Irish-born English Playwright, Orator, Statesman
"There’s no possibility of being witty without a little ill-nature; the malice of a good thing is the barb that makes it stick."
"For if there is anything to one's praise, it is foolish vanity to be gratified at it, and if it is abuse -- why one is always sure to hear of it from one damned good-natured friend or another!"
"Had I a thousand daughters, by Heaven! I'd as soon have them taught the black art as their alphabet!"
"Date not the life which thou hast run by the mean of reckoning of the hours and days, which though hast breathed: a life spent worthily should be measured by a nobler line, "
"I mean, the question actors most often get asked is how they can bear saying the same things over and over again, night after night, but God knows the answer to that is, don't we all anyway; might as well get paid for it."
"I open with a clock striking, to beget an awful attention in the audience - it also marks the time, which is four o clock in the morning, and saves a description of the rising sun, and a great deal about gilding the eastern hemisphere."
"I would by no means wish a daughter of mine to be a progeny of learning; I don't think so much learning becomes a young woman: for instance, I would never let her meddle with Greek, or Hebrew, or algebra, or simony, or fluxions, or paradoxes, or such inflammatory branches of learning; nor will it be necessary for her to handle any of your mathematical, astronomical, diabolical instruments; but... I would send her, at nine years old, to a boarding-school, in order to learn a little ingenuity and artifice: then, sir, she would have a supercilious knowledge in accounts, and, as she grew up, I would have her instructed in geometry, that she might know something of the contagious countries: this is what I would have a woman know; and I don't think there is a superstitious article in it."
"If I reprehend anything in this world, it is the use of my oracular tongue, and a nice derangement of epitaphs."
"Madam, a circulating library in a town is as an evergreen tree of diabolical knowledge; it blossoms through the year. And depend on it that they who are so fond of handling the leaves, will long for the fruit at last."
"Our ancestors are very good kind of folks; but they are the last people I should choose to have a visiting acquaintance with."
"Remember that when you meet your antagonist, to do everything in a mild agreeable manner. Let your courage be keen, but, at the same time, as polished as your sword."
"Take care; you know I am compliance itself, when I am not thwarted! No one more easily led, when I have my own way; but don't put me in a frenzy."
"That old man dies prematurely whose memory records no benefits conferred. They only have lived long who have lived virtuously."
"The glorious uncertainty of the law was a thing well known and complained of, by all ignorant people, but all learned gentleman considered it as its greatest excellency."
"The quarrel is a very pretty quarrel as it stands; we should only spoil it by trying to explain it."
"The Right Honorable Gentleman is indebted to his memory for his jests and to his imagination for his facts."
"There is nothing on earth so easy as to forget, if a person chooses to set about it. I'm sure I have as much forgot your poor, dear uncle, as if he had never existed; and I thought it my duty to do so."