Quotes by William Makepeace Thackeray
Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by William Makepeace Thackeray. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.
Wikipedia Summary for William Makepeace Thackeray
William Makepeace Thackeray (18 July 1811 – 24 December 1863) was a British novelist, author and illustrator. He is known for his satirical works, particularly his 1848 novel Vanity Fair, a panoramic portrait of British society, and the 1844 novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon, which was adapted for a 1975 film by Stanley Kubrick.
True love is better than glory.
If a man's character is to be abused, say what you will, there's nobody like a relation to do the business.
A snob is that man or woman who is always pretending to be something better especially richer or more fashionable than he is.
Here is a minute. It may be my love is dead, but here is a minute to kneel over the grave and pray by it.
Oh, those women! They nurse and cuddle their presentiments, and make darlings of their ugliest thoughts.
What, indeed, does not that word cheerfulness imply? It means a contented spirit, it means a pure heart, it means a kind and loving disposition; it means humility and charity; it means a generous appreciation of others, and a modest opinion of self.
Tis misfortune that awakens ingenuity, or fortitude, or endurance, in hearts where these qualities had never come to life but for the circumstance which gave them a being.
Mark to yourself the gradual way in which you have been prepared for, and are now led by an irresistible necessity to enter upon your great labour.
But think how mysterious and often unaccountable it is -- that lottery of life which gives to this man the purple and fine linen, and sends to the other rags for garments and dogs for comforters.
I wonder is it because men are cowards in heart that they admire bravery so much, and place military valor so far beyond every other quality for reward and worship.
I hope the artist who illustrates this work will take care to do justice to his portrait. Mr. Clive himself, let that painter be assured, will not be too well pleased if his countenance and figure do not receive proper attention.
You can't order remembrance out of the mind; and a wrong that was a wrong yesterday must be a wrong to-morrow.
To our betters eve can reconcile ourselves, if you please -- respecting them sincerely, laughing at their jokes, making allowance for their stupidities, meekly suffering their insolence; but we can't pardon our equals going beyond us.
It is all very well for you, who have probably never seen any spiritual manifestations, to talk as you do; but if you had seen what I have witnessed you would hold a different opinion.
When one fib becomes due as it were, you must forge another to take up the old acceptance; and so the stock of your lies in circulation inevitably multiplies, and the danger of detection increases every day.
Love seems to survive life, and to reach beyond it. I think we take it with us past the grave. Do we not still give it to those who have left us? May we not hope that they feel it for us, and that we shall leave it here in one or two fond bosoms, when we also are gone?
Ah! gracious Heaven gives us eyes to see our own wrong, however dim age may make them; and knees not too stiff to kneel, in spite of years, cramp, and rheumatism.
Ah me! we wound where we never intended to strike; we create anger where we never meant harm; and these thoughts are the thorns in our cushion.
It is from the level of calamities, not that of every-day life, that we learn impressive and useful lessons.
Next to eating good dinners, a healthy man with a benevolent turn of mind, must like, I think, to read about them.
Nature has written a letter of credit upon some men's faces that is honored wherever presented. You cannot help trusting such men. Their very presence gives confidence. There is promise to pay in their faces which gives confidence and you prefer it to another man's endorsement. Character is credit.
A good woman is the loveliest flower that blooms under heaven; and we look with love and wonder upon its silent grace, its pure fragrance, its delicate bloom of beauty.
The great moments of life are but moments like the others. Your doom is spoken in a word or two. A single look from the eyes; a mere pressure of the hand, may decide it; or of the lip,s though they cannot speak.
Who has not remarked the readiness with which the closest of friends and honestest of men suspect and accuse each other of cheating when they fall out on money matters? Everybody does it. Everybody is right, I suppose, and the world is a rogue.
At certain periods of life, we live years of emotion in a few weeks, and look back on those times as on great gaps between the old life and the new.
When a man is in love with one woman in a family, it is astonishing how fond he becomes of every person connected with it.
Learn to admire rightly; the great pleasure of life is that. Note what the great men admired; they admired great things; narrow spirits admire basely, and worship meanly.
Might I give counsel to any man, I would say to him, try to frequent the company of your betters. In books and in life, that is the most wholesome society; learn to admire rightly; the great pleasure of life is that. Note what great men admire.
Let us people who are so uncommonly clever and learned have a great tenderness and pity for the poor folks who are not endowed with the prodigious talents which we have.
There are other books in a man's library besides Ovid, and after dawdling ever so long at a woman's knee, one day he gets up and is free. We have all been there; we have all had the fever -- the strongest and the smallest, from Samson, Hercules, Rinaldo, downward: but it burns out, and you get well.
When I say that I know women, I mean I know that I don't know them. Every single woman I ever knew is a puzzle to me, as, I have no doubt, she is to herself.
Sure, love vincit omnia; is immeasurably above all ambition, more precious than wealth, more noble than name. He knows not life who knows not that: he hath not felt the highest faculty of the soul who hath not enjoyed it.
At that comfortable tavern on Pontchartrain we had a bouillabaisse than which a better was never eaten at Marseilles; and not the least headache in the morning, I give you my word; on the contrary, you only wake with a sweet refreshing thirst for claret and water.
Why do they always put mud into coffee on board steamers? Why does the tea generally taste of boiled boots?
Since the days of Adam, there has been hardly a mischief done in this world but a woman has been at the bottom of it.
What man's life is not overtaken by one or more of those tornadoes that send us out of the course, and fling us on rocks to shelter as best we may?
Presently, we were aware of an odour gradually coming towards us, something musky, fiery, savoury, mysterious, -- a hot drowsy smell, that lulls the senses, and yet enflames them, -- the truffles were coming.
Lucky he who has been educated to bear his fate, whatsoever it may be, by an early example of uprightness, and a childish training in honor.
All amusements to which virtuous women are not admitted, are, rely upon it, deleterious in their nature.
Oh, Vanity of vanities! How wayward the decrees of Fate are; How very weak the very wise, How very small the very great are!
There is no good in living in a society where you are merely the equal of everybody else. The true pleasure of life is to live with your inferiors.
Oh, my young friends, how delightful is the beginning of a love-business, and how undignified, sometimes, the end!
We can't all be lions in this world. There must be some lambs, harmless, kindly, gregarious creatures for eating and shearing.
Tis hard with respect to Beauty, that its possessor should not have a life enjoyment of it, but be compelled to resign it after, at the most, some forty years lease.
How grateful are we -- how touched a frank and generous heart is for a kind word extended to us in our pain! The pressure of a tender hand nerves a man for an operation, and cheers him for the dreadful interview with the surgeon.
Every man ought to be in love a few times in his life, and to have a smart attack of the fever. You are better for it when it is over: the better for your misfortune, if you endure it with a manly heart; how much the better for success, if you win it and a good wife into the bargain!
To endure is greater than to dare; to tire out hostile fortune; to be daunted my no difficulty; to keep heart when all have lost it; to go through intrigue spotless; to forgo even ambition when the end is gained -- who can say this is not greatness?
One of the greatest of a great man's qualities is success; 't is the result of all the others; 't is a latent power in him which compels the favor of the gods, and subjugates fortune.
Under the magnetism of friendship the modest man becomes bold; the shy, confident; the lazy, active; and the impetuous, prudent and peaceful.
This Bouillabaisse a noble dish is -- A sort of soup or broth, or brew, Or hotchpotch of all sorts of fishes, That Greenwich never could outdo; Green herbs, red peppers, mussels, saffron, Soles, onions, garlic, roach, and dace; All these you eat at Terre's tavern, In that one dish of Bouillabaisse.
She lived in her past life -- every letter seemed to recall some circumstance of it. How well she remembered them all! His looks and tones, his dress, what he said and how -- these relics and remembrances of dead affection were all that were left her in the world.
Cheerfulness means a contented spirit, a pure heart, a kind and loving disposition; it means humility and ~ charity, a generous appreciation of others, and a modest opinion of self.
The affection of young ladies is of as rapid growth as Jack's beanstalk, and reaches up to the sky in a night.
If fathers are sometimes sulky at the appearance of the destined son-in-law, is it not a fact that mothers become sentimental and, as it were, love their own loves over again.
Mr Moss's courtyard is railed in like a cage, lest the gentlemen who are boarding with him should take a fancy to escape from his hospitality.
They talked about each others' houses, and characters, and families -- just as the Joneses do about the Smiths.
Everybody in Vanity Fair must have remarked how well those live who are comfortably and thoroughly in debt; how they deny themselves nothing; how jolly and easy they are in their minds.
Vanity Fair is a very vain, wicked, foolish place, full of all sorts of humbugs and falsenesses and pretensions.
The wicked are wicked, no doubt, and they go astray and they fall, and they come by their deserts; but who can tell the mischief which the very virtuous do?
Ah! Vanitas Vanitatum! Which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? or, having it, is satisfied?-Come, children, let us shut up the box and the puppets, for our play is played out.
The moral world has no particular objection to vice, but an insuperable repugnance to hearing vice called by its proper name.
If you are not allowed to touch the heart sometimes in spite of syntax, and are not to be loved until you all know the difference between trimeter and trameter, may all Poetry go to the deuce, and every schoolmaster perish miserably!
Some cynical Frenchman has said that there are two parties to a love-transaction: the one who loves and the other who condescends to be so treated.
So, with their usual sense of justice, ladies argue that because a woman is handsome, therefore she is a fool. O ladies, ladies! there are some of you who are neither handsome nor wise.
She had not character enough to take to drinking, and moaned about, slip-shod and in curl-papers, all day.
Always to be right, always to trample forward, and never to doubt, are not these the great qualities with which dullness takes the lead in the world?
The captain would...turn off the conversation, like a consummate man of the world, to some topic of general interest, such as the Opera, the Prince's last ball at Carlton House, or the weather -- that blessing to society.
Let the man who has to make his fortune in life remember this maxim. Attacking is his only secret. Dare, and the world always yields: or, if it beat you sometimes, dare again, and it will succumb.
It was in the reign of George II. that the above-named personages lived and quarrelled ; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.
What is wanted for the nonce is, that folks should be as agreeable as possible in conversation and demeanor; so that good humor may be said to be one of the very best articles of dress one can wear in society.
Then sing as Martin Luther sang, As Doctor Martin Luther sang, Who loves not wine, woman and song, He is a fool his whole life long.
You, who are ashamed of your poverty, and blush for your calling, are a snob; as are you who boast of your wealth.
What woman, however old, has not the bridal-favours and raiment stowed away, and packed in lavender, in the inmost cupboards of her heart?
A lady who sets her heart upon a lad in uniform must prepare to change lovers pretty quickly, or her life will be but a sad one.
If a man has committed wrong in life, I don't know any moralist more anxious to point his errors out to the world than his own relations.
A clever, ugly man every now and then is successful with the ladies, but a handsome fool is irresistible.
If a secret history of books could be written, and the author's private thoughts and meanings noted down alongside of his story, how many insipid volumes would become interesting, and dull tales excite the reader!
The world is a looking glass and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face.
The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it, and it will in turn look sourly upon you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind companion; and so let all young persons take their choice.
There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up a pen to write.
It is best to love wisely, no doubt; but to love foolishly is better than not to be able to love at all.
Do not be in a hurry to succeed. What would you have to live for afterwards? Better make the horizon your goal; it will always be ahead of you.
Let a man who has to make his fortune in life remember this maxim: Attacking is the only secret. Dare and the world yields, or if it beats you sometimes, dare it again and you will succeed.
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Short Love Quotes