Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

William Shenstone

English Poet

"Avarice is the most opposite of all characters to that of God Almighty, whose alone it is to give and not receive."

"Jealousy is the fear or apprehension of superiority; envy our uneasiness under it."

"Some men are called sagacious, merely on account of their avarice; whereas a child can clench its fist the moment it is born."

"Taste and good-nature are universally connected."

"Trifles discover a character more than actions of importance."

"Virtues, like essences, lose their fragrance when exposed. They are sensitive plants, that will not bear too familiar approaches."

"What leads to unhappiness is making pleasure the chief aim."

"A miser grows rich by seeming poor; an extravagant man grows poor by seeming rich."

"A liar with making falsehood appear like truth, and ends with making truth itself appear like falsehood."

"Health is beauty, and the most perfect health is the most perfect beauty."

"The proper means of increasing the love we bear of our native country is to reside some time in a foreign one."

"Hope is a flatterer: but the most upright of all parasites; for she frequents the poor man's hut as well as the palace of his superior."

"It happens a little unluckily that the persons who have the most infinite contempt of money are the same that have the strongest appetite for the pleasures it procures."

"The best time to frame an answer to the letters of a friend is the moment you receive them; then the warmth of friendship and the intelligence received most forcibly co-operate."

"There are no persons more solicitous about the preservation of rank, than those who have no rank at all."

"The works of a person that builds begin immediately to decay, while those of him who plants begin directly to improve. In this, planting promises a more lasting pleasure than building; which, were it to remain in equal perfection, would at best begin to moulder and want repairs in imagination. Now trees have a circumstance that suits our taste and that is annual variety."

"The lowest people are generally the first to find fault with show or equipage; especially that of a person lately emerged from his obscurity. They never once consider that he is breaking the ice for themselves."

"A liar begins with making falsehood appear like truth and ends with making truth itself appear like falsehood."

"A fool and his words are soon parted."

"A fool and his words are soon parted; a man of genius and his money."

"A little bench of heedless bishops here, and there a chancellor in embryo."

"A man has generally the good or ill qualities which he attributes to mankind."

"A poet hurts himself by writing prose, as a racehorse hurts his motions by condescending to draw in a team."

"A poet that fails in writing becomes often a morose critic. The weak and insipid white wine makes at length excellent vinegar."

"A reserved man is in continual conflict with the social part of his nature, and even grudges himself the laugh into which he is sometimes betrayed."

"Anger is a great force. If you control it, it can be transmuted into a power which can move the whole world."

"Conscience is at most times a very faithful and prudent admonitor."

"Every good poet includes a critic, but the reverse is not true."

"Every good poet includes a critic; the reverse will not hold."

"Every single instance of a friend's insincerity increases our dependence on the efficacy of money."

"For seldom shall she hear a tale so sad, so tender, and so true."

"Grandeur and beauty are so very opposite, that you often diminish the one as you increase the other. Variety is most akin to the latter, simplicity to the former."

"Her cap, far whiter than the driven snow, emblem right meet of decency does yield."

"His knowledge of books had in some degree diminished his knowledge of the world."

"I fancy the proper means of increasing the love we bear our native country is to reside some time in a foreign one."

"I have found out a gift for my fair; I have found where the wood-pigeons breed."

"Jealousy is the apprehension of superiority."

"Laws are generally found to be nets of such a texture, as the little creep through, the great break through, and the middle-sized are alone entangled in it."

"Learning, like money, may be of so base a coin as to be utterly void of use; or, if sterling, may require good management to make it serve the purposes of sense or happiness."

"Liars... begin with making falsehood appear like truth, and end with making truth itself appear like falsehood."

"Long sentences in a short composition are like large rooms in a little house."

"Love is a pleasing but a various clime."

"My banks they are furnish?d with bees, whose murmur invites one to sleep."

"Necessity may be the mother of lucrative invention, but it is the death of poetical invention."

"Nothing is certain in London but expense."

"Offensive objects, at a proper distance, acquire even a degree of beauty."

"Oft has good nature been the fool's defense, and honest meaning gilded want of sense."

"Poetry and consumption are the most flattering of diseases."

"Pun-provoking thyme."

"Reserve is no more essentially connected with understanding than a church organ with devotion, or wine with good-nature."