Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Maria Edgeworth

Anglo-Irish Children's Author

"No man ever distinguished himself who could not bear to be laughed at."

"There are two sorts of content; one is connected with exertion, the other with habits of indolence. The first is virtue; the other, a vice."

"We may make our future by the best use of the present. There is no moment like the present; not only so, but, moreover, there is no moment at all, that is; no instant force and energy, but in the present. The man who will not execute his resolutions when they are fresh upon him can have no hope from them afterwards."

"The human heart, at whatever age, opens only to the heart that opens in return."

"There is no moment like the present. The man who will not execute his resolutions when they are fresh upon him can have no hope from them afterwards; they will be dissipated, lost and perish in the hurry and scurry of the world, or sunk in the slough of indolence."

"Industry is fortune's right hand, and Frugality her left; a proverb which has been worth ten times more to me than all my little purse contained."

"Surely it is much more generous to forgive and remember, than to forgive and forget."

"How success changes the opinion of men!"

"A man who sells his conscience for his interest, will sell it for his pleasure. A man who will betray his country, will betray his friend."

"Politeness only teaches us to save others from unnecessary pain.... You are not bound by politeness to tell any falsehoods."

"A straight line is the shortest in morals as in mathematics."

"An orator is the worse person to tell a plain fact."

"And all the young ladies said that a love-match was the only thing for happiness, where the parties could anyway afford it."

"Belinda is not quite so great a philosopher as I imagined."

"Business was his aversion; Pleasure was his business."

"Clarence Hervey might have been more than a pleasant young man, if he had not been smitten with the desire of being thought superior in everything, and of being the most admired person in all companies. He had been early flattered with the idea that he was a man of genius; and he imagined that, as such, he was entitled to be imprudent, wild, and eccentric. He affected singularity, in order to establish his claims to genius. He had considerable literary talents, by which he was distinguished at Oxford; but he was so dreadfully afraid of passing for a pedant, that when he came into the company of the idle and the ignorant, he pretended to disdain every species of knowledge. His chameleon character seemed to vary in different lights, and according to the different situations in which he happened to be placed. He could be all things to all men?and to all women."

"Come when you're called and do as you're bid; shut the door after you and you'll never be chide."

"Fortune's wheel never stands still the highest point is therefore the most perilous"

"I find the love of garden grows upon me as I grow older more and more. Shrubs and flowers and such small gay things, that bloom and please and fade and wither and are gone and we care not for them, are refreshing interests, in life, and if we cannot say never fading pleasures, we may say unreproved pleasures and never grieving losses."

"Idleness, ennui, noise, mischief, riot, and a nameless train of mistaken notions of pleasure, are often classed, in a young man's mind, under the general head of liberty."

"If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves."

"If young women were not deceived into a belief that affectation pleases, they would scarcely trouble themselves to practice it so much."

"It sometimes requires courage to fly from danger."

"I've a great fancy to see my own funeral afore I die."

"Nor elves, nor fays, nor magic charm, have pow'r, or will, to work us harm; for those who dare the truth to tell, fays, elves, and fairies, wish them well."

"Our Irish blunders are never blunders of the heart."

"Remember, we can judge better by the conduct of people towards others than by their manner towards ourselves."

"Shame is nature's hasty conscience."

"So quickly in youth do different and opposite trains of ideas and emotions succeed to each other; and so easy it is, by a timely exercise of reason and self-command, to prevent a fancy from becoming a passion."

"Some people talk of morality, and some of religion, but give me a little snug property."

"The bore is usually considered a harmless creature, or of that class of irrational bipeds who hurt only themselves."

"The law, in our case, seems to make the right; and the very reverse ought to be done - the right should make the law."

"The prevailing taste of the public for anecdote has been censured and ridiculed by critics, who aspire to the character of superior wisdom: but if we consider it in a proper point of view, this taste is an incontestible proof of the good sense and profoundly philosophic temper of the present times. Of the numbers who study, or at least who read history, how few derive any advantage from their labors!"

"The unaffected language of real feeling and benevolence is easily understood, and is never ridiculous."

"We cannot judge either of the feelings or of the characters of men with perfect accuracy from their actions or their appearance in public; it is from their careless conversations, their half-finished sentences, that we may hope with the greatest probability of success to discover their real characters."

"Well! some people talk of morality, and some of religion, but give me a little snug property."

"What a treasure, to meet with anything a new heart-- all hearts, nowadays, are secondhand at best."

"When one illusion vanishes, another shall appear, and, still leading me forward towards an horizon that retreats as I advance, the happy prospect of futurity shall vanish only with my existence."

"When people are warm, they cannot stand picking terms."

"You think it a want of judgment that one changes his opinion. Is it a proof that your scales are bad because they vibrate with every additional weight that is added to either side?"

"Young ladies who think of nothing but dress, public amusements, and forming what they call high connexions, are undoubtedly most easily managed, by the fear of what the world will say of them."