” (as we call him at Newmarket) always does, the greatest secrets of kings, and being the confidant of their most hidden thoughts.
        Greville—Memoirs. March 22, 1830.
  No whispered rumours which the many spread can wholly perish.
        Hesiod—Works and Days. I. 763.
The leader, mingling with the vulgar host,
Is with the common mass of matter lost!
        Homer—Odyssey. Bk. IV. L. 397. Pope’s trans.
Mobilium turba Quiritium.
  The crowd of changeable citizens.
        Horace—Odes. Bk. I. 1. 7.
Spernere vulgus.
  To scorn the ill-conditioned rabble.
        Horace—Odes. Bk. II. 16, 39.
Odi profanum vulgus et ardeo.
Favete linguis.
  I hate the uncultivated crowd and keep them at a distance. Favour me by your tongues (keep silence).
        Horace—Odes. Bk. III. 1. (“Favete linguis” also found in Cicero, Ovid.)
  Reason stands aghast at the sight of an “unprincipled, immoral, incorrigible” publick; And the word of God abounds in such threats and denunciations, as must strike terror into the heart of every believer.
        Richard Hurd—Works. Vol. IV. Sermon 1.
Venale pecus.
  The venal herd.
        Juvenal—Satires. VIII. 62.
Paucite paucarum diffundere crimen in omnes.
  Do not lay on the multitude the blame that is due to a few.
        Ovid—Ars Amatoria. III. 9.
The people’s voice is odd,
It is, and it is not, the voice of God.
        Pope—To Augustus. Bk. II. Ep. I. L. 89.
  Trust not the populace; the crowd is many-minded.
        Pseudo-Phocyl. 89.
  The proverbial wisdom of the populace in the streets, on the roads, and in the markets, instructs the ear of him who studies man more fully than a thousand rules ostentatiously arranged.
        Proverbs, or the Manual of Wisdom. On the Title Page. Printed for Tabart & Co., London. (1804).
The public is a bad guesser.
        De Quincey—Essays. Protestantism.
Vox Populi, vox Dei.
  The voice of the people, the voice of God.
        Walter Reynolds, Archbishop of Canterbury. Text of Sermon when Edward III ascended the throne, Feb. 1, 1327. (Called also De Reynel and Reginald.) See John Toland—Angelia Libera. Attributed also to Walter Mephan. See G. C. Lewis—Essay on Influence of Authority. P. 172. See Aphorismi Politici, (Simon given erroneously for Walter.) Collected by Lambertum Danæum. Alluded to as an old proverb by William of Malmesbury—De Gestis Pont. Folio 114. (About 920). Hesiod—Works and Days. 763.
Who o’er the herd would wish to reign,
Fantastic, fickle, fierce, and vain?
Vain as the leaf upon the stream,
And fickle as a changeful dream;
Fantastic as a woman’s mood,
And fierce as Frenzy’s fever’d blood—
Thou many-headed monster thing,
Oh, who would wish to be thy king?
        Scott—Lady of the Lake. Canto V. St. 30.
  Faith, there have been many great men that have flattered the people, who ne’er loved them; and there be many that they have loved, they know not wherefore; so that, if they love they know not why, they hate upon no better a ground.
        Coriolanus. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 7.
  He himself stuck not to call us the many-headed multitude.
        Coriolanus. Act II. Sc. 3. L. 14.
  The play, I remember, pleased not the million; ’twas caviare to the general.
        Hamlet. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 456.
  Was ever feather so lightly blown to and fro as this multitude?
        Henry VI. Pt. II. Act IV. Sc. 8. L. 57.
Look, as I blow this feather from my face,
And as the air blows it to me again,
Obeying with my wind when I do blow,
And yielding to another when it blows,
Commanded always by the greater gust;
Such is the lightness of you common men.
        Henry VI. Pt. III. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 85.
Many-headed multitude.
        Sir Philip Sidney—Arcadia. Bk. II.
Laymen say, indeed,
How they take no heed
Their sely sheep to feed,
But pluck away and pull
The fleeces of their wool.
        Skelton—Colin Clout. Partly from Walter Mapes—Apocalypse of Golias.
Grex venalium.
  A flock of hirelings (venal pack).
        Suetonius—De Clar. Rhet. I.
Vulgus ignavum et nihil ultra verba ausurum.
  A cowardly populace which will dare nothing beyond talk.
        Tacitus—Annales. Bk. III. 58.
Neque mala, vel bona, quæ vulgus putet.
  The views of the multitude are neither bad nor good.
        Tacitus—Annales. Bk. VI. 22.
  It is to the middle class we must look for the safety of England.
        Thackeray—Four Georges. George the Third.
The public be damned.
        W. H. Vanderbilt’s amused retort when asked whether the public should be consulted about luxury trains. As reported by Clarence Dresser in Chicago Tribune, about 1883. See Letter by Ashley W. Cole in N. Y. Times, Aug. 25, 1918. Also Letter in Herald, Oct. 1, 1918, which was answered in same, Oct. 28, 1918.
        Sævitque animis ignobile vulgus,
Jamque faces et saxa volant.
  The rude rabble are enraged; now firebrands and stones fly.
        Vergil—Æneid. I. 149.
Scinditur incertum studia in contraria vulgus.
  The uncertain multitude is divided by opposite opinions.
        Vergil—Æneid. II. 39.
Vox omnibus una.
  One cry was common to them all.
        Vergil—Æneid. V. 616.
Les préjugés, ami, sont les rois du vulgaire.
  Prejudices, friend, govern the vulgar crowd.
        Voltaire—Le Fanatisme. II. 4.
Our supreme governors, the mob.
        Horace Walpole—Letter to Horace Mann. Sept. 7, 1743.
    [The] public path of life
Is dirty.
        Young—Night Thoughts. VIII. 373.

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