Quotations From SAMUEL BUTLER


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  • To himself every one is an immortal. He may know that he is going to die, but he can never know that he is dead.
    Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. Samuel Butler's Notebooks, p. 117 (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).

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  • Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.
    Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. Notebooks, "Mind and Matter," (1912).

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  • The oldest books are still only just out to those who have not read them.
    Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. Samuel Butler's Notebooks, p. 266 (1951).
  • The Athanasian Creed is to me light and intelligible reading in comparison with much that now passes for science.
    Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. First published in 1912. Samuel Butler's Notebooks, p. 125, E.P. Dutton & Company (1951).

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  • It is tact that is golden, not silence.
    Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. Samuel Butler's Notebooks, p. 229 (1951).

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  • How holy people look when they are sea-sick!
    Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. "Written Sketches," Notebooks (1912).

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  • Providence itself could not be more absolutely improvident.
    Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. First published in 1912. Samuel Butler's Notebooks, p. 108, E.P. Dutton & Company (1951).
  • Those who have never had a father can at any rate never know the sweets of losing one. To most men the death of his father is a new lease of life.
    Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. Samuel Butler's Notebooks, p. 100 (1951).

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  • There is nothing so unthinkable as thought, unless it be the entire absence of thought.
    Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British author. Samuel Butler's Notebooks, p. 154 (1951). In a later entry, Butler wrote, "Thought pure and simple is as near to God as we can get, it is through this that we are linked with God."
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