Wide World of Quotes > Daniel Defoe Quotes


Daniel Defoe
English novelist, journalist and spy
(1660-1731)



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The best of men cannot suspend their fate:
The good die early, and the bad die late.
-- "The Character of the Late Dr. S. Annesly" (1697).

We loved the doctrine for the teacher's sake.
-- "The Character of the Late Dr. S. Annesly" (1697).

Wherever God erects a house of prayer,
The Devil always builds a chapel there;
And 'twill be found, upon examination,
The latter has the largest congregation.
-- The True-Born Englishman (1701)

From this amphibious ill-born mob began
That vain, ill-natured thing, an Englishman.
-- The True-Born Englishman (1701)

Your Roman-Saxon-Danish-Norman English.
-- The True-Born Englishman (1701)

The royal refugee our breed restores
With foreign courtiers and with foreign whores,
And carefully repeopled us again,
Throughout his lazy, long, lascivious reign.
-- Of King Charles II, in: The True-Born Englishman (1701)

Wealth, howsoever got, in England makes
Lords of mechanics, gentlemen of rakes;
Antiquity and birth are needless here;
‘Tis impudence and money makes a peer.
-- The True-Born Englishman (1701)

And of all plagues with which mankind are cursed,
Ecclesiastic tyranny's the worst.
-- The True-Born Englishman (1701)

When kings the sword of justice first lay down,
They are no kings, though they possess the crown.
Titles are shadows, crowns are empty things,
The good of subjects is the end of kings.
-- The True-Born Englishman (1701)

Hail, hieroglyphic State machine,
Contrived to punish fancy in;
Men that are men in thee can feel no pain,
And all thy insignificance disdain!
-- A Hymns to the Pillory (1703)

Actions receive their tincture from the times,
And as they change are virtues made or crimes.
-- A Hymns to the Pillory (1703)

All men would be tyrants if they could.
-- Jure divino: a satyre (1706).

Nature has left this tincture in the blood,
That all men would be tyrants if they could.
-- The History of the Kentish Petition (1712-13)

He bade me observe it, and I should always find, that the calamities of life were shared among the upper and lower part of mankind; but that the middle station had the fewest disasters.
-- Robinson Crusoe (1719)

I never saw them afterwards, or any sign of them, except three of their hats, one cap, and two shoes that were not fellows.
-- Robinson Crusoe (1719)

It happened one day, about noon, going towards my boat, I was exceedingly surprised with the print of a man's naked foot on the shore, which was very plain to be seen on the sand. I stood like one thunderstruck, or as if I had seen an apparition.
-- Robinson Crusoe (1719)

My man Friday.
-- Robinson Crusoe (1719)

I have often thought of it as one of the most barbarous customs in the world, considering us as a civilized and a Christian country, that we deny the advantages of learning to women. We reproach the sex every day with folly and impertinence; while I am confident, had they the advantages of education equal to us, they would be guilty of less than ourselves.
-- The Education of Women (1719)

A woman well bred and well taught, furnished with the additional accomplishments of knowledge and behaviour, is a creature without comparison. Her society is the emblem of sublimer enjoyments, her person is angelic, and her conversation heavenly. She is all softness and sweetness, peace, love, wit, and delight. She is every way suitable to the sublimest wish, and the man that has such a one to his portion, has nothing to do but to rejoice in her, and be thankful.
-- The Education of Women (1719)

For I cannot think that God Almighty ever made them so delicate, so glorious creatures; and furnished them with such charms, so agreeable and so delightful to mankind; with souls capable of the same accomplishments with men: and all, to be only Stewards of our Houses, Cooks, and Slaves.
-- The Education of Women (1719)

Necessity makes an honest man a knave.
-- The Serious Reflections of Robinson Crusoe (1720)

Vice came in always at the door of necessity, not at the door of inclination.
-- Moll Flanders (1721)

Pleasure is a thief to business.
-- The Complete English Tradesman (1725)

Things as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believed.
-- History of the Devil (1726)


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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