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Samuel Butler Quotes

A British satirist, best known for his novels Erewhon and The Way of All Flesh.
(1835 - 1902)

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[Ideas] are like shadows - substantial enough until we try to grasp them.

A definition is the enclosing a wilderness of idea within a wall of words.

A drunkard would not give money to sober people. He said they would only eat it, and buy clothes and send their children to school with it.

A friend who cannot at a pinch remember a thing or two that never happened is as bad as one who does not know how to forget.

A great portrait is always more a portrait of the painter than of the painted.

A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg.

A lawyer's dream of heaven: every man reclaimed his property at the resurrection, and each tried to recover it from all his forefathers.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but a little want of knowledge is also a dangerous thing.

A man should be just cultured enough to be able to look with suspicion upon culture at first, not second hand.

A man's friendships are, like his will, invalidated by marriage - but they are also no less invalidated by the marriage of his friends.

A man's style in any art should be like his dress - it should attract as little attention as possible.

A pair of lovers are like sunset and sunrise: there are such things every day but we very seldom see them.

A physician's physiology has much the same relation to his power of healing as a cleric's divinity has to his power of influencing conduct.

A sense of humor keen enough to show a man his own absurdities will keep him from the commission of all sins, or nearly all, save those worth committing.

A skilful leech is better far, than half a hundred men of war.

A virtue to be serviceable must, like gold, be alloyed with some commoner, but more durable alloy.

Academic and aristocratic people live in such an uncommon atmosphere that common sense can rarely reach them.

Adversity, if a man is set down to it by degrees, is more supportable with equanimity by most people than any great prosperity arrived at in a single lifetime.

After having spent years striving to be accurate, we must spend as many more in discovering when and how to be inaccurate.

All a rhetorician's rules teach nothing but to name his tools.

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