William Hazlitt

William Hazlitt
William Hazlitt
  • Born: April 10, 1778
  • Died: September 18, 1830
  • Nationality: English
  • Profession: Critic









Quote Topics Cited
A man who is determined never to move out of the beaten road cannot lose his way. Liberals & Conservatives
Action requires co-operation, but in general if you set your face against custom, people will set their faces against you. They cannot tell whether you are right or wrong, but they know that you are guilty of a pragmatical assumption of superiority over them which they do not like. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
Almost every sect of Christianity is a perversion of its essence, to accommodate it to the prejudices of the world. Religion & God
Corporate bodies are more corrupt and profligate than individuals, because they have more power to do mischief, and are less amenable to disgrace or punishment. They feel neither shame, remorse, gratitude, nor goodwill. Business, Commerce & Finance
Every man, in his own opinion, forms an exception to the ordinary rules of morality. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
Great thoughts reduced to practice become great acts. Leaders & Leadership
He who has the greatest power put into his hands will only become the more impatient of any restraint in the use of it. Power
If you think you can win, you can win. Faith is necessary to victory. Religion & God ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
It is hard for any one to be an honest politician who is not born and bred a Dissenter. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
It is not easy to write a familiar style. Many people mistake a familiar for a vulgar style, and suppose that to write without affectation is to write at random. On the contrary, there is nothing that requires more precision, and, if I may so say, purity of expression, than the style I am speaking of. It utterly rejects not only all unmeaning pomp, but all low, cant phrases, and loose, unconnected, slipshod allusions. It is not to take the first word that offers, but the best word in common use; it is not to throw words together in any combinations we please, but to follow and avail ourselves of the true idiom of the language. English, Languages & Bilingualism
No man is truly great who is great only in his lifetime. The test of greatness is the page of history. History
Nothing is more unjust or capricious than public opinion.... The public have neither shame nor gratitude. Public Opinion & Polling
Prejudice is the child of ignorance. Discrimination & Prejudice
Reputation runs in a vicious circle, and Merit limps behind it, mortified and abashed at its own insignificance Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Rules and models destroy genius and art. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
The fear of punishment may be necessary to the suppression of vice; but it also suspends the finer motives to virtue. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Power ;Freedom & Liberty
The most fluent talkers or most plausible reasoners are not only the justest thinkers. Justice & Injustice
The most learned are often the most narrow-minded men. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
The multitude, who require to be led, still hate their leaders. Leaders & Leadership
The public have neither shame or gratitude. Public Opinion & Polling
The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy. Human Nature
The sense of power is as strong a principle in the mind as the love of pleasure. Power
The test of greatness is the page of history. History
The Tory is one who is governed by sense and habit alone. He considers not what is possible, but what is real; he gives might the preference over right. He cries long life to the conqueror, and is ever strong upon the stronger side—the side of corruption and prerogative. Liberals & Conservatives
The truly proud man knows neither superiors nor inferiors. The first he does not admit of: the last he does not concern himself about. Equality & Equal Opportunity
There is not a more mean, stupid, dastardly, pitiful, selfish, spiteful, envious, ungrateful animal than the Public. Public Opinion & Polling
There is, however, no prejudice so strong as that which arises from a fancied exemption from all prejudice. Human Nature
Those only deserve a monument who do not need one. Management & Managing Government
To great evils we submit; we resent little provocations. Human Nature
We can scarcely hate any one that we know. Human Nature
We do not attend to the advice of the sage and experienced because we think they are old, forgetting that they once were young and placed in the same situations as ourselves. Elderly, Aging. Old Age, Social Security & Pensions
Zeal will do more than knowledge. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Human Nature
A gentle word, a kind look, a good-natured smile can work wonders and accomplish miracles. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
A grave blockhead should always go about with a lively one - they show one another off to the best advantage.
A hair in the head is worth two in the brush.
A hypocrite despises those whom he deceives, but has no respect for himself. He would make a dupe of himself too, if he could. Respect
A nickname is the heaviest stone that the devil can throw at a man. It is a bugbear to the imagination, and, though we do not believe in it, it still haunts our apprehensions.
A scholar is like a book written in a dead language. It is not every one that can read in it.
A wise traveler never despises his own country. Travel
An honest man speaks the truth, though it may give offence; a vain man, in order that it may. Truth
Anyone who has passed though the regular gradations of a classical education, and is not made a fool by it, may consider himself as having had a very narrow escape. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
As is our confidence, so is our capacity.
Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own.
Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects, and discovering other people's weaknesses. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Dandyism is a variety of genius.
Defoe says that there were a hundred thousand country fellows in his time ready to fight to the death against popery, without knowing whether popery was a man or a horse. Time ;Death
Do not keep on with a mockery of friendship after the substance is gone - but part, while you can part friends. Bury the carcass of friendship: it is not worth embalming. Friendship
Dr. Johnson was a lazy learned man who liked to think and talk better than to read or write; who, however, wrote much and well, but too often by rote.
Envy among other ingredients has a mixture of the love of justice in it. We are more angry at undeserved than at deserved good-fortune. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Even in the common affairs of life, in love, friendship, and marriage, how little security have we when we trust our happiness in the hands of others! Life ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Trust
Everything is in motion. Everything flows. Everything is vibrating.
Fame is the inheritance not of the dead, but of the living. It is we who look back with lofty pride to the great names of antiquity.
Few things tend more to alienate friendship than a want of punctuality in our engagements. I have known the breach of a promise to dine or sup to break up more than one intimacy. Friendship
Genius, like humanity, rusts for want of use.
Good temper is one of the greatest preservers of the features.
Grace has been defined as the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul.
Grace in women has more effect than beauty. Women
Grace is the absence of everything that indicates pain or difficulty, hesitation or incongruity.
Gracefulness has been defined to be the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul.
He who undervalues himself is justly undervalued by others.
He will never have true friends who is afraid of making enemies.
Hope is the best possession. None are completely wretched but those who are without hope. Few are reduced so low as that. Hope
I like a friend the better for having faults that one can talk about.
I would like to spend the whole of my life traveling, if I could anywhere borrow another life to spend at home. Life
If I have not read a book before, it is, for all intents and purposes, new to me whether it was printed yesterday or three hundred years ago.
If the world were good for nothing else, it is a fine subject for speculation.
If we wish to know the force of human genius, we should read Shakespeare. If we wish to see the insignificance of human learning, we may study his commentators. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
If you give an audience a chance they will do half your acting for you.
I'm not smart, but I like to observe. Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.
It is better to be able neither to read nor write than to be able to do nothing else.
It is not fit that every man should travel; it makes a wise man better, and a fool worse. Travel
Learning is its own exceeding great reward. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Life is the art of being well deceived; and in order that the deception may succeed it must be habitual and uninterrupted. Life ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Look up, laugh loud, talk big, keep the color in your cheek and the fire in your eye, adorn your person, maintain your health, your beauty and your animal spirits. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
Love turns, with a little indulgence, to indifference or disgust; hatred alone is immortal. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Man is a make-believe animal: he is never so truly himself as when he is acting a part.
Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they ought to be.
No one ever approaches perfection except by stealth, and unknown to themselves.
No truly great person ever thought themselves so.
No young man ever thinks he shall die.
Old friendships are like meats served up repeatedly, cold, comfortless, and distasteful. The stomach turns against them.
One shining quality lends a lustre to another, or hides some glaring defect.
Our friends are generally ready to do everything for us, except the very thing we wish them to do.
People of genius do not excel in any profession because they work in it, they work in it because they excel. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Poetry is all that is worth remembering in life. Life ;Literature, Writers & Writing
Poetry is the universal language which the heart holds with nature and itself. He who has a contempt for poetry, cannot have much respect for himself, or for anything else. Nature ;Respect ;Literature, Writers & Writing
Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity a greater. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Reflection makes men cowards.
Satirists gain the applause of others through fear, not through love. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Some one is generally sure to be the sufferer by a joke.
Some people break promises for the pleasure of breaking them.
That which is not, shall never be; that which is, shall never cease to be. To the wise, these truths are self-evident.
The art of life is to know how to enjoy a little and to endure very much. Life ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
The art of pleasing consists in being pleased. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
The busier we are the more leisure we have.
The dupe of friendship, and the fool of love; have I not reason to hate and to despise myself? Indeed I do; and chiefly for not having hated and despised the world enough. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Friendship
The English (it must be owned) are rather a foul-mouthed nation.
The humblest painter is a true scholar; and the best of scholars the scholar of nature. Nature
The incentive to ambition is the love of power. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Power
The least pain in our little finger gives us more concern and uneasiness than the destruction of millions of our fellow-beings.
The mind of man is like a clock that is always running down, and requires to be constantly wound up.
The more we do, the more we can do. Motivation
The most insignificant people are the most apt to sneer at others. They are safe from reprisals. And have no hope of rising in their own self esteem but by lowering their neighbors. Hope
The most learned are often the most narrow minded.
The only vice that cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy.
The perfect joys of heaven do not satisfy the cravings of nature. Nature
The person whose doors I enter with most pleasure, and quit with most regret, never did me the smallest favor.
The player envies only the player, the poet envies only the poet.
The seat of knowledge is in the head; of wisdom, in the heart. We are sure to judge wrong, if we do not feel right. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
The smallest pain in our little finger gives us more concern than the destruction of millions of our fellow beings.
The soul of a journey is liberty, perfect liberty, to think, feel, do just as one pleases.
The true barbarian is he who thinks everything barbarous but his own tastes and prejudices.
The truly proud man knows neither superiors or inferiors. The first he does not admit of - the last he does not concern himself about.
The way to get on in the world is to be neither more nor less wise, neither better nor worse than your neighbours.
The world judge of men by their ability in their profession, and we judge of ourselves by the same test: for it is on that on which our success in life depends. Life ;Success
There are few things in which we deceive ourselves more than in the esteem we profess to entertain for our firends. It is little better than a piece of quackery. The truth is, we think of them as we please, that is, as they please or displease us. Truth
There are no rules for friendship. It must be left to itself. We cannot force it any more than love. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Friendship
There is a heroism in crime as well as in virtue. Vice and infamy have their altars and their religion. Religion & God
There is a secret pride in every human heart that revolts at tyranny. You may order and drive an individual, but you cannot make him respect you. Respect
There is no one thoroughly despicable. We cannot descend much lower than an idiot; and an idiot has some advantages over a wise man.
There is no prejudice so strong as that which arises from a fancied exemption from all prejudice.
There is nothing good to be had in the country, or if there is, they will not let you have it.
Those who are at war with others are not at peace with themselves. War & Peace
Those who can command themselves command others.
Those who make their dress a principal part of themselves, will, in general, become of no more value than their dress.
Those who speak ill of the spiritual life, although they come and go by day, are like the smith's bellows: they take breath but are not alive. Life
Though familiarity may not breed contempt, it takes off the edge of admiration.
To a superior race of being the pretensions of mankind to extraordinary sanctity and virtue must seem... ridiculous.
To be capable of steady friendship or lasting love, are the two greatest proofs, not only of goodness of heart, but of strength of mind. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Friendship
To be happy, we must be true to nature and carry our age along with us. Nature
To be remembered after we are dead, is but poor recompense for being treated with contempt while we are living.
To get others to come into our ways of thinking, we must go over to theirs; and it is necessary to follow, in order to lead.
To give a reason for anything is to breed a doubt of it.
To think ill of mankind and not wish ill to them, is perhaps the highest wisdom and virtue.
We are not hypocrites in our sleep.
We are very much what others think of us. The reception our observations meet with gives us courage to proceed, or damps our efforts.
We can bear to be deprived of everything but our self-conceit.
We can scarcely hate anyone that we know.
We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts. Nature
We find many things to which the prohibition of them constitutes the only temptation.
We grow tired of everything but turning others into ridicule, and congratulating ourselves on their defects.
We must be doing something to be happy.
We never do anything well till we cease to think about the manner of doing it.
We often choose a friend as we do a mistress - for no particular excellence in themselves, but merely from some circumstance that flatters our self-love.
When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy, it ceases to be a subject of interest.
Wit is the salt of conversation, not the food. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
Without the aid of prejudice and custom, I should not be able to find my way across the room.
You know more of a road by having traveled it than by all the conjectures and descriptions in the world. Travel