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Joseph Addison Quotes

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Nothing is more gratifying to the mind of man than power or dominion.

Nothing lies on our hands with such uneasiness as time. Wretched and thoughtless creatures! In the only place where covetousness were a virtue we turn prodigals.

Nothing that is not a real crime makes a man appear so contemptible and little in the eyes of the world as inconstancy, especially when it regards religion or party. In either of these cases, though a man perhaps does but his duty in changing his side, he not only makes himself hated by those he left, but is seldom heartily esteemed by those he comes over to.

Of all the diversions of life, there is none so proper to fill up its empty spaces as the reading of useful and entertaining authors. 

One may now know a man that never conversed in the world, by his excess of good breeding. A polite country esquire shall make you as many bows in half an hour, as would serve a courtier for a week.

One of the most important, but one of the most difficult things for a powerful mind is, to be its own master. A pond may lie quiet in a plain; but a lake wants mountains to compass and hold it in.

One should take good care not to grow too wise for so great a pleasure of life as laughter.

One would think that the larger the company is, the greater variety of thoughts and subjects would be started in discourse; but instead of this, we find that conversation is never so much strait­ened and confined as in large assemblies.

Our admiration of a famous man lessens upon our nearer acquaintance with him; and we seldom hear of a celebrated person without a catalogue of some of his weaknesses and infirmities.

Our delight in any particular study, art, or science rises and improves in proportion to the application which we bestow upon it. Thus, what was at first an exercise becomes at length an entertainment.

Our disputants put me in mind of the scuttle fish, that when he is unable to extricate himself, blackens all the water about him, till he becomes invisible.

Our friends don't see our faults, or conceal them, or soften them.

Our imagination loves to be filled with an object or to grasp at anything that is too big for it's capacity. We are flung into a pleasing astonishment at such unbounded views and feel a delightful stillness and amazement in the soul at the apprehension of them.

Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.

Our sight is the most perfect and most delightful of all our senses. It fills the mind with the largest variety of ideas, converses with its objects at the greatest distance, and continues the longest in action without being tired or satiated . . .

People of gloomy, uncheerful imaginations, will discover their natural tincture of mind in all their thoughts, words, and actions. As the finest wines have often the taste of the soil, so even the most religious thoughts often draw something that is peculiar from the constitution of the mind in which they arise. When folly or superstition strikes in with this natural depravity of temper, it is not in the power, even of religion itself, to preserve the character from appearing highly absurd and ridiculous.

Physic is, for the most part, only a substitute for temperance and exercise.

Plenty of people wish to become devout, but no one wishes to be humble.

Plutarch has written an essay on the benefits which a man may receive from his enemies; and among the good fruits of enmity, mentions this in particular, that by the reproaches which it casts upon us we see the worst side of ourselves.

Poverty palls the most generous spirits; it cows industry, and casts resolution itself into despair.

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