Quotations about:
    good cheer

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Laugh at your Friends, and if your Friends are sore;
So much the better, you may laugh the more.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
Epilogue to the Satires, Dialogue 1, ll. 55-56 (1738)
Added on 21-Sep-23 | Last updated 21-Sep-23
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No man who has once heartily and wholly laughed can be altogether irreclaimably bad.

Thomas Carlyle
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
Sartor Resartus, Book 1, ch. 4 (1831)
Added on 13-Apr-23 | Last updated 13-Apr-23
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A cheerful life is what the Muses love,
A soaring spirit is their prime delight.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) English poet
“From the Dark Chambers of Dejection Freed,” ll. 13-14 (1814)
Added on 1-Mar-23 | Last updated 1-Mar-23
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There are no exact directions. There are probably no directions at all. The only things that I am able to recommend at this moment are: a sense of humour; an ability to see the ridiculous and the absurd dimensions of things; an ability to laugh about others as well as about ourselves; a sense of irony; and, of everything that invites parody in this world. In other words: rising above things, or looking at them from a distance; sensibility to the hidden presence of all the more dangerous types of conceit in others, as well as in ourselves; good cheer; an unostentatious certainty of the meaning of things; gratitude for the gift of life and courage to assume responsibility for it; and, a vigilant mind.

Václav Havel (1936-2011) Czech playwright, essayist, dissident, politician
Speech, accepting the “Open Society” Prize, Central European University (24 Jun 1999)
Added on 23-Feb-23 | Last updated 24-Feb-23
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A cheerful temper joined with innocence will make beauty attractive, knowledge delightful and wit good-natured. It will lighten sickness, poverty and affliction, convert ignorance into an amiable simplicity, and render deformity itself agreeable.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
The Tatler, #192 (1 Jul 1710)
Added on 15-Feb-23 | Last updated 15-Feb-23
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A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing.

Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957) American writer
“‘Thoughts are Things,'” Missouri Ruralist (5 Nov 1917)

Reprinted in Stephen Hines, ed., Laura Ingalls Wilder - Farm Journalist (2007).
Added on 21-Jul-22 | Last updated 21-Jul-22
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To laughter! The bright coinage of the bank of good will.

Minna Antrim
Minna Antrim (1861-1950) American epigrammatist, writer
Naked Truth and Veiled Allusions (1901)
Added on 1-Oct-21 | Last updated 1-Oct-21
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How easy it is to be amiable in the midst of happiness and success!

Anne Sophie Swetchine (1782-1857) Russian-French author and salonist [Madame Swetchine]
Life and Letters of Madam Swetchine, ch. 5 [8th ed., 1875] (ed. de Falloux; tr. Preston]
Added on 12-Dec-17 | Last updated 12-Dec-17
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While there is a chance of the world getting through its troubles I hold that a reasonable man has to behave as though he was sure of it. If at the end your cheerfulness is not justified, at any rate you will have been cheerful.


H.G. Wells (1866-1946) British writer [Herbert George Wells]
Apropos of Dolores (1938)
Added on 16-Sep-16 | Last updated 16-Sep-16
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Good humor may be said to be one of the very best articles of dress one can wear in society.

Thackeray - good humor - wist_info quote

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863) English novelist
Sketches and Travels in London, “On Tailoring — and Toilets in General” (1856)
Added on 2-Sep-16 | Last updated 2-Sep-16
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KATHERINE: He made her melancholy, sad, and heavy,
And so she died. Had she been light like you,
Of such a merry, nimble, stirring spirit,
She might ha’ been a grandam ere she died.
And so may you, for a light heart lives long.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act 5, sc. 2, l. 15ff (5.2.15-19) (c. 1595)

To Rosaline.
Added on 26-Aug-16 | Last updated 29-Jan-24
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Good-nature is more agreeable in conversation than wit, and gives a certain air to the countenance which is more amiable than beauty. It shows virtue in the fairest light, takes off in some measure from the deformity of vice, and makes even folly and impertinence supportable.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
The Spectator, No. 169 (1711-09-13)
Added on 10-Jul-08 | Last updated 8-Jan-24
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Mirth is God’s medicine. Everybody ought to bathe in it. Grim care, moroseness, anxiety — all this rust of life ought to be scoured off by the oil of mirth. It is better than emery. Every man ought to rub himself with it.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
Royal Truths (1862)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 9-Mar-23
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Good friends, my Readers, who peruse this Book,
Be not offended, whilst on it you look:
Denude yourself of all depraved affection,
For it contains no badness, nor infection:
‘Tis true that it brings forth to you no birth
Of any value, but in point of mirth;
Thinking therefore how sorrow might your mind
Consume, I could no apter subject find:
One inch of joy surmounts of grief a span;
Because to laugh is proper to the man.

[Amis lecteurs qui ce livre lisez,
Despouillez vous de toute affection.
Et le lisants ne vous scandalisez,
Il ne contient mal ne infection.
Vray est qu’icy peu de perfection
Vous apprendrez, si non en cas de rire.
Aultre argument ne peut mon cueur elire.
Voiant le dueil qui vous mine & consomme,
Mieulx est de ris que de larmes escrire,
Pour ce que rire est le propre de l’homme.

François Rabelais (1494-1553) French writer, humanist, doctor
Gargantua and Pantagruel, “To the Readers” (1534-1542) [tr Urquhart/Motteux (1653)]

The work was deemed obscene by the censors of the Collège de la Sorbonne.

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

My kindly Readers, who this Book begin,
All Prejudice, I pray you, lay aside,
And reading it, find no Offence therein;
In it nor Hurt nor Poison doth abide.
'Tis true that small Perfection here doth hide;
Nought will you learn save only Mirth's Delight;
No other Subject can my Heart indite,
Seeing the Dole that wastes and makes you wan;
'Tis better far of Mirth than Tears to write,
For Laughter is the special Gift to Man.
[tr. Smith (1893)]

Kind readers, who vouchsafe to cast an eye
On what ensues, all prejudice lay by:
Let not my book your indignation raise;
It means no harm, no poison it conveys.
Except in point of laughing, it is true
Not much 'twill teach you -- it being all my view
To inspire with mirth the hearts of those that moan,
And change to laughter the afflictive groan,
[tr. Urguhart/Motteux/Stokes (1905)]

Readers, friends, if you turn these pages
Put your prejudice aside,
For, really, there's nothing here that's outrageous,
Nothing sick, or bad -- or contagious.
Not that I sit here glowing with pride
For my book: all you'll find is laughter:
That's all the glory my heart is after,
Seeing how sorrow eats you, defeats you.
I'd rather write about laughing than crying,
For laughter makes men human, and courageous.
[tr. Raffel (1989)]

You friends and readers of this book, take heed:
Pray put all perturbation far behind,
And do not be offended as you read:
It holds no evil to corrupt the mind;
Though here perfection may be hard to find,
Unless in point of laughter and good cheer;
No other subject can my heart hold dear,
Seeing the grief that robs you of your rest:
Better a laugh to write of than a tear,
For it is laughter that becomes man best.
[tr. Frame (1991)]

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 19-Oct-23
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