Quotes by William Hazlitt

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William Hazlitt (10 April 1778 - 18 September 1830) was an English writer remembered for his humanistic essays and literary criticism, often esteemed the greatest English literary critic after Samuel Johnson. Indeed, Hazlitt's ...

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The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves. We cannot force love.

Hope is the best possession. None are completely wretched but those who are without hope. Few are reduced so low as that.
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 might of been.
There are no rules for friendship. It must be left to itself. We cannot force it any more than love.
You know more of a road by having traveled it than by all the conjectures and descriptions in the world.
I do not think that what is called Love at first sight is so great an absurdity as it is sometimes imagined to be. We generally make up our minds beforehand to the sort of person we should like, grave or gay, black, brown, or fair; with golden tresses or raven locks; -- and when we meet with a complete example of the qualities we admire, the bargain is soon struck.
Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity is a greater. Possession pampers the mind; privation trains and strengthens it.
The smallest pain in our little finger gives us more concern than the destruction of millions of our fellow beings.
A hypocrite despises those whom he deceives, but has no respect for himself. He would make a dupe of himself too, if he could.
Grace in women has more effect than beauty.
Grace has been defined as the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul.
Anyone who has passed through 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.
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.
People of genius do not excel in any profession because they work in it, they work in it because they excel.
Wit is the salt of conversation, not the food.
The least pain in our little finger gives us more concern and uneasiness than the destruction of millions of our fellow-beings.
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.
I would like to spend my whole life traveling, if I could borrow another life to spend at home.
Modesty is the lowest of the virtues, and is a real confession of the deficiency it indicates. He who undervalues himself is justly undervalued by others.
Some persons make promises for the pleasure of breaking them.
There is not a more mean, stupid, dastardly, pitiless, selfish, spiteful, envious, ungrateful animal than the Public. It is the greatest of cowards, for it is afraid of itself.
Those who can command themselves command others.
If you think you can win, you can win. Faith is necessary to victory.
The best part of our lives we pass in counting on what is to come.
When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy, it ceases to be a subject of interest.
The worst old age is that of the mind.
Those who are at war with others are not at peace with themselves.
If mankind had wished for what is right, they might have had it long ago.
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.
There is no prejudice so strong as that which arises from a fancied exemption from all prejudice.
To give a reason for anything is to breed a doubt of it.
We grow tired of everything but turning others into ridicule, and congratulating ourselves on their defects.
Satirists gain the applause of others through fear, not through love.
I hate to be near the sea, and to hear it roaring and raging like a wild beast in its den. It puts me in mind of the everlasting efforts of the human mind, struggling to be free, and ending just where it began.
The most silent people are generally those who think most highly of themselves.
Every one in a crowd has the power to throw dirt; none out of ten have the inclination.
We are not hypocrites in our sleep.
We find many things to which the prohibition of them constitutes the only temptation.
Man is a make-believe animal -- he is never so truly himself as when he is acting a part.
An honest man speaks the truth, though it may give offence; a vain man, in order that it may.
The only vice which cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy.
We can scarcely hate anyone that we know.
No man is truly great who is great only in his lifetime. The test of greatness is the page of history.
The definition of genius is that it acts unconsciously; and those who have produced immortal works, have done so without knowing how or why. The greatest power operates unseen.
It is well that there is no one without a fault; for he would not have a friend in the world.
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.
Those who make their dress a principal part of themselves will, in general, become of no more value than their dress.
Our repugnance to death increases in proportion to our consciousness of having lived in vain.
Death cancels everything but truth; and strips a man of everything but genius and virtue. It is a sort of natural canonization. It makes the meanest of us sacred --it installs the poet in his immortality, and lifts him to the skies. Death is the greatest assayer of the sterling ore of talent. At his touch the dropsy particles fall off, the irritable, the personal, the gross, and mingle with the dust --the finer and more ethereal part mounts with winged spirit to watch over our latest memory, and protect our bones from insult. We consign the least worthy qualities to oblivion, and cherish the nobler and imperishable nature with double pride and fondness.
Gallantry to women -- the sure road to their favor -- is nothing but the appearance of extreme devotion to all their wants and wishes, a delight in their satisfaction, and a confidence in yourself as being able to contribute toward it.
The confession of our failings is a thankless office. It savors less of sincerity or modesty than of ostentation. It seems as if we thought our weaknesses as good as other people's virtues.
There is an unseemly exposure of the mind, as well as of the body.
The more we do, the more we can do; the more busy we are, the more leisure we have.
They are the only honest hypocrites, their life is a voluntary dream, a studied madness.
To a superior race of being the pretensions of mankind to extraordinary sanctity and virtue must seem... ridiculous.
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.
The thing is plain. All that men really understand, is confined to a very small compass; to their daily affairs and experience; to what they have an opportunity to know, and motives to study or practice. The rest is affectation and imposture.
Great thoughts reduced to practice become great acts.
Good temper is an estate for life.
Good temper is one of the greatest preservers of the features.