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date: 12 April 2024

Words and Deeds 

  1. When a man says he approves of something in principle, it means he hasn't the slightest intention of putting it into practice.
    Otto von Bismarck 1815–98 German statesman: attributed
  2. Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle, reposed beneath the shadow of the British oak, chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field.
    Edmund Burke 1729–97 Irish-born Whig politician and man of letters: Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)
  3. The end of man is an action and not a thought, though it were the noblest.
    Thomas Carlyle 1795–1881 Scottish historian and political philosopher: Sartor Resartus (1834)
  4. This is very true: for my words are my own, and my actions are my ministers'.
    reply to Lord Rochester's epitaph on him
    Charles II 1630–85 British monarch, King of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1660: Thomas Hearne: Remarks and Collections (1885–1921) 17 November 1706; see Rochester
  5. An ass may bray a good while before he shakes the stars down.
    George Eliot 1819–80 English novelist: Romola (1863)
  6. It is by acts and not by ideas that people live.
    Anatole France 1844–1924 French novelist and man of letters: La Vie littéraire (1888) ‘Sérénus’
  7. Words without actions are the assassins of idealism.
    Herbert Hoover 1874–1964 American Republican statesman, 31st President 1929–33: attributed, in Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin) 15 April 1930
  8. Considering how foolishly people act and how pleasantly they prattle, perhaps it would be better for the world if they talked more and did less.
    W. Somerset Maugham 1874–1965 English novelist: A Writer's Notebook (1949) written in 1892
  9. Here lies a great and mighty king
    Whose promise none relies on;
    He never said a foolish thing,
    Nor ever did a wise one.
    of Charles II; an alternative first line reads: ‘Here lies our sovereign lord the King’
    Lord Rochester 1647–80 English poet: ‘The King's Epitaph’; see Charles II
  10. Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
    Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
    Whiles, like a puffed and reckless libertine,
    Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
    And recks not his own rede.
    William Shakespeare 1564–1616 English dramatist: Hamlet (1601) act 1, sc. 3, l. 47 (Oxford Standard Authors ed.)