Quotes by Joseph Addison

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Joseph Addison (May 1, 1672 June 17, 1719) was an English politician and writer. His name is usually remembered alongside that of his long-standing friend, Richard Steele, with whom he founded The Spectator magazine. more

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If we hope for what we are not likely to possess, we act and think in vain, and make life a greater dream and shadow than it really is.

Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief.
Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.
The greatest sweetener of human life is Friendship. To raise this to the highest pitch of enjoyment, is a secret which but few discover.
What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to an human soul.
What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but, scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.
Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.
True happiness arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one's self, and in the next, from the friendship and conversation of a few select companions.
Friendships, in general, are suddenly contracted; and therefore it is no wonder they are easily dissolved.
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.
Better to die ten thousand deaths than wound my honor.
Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express.
Of all the diversions of life, there is none so proper to fill up its empty spaces as the reading of useful and entertaining authors.
One should take good care not to grow too wise for so great a pleasure of life as laughter.
There is nothing that makes its way more directly to the soul than beauty.
A man should always consider how much he has more than he wants...
Our friends don't see our faults, or conceal them, or soften them.
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.
As vivacity is the gift of women, gravity is that of men.
The disease of jealously is so malignant that is converts all it takes into its own nourishment.
The friendships of the world are oft confederacies in vice, or leagues of pleasures.
A contented mind is the greatest blessing a man can enjoy in this world.
Good nature is more agreeable in conversation than wit and gives a certain air to the countenance which is more amiable than beauty.
Music, the greatest good that mortals know, And all of heaven we have below.
Men may change their climate, but they cannot change their nature. A man that goes out a fool cannot ride or sail himself into common sense.
Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.
Rides in the whirlwind and directs the storm.
Their is no defense against criticism except obscurity.
Cheerfulness is the best promoter of health and is as friendly to the mind as to the body.
Admiration is a very short-lived passion that immediately decays upon growing familiar with its object, unless it be still fed with fresh discoveries, and kept alive by a new perpetual succession of miracles rising up to its view.
Eternity! thou pleasing, dreadful thought.
It is only imperfection that complains of what is imperfect. The more perfect we are the more gentle and quiet we become towards the defects of others.
The important question is not, what will yield to man a few scattered pleasures, but what will render his life happy on the whole amount.
To be exempt from the passions with which others are tormented, is the only pleasing solitude.
Husband a lie, and trump it up in some extraordinary emergency.
Knowledge is that which, next to virtue, truly raises one person above another.
Young men soon give, and soon forget, affronts; old age is slow in both.
I have somewhere met with the epitaph on a charitable man which has pleased me very much. I cannot recollect the words, but here is the sense of it: What I spent I lost; what I possessed is left to others; what I gave away remains with me.
Arguments out of a pretty mouth are unanswerable.
Some virtues are only seen in affliction and others only in prosperity.
What pity is it That we can die, but once to serve our country.
We are growing serious, and let me tell you, that's the next step to being dull.
That he delights in the misery of others no man will confess, and yet what other motive can make a father cruel?
There is not so variable a thing in nature as a lady's head-dress.
See in what peace a Christian can die.
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.
To a man of pleasure every moment appears to be lost, which partakes not of the vivacity of amusement.
Is there not some chosen curse, some hidden thunder in the stores of heaven, red with uncommon wrath, to blast the man who owes his greatness to his country's ruin!
A woman seldom asks advice before she has bought her wedding clothes.
Tis not in mortals to command success, but we'll do more, Sempronius, we'll deserve it.
Modesty is not only an ornament, but also a guard to virtue.
Nothing is capable of being well set to music that is not nonsense.
Irregularity and want of method are only supportable in men of great learning or genius, who are often too full to be exact, and therefore they choose to throw down their pearls in heaps before the reader, rather than be at the pains of stringing them.
An ostentatious man will rather relate a blunder or an absurdity he has committed, than be debarred from talking of his own dear person.
The unjustifiable severity of a parent is loaded with this aggravation, that those whom he injures are always in his sight.
We are always doing, says he, something for posterity, but I would see posterity do something for us.
Prejudice and self-sufficiency naturally proceed from inexperience of the world, and ignorance of mankind.
It is the privilege of posterity to set matters right between those antagonists who, by their rivalry for greatness, divided a whole age.
Our disputants put me in mind of the cuttlefish that, when he is unable to extricate himself, blackens the water about him till he becomes invisible.
There is not a more unhappy being than a superannuated idol.
Our delight in any particular study, art, or science rises and improves in proportion to the application which we bestow upon it. Thus, what was at first an exercise becomes at length an entertainment.
Suspicion is not less an enemy to virtue than to happiness; he that is already corrupt is naturally suspicious, and he that becomes suspicious will quickly be corrupt.
If we may believe our logicians, man is distinguished from all other creatures by the faculty of laughter. He has a heart capable of mirth, and naturally disposed to it.
Young people soon give, and forget insults, but old age is slow in both.
There is not, in my opinion, anything more mysterious in nature than this instinct in animals, which thus rise above reason, and yet fall infinitely short of it.
Mutability of temper and inconsistency with ourselves is the greatest weakness of human nature.
The post of honor is a private station.
Authors have established it as a kind of rule, that a man ought to be dull sometimes; as the most severe reader makes allowances for many rests and nodding-places in a voluminous writer.
I will indulge my sorrows, and give way to all the pangs and fury of despair.
The fear of death often proves mortal, and sets people on methods to save their Lives, which infallibly destroy them.
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.
There is not any present moment that is unconnected with some future one. The life of every man is a continued chain of incidents, each link of which hangs upon the former. The transition from cause to effect, from event to event, is often carried on by secret steps, which our foresight cannot divine, and our sagacity is unable to trace. Evil may at some future period bring forth good; and good may bring forth evil, both equally unexpected.
Mere bashfulness without merit is awkwardness.
A man's first care should be to avoid the reproaches of his own heart, and his next to escape the censures of the world.
It is folly for an eminent man to think of escaping censure, and a weakness to be affected with it. All the illustrious persons of ;antiquity, and indeed of every age in the world, have passed through this fiery persecution.
There is nothing more requisite in business than dispatch.
A man must be both stupid and uncharitable who believes there is no virtue or truth but on his own side.
With regard to donations always expect the most from prudent people, who keep their own accounts.
No oppression is so heavy or lasting as that which is inflicted by the perversion and exorbitance of legal authority.
The most violent appetites in all creatures are lust and hunger; the first is a perpetual call upon them to propagate their kind, the latter to preserve themselves.
Animals, in their generation, are wiser than the sons of men; but their wisdom is confined to a few particulars, and lies in a very narrow compass.
A cloudy day or a little sunshine have as great an influence on many constitutions as the most recent blessings or misfortunes.