Joseph Addison Quotes

Joseph Addison

English essayist, poet, & politician (1672 - 1719)

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A beautiful eye makes silence eloquent, a kind eye makes contradiction an assent, an enraged eye makes beauty deformed. This little member gives life to every part about us; and I believe the story of Argu simplies no more, than the eye is in every part; that is to say, every other part would be mutilated, were not its force represented more by the eye than even by itself.

Categorized under Beauty

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Courage that grows from constitution often forsakes a man when he has occasion for it courage which arises from a sense of duty acts in a uniform manner.

Categorized under Courage

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A just and reasonable modesty does not only recommend eloquence, but sets off every great talent which a man can be possessed of.

Categorized under Humility

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Jesters do often prove prophets.

Categorized under Humor

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The stars shall fade away, the sun himself Grow dim with age, and nature sink in years, But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth, Unhurt amidst the wars of elements, The wrecks of matter, and the crush of worlds.

Categorized under Immortality

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To be perfectly just is an attribute of the divine nature; to be so to the utmost of our abilities, is the glory of man.

Categorized under Justice

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It is folly for an eminent person to think of escaping censure, and a weakness to be affected by it. All the illustrious persons of antiquity, and indeed of every age, have passed through this fiery persecution. There is no defense against reproach but obscurity; it is a kind of concomitant to greatness, as satires and invectives were an essential part of a Roman triumph.

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Exercise ferments the humors, casts them into their proper channels, throws off redundancies, and helps nature in those secret distributions, without which the body cannot subsist in its vigor, nor the soul act with cheerfulness.

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Man is distinguished from all other creatures by the faculty of laughter.

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Laughter, while it lasts, slackens and unbraces the mind, weakens the faculties, and causes a kind of remissness and dissolution in all the powers of the soul.

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A misery is not to be measured from the nature of the evil, but from the temper of the sufferer.

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If you wish to succeed in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius.

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An ostentatious man will rather relate a blunder or an absurdity he has committed, than be debarred from talking of his own dear person.

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Self discipline is that which, next to virtue, truly and essentially raises one man above another.

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What an absurd thing it is to pass over all the valuable parts of a man, and fix our attention on his infirmities.

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If men would consider not so much wherein they differ, as wherein they agree, there would be far less of uncharitableness and angry feeling.

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If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother and hope your guardian genius.

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Arguments out of a pretty mouth are unanswerable.

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Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind, which are delivered down from generation to generation as presents to the posterity of those who are yet unborn.

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Education is a companion which no misfortune can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate,no despotism can enslave. At home, a friend, abroad, an introduction, in solitude a solace and in society an ornament.It chastens vice, it guides virtue, it gives at once grace and government to genius. Without it, what is man? A splendid slave, a reasoning savage.

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Friendship improves hapiness and reduces misery, by doubting our joys and dividing our grief.

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The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.

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Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief.

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Ridicule is generally made use of to laugh men out of virtue and good sense, by attacking everything praiseworthy in human life.

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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.

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There are many shining qualities on the mind of man; but none so useful as discretion. It is this which gives a value to all the rest, and sets them at work in their proper places, and turns them to the advantage of their possessor. Without it, learning is pedantry; wit, impertinence; virtue itself looks like weakness; and the best parts only qualify a man to be more sprightly in errors, and active to his own prejudice. Though a man has all other perfections and wants discretion, he will be of no great consequence in the world; but if he has this single talent in perfection, and but a common share of others, he may do what he pleases in his station of life.

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The friendships of the world are oft confederacies in vice, or leagues of pleasures.

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Laughter, while it lasts, slackens and unbraces the mind, weakens the faculties and causes a kind of remissness and dissolution in all the powers of the soul; and thus it may be looked on as weakness in the composition of human nature. But if we consider the frequent reliefs we receive from it and how often it breaks the gloom which is apt to depress the mind and damp our spirits, with transient, unexpected gleams of joy, one would take care not to grow too wise for so great a pleasure of life.

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From social intercourse are derived some of the highest enjoyments of life; where there is a free interchange of sentiments the mind acquires new ideas, and by frequent exercise of its powers, the understanding gains fresh vigor.

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To be exempt from the passions with which others are tormented, is the only pleasing solitude.

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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.

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A good conscience is to the soul what health is to the body; it preserves constant ease and serenity within us; and more than countervails all the calamities and afflictions which can befall us from without.

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