Quotations From HORACE WALPOLE


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  • [King René of Anjou (1409-80)] would not listen to the news of his son having lost the Kingdom of Naples, because he would not be disturbed when painting a picture of a partridge.
    Horace Walpole (1717-1797), British author. Horace Walpole's Miscellany 1786-1795, p. 70, ed. Lars E. Troide, Yale University Press (1978). Originally written in 1788.

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  • Manfred, prince of Otranto, had one son and one daughter: the latter, a most beautiful virgin, aged eighteen, was called Matilda.
    Horace Walpole (1717-1797), British author. The Castle of Otranto, ch. 1 (1764). The first sentence of the first Gothic novel.

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  • It was said of old Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, that she never puts dots over her i's, to save ink.
    Horace Walpole (1717-1797), British author. letter, Oct. 4, 1785.
  • The Methodists love your big sinners, as proper subjects to work upon.
    Horace Walpole (1717-1797), British author. Letter, May 3, 1749.

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  • Every drop of ink in my pen ran cold.
    Horace Walpole (1717-1797), British author. Letter, July 3, 1752. Correspondence, vol. 9, Yale edition (1937-83).

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  • A man of sense, though born without wit, often lives to have wit. His memory treasures up ideas and reflections; he compares them with new occurrences, and strikes out new lights from the collision. The consequence is sometimes bons mots, and sometimes apothegms.
    Horace Walpole (1717-1797), British author. Horace Walpole's Miscellany 1786-1795, p. 20, ed. by Lars E. Troide, copyright Yale University Press (1978). Originally written in 1786.

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  • That strange premature genius Chatterton has couched in one line the quintessence of what Voltaire has said in many pages: "Reason, a thorn in Revelation's side."
    Horace Walpole (1717-1797), British author. Horace Walpole's Miscellany 1786-1795, p. 23, ed. Lars E. Troide, Yale University Press (1978). Originally written in 1786; Walpole cites a line from "The Defense" by the poet Thomas Chatterton, who killed himself at age 18.
  • "Heap coals of fire on the head of your enemy" Mthis most uncharitable advice is found in a book [the Bible], of which charity is reckoned the standard principle.
    Horace Walpole (1717-1797), British author. Horace Walpole's Miscellany 1786-1795, p. 64, ed. Lars E. Troide, Yale University Press (1978). Originally written in 1787; Walpole, a deist, was skeptical towards the Bible as a repository of divine wisdom.

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  • I avoid talking before the youth of the age as I would dancing before them: for if one's tongue don't move in the steps of the day, and thinks to please by its old graces, it is only an object of ridicule.
    Horace Walpole (1717-1797), British author. Letter, April 15, 1768.
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