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


It beareth the name of Vanity Fair, because the town where it is kept is “lighter than vanity.”
Bunyan—Pilgrim’s Progress. Pt. I.

Oh, wad some power the giftie gie us
To see oursel’s as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
And foolish notion.
Burns—To a Louse.

Ecclesiastes said that “all is vanity,”
Most modern preachers say the same, or show it
By their examples of true Christianity:
In short, all know, or very soon may know it.
Byron—Don Juan. Canto VII. St. 6.

Sooth’d with the sound, the king grew vain:
Fought all his battles o’er again;
And thrice he routed all his foes, and thrice he slew the slain.
Dryden—Alexander’s Feast. L. 66.

Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.
Ecclesiastes. I. 2; XII. 8.

All is vanity and vexation of spirit.
Ecclesiastes. I. 14.

Vanity is as ill at ease under indifference as tenderness is under a love which it cannot return.
George Eliot—Daniel Deronda. Bk. I. Ch. X.

How many saucy airs we meet,
From Temple Bar to Aldgate street!
Gay—The Barley-Mow and Dunghill. L. 1.

Vain? Let it be so! Nature was her teacher,
What if a lovely and unsistered creature
Loved her own harmless gift of pleasing feature.
Holmes—Iris, Her Book. The Professor at the Breakfast-Table. X.

On parle peu quand la vanité ne fait pas parler.
We say little if not egged on by vanity.
La Rochefoucauld—Maximes. 137.

Ce qui nous rend la vanité des autres insupportable, c’est qu’elle blesse la nôtre.
That which makes the vanity of others unbearable to us is that which wounds our own.
La Rochefoucauld—Maximes. 389.

“Vanitas vanitatum” has rung in the ears
Of gentle and simple for thousands of years;
The wail still is heard, yet its notes never scare
Either simple or gentle from Vanity Fair.
Frederick Locker-Lampson—Vanity Fair.

What is your sex’s earliest, latest care,
Your heart’s supreme ambition? To be fair.
Lord Lyttleton—Advice to a Lady. L. 17.

And not a vanity is given in vain.
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. II. L. 290.

Here files of pins extend their shining rows,
Puffs, powders, patches, bibles, billet-doux.
Pope—Rape of the Lock. Canto I. L. 137.

Every man at his best state is altogether vanity.
Psalms. XXXIX. 5.

Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance they are altogether lighter than vanity.
Psalms. LXII. 9.

Where doth the world thrust forth a vanity—
That is not quickly buzz’d into his ears?
Richard II. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 24.

Light vanity, insatiate cormorant,
Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.
Richard II. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 38.

Hoy-day, what a sweep of vanity comes this way!
Timon of Athens. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 137.

Il est difficile d’estimer quelqu’un comme il veut l’être.
It is difficult to esteem a man as highly as he would wish.
Vauvenargues—Reflexions. LXVII.

Maud Muller looked and sighed: “Ah me!
That I the Judge’s bride might be!
He would dress me up in silks so fine,
And praise and toast me at his wine.”
Whittier—Maud Muller. L. 35.

Meek Nature’s evening comment on the shows
That for oblivion take their daily birth
From all the fuming vanities of earth.
Wordsworth—Sonnet. Sky. Prospect from the Plain of France.