Joseph Addison

(1672-1719 / England)

Quotations

  • ''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.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British essayist. "On Suspicion," Interesting Anecdotes, Memoirs, Allegories, Essays, and Poetical Fragments (1794).
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  • '''Tis not in mortals to command success,
    But we'll do more, Sempronius, we'll deserve it.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British essayist. repr. In Works of Addison, ed. R. Hurd (1883). Portius, in Cato, act 1, sc. 2 (1713). "Curse on the stripling!" responds Sempronius, father of Portius, "... ambitiously sententious."
  • ''"We are always doing," says he, "something for posterity, but I would fain see posterity do something for us."''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British essayist. Spectator (London, Aug. 20, 1714), no. 583, The Spectator, ed. D.F. Bond (1965). In the style of an old fellow of a college, articulating the feelings of "most people."
  • ''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.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British essayist. Spectator (London, July 18, 1711).
  • ''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.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British essayist. Spectator (London, July 18, 1711).
  • ''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.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British essayist. Spectator (London, July 23, 1711), no. 124, The Spectator, ed. D.F. Bond (1965).
  • ''Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British essayist. Spectator (London, July 9, 1711), no. 112.
  • ''Of all the diversions of life, there is none so proper to fill up its empty spaces as the reading of useful and entertaining authors.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British essayist. Spectator (London, June 16, 1711), no. 93.
  • ''There is not so variable a thing in nature as a lady's head-dress.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British essayist. Spectator (London, June 22, 1711), no. 98, The Spectator, ed. D.F. Bond (1965).
  • ''Nothing is capable of being well set to music that is not nonsense.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British essayist. Spectator (London, March 21, 1711), no. 18. On the effect of Italian opera on the English stage.

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Hope

Our lives, discoloured with our present woes,
May still grow white and shine with happier hours.
So the pure limped stream, when foul with stains
Of rushing torrents and descending rains,
Works itself clear, and as it runs refines,
till by degrees the floating mirror shines;
Reflects each flower that on the border grows,
And a new heaven in it's fair bosom shows.

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