William Hazlitt Quotes

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William Hazlitt

A self-portrait from about 1802
Born (1778-04-10)10 April 1778
Maidstone, Kent, England
Died 18 September 1830(1830-09-18) (aged 52)
Soho, London, England
Occupation Essayist, literary critic, painter, philosopher
Notable works Characters of Shakespear’s Plays, Table-Talk, Liber Amoris, The Spirit of the Age, Notes of a Journey Through France and Italy, The Plain Speaker

It is not fit that every man should travel; it makes a wise man better, and a fool worse.
William Hazlitt
There are no rules for friendship. It must be left to itself. We cannot force it any more than love.
William Hazlitt
Gracefulness has been defined to be the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul.
William Hazlitt
There is a secret pride in every human heart that revolts at tyranny. You may order and drive an individual, but you cannot make him respect you.
William Hazlitt
To think ill of mankind and not wish ill to them, is perhaps the highest wisdom and virtue.
William Hazlitt
I like a friend the better for having faults that one can talk about.
The least pain in our little finger gives us more concern and uneasiness than the destruction of millions of our fellow-beings.
William Hazlitt
To give a reason for anything is to breed a doubt of it.
I would like to spend the whole of my life traveling, if I could anywhere borrow another life to spend at home.
William Hazlitt
We are very much what others think of us. The reception our observations meet with gives us courage to proceed, or damps our efforts.
William Hazlitt
An honest man speaks the truth, though it may give offence; a vain man, in order that it may.
William Hazlitt
The incentive to ambition is the love of power.
As is our confidence, so is our capacity.
The smallest pain in our little finger gives us more concern than the destruction of millions of our fellow beings.
William Hazlitt
To get others to come into our ways of thinking, we must go over to theirs; and it is necessary to follow, in order to lead.
William Hazlitt
Love turns, with a little indulgence, to indifference or disgust; hatred alone is immortal.
William Hazlitt
Grace is the absence of everything that indicates pain or difficulty, hesitation or incongruity.
William Hazlitt
A hypocrite despises those whom he deceives, but has no respect for himself. He would make a dupe of himself too, if he could.
William Hazlitt
It is hard for any one to be an honest politician who is not born and bred a Dissenter.
William Hazlitt
The true barbarian is he who thinks everything barbarous but his own tastes and prejudices.
William Hazlitt
Those who speak ill of the spiritual life, although they come and go by day, are like the smith's bellows: they take breath but are not alive.
William Hazlitt
Every man, in his own opinion, forms an exception to the ordinary rules of morality.
William Hazlitt
Man is a make-believe animal: he is never so truly himself as when he is acting a part.
William Hazlitt
If I have not read a book before, it is, for all intents and purposes, new to me whether it was printed yesterday or three hundred years ago.
William Hazlitt
Great thoughts reduced to practice become great acts.
If the world were good for nothing else, it is a fine subject for speculation.
William Hazlitt
The busier we are the more leisure we have.
The player envies only the player, the poet envies only the poet.
Grace has been defined as the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul.
William Hazlitt
A gentle word, a kind look, a good-natured smile can work wonders and accomplish miracles.
William Hazlitt
The world judge of men by their ability in their profession, and we judge of ourselves by the same test: for it is on that on which our success in life depends.
William Hazlitt
Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects, and discovering other people's weaknesses.
William Hazlitt
Genius, like humanity, rusts for want of use.
The person whose doors I enter with most pleasure, and quit with most regret, never did me the smallest favor.
William Hazlitt
To be capable of steady friendship or lasting love, are the two greatest proofs, not only of goodness of heart, but of strength of mind.
William Hazlitt
The art of life is to know how to enjoy a little and to endure very much.
Poetry is the universal language which the heart holds with nature and itself. He who has a contempt for poetry, cannot have much respect for himself, or for anything else.
William Hazlitt
Without the aid of prejudice and custom, I should not be able to find my way across the room.
William Hazlitt
Even in the common affairs of life, in love, friendship, and marriage, how little security have we when we trust our happiness in the hands of others!
William Hazlitt
Zeal will do more than knowledge.
We are not hypocrites in our sleep.
Our friends are generally ready to do everything for us, except the very thing we wish them to do.
William Hazlitt
Though familiarity may not breed contempt, it takes off the edge of admiration.
William Hazlitt
The most insignificant people are the most apt to sneer at others. They are safe from reprisals. And have no hope of rising in their own self esteem but by lowering their neighbors.
William Hazlitt
We grow tired of everything but turning others into ridicule, and congratulating ourselves on their defects.
William Hazlitt
The truly proud man knows neither superiors or inferiors. The first he does not admit of – the last he does not concern himself about.
William Hazlitt
Some people break promises for the pleasure of breaking them.
The only vice that cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy.
William Hazlitt
We find many things to which the prohibition of them constitutes the only temptation.
William Hazlitt
To a superior race of being the pretensions of mankind to extraordinary sanctity and virtue must seem… ridiculous.
William Hazlitt
We can bear to be deprived of everything but our self-conceit.
The art of pleasing consists in being pleased.
You know more of a road by having traveled it than by all the conjectures and descriptions in the world.
William Hazlitt
Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity a greater.
We often choose a friend as we do a mistress – for no particular excellence in themselves, but merely from some circumstance that flatters our self-love.
William Hazlitt
No man is truly great who is great only in his lifetime. The test of greatness is the page of history.
William Hazlitt
Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they ought to be.
William Hazlitt
If we wish to know the force of human genius, we should read Shakespeare. If we wish to see the insignificance of human learning, we may study his commentators.
William Hazlitt
The way to get on in the world is to be neither more nor less wise, neither better nor worse than your neighbours.
William Hazlitt
Hope is the best possession. None are completely wretched but those who are without hope. Few are reduced so low as that.
William Hazlitt
It is better to be able neither to read nor write than to be able to do nothing else.
William Hazlitt
To be remembered after we are dead, is but poor recompense for being treated with contempt while we are living.
William Hazlitt
The dupe of friendship, and the fool of love; have I not reason to hate and to despise myself? Indeed I do; and chiefly for not having hated and despised the world enough.
William Hazlitt
Almost every sect of Christianity is a perversion of its essence, to accommodate it to the prejudices of the world.
William Hazlitt
The more we do, the more we can do.
He who undervalues himself is justly undervalued by others.
Few things tend more to alienate friendship than a want of punctuality in our engagements. I have known the breach of a promise to dine or sup to break up more than one intimacy.
William Hazlitt
Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own.
Defoe says that there were a hundred thousand country fellows in his time ready to fight to the death against popery, without knowing whether popery was a man or a horse.
William Hazlitt
There is a heroism in crime as well as in virtue. Vice and infamy have their altars and their religion.
William Hazlitt
Reflection makes men cowards.
Dandyism is a variety of genius.
That which is not, shall never be; that which is, shall never cease to be. To the wise, these truths are self-evident.
William Hazlitt
There are few things in which we deceive ourselves more than in the esteem we profess to entertain for our friends. It is little better than a piece of quackery. The truth is, we think of them as we please, that is, as they please or displease us.
William Hazlitt
The humblest painter is a true scholar; and the best of scholars the scholar of nature.
William Hazlitt
No one ever approaches perfection except by stealth, and unknown to themselves.
William Hazlitt
Those who are at war with others are not at peace with themselves.
There is nothing good to be had in the country, or if there is, they will not let you have it.
William Hazlitt
A grave blockhead should always go about with a lively one – they show one another off to the best advantage.
William Hazlitt
I'm not smart, but I like to observe. Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.
William Hazlitt
There is no one thoroughly despicable. We cannot descend much lower than an idiot; and an idiot has some advantages over a wise man.
William Hazlitt
Satirists gain the applause of others through fear, not through love.
A wise traveler never despises his own country.
Grace in women has more effect than beauty.
Old friendships are like meats served up repeatedly, cold, comfortless, and distasteful. The stomach turns against them.
William Hazlitt
Good temper is one of the greatest preservers of the features.
One shining quality lends a lustre to another, or hides some glaring defect.
William Hazlitt
The mind of man is like a clock that is always running down, and requires to be constantly wound up.
William Hazlitt
We can scarcely hate anyone that we know.
A nickname is the heaviest stone that the devil can throw at a man. It is a bugbear to the imagination, and, though we do not believe in it, it still haunts our apprehensions.
William Hazlitt
Anyone who has passed though the regular gradations of a classical education, and is not made a fool by it, may consider himself as having had a very narrow escape.
William Hazlitt
He will never have true friends who is afraid of making enemies.
The soul of a journey is liberty, perfect liberty, to think, feel, do just as one pleases.
William Hazlitt
The perfect joys of heaven do not satisfy the cravings of nature.
The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.
William Hazlitt
Rules and models destroy genius and art.
A gentle word, a kind look, a good-natured smile can work wonders and accomplish miracles.
William Hazlitt
Wit is the salt of conversation, not the food.
Envy among other ingredients has a mixture of the love of justice in it. We are more angry at undeserved than at deserved good-fortune.
William Hazlitt
Poetry is all that is worth remembering in life.
If you give an audience a chance they will do half your acting for you.
Those who can command themselves command others.
To be happy, we must be true to nature and carry our age along with us.
People of genius do not excel in any profession because they work in it, they work in it because they excel.
William Hazlitt
We never do anything well till we cease to think about the manner of doing it.
William Hazlitt
Do not keep on with a mockery of friendship after the substance is gone – but part, while you can part friends. Bury the carcass of friendship: it is not worth embalming.
William Hazlitt
Life is the art of being well deceived; and in order that the deception may succeed it must be habitual and uninterrupted.
William Hazlitt
The seat of knowledge is in the head; of wisdom, in the heart. We are sure to judge wrong, if we do not feel right.
William Hazlitt
The English (it must be owned) are rather a foul-mouthed nation.
No truly great person ever thought themselves so.
The public have neither shame or gratitude.
Dr. Johnson was a lazy learned man who liked to think and talk better than to read or write; who, however, wrote much and well, but too often by rote.
William Hazlitt
There is no prejudice so strong as that which arises from a fancied exemption from all prejudice.
William Hazlitt
Those who make their dress a principal part of themselves, will, in general, become of no more value than their dress.
William Hazlitt
Learning is its own exceeding great reward.
Some one is generally sure to be the sufferer by a joke.
The most learned are often the most narrow minded.
We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.
William Hazlitt
A hair in the head is worth two in the brush.
When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy, it ceases to be a subject of interest.
William Hazlitt
No young man ever thinks he shall die.
We must be doing something to be happy.
Look up, laugh loud, talk big, keep the color in your cheek and the fire in your eye, adorn your person, maintain your health, your beauty and your animal spirits.
William Hazlitt
If you think you can win, you can win. Faith is necessary to victory.
Fame is the inheritance not of the dead, but of the living. It is we who look back with lofty pride to the great names of antiquity.
William Hazlitt
Prejudice is the child of ignorance.
A scholar is like a book written in a dead language. It is not every one that can read in it.
William Hazlitt
Everything is in motion. Everything flows. Everything is vibrating.