Joseph Addison

Joseph Addison

Joseph Addison (1 May 1672 – 17 June 1719) was an English essayist, poet, playwright, and politician. He was the eldest son of The Reverend Lancelot Addison. His name is usually remembered alongside that of his long-standing friend, Richard Steele, with whom he founded The Spectator magazine.

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Man is subject to innumerable pains and sorrows by the very condition of humanity, and yet as if nature had not sown evils enough in life, we are continually adding grief to grief and aggravating the common calamity by our cruel treatment of one another.

Jealousy is that pain which a man feels from the apprehension that he is not equally beloved by the person whom he entirely loves.

Method is not less requisite in conversation than in writing, provided a man would talk to make himself understood.

I will indulge my sorrows and give way to all the pangs and fury of despair.

Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments, but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.

Everything that is new or uncommon raises a pleasure in the imagination, because it fills the soul with an agreeable surprise, gratifies its curiosity and gives it an idea of which it was not before possessed.

Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Cheerfulness is the best promoter of health and is as friendly to the mind as to the body.

A man must be both stupid and uncharitable who believes there is no virtue or truth but on his own side.

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles to be sure, but scattered along life's pathway the good they do is inconceivable.

Admiration is a very short-lived passion that immediately decays upon growing familiar with its object, unless it be still fed with fresh discoveries and kept alive by a perpetual succession of miracles rising into view.

The man who will live above his present circumstances is in great danger of soon living beneath them, or as the Italian proverb says "The man that lives by hope will die by despair".

As vivacity is the gift of women, gravity is that of men.

Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire, to our sons ambition, but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express.

Health and cheerfulness mutually beget each other.

All well-regulated families set apart an hour every morning for tea and bread and butter.

Through all eternity to thee a joyful song I'll raise, for oh! Eternity's too short to utter all thy praise.

To be exempt from the passions with which others are tormented is the only pleasing solitude.

Good nature is more agreeable in conversation than wit, and gives a certain air to the countenance, which is more amiable than beauty.

From hence let fierce contending nations know what dire effects from civil discord flow.

What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul.

The unassuming youth seeking instruction, with humility gains good fortune.

It must be so - Plato thou reason'st well! -/ Else whence this pleasing hope this fond desire / This longing after immortality?

It is only imperfection that complains of what is imperfect. The more perfect we are the more gentle and quiet we become towards the defects of others.

A contented mind is the greatest blessing a man can enjoy in this world.

Arguments out of a pretty mouth are unanswerable

The most violent appetites in all creatures are lust and hunger, the first is a perpetual call upon them to propagate their kind the latter to preserve themselves.

Authors have established it as a kind of rule that a man ought to be dull sometimes, as the most severe reader makes allowances for many rests and nodding-places in a voluminous writer.

Mirth is like a flash of lightning that breaks through a gloom of clouds and glitters for a moment, cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.

If we hope for what we are not likely to possess we act and think in vain and make life a greater dream and shadow than it really is.

Friendships in general are suddenly contracted, and therefore it is no wonder they are easily dissolved.

The disease of jealously is so malignant that is converts all it takes into its own nourishment.

Music the greatest good that mortals know and all of heaven we have below.

Suspicion is not less an enemy to virtue than to happiness, he that is already corrupt is naturally suspicious and he that becomes suspicious will quickly be corrupt.

A good conscience is to the soul what health is to the body, it preserves constant ease and serenity within us, and more than countervails all the calamities and afflictions which can befall us from without.

Conspiracies no sooner should be formed than executed

I have often thought says Sir Roger it happens very well that Christmas should fall out in the middle of winter

Young people soon give and forget insults but old age is slow in both.

A woman seldom asks advice before she has bought her wedding clothes.

Justice is an unassailable fortress built on the brow of a mountain which cannot be overthrown by the violence of torrents nor demolished by the force of armies.

Knowledge is that which next to virtue truly raises one person above another.

Our delight in any particular study art or science rises and improves in proportion to the application which we bestow upon it. Thus what was at first an exercise becomes at length an entertainment.

Sweet are the slumbers of the virtuous man.

True happiness is of a retired nature and an enemy to pomp and noise

Some virtues are only seen in affliction and others only in prosperity.

Eternity! thou pleasing dreadful thought.

A perfect tragedy is the noblest production of human nature.

There is nothing that makes its way more directly into the soul than beauty.

See in what peace a Christian can die.

The infusion of a China plant sweetened with the pith of an Indian cane.

If we may believe our logicians man is distinguished from all other creatures by the faculty of laughter. He has a heart capable of mirth and naturally disposed to it.

It is folly for an eminent man to think of escaping censure and a weakness to be affected with it. All the illustrious persons of antiquity and indeed of every age in the world have passed through this fiery persecution.

A just and reasonable modesty does not only recommend eloquence but sets off every great talent which a man can be possessed of.

Nothing is capable of being well set to music that is not nonsense.

I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught all the world would be wise since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning understanding patience love openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.

The utmost extent of man's knowledge is to know that he knows nothing.

Is there not some chosen curse some hidden thunder in the stores of heaven red with uncommon wrath to blast the man who owes his greatness to his country's ruin!

It is the privilege of posterity to set matters right between those antagonists who by their rivalry for greatness divided a whole age.

Better to die ten thousand deaths than wound my honor.

For wheresoe'er I turn my ravished eyes / Gay gilded scenes and shining prospects rise / Poetic fields encompass me around / And still I seem to tread on classic ground.

True happiness arises in the first place from the enjoyment of one's self and in the next from the friendship and conversation of a few select companions.

Mysterious love uncertain treasure hast thou more of pain or pleasure! Endless torments dwell about thee: Yet who would live and live without thee!

A man should always consider how much he has more than he wants . . .

We are growing serious and let me tell you that's the very next step to being dull

I remember when our whole island was shaken with an earthquake some years ago, there was an impudent mountebank who sold pills which (as he told the country people) were very good against an earthquake.

I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries and very frankly give them fruit for their songs.

We travel through time as through a country filled with many wild and empty wastes, which we would fain hurry over that we may arrive at those several little settlements, or imaginary points of rest, which are dispersed up and down in it

Great souls by instinct to each other turn demand alliance and in friendship burn.

Talking with a friend is nothing else but thinking aloud.

The post of honour is a private station.

Let freedom never perish in your hands.

Men may change their climate but they cannot change their nature. A man that goes out a fool cannot ride or sail himself into common sense.

Nothing is more amiable than true modesty and nothing more contemptible than the false

There is not any present moment that is unconnected with some future one. The life of every man is a continued chain of incidents each link of which hangs upon the former. The transition from cause to effect from event to event is often carried on by secret steps which our foresight cannot divine and our sagacity is unable to trace. Evil may at some future period bring forth good, and good may bring forth evil both equally unexpected.

Young men soon give and soon forget affronts Old age is slow in both

A man who is furnished with arguments from the mint will convince his antagonist much sooner than one who draws them from reason and philosophy

Our sight is the most perfect and most delightful of all our senses. It fills the mind with the largest variety of ideas converses with its objects at the greatest distance and continues the longest in action without being tired or satiated . . .

Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do something to love and something to hope for.

A day an hour of virtuous liberty Is worth a whole eternity in bondage

We are always doing says he "something for Posterity but I would fain see Posterity do something for us

Mere bashfulness without merit is awkwardness

The chief ingredients in the composition of those qualities that gain esteem and praise are good nature truth good sense and good breeding

This Mr Dryden calls `the fairy way of writing'.

To be an atheist requires an infinitely greater measure of faith than to receive all the great truths which atheism would deny

With regard to donations always expect the most from prudent people who keep their own accounts.

Irregularity and want of method are only supportable in men of great learning or genius who are often too full to be exact and therefore they choose to throw down their pearls in heaps before the reader rather than be at the pains of stringing the

Prejudice and self-sufficiency naturally proceed from inexperience of the world and ignorance of mankind.

Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week.

Mutability of temper and inconsistency with ourselves is the greatest weakness of human nature

One should take good care not to grow too wise for so great a pleasure of life as laughter.

A man with great talents but void of discretion is like Polyphemus in the fable strong and blind endued with an irresistible force which for want of sight is of no use to him

To say that authority whether secular or religious supplies no ground for morality is not to deny the obvious fact that it supplies a sanction.

A true critic ought to dwell upon excellencies rather than imperfections to discover the concealed beauties of a writer and communicate to the world such things as are worth their observation.

An opera may be allowed to be extravagantly lavish in its decorations as its only design is to gratify the senses and keep up an indolent attention in the audience

Plenty of people wish to become devout but no one wishes to be humble.

Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind, which are delivered down from generation to generation as presents to the posterity of those who are yet unborn.

Our friends don't see our faults or conceal them or soften them.

We have in England a particular bashfulness in everything that regards religion.

Their is no defense against criticism except obscurity.

Cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind filling it with a steady and perpetual serenity

Music the greatest good that mortals know and all of heaven we have hear below.

It is ridiculous for any man to criticize the works of another if he has not distinguished himself by his own performances

The spacious firmament on high / And all the blue ethereal sky / And spangled heavens a shining frame / Their great Original proclaim.

There is nothing which we receive with so much reluctance as advice.

No vices are so incurable as those which men are apt to glory in

The Hand that made us is divine.

Words when well chosen have so great a force in them that a description often gives us more lively ideas than the sight of things themselves

Courage that grows from constitution often forsakes a man when he has occasion for it courage which arises from a sense of duty acts in a uniform manner

In all thy humors whether grave or mellow Thou'rt such a touchy testy pleasant fellow hast so much wit and mirth and spleen about thee there is no living with thee nor without thee

Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.

A man's first care should be to avoid the reproaches of his own heart and his next to escape the censures of the world.

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

Modesty is not only an ornament but also a guard to virtue

Ridicule is generally made use of to laugh men out of virtue and good sense by attacking everything praiseworthy in human life.

If you wish to succeed in life make perseverance your bosom friend experience your wise counselor caution your elder brother and hope your guardian genius.

The important question is not what will yield to man a few scattered pleasures but what will render his life happy on the whole amount.

Friendship improves happiness and abates misery by doubling our joys and dividing our grief.

The union of the Word and the Mind produces that mystery which is called Life... Learn deeply of the Mind and its mystery for therein lies the secret of immortality.

A man should always consider how much more unhappy he might be than he is

Allegories when well chosen are like so many tracks of light in a discourse that make everything about them clear and beautiful

These widows sir are the most perverse creatures in the world.

He thought he was a wit and he was half right.

I think I may define taste to be that faculty of the soul which discerns the beautines of an author with pleasure and the imperfections with dislike.

'Tis not in mortals to command success But we'll do more Sempronius, we'll deserve it

There is not so variable a thing in nature as a lady's head-dress.

The friendships of the world are oft confederacies in vice or leagues of pleasure, ours has severest virtue for its basis and such a friendship ends not but with life.

To be perfectly just is an attribute of the divine nature, to be so to the utmost of our abilities is the glory of man.

The fear of death often proves mortal and sets people on methods to save their Lives which infallibly destroy them.

The religious man fears the man of honor scorns to do an ill action

The stars shall fade away, the sun himself Grow dim with age, and nature sink in years, But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth, Unhurt amidst the wars of elements, The wrecks of matter and the crush of worlds.

A reader seldom peruses a book with pleasure until he knows whether the writer of it be a black man, or a fair man of a mild or choleric disposition, married or a bachelor.

A cloudy day or a little sunshine have as great an influence on many constitutions as the most real blessings or misfortunes

When love once pleads admission to our hearts / In spite of all the virtue we can boast / The woman that deliberates is lost.

If we may believe our logicians man is distinguished from all other creatures by the faculty of laughter

The friendships of the world are oft confederacies in vice or leagues of pleasures

Tradition is an important help to history but its statements should be carefully scrutinized before we rely on them

That he delights in the misery of others no man will confess and yet what other motive can make a father cruel?

Marriage enlarges the scene of our happiness and of our miseries. A marriage of love is pleasant of interest easy and where both meet happy. A happy marriage has in it all the pleasures of friendship all the enjoyments of sense and reason and

Wit is the fetching of congruity out of incongruity

Rides in the whirlwind and directs the storm.

An ostentatious man will rather relate a blunder or an absurdity he has committed than be debarred from talking of his own dear person

There is no greater sign of a general decay of virtue in a nation than a want of zeal in its inhabitants for the good of their country

I consider time as an in immense ocean in which many noble authors are entirely swallowed up

Learning is pedantry wit impertinence virtue itself looked like weakness and the best parts only qualify a man to be more sprightly in errors and active to his own prejudice.

Animals in their generation are wiser than the sons of men, but their wisdom is confined to a few particulars and lies in a very narrow compass.

The greatest sweetener of human life is friendship. To raise this to the highest pitch of enjoyment is a secret which but few discover.

They were a people so primitive they did not know how to get money except by working for it.

'Tis pride rank pride and haughtiness of soul, I think the Romans call it stoicism.

When a man is made up wholly of the dove without the least grain of the serpent in his composition he becomes ridiculous in many circumstances of life and very often discredits his best actions

Husband a lie and trump it up in some extraordinary emergency.

What pity is it That we can die but once to serve our country.

I have somewhere met with the epitaph on a charitable man which has pleased me very much. I cannot recollect the words but here is the sense of it: ''What I spent I lost, what I possessed is left to others, what I gave away remains with me.''

If you wish success in life make perseverance your bosom friend experience your wise counselor caution your elder brother and hope your guardian genius.

There is not a more unhappy being than a superannuated idol

No oppression is so heavy or lasting as that which is inflicted by the perversion and exorbitance of legal authority.

The hours of a wise man are lengthened by his ideas.

This (Westminster Abbey) great Magazine of Mortality

Pray consider what a figure a man would make in the republic of letters.

When a man becomes familiar with his goddess she quickly sinks into a woman

Sir Roger told them, with the air of a man who would not give his judgement rashly, that much might be said on both sides.

There is nothing more requisite in business than dispatch.

I live in the world rather as a spectator of mankind than as one of the species

If men would consider not so much where they differ as wherein they agree there would be far less of uncharitableness and angry feeling in the world

He who would pass his declining years with honor and comfort should when young consider that he may one day become old and remember when he is old that he has once been young.

When men are easy in their circumstances they are naturally enemies to innovations.

Our disputants put me in mind of the scuttle fish that when he is unable to extricate himself blackens all the water about him till he becomes invisible.

A man that has a taste of music painting or architecture is like one that has another sense when compared with such as have no relish of those arts

There is not in my opinion anything more mysterious in nature than this instinct in animals which thus rise above reason and yet fall infinitely short of it

Nothing is more gratifying to the mind of man than power or dominion.

The unjustifiable severity of a parent is loaded with this aggravation that those whom he injures are always in his sight.

Jesters do often prove prophets.

To a man of pleasure every moment appears to be lost which partakes not of the vivacity of amusement.