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Maria Edgeworth

  • Let the sexes mutually forgive each other their follies; or, what is much better, let them combine their talents for their general advantage.

  • ... surely it is much more generous to forgive and remember, than to forgive and forget.

  • ... an inaccurate use of words produces such a strange confusion in all reasoning, that in the heat of debate, the combatants, unable to distinguish their friends from their foes, fall promiscuously on both.

  • In real friendship the judgment, the genius, the prudence of each party become the common property of both.

  • Waste not, want not.

  • The Irish sometimes make and keep a vow against whiskey; these vows are usually limited to a short time.

  • I've a great fancy to see my own funeral afore I die.

  • All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, / All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.

  • ... if we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves ...

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • "Mademoiselle Panache," Moral Tales ()
  • Those who have lived in a house with spoiled children must have a lively recollection of the degree of torment they can inflict upon all who are within sight or hearing.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • "The Manufacturers," Popular Tales ()
  • ... tyranny and injustice always produce cunning and falsehood.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • "Lame Jervas," Popular Tales ()
  • It is quite fitting that charity should begin at home ... but then it should not end at home; for those that help nobody will find none to help them in time of need.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • "The Will," Popular Tales ()
  • How success changes the opinion of men!

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • "The Will," Popular Tales ()
  • The law, in our case, seems to make the right, and the very reverse ought to be done — the right should make the law.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • "The Grateful Negro," Popular Tales ()
  • Home! With what different sensations different people pronounce and hear that word pronounced!

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • "Out of Debt Out of Danger," Popular Tales ()
  • Health can make money, but money cannot make health.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • "Rosanna," Popular Tales ()
  • Business was his aversion; pleasure was his business.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • "The Contrast," Popular Tales ()
  • [He shook] his intended father-in-law's hand with that violence which expresses so much to English feelings ...

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • "Rosanna," Popular Tales ()
  • Habit is, to weak minds, a species of moral predestination, from which they have no power to escape.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • "The Manufacturers," Popular Tales ()
  • ... half the good intentions of my life have been frustrated by my unfortunate habit of putting things off till to-morrow.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • "To-Morrow," Popular Tales ()
  • I ... practiced all the arts of apology, evasion, and invisibility, to which procrastinators must sooner or later be reduced.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • "To-Morrow," Popular Tales ()
  • ... when driven to the necessity of explaining, I found that I did not myself understand what I meant.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • "To-Morrow," Popular Tales ()
  • ... there is no reasoning with imagination.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • "To-Morrow," Popular Tales ()
  • We perfectly agreed in our ideas of traveling; we hurried from place to place as fast as horses and wheels, and curses and guineas, could carry us.

  • 'Twas doing nothing was his curse; — / Is there a vice can plague us worse? / The wretch who digs the mine for bread, / Or ploughs, that others may be fed, / Feels less fatigue than that decreed / To him who cannot think or read.

  • Illness was a sort of occupation to me, and I was always sorry to get well.

  • Persons not habituated to reason often argue absurdly, because, from particular instances, they deduce general conclusions, and extend the result of their limited experience of individuals indiscriminately to whole classes.

  • The labor of thinking was so great to me, that having once come to a conclusion upon any subject, I would rather persist in it, right or wrong, than be at the trouble of going over the process again to revise and rectify my judgment.

  • Love occupies a vast space in a woman's thoughts, but fills a small portion in a man's life.

  • We are all apt to think that an opinion that differs from our own is a prejudice ...

  • Books only spoil the originality of genius. Very well for those who can't think for themselves — But when one has made up one's opinions, there is no use in reading.

  • First loves are not necessarily more foolish than others; but the chances are certainly against them. Proximity of time or place, a variety of accidental circumstances more than the essential merits of the object, often produce what is called first love.

  • ... he found that the spirits can be raised by self-complacency even more agreeably than by burgundy.

  • I'd get her off before you could say Jack Robinson.

  • Promises are dangerous things to ask or to give.

  • Well! some people talk of morality, and some of religion, but give me a little snug property.

  • ... it is safer to judge of people by their conduct to others than by their manners towards ourselves ...

  • ... a straight line is the shortest possible line between any two points — an axiom equally true in morals as in mathematics.

  • No man ever distinguished himself who could not bear to be laughed at.

  • ... she is ugly as sin.

  • ... you've always been living on prospects; for my part, I'd rather have a mole-hill in possession than a mountain in prospect.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • Ormond
    • ()
  • ... every man who takes a part in politics, especially in times when parties run high, must expect to be abused; they must bear it; and their friends must learn to bear it for them.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • Ormond
    • ()
  • This startling assertion could not bring his majesty's veracity into question; for according to his definition, and to the received opinion at his court, 'No man could be called drunk, so long as he could lie upon the ground without holding onto it.'

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • Ormond
    • ()
  • Justice satisfies everybody.

  • Come when you're called / And do as you're bid; / Shut the door after you / And you'll never be chid.

  • [On collectors of quotations:] How far our literature may in future suffer from these blighting swarms, will best be conceived by a glance at what they have already withered and blasted of the favourite productions of our most popular poets ...

  • The bore is good for promoting sleep; but though he causeth sleep in others, it is uncertain whether he ever sleeps himself; as few can keep awake in his company long enough to see. It is supposed that when he sleeps it is with his mouth open.

  • The bore is usually considered a harmless creature, or of that class of irrational bipeds who hurt only themselves.

  • The everlasting quotation-lover dotes on the husks of learning.

  • ... wit is often its own worst enemy.

  • When the mind is full of any one subject, that subject seems to recur with extraordinary frequency — it appears to pursue or to meet us at every turn: in every conversation that we hear in every book we open, in every newspaper we take up, the reigning idea recurs; and then we are surprised, and exclaim at these wonderful coincidences.

  • An orator is the worst person to tell a plain fact ...

  • It is little consolation, and no compensation, to the person who is hurt that the offender pleads he did not mean to say or do any thing rude: a rude thing is a rude thing — the intention is nothing — all we are to judge of is the fact.

  • ... the human heart, at whatever age, opens only to the heart that opens in return.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • Helen
    • ()
  • There is no moment like the present. ... The man who will not execute his resolutions when they are fresh upon him, can have no hope from them afterward. They will be dissipated, lost in the hurry and scurry of the world, or sunk in the slough of indolence.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • in Orison Swett Marden, Pushing to the Front ()
  • ... how impossible it is not to laugh in some company, or to laugh in others.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • 1809, in Augustus J.C. Hare, ed. The Life and Letters of Maria Edgeworth, vol. 1 ()
  • How is it that hope so powerfully excites, and fear so absolutely depresses all our faculties?

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • 1814, in Augustus J.C. Hare, ed., The Life and Letters of Maria Edgeworth, vol. 1 ()
  • ... why will friends publish all the trash they can scrape together of celebrated people?

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • 1821, in Augustus J.C. Hare, ed., The Life and Letters of Maria Edgeworth, vol. 2 ()
  • ... Agnes took to heart a kitten, who was very fond of her. This kitten, the first night she slept in her room, on wakening in the morning looked up from the hearth at Agnes, who was lying awake, but with her eyes half shut, and marked all puss's motions; after looking some instants, puss jumped up on the bed, crept softly forward and put her paw, with its glove on, upon one of Miss Bailie's eyelids and pushed it gently up; Miss Baillie looked at her fixedly, and puss, as if satisfied that her eyes were there and safe, went back to her station on the hearth and never troubled herself more about the matter.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • 1822, in Augustus J.C. Hare, ed., The Life and Letters of Maria Edgeworth, vol. 2 ()
  • Now flattery can never do good; twice cursed in the giving and the receiving, it ought to be.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • 1831, in Augustus J.C. Hare, ed., The Life and Letters of Maria Edgeworth, vol. 2 ()
  • Hope can produce the finest and most permanent springs of action.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • 1842, in Augustus J.C. Hare, ed., The Life and Letters of Maria Edgeworth, vol. 2 ()
  • Our pleasures in literature do not, I think, decline with age; last 1st of January was my eighty-second birthday, and I think that I had as much enjoyment from books as I ever had in my life.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • 1849, in Augustus J.C. Hare, ed., The Life and Letters of Maria Edgeworth, vol. 2 ()
  • ... sometimes the very faults of parents produce a tendency to opposite virtues in their children.

  • Those who are animated by hope can perform what would seem impossibilities to those who are under the depressing influence of fear.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • Popular Tales ()
  • It sometimes requires courage to fly from danger.

    • Maria Edgeworth,
    • "Mademoiselle Panache," Moral Tales ()

Maria Edgeworth, English-born Irish writer, educator

(1768 - 1849)