Reason is a very light rider, and easily shook off.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
A Tale of a Tub, Sec. 9 (1704)

Commonly paraphrased as above.  The full quote (emphasis mine):

It would be a mighty advantage accruing to the public from this inquiry that all these would very much excel and arrive at great perfection in their several kinds, which I think is manifest from what I have already shown, and shall enforce by this one plain instance, that even I myself, the author of these momentous truths, am a person whose imaginations are hard-mouthed and exceedingly disposed to run away with his reason, which I have observed from long experience to be a very light rider, and easily shook off; upon which account my friends will never trust me alone without a solemn promise to vent my speculations in this or the like manner, for the universal benefit of human kind, which perhaps the gentle, courteous, and candid reader, brimful of that modern charity and tenderness usually annexed to his office, will be very hardly persuaded to believe.


Full text.

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 19-Jan-10
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