Reference > Quotations > Frank J. Wilstach, comp. > A Dictionary of Similes
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Frank J. Wilstach, comp.  A Dictionary of Similes.  1916.
 
Dr. Samuel Johnson
 
  The aphorisms of wise and excellent men are of great value, like the dust of gold, or the least sparkle of diamonds.  1
  Authors, like privateers, are always fair game for one another.  2
  Beautiful as the vernal willow.  3
  A transition from an author’s book to his conversation, is too often like an entrance into a large city, after distant prospect. Remotely, we see nothing but spires of temples and turrets of palaces, and imagine it the residence of splendor, grandeur, and magnificence; but, when we have passed the gates, we find it perplexed with narrow passages, disgraced with despicable cottages, embarrassed with obstructions and clouded with smoke.  4
  Corneille is to Shakespeare as a clipped hedge is to a forest.  5
  Cunning differs from wisdom as twilight from open day.  6
  Distinct and individual as a pebble.  7
  The encumbrances of his fortune were shaken from his mind, as dew drops from a lion’s mane.  8
  Fragrant as thyme upon the mountains.  9
  The feeling of friendship is like that of being comfortably filled with roast beef.  10
  Friendship, like love, is destroyed by long absence, though it may be increased by short intermissions.  11
  Gaiety is to good-humor as animal perfumes to vegetable fragrance.  12
  The mind contemplates genius through the shades of age, as the eye surveys through artificial capacity.  13
  Voice gentle as the breeze that plays in the evening among the spices of Sahara.  14
  Horrid as a murderer’s dream.  15
  I live in the town like a lion in his desert, or an eagle in his rock, too great for friendship or society, and condemned to solitude by unhappy elevation and dreaded ascendency.  16
  A man whose great qualities want the ornament of superficial attractions, is like a naked mountain with mines of gold, which will be frequented only till the treasure is exhausted.  17
  Mirth is like a flash of lightning that breaks through a gloom of clouds and glitters for a moment. Cheerfulness keeps up a daylight in the mind, filling it with a steady and perpetual serenity.  18
  Oily as the King’s constable’s lamp.  19
  Praise, like gold and diamonds, owes its value only to its scarcity.  20
  A woman preacher is like a dog walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.  21
  Pure as the thoughts of infant innocence.  22
  Sings like the sighing of a tempest spent.  23
  Her smile grateful as the dissolution of the ice.  24
  Testimony is like an arrow shot from a long bow; the force of it depends in the strength of the hand that draws it. Argument is like an arrow from a cross-bow, which has equal force though shot by a child.  25
  Torpid as a toad in marble.  26
  Truth, like beauty, varies in its fashions, and is best recommended by different dresses to different minds.  27
  A good wife is like the ivy which beautifies the building to which it clings, twining its tendrils more lovingly as time converts the ancient edifice into a ruin.  28
  Wit, like every other power, has its boundaries. Its success depends on the aptitude of others to receive impressions; and that as some bodies, indissolute by heat, can set the furnace and crucible at defiance, there are minds upon which the rays of fancy may be pointed without effect, and which no fire of sentiment can agitate or exalt.  29
 
 
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