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JONATHAN SWIFT
Irish satirist and man of letters
(1667 - 1745)
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It is allowed that the cause of most actions, good or bad, may be resolved into the love of ourselves; but the self-love of some men inclines them to please others, and the self-love of others is wholly employed in pleasing themselves. This makes the great distinction between virtue and vice.
      - [Self-love]

It is an uncontrolled truth that no man ever made an ill figure who understood his own talents, nor a good one who mistook them.
      - [Talent]

It is as hard to satirize well a man of distinguished vices, as to praise well a man of distinguished virtues.
      - [Praise : Satire]

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.
      - [Death]

It is in disputes as in armies; where the weaker side sets up false lights, and makes a great noise, to make the enemy believe them more numerous and strong than they really are.
      - [Argument : Deceit]

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

It is not so much the being exempt from faults as the having overcome them that is an advantage to us; it being with the follies of the mind as with weeds of a field, which if destroyed and consumed upon the place where they grow, enrich and improve it more than if none had ever sprung there.
      - [Faults]

It is pleasant to observe how free the present age is in laying taxes on the next. "Future ages shall talk of this; they shall be famous to all posterity;" whereas their time and thoughts will be taken up about present things, as ours are now.
      - [Posterity]

It is the first rule in oratory that a man must appear such as he would persuade others to be: and that can be accomplished only by the force of his life.
      - [Oratory]

It is the talent of human nature to run from one extreme to another.
      - [Human Nature]

It is very unfair in any writer to employ ignorance and malice together, because it gives his answerer double work.
      - [Controversy]

It may pass for a maxim in State, that the administration cannot be placed in too few hands, nor the legislature in too many.
      - [Government]

Law is a bottomless pit; it is a cormorant,--a harpy that devours everything.
      - [Law]

Leaving the wits the spacious air,
  With license to build castles there.
      - [Castles in the Air]

Let a man be ne'er so wise, he may be caught with sober lies.
      - [Falsehood]

Love why do we one passion call,
  When 'tis a compound of them all?
    Where hot and cold, where sharp and sweet,
      In all their equipages meet;
        Where pleasures mix'd with pains appear,
          Sorrow with joy, and hope with fear.
      - [Love]

Men always grow vicious before they become unbelievers.
      - [Unbelief]

Men are contented to be laughed at for their wit, but not for their folly.
      - [Laughter]

Men of great parts are often unfortunate in the management of public business because they are apt to go out of the common road by the quickness of their imagination.
      - [Business]

Men of wit, learning and virtue might strike out every offensive or unbecoming passage from plays.
      - [Drama]

Nature has left every man a capacity of being agreeable, though not of shining in company; and there are a hundred men sufficiently qualified for both who, by a very few faults, that they might correct in half an hour, are not so much as tolerable.
      - [Agree : Company]

Neither is it safe to count upon the weakness of any man's understanding, who is thoroughly possessed of the spirit of revenge to sharpen his invention.
      - [Revenge]

No man of honor, as the word is usually understood, did ever pretend that his honor obliged him to be chaste or temperate, to pay his creditors, to be useful to his country, to do good to mankind, to endeavor to be wise or learned, to regard his word, his promise, or his oath.
      - [Honor]

No preacher is listened to but time, which gives us the same train and turn of thought that elder people have in vain tried to put into our heads before.
      - [Preaching]

No wise man ever wished to be younger.
      - [Age]


Displaying page 4 of 12 for this author:   << Prev  Next >>  1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

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