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


The cord breaketh at last by the weakest pull.
Bacon—On Seditions. Quoted as a Spanish Proverb.

But the concessions of the weak are the concessions of fear.
Burke—Speech on the Conciliation of America.

Amiable weakness.
Henry Fielding—Tom Jones. Bk. X. Ch. VIII. Sheridan—School for Scandal. Act V. Sc. 1.

Amiable weakness of human nature.
Gibbon—Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Ch. XIV.

Das sterbliche Geschlecht ist viel zu schwach
In ungewohnter Höhe nicht zu schwindeln.
The mortal race is far too weak not to grow dizzy on unwonted heights.
Goethe—Iphigenia auf Tauris. I. 3. 98.

And the weak soul, within itself unbless’d,
Leans for all pleasure on another’s breast.
Goldsmith—The Traveller. L. 271.

On affaiblit toujours tout ce qu’on exagère.
We always weaken whatever we exaggerate.
La Harpe—Mélanie. I. 1.

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

If weakness may excuse,
What murderer, what traitor, parricide,
Incestuous, sacrilegious, but may plead it?
All wickedness is weakness; that plea, therefore,
With God or man will gain thee no remission.
Milton—Samson Agonistes. L. 831.

Heaven forming each on other to depend,
A master, or a servant, or a friend,
Bids each on other for assistance call,
Till one man’s weakness grows the strength of all.
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. II. L. 249.

Fine by defect, and delicately weak.
Pope—Moral Essays. Ep. II. L. 43.

Even the weakest is thrust to the wall.
In Scogin’s Tests. (1540). “The weakest goeth to the wall.” Title of a play printed 1600, and 1618. “The weakest goes to the wall.” Tuvill—Essays Morall. (1609).

Weakness to be wroth with weakness! woman’s pleasure, woman’s pain—
Nature made them blinder motions bounded in a shallower brain.
Tennyson—Locksley Hall. St. 75.