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

A collection of thoughts and quotations by Samuel Butler on freedom, literature, writing, nature, happiness, friendship, God, atheist, poetry and life.

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

Quick Facts

Famous As: Poet

Born On: February 3, 1612

Died On: September 25, 1680

Born In: Strensham, Worcestershire, England

Died At Age: 68

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.

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.

Samuel Butler

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.

Samuel Butler

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.

Samuel Butler

Friendship is like money, easier made than kept.

Samuel Butler

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

Samuel Butler

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.

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.

Samuel Butler

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.

Samuel Butler

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

Samuel Butler

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

Samuel Butler

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.

Samuel Butler

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.

Samuel Butler

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.

Samuel Butler

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.

Samuel Butler

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.

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.

Samuel Butler

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

Samuel Butler

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.

Samuel Butler

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.

Samuel Butler

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

Samuel Butler

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.

Samuel Butler

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.

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.

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.

Samuel Butler

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.

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.

Samuel Butler

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.

Samuel Butler

The major sin is the sin of being born.

Samuel Butler

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.

Samuel Butler

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

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.

Samuel Butler

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.

Samuel Butler

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.

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.

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.

Samuel Butler

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.

Samuel Butler

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.

Samuel Butler

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.

Samuel Butler

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.

Samuel Butler

The principal business of life is to enjoy it.

Samuel Butler

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.

Samuel Butler

It is tact that is golden, not silence.

Samuel Butler

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

Samuel Butler

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.

Samuel Butler

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

Samuel Butler

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

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.

Samuel Butler

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.

Samuel Butler