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The best doctors in the world are Doctor Diet, Doctor Quiet, and Doctor Merryman.

JONATHAN SWIFT, Polite Conversation

Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.

JONATHAN SWIFT, A Critical Essay upon the Faculties of the Mind

We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.

JONATHAN SWIFT, Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies

Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own.

JONATHAN SWIFT, preface, The Battle of the Books

Fingers were made before forks, and hands before knives.

JONATHAN SWIFT, Polite Conversation

'Tis an old maxim in the schools,
That flattery's the food of fools;
Yet now and then your men of wit
Will condescend to take a bit.

JONATHAN SWIFT, Cadenus and Vanessa

Conversation is but carving!
Give no more to every guest
Than he's able to digest.

JONATHAN SWIFT, Conversation

Those dreams that on the silent night intrude, and with false flitting shapes our minds delude ... are mere productions of the brain. And fools consult interpreters in vain.


Ambition often puts men upon doing the meanest offices; so climbing is performed in the same posture with creeping.

JONATHAN SWIFT, "Thoughts on Various Subjects"

I am of the level with common Astrologers; who, with an old paltry cant, and a few pot-hooks for planets to amuse the vulgar, have too long been suffered to abuse the world.

JONATHAN SWIFT, Predictions for the Year 1708

A jargon form'd from the lost language, wit,
Confounded in that Babel of the pit;
Form'd by diseased conceptions, weak and wild,
Sick lust of souls, and an abortive child;
Born between whores and fops, by lewd compacts,
Before the play, or else between the acts;
Nor wonder, if from such polluted minds
Should spring such short and transitory kinds.

JONATHAN SWIFT, "To Mr. Congreve", The Works of Jonathan Swift: Miscellaneous poems

Although the devil be the father of lies, he seems, like other great inventors, to have lost much of his reputation by the continual improvements that have been made upon him.

JONATHAN SWIFT, The Examiner, Nov. 9, 1710

And though the villain 'scape a while, he feels
Slow vengeance, like a bloodhound, at his heels.

JONATHAN SWIFT, "Horace, Book III Ode II: To the Earl of Oxford, Late Lord-Treasurer"

It is with theories as with wells; you may see to the bottom of the deepest if there be any water there, while another shall pass for wondrous profound when it is merely shallow, dark, and empty.

JONATHAN SWIFT, attributed, A Historical Archaeology of the Modern World

No preacher is listened to but time; which gives us the same train and turn of thought that elder people have tried in vain to put into our heads.

JONATHAN SWIFT, "Thoughts on Various Subjects", The Works of Jonathan Swift

I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.

JONATHAN SWIFT, "Thoughts on Various Subjects", The Works of Jonathan Swift

Without [simplicity] no human performance can arrive at perfection.

JONATHAN SWIFT, The Works of Jonathan Swift

As the best law is founded upon reason, so are the best manners. And as some lawyers have introduced unreasonable things into common law, so likewise many teachers have introduced absurd things into common good manners.

JONATHAN SWIFT, A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding

Although men are accused for not knowing their own weakness, yet perhaps as few know their own strength; it is in men as in soils, where sometimes there is a vein of gold which the owner knows not of.

JONATHAN SWIFT, "Thoughts on Various Subjects", The Works of Jonathan Swift

When a great genius appears in the world you may know him by this sign; that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.

JONATHAN SWIFT, Abolishing Christianity and Other Essays

I know Sir John will go, though he was sure it would rain cats and dogs.

JONATHAN SWIFT, Polite Conversation

What some invent the rest enlarge.

JONATHAN SWIFT, Journal of a Modern Lady

Good manners is the art of making those people easy with whom we converse; whoever makes the fewest persons uneasy is the best bred man in company.

JONATHAN SWIFT, A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding

An idle reason lessens the weight of the good ones you gave before.

JONATHAN SWIFT, The Works of the Reverend Dr. Jonathan Swift: Miscellanies in prose

We should never wed an opinion for better or for worse; what we take upon good grounds, we should lay down upon better.

JONATHAN SWIFT, attributed, Day's Collacon

Promises and pie-crusts are made to be broken.

JONATHAN SWIFT, "Polite Conversation", The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift

The first instance of men's neglect, is in their frequent absence from the church. There is no excuse so trivial, that will not pass upon some men's consciences to excuse their attendance at the public worship of God.

JONATHAN SWIFT, "On Sleeping In Church"

As the common forms of good manners were intended for regulating the conduct of those who have weak understandings; so they have been corrupted by the persons for whose use they were contrived.

JONATHAN SWIFT, A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding

He was a bold man that first eat an oyster.

JONATHAN SWIFT, Polite Conversation


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