Notable Books

Joseph Addison Quotes

Arguments out of a pretty mouth are unanswerable.
Joseph Addison (Women and Liberty)
True happiness is of a retired nature, and an enemy to pomp and noise; it arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one's self, and in the next from the friendship and conversation of a few select companions.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1711)
How beautiful is death, when earn'd by virtue! 
Who would not be that youth? What pity is it 
That we can die but once to serve our country!
Joseph Addison (Cato, a Tragedy - Act IV, 1712)
I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1712)
Men may change their climate, but they cannot change their nature. A man that goes out a fool cannot ride or sail himself into common sense.
Joseph Addison (The Tatler - No. 93, 1711 - 1714)
The unassuming youth seeking instruction with humility gains good fortune. 
Joseph Addison
All the illustrious persons of antiquity, and indeed of every age in the world, have passed through this fiery persecution. There is no defense against reproach but obscurity.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1711)
Loveliest of women! heaven is in thy soul, Beauty and virtue shine forever round thee, Bright'ning each other! thou art all divine!
Joseph Addison (Cato, a Tragedy - Act III, 1712)
One should take good care not to grow too wise for so great a pleasure of life as laughter.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator)
Beauty soon grows familiar to the lover, Fades in his eye, and palls upon the sense.
Joseph Addison (Cato, a Tragedy, 1712)
What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the human soul.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1711)
A contented mind is the greatest blessing a man can enjoy in this world.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1714)
A man's first care should be to avoid the reproaches of his own heart, his next to escape the censures of the world.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1711)
To be an atheist requires an indefinitely greater measure of faith than to recieve all the great truths which atheism would deny.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1711)
If men would consider not so much wherein they differ, as wherein they agree, there would be far less of uncharitableness and angry feeling.
Joseph Addison
A man should always consider how much he has more than he wants.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1714)
Cheerfulness is the best promoter of health and is as friendly to the mind as to the body. 
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1712)
Blessings may appear under the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let him have patience, and he will see them in their proper figures.
Joseph Addison (The Guardian - No. 117, 1713)
Knowledge is, indeed, that which, next to virtue, truly and essentially raises one man above another.
Joseph Addison (The Guardian - No. 111, 1713)
Soon as the evening shades prevail, The moon takes up the wondrous tale, And nightly to the listening earth Repeats the story of her birth.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator)
There is no virtue so truly great and godlike as justice.
Joseph Addison (The Guardian, 1713)
What an absurd thing it is to pass over all the valuable parts of a man, and fix our attention on his infirmities.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1711)
Content thyself to be obscurely good. When vice prevails, and impious men bear sway, the post of honor is a private station.
Joseph Addison
I don't want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying.
Joseph Addison (Cato, a Tragedy - Act V, 1712)
Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body. As by the one, health is preserved, strengthened, and invigorated: by the other, virtue (which is the health of the mind) is kept alive, cherished, and confirmed.
Joseph Addison (The Tatler - No. 147, 1711 - 1714)
Some virtues are only seen in affliction and some in prosperity.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1711)
There is nothing that makes its way more directly into the soul than beauty.
Joseph Addison(The Spectator, 1712)
Artificial intelligence will never be a match for natural stupidity.
Joseph Addison (The Drummer, 1716)
When time itself shall be no more,
And all things in confusion hurl'd,
Music shall then exert it's power,
And sound survive the ruins of the world:
Then saints and angels shall agree
In one eternal jubilee:
All Heaven shall echo with their hymns divine,
And God himself with pleasure see
The whole creation in a chorus join.
Joseph Addison (Song for St. Cecilia's Day, 1694)
The greatest sweetener of human life is Friendship. To raise this to the highest pitch of enjoyment, is a secret which but few discover.
Joseph Addison
Talking with a friend is nothing else but thinking aloud.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1711)
One hope no sooner dies in us but another rises up in its stead. We are apt to fancy that we shall be happy and satisfied if we possess ourselves of such and such particular enjoyments; but either by reason of their emptiness, or the natural inquietude of the mind, we have no sooner gained one point, but we extend our hopes to another. We still find new inviting scenes and landscapes lying behind those which at a distance terminated our view.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1712)
Let echo, too, perform her part,
Prolonging every note with art.
Joseph Addison (Ode for St. Cecilia's Day, 1699)
Nature does nothing without purpose or uselessly.
Joseph Addison (Cato, a Tragedy - Act V, 1712)
Cheerfulness is...the best promoter of health.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1712)
Better to die ten thousand deaths, than wound my honour.
Joseph Addison (Cato, a Tragedy - Act I, 1712)
When men are easy in their circumstances, they are naturally enemies to innovations.
Joseph Addison (The Freeholder - No. 42)
A misery is not to be measured from the nature of the evil, but from the temper of the sufferer.
Joseph Addison (The Tatler - No. 146, 1711 - 1714)
Exercise ferments the humors, casts them into their proper channels, throws off redundancies, and helps nature in those secret distributions, without which the body cannot subsist in its vigor, nor the soul act with cheerfulness.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1711)
Great souls by instinct to each other turn,
Demand alliance, and in friendship burn.
Their courage dwells not in a troubled flood
Of mounting spirits, and fermenting blood:
Lodged in the soul, with virtue overruled,
Inflamed by reason, and by reason cooled,
In hours of peace content to be unknown.
And only in the field of battle shown:
To souls like these, in mutual friendship joined,
Heaven dares intrust the cause of humankind.
Joseph Addison (The Campaign, 1704)
There is nothing we receive with so much reluctance as advice.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1712)
In a word, his hopes are full of immortality, his schemes are large and glorious, and his conduct suitable to one who knows his true interest, and how to pursue it by proper methods.
Joseph Addison (The Tatler - No. 225, 1711 - 1714)
A good conscience is to the soul what health is to the body; it preserves a constant ease and serenity within us.
Joseph Addison (The Guardian - No 135, 1713)
A day, an hour, of virtuous liberty, is worth a whole eternity in bondage.
Joseph Addison (Cato, a Tragedy - Act II, 1712)
It is a great presumption to ascribe our successes to our own management, and not to esteem ourselves upon any blessing, rather as it is the bounty of heaven, than the acquisition of our own prudence.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1712)
We are growing serious, and, let me tell you, that's the very next step to being dull.
Joseph Addison (The Drummer, 1716)
Eternity! thou pleasing dreadful thought! Through what variety of untried being, Through what new scenes and changes must we pass!
Joseph Addison (Cato, a Tragedy - Act V, 1712)
The cast of mind which is natural to a discreet man, make him look forward into futurity, and consider what will be his condition millions of ages hence, as well as what it is at present.
Joseph Addison (The Tatler - No. 225, 1711 - 1714)
The discreet man finds out the talents of those he converses with, and knows how to apply them to proper uses.
Joseph Addison (The Tatler - No. 225, 1711 - 1714)
If we hope for what we are not likely to possess, we act and think in vain, and make life a greater dream and shadow than it really is.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1712)
Music, the greatest good that mortals know,
And all of heaven we have here below.
Joseph Addison (Song for St. Cecilia's Day, 1694)
If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother and hope your guardian genius.
Joseph Addison
Cunning is only the mimic of discretion, and may pass upon weak men in the same manner as vivacity is often mistaken for wit, and gravity for wisdom.
Joseph Addison (The Tatler - No. 225, 1711 - 1714)
Thus I live in the world rather as a spectator of mankind than as one of the species.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1711)
Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind, which are delivered down from generation to generation, as presents to the posterity of those who are yet unborn.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator)
The soul, secured in her existence, smiles
At the drawn dagger, and defies its point.
Joseph Addison (Cato, a Tragedy - Act V, 1712)
When I look upon the tombs of the great, every emotion of envy dies in me; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes out; when I meet with the grief of parents upon a tombstone, my heart melts with compassion; when I see the tombs of the parents themselves, I consider the vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly follow; when I see kings lying by those who deposed them, when I consider rival wits placed side by side, or the men that divided the world with their contests and disputes, I reflect with sorrow and astonishment on the little competitions, factions, and debates of mankind. When I read the several dates of the tombs, of some that died yesterday, and some six hundred years ago, I consider that great Day when we shall all of us be contemporaries, and make our appearance together.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator)
In doing what we ought we deserve no praise, because it is our duty.
Joseph Addison (Cato, a Tragedy, 1712)
A cheerful temper joined with innocence will make beauty attractive, knowledge delightful and wit good-natured.
Joseph Addison (The Tatler - No. 192, 1711 - 1714)
Music religious heat inspires,
It wakes the soul, and lifts it high.
Joseph Addison (Song for St. Cecilia's Day, 1694)
Content thyself to be obscurely good. When vice prevails, and impious men bear sway, the post of honor is a private station.
Joseph Addison (Cato, a Tragedy, 1712)
Man is distinguished from all other creatures by the faculty of laughter.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1712)
I shall endeavor to enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1711)
The ideal man bears the accidents of life, with dignity and grace.
Joseph Addison (Cato, a Tragedy - Act V, 1712)
Of all the diversions of life, there is none so proper to fill up its empty spaces as the reading of useful and entertaining authors.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1711)
What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.
Joseph Addison
There are many more shining qualities in the mind of man, but there is none so useful as discretion.
Joseph Addison (The Tatler - No. 225, 1711 - 1714)
Men of warm imaginations and towering thoughts are apt to overlook the goods of fortune which are near them, for something that glitters in the sight at a distance; to neglect solid and substantial happiness for what is showy and superficial; and to contemn that good which lies within their reach, for that which they are not capable of attaining. Hope calculates its schemes for a long and durable life; presses forward to imaginary points of bliss; grasps at impossibilities; and consequently very often ensnares men into beggary, ruin, and dishonour.
Joseph Addison (The Spectator, 1712)

Joseph Addison Biography

Born: May 1, 1672
Died: June 17, 1719

Joseph Addison was an English writer, poet and politician. He is most commonly known as being the author of the famous fictional work "Cato". He is widely recognized today as a great essayist.

Notable Works

The Spectator (1711 - 1714)
Cato, a Tragedy (1712)

Misattributed Quotes
Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. 
George Washington Bumap in The Sphere and Duties of Woman, 1848
To a man of pleasure every moment appears to be lost, which partakes not of the vivacity of amusement.
Hugh Blair in Blair's Sermons, 1815. The reason that Addison is often misquoted for this quote is that he was paraphrasing Blair.
The important question is not, what will yield to man a few scattered pleasures, but what will render his life happy on the whole amount. 
Hugh Blair in Blair's Sermons, 1815