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SYDNEY SMITH
English clergyman, wit and essayist
(1771 - 1845)
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Pulpit discourses have insensibly dwindled from speaking to reading; a practice of itself sufficient to stifle every germ of eloquence.
      - [Preaching]

Say everything for vice which you can say, magnify any pleasure as much as you please, but don't believe you have any secret for sending on quicker the sluggish blood, and for refreshing the faded nerve.
      - [Vice]

Solitude cherishes great virtues, and destroys little ones.
      - [Solitude]

That charity alone endures which flows from a sense of duty and a hope in God. This is the charity that treads in secret those paths of misery from which all but the lowest of human wretches have fled; this is that charity which no labor can weary, no ingratitude detach, no horror disgust; that toils, that pardons, that suffers; that is seen by no man, and honored by no man, but, like the great laws of Nature, does the work of God in silence, and looks to a future and better world for its reward.
      - [Charity]

That garret of the earth--that knuckle end of England--that land of Calvin, oatcakes and sulphur.
      - [Scotland]

That sign of old age, extolling the past at the expense of the present.
      - [Old Age]

The avaricious love of gain, which is so feelingly deplored, appears to us a principle which, in able hands, might be guided to the most salutary purposes. The object is to encourage the love of labor, which is best encouraged by the love of money.
      - [Money]

The dearest things in the world are our neighbor's eyes; they cost everybody more than anything else in housekeeping.
      - [Neighbors]

The essence of every species of wit is surprise; which, vi termini, must be sudden; and the sensations which wit has a tendency to excite are impaired or destroyed as often as they are mingled with much thought or passion.
      - [Wit]

The fact is, that to do anything in this world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can.
      - [Cowards]

The haunts of happiness are varied and rather unaccountable, but I have more often seen her among little children, and home firesides, and in country houses, than anywhere else--at least, I think so.
      - [Happiness]

The man who talks of an unalterable law is probably an unalterable fool.
      - [Fools]

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.
      - [Preaching]

The real object of education is to give children resources that will endure as long as life endures; habits that time will ameliorate, not destroy; occupation that will render sickness tolerable, solitude pleasant, age venerable, life more dignified and useful, and death less terrible.
      - [Education]

The wit of language is so miserably inferior to the wit of ideas that it is very deservedly driven out of good company.
      - [Wit]

There is but one method, and that is hard labor.
      - [Greatness]

There is nothing of which nature has been more bountiful than poets. They swarm like the spawn of codfish, with a vicious fecundity that invites and requires destruction. To publish verses is become a sort of evidence that a man wants sense; which is repelled, not by writing good verses, but by writing excellent verses.
      - [Poets]

There is the same difference between their tongues as between the hour and the minute-hand; one goes ten times as fast, and the other signifies ten times as much.
      - [Talking]

We know nothing of to-morrow; our business is to be good and happy to-day.
      - [Today]

We must despise no sort of talents; they all have their separate duties and uses, all the happiness of man for their object; they all improve, exalt, and gladden life.
      - [Talent]

We should accustom the mind to keep the best company by introducing it only to the best books.
      - [Reading]

We talk of human life as a journey, but how variously is that journey performed! There are those who come forth girt, and shod, and mantled, to walk on velvet lawns and smooth terraces, where every gale is arrested and every beam is tempered. There are others who walk on the alpine paths of life, against driving misery, and through stormy sorrows over sharp afflictions; walk with bare feet and naked breast, jaded, mangled, and chilled.
      - [Life]

What I object to Scotch philosophers in general is, that they reason upon man as they would upon a divinity; they pursue truth without caring if it be useful truth.
      - [Zeal]

Whatever you are from nature, keep to it; never desert your own line of talent. Be what Nature intended you for, and you will succeed; be anything else, and you will be ten thousand times worse than nothing.
      - [Talent]

When wit is combined with sense and information; when it is softened by benevolence and restrained by strong principle; when it is in the hands of a man who can use it and despise it, who can be witty and something much better than witty, who loves honor, justice, decency, good-nature, morality, and religion, ten thousand times better than wit,--wit is then a beautiful and delightful part of our nature.
      - [Wit]


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