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Jonathan Swift Quotes

An Irish writer and satirist.
(1667 - 1745)

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"That was excellently observed," say I, when I read a passage in an author, where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, there I pronounce him to be mistaken.

'Tis an old maxim in the schools, that flattery is the food of fools. - Yet now and then your men of wit will condescend to take a bit.

A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.

A fig for your bill of fare; show me your bill of company.

A lie does not consist in the indirect position of words, but in the desire and intention, by false speaking, to deceive and injure your neighbor

A little grain of the romance is no ill ingredient to preserve and exalt the dignity of human nature, without which it is apt to degenerate into everything that is sordid, vicious, and low.

A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying... that he is wiser today than yesterday.

A nice man is a man of nasty ideas.

A soldier is a Yahoo (man) hired to kill in cold blood as many of his own species, who have never offended him, as possibly he can.

A tavern is a place where madness is sold by the bottle.

A wise man is never less alone than when he is alone.

A wise man should have money in his head, not in his heart.

Abstracts, abridgments, summaries, etc., have the same use as burning glasses, to collect the diffused rays of wit and learning in authors, and make them point with warmth and quickness upon the reader's imagination.

All fits of pleasure are balanced by an equal degree of pain or languor; 'tis like spending this year, part of the next year's revenue.

Although men are accused of not knowing their own weakness, yet perhaps few know their own strength. It is in men as in soils, where sometimes there is a vein of gold which the owner knows not of.

Although the devil be the father of lies, he seems, like other great inventors, to have lost much of his reputation by the continual improvements that have been made upon him.

Ambition often puts men upon doing the meanest offices; so climbing is performed in the same posture with creeping.

An excuse is a lie guarded.

An idle reason lessens the weight of the good ones you gave before.

And he gave it for his opinion, that whosoever could make two ears of corn or two blades of grass to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.

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