Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
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S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
 
Praise
 
  A man’s first care should be to avoid the reproaches of his own heart; his next, to escape the censures of the world. If the last interferes with the former, it ought to be entirely neglected; but otherwise there cannot be a greater satisfaction to an honest mind than to see those approbations which it gives itself, seconded by the applauses of the public. A man is more sure of his conduct when the verdict which he passes upon his own behaviour is thus warranted and confirmed by the opinion of all that know him.
Joseph Addison.    
  1
 
  Some praises come of good wishes and respects, which is a form due in civility to kings and great persons, “laudando præcipere;” when by telling men what they are, they represent to them what they should be…. Some men are praised maliciously to their hurt, thereby to stir envy and jealousy towards them…. Solomon saith, “He that praiseth his friend aloud rising early, it shall be to him no better than a curse.” Too much magnifying of man or matter doth irritate contradiction, and procure envy and scorn. To praise a man’s self cannot be decent, except it be in rare cases; but to praise a man’s office or profession, he may do it with good grace, and with a kind of magnanimity…. St. Paul, when he boasts of himself, he doth oft interlace, “I speak like a fool;” but speaking of his calling, he saith, “magnificabo apostolatum meum” [I will magnify my mission].
Francis Bacon: Essay IV., Of Praise.    
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  The common nature of men disposeth them to be credulous when they are commended…. Every ear is tickled with this sweet music of applause.
Isaac Barrow.    
  3
 
  There are three kinds of praise: that which we yield, that which we lend, and that which we pay. We yield it to the powerful from fear, we lend it to the weak from interest, and we pay it to the deserving from gratitude.
Charles Caleb Colton: Lacon.    
  4
 
  It has been shrewdly said that, when men abuse us, we should suspect ourselves, and when they praise us, them. It is a rare instance of virtue to despise censure which we do not deserve, and still more rare to despise praise which we do. But the integrity that lives only on opinion would starve without it; and that theatrical kind of virtue which requires publicity for its stage, and an applauding world for an audience, could not be depended on in the secrecy of solitude, or the retirement of a desert.
Charles Caleb Colton: Lacon.    
  5
 
  The commendation of adversaries is the greatest triumph of a writer, because it never comes unless extorted.
John Dryden.    
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  Praise has different effects, according to the mind it meets with: it makes a wise man modest, but a fool more arrogant, turning his weak brain giddy.
Owen Felltham.    
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  It suiteth so fitly with that lightsome affection of joy wherein God delighteth when his saints praise him.
Richard Hooker.    
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  We praise the things we hear with much more willingness than those we see; because we envy the present, and reverence the past; thinking ourselves instructed by the one, and over-laid by the other.
Ben Jonson.    
  9
 
  What is not ill executed should be received with approbation, with good words and good wishes; and small faults and inadvertencies should be candidly excused.
John Jortin.    
  10
 
  Praises in an enemy are superfluous, or smell of craft.
John Milton.    
  11
 
  They are the most frivolous and superficial of mankind who can be much delighted with that praise which they themselves know to be unmerited.
Adam Smith.    
  12
 
  As the love of praise is implanted in our bosoms as a strong incentive to worthy actions, it is a very difficult task to get above a desire of it for things that should be wholly indifferent. Women, whose hearts are fixed upon the pleasure they have in the consciousness that they are the objects of love and admiration, are ever changing the air of their countenances, and altering the attitude of their bodies, to strike the hearts of their beholders with new sense of their beauty. The dressing part of our sex, whose minds are the same with the sillier part of the other, are exactly in the like uneasy condition to be regarded for a well-tied cravat, a hat cocked with an uncommon briskness, a very well-chosen coat, or other instances of merit, which they are impatient to see unobserved.
Sir Richard Steele: Spectator, No. 38.    
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  But if flattery be the most sordid act that can be complied with, the art of praising justly is as commendable; for it is laudable to praise well; as poets at one and the same time give immortality, and receive it themselves as a reward. Both are pleased; the one whilst he receives the recompense of merit, the other whilst he shows he knows how to discern it: but above all, that man is happy in this art, who, like a skilful painter, retains the features and complexion, but still softens the picture into the most agreeable likeness. There can hardly, I believe, be imagined a more desirable pleasure than that of praise unmixed with any possibility of flattery.
Sir Richard Steele: Spectator, No. 238.    
  14
 
  Allow no man to be so familiar with you as to praise you to your face. Your vanity by this means will want its food; at the same time your passion for esteem will be more fully gratified: men will praise you in their actions: where you now receive one compliment you will then receive twenty civilities.
Sir Richard Steele.    
  15
 
 
 
  Whenever you commend, add your reasons for doing so: it is this which distinguishes the approbation of a man of sense from the flattery of sycophants and admiration of fools.
Sir Richard Steele.    
  16
 
  When thou receivest praise, take it indifferently, and return it to God, the giver of the gift, or blesser of the action.
Jeremy Taylor.    
  17
 
  It is worth remarking that praise is one of the things which almost every one must wish for, and be glad of, yet which it is not allowable to seek for as an end. To obtain the approbation of the wise and good by doing what is right, simply because it is right, is most gratifying to the natural and allowable wish to escape the censure and claim the approval of our fellow-creatures; but to make this gratification either wholly or partly our object—to hold up a finger on purpose (and for that sole purpose) to gain the applause of the whole world, is unjustifiable.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Praise.    
  18
 
  There is a distinction … between the love of admiration and the love of commendation, that is worth remarking. The tendency of the love of commendation is to make a man exert himself; of the love of admiration, to make him puff himself. The love of admiration leads to fraud, much more than the love of commendation, but, on the other hand, the latter is much more likely to spoil our good actions by the substitution of an inferior motive. And if we would guard against this, we must set ourselves resolutely to act as if we cared neither for praise nor censure,—for neither the bitter nor the sweet; and in time the man gets hardened. And this will always be the case, more or less, through God’s help, if we will but persevere, and persevere from a right motive.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Praise.    
  19
 
  It will often happen, therefore, that when a man of very great real excellence does acquire great and general esteem, four-fifths of this will have been bestowed on the minor virtues of his character; and four-fifths of his admirers will have either quite overlooked the most truly admirable of his qualities, or else regarded them as pardonable weaknesses.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Praise.    
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