Explore 12 timeless spiritual pointings accompanied with 100+ powerful quotes.

Jonathan Swift Quotes

When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.
Jonathan Swift (Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies, 1711 - 1726)
Every dog must have his day.
Jonathan Swift
Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own.
Jonathan Swift (The Battle of the Books - Preface, 1704)
A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.
Jonathan Swift
If Heaven had looked upon riches to be a valuable thing, it would not have given them to such a scoundrel.
Jonathan Swift (Letter to Miss Vanhornrigh, 1720)
Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.
Jonathan Swift (Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies, 1711 - 1726)
Words are but wind; and learning is nothing but words; ergo, learning is nothing but wind.
Jonathan Swift (A Tale of a Tub, 1704)
Vain men delight in telling what Honours have been done them, what great Company they have kept, and the like; by which they plainly confess, that these Honours were more than their Due, and such as their Friends would not believe if they had not been told: Whereas a Man truly proud, thinks the greatest Honours below his Merit, and consequently scorns to boast. I therefore deliver it as a Maxim that whoever desires the Character of a proud Man, ought to conceal his Vanity.
Jonathan Swift (Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies, 1711 - 1726)
I hate nobody: I am in charity with the world.
Jonathan Swift (Polite Conversation - Dialogue I)
Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.
Jonathan Swift (A Critical Essay upon the Faculties of the Mind, 1707)
May you live all the days of your life.
Jonathan Swift (Polite Conversation - Dialogue II)
Fair Liberty was all his cry;
For her he stood prepared to die;
For her he boldly stood alone;
For her he oft exposed his own.
Jonathan Swift
'Tis as cheap sitting as standing.
Jonathan Swift (Polite Conversation - Dialogue I)
And surely one of the best rules in conversation is, never to say a thing which any of the company can reasonably wish had been left unsaid…
Jonathan Swift (Hints Toward an Essay on Conversation, 1709)
The latter part of a wise man’s life is taken up in curing the follies, prejudices, and false opinions he had contracted in the former.
Jonathan Swift (Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies, 1711 - 1726)
He made it a part of his religion never to say grace to his meat.
Jonathan Swift (A Tale of a Tub, 1704)
I ’ve often wish’d that I had clear,
For life, six hundred pounds a year;
A handsome house to lodge a friend;
A river at my garden’s end;
A terrace walk, and half a rood
Of land set out to plant a wood.
Jonathan Swift (Imitation of Horace - Book II)
She pays him in his own coin.
Jonathan Swift (Polite Conversation - Dialogue III)
Fingers were made before forks, and hands before knives.
Jonathan Swift (Polite Conversation - Dialogue II)
Those dreams that on the silent night intrude, and with false flitting shapes our minds delude ... are mere productions of the brain. And fools consult interpreters in vain.
Jonathan Swift (On Dreams)
I won't quarrel with my bread and butter.
Jonathan Swift (Polite Conversation - Dialogue I)
The want of which knowledge will ever produce many prejudices, and a certain narrowness of thinking, from which we and the politer countries of Europe are wholly exempted.
Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels, 1726)
The stoical scheme of supplying our wants by lopping off our desires, is like cutting off our feet when we want shoes.
Jonathan Swift (Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies, 1711 - 1726)
Promises and pie-crust are made to be broken.
Jonathan Swift (Polite Conversation - Dialogue I)
Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.
Jonathan Swift
Lord M. What religion is he of?
Lord Sp. Why, he is an Anythingarian...
Jonathan Swift (Polite Conversation - Dialogue I)
That's as well said, as if I had said it myself.
Jonathan Swift (Polite Conversation - Dialogue II)
Nothing is so great an instance of ill manners as flattery. If you flatter all the company, you please none; if you flatter only one or two, you affront the rest.
Jonathan Swift (Hints on Good Manners)
Nothing is so hard for those who abound in riches as to conceive how others can be in want.
Jonathan Swift (Quoted in The Works of Jonathan Swift, 1843)
Men are contented to be laughed at for their wit, but not for their folly.
Jonathan Swift (Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies, 1711 - 1726)
And, is not Virtue in Mankind
The Nutriment that feeds the Mind?
Jonathan Swift (Stella's Birthday)
Reason is a very light rider and easily shook off.
Jonathan Swift
Stella this day is thirty-four
(We shan't dispute a year or more)
However, Stella, be not troubled,
Although thy size and years are doubled,
Since first I saw thee at sixteen,
The brightest virgin on the green,
So little is thy form declined,
Made up so largely in thy mind.
Oh, would it please the gods, to split
Thy beauty, size, and years, and wit,
No age could furnish out a pair
Of nymphs so graceful, wise, and fair.
Jonathan Swift (Stella's Birthday)
You must take the will for the deed.
Jonathan Swift (Polite Conversation - Dialogue II)
Once kick the world, and the world and you will live together at a reasonably good understanding.
Jonathan Swift (Letter, 1720)
Human brutes, like other beasts, find snares and poison in the provision of life, and are allured by their appetites to their destruction.
Jonathan Swift (Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies, 1711 - 1726)
He was a bold man that first eat an oyster.
Jonathan Swift (Polite Conversation - Dialogue II)
We are so fond of one another, because our ailments are the same.
Jonathan Swift (Journal to Stella, 1711)
So weak thou art, that fools thy power despise;
And yet so strong, thou triumphest over the wise.
Jonathan Swift (The quote was found written by Jonathan Swift on the desk of Miss Vanhomrigh's after her death)
There is nothing in this world constant, but inconstancy.
Jonathan Swift (A Critical Essay upon the Faculties of the Mind, 1707)
She has more goodness in her little finger, than he has in his whole body.
Jonathan Swift (Polite Conversation - Dialogue II)
Although men are accused of not knowing their own weakness, yet perhaps as few know their own strength. It is in men as in soils, where sometimes there is a vein of gold, which the owner knows not of.
Jonathan Swift (Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies, 1711 - 1726)
There is none so blind as they that won’t see.
Jonathan Swift (Polite Conversation - Dialogue III)
It is impossible that any thing so natural, so necessary, and so universal as death, should ever have been designed by Providence as an evil to mankind.
Jonathan Swift (Thoughts on Religion, 1765)
I never knew a man come to greatness or eminence who lay abed late in the morning. 
Jonathan Swift
Never sleeping, still awake, Pleasing most when most I speak; The delight of old and young, Though I speak without a tongue. Nought but one thing can confound me, Many voices joining round me, Then I fret, and rave, and gabble, Like the labourers of Babel.
Jonathan Swift (An Echo)
We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.
Jonathan Swift
But you think ... that it is time for me to have done with the world, and so I would if I could get into a better before I was called into the best, and not die here in a rage, like a poisoned rat in a hole.
Jonathan Swift (Letter to Viscount Bolingbroke, 1729)
Every man desires to live long, but no man would be old.
Jonathan Swift (Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies, 1711 - 1726)
It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.
Jonathan Swift
Instead of dirt and poison we have rather chosen to fill our hives with honey and wax; thus furnishing mankind with the two noblest of things, which are sweetness and light.
Jonathan Swift (The Battle of the Books - Preface, 1704)
Old men and comets have been reverenced for the same reason: their long beards, and pretences to foretell events.
Jonathan Swift (Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies, 1711 - 1726)
Pride, ill nature, and want of sense, are the three great sources of ill manners.
Jonathan Swift (A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding)
I wanted no fence against fraud or oppression; here was neither physician to destroy my body, nor lawyer to ruin my fortune; no informer to watch my words and actions, or forge accusations against me for hire: here were no gibers, censurers, backbiters, pickpockets, highwaymen, housebreakers, attorneys, bawds, buffoons, gamesters, politicians, wits, splenetic, tedious talkers, controvertists, ravishers, murders, robbers, virtuosos; no leaders or followers of party and faction; no encouragers to vice, by seducement or examples: no dungeon, axes, gibbets, whipping posts, or pillories; no cheating shopkeepers or mechanics: no pride, vanity, or affectation: no fops, bullies, drunkards, strolling whores, or poxes: no ranting, lewd, expensive wives: no stupid proud pendants: no importunate, overbearing, quarrelsome, noisy, roaring, empty, conceited, swearing companions: no scoundrels, raised from the dust upon the merit of their vices, or nobility thrown into it on account of their virtues: no Lords, fiddlers, Judges or dancing-masters.
Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels, 1726)
The most positive men are the most credulous.
Jonathan Swift (Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies, 1711 - 1726)
Conversation is but carving!
Give no more to every guest
Than he's able to digest.
Give him always of the prime,
And but little at a time.
Carve to all but just enough,
Let them neither starve nor stuff,
And that you may have your due,
Let your neighbor carve for you.
Jonathan Swift (Conversation)
Fine words! I wonder where you stole them.
Jonathan Swift
As every person called up made exactly the same appearance he had done in the world, it gave me melancholy reflections to observe how much the race of human kind was degenerate among us, within these hundred years past. How the pox under all its consequences and denominations had altered every lineament of an English countenance, shortened the size of bodies, unbraced the nerves, relaxed the sinews and muscles, introduced a sallow complexion, and rendered the flesh loose and rancid.
Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels, 1726)
Books, the children of the brain.
Jonathan Swift (A Tale of a Tub, 1704)
A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying... that he is wiser today than yesterday.
Jonathan Swift (Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies, 1711 - 1726)
Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought.
Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels, 1726)
Ambition often puts men upon doing the meanest offices; so climbing is performed in the same posture with creeping.
Jonathan Swift (Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies, 1711 - 1726)


Jonathan Swift Biography

Born: November 30, 1667
Died: October 19, 1745

Jonathan Swift was an Irish writer, poet and satirist. He is best known for his succesful works such as "Gulliver's Travels" and "Drapier's Letters".

Notable Works

A Tale of a Tub (1704)
Gulliver's Travels (1726)
A Modest Proposal
(1729)
Drapier's Letters
(1734)

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