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William Hazlitt (1778 – 1830)


English writer remembered for his humanistic essays and literary criticism.
William Hazlitt
He who comes up to his own idea of greatness, must always have had a very low standard of it in his mind.
Hazlitt quotes
I cannot see the wit of walking and talking at the same time. When I am in the country, I wish to vegetate like the country.
Hazlitt
One shining quality lends a lustre to another, or hides some glaring defect.




Hazlitt William quotes
One of the pleasantest things in the world is going a journey; but I like to do it myself. I can enjoy society in a room; but out of doors, nature is company enough for me. I am then never less alone than when alone.
Hazlitt William
It [will-making] is the latest opportunity we have of exercising the natural perversity of the disposition ... This last act of our lives seldom belies the former tenor of them for stupidity, caprice, and unmeaning spite. All that we seem to think of is to manage matters so (in settling accounts with those who are so unmannerly as to survive us) as to do as little good, and to plague and disappoint as many people, as possible.
William Hazlitt quotes
We cannot by a little verbal sophistry confound the qualities of different minds, nor force opposite excellences into a union by all the intolerance in the world. ... If we have a taste for some one precise style or manner, we may keep it to ourselves and let others have theirs. If we are more catholic in our notions, and want variety of excellence and beauty, it is spread abroad for us to profusion in the variety of books and in the several growth of men's minds, fettered by no capricious or arbitrary rules.
William Hazlitt
I think it is a rule that men in business should not be taught other things. Any one will be almost sure to make money who has no other idea in his head. A college education, or intense study of abstract truth, will not enable a man to drive a bargain ... The best politicians are not those who are deeply grounded in mathematical or in ethical science. Rules stand in the way of expediency. Many a man has been hindered from pushing his fortune in the world by an early cultivation of his moral sense.
Hazlitt William quotes
This Journal, then, is a depository for every species of political sophistry and personal calumny. There is no abuse or corruption that does not there find a jesuitical palliation or a bare-faced vindication. There we meet the slime of hypocrisy, the varnish of courts, the cant of pedantry, the cobwebs of the law, the iron hand of power. Its object is as mischievous as the means by which it is pursued are odious.
Hazlitt
Reputation runs in a vicious circle, and Merit limps behind it, mortified and abashed at its own insignificance. It has been said that the test of fame or popularity is to consider the number of times your name is repeated by others ... So, if you see the same name staring you in the face in great letters at the corner of every street, you involuntarily think the owner of it must be a great man to occupy so large a space in the eye of the town. The appeal is made, in the first instance, to the senses, but it sinks below the surface into the mind. There are various ways of playing one's-self off before the public, and keeping one's name alive. The newspapers, the lamp-posts, the walls of empty houses, the shutters of windows, the blank covers of magazines and reviews, are open to every one.
Hazlitt William
Death is the greatest evil, because it cuts off hope.
William Hazlitt
Thought depends on the habitual exercise of the speculative faculties; action, on the determination of the will. The one assigns reasons for things, the other puts causes into act. ... Such is the effeminacy of the speculative and philosophical temperament, compared with the promptness and vigour of the practical! ... Reasoners in general are undecided, wavering, and sceptical, or yield at last to the weakest motive as most congenial to their feeble habit of soul.




William Hazlitt quotes
Genius, like humanity, rusts for want of use.
William Hazlitt
Anyone must be mainly ignorant or thoughtless, who is surprised at everything he sees; or wonderfully conceited who expects everything to conform to his standard of propriety.
Hazlitt quotes
They [universities] may be said to resemble antiquated coquettes of the last age, who think everything ridiculous and intolerable but what was in fashion when they were young, and yet are standing proofs of the progress of taste and the vanity of human pretensions. Our universities are, in a great measure, become cisterns to hold, not conduits to disperse knowledge. ... they can only be of service as a check-weight on the too hasty and rapid career of innovation. ... The unavoidable aim of all corporate bodies of learning is not to grow wise, or teach others wisdom, but to prevent any one else from being or seeming wiser than themselves.
Hazlitt William
No young man believes he shall ever die.
Hazlitt William quotes
The mind of man is like a clock that is always running down, and requires to be as constantly wound up.
William Hazlitt
For my own part, as I once said, I like a friend the better for having faults that one can talk about.
William Hazlitt quotes
Happy are they who live in the dream of their own existence, and see all things in the light of their own minds; who walk by faith and hope; to whom the guiding star of their youth still shines from afar, and into whom the spirit of the world has not entered! They have not been "hurt by the archers", nor has the iron entered their souls. The world has no hand on them.
William Hazlitt
The perfect joys of heaven do not satisfy the cravings of nature.
Hazlitt William
Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity is a greater. Possession pampers the mind; privation trains and strengthens it.


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