Sydney Smith


English Clergyman and Essayist

Author Quotes

Married couples resemble a pair of scissors, often moving in opposite directions, yet punishing anyone who gets in between them.

Oh, herbaceous treat! 'Twould tempt the dying anchorite to eat; Back to the world he'd turn his fleeting soul, And plunge his fingers in the salad bowl; Serenely full the epicure would say, Fate cannot harm me,--I have dined to-day.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea! How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea.

The schoolboy whips his taxed top; the beardless youth manages his taxed horse with a taxed bridle on a taxed road; and the dying Englishman, pouring his medicine, which has paid seven per cent, into a spoon that has paid fifteen per cent, flings himself back upon his chintz bed which has paid twenty-two per cent, and expires in the arms of an apothecary who has paid a license of a hundred pounds for the privilege of putting him to death.

To take Macaulay out of literature and society and put him in the House of Commons, is like taking the chief physician out of London during a pestilence.

You never say a word of yourself, dear Lady Grey. You have that dreadful sin of anti-egotism.

Men who prefer any load of infamy, however great, to any pressure of taxation, however light.

Old friendships are destroyed by toasted cheese, and hard salted meat has led to suicide. Unpleasant feelings of the body produce correspondent sensations of the mind, and a great scene of wretchedness is sketched out by a morsel of indigestible and misguided food.

That knuckle-end of England,-that land of Calvin, oat-cakes, and sulphur.

The Smiths never had any arms, and have invariably sealed their letters with their thumbs.

Try to make at least one person happy every day, and then in ten years you may have made three thousand, six hundred and fifty persons happy, or brightened a small town by your contribution to the fund of general enjoyment.

You remember Thurlow's answer to someone complaining of the injustice of a company. "Why, you never expected justice from a company, did you? They have neither a soul to lose, nor a body to kick."

Men whose trade is rat-catching love to catch rats; the bug destroyer seizes on his bug with delight; the suppressor is gratified by finding his vice.

People who love only once in their lives are shallow people. What they call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I call either the lethargy of custom, or their lack of imagination

That sign of old age, extolling the past at the expense of the present.

The spiritualization of sensuality is called love: it is a great triumph over Christianity. Friedrich Nietzsche To love and be loved is the great happiness of existence.

Virtue is so delightful, whenever it is perceived, that men have found it their interest to cultivate manners, which are, in fact, the appearances of certain virtues; and now we are come to love the sign better than the thing signified, and to prefer manners without virtue, to virtue without manners.

Most men want knowledge, not for itself, but for the superiority which knowledge confers; and the means they employ to secure this superiority are as wrong as the ultimate object, for no man can ever end with being superior, who will not begin with being inferior.

Poverty us no disgrace to a man, but it is confoundedly inconvenient.

The 47th proposition in Euclid might now be voted down with as much ease as any proposition in politics; and therefore if Lord Hawkesbury hates the abstract truths of science as much as he hates concrete truth in human affairs, now is his time for getting rid of the multiplication table, and passing a vote of censure upon the pretensions of the hypotenuse.

The taste for emotion may become a dangerous taste; we should be very cautious how we attempt to squeeze out of human life more ecstasy and paroxysm than it can well afford.

We are told, "Let not the sun go down in your wrath," but I would add, never act or write till it has done so. This rule has saved me from many an act of folly. It is wonderful what a different view we take of the same event four-and-twenty hours after it has happened.

My idea of heaven is eating pate de foie gras to the sound of trumpets.

Praise is the best diet for us, after all.

The avaricious love of gain, which is so feelingly deplored, appears to us a principle which, in able hands, might be guided to the most salutary purposes. The object is to encourage the love of labor, which is best encouraged by the love of money.

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English Clergyman and Essayist