Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Trifles

"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark." - Michelangelo, aka Michaelangelo Buonarroti, fully Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni NULL

"The chief secret of comfort lies in not suffering trifles to vex us, and in prudently cultivating an undergrowth of small pleasures, since very few great ones are let on long leases." - Arthur Aughey

"How strange are the tricks of memory, which, often hazy as a dream about the most important events of a man's life, religiously preserve the merest trifles." - Richard Francis Burton, fully Sir Richard Francis Burton

"Good-breeding is benevolence in trifles, or the preference of others to ourselves in the daily occurrences of life." - William Pitt, Lord Chatham or Lord William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, aka The Elder Pitt and The Great Commander

"As a great part of the uneasiness of matrimony arises from mere trifles, it would be wise in every young married man to enter into an agreement with his wife, that in all disputes of this kind the party who was most convinced they were right should always surrender the victory. By which means both would be more forward to give up the cause." - Henry Fielding

"There is a vigilance and judgment about trifles which men only get by living in a creed; and those are the trifles of detail, on which the success of execution depends." - Marina Horner

"Affection, like melancholy, magnifies trifles; but the magnifying of the one is like looking through a telescope at heavenly objects; that of the other, like enlarging monsters with a microscope." - James Henry Leigh Hunt

"Transiency is stamped on all our possessions, occupations, and delights. We have the hunger for eternity in our souls, the thought of eternity in our hearts, the destination for eternity written on our inmost being, and the need to ally ourselves with eternity proclaimed by the most short-lived trifles of time. Either these things will be the blessing or the curse of our lives. Which do you mean that they shall be for you?" - Alexander Maclaren

"There are no trifles in the moral universe of God. Speak but one true word today, and it shall go ringing on through the ages." -

"Trifles discover a character more than actions of importance." - William Shenstone

"Trifles make up the happiness or the misery of human [mortal] life." - Alexander Smith

"Trifles make up the happiness or the misery of mortal life." - Alexander Smith

"Trifles discover character more than actions of seeming importance; what one is in little things he is also in great." - Jonathan Swift, pen names, M.B. Drapier, Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff

"Trifles lighter than straws are levers in the building up of character." -

"Delude not yourself with the notion that you may be untrue and uncertain in trifles and in important things the contrary. Trifles make up existence, and give the observer the measure by which to trust; and the fearful power of habit, after a time, suffers not the best will to ripen into action." - Carl Maria von Weber, fully Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst, Freiherr (Baron) von Weber

"Delude not yourself with the notion that you may be untrue and uncertain in trifles and in important things the contrary. Trifles make up existence, and give the measure by which to try us; and the fearful power of habit, after a time, suffers not the best will to ripen into action." - Carl Maria von Weber, fully Carl Maria Fredrich Ernst von Weber

"He that has a "spirit of detail" will do better in life than many who figured beyond him in the university. Such an one is minute and particular. He adjusts trifles; and these trifles compose most of the business and happiness of life. Great events happen seldom, and affect few; trifles happen every moment to everybody; and though one occurrence of them adds little to the happiness or misery of life, yet the sum total of their continual repetition is of the highest consequence." - Daniel Webster

"He who esteems trifles for themselves is a trifler; he who esteems them for the conclusions to be drawn from them, or the advantage to which they can be put, is a philosopher." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"It is degrading to make difficulties of trifles... To sweat over trifles is stupid." - Martial, full name Marcus Valarius Martialis NULL

"I have seldom known any one who deserted truth in trifles that could be trusted in matters of importance." - William Paley, Archdeacon of Saragossa

"To give great attention to details is one mark of the genius - to putter with trifles is not." - Charles B. Rogers

"Trifles render us miserable, but trifles also console us." - Romainville NULL

"The greatest curse that can be entailed on mankind is a state of war. All the atrocious crimes committed in years of peace, all that is spent in peace by the secret corruptions, or by the thoughtless extravagance of nations, are mere trifles compared with the gigantic evils which stalk over this world in a state of war. God is forgotten in war; every principle of Christianity is trampled upon." - Sydney Smith

"The universal line of distinction between the strong and the weak is that one persists; the other hesitates, falters, trifles, and at last collapses or “caves in.”" - Edwin Percy Whipple

"Revolutions are not about trifles, but spring from trifles." - Aristotle NULL

"Man shows his character best in trifles." - Arthur Schopenhauer

"Men best show their character in trifles, where they are not on guard. It is in insignificant matters, and in the simplest habits, that we often see the boundless egotism which pays no regard to the feelings of others, and denies nothing to itself." - Arthur Schopenhauer

"It is with trifles, and when he is off guard, that a man best reveals his character." - Arthur Schopenhauer

"The sensibility of man to trifles, and his insensibility to great things, are the marks of a strange inversion." - Blaise Pascal

"The sensibility of man to trifles, and his insensibility to great things indicates a strange inversion." - Blaise Pascal

"A life devoted to trifles, not only takes away the inclination, but the capacity for higher pursuits." - Hannah More

"Since trifles make the sum of human things, and half our misery from our foibles springs; since life’s best joys consist in peace and ease, and few can save or serve, but all may please; Oh! let th’ ungentle spirit learn from hence a small unkindness is a great offense, large bounties to restore we wish in vain, but all may shun the guilt of giving pain." - Hannah More

"Ten Success Rules: Put success before amusement. Learn something every day. Cut free from routine. Concentrate on net profits. Make your services known. Never worry over trifles. Shape your decisions quickly. Acquire skill and technique. Deserve loyalty and co-operation. Value character above all." - Herbert Newton Casson

"Keep forever in view the momentous value of life; aim at its worthiest use - its sublimest end; spurn, with disdain, those foolish trifles and frivolous vanities, who so often consume life, as the locusts did Egypt; and devote yourself, with the ardor of a passion, to attain the most divine improvements of the human soul." - John Foster, fully John Watson Foster

"In mortals there is a care for trifles which proceeds from love and conscience, and is most holy; and a care for trifles which comes of idleness and frivolity, and is most base. And so, also, there is a gravity proceeding from thought, which is most noble, and a gravity proceeding from dullness and mere incapability of enjoyment, which is most base." - John Ruskin

"There is a care for trifles which proceeds from love of conscience, and is most holy; and a care for trifles which comes of idleness and frivolity, and is most base." - John Ruskin

"What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but, scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable." - Joseph Addison

"Great merit or great failings will make you respected or despised; but trifles, little attentions, mere nothings, either done or neglected, will make you either liked or disliked, in the general run of the world. Examine yourself, why you like such and such people and dislike such and such others; and you will find that those different sentiments proceed from very slight causes." - Lord Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

"A difference of opinion, though in the merest trifles, alienates little minds." - Lord Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

"Frivolous curiosity about trifles, and laborious attentions to little objects which neither require nor deserve a moment’s thought, lower a man, who from thence is thought (and not unjustly) incapable of greater matters." - Lord Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

"Although there is nothing so bad for conscience as trifling, there is nothing so good for conscience as trifles. Its certain discipline and development are related to the smallest things. Conscience, like gravitation, takes hold of atoms. Nothing is morally indifferent. Conscience must reign in manners as well as morals, in amusements as well as work. He only who is “faithful in that which is least” is dependable in all the world." - Maltbie Babcock, fully Maltbie Davenport Babcock

"Men are led by trifles." -

"Men are led by trifles." - Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon I

"The polite of every country seem to have but one character. A gentleman of Sweden differs but little, excerpt in trifles, from one of any other country. It is among the vulgar we are to find those distinctions which characterize a people." - Oliver Goldsmith

"Both wit and understanding are trifles without integrity. The ignorant peasant without fault is greater than the philosopher with many. What is genius or courage without a heart?" - Oliver Goldsmith

"Frivolous minds are won by trifles." - Ovid, formally Publius Ovidius Naso NULL

"It is but the littleness of man that seeth no greatness in trifles." - Wendell Phillips

"He that shuns trifles must shun the world. " - George Chapman

"Be brief, be pointed, let your matter stand lucid in order, solid and at hand; spend not your words on trifles but condense; strike with the mass of thought, not drops of sense; press to the close with vigor, once begun, and leave - how hard the task." - Joseph Story