Quotations about   pleasure

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There is something about a Martini,
A tingle remarkably pleasant;
A yellow, a mellow Martini;
I wish I had one at present.
There is something about a Martini,
Ere the dining and dancing begin,
And to tell you the truth,
It is not the vermouth —
I think that perhaps it’s the gin.

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) American poet
“A Drink with Something In It,” The Primrose Path (1935)
    (Source)
Added on 17-Nov-17 | Last updated 17-Nov-17
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Happiness ain’t a thing in itself, it’s only a contrast with something that ain’t pleasant. That’s all it is. There ain’t a thing you can mention that is happiness in its own self — it’s only so by contrast with the other thing. And so, as soon as the novelty is over and the force of the contrast dulled, it ain’t happiness any longer, and you have to get something fresh.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
“Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven,” Harper’s Monthly Magazine (Dec 1907)
Added on 30-Mar-17 | Last updated 30-Mar-17
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The pleasantest of all diversions is to sit alone under the lamp, a book spread out before you, and to make friends with people of a distant past you have never known.

Yoshida Kenkō (1284-1350) Japanese author and Buddhist monk [吉田 兼好]
Essays in Idleness [Tsurezuregusa] (c. 1330)
Added on 2-Feb-17 | Last updated 2-Feb-17
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Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.

kierkegaard-most-men-pursue-pleasure-hurry-past-wist_info-quote

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish philosopher, theologian
Either/Or, Vol. 1 “Diapsalmata” (1843) [tr. Swenson (1959)]
Added on 4-Jan-17 | Last updated 4-Jan-17
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Observe a man’s actions; scrutinize his motives; take note of the things that give him pleasure. How, then, can he hide from you what he really is?

confucius-what-he-really-is-wist_info-quote

Confucius (551-479 BC) Chinese philosopher [Ku'ng Ch'iu / King Qiu, Ku'ng Fu-tzu / Kong Fuzi]
(Attributed)

Attributed in Brian Brown, The Wisdom of the Chinese: Their Philosophy in Sayings and Proverbs (1920).
Added on 29-Nov-16 | Last updated 29-Nov-16
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The Christian attitude does not mean that there is anything wrong about sexual pleasure, any more than about the pleasure of eating. It means that you must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
Mere Christianity, ch. 6 “Christian Marriage” (1952)
Added on 8-Nov-16 | Last updated 8-Nov-16
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But if at the Church they would give us some ale,
And a pleasant fire, our souls to regale,
We’d sing and we’d pray all the live-long day,
Nor ever once wish from the Church to stray.
… And God like a father rejoicing to see
His children as pleasant and happy as he,
Would have no more quarrel with the Devil or the barrel,
But kiss him and give him both drink and apparel.

William Blake (1757-1827) English poet, mystic, artist
“The Little Vagabond,” Songs of Experience (1794)
Added on 21-Oct-16 | Last updated 21-Oct-16
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To tax and to please, no more than to love and be wise, is not given to men.

burke-tax-please-love-wise-wist_info-quote

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
“American Taxation,” speech, House of Commons (19 Apr 1774)
Added on 26-Sep-16 | Last updated 26-Sep-16
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Every age has its pleasures, its style of wit, and its own ways.

Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux (1636-1711) French poet and critic
The Art of Poetry [L’Art Poétique], Canto 3 (1674)
Added on 7-Jul-16 | Last updated 7-Jul-16
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Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
“The Weight of Glory,” sermon, Oxford University Church of St Mary the Virgin (8 Jun 1941)
Added on 22-Jun-16 | Last updated 22-Jun-16
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Pleasure’s a sin, and sometimes sin’s a pleasure.

Byron - pleasures a sin - wist_info quote

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
Don Juan, Canto 1, st. 133 (1818)
Added on 10-May-16 | Last updated 10-May-16
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He shrugged his shoulders. “I have known many gods. He who denies them is as blind as he who trusts them too deeply. I seek not beyond death. It may be the blackness averred by the Nemedian skeptics, or Crom’s realm of ice and cloud, or the snowy plains and vaulted halls of the Nordheimer’s Valhalla. I know not, nor do I care. Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let teachers and priests and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.”

Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) American author
“Queen of the Black Coast” (1934)
Added on 9-May-16 | Last updated 9-May-16
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Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Maria Cosway (12 Oct 1786)
Added on 6-May-16 | Last updated 6-May-16
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The pleasure arising from an extraordinary agitation of the mind is frequently so great as to stifle humanity; hence arises the entertainment of the common people at executions, and of the better sort at tragedies.

Jean-Antoine Dubois (1765-1848) French Catholic missionary in India [Abbe J. A. Dubois]
(Attributed)
Added on 22-Feb-16 | Last updated 22-Feb-16
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The high sentiments always win in the end, the leaders who offer blood, toil, tears, and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“The Art of Donald McGill” (Sep 1941)
Added on 16-Oct-15 | Last updated 16-Oct-15
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He makes people pleased with him by making them first pleased with themselves.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (18 Jan 1750)
Added on 14-Aug-15 | Last updated 14-Aug-15
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He is the true conqueror of pleasure, who can make use of it without being carried away by it, not he who abstains from it altogether.

Aristippus of Cyrene (c. 435 – c. 356 BC) Cyrenaic philosopher, Hedonist
Fragment 53
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:

  • "The one to master pleasure is not he who abstains but he who employs it without being carried away by it -- just as being a master of a ship or of a horse is not abstaining from using them, but directing them where one wishes." (Fragment 55 Mannebach) (Stob. Ecl. 3.17 17
  • "The master of pleasure is not he who abstains from it, but he who uses it without being carried away by it."
Added on 22-May-15 | Last updated 22-May-15
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Business and pleasure, rightly understood, mutually assist each other, instead of being enemies, as silly or dull people often think them. No man tastes pleasures truly who does not earn them by previous business; and few people do business well who do nothing else.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (7 Aug 1749)
Added on 15-May-15 | Last updated 15-May-15
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They that seldom take pleasure seldom give pleasure.

Fulke Greville (1554-1628) 1st Baron Brooke; Elizabethan poet, dramatist, and statesman
Maxims, Characters, and Reflections (1756)
Added on 24-Apr-15 | Last updated 24-Apr-15
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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)
Added on 17-Apr-15 | Last updated 17-Apr-15
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There is a certain dignity to be kept up in pleasures, as well as in business.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (5 Feb 1750)
Added on 30-Mar-15 | Last updated 30-Mar-15
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Anything I like is either illegal or immoral or fattening.

Alexander Woollcott (1887-1943) American critic, commentator, journalist, wit
(Attributed)

Apparently a gag attributed by Woollcott to a Frank Rand of St. Louis on his radio show in Sep. 1933; it was then directly attributed to Woollcott in Reader's Digest in Dec. 1933. It is sometimes cited to Woollcott's essay "The Knock at the Stage Door," The North American Review (Sep 1922), but not found there.See here for more information.Variants:
  • "All the things I like to do are either immoral, illegal, or fattening."
  • "All the things I really like to do are either immoral, illegal or fattening."
  • "Everything I want to do is either illegal, immoral or fattening."
Added on 20-Mar-15 | Last updated 20-Mar-15
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Why do men delight in work? Fundamentally, I suppose, because there is a sense of relief and pleasure in getting something done — a kind of satisfaction not unlike that which a hen enjoys on laying an egg.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
Minority Report: H.L. Mencken’s Notebooks, #34 (1956)
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Added on 10-Mar-15 | Last updated 2-May-16
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We will be held accountable for all the permitted pleasures we failed to enjoy.

The Talmud (AD 200-500) Collection of Jewish rabbinical writings
(Unreferenced)
Added on 24-Oct-14 | Last updated 24-Oct-14
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Next to enjoying ourselves, the next greatest pleasure consists in preventing others from enjoying themselves, or, more generally, in the acquisition of power. Consequently those who live under the dominion of Puritanism become exceedingly desirous of power.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
Sceptical Essays, ch. 10 (1928)
Added on 9-Sep-14 | Last updated 9-Sep-14
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In every kind of debauch there enters much coldness of soul. It is a conscious and voluntary abuse of pleasure.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
Added on 30-Sep-13 | Last updated 13-May-16
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What will you think of pleasures when you no longer enjoy them?

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
Added on 19-Aug-13 | Last updated 13-May-16
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And perhaps there is no advice to give a writer more important than this: Never write anything that does not give you great pleasure.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
Added on 5-Aug-13 | Last updated 13-May-16
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Who loves not wine, women, and song
Remains a fool his whole life long.

[Wer nicht liebt Weib, Wein und Gesang,
A Der bleibt ein Narr sein Leben lang.]

Martin Luther (1483-1546) German religious reformer
(Attributed)

Attributed in Matthias Claudius, Der Wandsbecker Bothe (1775). Inscription in the Luther Room, Wartburg, Germany.
Added on 24-May-13 | Last updated 1-May-17
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The first thing men do when they have renounced pleasure, through decency, lassitude, or for the sake of health, is to condemn it in others. Such conduct denotes a kind of latent affection for the very things they left off; they would like no one to enjoy a pleasure they can no longer indulge in; and thus they show their feelings of jealousy.

Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
“Of Mankind,” The Characters [Les Caractères] (1688)
Added on 2-Apr-13 | Last updated 14-Jan-16
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God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed it is the purest of human pleasures.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
“Of Gardens,” Essays, No. 46 (1625)
Added on 2-Jul-10 | Last updated 16-May-16
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Choose the best life; for habit will make it pleasant.

Epictetus (c.55-c.135) Greek (Phrygian) Stoic philosopher
Fragment 144

Sometimes attributed to Francis Bacon.
Added on 19-Apr-10 | Last updated 20-May-16
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Morality turns on whether the pleasure precedes or follows the pain. Thus it is immoral to get drunk because the headache comes after the drinking. But if the headache came first and the drunkenness afterwards, it would be moral to get drunk.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler, “Morality” (1912)

Full text.

Added on 19-Feb-09 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
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We are constantly railing against the passions; we ascribe to them all of man’s afflictions, and we forget that they are also the source of all his pleasures.

Denis Diderot (1713-1784) French editor, philosopher
Pensées Philosophiques [Philosophical Thoughts] (1746)

Alt. trans.: "One declaims endlessly against the passions; one imputes all of man's suffering to them. One forgets that they are also the source of all his pleasures."
Added on 9-Oct-08 | Last updated 2-Aug-16
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Simple pleasures are the last refuge of the complex.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)

After Johnson.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 21-Jun-16
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The Puritan hated bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.

Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) English writer and politician
History of England, vol. 1, ch. 3 (1849)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 30-Sep-14
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