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Poverty is no disgrace to a man, but it is profoundly inconvenient.

SYDNEY SMITH, His Wit and Wisdom

Surprise is so essential an ingredient of wit that no wit will bear repetition.

SYDNEY SMITH, Lectures on Moral Philosophy

How Nature delights and amuses us by varying even the character of insects: the ill-nature of the wasp, the sluggishness of the drone, the volatility of the butterfly, the slyness of the bug.

SYDNEY SMITH, A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith

It is safest to be moderately base--to be flexible in shame, and to be always ready for what is generous, good and just, when anything is to be gained by virtue.

SYDNEY SMITH, The Works of the Rev. Sydney Smith

Piety stretched beyond a certain point is the parent of impiety. By attempting to keep up the fervour of devotion for so long a time, we have thinned our churches, and driven away those fluctuating, lukewarm Christians who will always outnumber the zealous and devout, and whom it should be our first object to animate, allure, and fix.

SYDNEY SMITH, A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith

Manners are the shadows of virtues.


If we strive to become, then, what we strive to appear, manners may often be rendered useful guides to the performance of our duties.


When I hear any man talk of an unalterable law, the only effect it produces upon me is to convince me that he is an unalterable fool.

SYDNEY SMITH, Peter Plymley's Letters


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