Jonathan Swift Quotes

Description would but tire my Muse: In short, they both were turned to yews.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish poet, satirist, clergyman. Baucis and Philemon; Imitated from the Eighth Book of Ovid (l. 163-164). . . Oxford Anthology of English Literature, The, Vols. I-II. Frank Kermode and John Hollander, general eds. (1973) Oxford University Press (Also published as six paperback vols.: Medieval English Literature, J. B. Trapp, ed.; The Literature of Renaissance England, John Hollander and Frank Kermode, eds.; The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century, Martin Price, ed.; Romantic Poetry and Prose, Harold Bloom and Lionel Trilling, eds.; Victorian Prose and Poetry, Lionel Trilling and Harold Bloom, eds.; Modern British Literature, Frank Kermode and John Hollander, eds.).
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Where fierce indignation can no longer tear his heart. [Ubi saeva indignatio ulterius cor lacerare nequit.]
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. epitaph, Jonathan Swift: A Critical Edition of the Major Works, eds. Angus Ross and David Woolley (1984). In accordance with his will, inscribed on Swift's tomb in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, where he had served as Dean for 30 years.
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It is a maxim among these lawyers, that whatever hath been done before, may legally be done again: and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. Gulliver, in "A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms," pt. 4, ch. 5, Gulliver's Travels (1726). Describing his native land.
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I said there was a society of men among us, bred up from their youth in the art of proving by words multiplied for the purpose, that white is black, and black is white, according as they are paid. To this society all the rest of the people are as slaves.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. Gulliver, in "A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms," pt. 4, ch. 5, Gulliver's Travels (1726). Describing his native land.
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We are so fond of one another, because our ailments are the same.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. letter, Feb. 1, 1711. Journal to Stella (1710-1713), published in Works, vol. 12 (quarto edition, 1768).
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He showed me his bill of fare to tempt me to dine with him; said I, I value not your bill of fare, give me your bill of company.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. letter, Sept. 2, 1711. Journal to Stella (1710-1713), published in Works, vol. 12 (quarto edition, 1768).
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Once kick the world, and the world and you will live together at a reasonably good understanding.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. Letter of Advice to a Young Poet (Dec. 1, 1720).
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Your notions of friendship are new to me; I believe every man is born with his quantum, and he cannot give to one without robbing another. I very well know to whom I would give the first place in my friendship, but they are not in the way, I am condemned to another scene, and therefore I distribute it in pennyworths to those about me, and who displease me least, and should do the same to my fellow prisoners if I were condemned to a jail.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. letter, Sept. 20, 1723, to poet Alexander Pope. Pope had previously written to Swift, "My friendships are increased by new ones, yet no part of the warmth I felt for the old is diminished."
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The best doctors in the world are Doctor Diet, Doctor Quiet, and Doctor Merryman.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. repr. In The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, vol. 4, ed. Herbert Davis (1957). Lord Smart, in Polite Conversation, dialogue 2 (1738). Swift was repeating an adage first recorded by the physician William Bullein in his Government of Health, folio 50 (1558).
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All human race would fain be wits. And millions miss, for one that hits.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. On Poetry: A Rhapsody, l. 1-2 (1733), published in Jonathan Swift: A Critical Edition of the Major Works, eds. Angus Ross and David Woolley (1984).
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