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Irish essayist, dramatist and politician
(1672 - 1729)
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Fire and sword are but slow engines of destruction in comparison with the babbler.
      - [Tattling]

First we flatter ourselves; and then the flattery of others is sure of success. It awakens our self-love within--a party who is ever ready to revolt from our better judgment, and join the enemy without.
      - [Flattery]

He is certainly as guilty of suicide who perishes by a slow, as he who is despatched by an immediate, poison.
      - [Intemperance]

He that can keep handsomely within rules, and support the carriage of a companion to his mistress, is much more likely to prevail than he who lets her see the whole relish of his life depends upon her. If possible, therefore, divert your mistress rather than sigh for her.
      - [Courtship]

He that wants good sense is unhappy in having learning, for he has thereby only more ways of exposing himself; and he that has sense, knows that learning is not knowledge, but rather the art of using it.
      - [Learning]

I consider the soul of man as the ruin of a glorious pile of buildings; where, amidst great heaps of rubbish, you meet with noble fragments of sculpture, broken pillars and obelisks, and a magnificence in confusion.
      - [Soul]

I have often lamented that we cannot close our ears with as much ease as we can our eyes.
      - [Hearing]

I have very often lamented and hinted my sorrow, in several speculations, that the art of painting is made so little use of to the improvement of manners. When we consider that it places the action of the person represented in the most agreeable aspect imaginable,--that it does not only express the passion or concern as it sits upon him who is drawn, but has under those features the height of the painter's imagination,--what strong images of virtue and humanity might we not expect would be instilled into the mind from the labors of the pencil!
      - [Painting]

I know no evil so great as the abuse of the understanding, and yet there is no one vice more common.
      - [Understanding]

I look upon an able statesman out of business like a huge whale, that will endeavor to overturn the ship unless he has an empty cask to play with.
      - [Statesmen]

I remember to have heard a great painter say: "There are certain faces for certain painters, as well as certain subjects for certain poets." This is as true in the choice of studies; and no one will ever relish an author thoroughly well who would not have been fit companion for that author, had they lived at the same time.
      - [Study]

If I were to choose the people with whom I would spend my hours of conversation, they should be certainly such as labored no further than to make themselves readily and clearly apprehended, and would have patience and curiosity to understand me. To have good sense and ability to express it are the most essential and necessary qualities in companions. When thoughts rise in us fit to utter among familiar friends, there needs but very little care in clothing them.
      - [Style]

If our past actions reproach us, they cannot be atoned for by our own severe reflections so effectually as by a contrary behavior.
      - [Retrospection]

If we were to form an image of dignity in a man, we should give him wisdom and valor, as being essential to the character of manhood. In the like manner, if you describe a right woman, in a laudable sense, she should have gentle softness, tender fear, and all those parts of life which distinguish, her from the other sex, with some subordination to it, but such an inferiority as makes her still more lovely.
      - [Gentleness]

If wit is to be measured by the circumstances of time and place, there is no man has generally so little of that talent as he who is a wit by profession. What he says, instead of arising from the occasion, has an occasion invented for bringing it in.
      - [Wit]

In a word, to be a fine gentleman is to be a generous and brave man.
      - [Gentlemen]

Inquisitive people are the funnels of conversation; they do not take in anything for their own use, but merely to pass it to another.
      - [Curiosity]

It has been a sort of maxim that the greatest art is to conceal art; but I know not how, among some people we meet with, their greatest cunning is to appear cunning.
      - [Cunning]

It has been from age to age an affectation to love the pleasure of solitude among those who cannot possibly be supposed qualified for passing life in that manner.
      - [Solitude]

It is a certain sign of an ill heart to be inclined to defamation. They who are harmless and innocent can have no gratification that way; but it ever arises from a neglect of what is laudable in a man's self.
      - [Scandal]

It is a secret known but to few, yet of no small use in the conduct of life, that when you fall into a man's conversation, the first thing you should consider is, whether he has a greater inclination to hear you, or that you should hear him.
      - [Conversation]

It is certainly a very important lesson to learn how to enjoy ordinary things, and to be able to relish your being, without the transport of some passion, or gratification of some appetite.
      - [Moderation]

It is not easy to surround life with any circumstances in which youth will not be delightful; and I am afraid that, whether married or unmarried, we shall find the vesture of terrestrial existence more heavy and cumbrous the longer it is worn.
      - [Youth]

It is not only paying wages, and giving commands, that constitutes a master of a family, but prudence, equal behavior, with a readiness to protect and cherish them, is what entitles a man to that character in their very hearts and sentiments.
      - [Masters]

It is the most beautiful object the eyes of man can behold to see a man of worth and his son live in an entire, unreserved correspondence.
      - [Parents]

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