Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Paul Chatfield, pseudonym for Horace Smith

English Author

"A secret is like silence: you cannot talk about it, and keep it. It is like money; when once you know there is any concealed, it is half discovered."

"Agriculture is the noblest of all alchemy; for it turns earth, and even manure, into gold, conferring upon its cultivator the additional reward of health."

"An ugly face and the want of exterior beauty generally increases the interior beauty."

"As friendship must be founded on mutual esteem, it cannot long exist among the vicious; for we soon find ill company to be like a dog, which dirts those the most whom he loves the best."

"False rumors die of their own stench."

"Humanity is much more shown in our conduct towards animals, where we are irresponsible except to heaven, than towards our fellow-creatures, where we are restrained by the laws, by public opinion, and fear of retaliation."

"Liars are verbal forgers."

"Precept and example, like the blades of a pair of scissors, are admirably adapted to their end when conjoined; separated, they lose the greater portion of their utility."

"Prudery is the innocence of the vicious - external sanctity, assumed as a cover for internal laxity."

"Scandal is what one-half the world takes pleasure in inventing, and the other half in believing."

"There are two things which will make us happy in this life, if we attend to them. The first is, never to vex ourselves about what we cannot help; and the second, never to vex ourselves about what we can help."

"A relish bestowed upon the poorer classes, that they may like what they may eat; while it is seldom enjoyed by the rich, because they may eat what they like."

"Oratory is the power to talk people out of their sober and natural opinions."

"Aspiring to nothing but humility, the wise man will make it the height of his ambition to be unambitious. As he cannot effect all that he wishes, he will only wish for that which he can effect."

"Avarice is only prudence and economy pushed to excess."

"Bravery is a cheap and vulgar quality, of which the brightest instances are frequently found in the lowest savage."

"By a union courtesy and talent an adversary may be made to grace his own defeat, as the sandal-tree perfumes the hatchet that cuts it down."

"Content is the best opulence, because it is the pleasantest, and the surest. The richest man is he who does not want what which is wanting to him; the poorest is the miser, who wants that which he has."

"Conversation stock being a joint and common property, everyone should take a share in it; and yet there may be societies in which silence will be our best contribution."

"Death is a silent, peaceful genius, who rocks our second childhood to sleep in the cradle of the coffin."

"Extremes touch: he who wants no favors: from fortune may be said to have obtained the very greatest that she can bestow, in realizing an independence which no changes can diminish."

"Favors, and especially pecuniary ones, are generally fatal to friendship; for our pride will ever prompt us to lower the value of the gift by diminishing that of the donor."

"Fortune is painted blind in order to show her impartiality; but when she cheers the needy with hope, and depresses the wealthy with distrust, methinks she confers the richest boon on the poorest man, and injures those on whom she bestows her favors."

"Good and bad luck is but a synonym, in the great majority of instances, for good and bad judgment."

"If the seal of time were to be the signet of truth, there is no absurdity, oppression, or falsehood that might not be revived as gospel; while the gospel itself would want the more ancient warrant of paganism."

"If there were no readers there certainly would be no writers. Clearly, therefore, the existence of writers depends upon the existence of readers; and, of course, as the cause must be antecedent to the effect, readers existed before writers. Yet, on the other hand, if there were no writers there could be no readers, so it should appear that writers must be antecedent to readers."

"Jokes are the cayenne of conversation, and the salt of life."

"Not to know what happened before we were born is always to remain a child; to know, and blindly to adopt that knowledge as an implicit rule of life, is never to be a man."

"One would not object to the prevalent notion that whatever is fashionable is right, if our rulers of the mode would contrive that whatever is right should be fashionable."

"Poetry is the music of thought, conveyed to us in music of language."

"Popularity is like the brightness of a falling star, the fleeting splendor of a rainbow, the bubble that is sure to burst by its very inflation."

"There is but one good throw upon the dice, which is, to throw them away."

"Pure religion may generally be measured by the cheerfulness of its professors, and superstition by the gloom of its victims."

"Quills are things that are sometimes taken from the pinions of one goose to spread the opinions of another."

"Revenge, which, like envy, is an instinct of justice, does but take into its own hands the execution of that natural law which precedes the social."

"Slanderers are at all events economical for they make a little scandal go a great way, and rarely open their mouths except at the expense of other people."

"The liberty of the press is the true measure of all other liberty; for all freedom without this must be merely nominal."

"The moral courage that will face obloquy in a good cause is a much rarer gift than the bodily valor that will confront death in a bad one."

"The shadow of a sound, a voice without a mouth, and words without a tongue."

"The sleeping partner of life--a change of existence."

"To conquer fanaticism, you must tolerate it; the shuttlecock of religious difference soon falls to the ground when there are no battledoors to beat it backward and forward."

"There is a profound charm in mystery."

"We may hold it slavish to dress according to the judgment of fools and the caprice of coxcombs; but are we not ourselves both when we are singular in our attire?"

"Were a whole nation to start upon a new career of education, with mature faculties and minds free from prepossession or prejudice, how much would be quickly abandoned that is now most stubbornly cherished!"

"Were it not for the salutary agitation of the passions, the waters of life would become dull, stagnant, and as unfit for all vital purposes as those of the Dead Sea."

"With a double vigilance should we watch our actions, when we reflect that good and bad ones are never childless, and that in both cases the offspring goes beyond the parent,--every good begetting a better, every bad a worse."