Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"God has formed us moral agents... that we may promote the happiness of those with whom He has placed us in society, by acting honestly towards all, benevolently to those who fall within our way, respecting sacredly their rights, bodily and mental, and cherishing especially their freedom of conscience, as we value our own." - Thomas Jefferson

"What has been the effect of coercion [sic]? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and errors all over the earth... [Instead] reason and persuasion are the only practicable instruments. To make way for these, free inquiry must be indulged; and how can we wish others to indulge it while we refuse it ourselves." - Thomas Jefferson

"It requires but a very small glance of thought to perceive, that although laws made in one generation often continue in force through succeeding generations, yet that they continue to derive their force from the consent of the living. A law not repealed continues in force, not because it cannot be repealed, but because it is not repealed; and the non-repealing passes for consent." - Thomas Paine

"In the sixth petition (which is, And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil) we pray, That God would either keep us from being tempted to sin, or support and deliver us when we are tempted." - Westminster Shorter Catechism, aka Shorter Catechism or Westminster Shorter Catechism of the Presbyterian NULL

"Nothing is properly one's duty but what is also one's interest." - John Wilkins

"The lapse of time and rivers is the same, Both speed their journey with a restless stream; The silent pace, with which they steal away, No wealth can bribe, no prayers persuade to stay; Alike irrevocable both when past, And a wide ocean swallows both at last. Though each resemble each in every part, A difference strikes at length the musing heart; Streams never flow in vain; where streams abound, How laughs the land with various plenty crown’d! But time, that should enrich the nobler mind, Neglected, leaves a dreary waste behind. " - William Cowper

"The man that is not moved with what he reads, that takes not fire at their heroic deeds, unworthy of the blessings of the brave, is base in kind, and born to be a slave." - William Cowper

"Unless democracy is to commit suicide by consenting to its own destruction, it will have to find some formidable answer to those who come to it saying ''I demand from you in the name of your principles the rights which I shall deny to you later in the name of my principles.''" - Walter Lippmann

"Literature is the effort of man to indemnify himself for the wrongs of his condition." - Walter Savage Landor

"The masculine imagination lives in a state of perpetual revolt against the limitations of human life. In theological terms, one might say that all men, left to themselves, become gnostics. They may swagger like peacocks, but in their heart of hearts they all think sex an indignity and wish they could beget themselves on themselves. Hence the aggressive hostility toward women so manifest in most club-car stories." - W. H. Auden, fully Wystan Hugh Auden

"We are going to a new world... and no doubt it is there that everything is for the best; for it must be admitted that one might lament a little over the physical and moral happenings of our own world." - Voltaire, pen name of François-Marie Arouet NULL

"What most persons consider as virtue, after the age of 40 is simply a loss of energy." - Voltaire, pen name of François-Marie Arouet NULL

"Blessed is one who adds to the happiness of another." - Zoroaster, aka Zarathustra or Zarathushtra Spitama NULL

"Ay, gentle Thurio, for you know that love Wilt creep in service where it cannot go." - William Shakespeare

"But love, first learnèd in a lady's eyes, lives not alone immurèd in the brain, but, with the motion of all elements, courses as swift as thought in every power, and gives to every power a double power, above their functions and their offices. It adds a precious seeing to the eye; a lover's eyes will gaze an eagle blind; a lover's ears will hear the lowest sound, when the suspicious head of theft is stopped: love's feeling is more soft and sensible than are the tender horns of cockled snails: love's tongue proves dainty Baccus gross in taste. For valour, is not love a Hercules, still climbing trees in the Hesperides? Subtle as Sphinx; as sweet and musical as bright Apollo's lute, strung with his hair; and when Love speaks, the voice of all the gods makes heaven drowsy with the harmony. Never durst poet touch a pen to write until his ink were tempered with Love's sighs. Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act iv, Scene 3" - William Shakespeare

"But yet the pity of it, Iago! O Iago, the pity of it, Iago! Othello, Act iv, Scene 1" - William Shakespeare

"A judgment is the mental act by which one thing is affirmed or denied of another." - William Hamilton, fully Sir William Hamilton, 9th Baronet

"For Queen Diana did my body change into a fork-tongued dragon flesh and fell, and through the island nightly do I range, or in the green sea mate with monsters strange, when in the middle of the moonlit night the sleepy mariner I do affright." - William Morris

"We promise according to our hopes, but perform according to our selfishness and our fears." - François de La Rochefoucauld, François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac, Francois A. F. Rochefoucauld-Liancourt

"Women's virtue is frequently nothing but a regard to their own quiet and a tenderness for their reputation." - François de La Rochefoucauld, François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac, Francois A. F. Rochefoucauld-Liancourt

"O my good lord, why are you thus alone? For what offense have I this fortnight been a banished woman from my Harry's bed? Tell me, sweet lord, what is't that takes from thee thy stomach, pleasure, and thy golden sleep? Why dost thou bend thine eyes upon the earth, and start so often when thou sit'st alone? Why hast thou lost the fresh blood in thy cheeks and given my treasures and my rights of thee to thick-eyed musing and cursed melancholy? In thy faint slumbers I by thee have watched, and heard thee murmur tales of iron wars, speak terms of manage to thy bounding steed, cry 'courage! To the field!' and thou hast talked of sallies and retires, of trenches, tents, of Palisadoes, frontiers, parapets, of basilisks, of cannon, culverin, of prisoners' ransom, and of soldiers slain, and all the currents of a heady fight. Thy spirit within thee hath been so at war, and thus hath so bestirred thee in thy sleep, that beads of sweat have stood upon thy brow like bubbles in a late-disturbèd stream, and in thy face strange motions have appeared, such as we see when men restrain their breath on some great sudden hest. O, what portents are these? Some heavy business hath my lord in hand, and I must know it, else he loves me not. Henry IV, Act ii, Scene 3" - William Shakespeare

"O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth, that I am meek and gentle with these butchers! Thou art the ruins of the noblest man That ever lived in the tide of times. Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood! Julius Caesar (Antony at III, i)" - William Shakespeare

"O, reason not the need! Our basest beggars are in the poorest thing superfluous. Allow not nature more than nature needs, man's life is cheap as beast's. Thou art a lady; if only to go warm were gorgeous, why, nature needs not what thou gorgeous wear'st, which scarcely keeps thee warm. But, for true need— you heavens, give me that patience, patience I need!" - William Shakespeare

"We get no good by being ungenerous, even to a book, and calculating profits--so much help by so much reading. It is rather when we gloriously forget ourselves, and plunge soul-forward, headlong, into a book's profound, impassioned for its beauty, and salt of truth—‘tis then we get the right good from a book." - Elizabeth Browning, fully Elizabeth Barrett Browning

"Let us remember that sorrow alone is the creator of great things." - Ernest Renan, aka Joseph Ernest Renan