Samuel Butler Quotes

The best liar is he who makes the smallest amount of lying go the longest way.
Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. The Way of All Flesh, ch. 39 (1903).
Very useless things we neglect, till they become old and useless enough to be put in Museums: and so very important things we study till, when they become important enough, we ignore them—and rightly.
Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. First published in 1912. Samuel Butler's Notebooks, p. 45, E.P. Dutton & Company (1951).
All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it.
Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. The Way of All Flesh, ch. 19 (1903).
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), British author. Samuel Butler's Notebooks, p. 101 (1951).
For most men, and most circumstances, pleasure—tangible material prosperity in this world—is the safest test of virtue. Progress has ever been through the pleasures rather than through the extreme sharp virtues, and the most virtuous have leaned to excess rather than to asceticism.
Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. The Way of All Flesh, ch. 19 (1903).
The dons of Oxford and Cambridge are too busy educating the young men to be able to teach them anything.
Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. First published in 1912. Samuel Butler's Notebooks, p. 253, E.P. Dutton & Company (1951).
Rare virtues are like rare plants or animals, things that have not been able to hold their own in the world. A virtue to be serviceable must, like gold, be alloyed with some commoner but more durable metal.
Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. The Way of All Flesh, ch. 19 (1903).
There is such a thing as doing good that evil may come.
Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. First published in 1912. Samuel Butler's Notebooks, p. 282, E.P. Dutton & Company (1951).
The advantage of doing one's praising for oneself is that one can lay it on so thick and exactly in the right places.
Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. The Way of All Flesh, ch. 34 (1903).
There is nothing which at once affects a man so much and so little as his own death.
Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. Samuel Butler's Notebooks, p. 241 (1951).