Famous Quotes By Samuel Butler


  1. 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.
  2. A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg.
  3. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but a little want of knowledge is also a dangerous thing.
  4. A man's friendships are, like his will, invalidated by marriage - but they are also no less invalidated by the marriage of his friends.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. A skilful leech is better far, than half a hundred men of war.
  8. All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it.
  9. All philosophies, if you ride them home, are nonsense, but some are greater nonsense than others.
  10. All truth is not to be told at all times.
  11. An apology for the devil: it must be remembered that we have heard one side of the case. God has written all the books.
  12. And so there is no God but has been in the loins of past gods.
  13. Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man of some sense to know how to lie well.
  14. Brigands demand your money or your life women require both.
  15. Death is only a larger kind of going abroad.
  16. Every man's work, whether it be literature, or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.
  17. Faith - you can do very little with it, but you can do nothing without it.
  18. Fear is static that prevents me from hearing myself.
  19. For truth is precious and divine, too rich a pearl for carnal swine.
  20. Friendship is like money, easier made than kept.
  21. From a worldly point of view, there is no mistake so great as that of being always right.
  22. God and the Devil are an effort after specialization and the division of labor.
  23. God as now generally conceived of is only the last witch.
  24. God cannot alter the past, though historians can.
  25. God was satisfied with his own work, and that is fatal.
  26. He has spent his life best who has enjoyed it most. God will take care that we do not enjoy it any more than is good for us.
  27. Human life is as evanescent as the morning dew or a flash of lightning.
  28. If God wants us to do a thing, he should make his wishes sufficiently clear. Sensible people will wait till he has done this before paying much attention to him.
  29. If I die prematurely I shall be saved from being bored to death at my own success.
  30. If life must not be taken too seriously, then so neither must death.
  31. In law, nothing is certain but the expense.
  32. It has been said that the love of money is the root of all evil. The want of money is so quite as truly.
  33. It is a wise tune that knows its own father, and I like my music to be the legitimate offspring of respectable parents.
  34. It is better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all.
  35. Let every man be true and every god a liar.
  36. Let us eat and drink neither forgetting death unduly nor remembering it. The Lord hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, etc., and the less we think about it the better.
  37. Life is like music it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule.
  38. Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.
  39. Life is not an exact science, it is an art.
  40. Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.
  41. Lying has a kind of respect and reverence with it. We pay a person the compliment of acknowledging his superiority whenever we lie to him.
  42. Man is God's highest present development. He is the latest thing in God.
  43. Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.
  44. Marriage is distinctly and repeatedly excluded from heaven. Is this because it is thought likely to mar the general felicity?
  45. Money is the last enemy that shall never be subdued. While there is flesh there is money or the want of money, but money is always on the brain so long as there is a brain in reasonable order.
  46. Most people have never learned that one of the main aims in life is to enjoy it.
  47. Mr. Tennyson has said that more things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of, but he wisely refrains from saying whether they are good or bad things.
  48. Parents are the last people on earth who ought to have children.
  49. People in general are equally horrified at hearing the Christian religion doubted, and at seeing it practiced.
  50. Priests are not men of the world it is not intended that they should be and a University training is the one best adapted to prevent their becoming so.
  51. Self-preservation is the first law of nature.
  52. Some men love truth so much that they seem to be in continual fear lest she should catch a cold on overexposure.
  53. The Athanasian Creed is to me light and intelligible reading in comparison with much that now passes for science.
  54. The best liar is he who makes the smallest amount of lying go the longest way.
  55. The Bible may be the truth, but it is not the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
  56. The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.
  57. The history of art is the history of revivals.
  58. The history of the world is the record of the weakness, frailty and death of public opinion.
  59. The seven deadly sins: Want of money, bad health, bad temper, chastity, family ties, knowing that you know things, and believing in the Christian religion.
  60. The sinews of art and literature, like those of war, are money.
  61. The three most important things a man has are, briefly, his private parts, his money, and his religious opinions.
  62. The want of money is the root of all evil.
  63. The worst thing that can happen to a man is to lose his money, the next worst his health, the next worst his reputation.
  64. The youth of an art is, like the youth of anything else, its most interesting period. When it has come to the knowledge of good and evil it is stronger, but we care less about it.
  65. Theist and atheist: the fight between them is as to whether God shall be called God or shall have some other name.
  66. There is no such source of error as the pursuit of truth.
  67. There is nothing which at once affects a man so much and so little as his own death.
  68. They say the test of literary power is whether a man can write an inscription. I say, 'Can he name a kitten?'
  69. Think of and look at your work as though it were done by your enemy. I you look at it to admire it, you are lost.
  70. Those who have never had a father can at any rate never know the sweets of losing one. To most men the death of his father is a new lease of life.
  71. To give pain is the tyranny to make happy, the true empire of beauty.
  72. To himself everyone is immortal he may know that he is going to die, but he can never know that he is dead.
  73. To know God better is only to realize how impossible it is that we should ever know him at all. I know not which is more childish to deny him, or define him.
  74. Vaccination is the medical sacrament corresponding to baptism. Whether it is or is not more efficacious I do not know.
  75. We all like to forgive, and love best not those who offend us least, nor who have done most for us, but those who make it most easy for us to forgive them.
  76. We shall never get people whose time is money to take much interest in atoms.
  77. What is faith but a kind of betting or speculation after all? It should be, I bet that my Redeemer liveth.
  78. Women can stand a beating except when it is with their own weapons.
  79. Words are not as satisfactory as we should like them to be, but, like our neighbours, we have got to live with them and must make the best and not the worst of them.
  80. Work with some men is as besetting a sin as idleness.
  81. You can do very little with faith, but you can do nothing without it.

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