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WILLIAM HAZLITT QUOTES

That humanity and sincerity which dispose men to resist injustice and tyranny render them unfit to cope with the cunning and power of those who are opposed to them. The friends of liberty trust to the professions of others because they are themselves sincere, and endeavour to secure the public good with the least possible hurt to its enemies, who have no regard to anything but their own unprincipled ends, and stick at nothing to accomplish them.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characters of Shakespeare's Plays

A taste for liberal art is necessary to complete the character of a gentleman, Science alone is hard and mechanical. It exercises the understanding upon things out of ourselves, while it leaves the affections unemployed, or engrossed with our own immediate, narrow interests.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characters of Shakespeare's Plays

Wrong dressed out in pride, pomp, and circumstance has more attraction than abstract right.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characters of Shakespeare's Plays

The great have private feelings of their own, to which the interests of humanity and justice must curtsy. Their interests are so far from being the same as those of the community, that they are in direct and necessary opposition to them; their power is at the expense of OUR weakness; their riches of OUR poverty; their pride of OUR degradation; their splendour of OUR wretchedness; their tyranny of OUR servitude.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characters of Shakespeare's Plays

Those who have little shall have less, and that those who have much shall take all that others have left.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characters of Shakespeare's Plays

Kings ought never to be seen upon the stage. In the abstract, they are very disagreeable characters: it is only while living that they are 'the best of kings'. It is their power, their splendour, it is the apprehension of the personal consequences of their favour or their hatred that dazzles the imagination and suspends the judgement of their favourites or their vassals; but death cancels the bond of allegiance and of interest; and seen AS THEY WERE, their power and their pretensions look monstrous and ridiculous.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characters of Shakespeare's Plays

The history of mankind is a romance, a mask, a tragedy, constructed upon the principles of POETICAL JUSTICE; it is a noble or royal hunt, in which what is sport to the few is death to the many, and in which the spectators halloo and encourage the strong to set upon the weak, and cry havoc in the chase, though they do not share in the spoil.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characters of Shakespeare's Plays

None are completely wretched but those who are without hope.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

Those are ever the most ready to do justice to others, who feel that the world has done them justice.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

Pride erects a little kingdom of its own, and acts as sovereign in it.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

While we desire, we do not enjoy; and with enjoyment desire ceases.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

The affected modesty of most women is a decoy for the generous, the delicate, and unsuspecting; while the artful, the bold, and unfeeling either see or break through its slender disguises.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

He is little short of a hero, who perseveres in thinking well of a friend who has become a butt for slander.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

It is well that there is no one without a fault; for he would not have a friend in the world. He would seem to belong to a different species.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

An honest man is respected by all parties.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

Men will die for an opinion as soon as for anything else.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

Death is the greatest evil; because it cuts off hope.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

The measure of any man's virtue is what he would do if he had neither the laws nor public opinion, nor even his own prejudices, to control him.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

Society is a more level surface than we imagine. Wise men or absolute fools are hard to be met with, as there are few giants or dwarfs.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

Silence is one great art of conversation.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

When we forget old friends, it is a sign we have forgotten ourselves.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

However we may flatter ourselves to the contrary, our friends think no higher of us than the world do. They see us through the jaundiced or distrustful eyes of others. They may know better, but their feelings are governed by popular prejudice. Nay, they are more shy of us (when under a cloud) than even strangers; for we involve them in a common disgrace, or compel them to embroil themselves in continual quarrels and disputes in our defense.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

Vice, like disease, floats in the atmosphere.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

The fear of punishment may be necessary to the suppression of vice; but it also suspends the finer motives of virtue.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

To the proud the slightest repulse or disappointment is the last indignity.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

We often choose a friend as we do a mistress, for no particular excellence in themselves, but merely from some circumstance that flatters our self-love.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

The mind revolts against certain opinions, as the stomach rejects certain foods.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

Vanity does not refer to the opinion a man entertains of himself, but to that which he wishes others to entertain of him.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

Envy, among other ingredients, has a mixture of the love of justice in it. We are more angry at undeserved than at deserved good-fortune.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

Any woman may act the part of a coquette successfully who has the reputation without the scruples of modesty. If a woman passes the bounds of propriety for our sakes, and throws herself unblushingly at our heads, we conclude it is either from a sudden and violent liking, or from extraordinary merit on our parts, either of which is enough to turn any man's head who has a single spark of gallantry or vanity in his composition.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

We find many things, to which the prohibition of them constitutes the only temptation.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

Conceit is the most contemptible and one of the most odious qualities in the world. It is vanity driven from all other shifts, and forced to appeal to itself for admiration.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

Hope is the best possession.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

Envy is a littleness of soul, which cannot see beyond a certain point, and if it does not occupy the whole space, feels itself excluded.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

When the imagination is continually led to the brink of vice by a system of terror and denunciations, people fling themselves over the precipice from the mere dread of falling.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

Those who command themselves, command others.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

Vice is man's nature: virtue is a habit--or a mask.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

The multitude who require to be led, still hate their leaders.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

One shining quality lends a lustre to another, or hides some glaring defect.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Complete Works

There are some persons who never succeed from being too indolent to undertake anything; and others who regularly fail, because the instant they find success in their power, they grow indifferent, and give over the attempt.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics


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