Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Lawrence Sterne, alternatively Laurence Sterne

Irish-born English Novelist, Anglican Clergyman and Humorist

"If there is an evil in this world, it is sorrow and heaviness of heart. The loss of goods, of healthy, of coronets and mitres, is only evil as they occasion sorrow; take that out, the rest is fancy, and dwelleth only in the head of man."

"Patience cannot remove, but it can always dignify and alleviate, misfortune."

"Trust that man is nothing who has not a conscience in everything."

"Lessons of wisdom have never such power over us as when they are wrought in to the heart through the groundwork of a story which engages the passions."

"Nothing in this life, after health and virtue, is more estimable than knowledge, nor is there anything so easily attained, or so cheaply purchased, the labor, only sitting still, and the expense but time, which, if we do not spend, we cannot save."

"One may as well be asleep as to read for anything but to improve his mind and morals, and regulate his conduct."

"Only the brave know how to forgive... A coward never... it's not in his nature."

"Whenever a man talks loudly against religion, always suspect that it is not his reason, but his passions, which have got the better of his creed."

"Beauty, like truth, never is so glorious as when it goes plainest."

"“It is not safe to be alone,” nor can all which the cold-hearted, pedant stuns our ears with upon the subject ever give one answer of satisfaction to the mind; in the midst of the loudest vauntings of philosophy, nature will have her yearnings for society and friendship. A good heart wants something to be kind to; and the best parts of our blood, and the purest of our spirits suffer most under the destitution."

"Both music and painting add a spirit to devotion, and elevate the ardor."

"Courtship consists in a number of quiet attentions, not so pointed as to alarm, nor so vague as not to be understood."

"Endless is the search for truth."

"Free thinkers are generally those who never think at all."

"For every ten jokes, thou hast got an hundred enemies."

"Hail the small courtesies of life, for smooth do they make the road of it."

"The best hearts are ever the bravest."

"The desire of knowledge, like the thirst of riches, increases ever with the acquisition of it."

"The happiness of life may be greatly increased by small courtesies in which there is no parade, whose voice is too still to tease, and which manifest themselves by tender and affectionate looks, and little acts of attention."

"Writing, when properly managed... is but a different name for conversation."

"I live in a constant endeavor to fence against the infirmities of ill-health, and other evils of life, by mirth. I am persuaded that every time a man smiles - but much more so when he laughs - it adds something to this fragment of life."

"If the principles of contentment are not within us, the height of station and worldly grandeur will as soon add a cubit to a man's stature as to his happiness."

"Lovers are apt to hear through their eyes, but the safest way is to see through their ears. Who was it that said, “Speak, that I may see you?”"

"In solitude the mind gains strength, and learns to lean upon herself; in the world it seeks or accepts of a few treacherous supports - the feigned compassion of one, the flattery of a second, the civilities of a third, the friendship of a fourth - they all deceive and bring the mind back to retirement, reflection, and books."

"Sciences may be learned by rote, but wisdom not."

"How frequently is the honesty and integrity of man disposed of by a smile or shrug! How many good and generous actions have been sunk into oblivion by a distrustful look, or stamped of proceeding from bad motives, by a mysterious and seasonable whisper!"

"Alas! if the principles of contentment are not within us, the height of station and worldly grandeur will as soon add a cubit to a man's stature as to his happiness. "

"I am persuaded that every time a man smiles - but much more so when he laughs - it adds something to this fragment of life."

"Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners. "

"You can always tell a real friend; when you've made a fool of yourself, he doesn't feel you've done a permanent job."