Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Frank Moore Colby

American Teacher, Editor, Essayist, Humorist, Encyclopedist

"Persecution was at least a sign of personal interest. Tolerance is composed of nine parts of apathy to one of brotherly love."

"Every man ought to be inquisitive through every hour of his great adventure down to the day when he shall no longer cast a shadow in the sun. For if he dies without a question in his heart, what excuse is there for his existence?"

"Distaste sounds more emphatic when expressed as moral disapproval. With most of us the moral counterblast is nothing more than the angry rendering of a yawn."

"Minds do not act together in public; they simply stick together; and when their private activities are resumed, they fly apart again."

"Politics is a place of humble hopes and strangely modest requirements, where all good who are not criminal and all are wise who are not ridiculously otherwise."

"As wounded men may limp through life, so our war minds may not regain the balance of their thoughts for decades."

"A 'new thinker', when studied closely, is merely a man who does not know what other people have thought."

"Cast your cares on God; that anchor holds."

"Clever people seem not to feel the natural pleasure of bewilderment, and are always answering questions when the chief relish of a life is to go on asking them."

"Every improvement in communication makes the bore more terrible."

"I have found some of the best reasons I ever had for remaining at the bottom simply by looking at the men at the top."

"I know of no more disagreeable sensation than to be left feeling generally angry without anybody in particular to be angry at."

"By rights, satire is a lonely and introspective occupation, for nobody can describe a fool to the life without much patient self-inspection."

"If a large city can, after intense intellectual efforts, choose for its mayor a man who merely will not steal from it, we consider it a triumph of the suffrage."

"In public we say the race is to the strongest; in private we know that a lopsided man runs the fastest along the little side-hills of success."

"Many people lose their tempers merely from seeing you keep yours."

"Men will confess to treason, murder, arson, false teeth, or a wig. How many of them will own up to a lack of humor?"

"My idea of an agreeable person is a person who agrees with me."

"Nobody can describe a fool to the life, without much patient self-inspection."

"One learns little more about a man from his feats of literary memory than from the feats of his alimentary canal."

"Reform often seems only the dislike of the blasé for the people with animal spirits"

"Sin in this country has been always said to be rather calculating than impulsive."

"Talk ought always to run obliquely, not nose to nose with no chance of mental escape."

"That is the consolation of a little mind; you have the fun of changing it without impeding the progress of mankind."

"The flowers anew, returning seasons bring! But beauty faded has no second spring."

"The New York playgoer is a child of nature, and he has an honest and wholesome regard of whatever is atrocious in art."

"Tolerance is composed of nine parts of apathy to one of brotherly love."

"We always carry out by committee anything in which any one of us alone would be too reasonable to persist."

"We do not mind our not arriving anywhere nearly so much as our not having any company on the way."

"Were it not for the presence of the unwashed and the half-educated, the formless, queer and incomplete, the unreasonable and absurd, the infinite shapes of the delightful human tadpole, the horizon would not wear so wide a grin."

"Why need every honest poet be suspected of leading a quadruple life? Sometimes the second or third meaning is less interesting than the first, and the only really difficult thing about a poem is the critic's explanation of it."