Samuel Butler

«Prayers are to men as dolls are to children.»

Samuel Butler


«Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.»

Samuel Butler


«We want words to do more than they can. We try to do with them what comes to very much like trying to mend a watch with a pickaxe or to paint a miniature with a mop; we expect them to help us to grip and dissect that which in ultimate essence is as ungrippable as shadow. Nevertheless there they are; we have got to live with them, and the wise course is to treat them as we do our neighbours, and make the best and not the worst of them.»

Samuel Butler


«I remember one incident which bears upon this part of the treatise. The gentleman who gave it to me had asked to see my tobacco-pipe; he examined it carefully, and when he came to the little protuberance at the bottom of the bowl he seemed much delighted, and exclaimed that it must be rudimentary. I asked him what he meant.»

Samuel Butler


«Books are like imprisoned souls till someone takes them down from a shelf and frees them.»

Samuel Butler


«Embryos think with each stage of their development that they have now reached the only condition that really suits them. This, they say, must certainly be their last, inasmuch as its close will be so great a shock that nothing can survive it. Every change is a shock; every shock is a pro tanto death. What we call death is only a shock great enough to destroy our power to recognize a past and a present as resembling one another.»

Samuel Butler


«[P]oetry resembles metaphysics: one does not mind one's own, but one does not like anyone else's.»

Samuel Butler


«Books are like imprisoned souls until someone takes them down from a shelf and frees them.»

Samuel Butler


«Words are clothes that thoughts wear»

Samuel Butler


«The oldest books are still only just out to those who have not read them.»

Samuel Butler


«Truth might be heroic, but it was not within the range of practical domestic politics.»

Samuel Butler


«Every man's work, whether it be literature, or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.»

Samuel Butler


«To do great work one must be very idle as well as very industrious.»

Samuel Butler


«Sensible people get the greater part of their own dying done during their own lifetime»

Samuel Butler