Quotes by Laurence Sterne

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Laurence Sterne (November 24, 1713 March 18, 1768) was an Anglo-Irish novelist and clergyman. He is best known for his novels The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, and A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy; but he also published sermons, wrote memoirs, and was involved in local politics. Sterne died in London after years of fighting tuberculosis. more

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Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners.

In solitude the mind gains strength and learns to lean upon itself.
Only the brave know how to forgive; it is the most refined and generous pitch of virtue human nature can arrive at.
Pain and pleasure, like light and darkness, succeed each other.
Nothing is so perfectly amusing as a total change of ideas.
A large volume of adventures may be grasped within this little span of life, by him who interests his heart in everything.
Lessons of wisdom have the most power over us when they capture the heart through the groundwork of a story, which engages the passions.
There are worse occupations in this world than feeling a woman's pulse.
When ever a person talks loudly against religion, always suspect that it is not their reason, but their passions, which have got the better of their beliefs. A bad life and a good belief are disagreeable and troublesome neighbors; and when they separate, depend on it that it is for the sake of peace and quiet.
I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly considered how much depended upon what they were then doing;--that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;--and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost :--Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly,--I am verily persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world from that in which the reader is likely to see me.
Men tire themselves in pursuit of rest.
Our passion and principles are constantly in a frenzy, but begin to shift and waver, as we return to reason.
I am persuaded that every time a man smiles, but much more so when he laughs, it adds something to this fragment of life.
The desire of knowledge, like the thirst for riches, increases ever with the acquisition of it.
All womankind, from the highest to the lowest love jokes; the difficulty is to know how they choose to have them cut; and there is no knowing that, but by trying, as we do with our artillery in the field, by raising or letting down their breeches, till we hit the mark.
Tis no extravagant arithmetic to say, that for every ten jokes, thou hast got an hundred enemies; and till thou hast gone on, and raised a swarm of wasps about thine ears, and art half stung to death by them, thou wilt never be convinced it is so.
For every ten jokes you acquire a hundred enemies.
People who overly take care of their health are like misers. They hoard up a treasure which they never enjoy.
So long as a man rides his Hobby-Horse peaceably and quietly along the King's highway, and neither compels you or me to get up behind him -- pray, Sir, what have either you or I to do with it?
Of all the cants which are canted in this canting world -- though the cant of hypocrites may be the worst -- the cant of criticism is the most tormenting!
We lose the right of complaining sometimes, by denying something, but this often triples its force.
Positiveness is an absurd foible. If you are in the right, it lessens your triumph; if in the wrong, it adds shame to your defeat.
One may as well be asleep as to read for anything but to improve his mind and morals, and regulate his conduct.
Digressions, incontestably, are the sunshine; they are the life, the soul of reading! Take them out of this book, for instance, --you might as well take the book along with them; --one cold external winter would reign in every page of it; restore them to the writer; --he steps forth like a bridegroom, --bids All-hail; brings in variety, and forbids the appetite to fail.
First, whenever a man talks loudly against religion, always suspect that it is not his reason, but his passions, which have got the better of his creed. A bad life and a good belief are disagreeable and troublesome neighbors, and where they separate, depend upon it, 'Tis for no other cause but quietness sake.
The history of a soldier's wound beguiles the pain of it.
Before an affliction is digested,-- consolation ever comes too soon;--and after it is digested, it comes too late.

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