Joseph Addison

(1672-1719 / England)

Joseph Addison Quotes

  • ''See in what peace a Christian can die.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British essayist. Quoted in Conjectures on Original Composition, Edward Young (1759), ed. Edith Morley (1918). Dying words.
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  • ''One would wonder to hear skeptical men disputing for the reason of animals, and telling us it is only our pride and prejudices that will not allow them the use of that faculty. Reason shows itself in all occurrences of life; whereas the brute makes no discovery of such a talent, but in what immediately regards his own preservation, or the continuance of his species. 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. Take a brute out of his instinct, and you find him wholly deprived of understanding.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British essayist. Spectator, no. 120 (July 18, 1711).
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  • ''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 with its proper Enjoyments. The Sense of Feeling can indeed give us a Notion of Extension, Shape, and all other Ideas that enter at the Eye, except Colours; but at the same time it is very much straightened and confined in its Operations, to the Number, Bulk, and Distance of its particular Objects. Our Sight seems designed to supply all these Defects, and may be considered as a more delicate and diffusive kind of Touch, that spreads its self over an infinite Multitude of Bodies, comprehends the largest Figures, and brings into our reach some of the most remote Parts of the Universe.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British essayist. Spectator, no. 411 (June 21, 1712).
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  • ''"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."
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  • ''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).
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  • ''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).
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  • ''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).
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  • ''Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week.''
    Joseph Addison (1672-1719), British essayist. Spectator (London, July 9, 1711), no. 112.
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  • ''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.
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  • ''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).
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Best Poem of Joseph Addison

Immortality

O Liberty! thou goddess, heavenly bright,
profuse of bliss and pregnant with delight,
Eternal pleasures in thy presence reign,
And smiling Plenty leads thy smiling train.
Eased of her load Subjection grows more light,
And Poverty looks cheerful in thy sight.
Giv'st beauty to the sun and pleasures to the day.
thee, goddess, thee, Britannia's isle adores!
How oft has she exhausted all her stores!
How oft on fields of death thy presence sought,
Nor thinks the mighty prize too dearly bought!
On foreign mountains may the sun refine
the grape's soft juice and ...

Read the full of Immortality

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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