A blind man knows he cannot see, and is glad to be led, though it be by a dog; but he that is blind in his understanding, which is the worst blindness of all, believes he sees as the best, and scorns a guide.

Samuel Butler

A genius can never expect to have a good time anywhere, if he is a genuine article, but America is about the last place in which life will be endurable at all for an inspired writer of any kind.

Samuel Butler

A man should be just cultured enough to be able to look with suspicion upon culture at first, not second hand.

Samuel Butler

A sense of humor keen enough to show a man his own absurdities will keep him from the commission of all sins, or nearly all, save those worth committing.

Samuel Butler

All philosophies, if you ride them home, are nonsense, but some are greater nonsense than others.

Samuel Butler

An empty house is like a stray dog or a body from which life has departed.

Samuel Butler

An open mind is all very well in its way, but it ought not to be so open that there is no keeping anything in or out of it. It should be capable of shutting its doors sometimes, or it may be found a little draughty.

Samuel Butler

Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man of some sense to know how to lie well.

Samuel Butler

Arguments are like fire-arms which a man may keep at home but should not carry about with him.

Samuel Butler

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

Samuel Butler

Books want to be born: I never make them. They come to me and insist on being written, and on being such and such.

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

Friendship is like money, easier made than kept.

Samuel Butler

God cannot alter the past, that is why he is obliged to connive at the existence of historians.

Samuel Butler

Half the vices which the world condemns most loudly have seeds of good in them and require moderated use rather than total abstinence.

Samuel Butler

Happiness and misery depend not on how high up or low down you are – they depend not upon these, but on the direction in which you are tending.

Samuel Butler

He has spent his life best who has enjoyed it most. God will take care that we do not enjoy it any more than is good for us.

Samuel Butler

He that complies against his will is of his own opinion still.

Samuel Butler

I believe that more unhappiness comes from this source than from any other – I mean from the attempt to prolong family connections unduly and to make people hang together artificially who would never naturally do so

Samuel Butler

I really do not see much use in exalting the humble and meek; they do not remain humble and meek long when they are exalted.

Samuel Butler

If God wants us to do a thing, he should make his wishes sufficiently clear. Sensible people will wait till he has done this before paying much attention to him.

Samuel Butler

If the headache would only precede the intoxication, alcoholism would be a virtue.

Samuel Butler

If you follow reason far enough it always leads to conclusions that are contrary to reason.

Samuel Butler

In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved.

Samuel Butler

It is better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all.

Samuel Butler

It is our less conscious thoughts and our less conscious actions which mainly mould our lives and the lives of those who spring from us.

Samuel Butler

Justice is my being allowed to do whatever I like. Injustice is whatever prevents my doing so.

Samuel Butler

Learning is like a great house that requires a great charge to keep it in repair.

Samuel Butler

Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule.

Samuel Butler

Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.

Samuel Butler

Life is not an exact science, it is an art.

Samuel Butler

Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.

Samuel Butler

Parents are the last people on earth who ought to have children.

Samuel Butler

People care more about being thought to have taste than about being thought either good, clever or amiable.

Samuel Butler

Science, after all, is only an expression for our ignorance of our own ignorance.

Samuel Butler

Silence is not always tact, but it is tact that is golden, not silence.

Samuel Butler

The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.

Samuel Butler

The most important service rendered by the press and the magazines is that of educating people to approach printed matter with distrust.

Samuel Butler

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

Samuel Butler

The one serious conviction that a man should have is that nothing is to be taken too seriously.

Samuel Butler

The public buys its opinions as it buys its meat, or takes in its milk, on the principle that it is cheaper to do this than to keep a cow. So it is, but the milk is more likely to be watered.

Samuel Butler

The truest characters of ignorance are vanity, and pride and arrogance.

Samuel Butler

The world will only, in the end, follow those who have despised as well as served it.

Samuel Butler

The worst thing that can happen to a man is to lose his money, the next worst his health, the next worst his reputation.

Samuel Butler

The youth of an art is, like the youth of anything else, its most interesting period. When it has come to the knowledge of good and evil it is stronger, but we care less about it.

Samuel Butler

There are more fools than knaves in the world, else the knaves would not have enough to live upon.

Samuel Butler

There are two great rules of life; the one general and the other particular. The first is that everyone can, in the end, get what he wants, if he only tries. That is the general rule. The particular rule is that every individual is, more or less, an exception to the rule.

Samuel Butler

There is nothing so unthinkable as thought, unless it be the entire absence of thought.

Samuel Butler

They say the test of literary power is whether a man can write an inscription. I say, ‘Can he name a kitten?’

Samuel Butler

Those who have never had a father can at any rate never know the sweets of losing one. To most men the death of his father is a new lease of life.

Samuel Butler

To do great work a man must be very idle as well as very industrious.

Samuel Butler

To himself everyone is an immortal. He may know that he is going to die, but he can never know that he is dead.

Samuel Butler

To live is like to love-all reason is against it, and all healthy instinct for it.

Samuel Butler

Virtue knows that it is impossible to get on without compromise, and tunes herself, as it were, a trifle sharp to allow for an inevitable fall in playing.

Samuel Butler

We all like to forgive, and love best not those who offend us least, nor who have done most for us, but those who make it most easy for us to forgive them.

Samuel Butler

We are not won by arguments that we can analyze but by the tone and temper, by the manner which is the man himself.

Samuel Butler

When you have told anyone you have left him a legacy, the only decent thing to do is die at once.

Samuel Butler

Words are not as satisfactory as we should like them to be, but, like our neighbors, we have got to live with them and must make the best and not the worst of them.

Samuel Butler

You can do very little with faith, but you can do nothing without it.

Samuel Butler

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