Horace Walpole

[4th Earl of Orford] (1717-1797 / London)

Horace Walpole Quotes

  • ''The best sun we have is made of Newcastle coal, and I am determined never to reckon upon any other.''
    Horace Walpole (1717-1797), British author. Letter, June 15, 1768. Correspondence, vol. 10, Yale edition (1937-1983).
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  • ''The world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those who feel.''
    Horace Walpole (1717-1797), British author. letter, Aug. 16, 1776. Correspondence, vol. 32, Yale edition (1937-1983).
  • ''Dr. Calder [a Unitarian minister] said of Dr. [Samuel] Johnson on the publications of Boswell and Mrs. Piozzi, that he was like Actaeon, torn to pieces by his own pack.''
    Horace Walpole (1717-1797), British author. Horace Walpole's Miscellany 1786-1795, pp. 18-19, ed. Lars E. Troide, Yale University Press (1978). Originally written in 1786; in Greek mythology, the huntsman Actaeon, having surprised the goddess Diana bathing, was turned by her into a stag and killed by his own hounds.
  • ''Two clergymen disputing whether ordination would be valid without the imposition of both hands, the more formal one said, "Do you think the Holy Dove could fly down with only one wing?"''
    Horace Walpole (1717-1797), British author. Horace Walpole's Miscellany 1786-1795, p. 38, ed. Lars E. Troide, Yale University Press (1978). Originally written in 1786.
  • ''Shakespeare had no tutors but nature and genius. He caught his faults from the bad taste of his contemporaries. In an age still less civilized Shakespeare might have been wilder, but would not have been vulgar.''
    Horace Walpole (1717-1797), British author. Horace Walpole's Miscellany 1786-1795, p. 57, ed. Lars E. Troide, Yale University Press (1978). Originally written in 1787.
  • ''Poetry is a beautiful way of spoiling prose, and the laborious art of exchanging plain sense for harmony.''
    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.
  • ''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.
  • ''I have sometimes seen women, who would have been sensible enough, if they would have been content not to be called women of sense—but by aiming at what they had not, they only proved absurd—for sense cannot be counterfeited.''
    Horace Walpole (1717-1797), British author. Horace Walpole's Miscellany 1786-1795, p. 68, ed. Lars E. Troide, Yale University Press (1978). Originally written in 1788; Walpole reflects his age's reservations about female intelligence.
  • ''How well Shakespeare knew how to improve and exalt little circumstances, when he borrowed them from circumstantial or vulgar historians.''
    Horace Walpole (1717-1797), British author. Horace Walpole's Miscellany 1786-1795, p. 12, ed. Lars E. Troide, Yale University Press (1978). Originally written in 1786.
  • ''Justice is rather the activity of truth, than a virtue in itself. Truth tells us what is due to others, and justice renders that due. Injustice is acting a lie.''
    Horace Walpole (1717-1797), British author. Horace Walpole's Miscellany 1786-1795, p. 62, ed. Lars E. Troide, Yale University Press (1978). Originally written in 1787.

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