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


Much learning doth make thee mad.
Acts. XXVI. 24.

It is always in season for old men to learn.

The green retreats
Of Academus.
Akenside—Pleasures of the Imagination. Canto I. L. 591.

Learning hath his infancy, when it is but beginning and almost childish; then his youth, when it is luxuriant and juvenile; then his strength of years, when it is solid and reduced; and lastly his old age, when it waxeth dry and exhaust.
Bacon—Essays Civil and Moral. Of Vicissitude of Things.

Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.
Bacon—Essays. Of Studies.

The king to Oxford sent a troop of horse,
For Tories own no argument but force;
With equal care, to Cambridge books he sent,
For Whigs allow no force but argument.
Sir William Browne—Epigram. In reply to Dr. Trapp.

Learning will be cast into the mire and trodden down under the hoofs of a swinish multitude.
Burke—Reflections on the Revolution in France.

Out of too much learning become mad.
Burton—Anatomy of Melancholy. Pt. III. Sec. 4. Memb. 1. Subsec. 2.

In mathematics he was greater
Than Tycho Brahe, or Erra Pater;
For he, by geometric scale,
Could take the size of pots of ale.
Butler—Hudibras. Pt. I. Canto I. L. 119.

And wisely tell what hour o’ th’ day
The clock does strike by Algebra.
Butler—Hudibras. Pt. I. Canto I. L. 125.

The languages, especially the dead,
The sciences, and most of all the abstruse,
The arts, at least all such as could be said
To be the most remote from common use,
In all these he was much and deeply read.
Byron—Don Juan. Canto I. St. 40.

And gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche.
Chaucer—Canterbury Tales. Prologue. L. 308.

Doctrina est ingenii naturale quoddam pabulum.
Learning is a kind of natural food for the mind.
Cicero—Adapted from Acad. Quaest. 4. 41, and De Sen. 14.

When Honor’s sun declines, and Wealth takes wings,
Then Learning shines, the best of precious things.
Cocker—Urania. (1670).

Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.
Confucius—Analects. Bk. II. Ch. XV.

There is the love of knowing without the love of learning; the beclouding here leads to dissipation of mind.
Confucius—Analects. Bk. XVII. Ch. VIII.

Here the heart
May give a useful lesson to the head,
And learning wiser grow without his books.
Cowper—The Task. Bk. VI. Winter Walk at Noon. L. 85.

Next these learn’d Jonson in this list I bring
Who had drunk deep of the Pierian Spring.
Drayton—Of Poets and Poesie.

Consider that I laboured not for myself only, but for all them that seek learning.
Ecclesiasticus. XXXIII. 17.

Extremæ est dementiæ discere dediscenda.
It is the worst of madness to learn what has to be unlearnt.
Erasmus—De Ratione Studii.

There is no other Royal path which leads to geometry.
Euclid to Ptolemy I. See Proclus’ Commentaries on Euclid’s Elements. Bk. II. Ch. IV.

Learning by study must be won;
’Twas ne’er entail’d from son to son.
Gay—The Pack Horse and Carrier. L. 41.

Whence is thy learning? Hath thy toil
O’er books consum’d the midnight oil?
Gay—Shepherd and Philosopher. L. 15.

Walkers at leisure learning’s flowers may spoil
Nor watch the wasting of the midnight oil.
Gay—Trivia. Bk. II. L. 558.

I’ve studied now Philosophy
And Jurisprudence, Medicine
And even, alas, Theology
From end to end with labor keen;
And here, poor fool; with all my lore
I stand no wiser than before.
Goethe—Faust. I. Night. Bayard Taylor’s trans.

Yet, he was kind, or, if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault;
The village all declar’d how much he knew,
’Twas certain he could write and cipher too.
Goldsmith—The Deserted Village. L. 205.

While words of learned length and thundering sound
Amaz’d the gazing rustics rang’d around.
Goldsmith—The Deserted Village. L. 211.

And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew,
That one small head should carry all it knew.
Goldsmith—The Deserted Village. L. 215. Ed. 1822, printed for John Sharp. Other editions give “could” for “should,” “brain” for “head.”

Men of polite learning and a liberal education.
Matthew Henry—Commentaries. The Acts. Ch. X.

Deign on the passing world to turn thine eyes
And pause awhile from Learning to be wise;
Yet think what ills the scholar’s life assail,
Toil, envy, want, the patron, and the goal.
See nations, slowly wise and meanly just,
To buried merit raise the tardy bust.
Samuel Johnson—Vanity of Human Wishes. L. 157. Imitation of Juvenal. Satire X. “Garret” instead of “patron” in 4th Ed. See Boswell’s—Life. (1754).

Nosse velint omnes, mercedem solvere nemo.
All wish to be learned, but no one is willing to pay the price.
Juvenal—Satires. VII. 157.

The Lord of Learning who upraised mankind
From being silent brutes to singing men.
Leland—The Music-lesson of Confucius.

Thou art an heyre to fayre lyving, that is nothing, if thou be disherited of learning, for better were it to thee to inherite righteousnesse then riches, and far more seemly were it for thee to haue thy Studie full of bookes, then thy pursse full of mony.
Lyly—Euphues. Letters to a Young Gentleman in Naples named Alcius.

He [Steele] was a rake among scholars, and a scholar among rakes.
Macaulay—Review of Aikin’s Life of Addisan.

He [Temple] was a man of the world among men of letters, a man of letters among men of the world.
Macaulay—Review of Life and Writings of Sir William Temple.

Il ne l’en fault pas arrouser, il l’en fault teindre.
Not merely giving the mind a slight tincture but a thorough and perfect dye.

Ils n’ont rien appris, ni rien oublie.
They have learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.
Chevalier de Panet to Mallet du Pan. Jan., 1796. (Of the Bourbons.) Attributed also to Talleyrand.

A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring;
Their shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
Pope—Essays on Criticism. L. 215.

Learn from the birds what food the thickets yield;
Learn from the beasts the physic of the field;
The arts of building from the bee receive;
Learn of the mole to plough, the worm to weave.
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. III. L. 173.

Ask of the Learn’d the way? The Learn’d are blind;
This bids to serve, and that to shun mankind;
Some place the bliss in action, some in ease,
Those call it Pleasure, and Contentment these.
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. IV. L. 19.

Ein Gelehrter hat keine Langweile.
A scholar knows no ennui.
Jean Paul Richter—Hesperus. 8.

Delle belle eruditissima, delle erudite bellissima.
Most learned of the fair, most fair of the learned.
Sannazarius—Inscription to Cassandra Marchesia in an edition of the letter’s poems. See Greswell—Memoirs of Politian.

Few men make themselves Masters of the things they write or speak.
John Selden—Table Talk. Learning.

No man is the wiser for his Learning***Wit and Wisdom are born with a man.
John Selden—Table Talk. Learning.

Homines, dum docent, discunt.
Men learn while they teach.
Seneca—Epistolæ Ad Lucilium. VII.

Learning is but an adjunct to ourself
And where we are our learning likewise is.
Love’s Labour’s Lost. Act IV. Sc. 3. L. 314.

Well, for your favour, sir, why, give God thanks, and make no boast of it; and for your writing and reading, let that appear when there is no need of such vanity.
Much Ado About Nothing. Act III. Sc. 3. L. 17.

O this learning, what a thing it is!
Taming of the Shrew. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 160.

I trimmed my lamp, consumed the midnight oil.
Shenstone—Elegies. XI. St. 7.

I would by no means wish a daughter of mine to be a progeny of learning.
R. B. Sheridan—The Rivals. Act I. Sc. 2.

Learn to live, and live to learn,
Ignorance like a fire doth burn,
Little tasks make large return.
Bayard Taylor—To My Daughter.

Wearing his wisdom lightly.
Tennyson—A Dedication.

Wearing all that weight
Of learning lightly like a flower.
Tennyson—In Memoriam. Conclusion. St. 10.

The King, observing with judicious eyes,
The state of both his universities,
To one he sent a regiment, for why?
That learned body wanted loyalty;
To the other he sent books, as well discerning,
How much that loyal body wanted learning.
Joseph Trapp—Epigram. On George I.’s Donation of Bishop Ely’s Library to Cambridge University.

Our gracious monarch viewed with equal eye
The wants of either university;
Troops he to Oxford sent, well knowing why,
That learned body wanted loyalty;
But books to Cambridge sent, as well discerning
That that right loyal body wanted learning.
Another version of Trapp.

Our royal master saw with heedful eyes
The state of his two universities;
To one he sends a regiment, for why?
That learned body wanted loyalty.
To the other books he gave, as well discerning,
How much that loyal body wanted learning.
Version attributed to Thos. Warton.

Ab uno disce omnes.
From one learn all.
Vergil—Æneid. II. 65.

Disce, puer, virtutem ex me, verumque laborem;
Fortunam ex aliis.
Learn, O youth, virtue from me and true labor; fortune from others.
Vergil—Æneid. XII. 435.

Aut disce, aut discede; manet sors tertia, cædi.
Either learn, or depart; a third course is open to you, and that is, submit to be flogged.
Winchester College. Motto of the Schoolroom.

Much learning shows how little mortals know,
Much wealth, how little worldings can enjoy.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night VI. L. 519.

Were man to live coeval with the sun,
The patriarch-pupil would be learning still.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night VII. L. 86.