Hoyt & Roberts, comps. Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations. 1922.


There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it ill behoves any of us
To find fault with the rest of us.
Sometimes quoted “To talk about the rest of us.” Author not found. Attributed to R. L. Stevenson, not found. Lloyd Osborne, his literary executor, states he did not write it. Claimed for Governor Hoch of Kansas, in The Reader, Sept. 7, 1907, but authorship denied by him. Accredited to Ellen Thorneycroft Fowler, who denies writing it. Claimed also for Elbert Hubbard.

They love, they hate, but cannot do without him.
Aristophanes. See Plutarch—Life of Alcibiades. Langhorne’s trans.

In brief, I don’t stick to declare, Father Dick,
So they call him for short, is a regular brick;
A metaphor taken—I have not the page aright—
From an ethical work by the Stagyrite.
Barham—Brothers of Birchington. Nicomachean Ethics, section I, records Aristotle’s definition of a happy man, a four cornered, perfectly rectangular man, a faultless cube. (“A perfect brick.”)

Chevalier sans peur et sans reproche.
Knight without fear and without reproach.
Applied to Chevalier Bayard.

Zealous, yet modest; innocent, though free;
Patient of toil; serene amidst alarms;
Inflexible in faith; invincible in arms.
Beattie—The Minstrel. Bk. I. St. 11.

Many men are mere warehouses full of merchandise—the head, the heart, are stuffed with goods.***There are apartments in their souls which were once tenanted by taste, and love, and joy, and worship, but they are all deserted now, and the rooms are filled with earthy and material things.
Henry Ward Beecher—Life Thoughts.

Many men build as cathedrals were built, the part nearest the ground finished; but that part which soars toward heaven, the turrets and the spires, forever incomplete.
Henry Ward Beecher—Life Thoughts.

Most men are bad.
Attributed to Bias of Priene.

Une grande incapacité inconnue.
A great unrecognized incapacity.
Bismarck, of Napoleon III., while Minister to Paris in 1862.

I look upon you as a gem of the old rock.
Sir Thomas Browne—Dedication to Urn Burial.

No, when the fight begins within himself,
A man’s worth something.
Robert Browning—Men and Women. Bishop Blougram’s Apology.

Your father used to come home to my mother, and why may not I be a chippe of the same block out of which you two were cutte?
Bullen’s Old Plays. II. 60. Dick of Devonshire.

Are you a bromide?
Gelett Burgess—Title of Essay. First pub. in Smart Set, April, 1906.

All men that are ruined, are ruined on the side of their natural propensities.
Burke—Letters. Letter I. On a Regicide Peace.

He was not merely a chip of the old Block, but the old Block itself.
Burke—About Wm. Pitt—Wraxall’s Memoirs. Vol. II. P. 342.

From their folded mates they wander far,
Their ways seem harsh and wild:
They follow the beck of a baleful star,
Their paths are dream-beguiled.
Richard Burton—Black Sheep.

Hannibal, as he had mighty virtues, so had he many vices;***he had two distinct persons in him.
Burton—Anatomy of Melancholy. Democritus to the Reader.

Heroic, stoic Cato, the sententious,
Who lent his lady to his friend Hortensius.
Byron—Don Juan. Canto VI. St. 7.

So well she acted all and every part
By turns—with that vivacious versatility,
Which many people take for want of heart.
They err—’tis merely what is call’d mobility,
A thing of temperament and not of art,
Though seeming so, from its supposed facility;
And false—though true; for surely they’re sincerest
Who are strongly acted on by what is nearest.
Byron—Dan Juan. Canto XVI. St. 97.

With more capacity for love than earth
Bestows on most of mortal mould and birth,
His early dreams of good out-stripp’d the truth,
And troubled manhood follow’d baffled youth.
Byron—Lara. Canto I. St. 18.

Genteel in personage,
Conduct, and equipage;
Noble by heritage,
Generous and free.
Henry Carey—The Contrivances. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 22.

Clever men are good, but they are not the best.
Carlyle—Goethe. Edinburgh Review. (1828).

We are firm believers in the maxim that, for all right judgment of any man or thing, it is useful, nay, essential, to see his good qualities before pronouncing on his bad.
Carlyle—Essays. Goethe.

It is in general more profitable to reckon up our defects than to boast of our attainments.
Carlyle—Essays. Signs of the Times.

It can be said of him, When he departed he took a Man’s life with him. No sounder piece of British manhood was put together in that eighteenth century of Time.
Carlyle—Sir Walter Scott. London and Westminster Review. (1838).

Thou art a cat, and rat, and a coward to boot.
Cervantes—Don Quixote. Pt. I. Bk. III. Ch. VIII.

Every one is the son of his own works.
Cervantes—Don Quixote. Pt. I. Bk. IV. Ch. XX.

I can look sharp as well as another, and let me alone to keep the cobwebs out of my eyes.
Cervantes—Don Quixote. Pt. II. Ch. XXXIII.

Cada uno es come Dios le hijo, y aun peor muchas vezes.
Every one is as God made him, and often a great deal worse.
Cervantes—Don Quixote. XI. 5.

He was a verray perfight gentil knight.
Chaucer—Canterbury Tales. Prologue. L. 72.

The nation looked upon him as a deserter, and he shrunk into insignificancy and an Earldom.
Chesterfield—Character of Pulteney. (1763).

Importunitas autem, et inhumanitas omni ætati molesta est.
But a perverse temper and fretful disposition make any state of life unhappy.
Cicero—De Senectute. III.

Ut ignis in aquam conjectus, continuo restinguitur et refrigeratur, sic refervens falsum crimen in purissimam et castissimam vitam collatum, statim concidit et extinguitur.
As fire when thrown into water is cooled down and put out, so also a false accusation when brought against a man of the purest and holiest character, boils over and is at once dissipated, and vanishes.
Cicero—Oratio Pro Quinto Roscio Comædo. VI.

What was said of Cinna might well be applied to him. He [Hampden] had a head to contrive, a tongue to persuade, and a hand to execute, any mischief.
Ed. Hyde, Lord Clarendon—History of the Rebellion. Vol. III. Bk. VII.

In numbers warmly pure, and sweetly strong.
Collins—Ode to Simplicity.

Not to think of men above that which is written.
I. Corinthians. IV. 6.

An honest man, close-button’d to the chin,
Broadcloth without, and a warm heart within.
Cowper—Epistle to Joseph Hill.

He cannot drink five bottles, bilk the score,
Then kill a constable, and drink five more;
But he can draw a pattern, make a tart,
And has ladies’ etiquette by heart.
Cowper—Progress of Error. L. 191.

Elegant as simplicity, and warm
As ecstasy.
Cowper—Table Talk. L. 588.

Virtue and vice had boundaries in old time,
Not to be pass’d.
Cowper—Task. Bk. III. L. 75.

He’s tough, ma’am,—tough is J. B.; tough and de-vilish sly.
Dickens—Dombey and Son. Ch. VII.

O Mrs. Higden, Mrs. Higden, you was a woman and a mother, and a mangler in a million million.
Dickens—Mutual Friend. Ch. IX.

I know their tricks and their manners.
Dickens—Mutual Friend. Bk. II. Ch. I.

A demd damp, moist, unpleasant body.
Dickens—Nicholas Nickleby. Ch. XXXIV.

Men of light and leading.
Benj. Disraeli—Sybil. Bk. V. Ch. I. Also in Burke—Reflections on the Revolution in France. P. 419. (Ed. 1834).

A man so various, that he seem’d to be
Not one, but all mankind’s epitome;
Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong,
Was everything by starts, and nothing long;
But in the course of one revolving moon,
Was chymist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon.
Dryden—Absalom and Achitophel. Pt. I. L. 545.

So over violent, or over civil,
That every man with him was God or Devil.
Dryden—Absalom and Achitophel. Pt. I. L. 557.

For every inch that is not fool, is rogue.
Dryden—Absalom and Achitophel. Pt. II. L. 463.

Her wit was more than man, her innocence a child.
Dryden—Elegy on Mrs. Killigrew. L. 70.

Thus all below is strength, and all above is grace.
Dryden—Epistle to Congreve. L. 19.

Plain without pomp, and rich without a show.
Dryden—The Flower and the Leaf. L. 187.

There is a great deal of unmapped country within us which would have to be taken into account in an explanation of our gusts and storms.
George Eliot—Daniel Deronda. Bk. III. Ch. XXIV.

She was and is (what can there more be said?)
On earth the first, in heaven the second maid.
Tribute to Queen Elizabeth. MS. 4712, in British Museum. Atscough’s Catalogue.

A trip-hammer, with an Æolian attachment.
Emerson, of Carlyle, after meeting him in 1848.

Character is higher than intellect.***A great soul will be strong to live, as well as to think.
Emerson—American Scholar.

No change of circumstances can repair a defect of character.
Emerson—Essay. On Character.

A great character, founded on the living rock of principle, is, in fact, not a solitary phenomenon, to be at once perceived, limited, and described. It is a dispensation of Providence, designed to have not merely an immediate, but a continuous, progressive, and never-ending agency. It survives the man who possessed it; survives his age,—perhaps his country, his language.
Ed. Everett—Speech. The Youth of Washington. July 4, 1835.

Human improvement is from within outwards.
Froude—Short Studies on Great Subjects. Divus Cæsar.

Our thoughts and our conduct are our own.
Froude—Short Studies on Great Subjects. Education.

Every one of us, whatever our speculative opinions, knows better than he practices, and recognizes a better law than he obeys.
Froude—Short Studies on Great Subjects. On Progress. Pt. II.

Weak and beggarly elements.
Galatians. IV. 9.

In every deed of mischief, he [Andronicus Comnenus] had a heart to resolve, a head to contrive, and a hand to execute.
Gibbon—Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Vol. IX. P. 94.

That man may last, but never lives,
Who much receives, but nothing gives;
Whom none can love, whom none can thank,—
Creation’s blot, creation’s blank.
Thomas Gibbons—When Jesus Dwelt.

A man not perfect, but of heart
So high, of such heroic rage,
That even his hopes became a part
Of earth’s eternal heritage.
R. W. Gilder—At the President’s Grave. Epitaph for President Garfield, Sept. 19, 1881.

To be engaged in opposing wrong affords, under the conditions of our mental constitution, but a slender guarantee for being right.
Gladstone—Time and Place of Homer. Introduction.

Aufrichtig zu sein kann ich versprechen; unparteiisch zu sein aber nicht.
I can promise to be upright, but not to be without bias.
Goethe—Sprüche in Prosa. III.

Es bildet ein Talent sich in der Stille,
Sich ein Charakter in dem Strom der Welt.
Talent is nurtured in solitude; character is formed in the stormy billows of the world.
Goethe—Torquato Tasso. I. 2. 66.

Welch’ höher Geist in einer engen Brust.
What a mighty spirit in a narrow bosom.
Goethe—Torquato Tasso. II. 3. 199.

Our Garrick’s a salad; for in him we see
Oil, vinegar, sugar, and saltness agree.
Goldsmith—Retaliation. L. 11.

Though equal to all things, for all things unfit;
Too nice for a statesman, too proud for a wit.
Goldsmith—Retaliation. L. 37.

Hands, that the rod of empire might have swayed,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre.
Gray—Elegy in a Country Churchyard. St. 12.

He were n’t no saint—but at jedgment
I’d run my chance with Jim.
’Longside of some pious gentlemen
That wouldn’t shook hands with him.
He seen his duty, a dead-sure thing—
And went for it thar and then;
And Christ ain’t a-going to be too hard
On a man that died for men.
John Hay—Jim Bludso.

Anyone must be mainly ignorant or thoughtless, who is surprised at everything he sees; or wonderfully conceited who expects everything to conform to his standard of propriety.
Hazlitt—Lectures on the English Comic Writers. On Wit and Humour.

Kein Talent, doch ein Charakter.
No talent, but yet a character.
Heine—Atta Troll. Caput 24.

O Dowglas, O Dowglas!
Tendir and trewe.
Sir Richard Holland—The Buke of the Howlat. St. XXXI. First printed in appendix to Pinkerton’s Collection of Scottish Poems. III. P. 146. (Ed. 1792).

We must have a weak spot or two in a character before we can love it much. People that do not laugh or cry, or take more of anything than is good for them, or use anything but dictionary-words, are admirable subjects for biographies. But we don’t care most for those flat pattern flowers that press best in the herbarium.
Holmes—Professor at the Breakfast Table. Ch. III. Iris.

Whatever comes from the brain carries the hue of the place it came from, and whatever comes from the heart carries the heat and color of its birthplace.
Holmes—Professor at the Breakfast Table. Ch. VI.

In death a hero, as in life a friend!
Homer—Iliad. Bk. XVII. L. 758. Pope’s trans.

Wise to resolve, and patient to perform.
Homer—Odyssey. Bk. IV. L. 372. Pope’s trans.

Gentle of speech, beneficent of mind.
Homer—Odyssey. Bk. IV. L. 917. Pope’s trans.

But he whose inborn worth his acts commend,
Of gentle soul, to human race a friend.
Homer—Odyssey. Bk. XIX. L. 383. Pope’s trans.

Integer vitæ scelerisque purus
Non eget Mauris incidis neque arcu
Nec venenatis gravida sagittis
Fusce pharetra.
If whole in life, and free from sin,
Man needs no Moorish bow, nor dart
Nor quiver, carrying death within
By poison’s art.
Horace—Carmina. I. 22. 1. Gladstone’s trans.

Paullum sepultæ distat inertiæ
Celata virtus.
Excellence when concealed, differs but little from buried worthlessness.
Horace—Carmina. IV. 9. 29.

Argilla quidvis imitaberis uda.
Thou canst mould him into any shape like soft clay.
Horace—Epistles. II. 2. 8.

A Soul of power, a well of lofty Thought
A chastened Hope that ever points to Heaven.
John Hunter—Sonnet. A Replication of Rhymes.

He was worse than provincial—he was parochial.
Henry James, Jr.—Of Thoreau. A Critical Life of Hawthorne.

If he does really think that there is no distinction between virtue and vice, why, Sir, when he leaves our houses let us count our spoons.
Samuel Johnson—Boswell’s Life. (1763).

A very unclubable man.
Samuel Johnson—Boswell’s Life. Note. (1764).

Officious, innocent, sincere,
Of every friendless name the friend.
Samuel Johnson—Verses on the Death of Mr. Robert Levet. St. 2.

The heart to conceive, the understanding to direct, or the hand to execute.
Junius—City Address and the King’s Answer. Letter XXXVII. March 19, 1770.

Nemo repente venit turpissimus.
No one ever became thoroughly bad all at once.
Juvenal—Satires. II. 33.

He is truly great that is little in himself, and that maketh no account of any height of honors.
Thomas à Kempis—Imitation of Christ. Bk. I. Ch. III.

E’en as he trod that day to God,
So walked he from his birth,
In simpleness, and gentleness and honor
And clean mirth.
Kipling—Barrack Room Ballads. Dedication to Wolcott Balestier. (Adaptation of an earlier one.)

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet
Till earth and sky stand presently at God’s great judgment seat;
But there is neither East nor West, border nor breed nor birth
When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth!
Kipling—Barrack-Room Ballads. Ballad of East and West.

La physionomie n’est pas une règle qui nous soit donnée pour juger des hommes; elle nous peut servir de conjecture.
Physiognomy is not a guide that has been given us by which to judge of the character of men: it may only serve us for conjecture.
La Bruyère—Les Caractères. XII.

Incivility is not a Vice of the Soul, but the effect of several Vices; of Vanity, Ignorance of Duty, Laziness, Stupidity, Distraction, Contempt of others, and Jealousy.
La Bruyère—The Characters or Manners of the Present Age. Vol. II. Ch. XI.

On n’est jamais si ridicule par les qualités que l’on a que par celles que l’on affecte d’avoir.
The qualities we have do not make us so ridiculous as those which we affect to have.
La Rochefoucauld—Maximes. 134.

Famæ ac fidei damna majora sunt quam quæ æstimari possunt.
The injury done to character is greater than can be estimated.
Livy—Annales. III. 72.

A tender heart; a will inflexible.
Longfellow—Christus. Pt. III. The New England Tragedies. John Endicott. Act III. Sc. 2.

So mild, so merciful, so strong, so good,
So patient, peaceful, loyal, loving, pure.
Longfellow—Christus. The Golden Legend. Pt. V. L. 319.

Sensitive, swift to resent, but as swift in atoning for error.
Longfellow—Courtship of Miles Standish. Pt. IX. The Wedding Day.

In this world a man must either be anvil or hammer.
Longfellow—Hyperion. Bk. IV. Ch. VI.

Not in the clamor of the crowded street,
Not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng,
But in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.
Longfellow—The Poets.

For me Fate gave, whate’er she else denied,
A nature sloping to the southern side;
I thank her for it, though when clouds arise
Such natures double-darken gloomy skies.
Lowell—An Epistle to George William Curtis. Postscript 1887. L. 53.

All that hath been majestical
In life or death, since time began,
Is native in the simple heart of all,
The angel heart of man.
Lowell—An Incident in a Railroad Car. St. 10.

Our Pilgrim stock wuz pethed with hardihood.
Lowell—Biglaw Papers. Second Series. No. 6. L. 38.

Soft-heartedness, in times like these,
Shows sof’ness in the upper story.
Lowell—Biglow Papers. Second Series. No. 7. L. 119.

Endurance is the crowning quality,
And patience all the passion of great hearts.
Lowell—Columbus. L. 237.

For she was jes’ the quiet kind
Whose naturs never vary,
Like streams that keep a summer mind
Snowhid in Jenooary.
Lowell—The Courtin’. St. 22.

His Nature’s a glass of champagne with the foam on ’t,
As tender as Fletcher, as witty as Beaumont;
So his best things are done in the flash of the moment.
Lowell—Fable for Critics. L. 834.

It is by presence of mind in untried emergencies that the native metal of a man is tested.
Lowell—My Study Windows. Abraham Lincoln.

A nature wise
With finding in itself the types of all,—
With watching from the dim verge of the time
What things to be are visible in the gleams
Thrown forward on them from the luminous past,—
Wise with the history of its own frail heart,
With reverence and sorrow, and with love,
Broad as the world, for freedom and for man.
Lowell—Prometheus. L. 216.

Eripitur persona, manet res.
The mask is torn off, while the reality remains.
Lucretius—De Rerum Natura. III. 58.

There thou beholdest the walls of Sparta, and every man a brick.
Lycurgus, according to Plutarch.

We hardly know any instance of the strength and weakness of human nature so striking and so grotesque as the character of this haughty, vigilant, resolute, sagacious blue-stocking, half Mithridates and half Trissotin, bearing up against a world in arms, with an ounce of poison in one pocket and a quire of bad verses in the other.
Macaulay—Frederick the Great. (1842).

And the chief-justice was rich, quiet, and infamous.
Macaulay—Warren Hastings. (1841).

Men look to the East for the dawning things, for the light of a rising sun
But they look to the West, to the crimson West, for the things that are done, are done.
Douglas Malloch—East and West.

Now will I show myself to have more of the serpent than the dove; that is—more knave than fool.
Marlowe—The Jew of Malta. Act II. Sc. 3.

Au demeurant, le meilleur fils du monde.
In other respecte the best fellow in the world.
Clement Marot—Letter to Francis I.

In all thy humours, whether grave or mellow,
Thou’rt such a touchy, testy, pleasant fellow;
Hast so much wit, and mirth, and spleen about thee,
That there’s no living with thee, or without thee.
Martial—Epigrams. Bk. XII. Ep. 47. Trans. by Addison. Spectator. No. 68.

And, but herself, admits no parallel.
Massinger—Duke of Milan. Act IV. Sc. 3.

Hereafter he will make me know,
And I shall surely find.
He was too wise to err, and O,
Too good to be unkind.
Medley—Hymn. Claimed for Rev. Thomas East, but not found.

Who knows nothing base,
Fears nothing known.
Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton)—A Great Man. St. 8.

Sae true his heart, sae smooth his speech,
His breath like caller air,
His very foot has music in ’t,
As he comes up the stair.
W. J. Mickle—Ballad of Cumnor Hall. Mariner’s Wife. Attributed also to Jean Adam, evidence in favor of Mickle. Claimed also for McPherson as a MS. copy was found among his papers after his death.

In men whom men condemn as ill
I find so much of goodness still,
In men whom men pronounce divine
I find so much of sin and blot
I do not dare to draw a line
Between the two, where God has not.
Joaquin Miller—Byron. St. 1. (Bear ed. 1909, changes “I hesitate” to “I do not dare.”)

He that has light within his own clear breast
May sit i’ the centre, and enjoy bright day:
But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts
Benighted walks under the mid-day sun;
Himself his own dungeon.
Milton—Comus. L. 381.

Yet, where an equal poise of hope and fear
Does arbitrate the event, my nature is
That I incline to hope rather than fear,
And gladly banish squint suspicion.
Milton—Comus. L. 410.

Quips and Cranks and wanton Wiles,
Nods and Becks and wreathèd Smiles.
Milton—L’Allegro. L. 27.

Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. II. L. 185.

Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. III. L. 99.

For contemplation he and valor formed,
For softness she and sweet attractive grace.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. IV. L. 297.

Adam the goodliest man of men since born
His sons, the fairest of her daughters, Eve.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. IV. L. 323.

Her virtue and the conscience of her worth,
That would be wooed, and not unsought be won.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. VIII. L. 502.

Les hommes, fripons en détail, sont en gros de très-honnêtes gens.
Men, who are rogues individually, are in the mass very honorable people.
Montesquieu—De l’Esprit. XXV. C. 2.

Good at a fight, but better at a play;
Godlike in giving, but the devil to pay.
Moore—On a Cast of Sheridan’s Hand.

To those who know thee not, no words can paint;
And those who know thee, know all words are faint!
Hannah More—Sensibility.

To set the Cause above renown,
To love the game beyond the prize,
To honour, while you strike him down,
The foe that comes with fearless eyes;
To count the life of battle good,
And dear the land that gave you birth;
And dearer yet the brotherhood
That binds the brave of all the earth.
Henry J. Newbolt—The Island Race. Clifton Chapel.

Video meliora proboque,
Deteriora sequor.
I see and approve better things, I follow the worse.
Ovid—Metamorphoses. VII. 20. Same in Petrarch—To Laura in Life. XXI.

Every man has at times in his mind the ideal of what he should be, but is not. This ideal may be high and complete, or it may be quite low and insufficient; yet in all men that really seek to improve, it is better than the actual character.***Man never falls so low that he can see nothing higher than himself.
Theodore Parker—Critical and Miscellaneous Writings. Essay I. A Lesson for the Day.

Il ne se déboutonna jamais.
He never unbuttons himself.
Said of Sir Robert Peel, according to Croker.

Udum et molle lutum es: nunc, nunc properandus et acri
Fingendus sine fine rota.
Thou art moist and soft clay; thou must instantly be shaped by the glowing wheel.
Persius—Satires. III. 23.

Tecum habita, et noris quam sit tibi curta supellex.
Retire within thyself, and thou will discover how small a stock is there.
Persius—Satires. IV. 52.

Grand, gloomy and peculiar, he sat upon the throne, a sceptred hermit, wrapped in the solitude of his awful originality.
Charles Phillips—Character of Napoleon I.

Optimum et emendatissimum existimo, qui ceteris ita ignoscit, tanquam ipse quotidie peccet; ita peccatis abstinet, tanquam nemini ignoscat.
The highest of characters, in my estimation, is his, who is as ready to pardon the moral errors of mankind, as if he were every day guilty of some himself; and at the same time as cautious of committing a fault as if he never forgave one.
Pliny the Younger—Epistles. VIII.

Good-humor only teaches charms to last,
Still makes new conquests and maintains the past.
Pope—Epistle to Miss Blount. With the Works of Voiture.

Of Manners gentle, of Affections mild;
In Wit a man; Simplicity, a child.
Pope—Epitaph XI.

’Tis from high Life high Characters are drawn;
A Saint in Crape is twice a Saint in Lawn:
A Judge is just, a Chanc’llor juster still;
A Gownman learn’d; a Bishop what you will;
Wise if a minister; but if a King,
More wise, more learn’d, more just, more ev’rything.
Pope—Moral Essays. Ep. I. Pt. II.

With too much Quickness ever to be taught;
With too much Thinking to have common Thought.
Pope—Moral Essays. Ep. II. L. 97.

From loveless youth to unrespected age,
No passion gratified, except her rage,
So much the fury still outran the wit,
That pleasure miss’d her, and the scandal hit.
Pope—Moral Essays. Ep. II. L. 125.

In men we various ruling passions find;
In women two almost divide the kind;
Those only fixed, they first or last obey,
The love of pleasure, and the love of sway.
Pope—Moral Essays. Ep. II. L. 207.

Beauty that shocks you, parts that none will trust,
Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust.
Pope—Prologue to Satires. L. 332.

What then remains, but well our power to use,
And keep good-humor still whate’er we lose?
And trust me, dear, good-humor can prevail,
When airs, and flights, and screams, and scolding fail.
Pope—Rape of the Lock. Canto V. L. 29.

Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.
Pope—Rape of the Lock. Canto V. L. 34.

No man’s defects sought they to know;
So never made themselves a foe.
No man’s good deeds did they commend;
So never rais’d themselves a friend.

So much his courage and his mercy strive,
He wounds to cure, and conquers to forgive.
Prior—Ode in Imitation of Horace. Bk. III. Ode II.

He that sweareth
Till no man trust him.
He that lieth
Till no man believe him;
He that borroweth
Till no man will lend him;
Let him go where
No man knoweth him.
Hugh Rhodes—Cautions.

Nie zeichnet der Mensch den eignen Charakter schärfer als in seiner Manier, einen Fremden zu zeichnen.
A man never shows his own character so plainly as by his manner of portraying another’s.
Jean Paul Richter—Titan. Zykel 110.

Devout yet cheerful, active yet resigned.
Rogers—Pleasures of Memory.

Was never eie did see that face,
Was never eare did heare that tong,
Was never minde did minde his grace,
That ever thought the travell long,
But eies and eares and ev’ry thought
Were with his sweete perfections caught.
Mathew Royden—An Elegie. On the Death of Sir Philip Sidney.

It is of the utmost importance that a nation should have a correct standard by which to weigh the character of its rulers.
Lord John Russell—Introduction to the 3rd Vol. of the Correspondence of the Duke of Bedford.

Da krabbeln sie num, wie die Ratten auf der Keule des Hercules.
They [the present generation] are like rats crawling about the club of Hercules.
Schiller—Die Räuber. I. 2.

Gemeine Naturen
Zahlen mit dem, was sie thun, edle mit dem, was sie sind.
Common natures pay with what they do, noble ones with what they are.
Schiller—Unterschied der Stände.

Quæris Alcidæ parem?
Nemo est nisi ipse.
Do you seek Alcides’ equal? None is, except himself.
Seneca—Hercules Furens. I. 1. 84.

I know him a notorious liar,
Think him a great way fool, solely a coward;
Yet these fix’d evils sit so fit in him,
That they take place, when virtue’s steely bones
Look bleak i’ the cold wind.
All’s Well That Ends Well. Act I. Sc. 1. L. 111.

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-faced, worse-bodied, shapeless everywhere;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
Comedy of Errors. Act IV. Sc. 2. L. 19.

Though I am not splenitive and rash,
Yet have I something in me dangerous.
Hamlet. Act V. Sc. 1. L. 285.

There’s neither honesty, manhood, nor good fellowship in thee.
Henry IV. Pt. I. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 154.

I am no proud Jack, like Falstaff; but a
Corinthian, glad of mettle, a good boy.
Henry IV. Pt. I. Act II. Sc. 4. L. 12.

What a frosty-spirited rogue is this!
Henry IV. Pt. I. Act II. Sc. 3. L. 21.

This bold bad man.
Henry VIII. Act II. Sc. 2.

O, he sits high in all the people’s hearts:
And that which would appear offence in us.
His countenance, like richest alchemy,
Will change to virtue and to worthiness.
Julius Cæsar. Act I. Sc. 3. L. 157.

Thou art most rich, being poor;
Most choice, forsaken; and most lov’d, despis’d!
Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon.
King Lear. Act I. Sc. 1. L. 252.

I do profess to be no less than I seem; to serve him truly that will put me in trust; to love him that is honest; to converse with him that is wise, and says little; to fear judgment; to fight when I cannot choose; and to eat no fish.
King Lear. Act I. Sc. 4. L. 14.

What thou wouldst highly,
That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false,
And yet wouldst wrongly win.
Macbeth. Act I. Sc. 5. L. 21.

I grant him bloody,
Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful,
Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin
That has a name.
Macbeth. Act IV. Sc. 3. L. 57.

There is a kind of character in thy life,
That to the observer doth thy history
Fully unfold.
Measure for Measure. Act I. Sc. 1. L. 28.

Nature hath fram’d strange fellows in her time:
Some that will evermore peep through their eyes,
And laugh, like parrots, at a bagpiper:
And other of such vinegar aspect
That they’ll not show their teeth in way of smile,
Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.
Merchant of Venice. Act I. Sc. 1. L. 51.

When he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.
Merchant of Venice. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 94.

You are thought here to be the most senseless and fit man for the constable of the watch; therefore bear you the lantern.
Much Ado About Nothing. Act III. Sc. 3. L. 20.

Why, now I see there’s mettle in thee, and even from this instant do build on thee a better opinion than ever before.
Othello. Act IV. Sc. 2. L. 205.

He hath a daily beauty in his life
That makes me ugly.
Othello. Act V. Sc. 1. L. 19.

O do not slander him, for he is kind.
Right; as snow in harvest.
Richard III. Act I. Sc. 4. L. 240.

Now do I play the touch,
To try if thou be current gold indeed.
Richard III. Act IV. Sc. 2. L. 9.

How this grace
Speaks his own standing! what a mental power
This eye shoots forth! How big imagination
Moves in this lip! to the dumbness of the gesture
One might interpret.
Timon of Athens. Act I. Sc. 1. L. 30.

The trick of singularity.
Twelfth Night. Act II. Sc. 5. L. 164.

He wants wit that wants resolved will.
Two Gentlemen of Verona. Act II. Sc. 6. L. 12.

His words are bonds, his oaths are oracles;
His love sincere, his thoughts immaculate;
His heart as far from fraud as heaven from earth.
Two Gentlemen of Verona. Act II. Sc. 7. L. 75.

As headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile.
Sheridan—Rivals. Act III. St. 3.

I’m called away by particular business. But I leave my character behind me.
Sheridan—School far Scandal. Act II. Sc. 2.

Messieurs, nous avons un maître, ce jeune homme fait tout, peut tout, et veut tout.
Gentlemen, we have a master; this young man does everything, can do everything and will do everything.
Attributed to Sieyès, who speaks of Bonaparte.

It is energy—the central element of which is will—that produces the miracles of enthusiasm in all ages. Everywhere it is the main-spring of what is called force of character, and the sustaining power of all great action.
Samuel Smiles—Character. Ch. V.

Lax in their gaiters, laxer in their gait.
Horace and James Smith—Rejected Addresses. The Theatre.

Daniel Webster struck me much like a steam engine in trousers.
Sydney Smith—Lady Holland’s Memoir. Vol. I. P. 267.

He [Macaulay] is like a book in breeches.
Sydney Smith—Lady Holland’s Memoir. Ch. IX.

There is no man suddenly either excellently good or extremely evil.
Sydney Smith—Arcadia. Bk. I.

A bold bad man!
Spenser—Faerie Queene. Bk. I. Canto I. St. 37.

Worth, courage, honor, these indeed
Your sustenance and birthright are.
E. C. Stedman—Beyond the Portals. Pt. 10.

Yet though her mien carries much more invitation than command, to behold her is an immediate check to loose behaviour; and to love her is a liberal education.
Steele—Tatler. No. 49. (Of Lady Elizabeth Hastings.)

It’s the bad that’s in the best of us
Leaves the saint so like the rest of us!
It’s the good in the darkest-curst of us
Redeems and saves the worst of us!
It’s the muddle of hope and madness;
It’s the tangle of good and badness;
It’s the lunacy linked with sanity
Makes up, and mocks, humanity!
Arthur Stringer—Humanity.

High characters (cries one), and he would see
Things that ne’er were, nor are, nor e’er will be.
Sir John Suckling—The Goblin’s Epilogue.

The true greatness of nations is in those qualities which constitute the greatness of the individual.
Charles Sumner—Oration on the True Grandeur of Nations.

His own character is the arbiter of every one’s fortune.
Syrus—Maxims. 286.

Inerat tamen simplicitas ac liberalitas, quæ, nisi adsit modus in exitium vertuntur.
He possessed simplicity and liberality, qualities which beyond a certain limit lead to ruin.
Tacitus—Annales. III. 86.

In turbas et discordias pessimo euique plurima vis: pax et quies bonis artibus indigent.
In seasons of tumult and discord bad men have most power; mental and moral excellence require peace and quietness.
Tacitus—Annales. IV. 1.

A man should endeavor to be as pliant as a reed, yet as hard as cedar-wood.
Talmud—Taanith. 20.

Brama assai, poco spera e nulla chiede.
He, full of bashfulness and truth, loved much, hoped little, and desired naught.
Tasso—Gerusalemme. II. 16.

Fame is what you have taken,
Character’s what you give;
When to this truth you waken,
Then you begin to live.
Bayard Taylor—Improvisations. St. XI.

The hearts that dare are quick to feel;
The hands that wound are soft to heal.
Bayard Taylor—Soldiers of Peace.

Such souls,
Whose sudden visitations daze the world,
Vanish like lightning, but they leave behind
A voice that in the distance far away
Wakens the slumbering ages.
Henry Taylor—Philip Van Artevelde. Pt. I. Act I. Sc. 7.

He makes no friend who never made a foe.
Tennyson—Idylls of the King. Launcelot and Elaine. L. 1109.

Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control.

And one man is as good as another—and a great dale betther, as the Irish philosopher said.
Thackeray—Roundabout Papers. On Ribbons.

None but himself can be his parallel.
Lewis Theobald—The Double Falsehood. Quoted by Pope—Dunciad. II. 272. Taken probably from the inscription under the portrait of Col. Strangeways, as quoted by Dodd—Epigrammatists. P. 533. (Shee can bee immytated by none, nor paralleld by anie but by herselfe. S.R.N.I. Votivæ Anglicæ. (1624).

Whoe’er amidst the sons
Of reason, valor, liberty and virtue,
Displays distinguished merit, is a noble
Of Nature’s own creating.
Thomson—Coriolanus. Act III. Sc. 3.

Just men, by whom impartial laws were given,
And saints, who taught and led the way to heaven!
Tickell—On the Death of Mr. Addison. L. 41.

Nor e’er was to the bowers of bliss conveyed
A fairer spirit, or more welcome shade.
Tickell—On the Death of Mr. Addison. L. 45.

Quantum instar in ipso est.
None but himself can be his parallel.
Vergil—Æneid. VI. L. 865. He [Cæsar] was equal only to himself. Sir William Temple. As quoted by Granger—Biographical History. Found in Dodd—Epigrammatists.

Uni odiisque viro telisque frequentibus instant.
Ille velut rupes vastum quæ prodit in æquor,
Obvia ventorum furiis, expostaque ponto,
Vim cunctam atque minas perfert cœlique marisque,
Ipsa immota manens.
They attack this one man with their hate and their shower of weapons. But he is like some rock which stretches into the vast sea and which, exposed to the fury of the winds and beaten against by the waves, endures all the violence and threats of heaven and sea, himself standing unmoved.
Vergil—Æneid. X. 692.

Accipe nunc Danaum insidias, et crimine ab uno
Disce omnes.
Learn now of the treachery of the Greeks, and from one example the character of the nation may be known.
Vergil—Æneid. II. 65.

Il [le Chevalier de Belle-Isle] était capable de tout imaginer, de tout arranger, et de tout faire.
He (the Chevalier de Belle-Isle) was capable of imagining all, of arranging all, and of doing everything.
Voltaire—Siècle de Louis XV. Works. XXI. P. 67.

Lord of the golden tongue and smiting eyes;
Great out of season and untimely wise:
A man whose virtue, genius, grandeur, worth,
Wrought deadlier ill than ages can undo.
Wm. Watson—The Political Luminary.

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good as belongs to you.
Walt Whitman—Song of Myself. I.

Formed on the good old plan,
A true and brave and downright honest man!
He blew no trumpet in the market-place,
Nor in the church with hypocritic face
Supplied with cant the lack of Christian grace;
Loathing pretence, he did with cheerful will
What others talked of while their hands were still.
Whittier—Daniel Neall. II.

One that would peep and botanize
Upon his mother’s grave.
Wordsworth—A Poet’s Epitaph. St. 5.

But who, if he be called upon to face
Some awful moment to which Heaven has joined
Great issues, good or bad for humankind,
Is happy as a lover.
Wordsworth—Character of a Happy Warrior. L. 48.

Whom neither shape of danger can dismay,
Nor thought of tender happiness betray.
Wordsworth—Character of a Happy Warrior. L. 72.

The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength and skill.
Wordsworth—She was a Phantom of Delight.

The man that makes a character, makes foes.
Young—Epistles to Mr. Pope. Ep. I. L. 28.

The man who consecrates his hours
By vig’rous effort and an honest aim,
At once he draws the sting of life and death;
He walks with nature and her paths are peace.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night II. L. 187.