Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
 
Sir William Temple
 
  What great thing soever a man proposed to do in his life, he should think of achieving it by fifty.
Sir William Temple.    
  1
 
  None that feels sensibly the decays of age, and his life wearing off, can figure to himself those imaginary charms in riches and praise, that men are apt to do in the warmth of their blood.
Sir William Temple.    
  2
 
  Socrates used to say that it was pleasant to grow old with good health and a good friend; and he might have reason: a man may be content to live while he is no trouble to himself or his friends; but after that, it is hard if he be not content to die. I knew and esteemed a person abroad who used to say, a man must be a mean wretch who desired to live after threescore years old. But so much, I doubt, is certain, that in life, as in wine, he that will drink it good must not draw it to the dregs. Where this happens, one comfort of age may be, that whereas younger men are usually in pain whenever they are not in pleasure, old men find a sort of pleasure when they are out of pain; and as young men often lose or impair their present enjoyments by craving after what is to come, by vain hopes, or fruitless fears, so old men relieve the wants of their age by pleasing reflections upon what is past. Therefore, men in the health and vigour of their age should endeavour to fill their lives with reading, with travel, with the best conversation and the worthiest actions, either in public or private stations; that they may have something agreeable left to feed on when they are old, by pleasing remembrances.
Sir William Temple.    
  3
 
  These passages in that book were enough to humble the presumption of our modern sciolists, if their pride were not as great as their ignorance.
Sir William Temple.    
  4
 
  All the writings of the ancient Goths were composed in verse, which were called runes, or viises, and from thence the term of wise came.
Sir William Temple.    
  5
 
  Authority is by nothing so much strengthened and confirmed as by custom; for no man easily distrusts the things which he and all men have been always bred up to.
Sir William Temple.    
  6
 
  They do but trace over the paths that have been beaten by the ancients; or comment, critic, and flourish upon them.
Sir William Temple.    
  7
 
  You may keep your beauty and your health, unless you destroy them yourself, or discourage them to stay with you, by using them ill.
Sir William Temple.    
  8
 
  The bold and sufficient pursue their game with more passion, endeavour, and application, and therefore often succeed.
Sir William Temple.    
  9
 
  ’Tis obvious what rapport there is between the conceptions and languages in every country, and how great a difference this must make in the excellence of books.
Sir William Temple.    
  10
 
  Christianity came into the world with the greatest simplicity of thought and language, as well as life and manners, holding forth nothing but piety, charity, and humility, with the belief of the Messiah and of his kingdom.
Sir William Temple.    
  11
 
  Company are to be avoided that are good for nothing; those to be sought and frequented that excel in some quality or other.
Sir William Temple.    
  12
 
  What is called by the Stoics apathy or dispassion [is called] by the Sceptics indisturbance, by the Molinists quietism, by common men peace of conscience.
Sir William Temple.    
  13
 
  Submission is the only reasoning between a creature and its Maker, and contentment in his will is the best remedy we can apply to misfortunes.
Sir William Temple.    
  14
 
  The first ingredient in conversation is truth, the next good sense, the third good humour, and the fourth wit.
Sir William Temple.    
  15
 
 
 
  In conversation, humour is more than wit, easiness more than knowledge.
Sir William Temple.    
  16
 
  Though I may not be able to inform men more than they know, yet I may give them the occasion to consider.
Sir William Temple.    
  17
 
  Some are brave one day, and cowards another, as great captains have often told me, from their own experience and observation.
Sir William Temple.    
  18
 
  Cruelty … argues not only a depravedness of nature, but also a meanness of courage and imbecility of mind.
Sir William Temple.    
  19
 
  Nature gives us many children and friends, to take them away; but takes none away to give them us again.
Sir William Temple.    
  20
 
  A man must often exercise, or fast, or take physic, or be sick.
Sir William Temple.    
  21
 
  A weak unequal faction may animate a government; but when it grows equal in strength, and irreconcilable by animosity, it cannot end without some crisis.
Sir William Temple.    
  22
 
  Those forms are best which have been longest received and authorized in a nation by custom and use.
Sir William Temple.    
  23
 
  As French has more fineness and smoothness at this time, so it had more compass, spirit, and force in Montaigne’s age.
Sir William Temple.    
  24
 
  Something like home that is not home is to be desired: it is found in the house of a friend.
Sir William Temple.    
  25
 
  As gardening has been the inclination of kings and the choice of philosophers, so it has been the common favourite of public and private men; a pleasure of the greatest and the care of the meanest; and, indeed, an employment and a possession for which no man is too high nor too low.
Sir William Temple.    
  26
 
  In every garden four things are necessary to be provided for,—flowers, fruit, shade, and water; and whoever lays out a garden without all these must not pretend to any perfection. It ought to lie to the best parts of the house, or to those of the master’s commonest use; so as to be but like one of the rooms out of which you step into another. The part of your garden next your house (besides the walks that go round it) should be a parterre for flowers, or grass-plots bordered with flowers; or if, according to the newest mode, it be cast all into grass-plots and gravel walks, the dryness of these should be relieved with fountains, and the plainness of those with statues; otherwise, if large, they have an ill effect upon the eye. However, the part next the house should be open, and no other fruit but upon the walls. If this take up one-half of the garden, the other should be fruit-trees, unless some grove for shade lie in the middle: if it take up a third part only, then the next third may be dwarf trees, and the last standard fruit; or else the second part fruit-trees, and the third all sorts of winter-greens, which provide for all seasons of the year. I will not enter upon any account of flowers, having only pleased myself with seeing or smelling them, and not troubled myself with the care, which is more the ladies’ part than the men’s; but the success is wholly in the gardener.
Sir William Temple.    
  27
 
  The best figure of a garden I esteem an oblong upon a descent.
Sir William Temple.    
  28
 
  No duty in religion is more justly required by God Almighty than a perfect submission to his will in all things.
Sir William Temple.    
  29
 
  In this world whatever is called good is comparatively with other things of its kind, or with the evil mingled in its composition: so he is a good man that is better than men comparatively are, or in whom the good qualities are more than the bad.
Sir William Temple.    
  30
 
  Goodness, as that which makes men prefer their duty and their promise before their passions or their interest, and is properly the object of trust, in our language goes rather by the name of honesty: though what we call an honest man the Romans called a good man; and honesty, in their language, as well as in French, rather signifies a composition of those qualities which generally acquire honour and esteem.
Sir William Temple.    
  31
 
  Of the several forms of government that have been or are in the world, that cause seems commonly the better that has the better advocate, or is advantaged by fresher experience.
Sir William Temple.    
  32
 
  All government may be esteemed to grow strong or weak as the general opinion in those that govern is seen to lessen or increase.
Sir William Temple.    
  33
 
  A government which by alienating the affections, losing the opinions, and crossing the interests, of the people, leaves out of its compass the greatest part of their consent, may justly be said, in the same degree it loses ground, to narrow its bottom.
Sir William Temple.    
  34
 
  The government which takes in the consent of the greatest number of the people may justly be said to have the broadest bottom; and if it be terminated in the authority of one single person, it may be said to have the narrowest top; and so makes the firmest pyramid.
Sir William Temple.    
  35
 
  Frugal and industrious men are friendly to the established government, as the idle and expensive are dangerous.
Sir William Temple.    
  36
 
  The breaking down an old frame of government and erecting a new, seems like the cutting down an old oak and planting a young one: it is true the grandson may enjoy the shade and the mast, but the planter, besides the pleasure of imagination, has no other benefits.
Sir William Temple.    
  37
 
  If you think how many diseases and how much poverty there is in the world, you will fall down upon your knees, and, instead of repining at one affliction, will admire so many blessings received at the hand of God.
Sir William Temple.    
  38
 
  Who would not be covetous, and with reason, if health could be purchased with gold? Who not ambitious, if it were at the command of power, or restored by honour? But, alas! a white staff will not help gouty feet to walk better than a common cane; nor a blue ribbon bind up a wound so well as a fillet; the glitter of gold or of diamonds will but hurt sore eyes, instead of curing them; and an aching head will be no more eased by wearing a crown instead of a common night-cap.
Sir William Temple.    
  39
 
  Health is the soul that animates all enjoyments of life, which fade, and are tasteless, if not dead, without it. A man starves at the best and the greatest tables, makes faces at the noblest and most delicate wines, is poor and wretched in the midst of the greatest treasures and fortunes, with common diseases; strength grows decrepit, youth loses all vigour, and beauty all charms; music grows harsh, and conversation disagreeable; palaces are prisons, or of equal confinement; riches are useless, honour and attendance are cumbersome, and crowns themselves are a burden: but if diseases are painful and violent, they equal all conditions of life, make no difference between a prince and a beggar; and a fit of the stone or the colic puts a king to the rack, and makes him as miserable as he can do the meanest, the worst, and most criminal of his subjects.
Sir William Temple.    
  40
 
  Men are apt to play with their healths and their lives as they do with their clothes.
Sir William Temple.    
  41
 
  The only way for a rich man to be healthy is, by exercise and abstinence, to live as if he were poor.
Sir William Temple.    
  42
 
  The desire of leisure is much more natural than of business and care.
Sir William Temple.    
  43
 
  All spirits, by frequent use, destroy, and at last extinguish, the natural heat of the stomach.
Sir William Temple.    
  44
 
  In case of excesses, I take the German proverbial cure, by a hair of the same beast, to be the worst in the world.
Sir William Temple.    
  45
 
  No circumstances are likely to contribute more to the advancement of learning, than exact temperance, great pureness of air, equality of climate, and long tranquillity of government.
Sir William Temple.    
  46
 
  We bring into the world with us a poor, needy, uncertain life, short at the longest and unquiet at the best.
Sir William Temple.    
  47
 
  All the world is perpetually at work, only that our poor mortal lives should pass the happier for that little time we possess them, or else end the better when we lose them: upon this occasion riches came to be coveted, honours esteemed, friendship pursued, and virtues admired.
Sir William Temple.    
  48
 
  Some writers in casting up the goods most desirable in life have given them this rank: health, beauty, and riches.
Sir William Temple.    
  49
 
  By luxury we condemn ourselves to greater torments than have yet been invented by anger or revenge, or inflicted by the greatest tyrants upon the worst of men.
Sir William Temple.    
  50
 
  Good breeding is as necessary a quality in conversation, to accomplish all the rest, as grace in motion and dancing.
Sir William Temple.    
  51
 
  Is it a small crime to wound himself by anguish of heart, to deprive himself of all the pleasures, or eases, or enjoyments of life?
Sir William Temple.    
  52
 
  What is called by the Stoics apathy, or dispassion, is called by the Sceptics indisturbance, by the Molinists quietism, by common men peace of conscience.
Sir William Temple.    
  53
 
  It seems necessary in the choice of persons for greater employments to consider their bodies as well as their minds, and ages and health as well as their abilities.
Sir William Temple.    
  54
 
  Those only are regarded who are true to their party; and all the talent required is to be hot, to be heady, to be violent on one side or the other.
Sir William Temple.    
  55
 
  Since we cannot escape the pursuit of passions, and perplexity of thoughts, there is no way left but to endeavour all we can either to subdue or divert them.
Sir William Temple.    
  56
 
  All the precepts of Christianity command us to moderate our passions, to temper our affections, towards all things below.
Sir William Temple.    
  57
 
  It is best to leave nature to her course, who is the sovereign physician in most diseases.
Sir William Temple.    
  58
 
  I had reasoned myself into an opinion that the use of physicians, unless in some acute disease, was a venture, and that their greatest practicers practised least upon themselves.
Sir William Temple.    
  59
 
  Piety, as it is thought a way to the favour of God, and fortune, as it looks like the effect either of that, or at least of prudence and courage, beget authority.
Sir William Temple.    
  60
 
  Public business suffers by private infirmities, and kingdoms fall into weaknesses by the diseases or decays of those that manage them.
Sir William Temple.    
  61
 
  The best service they could do to the state was to mend the lives of the persons who composed it.
Sir William Temple.    
  62
 
  The cities fell often under tyrannies which spring naturally out of popular governments.
Sir William Temple.    
  63
 
  The rage of people is like that of the sea, which once breaking bounds overflows a country with that suddenness and violence as leaves no hopes of flying.
Sir William Temple.    
  64
 
  The prophets were taught to know the will of God, and thereby instruct the people, and enabled to prophesy as a testimony of their being sent by heaven.
Sir William Temple.    
  65
 
  We may be confident whatever God does is intended for our good, and whatever we interpret otherwise we can get nothing by repining, nor save anything by resisting.
Sir William Temple.    
  66
 
  Leisure and solitude are the best effect of riches, because mother of thought. Both are avoided by most rich men, who seek company and business; which are signs of being weary of themselves.
Sir William Temple.    
  67
 
  Prisoners became slaves, and continued so unless enfranchised by their masters.
Sir William Temple.    
  68
 
  Revolutions of state, many times, make way for new institutions and forms; and often determine in either setting up some tyranny at home, or bringing in some conquest from abroad.
Sir William Temple.    
  69
 
  Commonwealths were nothing more in their original but free cities; though sometimes, by force of order and discipline they have extended themselves into mighty dominions.
Sir William Temple.    
  70
 
  The command in war is given to the strongest, or to the bravest; and in peace, taken up and exercised by the boldest.
Sir William Temple.    
  71
 
  Study gives strength to the mind, conversation grace; the first apt to give stiffness, the other suppleness.
Sir William Temple.    
  72
 
  By all human laws, as well as divine, self-murder has ever been agreed on as the greatest crime.
Sir William Temple.    
  73
 
  Temperance, that virtue without pride, and fortune without envy, that gives indolence of body with an equality of mind; the best guardian of youth and support of old age; the precept of reason as well as religion, and physician of the soul as well as the body; the tutelar goddess of health and universal medicine of life.
Sir William Temple.    
  74
 
  Man is a thinking being, whether he will or no: all he can do is to turn his thoughts the best way.
Sir William Temple.    
  75
 
  What is called by the poets apathy or dispassion, by the sceptics indisturbance, by the Molinists quietism, by common men peace of conscience, seems all to mean but great tranquillity of mind.
Sir William Temple.    
  76
 
  It may easily be conceived by any that can allow for the lameness and shortness of translations out of languages and manners of writing differing from ours.
Sir William Temple.    
  77
 
  He that by harshness of nature and arbitrariness of commands uses his children like servants is what they mean by a tyrant.
Sir William Temple.    
  78
 
  Valour gives awe, and promises protection to those who want heart or strength to defend themselves. This makes the authority of men among women, and that of a master-buck in a numerous herd.
Sir William Temple.    
  79
 
  Forces came to be used by good princes only upon necessity of providing for their defence.
Sir William Temple.    
  80
 
  Wisdom is that which makes men judge what are the best ends, and what the best means to attain them, and gives a man advantage of counsel and direction.
Sir William Temple.    
  81
 
  Upon this I remember a strain of refined civility: that when any woman went to see another of equal birth, she worked at her own work in the other’s house.
Sir William Temple.    
  82
 
 
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