Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Robert Burton

English Clergyman, Writer and Scholar at Oxford University

"Be not solitary, be not idle."

"Can build castles in the air."

"But amongst these exercises, or recreations of the mind within doors, there is none so general, so aptly to be applied to all sorts of men, so fit and proper to expel idleness and melancholy, as that of Study: Studia senectutem oblectant, adolescentiam alunt, secundas res ornant, adversis perfugiam et solatium pr‘bant, domi delectant, &c. [Study is the delight of old age, the support of youth, the ornament of prosperity, the solace and refuge of adversity, the comfort of domestic life, &c.]: find the rest in Tully pro Archia Poeta."

"Believe Robert who has tried it."

"Compound for sins they are inclined to, by damning those they have no mind to."

"Cookery is become an art, a noble science; cooks are gentlemen."

"Desire is a perpetual rack, or horsemill, according to Austin, still going round as in a ring."

"Diogenes struck the father when the son swore, because he taught him no better."

"Employment, which Galen call's "nature's physician," is so essential to human happiness, that indolence is justly considered as the mother of misery."

"England is a paradise for women and hell for horses; Italy a paradise for horses, hell for women, as the diverb goes."

"Every man hath liberty to write, but few ability. Heretofore learning was graced by judicious scholars, but now noble sciences are vilified by base and illiterate scribblers, that either write for vain-glory, need, to get money, or as Parasites to flatter and collogue with some great men, they put out trifles, rubbish and trash. Among so many thousand Authors you shall scarce find one by reading of whom you shall be any whit better, but rather much worse; by which he is rather infected than any way perfected? What a catalogue of new books this year, all his age (I say) have our Frankfurt Marts, our domestic Marts, brought out. Twice a year we stretch out wits out and set them to sale; after great toil we attain nothing?What a glut of books! Who can read them? As already, we shall have a vast Chaos and confusion of Books, we are oppressed with them, our eyes ache with reading, our fingers with turning. For my part I am one of the number?one of the many?I do not deny it."

"Every man hath a good and a bad angel attending on him in particular, all his life long."

"Every man for himself, his own ends, the Devil for all."

"Every other sin hath some pleasure annexed to it, or will admit of an excuse; envy alone wants both. Other sins last but for awhile; the gut may be satisfied, anger remits, hatred hath an end, envy never ceaseth."

"Every schoolboy hath that famous testament of Grunnius Corocotta Porcellus at his fingers' end."

"Every man, as the saying is, can tame a shrew but he that hath her."

"Fabricius finds certain spots and clouds in the sun."

"Everything, saith Epictetus, hath two handles,?the one to be held by, the other not."

"False friendship is like the ivy, decays and ruins the walls it embraces; but true friendship gives new life and animation to the object it supports."

"Great actions are not always true sons Of great and mighty resolutions."

"Felix Plater notes of some young physicians, that study to cure diseases, catch them themselves, will be sick, and appropriate all symptoms they find related of others to their own persons."

"For ignorance is the mother of devotion, as all the world knows, and these times can amply witness."

"Hannibal, as he had mighty virtues, so head he many vices. . . he had two distinct persons in him."

"From this it is clear how much more cruel the pen is than the sword."

"He that increaseth wisdom, increaseth sorrow."

"He loves who advises"

"Hinc quam sic calamus s‘vior ense, patet. The pen worse than the sword."

"He that will not when he may, when he will he shall have nay."

"Health indeed is a precious thing, to recover and preserve which we undergo any misery, drink bitter potions, freely give our goods: restore a man to his health, his purse lies open to thee"

"How much more cruel the pen may be than the sword."

"Hope ye unhappy ones; ye happy ones, fear."

"I am not poor, I am not rich; nihil est, nihil deest, I have little, I want nothing: all my treasure is in Minerva?s tower...I live still a collegiate student...and lead a monastic life, ipse mihi theatrum [sufficient entertainment to myself], sequestered from those tumults and troubles of the world...aulae vanitatem, fori ambitionem, ridere mecum soleo [I laugh to myself at the vanities of the court, the intrigues of public life], I laugh at all."

"I had a heavy heart and an ugly head, a kind of impostume in my head, which I was very desirous to be unladen of."

"I say with Didacus Stella, a dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant may see farther than a giant himself"

"I had not time to lick it into form, as a bear doth her young ones."

"I may not here omit those two main plagues and common dotages of human kind, wine and women, which have infatuated and besotted myriads of people; they go commonly together."

"I would help others, out of a fellow-feeling."

"Idleness is an appendix to nobility"

"I write of melancholy, by being busy to avoid melancholy."

"If there be a hell upon earth it is to be found in a melancholy man's heart"

"If heaven be so fair,the sun so fair, how much fairer shall He be that made them fair? For by the greatness and beauty of the creatures, proportionally the maker of them is seen."

"It is most true, stylus virum arguit, our style bewrays us."

"If you have no dreams, you shall live within them"

"Italy, a paradise for horses, hell for women, as the proverb goes."

"Let me not live, saith Aretine's Antonia, if I had not rather hear thy discourse than see a play."

"Let the world have their Maygames, wakes, whetsunales, their dancings and concerts; their puppet-shows, hobby horses, tabors, bagpipes, balls, barley-breaks, and whatever sports and recreations please them best, provided they be followed with discretion."

"Let the world have their May-games, wakes,? and whatsoever sports and recreations please them, provided they be followed with discretion."

"Like a hog, or dog in the manger, he doth only keep it because it shall do nobody else good, hurting himself and others."

"Let thy fortune be what it will, 'tis thy mind alone that makes thee poor or rich, miserable or happy."

"Like him in ’sop, he whipped his horses withal, and put his shoulder to the wheel."