Samuel Butler Quotes

Most popular Samuel Butler Quotes

In law nothing is certain but the expense.
— Samuel Butler
I don't mind lying, but I hate inaccuracy.
— Samuel Butler

lying

Life is one long process of getting tired.
— Samuel Butler

life

Youth is like spring, an overpraised season.
— Samuel Butler

youth

Death is only a larger kind of going abroad.

death

Friendship is like money, easier made than kept.

friendship

A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg.
— Samuel Butler

nature

There's many a good tune played on an old fiddle.
— Samuel Butler
A hen is just an egg's way of making another egg.
— Samuel Butler
Opinions have vested interests, just as men have.

opinions

Work with some men is as besetting a sin as idleness.

work

One is greatest who is most often in men's good thoughts.
— Samuel Butler
He was born stupid, and greatly increased his birthright.
— Samuel Butler

stupidity

Words are the clothes that thoughts wear — only the clothes.
— Samuel Butler
Brigands demand your money or your life; women require both.
— Samuel Butler

women

For money has a power above the stars and fate, to manage love.
— Samuel Butler
Whatsoever we perpetrate, we do but row, we are steered by fate.
— Samuel Butler
Scratch the simplest expressions, and you will find the metaphor.
— Samuel Butler

metaphor

There is no such source of error as the pursuit of absolute truth.

error mistakes truth

It is the function of vice to keep virtue within reasonable bounds.

vice & virtue

If life must not be taken too seriously, then so neither must death.
— Samuel Butler

death

Is life worth living? This is a question for an embryo not for a man.
— Samuel Butler

life

You can do very little with faith, but you can do nothing without it.
— Samuel Butler

faith

Silence is not always tact and it is tact that is golden, not silence.
— Samuel Butler
So in the wicked there's no vice
Of which the saints have not a spice.

vice

Belief like any other moving body follows the path of least resistance.

beliefs

Silence is not always tact, and it is tact that is golden, not silence.

tact

The truest characters of ignorance
Are vanity, and pride, and arrogance.

ignorance

Oaths are but words, and words but wind,
Too feeble instruments to bind.
For Justice, though she's painted blind,
Is to the weaker side inclin'd.

justice

Let us be grateful to the mirror for revealing to us our appearances only.

appearances

A definition is the enclosing a wilderness of idea within a wall of words.

definitions ideas words

The man who lets himself be bored is even more contemptible than the bore.
— Samuel Butler

boredom boring people

Every new idea has something of the pain and peril of childbirth about it.

ideas

Any fool can paint a picture, but it takes a wise man to be able to sell it.
— Samuel Butler

sales

Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.

art of living life

We shall never get people whose time is money to take much interest in atoms.
— Samuel Butler

science

Words are like money; there is nothing so useless, unless when in actual use.

communication money words

A great portrait is always more a portrait of the painter than of the painted.

portraits

The best liar is he who makes the smallest amount of lying go the longest way.

lying

All animals except man know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it.
— Samuel Butler

priorities

All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it.
— Samuel Butler

mankind

The Bible may be the truth but it's not the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
— Samuel Butler

Bible

Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule.
— Samuel Butler
To live is like to love - all reason is against it, and all healthy instinct for it.
— Samuel Butler
The youth of an art is, like the youth of anything else, its most interesting period.

art

Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.

life violin

Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man of some sense to know how to lie well.
— Samuel Butler

lying

Books are like imprisoned souls until someone takes them down from a shelf and frees them.

books

The only living works are those which have drained much of the author's own life into them.

authors

Any fool can tell the truth but it requires a man of some sense to know how and when to lie.
— Samuel Butler
Arguments are like fire-arms which a man may keep at home but should not carry about with him.

arguments

Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man of some sense to know how to tell a lie as well.

lying

Conscience is thoroughly well-bred and soon leaves off talking to those who do not wish to hear it.

conscience

A man's style in any art should be like his dress—it should attract as little attention as possible.

style

Peter remained on friendly terms with Christ notwithstanding Christ's having healed his mother-in-law.
— Samuel Butler

mother-in-law

A man's style in any art should be like his dress — it should attract as little attention as possible.
— Samuel Butler
It has been said that the love of money is the root of all evil.  The want of money is so quite as truly.

money

All progress is based upon a universal innate desire on the part of every organism to live beyond its income.
— Samuel Butler

progress

What is faith but a kind of betting or speculation after all?  It should be, "I bet that my Redeemer liveth."

faith

No mistake is more common and more fatuous than appealing to logic in cases which are beyond her jurisdiction.

logic

Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.

eating mankind man the animal

It is in the uncompromisingness with which dogma is held and not in the dogma or want of dogma that the danger lies.

dogma

The advantage of doing one's praising for oneself is that one can lay it on so thick and exactly in the right places.

praise

The most important service rendered by the press is that of educating people to approach printed matter with distrust.
— Samuel Butler

journalism

Loyalty is still the same,
Whether it win or lose the game;
True as a dial to the sun,
Although it be not shined upon.

loyalty

As there is but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous, so also there is but one from the ridiculous to the sublime.
— Samuel Butler

excellence

It is seldom very hard to do one's duty when one knows what it is, but it is often exceedingly difficult to find this out.
— Samuel Butler

duty

I find the nicest and best people generally profess no religion at all, but are ready to like the best men of all religions.
— Samuel Butler

religion

Every man's work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.

work

Prayers are to men as dolls are to children.  They are not without use and comfort, but it is not easy to take them very seriously.

prayer

Every man's work, whether it be literature, or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.
— Samuel Butler

art artists

The first undertakers in all great attempts commonly miscarry and leave the advantages of their losses to those who come after them.
— Samuel Butler

mistakes

Half the vices which the world condemns most loudly have seeds of good in them and require moderate use rather than total abstinence.

vice

The first undertakers in all great Attempts commonly miscarry, and leave the Advantages of their Losses to those that come after them.
— Samuel Butler

progress

Through perils both of wind and limb,
Through thick and thin she follow'd him
In Every adventure he undertook,
And never him or it forsook.
Every one should keep a mental wastepaper basket and the older he grows the more things he will consign to it—torn up to irrecoverable tatters.
— Samuel Butler
The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.

dogs

Virtue knows that it is impossible to get on without compromise, and tunes herself, as it were, a trifle sharp to allow for an inevitable fall in playing.

virtue

The seven deadly sins: Want of money, bad health, bad temper, chastity, family ties, knowing that you know things, and believing in the Christian religion.
— Samuel Butler

Christianity health sin

People are lucky and unlucky not according to what they get absolutely, but according to the ratio between what they get and what they have been led to expect.

expectation luck

Men take so much delight in lying, that truth is sometimes forced to disguise herself in the habit of falsehood to get entertainment, as in fables...by the ancients.

truth

Inspiration is never genuine if it is known as inspiration at the time. True inspiration always steals on a person, its importance not being fully recognized for some time.
— Samuel Butler

inspiration

The world is a gambling-table so arranged that all who enter the casino must play and all must lose more or less heavily in the long run, though they win occasionally by the way.

the world

We play out our days as we play out cards, taking them as they come, not knowing what they will be, hoping for a lucky card and sometimes getting one, often getting just the wrong one.

life the human condition

Youth is like spring, an overpraised season—delightful if it happen to be a favored one, but in practice...more remarkable, as a general rule, for biting east winds than genial breezes.

youth

Life is like music, it must be composed by ear, feeling and instinct, not by rule.  Nevertheless one had better know the rules, for they sometimes guide in doubtful cases—though not often.

life

A sense of humor keen enough to show a man his own absurdities, as well as those of other people, will keep him from the commission of all sins, or nearly all, save those that are worth committing.

sense of humor

The family.  I believe more unhappiness comes from this source than from any other—I mean the attempt to prolong family connection unduly, and to make people hang together artificially who would never naturally do so.

family

There are two great rules of life, the one general and the other particular. The first is that everyone can in the end, get what he wants, if he only tries. That is the general rule. The particular rule is that every individual is, more or less, an exception to the rule.
— Samuel Butler

goals

There are two great rules of life, the one general and the other particular. The first is that everyone can, in the end get what he wants if he only tries. This is the general rule. The particular rule is that every individual is more or less an exception to the general rule.
— Samuel Butler

life