Home  »  Familiar Quotations  »  Thomas Paine 1737-1809 John Bartlett

John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

Thomas Paine 1737-1809 John Bartlett

    And the final event to himself [Mr. Burke] has been, that, as he rose like a rocket, he fell like the stick.
          Letter to the Addressers.
    These are the times that try men’s souls.
          The American Crisis. No. 1.
    The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related, that it is difficult to class them separately. One step above the sublime makes the ridiculous, and one step above the ridiculous makes the sublime again. 1
          Age of Reason. Part ii. note.
Note 1.
Probably this is the original of Napoleon’s celebrated mot, “Du sublime au ridicule il n’y a qu’un pas” (From the sublime to the ridiculous there is but one step). [back]