Oliver Goldsmith


Irish-born English Poet, Playwright and Novelist best known for his Novel, "The Vicar of Wakefield"

Author Quotes

To pursue trifles is the lot of humanity; and whether we bustle in a pantomime, or strut at a coronation, or shout at a bonfire, or harangue in a senate-house; whatever object we follow, it will at last conduct us to futility and disappointment. The wise bustle and laugh as they walk in the pageant, but fools bustle and are important; and this probably, is all the difference between them.

We take greater pains to persuade others that we are happy, than in endeavoring to be so ourselves.

Where commerce and capitalism are involved, often times, morality and honor sink to the bottom-Oliver Goldsmith paraphrased

Yet still the English are far behind us in this charming art; their designs have not yet attained a power of uniting instruction with beauty. An European will scarcely conceive any meaning, when I say that there is scarcely a garden in China which does not contain some fine moral couched under the general design, where one is not taught wisdom as he walks, and feels the force of some noble truth, or delicate precept, resulting from the disposition of the groves, streams, or grottoes.

To the last moment of his breath on hope the wretch relies; and e'en the pang preceding death bids expectation rise. Hope, like the gleaming taper's light, adorns and cheers our way; and still, as darker grows the night, emits a brighter ray.

Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace the day's disasters in his morning face.

Where village statesmen talk'd with looks profound. And news much older than their ale went round.

You, that are going to be married, think things can never be done too fast: but we that are old, and know what we are about, must elope methodically, madam.

To what fortuitous occurrence do we not owe every pleasure and convenience of our lives.

What cities, as great as this, have . . . promised themselves immortality! Posterity can hardly trace the situation of some. The sorrowful traveller wanders over the awful ruins of others others. . . . Here stood their citadel, but now grown over with weeds; there their senate-house, but now the haunt of every noxious reptile; temples and theatres stood here, now only an undistinguished heap of ruins.

Where wealth accumulates, men decay.

To what happy accident is it that we owe so unexpected a visit?

What I have observed with regard to natural philosophy I would extend to every other science whatsoever. We should teach them as many of the facts as were possible, and defer the causes until they seemed of themselves desirous of knowing them. A mind thus leaving school, stored with all the simple experiences of science, would be the fittest in the world for the college course; and though such a youth might not appear so bright or so talkative as those who had learned the real principles and causes of some of the sciences, yet he would make a wiser man, and would retain a more lasting passion for letters, than he who was early burdened with the disagreeable institution of effect and cause.

Where wealth and freedom reign, contentment fails, and honor sinks where commerce long prevails.

Trade's proud empire hastes to swift decay.

What if in Scotland's wilds we viel'd our head, Where tempests whistle round the sordid bed; Where the rug's two-fold use we might display, By night a blanket, and a plaid by day.

Where'er I roam, whatever realms to see, my heart untraveled, fondly turns to thee; Still to my brother turns, with ceaseless pain, And drags at each remove a lengthening chain.

Travelers, George, must pay in all places: the only difference is, that in good inns, you pay dearly for your luxuries, and in bad inns you are fleeced and starved.

What real good does an addition to a fortune already sufficient procure? Not any. Could the great man by having his fortune increased increase also his appetites, then precedence might be attended with real amusement.

Whether love be natural or no, replied my friend, gravely, it contributes to the happiness of every society into which it is introduced. All our pleasures are short, and can only charm at intervals: love is a method of protracting our greatest pleasure; and surely that gamester who plays the greatest stake to the best advantage will, at the end of life, rise victorious.

True generosity does not consist in obeying every impulse of humanity, in following blind passion for our guide, and impairing our circumstances by present benefactions, so as to render us incapable of future ones.

Whatever be the motives which induce men to write, whether avarice or fame, the country becomes most wise and happy in which they most serve for instructors.

While resignation gently slopes the way; And, all his prospects brightening to the last, His heaven commences ere the world be past.

True generosity is a duty as indispensably necessary as those imposed on us by law. - It is a rule imposed by reason, which should be the sovereign law of a rational being.

Whatever may be the merits of the English in other sciences, they seem particularly excellent in the art of healing. There is scarcely a disorder incident to humanity against which our advertising doctors are not possessed with a most infallible antidote. The professors of other arts confess the inevitable intricacy of things; talk with doubt, and decide with hesitation: but doubting is entirely unknown in medicine: the advertising professors here delight in cases of difficulty.

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Irish-born English Poet, Playwright and Novelist best known for his Novel, "The Vicar of Wakefield"