Quotations by Hazlitt, William


The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
The Times Newspaper,” Political Essays (1819)
Added on 4-Jul-11 | Last updated 4-Jul-11
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The least pain in our little finger gives more concern and uneasiness than the destruction of millions of our fellow beings.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“American Literature — Dr. Channing,” Edinburgh Review (Oct 1829)
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The least pain in our little finger gives us more concern and uneasiness than the destruction of millions of our fellow-beings.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“American Literature — Dr. Channing” in The Edinburgh Review (Oct 1829)
Added on 1-Nov-13 | Last updated 1-Nov-13
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The least pain in our little finger gives us more concern and uneasiness, than the destruction of millions of our fellow-beings.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“American Literature — Dr. Channing,” Edinburgh Review (Oct 1829)
Added on 2-Feb-10 | Last updated 2-Feb-10
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The art of life is to know how to enjoy a little and to endure much.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“Common Places,” #1, The Literary Examiner (Sep-Dec 1823)
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Mankind are an incorrigible race. Give them but bugbears and idols — it is all that they ask; the distinctions of right and wrong, of truth and falsehood, of good and evil, are worse than indifferent to them.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“Common Places,” #76, The Literary Examiner (Sep-Dec 1823)
Added on 12-May-09 | Last updated 12-May-09
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The art of life is to know how to enjoy a little and to endure much.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“Common Places” (1), Literary Examiner (Sep-Dec 1823)
Added on 3-Aug-11 | Last updated 3-Aug-11
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Abuse is an indirect species of homage.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“Common Places” (22), Literary Examiner (Sep-Dec 1823)
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They are the only honest hypocrites. Their life is a voluntary dream; a studied madness.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On Actors and Acting,” “The Round Table” column, The Examiner (5 Jan 1817)
Added on 30-Jun-09 | Last updated 25-Jun-09
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We are all of us more or less the slaves of opinion.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On Court-Influence” (3-10 Jan 1818) Political Essays (1819)
Added on 23-Jun-09 | Last updated 23-Jun-09
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More undertakings fail for want of spirit than for want of sense.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On Manners,” The Round Table (1817)
Added on 16-Mar-10 | Last updated 16-Mar-10
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They would not get a scratch with a pin to save the universe. They are more affected by the overturning of a plate of turtle soup than by the starving of a whole country.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On Respectable People,” Table Talk (1822)
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No one ever approaches perfection except by stealth, and unknown to themselves.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On Taste,” Sketches and Essays (1839)
Added on 22-Dec-09 | Last updated 22-Dec-09
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Almost every sect of Christianity is a perversion of its essence, to accommodate it to the prejudices of the world.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On the Causes of Methodism,” The Round Table (1817)
Added on 15-Dec-09 | Last updated 15-Dec-09
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Those who make their dress a principal part of themselves, will, in general, become of no more value than their dress.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On the Clerical Character” (January/February 1818), Political Essays (1819)
Added on 17-Nov-09 | Last updated 17-Nov-09
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It is the vice of scholars to suppose that there is no knowledge in the world but that of books.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On the Conduct of Life,” Literary Remains (1836)
Added on 2-Oct-13 | Last updated 2-Oct-13
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Look up, laugh loud, talk big, keep the colour in your cheek and the fire in your eye, adorn your person, maintain your health, your beauty, and your animal spirits, and you will pass for a fine man.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On The Conduct of Life” (1822)
Added on 21-Apr-09 | Last updated 21-Apr-09
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You know more of a road by having travelled it then by all the conjectures and descriptions in the world.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On The Conduct of Life” (1822)

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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.

Hazlitt - mockery of friendship - wist_info quote

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On The Conduct of Life” (1822)
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Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity a greater.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On the Conversation of Lords,” Sketches and Essays (1829)
Added on 8-Apr-13 | Last updated 8-Apr-13
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Our repugnance to death increases in proportion to our consciousness of having lived in vain.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On the Love of Life,” “The Round Table” column, The Examiner (15 Jan 1815)

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When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy, it ceases to be a subject of interest.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On The Spirit of Controversy,” The Atlas (30 Jan 1830)
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There is, however, no prejudice so strong as that which arises from a fancied exemption from all prejudice.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On the Tendency of Sects,” “The Round Table” column, The Examiner
Added on 16-Jun-09 | Last updated 16-Jun-09
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If a person has no delicacy, he has you in his power, for you necessarily feel some towards him; and since he will take no denial, you must comply with his peremptory demands, or send for a constable, which out of respect for his character you will not do.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On The Want Of Money,” Monthly Magazine (Jan 1827)

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Added on 19-Jan-10 | Last updated 19-Jan-10
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Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“The Sick Chamber,” The New Monthly Magazine (August 1830)
Added on 9-Jun-09 | Last updated 9-Jun-09
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The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“The Times Newspaper” Political Essays (1819)
Added on 3-Jul-09 | Last updated 3-Jul-09
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We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“Thoughts on Taste,” Edinburgh Magazine (Oct 1818)
Added on 28-Apr-09 | Last updated 28-Apr-09
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I like a person who knows his own mind and sticks to it; who sees at once what, in given circumstances, is to be done, and does it.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects, and discovering other people’s weaknesses.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Characteristics in the Manner of Rochefoucault’s Maxims (1823)
Added on 24-Mar-17 | Last updated 24-Mar-17
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If we use no ceremony towards others, we shall be treated without any. People are soon tired of paying trifling attentions to those who receive them with coldness, and return them with neglect.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Characteristics in the Manner of Rochefoucault’s Maxims, #188 (1837 ed.)
Added on 23-Jan-17 | Last updated 23-Jan-17
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An honest man speaks the truth, though it may give offence; a vain man, in order that it may.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Characteristics in the Manner of Rochefoucault’s Maxims, #387 (1823)
Added on 28-Mar-13 | Last updated 28-Mar-13
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We find many things to which the prohibition of them constitutes the only temptation.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Characteristics, # 140 (1823)
Added on 24-Nov-09 | Last updated 24-Nov-09
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To think ill of mankind and not wish ill to them, is perhaps the highest wisdom and virtue.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Characteristics, # 241 (1823)

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We can bear to be deprived of everything but our self-conceit.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Characteristics, # 421 (1823)

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If the world were good for nothing else, it is a fine subject for speculation.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Characteristics, #302 (1823)

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Added on 15-Sep-09 | Last updated 15-Sep-09
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Every man, in his own opinion, forms an exception to the ordinary rules of morality.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Characteristics, #305 (1823)

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Added on 29-Sep-09 | Last updated 29-Sep-09
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The true barbarian is he who thinks every thing barbarous but his own tastes and prejudices.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Characteristics, #333 (1823)

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Added on 6-Oct-09 | Last updated 6-Oct-09
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Those only deserve a monument who do not need one; that is, who have raised themselves a monument in the minds and memories of men.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Characteristics, #388 (1823)

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Added on 13-Oct-09 | Last updated 13-Oct-09
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He will never have true friends who is afraid of making enemies.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Characteristics, #401 (1823)
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It is well that there is no one without a fault; for he would not have a friend in the world.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Characteristics, #66 (1823)

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All that is worth remembering in life, is the poetry of it.
 

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Lectures on English Poets, #1 “On Poetry in General” (1818)

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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.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Lectures on the English Comic Writers, “On Wit and Humour” (1819)
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Anyone must be mainly ignorant or thoughtless, who is surprised at everything he sees; or wonderfully conceited who expects everything to conform to his standard of propriety.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Lectures on the English Comic Writers, “On Wit and Humour” (1819)
Added on 11-Aug-09 | Last updated 11-Aug-09
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There is nothing more likely to drive a man mad, than the being unable to get rid of the idea of the distinction between right and wrong, and an obstinate, constitutional preference of the true to the agreeable.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Lectures on the English Poets, “On Swift, Young, Gray, Collins &c.” (1818).
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The mind of man is like a clock that is always running down, and requires to be as constantly wound up.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Men and Manners, “On Cant and Hypocrisy” (1852)
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Without the aid of prejudice and custom, I should not be able to find my way across the room; nor know how to conduct myself in any circumstances, nor what to feel in any relation of life.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Men and Manners, “On Prejudice” (1852)
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We never do anything well till we cease to think about the manner of doing it.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Men and Manners, “On Prejudice” (1852)
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Man is a make-believe animal — he is never so truly himself as when he is acting a part.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Notes of a Journey through France and Italy, ch. 16 (1824)
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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.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Table Talk: Essays On Men And Manners, “On Corporate Bodies” (1821-22)

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There is not a more mean, stupid, dastardly, pitiful, selfish, spiteful, envious, ungrateful animal than the Public. It is the greatest of cowards, for it is afraid of itself.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Table Talk: Essays on Men and Manners, “On Living to One’s-Self” (1821-22)

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It has been the resolution of mankind in all ages of the world. No people, no age, ever threw away the fruits of past wisdom, or the enjoyment of present blessings, for visionary schemes of ideal perfection. It is the knowledge of the past, the actual infliction of the present, that has produced all changes, all innovations, and all improvements — not (as is pretended) the chimerical anticipation of possible advantages, but the intolerable pressure of long-established, notorious, aggravated, and growing abuses.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Table Talk: Essays on Men And Manners, “On Paradox and Common-Place” (1821-1822)

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Perhaps the best cure for the fear of death is to reflect that life has a beginning as well as an end. There was a time when we were not: this gives us no concern — why then should it trouble us that a time will come when we shall cease to be?

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Table Talk: Essays on Men and Manners, “On the Fear of Death” (1821-1822)

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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.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Table Talk: Essays On Men And Manners, “On the Ignorance of the Learned” (1821-22)

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Great thoughts reduced to practice become great acts.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Table Talk: Essays on Men and Manners, “On the Knowledge of character” (1821-1822)

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Indolence is a delightful but distressing state; we must be doing something to be happy.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Table Talk: Essays On Men And Manners, “On the Pleasure of Painting” (1821-1822)

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The last pleasure in life is the sense of discharging our duty.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Table Talk, “On Novelty and Familiarity” (1822)
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Ignorance of the world leave one at the mercy of its malice.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Table Talk, “On the Disadvantages of Intellectual Superiority” (1822)
Added on 22-Feb-11 | Last updated 22-Feb-11
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Indolence is a delightful but distressing state; we must be doing something to be happy. Action is no less necessary than thought to the instinctive tendencies of the human frame.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Table Talk, “On the Pleasure of Painting” (1821-22)
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In love, in war, in conversation, in business, confidence and resolution are the principal things.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Table Talk, “On the Qualifications Necessary to Success in Life” (1822)
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Literally and truly, one cannot get on well in the world without money. To be in want of it, is to pass through life with little credit or pleasure; it is to live out of the world, or to be despised if you come into it …; it is to be scrutinized by strangers, and neglected by friends; it is to be a thrall to circumstances, an exile in one’s own country.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Table Talk, “On the Want of Money” (1822)
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No man is truly great who is great only in his lifetime. The test of greatness is the page of history.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Table Talk, “The Indian Jugglers” (1821-22)

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If mankind had wished for what is right, they might have had it long ago.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
The Plain Speaker, “On the Pleasure of Hating” (1826)
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The surest hindrance of success is to have too high a standard of refinement in our own minds, or too high an opinion of the judgment of the public. He who is determined not to be satisfied with anything short of perfection will never do anything to please himself or others.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
The Plain Speaker, “On the Qualifications Necessary for Success” (1826)

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Religion either makes men wise and virtuous, or it makes them set up false pretences to both.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
The Round Table, ch. 32 “On Religious Hypocrisy” (1817)

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