Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
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S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
 
Lying
 
  One of the fathers has carried this point so high as to declare he would not tell a lie though he were sure to gain heaven by it. However extravagant such a protestation may appear, every one will own that a man may say, very reasonably, he would not tell a lie if he were sure to gain hell by it; or, if you have a mind to soften the expression, that he would not tell a lie to gain any temporal reward by it, when he should run the hazard of losing much more than it was possible for him to gain.
Joseph Addison: Spectator, No. 507.    
  1
 
  But it is not only the difficulty and labour which men take in finding out the truth; nor, again, that, when it is found, it imposeth upon men’s thoughts, that doth bring lies in favour; but a natural, though corrupt, love of the lie itself. One of the later schools of the Grecians examineth the matter, and is at a stand to think what should be in it that men should love lies, where neither they make for pleasure, as with poets, nor for advantage, as with the merchant, but for the lie’s sake.
Francis Bacon: Essay I., Of Truth.    
  2
 
  There is no vice that doth so cover a man with shame as to be found false and perfidious: and therefore Montaigne saith prettily, when he inquireth the reason why the word of the lie should be such a disgrace, and such an odious charge, “If it be well weighed, to say that a man lieth is as much as to say that he is brave towards God, and a coward towards men: for a lie faces God, and shrinks from man.”
Francis Bacon: Essay I., Of Truth.    
  3
 
  A lie should be trampled on and extinguished wherever found: I am for fumigating the atmosphere when I suspect that falsehood, like pestilence, breathes around me.  4
 
  I really know nothing more criminal, more mean, and more ridiculous, than lying. It is the production either of malice, cowardice, or vanity; and generally misses of its aim in every one of these views; for lies are always detected, sooner or later. If I tell a malicious lie, in order to affect any man’s fortune or character, I may indeed injure him for some time; but I shall be sure to be the greatest sufferer myself at last; for as soon as ever I am detected (and detected I most certainly shall be) I am blasted for the infamous attempt; and whatever is said afterwards to the disadvantage of that person, however true, passes for calumny. If I lie, or equivocate,—for it is the same thing,—in order to excuse myself for something that I have said or done, and to avoid the danger or the shame that I apprehend from it, I discover at once my fear, as well as my falsehood; and only increase, instead of avoiding, the danger and the shame: I show myself to be the lowest and the meanest of mankind, and am sure to be always treated as such.
Lord Chesterfield: Letters to his Son, Sept. 21, 1747.    
  5
 
  Truth is the object of our understanding, as good is of our will; and the understanding can no more be delighted with a lie than the will can choose an apparent evil.
John Dryden.    
  6
 
  Liars are the cause of all the sins and crimes in the world.
Epictetus.    
  7
 
  It is a contradiction to suppose that whole nations of men should unanimously give the lie to what, by the most invincible evidence, every one of them knew to be true.
John Locke.    
  8
 
  Men will give their own experience the lie rather than admit of anything disagreeing with these tenets.
John Locke.    
  9
 
  When first found in a lie, talk to him of it as a strange, monstrous matter, and so shame him out of it.
John Locke.    
  10
 
  In plain truth, lying is a hateful and accursed vice. We are not men, nor have other tye upon one another, but our word. If we did but discover the horror and ill consequences of it, we should pursue it with fire and sword, and more justly than other crimes. I see that parents commonly, and with indiscretion enough, correct their children for little innocent faults, and torment them for wanton childish tricks, that have neither impression nor tend to any consequence: whereas, in my opinion, lying only, and (what is something a lower form) stomach, are the faults which are to be severely whip’d out of them, both in the infancy and progress of the vices, which will otherwise grow up and increase with them: and after a tongue has once got the knack of lying, ’tis not to be imagined how impossible almost it is to reclaim it.
Michel de Montaigne: Essays, Cotton’s 3d ed., ch. ix.    
  11
 
  A lie is a breach of promise: for whoever seriously addresses his discourse to another tacitly promises to speak the truth, because he knows that truth is expected.
William Paley.    
  12
 
  It is wilful deceit that makes a lie. A man may act a lie, as by pointing his finger in a wrong direction when a traveller inquires of him his road.
William Paley.    
  13
 
  Lying supplies those who are addicted to it with a plausible apology for every crime, and with a supposed shelter from every punishment. It tempts them to run into danger from the mere expectation of impunity, and when practised with frequent success it teaches them to confound the gradations of guilt, from the effects of which there is, in their imaginations at least, one sure and common protection. It corrupts the early simplicity of youth; it blasts the fairest blossoms of genius; and will most assuredly counteract every effort by which we may hope to improve the talents and mature the virtues of those whom it infects.
Dr. Samuel Parr.    
  14
 
  He who tells a lie is not sensible how great a task he undertakes; for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain one.
Alexander Pope: Thoughts on Various Subjects.    
  15
 
 
 
  The gain of lying is nothing else but not to be trusted of any, nor to be believed when we say the truth.  16
 
  Flattering of others, and boasting of ourselves, may be referred to lying: the one to please others, and puff them up with self-conceit; the other to gain more honour than is due to ourselves.
John Ray.    
  17
 
  They [liars] begin with making falsehood appear like truth, and end with making truth appear like falsehood.
William Shenstone.    
  18
 
  A lie is properly an outward signification of something contrary to, or at least beside, the inward sense of the mind: so that when one thing is signified or expressed, and the same thing not meant or intended, that is properly a lie.
Robert South.    
  19
 
  A lie is properly a species of injustice, and a violation of the right of that person to whom the false speech is directed; for all speaking, or signification of one’s mind, implies an act or address of one man to another.
Robert South.    
  20
 
  A lie is like a vizard, that may cover the face indeed, but can never become it.
Robert South.    
  21
 
  No villainy or flagitious action was ever yet committed but, upon a due enquiry into the causes of it, it will be found that a lie was first or last the principal engine to effect it.
Robert South.    
  22
 
  Schoolmen and casuists, having too much philosophy to clear a lie from that intrinsic inordination and deviation from right reason inherent in the nature of it, held that a lie was absolutely and universally sinful.
Robert South.    
  23
 
  This is the liar’s lot: he is accounted a pest and a nuisance; a person marked out for infamy and scorn.
Robert South.    
  24
 
  They had altogether as good take up with the dull ways of lying … as make use of such refinings as these.
Edward Stillingfleet.    
  25
 
  A lie has no legs, and cannot stand; but it has wings, and can fly far and wide.
Bishop William Warburton.    
  26
 
  When I hear my neighbour speak that which is not true, and I say to him, This is not true, or, This is false, I only convey to him the naked idea of his error: this is the primary idea: but if I say, It is a lie, the word lie carries also a secondary idea; for it implies both the falsehood of the speech and my reproach and censure of the speaker.
Dr. Isaac Watts.    
  27
 
 
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