Oliver Goldsmith


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

Author Quotes

Want of prudence is too frequently the want of virtue; nor is there on earth a more powerful advocate for vice than poverty.

When I see a young profligate squandering his fortune in bagnios, or at the gaming table, I cannot help looking on him as hastening his own death, and in a manner digging his own grave.

Women and music should never be dated.

To divest either politics or religion of ceremony, is the most certain method of bringing either into contempt. - The weak must have their inducements to admiration as well as the wise; and it is the business of a sensible government to impress all ranks with a sense of subordination, whether this be effected by a diamond buckle, a virtuous edict, a sumptuary law, or a glass necklace.

We had no revolutions to fear, nor fatigues to undergo; all our adventures were by the fireside, and all our migrations from the blue bed to the brown.

When lovely woman stoops to folly, and finds too late that men betray, what charm can soothe her melancholy, what art can wash her guilt away?

Women famed for their valor, their skill in politics, or their learning, leave the duties of their own sex, in order to invade the privileges of ours. I can no more pardon a fair one for endeavoring to wield the club of Hercules, than I could a man for endeavoring to twirl her distaff.

To embarrass justice by a multiplicity of laws, or hazard it by a confidence in our judges, are, I grant, the opposite rocks on which legislative wisdom has ever split; in one case the client resembles that emperor who is said to have been suffocated with the bedclothes, which were only designed to keep him warm; in the other, that town which let the enemy take possession of its walls, in order to show the world how little they depended upon aught but courage for safety.

We shall find our expectation of the future to be a gift more distressful even than the former. To fear an approaching evil is certainly a most disagreeable sensation; and in expecting an approaching good we experience the inquietude of wanting actual possession.

When the person is buried, the next care is to make his epitaph: they are generally reckoned best which flatter most: such relations, therefore, as have received most benefits from the defunct, discharge this friendly office, and generally flatter in proportion to their joy. When we read these monumental histories of the dead, it may be justly said that all men are equal in the dust; for they all appear equally remarkable for being the most sincere Christians, the most benevolent neighbors, and the honestest men, of their time. To go through an European cemetery, one would be apt to wonder how mankind could have so basely degenerated from such excellent ancestors: every tomb pretends to claim your reverence and regret; some are praised for piety, in these inscriptions, who never entered the temple until they were dead; some are praised for being excellent poets, who were never mentioned except for their dullness, when they were living; others for sublime orators, who were never noted except for their impudence; and others still for military achievements, who were never in any other skirmishes but with the watch.

Write how you want, the critic shall show the world you could have written better.

To make a fine gentleman, several trades are required, but chiefly a barber.

We sometimes had those little rubs which Providence sends to enhance the value of its favors.

Whenever you see a gaming table be sure to know fortune is not there. Rather she is always in the company of industry.

Writers of every age have endeavored to show that pleasure is in us, and not in the objects offered for our amusement. If the soul be happily disposed, everything becomes capable of affording entertainment, and distress will almost want a name. Every occurrence passes in review, like the figures of a procession: some may be awkward, others ill-dressed; but none but a fool is for this enraged with the master of the ceremonies.

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.

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