Laurence Sterne Quotes

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Laurence Sterne

Portrait of Laurence Sterne by Joshua Reynolds, 1760
Born (1713-11-24)24 November 1713
Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland
Died 18 March 1768(1768-03-18) (aged 54)
London, England
Occupation Novelist, clergyman
Nationality Irish
Alma mater Jesus College, Cambridge
Notable works The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy
A Political Romance
Spouse Elizabeth Lumley

So much of motion, is so much of life, and so much of joy, and to stand still, or get on but slowly, is death and the devil.
Laurence Sterne
Keyholes are the occasions of more sin and wickedness, than all other holes in this world put together.
Laurence Sterne
Men tire themselves in pursuit of rest.
Lessons of wisdom have the most power over us when they capture the heart through the groundwork of a story, which engages the passions.
Laurence Sterne
Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners.
Laurence Sterne
An English man does not travel to see English men.
But this is neither here nor there why do I mention it? Ask my pen, it governs me, I govern not it.
Laurence Sterne
I take a simple view of life. It is keep your eyes open and get on with it.
Laurence Sterne
Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners.
Laurence Sterne
In solitude the mind gains strength and learns to lean upon itself.
God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb.
An actor should be able to create the universe in the palm of his hand.
When the heart flies out before the understanding, it saves the judgment a world of pains.
Laurence Sterne
Only the brave know how to forgive; it is the most refined and generous pitch of virtue human nature can arrive at.
Laurence Sterne
Alas! if the principles of contentment are not within us, the height of station and worldly grandeur will as soon add a cubit to a man's stature as to his happiness.
Laurence Sterne
Nothing is so perfectly amusing as a total change of ideas.
Titles of honor are like the impressions on coins, which add no value to gold or silver, but only render brass current.
Laurence Sterne
People who are always taking care of their health are like misers, who are hoarding a treasure which they have never spirit enough to enjoy.
Laurence Sterne
In all unmerciful actions, the worst of men pay this compliment at least to humanity, as to endeavour to wear as much of the appearance of it, as the case will well let them.
Laurence Sterne
It is a great pity but tis certain from every day's observation of man, that he may be set on fire like a candle, at either end provided there is a sufficient wick standing out.
Laurence Sterne
What is the life of man! Is it not to shift from side to side? From sorrow to sorrow? To button up one cause of vexation! And unbutton another!
Laurence Sterne
Only the brave know how to forgive… a coward never forgave; it is not in his nature.
Laurence Sterne
I once asked a hermit in Italy how he could venture to live alone, in a single cottage, on the top of a mountain, a mile from any habitation? He replied, that Providence was his next-door neighbor.
Laurence Sterne
Religion which lays so many restraints upon us, is a troublesome companion to those who will lay no restraints upon themselves.
Laurence Sterne
Sciences may be learned by rote, but wisdom not.
Courtship consists in a number of quiet attentions, not so pointed as to alarm, nor so vague as not to be understood.
Laurence Sterne
Of all duties, prayer certainly is the sweetest and most easy.
'Tis known by the name of perseverance in a good cause, and of obstinacy in a bad one.
Laurence Sterne
The most accomplished way of using books is to serve them as some people do lords; learn their titles and then brag of their acquaintance.
Laurence Sterne
I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me.
Laurence Sterne
Pain and pleasure, like light and darkness, succeed each other.
The desire of knowledge, like the thirst of riches, increases ever with the acquisition of it.
Laurence Sterne
One may as well be asleep as to read for anything but to improve his mind and morals, and regulate his conduct.
Laurence Sterne
Of all the cants which are canted in this canting world, – though the cant of hypocrites may be the worst, – the cant of criticism is the most tormenting!
Laurence Sterne
Writing, when properly managed, (as you may be sure I think mine is) is but a different name for conversation.
Laurence Sterne
There have been no sects in the Christian world, however absurd, which have not endeavoured to support their opinions by arguments drawn from Scripture.
Laurence Sterne
Our passion and principals are constantly in a frenzy, but begin to shift and waver, as we return to reason.
Laurence Sterne
A dwarf who brings a standard along with him to measure his own size, take my word, is a dwarf in more articles than one.
Laurence Sterne
I am persuaded that every time a man smiles – but much more so when he laughs – it adds something to this fragment of life.
Laurence Sterne
People who overly take care of their health are like misers. They hoard up a treasure which they never enjoy.
Laurence Sterne
For every ten jokes you acquire a hundred enemies.
When a man is discontented with himself, it has one advantage – that it puts him into an excellent frame of mind for making a bargain.
Laurence Sterne