FIELDING, Henry Quotes
(1707-1754), English novelist
Distance of time and place generally cure what they seem to aggravate; and taking leave of our friends resembles taking leave of the world, of which it has been said, that it is not death, but dying, which is terrible.
Adversity is the trial of principle.—Without it a man hardly knows whether he is honest or not.
He that can heroically endure adversity will bear prosperity with equal greatness of soul; for the mind that cannot be dejected by the former is not likely to be transported with the latter.
Great vices are the proper objects of our detestation, and smaller faults of our pity, but affectation appears to be the only true source of the ridiculous.
The constant desire of pleasing which is the peculiar quality of some, may be called the happiest of all desires in this, that it rarely fails of attaining its end when not disgraced by affectation.
There cannot be a more glorious object in creation than a human being replete with benevolence, meditating in what manner he may render himself most acceptable to the Creator by doing good to his creatures.
We are as liable to be corrupted by books, as by companions.
A rich man without charity is a rogue; and perhaps it would be no difficult matter to prove that he is also a fool.
Giving comfort under affliction requires that penetration into the human mind, joined to that experience which knows how to soothe, how to reason, and how to ridicule, taking the utmost care not to apply those arts improperly.
Wicked companions invite and lure us to hell.
There is not in human nature a more odious disposition than a proneness to contempt, which is a mixture of pride and ill-nature. Nor is there any which more certainly denotes a bad disposition; for in a good and benign temper, there can be no room for it.—It is the truest symptom of a base and bad heart.
The basest and meanest of all human beings are generally the most forward to despise others.—So that the most contemptible are generally the most contemptuous.
The characteristic of coquettes is affectation governed by whim.—Their life is one constant lie; and the only rule by which you can form any judgment of them, is, that they are never what they seem.
Custom may lead a man into many errors, but it justifies none.
Considering the unforeseen events of this world, we should be taught that no human condition should inspire men with absolute despair.
In debate, rather pull to pieces the argument of thine antagonist, than offer him any of thine own; for thus thou will fight him in his own country.
A tender-hearted, compassionate disposition, which inclines men to pity and to feel the misfortunes of others, and which is incapable of involving any man in ruin and misery, is, of all tempers of mind, the most amiable; and though it seldom receives much honor, is worthy of the highest.
Domestic happiness is the end of almost all our pursuits, and the common reward of all our pains.—When men find themselves forever barred from this delightful fruition they are lost to all industry, and grow careless of their worldly affairs.—Thus they become bad subjects, bad relations, bad friends, and bad men.
Neither great poverty, nor great riches will hear reason.
Fashion is the great governor of the world.—It presides not only in matters of dress and amusement, but in law, physic, politics, religion, and all other things of the gravest kind.—Indeed, the wisest men would be puzzled to give any better reason why particular forms in all these have been at certain times universally received, and at other times universally rejected, than that they were in, or out of fashion.
Flattery is never so agreeable as to our blind side; commend a fool for his wit, or a knave for his honesty, and they will receive you into their bosom.
There is scarcely any man, how much soever he may despise the character of a flatterer, but will condescend in the meanest manner to flatter himself.
Good-breeding is not confined to externals, much less to any particular dress or attitude of the body; it is the art of pleasing or contributing as much as possible to the ease and happiness of those with whom you converse.
The summary of good-breeding may be reduced to this rale: "Behave to all others as you would they should behave to you."
Fraud and falsehood are his weak and treacherous allies, and he lurks trembling in the dark, dreading every ray of light, lest it should discover him, and give him up to shame and punishment.
Bad habits are as infectious by example as the plague itself is by contact.
However exquisitely human nature may have been described by writers, the true practical system can be learned only in the world.
The man who is inquisitive into the secrets of your affairs, with which he has no concern, should be an object of your caution.—Men no more desire another's secrets to conceal them, than they would another's purse for the pleasure only of carrying it.
There is an insolence which none but those who themselves deserve contempt can bestow, and those only who deserve no contempt can bear.
It is the nature of some minds to insult and tyrannize over little people, this being the means they use to recompense themselves for their extreme servility and condescension to their superiors.—Slaves and flatterers exact the same taxes on all below them which they pay to all above them.
It is with jealousy as with the gout; when such distempers are in the blood there is never any security against their breaking out, and that often on the slightest occasions, and when least suspected.
Great joy, especially after a sudden change of circumstances, is apt to be ilent, and dwells rather in the heart than on the tongue.
As the law dissolves all contracts which are without a valuable consideration, so a valuable consideration often dissolves the law.
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 the party who was most convinced they were right should always surrender the victory. By this means both would be more forward to give up the cause.
Make money your god, it will plague you like the devil.
The greatest part of mankind labor under one delirium or another; and Don Quixote differed from the rest, not in madness, but in the species of it.—The covetous, the prodigal, the superstitious the libertine, and the coffee-house politician, are all Quixotes in their several way.
To the composition of novels and romances, nothing is necessary but paper, pens, and ink, with the manual capacity of using them.
It is well known to all great men, that by conferring an obligation they do not always procure a friend, but are certain of creating many enemies.
Prudence is a duty which we owe ourselves, and if we will be so much our own enemies as to neglect it, we are not to wonder if the world is deficient in discharging their duty to us; for when a man lays the foundation of his own ruin, others too often are apt to build upon it.
The prudence of the best heads is often defeated by the tenderness of the best of hearts.
The raillery which is consistent with good breeding is a gentle animal version on some foible, which, while it raises the laugh in the rest of the company, doth not put the person rallied out of countenance, or expose him to shame or contempt. On the contrary, the jest should be so delicate that the object of it should be capable of joining in the mirth it occasions.
Neither great poverty nor great riches will hear reason.
There are those who never reason on what they should do, but on what they have done; as if reason had her eyes behind, and could only see backward.
Riches without charity are nothing worth. They are a blessing only to him who makes them a blessing to others.
The slander of some people is as great a recommendation as the praise of others.
One hour's sleep before midnight, is worth two after.
Superstition renders a man a fool, and scepticism makes him mad.
A truly elegant taste is generally accompanied with excellency of heart.
A tender-hearted and compassionate disposition, which inclines men to pity and feel for the misfortunes of others, and which is, even for its own sake, incapable of involving any man in ruin and misery, is of all tempers of mind tire most amiable; and though it seldom receives much honor, is worthy of the highest.
There is nothing so useful to man in general, nor so beneficial to particular societies and individuals, as trade. This is that alma mater, at whose plentiful breast all mankind are nourished.
O Vanity, how little is thy force acknowledged, or thy operations discerned! How wantonly dost thou deceive mankind, under different disguises!—Sometimes thou dost wear the face of pity;
It is not from nature, but from education and habits, that our wants are chiefly derived.
Let no man be sorry he has done good, because others have done evil! If a man has acted right, he has done well, though alone; if wrong, the sanction of all mankind will not justify him.
Wine and youth are fire upon fire.
Most men like in women what is most opposite their own characters.
Worth begets in base minds, envy; in great souls, emulation.