I have long been convinced that institutions purely democratic must, sooner or later, destroy liberty or civilization, or both.
Both in individuals and in masses violent excitement is always followed by remission, and often by reaction. We are all inclined to depreciate whatever we have overpraised, and, on the other hand, to show undue indulgence where we have shown undue rigor.
In truth it may be laid down as an almost universal rule that good poets are bad critics.
Thus, then, stands the case. It is good, that authors should be remunerated; and the least exceptionable way of remunerating them is by a monopoly. Yet monopoly is an evil. For the sake of the good we must submit to the evil; but the evil ought not to last a day longer than is necessary for the purp
War is never lenient but where it is wanton; where men are compelled to fight in self-defence, they must hate and avenge. This may be bad, but it is human nature; it is the clay as it came from the hands of the Potter.
The effect of violent dislike between groups has always created an indifference to the welfare and honor of the state.
If ever Shakespeare rants, it is not when his imagination is hurrying him along, but when he is hurrying his imagination along.
Nothing is so galling to a people not broken in from birth as a paternal, or, in other words, a meddling government, a government which tells them what to read, and say, and eat, and drink and wear.
The hearts of men are their books; events are their tutors; great actions are their eloquence.
Mere negation, mere Epicurean infidelity, as Lord Bacon most justly observes, has never disturbed the peace of the world. It furnishes no motive for action; it inspires no enthusiasm; it has no missionaries, no crusades, no martyrs.
The reluctant obedience of distant provinces generally costs more than it - The Territory is worth. Empires which branch out widely are often more flourishing for a little timely pruning.
Ye diners out from whom we guard our spoons.
A politician must often talk and act before he has thought and read. He may be very ill informed respecting a question: all his notions about it may be vague and inaccurate; but speak he must. And if he is a man of ability, of tact, and of intrepidity, he soon finds that, even under such circumstanc
A vice sanctioned by the general opinion is merely a vice. The evil terminates in itself. A vice condemned by the general opinion produces a pernicious effect on the whole character. The former is a local malady; the latter, constitutional taint. When the reputation of the offender is lost, he too o
The ascendency of the sacerdotal order was long the ascendency which naturally and properly belonged to intellectual superiority.
The history of nations, in the sense in which I use the word, is often best studied in works not professedly historical.
Half-knowledge is worse than ignorance.
Byron owed the vast influence which he exercised over his contemporaries at least as much to his gloomy egotism as to the real power of his poetry.
Only imagine a man acting for one single day on the supposition that all his neighbors believe all that they profess, and act up to all that they believe!
In the modern languages there was not, six hundred years ago, a single volume which is now read. The library of our profound scholar must have consisted entirely of Latin books.
I have seen the hippopotamus, both asleep and awake; and I can assure you that, awake or asleep, he is the ugliest of the works of God.
He had a head which statuaries loved to copy, and a foot the deformity of which the beggars in the streets mimicked.
A dominant religion is never ascetic.
Facts are the mere dross of history. It is from the abstract truth which interpenetrates them, and lies latent among them, like gold in the ore, that the mass derives its whole value; and the precious particles are generally combined with the baser in such a manner that the separation is a task of t
I have not the smallest doubt that, if we had a purely democratic government here, the effect would be the same. Either the poor would plunder the rich, and civilisation would perish; or order and property would be saved by a strong military government, and liberty would perish.
Forget all feuds, and shed one English tearO'er English dust. A broken heart lies here.
The passages in which Milton has alluded to his own circumstances are perhaps read more frequently, and with more interest, than any other lines in his poems.
Highest among those who have exhibited human nature by means of dialogue stands Shakespeare. His variety is like the variety of nature,--endless diversity, scarcely any monstrosity.
We deplore the outrages which accompany revolutions. But the more violent the outrages, the more assured we feel that a revolution was necessary.
The good-humor of a man elated with success often displays itself towards enemies.