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.
 
Proverbs
 
  The genius, wit, and spirit of a nation are discovered in its proverbs.
Francis Bacon.    
  1
 
  Proverbs are, for the most part, rules of moral, or, still more properly, of prudential conduct.
William Thomas Brande.    
  2
 
  A reserve of puerility we have not shaken off from school, where, being seasoned with minor sentences, they prescribe upon our riper years, and never are worn out but with our memories.  3
 
  There is, likewise, an awkwardness of expression and words, most carefully to be avoided; such as false English, bad pronunciation, old sayings, and common proverbs; which are so many proofs of having kept bad and low company. For example: if, instead of saying that tastes are different, and that every man has his peculiar one, you should let off a proverb, and say that, “What is one man’s meat is another man’s poison;” or else, “Every one as they like, as the good man said when he kissed his cow;” everybody would be persuaded that you had never kept company with anybody above footmen and housemaids.
Lord Chesterfield: Letters to his Son, July 25, 1741.    
  4
 
  Proverbs embody the current and practical philosophy of an age or nation.
William Fleming.    
  5
 
  Undoubtedly there have been witches—for in that category must Mother Shipton be classed—who have played the oracle as well as she; but, as generally happens, the multitude are lost sight of in the course of time, and the wisdom of the many is eventually ascribed to one. Homer, Æsop, Solomon—to say nothing of that friend of the destitute, Joe Miller—are amongst a thousand instances of concentrated reputation. Every hour’s experience, indeed, affords example of this tendency to special attribution; and there are very few of us, perhaps, who have not, at one time or other, contributed our mite to set up the popular sect of the day.
Household Words.    
  6
 
  A proverb is the wit of one and the wisdom of many.
Lord John Russell.    
  7
 
  Short isolated sentences were the mode in which ancient wisdom delighted to convey its precepts for the regulation of human conduct.
Bishop William Warburton.    
  8
 
 
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