Sunday, April 27, 2008

A compendium of quotes by Jonathan Swift

A lie does not consist in the indirect position of words, but in the desire and intention, by false speaking, to deceive and injure your neighbour.

A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying... that he is wiser today than yesterday.

A tavern is a place where madness is sold by the bottle.

A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.

A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart.

Although men are accused of not knowing their own weakness, yet perhaps few know their own strength. It is in men as in soils, where sometimes there is a vein of gold which the owner knows not of.

As blushing will sometimes make a whore pass for a virtuous woman, so modesty may make a fool seem a man of sense.

As love without esteem is capricious and volatile; esteem without love is languid and cold.

Better belly burst than good liquor be lost.

Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.

Books, the children of the brain.

Censure is the tax a man pays to the public for being eminent.

Don't set your wit against a child.

Every dog must have his day.

Every man desires to live long, but no man wishes to be old.

For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery.

Good manners is the art of making those people easy with whom we converse. Whoever makes the fewest people uneasy is the best bred in the room.

He was a bold man that first eat on oyster.

He was a fiddler, and consequently a rogue.

Human brutes, like other beasts, find snares and poison in the provision of life, and are allured by their appetites to their destruction.

I never knew a man come to greatness or eminence who lay abed late in the morning.

I never saw, heard, nor read, that the clergy were beloved in any nation where Christianity was the religion of the country. Nothing can render them popular, but some degree of persecution.

I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.

I wonder what fool it was that first invented kissing.

I've always believed no matter how many shots I miss, I'm going to make the next one.

If Heaven had looked upon riches to be a valuable thing, it would not have given them to such a scoundrel.

Interest is the spur of the people, but glory that of great souls. Invention is the talent of youth, and judgment of age.

Invention is the talent of youth, as judgment is of age.

It is a maxim among these lawyers, that whatever hath been done before, may legally be done again: and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind.

It is impossible that anything so natural, so necessary, and so universal as death, should ever have been designed by providence as an evil to mankind.

It is in men as in soils where sometimes there is a vein of gold which the owner knows not.

It is the folly of too many to mistake the echo of a London coffee-house for the voice of the kingdom.

Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.

May you live all the days of your life.

May you live every day of your life.

Men are happy to be laughed at for their humor, but not for their folly.

Most sorts of diversion in men, children and other animals, are in imitation of fighting.

My nose itched, and I knew I should drink wine or kiss a fool.

No man was ever so completely skilled in the conduct of life, as not to receive new information from age and experience.

No wise man ever wished to be younger.

Nothing is so great an example of bad manners as flattery. If you flatter all the company, you please none; If you flatter only one or two, you offend the rest.

Nothing is so hard for those who abound in riches as to conceive how others can be in want.

Observation is an old man's memory.

Once kick the world, and the world and you will live together at a reasonably good understanding.

One enemy can do more hurt than ten friends can do good.

Politics, as the word is commonly understood, are nothing but corruptions.

Poor nations are hungry, and rich nations are proud; and pride and hunger will ever be at variance.

Positiveness is a good quality for preachers and speakers because, whoever shares his thoughts with the public will convince them as he himself appears convinced.

Power is no blessing in itself, except when it is used to protect the innocent.

Principally I hate and detest that animal called man; although I heartily love John, Peter, Thomas, and so forth.

Promises and pie-crust are made to be broken.

Proper words in proper places make the true definiton of style.

Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own.

The best doctors in the world are Doctor Diet, Doctor Quiet, and Doctor Merryman.

The latter part of a wise person's life is occupied with curing the follies, prejudices and false opinions they contracted earlier.

The power of fortune is confessed only by the miserable, for the happy impute all their success to prudence or merit.

The proper words in the proper places are the true definition of style.

The stoical scheme of supplying our wants by lopping off our desires, is like cutting off our feet when we want shoes.

The want of belief is a defect that ought to be concealed when it cannot be overcome.

There are few, very few, that will own themselves in a mistake.

There is nothing constant in this world but inconsistency.

There is nothing in this world constant but inconstancy.

There were many times my pants were so thin I could sit on a dime and tell if it was heads or tails.

Under this window in stormy weather I marry this man and woman together; Let none but Him who rules the thunder Put this man and woman asunder.

Vanity is a mark of humility rather than of pride.

Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.

We are so fond on one another because our ailments are the same.

We have enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.

We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.

What they do in heaven we are ignorant of; what they do not do we are told expressly.

When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.

When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him.

Where I am not understood, it shall be concluded that something very useful and profound is couched underneath.

Where there are large powers with little ambition... nature may be said to have fallen short of her purposes.

Words are but wind; and learning is nothing but words; ergo, learning is nothing but wind.

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