Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Quintilian, fully Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, also Quintillian and Quinctilian NULL

Roman Rhetorician from Hispania

"Conscience is a thousand witnesses."

"If you direct your whole thought to work itself, none of the things which invade eyes or ears will reach the mind."

"Many good people admire what is bad, but no one condemns what is good."

"Rarely is anyone sufficiently critical of himself."

"Rules and precepts are of no value without natural capacity."

"Suffering itself does not less afflict the senses than the anticipation of suffering."

"The first virtue is to be without vice."

"Though ambition itself is a vice, it is often the parent of virtues."

"Vice, the opposite of virtue, shows us more clearly what virtue is. Justice becomes more obvious when we have injustice to compare it to. Many such things are proved by their contraries."

"What is good readily changes for the worse, but you can never turn vice into virtue."

"A laugh costs too much when bought at the expense of virtue. [A laugh, if purchased at the expense of propriety, costs too much.]"

"A liar should have a good memory."

"A man who tries to surpass another may perhaps succeed in equaling if not actually surpassing him, but one who merely follows can never quite come up with him: a follower, necessarily, is always behind."

"Although virtue receives some of its excellences from nature, yet it is perfected by education."

"An evil-speaker differs from an evil-doer only in the want of opportunity."

"As regards parents, I should like to see them as highly educated as possible, and I do not restrict this remark to fathers alone."

"Fear of the future is worse than one's present fortune."

"For comic writers charge Socrates with making the worse appear the better reason."

"For it would have been better that man should have been born dumb, nay, void of all reason, rather than that he should employ the gifts of Providence to the destruction of his neighbor."

"For the mind is all the easier to teach before it is set."

"Consequently the student who is devoid of talent will derive no more profit from this work than barren soil from a treatise on agriculture."

"Common sense cannot be taught."

"Divine Providence has granted this gift to man, that those things which are honest are also the most advantageous."

"Everything that has a beginning comes to an end."

"Give bread to a stranger, in the name of the universal brotherhood which binds together all men under the common father of nature."

"Give me the boy who rouses when he is praised, who profits when he is encouraged and who cries when he is defeated. Such a boy will be fired by ambition; he will be stung by reproach, and animated by preference; never shall I apprehend any bad consequences from idleness in such a boy."

"God, that all-powerful Creator of nature and architect of the world, has impressed man with no character so proper to distinguish him from other animals, as by the faculty of speech."

"He who speaks evil only differs from his who does evil in that he lacks opportunity."

"If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him."

"In a crowd, on a journey, at a banquet even, a line of thought can itself provide its own seclusion."

"In almost everything, experience is more valuable than precept."

"It is fitting that a liar should be a man of good memory."

"Forbidden pleasures alone are loved immoderately; when lawful, they do not excite desire."

"From writing rapidly it does not result that one writes well, but from writing well it results that one writes rapidly."

"It is much easier to try one's hand at many things than to concentrate one's powers on one thing."

"It is the heart which inspires eloquence."

"It is the nurse that the child first hears, and her words that he will first attempt to imitate."

"It is worthwhile too to warn the teacher that undue severity in correcting faults is liable at times to discourage a boy's mind from effort."

"It seldom happens that a premature shoot of genius ever arrives at maturity."

"Men of quality are in the wrong to undervalue, as they often do, the practice of a fair and quick hand in writing; for it is no immaterial accomplishment."

"Men, even when alone, lighten their labors by song, however rude it may be."

"Minds that are stupid and incapable of science are in the order of nature to be regarded as monsters and other extraordinary phenomena; minds of this sort are rare. Hence I conclude that there are great resources to be found in children, which are suffered to vanish with their years. It is evident, therefore, that it is not of nature, but of our own negligence, we ought to complain."

"Nature herself has never attempted to effect great changes rapidly."

"Nothing can be pleasing which is not also becoming."

"Nothing is more dangerous to men than a sudden change of fortune."

"Other parts of the body assist the speaker, but these speak themselves. By them we ask, we promise, we invoke, we dismiss, we threaten, we entreat, we deprecate; we express fear, joy, grief, our doubts, our assent, our penitence; we show moderation, profusion; we mark number and time."

"Our minds are like our stomachs; they are whetted by the change of their food, and variety supplies both with fresh appetites."

"Reading is the least laborious of all the tasks that fall to the student's lot."

"Satiety is a neighbor to continued pleasures."

"Sow an act and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny."