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“Occasional Reflections” Excerpts – 1

Categories: Psychology

Excerpts are taken from Occasional Reflections, Principally for the Use of Schools, written by George Dillwyn, and published in 1815. These quotes are found in the first chapter (pages 3 through 28), which features an alphabetical presentation of short quotes.

When reading older works like this one, it’s better to use a wholesome dictionary… I’d suggest the Noah Webster Dictionary (1828), found online at


Associate with the wise.
Affliction is the school of wisdom.
Anger is a real approach to insanity.
Avoid all affectation.
A faithful friend is invaluable.
A quiet conscience is the balm of life.


Be more ready to hear than to speak.
Bad company ruins many.
Beauty soon fades.
Beware of parties and factions.
Boasting is one mark of a coward.
Be willing to do well without praise.


Contentment is true riches.
Custom without reason is ancient error.
Contend not against right.
Contradict with caution.
Clean hearts make clear heads.
Confine thy studies to what is useful.


Do well and boast not.
Denying a fault doubles it.
Distrust is the bane of friendship.
Desire to be innocent than to appear so.
Divulge not a secret.
Discretion is a cardinal virtue.


Endeavour to improve.
Examine motives rather than effects.
Excess is always hurtful.
Extravagance in apparel is costly folly.
Exercise promotes health.
Every deviation from virtue is an approach to vice.
Early rising is an important habit.
Example enforces precept.
Ever consider adulation as apocryphal.
Economy is better than an income.
Egotism is disgusting.
Experience is a convincing teacher.
Eat salt with the wise rather than sugar with flatterers.


Frugality is a good revenue.
Few are innocently idle.
Fresh air is a free benefit.
Form is good, but not formality.
From slanderers turn away.
Few know the value of a friend till they lose him.
Fashion is aptly compared to an ignis fatuus.
Feasts often produce fasts.
Flattery is the food of vanity.
Fair appearances sometimes cover foul minds.
From evil things and vain, strive ever to refrain.
Forced happiness is a solecism in terms.


Good seldom comes of ill gotten pelf.
Grasp not at shadows.
Good men pass by offenses, and shun revenge.
Gradual progression often out-travels bustling haste.
Good pilots gain much of their reputation from storms.
Grudge not in giving.
Guard against passion.
Give not to be seen.
Goodness only is true greatness.
Good manners engage respect.
Gloss not thy imperfections.
Great freshets cleanse foul shores.


He is a wise man who knows his own heart.
He who does his best, doth well.
He is tall enough who walks uprightly.
He is not poor who hath enough.
Hear patiently, if thou wouldest speak well.
He who conquers himself, is a hero indeed.
Haste often occasions waste.
High winds try tall trees.
Honesty is better than policy.
Humility is the way to true honour.
Honesty has one face — flattery two.
Happiness is the crown of virtue.

I, J

It is true courage, to shun false pleasure.
Indolence is an inlet to vice.
Integrity fortifies the mind.
Jest not on serious subjects.
In slander take no part.
Judge not hastily.
Innocence loves the light.
Ingratitude is odious.
Jest not with sacred things.
Jaundiced eyes see most things yellow.
Idleness often leads to indigence.
If thou meanest to advance, eye those before thee.
If thou wouldest disarm sin, resist its first motions.


Kindness to dependants engages their respect.
Keen tools require skillful hands.
Kindness generates its kind.
Know thyself.
Keep to thy word with care.
Keep within compass.
Kindness pacifies anger.
Knavery often outwits itself.
Knowledge is often opposed to wisdom.
Kindness neglected makes friendship suspected.
Knots that may be untied, should not be cut.
Kiss the rod, that corrects thy errors.
Keep on good terms with thy conscience.


Let no injuries provoke thee to retaliate them.
Labour becomes easy by practice.
Let all thy amusements be innocent.
Learn nothing that must be unlearned.
Learn to estimate all things by their real usefulness.
Learn in silence what thou wouldest make thy own.
Let they vices die before thee.
Let not the sun go down before thy anger.
Love and fidelity are inseparable.
Launch not thy bark in a storm.
Let justice hold, and mercy turn the scale.
Laziness is easily overtaken by want.
Let others faults remind thee of thy own.


Merit shuns applause.
Make not another’s quarrels thine.
Mirth at the expense of virtue, is pregnant with woe.
Meddle not where thou hast no business.
Many assume virtue’s livery, who shun her service.
Men, like watches, should be valued by their goings.
Many of our wants are imaginary.
Much laughter denotes folly.
More have speech than wisdom.
Make no excuse for doing wrong.
Mistake not signs for substance.
Men may be judged by their associates and books.
Many know more of right than they practise.


Negligence exposes us to temptation.
No one can willfully injure another without hurting himself.
Neither wealth nor honour can heal a wounded conscience.
Never utter a falsehood even for truth’s sake.
Nibble not at temptation.
Noon-day is dark to the blind.
Never indulge a vicious thought, lest into action it be brought.
Nicety is not always neatness.
Nothing injurious can be truly religious.
No one loses his virtue against his will.
Neap tides discover dangerous shoals.
None are more rich than those who are content.
Nature has provided us with one tongue, but with two ears.


One blot is often a prelude to many.
Overcome evil with good.
Our real wants are cheaply supplied.
Our reputation depends much on the company we prefer.
Offer advice with caution.
On willing and nilling much depends.
Observe thy own, rather than the mistakes of others.
Obstinacy is one sign of a bad cause.
Our deepest knowledge is ourselves to know.
Ostentatious liberality is its own pay-master.
One vice is more expensive than many virtues.
Open reproof is better than secret disaffection.


Promise with caution.
Prosperity gains friends, and adversity tries them.
Piety is the best panoply.
Passion leaves us weaker than it finds us.
Prefer substance to shadows.
Patterns are more wanted than precepts.
Practice lessens difficulty.
Pride and ingratitude are nearly related.
Pry not into the affairs of others.
Praise is most shunned by the praise-worthy.
Prosperity is not less dangerous to virtue than adversity.


Quarrels are easier begun than ended.
Quagmires commonly have smooth surfaces.
Quacks are generally more venturesome than skilful.
Quarrelsome people do better at fasts than feasts.
Quietude of mind is virtue’s asylum.
Quit all bad company.
Qualify thyself for action by study.
Quarrels and strife, avoid through life.
Quiet minds, like smooth waters, reflect clearly.
Quaint sayings are often long remembered.
Questions are easier proposed, than rightly answered.
Quibbling is nearly akin to lying.


Religion abases the lofty, and exalts the lowly.
Rectitude of will is the perfection of virtue.
Riches make us neither wise nor healthy.
Right reason is never dissonant to truth.
Reports often out-travel truth.
Reformers should begin with themselves.
Rather follow the wise than lead the foolish.
Reply cautiously.
Remove not a land-mark.
Reliance on Providence is peaceful.
Reduce thy wants to thy means.
Religion is best understood where most practiced.
Rather muse than contend on doubtful subjects.


Self-conceit is not easily convinced.
Suit thy ends to thy means.
Silence is the nurse of Wisdom.
Such as we sow we reap.
Speak little to speak well.
Suppress evil propensities.
Speak modestly of thyself.
Silent streams are often deep.
Simple truth will bear sifting.
Sin unrepented of, is not forsaken.
Small leaks may empty large casks.
Sincerity is essential to friendship.
Seek not a friend among the dissolute.
Slow and steady often out-travels haste.


Those vices which resemble virtue, are most dangerous.
Truth is never evasive.
To reason with the angry, is like whispering to the deaf.
Temperance is the best physick.
Trust not implicitly to the eyes of others.
Think often of the close of time.
Trust not a bribed man.
Think twice to speak once.
True virtue ennobles.
The first lesson for a child is obedience.
This life is a passage, not a port.
The smiles of the world are deceitful.
To be happy without holiness, is impossible.
True repentance is ever ready to repair injuries.

U, V

Upbraid not the penitent.
Vex not him whom thou wishest to convince.
Unvexed by sin, the mind enjoys a calm.
Virtue ennobles the poor, and makes the rich honourable.
Useless studies are a busy idleness.
Vanity easily mistakes sneers for smiles.
Varnish not rotten wood.
Vindicate not thy errors.
Vice leads to wretchedness.
Unkindness is a self-tormentor.
Virtue is a celestial shield.
Unripe fruits are not wholesome.
Unasked advice, be not too prompt to give.


Wisdom, though serious, is never sullen.
Withdraw from slanderers.
Wish rather to live well than long.
Wisdom inclines its disciples to solitude.
Wisdom is often learned in the school of sorrow.
Wolves first scatter, and then devour the flock.
Wishing is not a sign of wisdom.
Wide waters are sometimes very shallow.
Wishing is the labour of indolence.
We learn wisdom by experience.
Where wisdom leads, peace succeeds.
We ought to live, as we would wish to die.


Xenophanes preferred reputation to wealth.
Xenophon encouraged learning.
Xenophilus is said to have lived 107 years without sickness.


Yield not to temptation.
Yea and nay our rights convey.
Yarr not at the hand that feeds thee.
Yare hands make light work.
Yearn not after forbidden fruit.
Youth is the season of improvement.
Youth are often more frank than prudent.
Young twigs are easier bent than boughs.
Youth should be a treasury of good habits.


Zeal needs a curb.
Zeal, without knowledge, is like wild-fire.
Zeal, untempered, does more harm than good.
Zeal for pure virtue, let thy actions shew.
Zig-zag courses make the journey long.
Zanies are troublesome companions.
Zealots are seldom distinguishable by charity.
Zones relate to climates, and are divided into the torrid, frigid and temperate.
Zephyrs, refreshing breezes.
Zoography, a scientific treatise on animals.

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