Sydney Smith


English Clergyman and Essayist

Author Quotes

Live always in the best company when you read.

Never give way to melancholy; resist it steadily, for the habit will encroach.

Pride is not the heritage of man; humility should dwell with frailty, and atone for ignorance, error, and imperfection.

The dearest things in the world are our neighbor's eyes; they cost everybody more than anything else in housekeeping.

There is but one method, and that is hard labor; and a man who will not pay that price for greatness had better at once dedicate himself to the pursuit of the fox, or to talk of bullocks, and glory in the goad.

We must despise no sort of talents; they all have their separate uses and duties; all have the happiness of man for their object; they all improve, exalt, and gladden life.

Looked as if she had walked straight out of the ark.

Never talk for half a minute without pausing and giving others a chance to join in.

Pulpit discourses have insensibly dwindled from speaking to reading; a practice of itself sufficient to stifle every germ of eloquence.

The fact is that in order to do anything in this world worth doing, we must not stand shivering on the bank thinking of the cold and the danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can.

There is not the least use in preaching to anyone, unless you chance to catch them ill.

We shall generally find that the triangular person has got into the square hole, the oblong into the triangular, and a square person has squeezed himself into the round hole.

Lucy, dear child, mind your arithmetic. You know in the first sum of yours I ever saw there was a mistake. You had carried two (as a cab is licensed to do), and you ought, dear Lucy, to have carried but one. Is this a trifle? What would life be without arithmetic, but a scene of horrors.

Never try to reason the prejudice out of a man. It was not reasoned into him, and cannot be reasoned out.

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.

The haunts of happiness are varied, but I have more often found her among little children, home firesides, and country houses than anywhere else.

There is one piece of advice, in a life of study, which I think no one will object to; and that is, every now and then to be completely idle - to do nothing at all.

We talk of human life as a journey; but how variously is that journey performed! There are those who come forth girt, and shod, and mantled, to walk on velvet lawns and smooth terraces, where every gale is arrested and every beam is tempered. There are others who walk on the Alpine paths of life, against driving misery, and through stormy sorrows, over sharp afflictions; walk with bare feet and naked breast, jaded, mangled, and chilled.

Macaulay is like a book in breeches...He has occasional flashes of silence, that make his conversation perfectly delightful.

No furniture is so charming as books, even if you never open them or read a single word.

Say everything for vice which you can, magnify any pleasures as much as you please, but don't believe you have any secret for sending on quicker the sluggish blood, and for refreshing the faded nerve.

The history of the world shows us that men are not to be counted by their numbers, but by the fire and vigor of their passions; by their deep sense of injury; by their memory of past glory; by their eagerness for fresh fame; by their clear and steady resolution of ceasing to live, or of achieving a particular object, which, when it is once formed, strikes off a load of manacles and chains, and gives free space to all heavenly and heroic feelings. All great and extraordinary actions come from the heart. There are seasons in human affairs, when qualities fit enough to conduct the common business of life, are feeble and useless; and when men must trust to emotion, for that safety which reason at such times can never give.

There is the same difference between the tongues of some, as between the hour and the minute hand; one goes ten times as fast, and the other signifies ten times as much.

What a pity it is that we have no amusements in England but vice and religion!

Madam, I have been looking for a person that dislikes gravy all my life; let us swear eternal friendship.

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English Clergyman and Essayist