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LAURENCE STERNE
Irish humorous and novelist
(1713 - 1768)
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The improbability of a malicious story serves but to help forward the currency of it, because it increases the scandal. So that, in such instances, the world is like the pious St. Austin, who said he believed some things because they were absurd and impossible.
      - [Scandal]

The mind should be accustomed to make wise reflections, and draw curious conclusions as it goes along; the habitude of which made Pliny the Younger affirm that he never read book so bad but he drew some profit from it.
      - [Reading]

The more tickets you have in a lottery, the worse your chance. And it is the same of virtues, in the lottery of life.
      - [Virtue]

The most affluent may be stripped of all, and find his worldly comforts, like so many withered leaves, dropping from him.
      - [Adversity]

The very essence of gravity was design, and, consequently, deceit; it was a taught trick to gain credit of the world for more sense end knowledge than a man was worth; and that with all its pretensions it was no better, but often worse, than what a French wit had long ago defined it--a mysterious carriage of the body to cover the defects of the mind.
      - [Gravity]

The way to fame, is like the way to heaven,--through much tribulation.
      - [Fame]

The world is ashamed of being virtuous.
      - [Work]

There are many ways of inducing sleep--the thinking of purling rills, or waving woods; reckoning of numbers; droppings from a wet sponge fixed over a brass pan, etc. But temperance and exercise answer much better than any of these succedaneums.
      - [Sleep]

There are some tempers--how shall I describe them--formed either of such impenetrable matter, or wrought up by habitual selfishness to such an utter insensibility of what becomes of the fortunes of their fellow-creatures, as if they were not partakers of the same nature, or had no lot or connection at all with the species.
      - [Selfishness]

There are worse occupations in this world than feeling a woman's pulse.
      - [Doctors]

There is no small degree of malicious craft in fixing upon a season to give a mark of enmity and ill-will: a word--a look, which at one time would make no impression, at another time wounds the heart, and, like a shaft flying with the wind, pierces deep, which, with its own natural force, would scarce have reached the object aimed at.
      - [Malice]

There is no such thing as real happiness in life. The justest definition that was ever given of it was "a tranquil acquiescence under an agreeable delusion"--I forget where.
      - [Illusion]

There is one sweet lenitive at least for evils, which nature holds out; so I took it kindly at her hands, and fell asleep.
      - [Sleep]

There is such a torture, happily unknown to ancient tyranny, as talking a man to death. Marcus Aurelius advises to assent readily to great talkers--in hopes, I suppose, to put an end to the argument.
      - [Talking]

Titles of honor are like the impressions on coin; which add no value to gold and silver, but only render brass current.
      - [Titles]

To have a respect for ourselves guides our morals; and to have a deference for others governs our manners.
      - [Self-respect]

Upon the present theological computation, ten souls must be lost for one that is saved. At which rate of reckoning, heaven can raise but its cohorts while hell commands its legions. From which sad account it would appear, that, though our Saviour had conquered death by the resurrection, he had not yet been able to overcome sin by the redemption.
      - [Redemption]

Vanity bids all her sons be brave, and all her daughters chaste and courteous.
      - [Chastity]

We are born to trouble; and we may depend upon it, whilst we live in this world, we shall have it, though with intermissions.
      - [Trouble]

We lose the right of complaining sometimes by forbearing it; but we often treble the force.
      - [Complaining]

We may imitate the Deity in all His attributes; but mercy is the only one in which we can pretend to equal Him. We cannot, indeed, give like God; but surely we may forgive like Him.
      - [Mercy]

What persons are by starts they are by nature.
      - [Impulse]

Whatever stress some may lay upon it, a death-bed repentance is but a weak and slender plank to trust our all on.
      - [Death]

When a few words will rescue misery out of her distress, I hate the man who can be a churl of them.
      - [Misery]

When a misfortune is impending, I cry, "God forbid"; but when it falls upon me, I say, "God be praised."
      - [Resignation]


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