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[ Also see Argument Cleverness Conversation Dullness Eloquence Epigrams Humor Irony Jesting Jokes Language Levity Merriment Pun Repartee Ridicule Sarcasm Satire Smiles Speech Wisdom Witticisms ]

Wit is of the true Pierian spring, that can make anything of anything.
      - George Chapman

It is by vivacity and wit that man shines in company; but trite jokes and loud laughter reduce him to a buffoon.
      - 4th Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope

Humor is consistent with pathos, whilst wit is not.
      - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

An elegant writer has observed, that wit may do very well for a mistress, but that he should prefer reason for a wife.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

Wit in women is a jewel, which, unlike all others, borrows lustre from its setting, rather than bestows it; since nothing is so easy as to fancy a very beautiful woman extremely witty.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

His wit run him out of his money, and now his poverty has run him out of his wits.
      - William Congreve

The falling-out of wits is like the falling-out of lovers: we agree in the main, like treble and bass.
      - William Congreve

I am a fool, I know it; and yet, Heaven help me, I'm poor enough to be a wit.
      - William Congreve, Love for Love
         (act I, sc. 1)

A Christian's wit is offensive light,
  A beam that aids, but never grieves the sight;
    Vig'rous in age as in the flush of youth,
      'Tis always active on the side of truth.
      - William Cowper

His wit invites you by his looks to come,
  But when you knock, it never is at home.
      - William Cowper, Conversation (l. 303)

Wit, now and then, struck smartly, shows a spark.
      - William Cowper, Table Talk (l. 665)

Men famed for wit, of dangerous talents vain,
  Treat those of common parts with proud disdain;
    The powers that wisdom would, improving, hide,
      They blaze abroad, with inconsid'rate pride;
        While yet but mere probationers for fame,
          They seize the honor they should then disclaim:
            Honor so hurried to the light must fade,
              The lasting laurels nourish in the shade.
      - George Crabbe

Wit,--the pupil of the soul's clear eye.
      - Sir John Davies

Great wits are sure to madness near allied,
  And thin partitions do their bounds divide.
      - John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel
         (pt. I, l. 163)

Ev'n wit's a burthen, when it talks too long.
      - John Dryden, Sixth Satire of Juvenal
         (l. 573)

Wit will shine
  Through the harsh cadence of a rugged line.
      - John Dryden, To the Memory of Mr. Oldham

Wit is an intermittent fountain; kindness is a perennial spring.
      - Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

No dignity, no learning, no force of character, can make any stand against good wit.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Of all wit's uses, the main one is to live well with who has none.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The finest wits have their sediment.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

True wit never made us laugh.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wit makes its own welcome, and levels all distinction. No dignity, no learning, no force of character, can make any stand against good wit. It is like ice, on which no beauty of form, no majesty of carriage, can plead any immunity; they must walk gingerly, according to the laws of ice, or down they must go, dignity and all.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wit, like hunger, will be with great difficulty restrained from falling on vice and ignorance, where there is great plenty and variety of food.
      - Henry Fielding

With the latitude of unbounded scurrility, it is easy enough to attain the character of a wit, especially when it is considered how wonderfully pleasant it is to the generality of the public to see the folly of their acquaintance exposed by a third person.
      - Henry Fielding

There are heads sometimes so little, that there is no room for wit, sometimes so long that there is no wit for so much room.
      - Thomas Fuller (1)

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