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


O Athenians, what toil do I undergo to please you!
Alexander the Great. Quoted by Carlyle—Essay on Voltaire.

It is happy for you that you possess the talent of pleasing with delicacy. May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study?
Jane Austen—Pride and Prejudice. Ch. XIV.

Pleasures lie thickest where no pleasures seem;
There’s not a leaf that falls upon the ground
But holds some joy of silence or of sound,
Some sprite begotten of a summer dream.
Blanchard—Sonnet VII. Hidden Joys.

Every age has its pleasures, its style of wit, and its own ways.
Nicholas Boileau-Despreaux—The Art of Poetry. Canto III. L. 374.

But pleasures are like poppies spread;
You seize the flower, its bloom is shed.
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white—then melts forever.
Burns—Tam o’ Shanter. L. 59.

The rule of my life is to make business a pleasure, and pleasure my business.
Aaron Burr—Letter to Pichon.

Doubtless the pleasure is as great
Of being cheated as to cheat.
Butler—Hudibras. Pt. II. Canto III. L. 1.

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar.
Byron—Childe Harold. Canto IV. St. 178.

Ludendi etiam est quidam modus retinendus, ut ne nimis omnia profundamus, elatique voluptate in aliquam turpitudinem delabamur.
In our amusements a certain limit is to be placed that we may not devote ourselves to a life of pleasure and thence fall into immorality.
Cicero—De Officiis. I. 29.

Omnibus in rebus voluptatibus maximis fastidium finitimum est.
In everything satiety closely follows the greatest pleasures.
Cicero—De Oratore. III. 25.

Voluptas mentis (ut ita dicam) præstringit oculos, nec habet ullum cum virtute commercium.
Pleasure blinds (so to speak) the eyes of the mind, and has no fellowship with virtue.
Cicero—De Senectute. XII.

Divine Plato escam malorum appeliat voluptatem, quod ea videlicet homines capiantur, ut pisces hamo.
Plato divinely calls pleasure the bait of evil, inasmuch as men are caught by it as fish by a hook.
Cicero—De Senectute. XIII. 44.

Who pleases one against his will.
Congreve—The Way of the World. Epilogue.

That, though on pleasure she was bent,
She had a frugal mind.
Cowper—History of John Gilpin. St. 8.

Pleasure admitted in undue degree
Enslaves the will, nor leaves the judgment free.
Cowper—Progress of Error. L. 267.

Rich the treasure,
Sweet the pleasure,
Sweet is pleasure after pain.
Dryden—Alexander’s Feast. L. 58.

Men may scoff, and men may pray,
But they pay
Every pleasure with a pain.
Henley—Ballade of Truisms.

Follow pleasure, and then will pleasure flee,
Flee pleasure, and pleasure will follow thee.
Heywood—Proverbs. Pt. I. Ch. X.

Ficta voluptatis causa sint proxima veris.
Let the fictitious sources of pleasure be as near as possible to the true.
Horace—Ars Poetica. 338.

Sperne voluptates; nocet empta dolore voluptas.
Despise pleasure; pleasure bought by pain is injurious.
Horace—Epistles. I. 2. 55.

Vivo et regno, simul ista reliqui
Quæ vos ad cœlum effertis rumore secundo.
I live and reign since I have abandoned those pleasures which you by your praises extol to the skies.
Horace—Epistles. I. 10. 8.

I fly from pleasure, because pleasure has ceased to please: I am lonely because I am miserable.
Samuel Johnson—Rasselas. Ch. III.

Pleasure the servant, Virtue looking on.
Ben Jonson—Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue.

Voluptates commendat rarior usus.
Rare indulgence produces greater pleasure.
Juvenal—Satires. XI. 208.

Medio de fonte leporum
Surgit amari aliquid, quod in ipsis floribus angat.
From the midst of the fountains of pleasures there rises something of bitterness which torments us amid the very flowers.
Lucretius—De Rerum Nat. Bk. IV. 11. 26.

Ah, no! the conquest was obtained with ease;
He pleased you by not studying to please.
George Lyttleton—Progress of Love. 3.

There is a pleasure which is born of pain.
Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton)—The Wanderer. Bk. I. Prologue. Pt. I.

Take all the pleasures of all the spheres,
And multiply each through endless years,
One minute of Heaven is worth them all.
Moore—Lalla Rookh. Paradise and the Peri.

The roses of pleasure seldom last long enough to adorn the brow of him who plucks them; for they are the only roses which do not retain their sweetness after they have lost their beauty.
Hannah More—Essays on Various Subjects. On Dissipation.

God made all pleasures innocent.
Mrs. Norton—Lady of La Garaye. Pt. I.

Quod licet est ingratum quod non licet acrius urit.
What is lawful is undesirable; what is unlawful is very attractive.
Ovid—Amorum. II. 19. 3.

Blanda truces animos fertur mollisse voluptas.
Alluring pleasure is said to have softened the savage dispositions (of early mankind).
Ovid—Ars Amatoria. Bk. II. 477.

Usque adeo nulli sincera, voluptas,
Solicitique aliquid ltis intervenit.
No one possesses unalloyed pleasure; there is some anxiety mingled with the joy.
Ovid—Metamorphoses. VII. 453.

Pleasures are ever in our hands or eyes;
And when in act they cease, in prospect rise.
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. II. L. 123.

Reason’s whole pleasure, all the joys of sense,
Lie in three words,—health, peace, and competence.
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. IV. L. 79.

The little pleasure of the game
Is from afar to view the flight.
Prior—To the Hon. C. Montague. “But all the pleasure of the game, / Is afar off to view the flight.” (In ed. of 1692.)

Dum licet inter nos igitur lætemur amantes;
Non satis est ullo tempore longus amor.
Let us enjoy pleasure while we can; pleasure is never long enough.
Propertius—Elegiæ. I. 19. 25.

Diliguntur immodice sola quæ non licent;***non nutrit ardorem concupiscendi, ubi frui licet.
Forbidden pleasures alone are loved immoderately; when lawful, they do not excite desire.
Quintilian—Declamationes. XIV. 18.

Continuis voluptatibus vicina satietas.
Satiety is a neighbor to continued pleasures.
Quintilian—Declamationes. XXX. 6.

Spangling the wave with lights as vain
As pleasures in this vale of pain,
That dazzle as they fade.
Scott—Lord of the Isles. Canto I. St. 23.

Boys who, being mature in knowledge,
Pawn their experience to their present pleasure.
Antony and Cleopatra. Act I. Sc. 4. L. 31.

And painefull pleasure turnes to pleasing paine.
Spenser—Faerie Queene. Bk. III. Canto X. St. 60.

Non quam multis placeas, sed qualibus stude.
Do not care how many, but whom, you please.

Prævalent illicita.
Things forbidden have a secret charm.
Tacitus—Annales. XIII. 1.

Pleasure is frail like a dewdrop, while it laughs it dies. But sorrow is strong and abiding. Let sorrowful love wake in your eyes.
Rabindrath Tagore—Gardener. 27.

I built my soul a lordly pleasure-house,
Wherein at ease for aye to dwell.
Tennyson—The Palace of Art. St. 1.

Nam id arbitror
Adprime in vita esse utile ut ne quid nimis.
I hold this to be the rule of life, “Too much of anything is bad.”
Terence—Andria. I. 1. 33.

They who are pleased themselves must always please.
Thomson—The Castle of Indolence. Canto I. St. 15.

Trahit sua quemque voluptas.
His own especial pleasure attracts each one.
Vergil—Eclogæ. II. 65.

Zu oft ist kurze Lust die Quelle langer Schmerzen!
Too oft is transient pleasure the source of long woes.
Wieland—Oberon. II. 52.

Sure as night follows day,
Death treads in Pleasure’s footsteps round the world,
When Pleasure treads the paths which Reason shuns.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night V. L. 863.

To frown at pleasure, and to smile in pain.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night VIII. L. 1,045.