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Joseph Addison Quotes

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Great souls by instinct to each other turn, demand alliance, and in friendship burn.

Gymnastics open the chest, exercise the limbs, and give a man all the pleasure of boxing, without the blows. I could wish that learned men would lay out the time they employ in controversies and disputes about nothing, in this method of fighting with their own shadows. It might conduce very much to evaporate the spleen, which makes them uneasy to the public as well as to themselves.

Had Cicero himself pronounced one of his orations with a blanket about his shoulders, more people would have laughed at his dress than admired his eloquence.

Half the misery of human life might be extinguished if men would alleviate the general curse they lie under by mutual offices of compassion, benevolence, and humanity.

He thought he was a wit, and he was half right.

He who would pass his declining years with honor and comfort, should, when young, consider that he may one day become old, and remember when he is old, that he has once been young.

Honor's a sacred tie, - the noble mind's distinguishing perfection, that aids and strengthens virtue where it meets her, and imitates her actions, where she is not.

Hope calculates its schemes for a long and durable life; presses forward to imaginary points of bliss; and grasps at impossibilities; and consequently very often ensnares men into beggary, ruin, and dishonor.

Hudibras has defined nonsense, as Cowley does wit, by negatives. Nonsense, says he, is that which is neither true nor false. These two great properties of nonsense, which are essential to it, give it such a peculiar advantage over all other writings, that it is incapable of being either answered or contradicted. If it affirms anything, you cannot lay hold of it; or if it denies, you cannot refute it. In a word, there are greater depths and obscurities, greater intricacies and perplexities in an elaborate and well-written piece of nonsense, than in the most abstruse and profound tract of school divinity.

Husband a lie, and trump it up in some extraordinary emergency.

I am wonderfully delighted to see a body of men thriving in their own fortunes, and at the same time promoting the public stock; or, in other words, raising estates for their own families by bringing into their country whatever is wanting, and carrying out of it whatever is superfluous.

I consider time as an in immense ocean, in which many noble authors are entirely swallowed up

I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.

I have always preferred cheerfulness to mirth. The former is an act, the latter a habit of the mind. Mirth is short and transient; cheerfulness, fixed and permanent. Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment. Cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, filling it with a steady and perpetual serenity.

I have somewhere met with the epitaph on a charitable man which has pleased me very much. I cannot recollect the words, but here is the sense of it: 'What I spent I lost; what I possessed is left to others; what I gave away remains with me.'

I live in the world rather as a spectator of mankind than as one of the species

I never knew an early-rising, hard-working, prudent man, careful of his earnings, and strictly honest, who complained of bad luck. A good character, good habits, and iron industry are impregnable to the assaults of all the ill-luck that fools ever dreamed of.

I remember when our whole island was shaken with an earthquake some years ago, there was an impudent mountebank who sold pills which (as he told the country people) were very good against an earthquake.

I think I may define taste to be that faculty of the soul which discerns the beauties of an author with pleasure, and the imperfections with dislike.

I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs.

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