Oliver Goldsmith Quotes | Quotes by Oliver Goldsmith

1I was ever of the opinion, that the honest man who married and brought up a large family, did more service than he who continued single, and only talked of population.

2Ceremonies are different in every country, but true politeness is everywhere the same.

3When we take a slight survey of the surface of our globe a thousand objects offer themselves which, though long known, yet still demand our curiosity.

4And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew, that one small head could carry all he knew.

5The watch-dog's voice that bay'd the whispering wind, And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind.

6The volume of Nature is the book of knowledge.

7Who mix'd reason with pleasure, and wisdom with mirth: If he had any faults, he has left us in doubt.

8Like the tiger, that seldom desists from pursuing man after having once preyed upon human flesh, the reader who has once gratified his appetite with calumny makes ever after the most agreeable feast upon murdered reputations!

9He who fights and runs away May live to fight another day.

10An Englishman fears contempt more than death.

Oliver Goldsmith Quotes

11There is nothing so absurd or ridiculous that has not at some time been said by some philosopher. Fontenelle says he would undertake to persuade the whole public of readers to believe that the sun was neither the cause of light or heat, if he could only get six philosophers on his side.

12Persecution is a tribute the great must always pay for preeminence.

13The jests of the rich are ever successful.

14Amid thy desert-walks the lapwing flies, And tires their echoes with unvaried cries.

15Religion does what philosophy could never do; it shows the equal dealings of Heaven to the happy and the unhappy, and levels all human enjoyments to nearly the same standard. It gives to both rich and poor the same happiness hereafter, and equal hopes to aspire after it.

16Man seems the only growth that dwindles here.

17A night-cap deck'd his brows instead of bay,- A cap by night, a stocking all the day.

18Want of prudence is too frequently the want of virtue.

19People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy.

20Wept o'er his wounds, or tales of sorrow done, Shoulder'd his crutch, and shew'd how fields were won.

Oliver Goldsmith Quotes

21True genius walks along a line, and, perhaps, our greatest pleasure is in seeing it so often near falling, without being ever actually down.

22Pity and friendship are two passions incompatible with each other.

23Like the bee, we should make our industry our amusement.

24Friendship is made up of esteem and pleasure; pity is composed of sorrow and contempt: the mind may for some time fluctuate between them, but it can never entertain both at once.

25As writers become more numerous, it is natural for readers to become more indolent; whence must necessarily arise a desire of attaining knowledge with the greatest possible ease.

26Those who think must govern those that toil.

27So the loud torrent, and the whirlwind's roar, But bind him to his native mountains more.

28The fortunate circumstances of our lives are generally found, at last, to be of our own producing.

29A volcano may be considered as a cannon of immense size.

30There are some faults so nearly allied to excellence that we can scarce weed out the vice without eradicating the virtue.

Oliver Goldsmith Quotes

31There is probably no country so barbarous that would not disclose all it knew, if it received equivalent information; and I am apt to think that a person who was ready to give more knowledge than he received would be welcome wherever he came.

32Prudery is ignorance.

33Wisdom makes a slow defense against trouble, though a sure one in the end.

34There is one way by which a strolling player may be ever secure of success; that is, in our theatrical way of expressing it, to make a great deal of the character. To speak and act as in common life is not playing, nor is it what people come to see; natural speaking, like sweet wine, runs glibly over the palate and scarcely leaves any taste behind it; but being high in a part resembles vinegar, which grates upon the taste, and one feels it while he is drinking.

35It is not easy to recover an art when once lost.

36The bashful virgin's sidelong looks of love.

37The first time I read an excellent book, it is to me just as if I had gained a new friend. When I read a book over I have perused before, it resembles the meeting with an old one.

38To be poor, and to seem poor, is a certain method never to rise.

39Our pleasures are short, and can only charm at intervals; love is a method of protraction our greatest pleasure.

40Pity, though it may often relieve, is but, at best, a short-lived passion, and seldom affords distress more than transitory assistance; with some it scarce lasts from the first impulse till the hand can be put into the pocket.

Oliver Goldsmith Quotes

41A modest woman, dressed out in all her finery, is the most tremendous object of the whole creation.

42The first blow is half the battle.

43Silence is become his mother tongue.

44Careless their merits or their faults to scan, His pity gave ere charity began. Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride, And even his failings lean'd to Virtue's side.

45A boy will learn more true wisdom in a public school in a year than by a private education in five. It is not from masters, but from their equals, that youth learn a knowledge of the world.

46There is nothing magnanimous in bearing misfortunes with fortitude, when the whole world is looking on.... He who, without friends to encourage or even without hope to alleviate his misfortunes, can behave with tranquility and indifference, is truly great.

47You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.

48Why was this heart of mine formed with so much sensibility! Or why not my fortune adapted to its impulses! Tenderness without a capacity of relieving only makes the man who feels it more wretched than the object which sues for assistance.

49I have seen her and sister cry over a book for an hour together, and they said, they liked the book the better the more it made them cry.

50It is impossible to combat enthusiasm with reason; for though it makes a show of resistance, it soon eludes the pressure, refers you to distinctions not to be understood, and feelings which it cannot explain. A man who would endeavor to fix an enthusiast by argument might as well attempt to spread quicksilver with his finger.

Oliver Goldsmith Quotes

51One writer, for instance, excels at a plan or a title page, another works away at the body of the book, and a third is a dab at an index.

52If we look round the world, there seem to be not above six distinct varieties in the human species, each of which is strongly marked, and speaks the kind seldom to have mixed with any other. But there is nothing in the shape, nothing in the faculties, that shows their coming from different originals; and the varieties of climate, of nourishment, and custom, are sufficient to produce every change.

53And fools who came to scoff remain'd to pray.

54Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace the day's disasters in his morning face.

55Age, that lessens the enjoyment of life, increases our desire of living

56I have known a German Prince with more titles than subjects, and a Spanish nobleman with more names than shirts.

57Popular glory is a perfect coquette; her lovers must toil, feel every inquietude, indulge every caprice, and perhaps at last be jilted into the bargain. True glory, on the other hand, resembles a woman of sense; her admirers must play no tricks. They feel no great anxiety, for they are sure in the end of being rewarded in proportion to their merit.

58Where'er I roam, whatever realms to see, My heart untravelled, fondly turns to thee; Still to my brother turns, with ceaseless pain, And drags at each remove a lengthening chain.

59He watched and wept and prayed and felt for all

60Near yonder copse, where once the garden smil'd, And still where many a garden flower grows wild, There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose, The village preacher's modest mansion rose. A man he was to all the country dear, And passing rich with forty pounds a year; Remote from town's he ran his godly race, Nor e'er had chang'd nor wish'd to change his place; Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for power, By doctrines fashion'd to the varying hour; Far other aims his heart had learn'd to prize. More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.