Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

75 Thought-Provoking Samuel Butler Quotes That Will Change The Way You Think

Famous As: Novelist
Born On: December 4, 1835
Died On: June 18, 1902
Born In: Langar, Nottinghamshire, England
Died At Age: 66
Samuel Butler was a Victorian era English author who rose to prominence in the 19th century with his works, many of which challenged the deeply held views at the time. Butler studied at Shrewsbury School and then acquired a degree in the classics from Cambridge University in 1858. His father wanted him to be a clergyman but Butler did not want to go along that path and emigrated to New Zealand in order to get away from it all. That is how his literary career commenced and one of his earlier works was an autobiographical take on his life in New Zealand, titled ‘A First Year in Canterbury Settlement’. Butler had also written his view on Christianity in the book ‘The Fair Haven’. Butler’s most important work was the satirical novel ‘Erewhon’ that depicted a Utopian society and turned him into a well-known literary figure after its publication. His other great contribution was the English translation of Greek epics ‘Iliad’ and ‘Odyssey’ into prose form. The below collection of Samuel Butler’s most famous quotes have been excerpted from his writings, books, prose and thoughts. We bring to you a collection of sayings and quotes by Samuel Butler on times, truth, inspiration, existence, logic, sword, rationalism, forgiveness, books and poems.
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Life is like music, it must be composed by ear, feeling and instinct, not by rule.

Life is like music, it must be composed by ear, feeling and instinct, not by rule.

Samuel Butler
The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.

The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.

Samuel Butler
Books are like imprisoned souls till someone takes them down from a shelf and frees them.

Books are like imprisoned souls till someone takes them down from a shelf and frees them.

Samuel Butler
Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.

Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.

Samuel Butler
Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.

Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.

Samuel Butler
All animals except man know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it.

All animals except man know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it.

Samuel Butler
Friendship is like money, easier made than kept.

Friendship is like money, easier made than kept.

Samuel Butler
Don't learn to do, but learn in doing.

Don't learn to do, but learn in doing.

Samuel Butler
Life is one long process of getting tired.

Life is one long process of getting tired.

Samuel Butler
We all love best not those who offend us least, nor those who have done most for us, but those who make it most easy for us to forgive them.

We all love best not those who offend us least, nor those who have done most for us, but those who make it most easy for us to forgive them.

Samuel Butler
An apology for the devil: it must be remembered that we have heard one side of the case. God has written all the books.

An apology for the devil: it must be remembered that we have heard one side of the case. God has written all the books.

Samuel Butler
Life is like playing the violin in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.

Life is like playing the violin in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.

Samuel Butler
Prayers are to men as dolls are to children.

Prayers are to men as dolls are to children.

Samuel Butler
Sensible people get the greater part of their own dying done during their own lifetime

Sensible people get the greater part of their own dying done during their own lifetime

Samuel Butler
We pay a person the compliment of acknowledging his superiority whenever we lie to them.

We pay a person the compliment of acknowledging his superiority whenever we lie to them.

Samuel Butler
Every man's work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.

Every man's work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.

Samuel Butler
To live is like to love--all reason is against it, and all healthy instinct for it

To live is like to love--all reason is against it, and all healthy instinct for it

Samuel Butler
Logic is like the sword--those who appeal to it shall perish by it.

Logic is like the sword--those who appeal to it shall perish by it.

Samuel Butler
The oldest books are still only just out to those who have not read them.

The oldest books are still only just out to those who have not read them.

Samuel Butler
Silence is not always tact and it is tact that is golden, not silence.

Silence is not always tact and it is tact that is golden, not silence.

Samuel Butler
If we attend continually and promptly to the little that we can do, we shall ere long be surprised to find how little remains that we cannot do.

If we attend continually and promptly to the little that we can do, we shall ere long be surprised to find how little remains that we cannot do.

Samuel Butler
They say the test of literary power is whether a man can write an inscription. I say, 'Can he name a kitten?

They say the test of literary power is whether a man can write an inscription. I say, 'Can he name a kitten?

Samuel Butler
[P]oetry resembles metaphysics: one does not mind one's own, but one does not like anyone else's.

[P]oetry resembles metaphysics: one does not mind one's own, but one does not like anyone else's.

Samuel Butler
Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.

Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.

Samuel Butler
Let us be grateful to the mirror for revealing to us our appearance only.

Let us be grateful to the mirror for revealing to us our appearance only.

Samuel Butler
Books want to be born: I never make them. They come to me and insist on being written, and on being such and such.

Books want to be born: I never make them. They come to me and insist on being written, and on being such and such.

Samuel Butler
A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg.

A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg.

Samuel Butler
I do not mind lying, but I hate inaccuracy.

I do not mind lying, but I hate inaccuracy.

Samuel Butler
The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.

The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.

Samuel Butler
Any fool can paint a picture, but it takes a wise man to be able to sell it.

Any fool can paint a picture, but it takes a wise man to be able to sell it.

Samuel Butler
The man who lets himself be bored is even more contemptible than the bore.

The man who lets himself be bored is even more contemptible than the bore.

Samuel Butler
A friend who cannot at a pinch remember a thing or two that never happened is as bad as one who does not know how to forget.

A friend who cannot at a pinch remember a thing or two that never happened is as bad as one who does not know how to forget.

Samuel Butler
To himself everyone is immortal; he may know that he is going to die, but he can never know he is dead.

To himself everyone is immortal; he may know that he is going to die, but he can never know he is dead.

Samuel Butler
All progress is based upon a universal innate desire on the part of every organism to live beyond its income

All progress is based upon a universal innate desire on the part of every organism to live beyond its income

Samuel Butler
You can do very little with faith, but you can do nothing without it.

You can do very little with faith, but you can do nothing without it.

Samuel Butler
Words are like money; there is nothing so useless, unless when in actual use.

Words are like money; there is nothing so useless, unless when in actual use.

Samuel Butler
Genius might be described as a supreme capacity for getting its possessors into trouble of all kinds

Genius might be described as a supreme capacity for getting its possessors into trouble of all kinds

Samuel Butler
Brigands demand your money or your life; women require both.

Brigands demand your money or your life; women require both.

Samuel Butler
When a man is in doubt about this or that in his writing, it will often guide him if he asks himself how it will tell a hundred years hence.

When a man is in doubt about this or that in his writing, it will often guide him if he asks himself how it will tell a hundred years hence.

Samuel Butler
Books are like imprisoned souls until someone takes them down from a shelf and frees them.

Books are like imprisoned souls until someone takes them down from a shelf and frees them.

Samuel Butler
Let us eat and drink neither forgetting death unduly nor remembering it. The Lord hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, etc., and the less we think about it the better.

Let us eat and drink neither forgetting death unduly nor remembering it. The Lord hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, etc., and the less we think about it the better.

Samuel Butler
Property, marriage, the law; as the bed to the river, so rule and convention to the instinct; and woe to him who tampers with the banks while the flood is flowing.

Property, marriage, the law; as the bed to the river, so rule and convention to the instinct; and woe to him who tampers with the banks while the flood is flowing.

Samuel Butler
Der Unterschied zwischen Gott und einem Historiker: Gott kann die Vergangenheit nicht ändern.

Der Unterschied zwischen Gott und einem Historiker: Gott kann die Vergangenheit nicht ändern.

Samuel Butler
To do great work one must be very idle as well as very industrious.

To do great work one must be very idle as well as very industrious.

Samuel Butler
It has been said that although God cannot alter the past, historians can --it is perhaps because they can be useful to Him in this respect that He tolerates their existence.

It has been said that although God cannot alter the past, historians can --it is perhaps because they can be useful to Him in this respect that He tolerates their existence.

Samuel Butler
In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved.

In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved.

Samuel Butler
A definition is the enclosing a wilderness of idea within a wall of words.

A definition is the enclosing a wilderness of idea within a wall of words.

Samuel Butler
The world is naturally averse to all truth it sees or hears 
but swallows nonsense and a lie with greediness and gluttony.

The world is naturally averse to all truth it sees or hears but swallows nonsense and a lie with greediness and gluttony.

Samuel Butler
Exploring is delightful to look forward to and back upon, but it is not comfortable at the time, unless it be of such an easy nature as not to deserve the name.

Exploring is delightful to look forward to and back upon, but it is not comfortable at the time, unless it be of such an easy nature as not to deserve the name.

Samuel Butler
A blind man knows he cannot see, and is glad to be led, though it be by a dog; but he that is blind in his understanding, which is the worst blindness of all, believes he sees as the best, and scorns a guide.

A blind man knows he cannot see, and is glad to be led, though it be by a dog; but he that is blind in his understanding, which is the worst blindness of all, believes he sees as the best, and scorns a guide.

Samuel Butler
Truth might be heroic, but it was not within the range of practical domestic politics.

Truth might be heroic, but it was not within the range of practical domestic politics.

Samuel Butler
There are more fools than knaves in the world, else the knaves would not have enough to live upon.

There are more fools than knaves in the world, else the knaves would not have enough to live upon.

Samuel Butler
Man is the only animal that laughs and has a state legislature.

Man is the only animal that laughs and has a state legislature.

Samuel Butler
Young people have a marvellous faculty of either dying or adapting themselves to circumstances.

Young people have a marvellous faculty of either dying or adapting themselves to circumstances.

Samuel Butler
Life is like music, it must be composed by ear, feeling and instinct, not by rule. Nevertheless one had better know the rules, for they sometimes guide in doubtful cases, though not often.

Life is like music, it must be composed by ear, feeling and instinct, not by rule. Nevertheless one had better know the rules, for they sometimes guide in doubtful cases, though not often.

Samuel Butler
The major sin is the sin of being born.

The major sin is the sin of being born.

Samuel Butler
Words are clothes that thoughts wear

Words are clothes that thoughts wear

Samuel Butler
Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man of some sense to know how to lie well.

Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man of some sense to know how to lie well.

Samuel Butler
A man should be just cultured enough to be able to look with suspicion upon culture at first, not second hand.

A man should be just cultured enough to be able to look with suspicion upon culture at first, not second hand.

Samuel Butler
People in general are equally horrified at hearing the Christian religion doubted, and at seeing it practiced.

People in general are equally horrified at hearing the Christian religion doubted, and at seeing it practiced.

Samuel Butler
He that complies against his will
Is of his own opinion still.

He that complies against his will Is of his own opinion still.

Samuel Butler
Most people have never learned that one of the main aims in life is to enjoy it.

Most people have never learned that one of the main aims in life is to enjoy it.

Samuel Butler
God cannot alter the past, though historians can.

God cannot alter the past, though historians can.

Samuel Butler
Happiness and misery consist in a progression towards better or worse; it does not matter how high up or low down you are, it depends not on this, but on the direction in which you are tending.

Happiness and misery consist in a progression towards better or worse; it does not matter how high up or low down you are, it depends not on this, but on the direction in which you are tending.

Samuel Butler
The principal business of life is to enjoy it.

The principal business of life is to enjoy it.

Samuel Butler
The function of vice is to keep virtue within reasonable bounds.

The function of vice is to keep virtue within reasonable bounds.

Samuel Butler
I have never written on any subject unless I believed that the authorities on it were hopelessly wrong.

I have never written on any subject unless I believed that the authorities on it were hopelessly wrong.

Samuel Butler
It is tact that is golden, not silence.

It is tact that is golden, not silence.

Samuel Butler
All animals except man know that the ultimate of life is to enjoy it.

All animals except man know that the ultimate of life is to enjoy it.

Samuel Butler
Mention but the word

Mention but the word "divinity," and our sense of the divine is clouded.

Samuel Butler
Union may be strength, but it is mere brute strength unless wisely directed.

Union may be strength, but it is mere brute strength unless wisely directed.

Samuel Butler
All philosophies, if you ride them home, are nonsense, but some are greater nonsense than others.

All philosophies, if you ride them home, are nonsense, but some are greater nonsense than others.

Samuel Butler
Every one should keep a mental wastepaper basket and the older he grows the more things he will consign to it - torn up to irrecoverable tatters.

Every one should keep a mental wastepaper basket and the older he grows the more things he will consign to it - torn up to irrecoverable tatters.

Samuel Butler
It stands to reason that he who would cure a moral ailment must be practically acquainted with it in all its bearings.

It stands to reason that he who would cure a moral ailment must be practically acquainted with it in all its bearings.

Samuel Butler
If people who are in a difficulty will only do the first little reasonable thing which they can clearly recognize as reasonable, they will always find the next step more easy both to see and take.

If people who are in a difficulty will only do the first little reasonable thing which they can clearly recognize as reasonable, they will always find the next step more easy both to see and take.

Samuel Butler