Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Henry Fielding

English Novelist and Dramatist best known for novel "Tom Jones"

"A good conscience is never lawless in the worst regulated state, and will provide those laws for itself which the neglect of legislators had forgotten to supply."

"A strenuous soul hates cheap success."

"A tender-hearted and compassionate disposition, which inclines men to pity and feel the misfortunes of others, and which is, even for its own sake, incapable of involving any man in ruin and misery, is of all tempers of mind the most amiable; and though it seldom receives much honor, is worthy of the highest."

"Affectation proceeds from one of these two causes - vanity or hypocrisy; for as vanity puts us on affecting false characters, in order to purchase applause; so hypocrisy sets us on an endeavor to avoid censure, by concealing our vices under an appearance of their opposite virtues."

"As a great part of the uneasiness of matrimony arises from mere trifles, it would be wise in every young married man to enter into an agreement with his wife, that in all disputes of this kind the party who was most convinced they were right should always surrender the victory. By which means both would be more forward to give up the cause."

"Beauty may be the object of liking - great qualities of admiration - good ones of esteem - but love only is the object of love."

"Contempt of others is the truest symptom of a base and bad heart, while it suggests itself to the mean and the vile, and tickles their little fancy on every occasion, it never enters the great and good mind but on the strongest motives; nor is it then a welcome guest - affording only an uneasy sensation, and bringing always with it a mixture of concern and compassion."

"Custom may lead a man into many errors; but it justifies none."

"Domestic happiness is the end of almost all our pursuits, and the common reward of all our pains."

"Good-breeding is not confined to externals, much less to any particular dress or attitude of the body; it is the art of pleasing or contributing as much as possible to the ease and happiness of those with whom you converse."

"Heroes, notwithstanding the high ideas which, by the means of flatterers, they may entertain of themselves, or the world may conceive of them, have certainly ore of mortal than divine about them."

"In affairs of this world men are saved, not by faith, but by the want of it."

"It is a secret, well known to all great men, that by conferring an obligation they; do not always procure a friend, but are certain of creating many enemies."

"It is not from nature, but from education and habits, that our wants are chiefly derived."

"Let no man be sorry he has done good, because others concerned with him have done evil! If a man has acted right, he has done well, though alone; if wrong, the sanction of all mankind will not justify him."

"Life everywhere furnishes an accurate observer with the ridiculous."

"One situation only of the married state is excluded from pleasure: and that is, a state of indifference."

"Perhaps the summary of good-breeding may be reduced to this rule. “Behave unto all men as you would they should behave to you.” This will most certainly oblige us to treat all mankind with the utmost civility and respect, there being nothing that we desire more than to be treated so by them."

"The constant desire of pleasing, which is the peculiar quality of some, may be called the happiest of all desires in this, that it scarcely ever fails of attaining its ends, when not disgraced by affection."

"The prudence of the best heads is often defeated by the tenderness of the best of hearts."

"There are two considerations which always embitter the heart of an avaricious man - the one is a perpetual thirst after more riches, the other the prospect of leaving what he has already acquired."

"There is a sort of knowledge beyond the power of learning to bestow, and this is to be had in conversation; so necessary is this to the understanding the characters of men, that none are more ignorant of them than those learned pedants whose lives have been entirely consumed in colleges and among books; for however exquisitely human nature may have been described by writers the true practical system can be learned only in the world."

"Though we may sometimes unintentionally bestow our beneficence on the unworthy, it does not take from the merit of the act. For charity doth not adopt the vices of its objects."

"We must eat to live, not live to eat."

"We should not be too hasty in bestowing either our praise or censure on mankind, since we shall often find such a mixture of good and evil in the same character, that it may require a very accurate judgment and a very elaborate inquiry to determine on which side the balance turns."

"When I’m not thank’d at all, I’m thank’d enough, I’ve done my duty, and I’ve done no more."

"Wisdom is the talent of buying virtuous pleasures at the cheapest rate."

"Worth begets in base minds, envy; in great souls, emulation."

"A truly elegant taste is generally accompanied with excellency of heart."

"A rich man without charity is a rogue; and perhaps it would be no difficult matter to prove that he is also a fool."

"Considering the unforeseen events of this world, we should be taught that no human condition should inspire men with absolute despair."

"He that can heroically endure adversity will bear prosperity with equal greatest of the soul; for the mind that cannot be dejected by the former is not likely to be transported without the latter."

"It is well known to all great men, that by conferring an obligation they do not always procure a friend, but are certain of creating many enemies."

"Let no man be sorry he has done good because others have done evil. If a man has acted right, he has done well, though alone; if wrong, the sanction of all mankind will not justify him."

"Men are strangely inclined to worship what they do not understand."

"Custom may lead a man into many errors, but it justifies none."

"Great joy, especially after a sudden change of circumstances, is apt to be silent, and dwells rather in the heart than on the tongue."

"Neither great poverty nor great riches will hear reason."

"One hour's sleep before midnight, is worth two after."

"Riches without charity are nothing worth. They are a blessing only to him who makes them a blessing to others."

"Superstition renders a man a fool, and skepticism makes him mad."

"Never trust the man who hath reason to suspect that you know he hath injured you."

"Adversity is the trial of principle. Without it, a man hardly knows whether he is honest or not."