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Edwin Percy Whipple Quotes


An American essayist and critic.
(1819 - 1886)

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A large portion of human beings live not so much in themselves as in what they desire to be. - They create an ideal character the perfections of which compensate in some degree for imperfections of their own.
 

A politician weakly and amiably in the right, is no match for a politician tenaciously and pugnaciously in the wrong. - You cannot, by tying an opinion to a man's tongue, make him the representative of that opinion; and at the close of any battle for principles, his name will be found neither among the dead, nor the wounded, but among the missing.
[Politics]
 

A thought embodied and embrained in fit words walks the earth a living being.
[Thought]
 

All history shows the power of blood over circumstances, as agriculture shows the power of the seeds over the soil.
[Ancestry]
 

An imposing air should always be taken as an evidence of imposition. - Dignity is often a veil between us and the real truth of things.
[Manners]
 

Any style formed in imitation of some model must be affected and straight-laced.
[Style]
 

As men neither fear nor respect what has been made contemptible, all honor to him who makes oppression laughable as well as detestable. - Armies cannot protect it then; and walls that have remained impenetrable to cannon have fallen before a roar of laughter or a hiss of contempt.
[Satire]
 

As the grave grows nearer my theology is growing strangely simple, and it begins and ends with Christ as the only Saviour of the lost.
 

Books are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time.
[Books]
 

Cheerfulness in most cheerful people is the rich and satisfying result of strenuous discipline.
 

Even in social life, it is persistency which attracts confidence more than talents and accomplishments.
[Perseverance]
 

Every great originating mind produces in some way a change in society; every great originating mind, whose exercise is controlled by duty, effects a beneficial change. This effect may be immediate, may be remote. A nation may be in a tumult today for a thought which the timid Erasmus placidly penned in his study more than two centuries ago.
[Thought]
 

Everybody knows that fanaticism is religion caricatured, and yet, with many, contempt of fanaticism is regarded as a sign of hostility to religion.
[Fanaticism]
 

Felicity, not fluency of language, is a merit.
[Language]
 

God is glorified, not by our groans but by our thanksgivings; and all good thought and good action claim a natural alliance with good cheer.
[Cheerfulness]
 

In activity we must find our joy as well as glory; and labor, like everything else that is good, is its own reward.
[Action]
 

Irony is an insult conveyed in the form of a compliment; insinuating the most galling satire under the phraseology of panegyric; placing its victim naked on a bed of briers and thistles, thinly covered with rose-leaves; adorning his brow with a crown of gold, which burns into his brain; teasing and fretting, and riddling him through and through, with incessant discharges of hot shot from a masked battery; laying bare the most sensitive and shrinking nerves of his mind, and then blandly touching them with ice, or smilingly pricking them with needles.
[Irony]
 

Knowledge, like religion, must be "experienced" in order to be known.
[Knowledge]
 

Lord Chatham and Napoleon were as much actors as Garrick or Talma. - An imposing air should always be taken as evidence of imposition. - Dignity is often a veil between us and the real truth of things.
 

Most of the men of dignity, who awe or bore their more genial brethren, are simply men who possess the art of passing off their insensibility for wisdom, their dullness for depth, and of concealing imbecility of intellect under haughtiness of manner.
 


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