Literary Birthday – 3 June – Sydney Smith


Nine Quotes

  1. No furniture is so charming as books.
  2. The main question to a novel is — did it amuse? were you surprised at dinner coming so soon? did you mistake eleven for ten? were you too late to dress? and did you sit up beyond the usual hour? If a novel produces these effects, it is good; if it does not — story, language, love, scandal itself cannot save it. It is only meant to please; and it must do that or it does nothing.
  3. Live always in the best company when you read.
  4. Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.
  5. If you want to improve your understanding, drink coffee.
  6. Have the courage to be ignorant of a great number of things, in order to avoid the calamity of being ignorant of everything.
  7. It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little – do what you can.
  8. In composing, as a general rule, run your pen through every other word you have written; you have no idea what vigour it will give your style.
  9. What you don’t know would make a great book.

Sydney Smith was an English wit, writer, and Anglican cleric. You can read his work in The Selected Writings of Sydney Smith.

Source for image

  by Amanda Patterson