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Jonathan Swift Quotes (188 Quotes)


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  • Undoubtedly, philosophers are in the right when they tell us that nothing is great or little otherwise than by comparison.
    (Jonathan Swift, "Gulliver's Travels")

  • And I remember in frequent discourses with my master concerning the nature of manhood, in other parts of the world, having occasion to talk of lying and false representationà For he argued thus; that the use of speech was to make us understand one another, and to receive information of facts; now if any one said the thing which was not, these ends were defeatedà àhe leaves me worse than in ignorance, for I am led to believe a thing black when it is white, and short when it is long.
    (Jonathan Swift, "Gulliver's Travels")

  • Gulliver describes a royal personage inspiring awe among the tiny Lilliputians because he was taller than his brethren by the breadth of a human fingernail.
    (Jonathan Swift, "Gulliver's Travels")

  • I desired that the Senate of Rome might appear before me in one large chamber, and a modern representative, in counterview, in another. The first seemed to be an assembly of heroes and demi-gods; the other, a knot of pedlars, pick-pockets, highwaymen, and bullies.
    (Jonathan Swift, "Gulliver's Travels")

  • Ingratitude is amongst them a capital crime, as we read it to have been in some other countries: for they reason thus; that whoever makes ill-returns to his benefactor, must needs be a common enemy to the rest of the mankind, from where he has received no obligations and therefore such man is not fit to live.
    (Jonathan Swift, "Gulliver's Travels")


  • Judges... are picked out from the most dextrous lawyers, who are grown old or lazy, and having been biased all their lives against truth or equity, are under such a fatal necessity of favoring fraud, perjury and oppression, that I have known several of them to refuse a large bribe from the side where justice lay, rather than injure the faculty by doing any thing unbecoming their nature in office.
    (Jonathan Swift, "Gulliver's Travels")

  • The tiny Lilliputians surmise that Gulliver's watch may be his god, because it is that which, he admits, he seldom does anything without consulting.
    (Jonathan Swift, "Gulliver's Travels")

  • This made me reflect, how vain an attempt it is for a man to endeavor to do himself honor among those who are out of all degree of equality or comparison with him.
    (Jonathan Swift, "Gulliver's Travels")

  • Reason is a very light rider, and easily shook off.
    (Jonathan Swift)

  • If a proud man makes me keep my distance, the comfort is that he keeps his at the same time
    (Jonathan Swift)

  • Words are but wind; and learning is nothing but words; ergo, learning is nothing but wind.
    (Jonathan Swift)

  • As blushing will sometimes make a whore pass for a virtuous woman, so modesty may make a fool seem a man of sense.
    (Jonathan Swift)

  • Good manners is the art of making those people easy with whom we converse. Whoever makes the fewest people uneasy is the best bred in the room.
    (Jonathan Swift)

  • It was a bold person that first ate an oyster.
    (Jonathan Swift)

  • Do you think I was born in a wood to be afraid of an owl.
    (Jonathan Swift)


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    More Jonathan Swift Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - Gulliver's Travels

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