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sydney smith Quotes

Sydney Smith Quotes



    • Manners are the shadows of virtues; the momentary display of those qualities which our fellow creatures love, and respect.
    • The schoolboy whips his taxed top; the beardless youth manages his taxed horse with a taxed bridle on a taxed road; and the dying Englishman, pouring his medicine, which has paid seven per cent, into a spoon that has paid fifteen per cent, flings himself back upon his chintz bed which has paid twenty-two per cent, and expires in the arms of an apothecary who has paid a license of a hundred pounds for the privilege of putting him to death.
    • In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book? Or goes to an American play? or looks at an American picture or statue? What does the world yet owe to American physicians or surgeons? What new substances have their chemists discovered? Or what old ones have they advanced? What new constellations have been discovered by the telescopes of Americans? Who drinks out of American glasses? Or eats from American plates? Or wears American coats or gowns? or sleeps in American blankets? Finally, under which of the old tyrannical governments of Europe is every sixth man a slave, whom his fellow-creatures may buy and sell and torture?
    • Great men hallow a whole people and lift up all who live in their time.
    • The object of preaching is, constantly to remind mankind of what mankind are constantly forgetting; not to supply the defects of human intelligence, but to fortify the feebleness of human resolutions.
    • It is the safest to be moderately base - to be flexible in shame, and to be always ready for what is generous, good, and just, when anything is to be gained by virtue.
    • Correspondences are like small clothes before the invention of suspenders; it is impossible to keep them up.
    • Dean Swift's rule is as good for women as for men - never to talk above a half minute without pausing, and giving others an opportunity to strike in.
    • Have the courage to be ignorant of a great number of things, in order to avoid the calamity of being ignorant of every thing.
    • A great deal of talent is lost to the world for the want of a little courage. Every day sends to their graves a number of obscure men who have only remained obscure because their timidity has prevented them from making a first effort.
    • Among the smaller duties of life I hardly know any one more important than that of not praising where praise is not due.
    • No man can ever end with being superior, who will not begin with being inferior.
    • If you choose to represent the various parts in life by holes upon a table, of different shapes - some circular, some triangular, some square, some oblong - and the persons acting these parts by bits of wood of similar shapes, we shall generally find that the triangular person has got into the square hole, the oblong into the triangular, and a square person has squeezed himself into the round hole. The officer and the office, the doer and the thing done, seldom fit so exactly that we can say that they were almost made for each other.
    • It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little.
    • That knuckle-end of England-that land of Calvin, oatcakes, and sulphur.
    • Preaching has become a byword for long and dull conversation of any kind; and whoever wishes to imply, in any piece of writing, the absence of everything agreeable and inviting, calls it a sermon.
    • Avoid shame, but do not seek glory, - nothing so expensive as glory.
    • Take short views, hope for the best, and trust in God.
    • Looked as if she had walked straight out of the ark.
    • No furniture so charming as books.
    • Not body enough to cover his mind decently with; his intellect is improperly exposed.
    • He has spent all his life in letting down empty buckets into empty wells; and he is frittering away his age in trying to draw them up again.
    • Ah, you flavour everything; you are the vanilla of society.
    • My living in Yorkshire was so far out of the way, that it was actually twelve miles from a lemon.
    • As the French say, there are three sexes, - men, women, and clergymen.
    • Praise is the best diet for us, after all.
    • Daniel Webster struck me much like a steam-engine in trousers.
    • Live always in the best company when you read.
    • Never give way to melancholy; resist it steadily, for the habit will encroach.
    • He was a one-book man. Some men have only one book in them; others, a library.
    • Marriage resembles a pair of shears, so joined that they can not be separated; often moving in opposite directions, yet always punishing anyone who comes between them.
    • Macaulay is like a book in breeches...He has occasional flashes of silence, that make his conversation perfectly delightful.
    • Let onion atoms lurk within the bowl And, scarce suspected, animate the whole.
    • Serenely full, the epicure would say, Fate cannot harm me, I have dined today.
    • If you could be alarmed into the semblance of modesty, you would charm everybody; but remember my joke against you about the Moon and the Solar System;-'Damn the solar system! bad light - planets too distant - pestered with comets - feeble contriviance; - could make a better with great ease.'
    • Do not try to push your way through to the front ranks of your profession; do not run after distinctions and rewards; but do your utmost to find an entry into the world of beauty.
    • He not only overflowed with learning, he stood in the slop.
    • Heaven never helps the men who will not act.
    • I never read a book before reviewing it; it prejudices a man so.
    • In composing, as a general rule, run your pen through every other word you have written; you have no idea what vigor it will give your style.
    • Life is to be fortified by many friendships. To love and to be loved is the greatest happiness of existence.
    • Poverty is no disgrace to a man, but it is confoundedly inconvenient.
    • Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea?-how did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea.
    • That sign of old age, extolling the past at the expense of the present.
    • The thing about performance, even if it's only an illusion, is that it is a celebration of the fact that we do contain within ourselves infinite possibilities.
    • We know nothing of tomorrow; our business is to be good and happy today.
    • Whatever you are by nature, keep to it; never desert your line of talent. Be what nature intended you for, and you will succeed.
    • What would life be without arithmetic, but a scene of horrors?
    • What you don't know would make a great book.
    • sydney smith

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