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


Knowledge is, indeed, that which, next to virtue, truly and essentially raises one man above another.
Addison—The Guardian. Letter of Alexander to Aristotle. No. 111.

There are four kinds of people, three of which are to be avoided and the fourth cultivated: those who don’t know that they don’t know; those who know that they don’t know; those who don’t know that they know; and those who know that they know.
Anon. Rendering of the Arab Proverb.

For all knowledge and wonder (which is the seed of knowledge) is an impression of pleasure in itself.
Bacon—Advancement of Learning. Bk. I.

Knowledge and human power are synonymous, since the ignorance of the cause frustrates the effect.
Bacon—Novum Organum. Aphorism III.

Knowledge bloweth up, but charity buildeth up.
Bacon—Rendering of I Cor. VIII. I.

Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.
For knowledge, too, is itself a power.
Bacon—Treatise. De Hæresiis. Hobbes—Leviathan. Ch. IX; Ch. X. Used phrase “Knowledge is power.”

Pursuit of knowledge under difficulties.
Title given by Lord Brougham to a book published under the superintendence of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. (1830). Duke of Sussex—Address to the Royal Society. (1839). Prof. Craik—Volume bearing this title. (1828).

Men are four:
He who knows not and knows not he knows not, he is a fool—shun him;
He who knows not and knows he knows not, he is simple—teach him;
He who knows and knows not he knows, he is asleep—wake him;
He who knows and knows he knows, he is wise—follow him!
Lady Burton—Life of Sir Richard Burton. Given as an Arabian Proverb. Another rendering in the Spectator, Aug. 11, 1894. P. 176. In Hesiod—Works and Days. 293. 7. Quoted by Aristotle—Nic. Eth. I. 4. Cicero—Pro Cluent. 31. Livy—Works. XXII. 29.

He knew what’s what, and that’s as high
As metaphysic wit can fly.
Butler—Hudibras. Pt. I. Canto I. L. 149.

Deep sighted in intelligences,
Ideas, atoms, influences.
Butler—Hudibras. Pt. I. Canto I. L. 533.

Nor do I know what is become
Of him, more than the Pope of Rome.
Butler—Hudibras. Pt. I. Canto III. L. 263.

He knew whats’ever ’s to be known,
But much more than he knew would own.
Butler—Hudibras. Pt. II. Canto III. L. 297.

The tree of knowledge is not that of life.
Byron—Manfred. Act I. Sc. 1.

Knowledge is not happiness, and science
But an exchange of ignorance for that
Which is another kind of ignorance.
Byron—Manfred. Act II. Sc. 4.

There’s lots of people—this town wouldn’t hold them;
Who don’t know much excepting what’s told them.
Will Carleton—City Ballads. P. 143.

For love is ever the beginning of Knowledge, as fire is of light.
Carlyle—Essays. Death of Goethe.

What is all Knowledge too but recorded Experience, and a product of History; of which, therefore, Reasoning and Belief, no less than Action and Passion, are essential materials?
Carlyle—Essays. On History.

Ne quis nimis. (From the Greek.)
Know thyself.
Inscription attributed to Chilo of Thales, Pythagoras, Solon, on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.

Nam non solum scire aliquid, artis est, sed, quædam ars etiam docendi.
Not only is there an art in knowing a thing, but also a certain art in teaching it.
Cicero—De Legibus. II. 19.

Minime sibi quisque notus est, et difficillime de se quisque sentit.
Every one is least known to himself, and it is very difficult for a man to know himself.
Cicero—De Oratore. III. 9.

Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum.
Not to know what happened before one was born is always to be a child.
Cicero—De Oratore. XXXIV.

And is this the prime
And heaven-sprung message of the olden time?
Coleridge. Referring to “Know thyself.”

When you know a thing, to hold that you know it; and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it; this is knowledge.
Confucius—Analects. Bk. II. Ch. XVII.

Knowledge and Wisdom, far from being one,
Have oft-times no connexion. Knowledge dwells
In heads replete with thoughts of other men,
Wisdom in minds attentive to their own.
Cowper—The Task. Bk. VI. L. 88. “Knowledge dwells,” etc., found in: Milton—Paradise Lost. VII. Seldon—Table Talk. Young—Satires. VI. Night Thoughts. V.

Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
Daniel. XII. 4.

Knowledge comes
Of learning well retain’d, unfruitful else.
Dante—Vision of Paradise. Canto V. L. 41.

But ask not bodies (doomed to die),
To what abode they go;
Since knowledge is but sorrow’s spy,
It is not safe to know.
Davenant—The Just Italian. Act V. Sc. 1.

Thales was asked what was very difficult; he said: “To know one’s self.”
Diogenes Laertius—Thales. IX.

To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge.
Benj. Disraeli—Sybil. Bk. I. Ch. V.

He that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
Ecclesiastes. I. 18.

Our knowledge is the amassed thought and experience of innumerable minds.
Emerson—Letters and Social Aims. Quotation and Originality.

Knowledge is the antidote to fear,—
Knowledge, Use and Reason, with its higher aids.
Emerson—Society and Solitude. Courage.

There is no knowledge that is not power.
Emerson—Society and Solitude. Old Age.

Was man nicht versteht, besitzt man nicht.
What we do not understand we do not possess.
Goethe—Sprüche in Prosa.

Eigentlich weiss man nur wenn man wenig weiss; mit dem Wissen wächst der Zweifel.
We know accurately only when we know little; with knowledge doubt increases.
Goethe—Sprüche in Prosa.

Who can direct, when all pretend to know?
Goldsmith—The Traveller. L. 64.

The first step to self-knowledge is self-distrust. Nor can we attain to any kind of knowledge, except by a like process.
J. C. and A. W. Hare—Guesses at Truth. P. 454.

Nec scire fas est omnia.
One cannot know everything.
Horace—Carmina. IV. 4. 22.

Si quid novisti rectius istis.
Candidus imperti, si non, his utere mecum.
If you know anything better than this candidly impart it; if not, use this with me.
Horace—Epistles. I. 6. 67.

A desire of knowledge is the natural feeling of mankind; and every human being whose mind is not debauched, will be willing to give all that he has to get knowledge.
Samuel Johnson—Boswell’s Life of Johnson. Conversation on Saturday, July 30, 1763.

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.
Samuel Johnson—Boswell’s Life of Johnson. (1775).

Knowledge is more than equivalent to force.
Samuel Johnson—Rasselas. Ch. XIII.

E cœlo descendit nosce te ipsum.
This precept descended from Heaven: know thyself.
Juvenal—Satires. XI. 27.

There are gems of wondrous brightness
Ofttimes lying at our feet,
And we pass them, walking thoughtless,
Down the busy, crowded street.
If we knew, our pace would slacken,
We would step more oft with care,
Lest our careless feet be treading
To the earth some jewel rare.
Kipling—If We Only Understood. Attributed to him in Masonic Standard, May 16, 1908. Not found. Claimed for Bessie Smith.

Laissez dire les sots: le savoir a son prix.
Let fools the studious despise,
There’s nothing lost by being wise.
La Fontaine—Fables. VIII. 19.

Il connoît l’univers, et ne se connoît pas.
He knoweth the universe, and himself he knoweth not.
La Fontaine—Fables. VIII. 26.

Not if I know myself at all.
Charles Lamb—Essays of Elia. The Old and the New Schoolmaster.

Wer viel weiss
Hat viel zu sorgen.
He who knows much has many cares.
Lessing—Nathan der Weise. IV. 2.

The improvement of the understanding is for two ends: first, for our own increase of knowledge; secondly, to enable us to deliver and make out that knowledge to others.
Locke—Some Thoughts Concerning Reading and Study. Appendix B.

’Tain’t a knowin’ kind of cattle
Thet is ketched with mouldy corn.
Lowell—Biglow Papers. No. 1. L. 3.

Scire est nescire, nisi id me scire alius scierit.
To know is not to know, unless someone else has known that I know.

Quid nobis certius ipsis
Sensibus esse potest? qui vera ac falso notemus.
What can give us more sure knowledge than our senses? How else can we distinguish between the true and the false?
Lucretius—De Rerum Natura. I. 700.

A kind of semi-Solomon, half-knowing everything, from the cedar to the hyssop.
Macaulay—(About Brougham). Life and Letters. Vol. I. P. 175.

Diffused knowledge immortalizes itself.
Sir James Mackintosh—Vindiciæ Gallicæ.

Every addition to true knowledge is an addition to human power.
Horace Mann—Lectures and Reports on Education. Lecture I.

Et teneo melius ista quam meum nomen.
I know all that better than my own name.
Martial—Epigrams. IV. 37. 7.

Only by knowledge of that which is not Thyself, shall thyself be learned.
Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton)—Know Thyself.

I went into the temple, there to hear
The teachers of our law, and to propose
What might improve my knowledge or their own.
Milton—Paradise Regained. Bk. I. L. 211.

Vous parlez devant un homme à qui tout Naples est connu.
You speak before a man to whom all Naples is known.
Molière—L’Avare. V. 5.

Faites comme si je ne le savais pas.
Act as though I knew nothing.
Molière—Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. II. 6.

All things I thought I knew; but now confess
The more I know I know, I know the less.
Owen—Works. Bk. VI. 39.

Scire tuum nihil est, nisi te scire hoc sciat alter?
Is then thy knowledge of no value, unless another know that thou possessest that knowledge?
Persius—Satires. I. 27.

Ego te intus et in cute novi.
I know you even under the skin.
Persius—Satires. III. 30. Same in Erasmus—Adagia.

Plus scire satius est, quam loqui.
It is well for one to know more than he says.
Plautus—Epidecus. I. 1. 60.

That virtue only makes our bliss below,
And all our knowledge is ourselves to know.
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. IV. L. 397.

In vain sedate reflections we would make
When half our knowledge we must snatch, not take.
Pope—Moral Essays. Ep. I. L. 39.

He that hath knowledge spareth his words.
Proverbs. XVII. 27.

I may tell all my bones.
Psalms. XXII. 17.

Que nuist savoir tousjours et tousjours apprendre, fust ce
D’un sot, d’une pot, d’une que—doufle
D’un mouffe, d’un pantoufle.
What harm in learning and getting knowledge even from a sot, a pot, a fool, a mitten, or a slipper.
Rabelais—Pantagruel. III. 16.

Then I began to think, that it is very true which is commonly said, that the one-half of the world knoweth not how the other half liveth.
Rabelais—Works. Bk. II. Ch. XXXII.

For the more a man knows, the more worthy he is.
Robert of Gloucester—Rhyming Chronicle.

Far must thy researches go
Wouldst thou learn the world to know;
Thou must tempt the dark abyss
Wouldst thou prove what Being is;
Naught but firmness gains the prize,
Naught but fullness makes us wise,
Buried deep truth e’er lies.
Schiller—Proverbs of Confucius. Bowring’s trans.

Willst du dich selber erkennen, so sieh’ wie die andern es treiben;
Willst du die andern versteh’n, blick in dein eigenes Herz.
If you wish to know yourself observe how others act.
If you wish to understand others look into your own heart.
Schiller—Votire Tablets. Xenien.

Natura semina scientiæ nobis dedit, scientiam non dedit.
Nature has given us the seeds of knowledge, not knowledge itself.
Seneca—Epistolæ Ad Lucilium. CXX.

Crowns have their compass—length of days their date—
Triumphs their tomb—felicity, her fate—
Of nought but earth can earth make us partaker,
But knowledge makes a king most like his Maker.
Shakespeare on King James I. See Payne Collier—Life of Shakespeare.

We know what we are, but know not what we may be.
Hamlet. Act IV. Sc. 5. L. 42.

And seeing ignorance is the curse of God,
Knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.
Henry VI. Pt. II. Act IV. Sc. 7. L. 78.

Too much to know is to know naught but fame.
Love’s Labour’s Lost. Act I. Sc. 1. L. 92.

If you can look into the seeds of time,
And say which grain will grow and which will not;
Speak then to me.
Macbeth. Act I. Sc. 3. L. 58.

But the full sum of me**
Is an unlesson’d girl, unschool’d, unpractis’d;
Happy in this, she is not yet so old
But she may learn.
Merchant of Venice. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 159.

We think so because all other people think so;
Or because—or because—after all, we do think so;
Or because we were told so, and think we must think so;
Or because we once thought so, and think we still think so;
Or because, having thought so, we think we will think so.
Henry Sidgewick. Lines which came to him in his sleep. Referred to by Dr. William Osler—Harveian Oration, given in the South Place Magazine, Feb., 1907.

And thou my minde aspire to higher things;
Grow rich in that which never taketh rust.
Sir Philip Sidney—Sonnet. Leave me, O Love.

Sweet food of sweetly uttered knowledge.
Sir Philip Sidney—Defence of Poesy.

He knew what is what.
Skelton—Why Come Ye nat to Courte. L. 1,106.

A life of knowledge is not often a life of injury and crime.
Sydney Smith—Pleasures of Knowledge.

As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.
Socrates—Plato. Phædrus. Sec. CCXXXV.

Yet all that I have learn’d (hugh toyles now past)
By lone experience, and in famous schooles,
Is but to know my ignorance at last,
Who think themselves most wise are greatest fools.
William, Earl of Stirling—Recreation with the Muses. London. Fol. 1637. P. 7.

Knowledge alone is the being of Nature,
Giving a soul to her manifold features,
Lighting through paths of the primitive darkness,
The footsteps of Truth and the vision of Song.
Bayard Taylor—Kilimandjaro. St. 2.

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.
Tennyson—Locksley Hall. St. 71.

Who loves not Knowledge? Who shall rail
Against her beauty? May she mix
With men and prosper! Who shall fix
Her pillars? Let her work prevail.
Tennyson—In Memoriam. CXIV.

Faciunt næ intelligendo, ut nihil intelligant.
By too much knowledge they bring it about that they know nothing.
Terence—Andria. Prologue. XVII.

Namque inscitia est,
Adversum stimulum calces.
For it shows want of knowledge to kick against the goad.
Terence—Phormio. I. 24. 27.

Knowledge, in truth, is the great sun in the firmament. Life and power are scattered with all its beams.
Daniel Webster—Address. Delivered at the Laying of the Corner-Stone of Bunker Hill Monument, 1825.

Knowledge is the only fountain, both of the love and the principles of human liberty.
Daniel Webster—Address Delivered on Bunker Hill, June 17, 1843.

He who binds
His soul to knowledge, steals the key of heaven.
N. P. Willis—The Scholar of Thibét Ben Khorat. II.

Oh, be wise, Thou!
Instructed that true knowledge leads to love.
Wordsworth—Lines left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree.