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SYDNEY SMITH
English clergyman, wit and essayist
(1771 - 1845)
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Why destroy present happiness by a distant misery, which may never come at all, or you may never live to see it? For every substantial grief has twenty shadows, and most of them shadows of your own making.
      - [Grief]

Wit gives to life one of its best flavors; common-sense leads to immediate action, and gives society its daily motion; large and comprehensive views, its annual rotation; ridicule chastises folly and imprudence, and keeps men in their proper sphere; subtlety seizes hold of the fine threads of truth; analogy darts away in the most sublime discoveries; feeling paints all the exquisite passions of man's soul, and rewards him by a thousand inward visitations for the sorrows that come from without.
      - [Wit]

You pity a man who is lame or blind, but you never pity him for being a fool, which is often a much greater misfortune.
      - [Fools]

You will find people ready enough to do the Samaritan without the oil and twopence.
      - [Benevolence]

Oh, herbaceous treat!
  'Twould tempt the dying anchorite to eat;
    Back to the world he'd turn his fleeting soul,
      And plunge his fingers in the salad bowl;
        Serenely full the epicure would say,
          "Fate cannot harm me,--I have dined to-day."
      - A Receipt for a Salad [Eating]

Magnificent spectacle of human happiness.
      - America, "Edinburgh Review" [Happiness]

Man could direct his ways by plain reason, and support his life by tasteless food; but God has given us wit, and flavour, and brightness, and laughter, and perfumers, to enliven the days of man's pilgrimage, and to "charm his pained steps over the burning marle."
      - Dangers and Advantages of Wit [Wit]

Daniel Webster struck me much like a steam engine in trousers.
      - Lady Holland's Memoir (ch. IX) [Character]

He [Macaulay] is like a book in breeches.
      - Lady Holland's Memoir (ch. IX) [Character]

Madam, I have been looking for a person who disliked gravy all my life; let us swear eternal friendship.
      - Lady Holland's Memoir (p. 257)
        [Friendship]

I think it was Jekyll who used to say that the further he went west, the more convinced he felt that the wise men came from the east.
      - Lady Holland's Memoir (vol. I) [Traveling]

No one minds what Jeffrey says--it is not more than a week ago that I heard him speak disrespectfully of the equator.
      - Lady Holland's Memoir (vol. I) [Speech]

Looked as if she had walked straight out of the Ark.
      - Lady Holland's Memoir (vol. I, ch. 7)
        [Appearance]

We cultivate literature on a little oat-meal.
      - Lady Holland's Memoir (vol. I, p. 23)
        [Literature]

The Smiths never had any arms, and have invariably sealed their letters with their thumbs.
      - Lady Holland's Memoir (vol. I, p. 244)
        [Ancestry]

Not body enough to cover his mind decently with; his intellect is improperly exposed.
      - Lady Holland's Memoir (vol. I, p. 258)
        [Mind]

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.
      - Lady Holland's Memoir (vol. I, p. 259)
        [Folly]

You find people ready enough to do the Samaritan, without the oil and twopence.
      - Lady Holland's Memoir (vol. I, p. 261)
        [Philanthropy]

Ah, you flavour everything; you are the vanille of society.
      - Lady Holland's Memoir (vol. I, p. 262)
        [Society]

As the French say, there are three sexes,--men, women, and clergymen.
      - Lady Holland's Memoir (vol. I, p. 262)
        [Society]

My living in Yorkshire was so far out of the way, that it was actually twelve miles from a lemon.
      - Lady Holland's Memoir (vol. I, p. 262)
        [Lemons]

Heat, ma'am! it was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.
      - Lady Holland's Memoir (vol. I, p. 267)
        [Summer]

Truth is its [Justice's] handmaid, freedom is its child, peace is its companion, safety walks in its steps, victory follows in its train; it is the brightest emanation from the gospel; it is the attribute of God.
      - Lady Holland's Memoir (vol. I, p. 29)
        [Justice]

Macaulay is like a book in breeches. . . . He has occasional flashes of silence, that make his conversation perfectly delightful.
      - Lady Holland's Memoir (vol. I, p. 363)
        [Silence]

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? how did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea.
      - Lady Holland's Memoir (vol. I, p. 383)
        [Tea]


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