Reference > Quotations > Hoyt & Roberts, comps. > Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations
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Hoyt & Roberts, comps.  Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations.  1922.
 
Ability
 
He’ll find a way.
        Barrie—Sentimental Tommy. (Corp’s belief in Tommy and Tommy’s in himself.)
  1
  Men who undertake considerable things, even in a regular way, ought to give us ground to presume ability.
        Burke—Reflections on the Revolution in France.
  2
For as our modern wits behold,
Mounted a pick-back on the old,
Much farther off, much further he,
Rais’d on his aged Beast, could see.
        Butler—Hudibras. Pt. I. Canto II. L. 971. Same idea in Macaulay Essay on Sir James Mackintosh.
  3
He could raise scruples dark and nice,
And after solve ’em in a trice:
As if Divinity had catch’d
The itch, on purpose to be scratch’d.
        Butler—Hudibras. Pt. I. Canto I. L. 163.
  4
  You are a devil at everything, and there is no kind of thing in the ’versal world but what you can turn your hand to.
        Cervantes—Don Quixote. Pt. I. Bk. III. Ch. XI.
  5
  Etiam illud adjungo, sæpius ad laudem atque virtutem naturam sine doctrina, quam sine natura valisse doctrinam.
  I add this also, that natural ability without education has oftener raised man to glory and virtue, than education without natural ability.
        Cicero—Oratio Pro Licinio Archia. VII.
  6
  The dwarf sees farther than the giant, when he has the giant’s shoulders to mount on.
        Coleridge—The Friend. Sect. I. Essay VIII.
  7
  Pigmies placed on the shoulders of giants see more than the giants themselves.
        Didactus Stella—Lucan. Vol. II. 10. Quoted by Burton—Anatomy of Melancholy. Democritus to the Reader.
  8
Could swell the soul to rage, or kindle soft desire.
        Dryden—Alexander’s Feast. L. 160.
  9
  As we advance in life, we learn the limits of our abilities.
        Froude—Short Studies on Great Subjects. Education.
  10
  Every person is responsible for all the good within the scope of his abilities, and for no more, and none can tell whose sphere is the largest.
        Gail Hamilton—Country Living and Country Thinking. Men and Women.
  11
  A Dwarf on a Giant’s shoulder sees farther of the two.
        Herbert—Jacula Prudentum.
  12
  C’est une grande habileté que de savoir cacher son habileté.
  To know how to hide one’s ability is great skill.
        La Rochefoucauld—Maximes. 245.
  13
  To the very last, he [Napoleon] had a kind of idea; that, namely, of la carrière ouverte aux talents—the took to him that can handle them.
        Lockhart—Sir Walter Scott in London and Westminster Review, 1838.
  14
  A Traveller at Sparta, standing long upon one leg, said to a Lacedæmonian, “I do not believe you can do as much.” “True,” said he, “but every goose can.”
        Plutarch—Laconic Apothegms. Remarkable Speeches of Some Obscure Men.
  15
  Illud tamen in primis testandum est, nihil præcepta atque artes valere nisi adjuvante natura.
  One thing, however, I must premise, that without the assistance of natural capacity, rules and precepts are of no efficacy.
        Quintilian—Proœmium. I. 4.
  16
  Die Menschen gehen wie Schiesskugeln weiter, wenn sie abgeglättet sind.
  Men, like bullets, go farthest when they are smoothest.
        Jean Paul Richter—Titan. Zykel 26.
  17
  Parvus pumilio, licet in monte constiterit; colossus magnitudinem suam servabit, etiam si steterit in puteo.
  A dwarf is small even if he stands on a mountain; a colossus keeps his height, even if he stands in a well.
        Seneca—Epistles. 76.
  18
  The world is like a board with holes in it, and the square men have got into the round holes.
        Sydney Smith, as quoted in Punch.
  19
  We shall generally find that the triangular person has got into the square hole, the oblong into the triangular, and a square person has squeezed himself into the round hole.
        Sydney Smith—Sketches of Moral Philosophy.
  20
 
 
Read my little fable:
  He that runs may read.
Most can raise the flowers now,
  For all have got the seed.
        Tennyson—The Flowers.
  21
  Les méchants sont toujours surpris de trouver de l’habileté dans les bons.
  The wicked are always surprised to find ability in the good.
        Vauvenargues—Réflexions. CIII.
  22
Possunt quia posse videntur.
  They are able because they think they are able.
        Vergil—Æneid. V. 231.
  23
 
 
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