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CHARLES CALEB COLTON
English sportsman and writer
(1780 - 1832)
  Displaying page 1 of 23    Next Page >> 

A beautiful woman, if poor, should use double circumspection; for her beauty will tempt others, her poverty herself.
      - [Temptation]

A Christian builds his fortitude on a better foundation than stoicism; he is pleased with everything that happens, because he knows it could not happen unless it first pleased God, and that which pleases Him must be best.
      - [Fortitude]

A coxcomb begins by determining that his own profession is the first; and he finishes by deciding that he is the first of profession.
      - [Coxcomb]

A feast is more fatal to love than a fast.
      - [Courtship]

A fool is often as dangerous to deal with as a knave, and always more incorrigible.
      - [Fools]

A harmless hilarity and a buoyant cheerfulness are not infrequent concomitants of genius; and we are never more deceived than when we mistake gravity for greatness, solemnity for science, and pomposity for erudition.
      - [Fools]

A lady of fashion will sooner excuse a freedom flowing from admiration than a slight resulting from indifference.
      - [Indifference]

A leveller has long ago been set down as a ridiculous and chimerical being, who, if he could finish his work to-day, would have to begin it again tomorrow.
      - [Equality]

A man who knows the world will not only make the most of everything he does know, but of many things that he does not know; and will gain more credit by his adroit mode of hiding his ignorance than the pedant by his awkward attempt to exhibit his erudition.
      - [Address]

A man's profundity may keep him from opening on a first interview, and his caution on a second; but I should suspect his emptiness, if he carried on his reserve to a third.
      - [Silence]

A public debt is a kind of anchor in the storm; but if the anchor be too heavy for the vessel, she will be sunk by that very weight which was intended for her preservation.
      - [Debt]

A semi-civilized state of society, equally removed from the extremes of barbarity and of refinement, seems to be that particular meridian under which all the reciprocities and gratuities of hospitality do most readily flourish and abound. For it so happens that the ease, the luxury, and the abundance of the highest state of civilization, are as productive of selfishness, as the difficulties, the privations, and the sterilities of he lowest.
      - [Civilization]

A thorough-paced antiquary not only remembers what all other people have thought proper to forget, but he also forgets what all other people think is proper to remember.
      - [Antiquity]

A thorough-paced knave will rarely quarrel with one whom he can cheat: his revenge is plunder; therefore he is usually the most forgiving of beings, upon the principle that if he come to an open rupture, he must defend himself; and this does not suit a man whose vocation it is to keep his hands in the pocket of another.
      - [Knavery]

A town, before it can be plundered and, deserted, must first be taken; and in this particular Venus has borrowed a law from her consort Mars. A woman that wishes to retain her suitor must keep him in the trenches; for this is a siege which the besieger never raises for want of supplies, since a feast is more fatal to love than a fast, and a surfeit than a starvation. Inanition may cause it to die a slow death, but repletion always destroys it by a sudden one.
      - [Courtship]

A wise minister would rather preserve peace than gain a victory, because he knows that even the most successful war leaves nations generally more poor, always more profligate, than it found them.
      - [War]

A woman that wishes to retain her suitor must keep him in the trenches.
      - [Courtship]

Accustom yourself to submit on all and every occasion, and on the most minute, no less than on the most important circumstances of life, to a small present evil, to obtain a greater distant good. This will give decision, tone, and energy to the mind, which, thus disciplined, will often reap victory from defeat and honor from repulse.
      - [Foresight]

Adroit observers will find that some who affect to dislike flattery may yet be flattered, indirectly by a well-seasoned abuse and ridicule of their rivals.
      - [Flattery]

Afflictions sent by Providence melt the constancy of the noble-minded, but confirm the obduracy of the vile. The same furnace that hardens clay liquefies gold; and in the strong manifesta-tions of divine power Pharaoh found his punishment, but David his pardon.
      - [Affliction]

Alas! how has the social spirit of Christianity been perverted by fools at one time, and by knaves and bigots at another; by the self-tormentors of the cell, and the all-tormentors of the conclave!
      - [Christianity]

Alas! what is man? whether he be deprived of that light which is from on high, or whether he discard it; a frail and trembling creature, standing on time, that bleak and narrow isthmus between two eternities, he sees nothing but impenetrable darkness on the one hand, and doubt, distrust, and conjecture still more perplexing on the other. Most gladly would he take an observation as to whence he has come, or whither he is going. Alas, he has not the means; his telescope is too dim, his compass too wavering, his plummet too short. Nor is that little spot, his present state, one whit more intelligible, since it may prove a quicksand that may sink in a moment from his feet; it can afford him no certain reckoning as to that immeasurable ocean that he may have traversed, or that still more formidable one that he must.
      - [Eternity]

All poets pretend to write for immortality, but the whole tribe have no objection to present pay, and present praise. Lord Burleigh is not the only statesman who has thought one hundred pounds too much for a song, though sung by Spenser; although Oliver Goldsmith is the only poet who ever considered himself to have been overpaid.
      - [Poets]

All preceptors should have that kind of genius described by Tacitus, "equal to their business, but not above it;" a patient industry, with competent erudition; a mind depending more on its correctness than its originality, and on its memory rather than on its invention.
      - [Teaching]

All the poets are indebted more or less to those who have gone before them; even Homer's originality has been questioned, and Virgil owes almost as much to Theocritus, in his Pastorals, as to Homer, in his Heroics; and if our own countryman, Milton, has soared above both Homer and Virgil, it is because he has stolen some feathers from their wings.
      - [Plagiarism]


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