1778-1830, British Essayist
A full-dressed ecclesiastic is a sort of go-cart of divinity; an ethical automaton. A clerical prig is, in general, a very dangerous as well as contemptible character. The utmost that those who thus habitually confound their opinions and sentiments with the outside coverings of their bodies can aspire to, is a negative and neutral character, like wax-work figures, where the dress is done as much to the life as the man, and where both are respectable pieces of pasteboard, or harmless compositions of fleecy hosiery.
William Hazlitt – [Churches]
A grave blockhead should always go about with a lively one — they show one another off to the best advantage.
William Hazlitt – [Company]
A hypocrite despises those whom he deceives, but has no respect for himself. He would make a dupe of himself too, if he could.
William Hazlitt – [Hypocrisy]
A nickname is the heaviest stone that the devil can throw at a man. It is a bugbear to the imagination, and, though we do not believe in it, it still haunts our apprehensions.
William Hazlitt – [Nicknames]
A scholar is like a book written in a dead language. It is not every one that can read in it.
William Hazlitt – [Scholars and Scholarship]
A strong passion for any object will ensure success, for the desire of the end will point out the means.
William Hazlitt – [Desire]
A Whig is properly what is called a Trimmer — that is, a coward to both sides of the question, who dare not be a knave nor an honest man, but is a sort of whiffing, shuffling, cunning, silly, contemptible, unmeaning negation of the two.
William Hazlitt – [Politicians and Politics]
An honest man speaks the truth, though it may give offence; a vain man, in order that it may.
William Hazlitt – [Injury]
Anyone who has passed through the regular gradations of a classical education, and is not made a fool by it, may consider himself as having had a very narrow escape.
William Hazlitt – [Education]
As is our confidence, so is our capacity.
William Hazlitt – [Confidence]
Belief is with them mechanical, voluntary: they believe what they are paid for — they swear to that which turns to account. Do you suppose, that after years spent in this manner, they have any feeling left answering to the difference between truth and falsehood?
William Hazlitt – [Media]
Comedy naturally wears itself out — destroys the very food on which it lives; and by constantly and successfully exposing the follies and weaknesses of mankind to ridicule, in the end leaves itself nothing worth laughing at.
William Hazlitt – [Comedy and Comedians]
Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects, and discovering the weaknesses of others.
William Hazlitt – [Deception]
Death cancels everything but truth; and strips a man of everything but genius and virtue. It is a sort of natural canonization. It makes the meanest of us sacred –it installs the poet in his immortality, and lifts him to the skies. Death is the greatest assayer of the sterling ore of talent. At his touch the dropsy particles fall off, the irritable, the personal, the gross, and mingle with the dust –the finer and more ethereal part mounts with winged spirit to watch over our latest memory, and protect our bones from insult. We consign the least worthy qualities to oblivion, and cherish the nobler and imperishable nature with double pride and fondness.
William Hazlitt – [Death and Dying]
Defoe says that there were a hundred thousand country fellows in his time ready to fight to the death against popery, without knowing whether popery was a man or a horse.
William Hazlitt – [Bigotry]
Envy among other ingredients has a mixture of the love of justice in it. We are more angry at undeserved than at deserved good-fortune.
William Hazlitt – [Envy]
Every man, in his own opinion, forms an exception to the ordinary rules of morality.
William Hazlitt – [Morality]
Every one in a crowd has the power to throw dirt; none out of ten have the inclination.
William Hazlitt – [Slander]
Fame is the inheritance not of the dead, but of the living. It is we who look back with lofty pride to the great names of antiquity.
William Hazlitt – [Fame]
Few things tend more to alienate friendship than a want of punctuality in our engagements. I have known the breach of a promise to dine or sup to break up more than one intimacy.
William Hazlitt – [Punctuality]