Wide World of Quotes > Horace Walpole Quotes
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Every drop of ink in my pen ran cold.
- Letter to George Montagu, 30 July 1752
I am sensible that from the prostitution of patriotism, from the art of ministers who have had the address to exalt the semblance while they depressed the reality of royalty, and from the bent of the education of the young nobility, which verges to French maxims and to a military spirit, nay, from the ascendant which the nobility itself acquires each day in this country, from all these reflections, I am sensible, that prerogative and power have been exceedingly fortified of late within the circle of the palace; and though fluctuating ministers by turns exercise the deposit, yet there it is; and whenever a prince of design and spirit shall sit in the regal chair, he will find a bank, a hoard of power, which he may lay off most fatally against this constitution. [I am] a quiet republican, who does not dislike to see the shadow of monarchy, like Banquo's ghost, fill the empty chair of state, that the ambitious, the murderer, the tyrant, may not aspire to it; in short, who approves the name of a King, when it excludes the essence.
-- Horace Walpole, 1756
The gentle maid, whose hapless tale
These melancholy pages speak;
Say, gracious lady, shall she fail
To draw the tear adown thy cheek?
No; never was thy pitying breast
Insensible to human woes;
Tender, tho firm, it melts distrest
For weaknesses it never knows.
Oh! guard the marvels I relate
Of fell ambition scourgd by fate,
From reasons peevish blame.
Blest with thy smile, my dauntless sail
I dare expand to Fancys gale,
For sure thy smiles are Fame.
-- "Sonnet to the Right Honourable Lady Mary Coke", in: The Castle of Otranto (1764), Preface to the First Edition (full text here)
It is charming to totter into vogue.
- Letter to George Selwyn, 2 December 1765
The way to ensure summer in England is to have it framed and glazed in a comfortable room.
- Letter to Revd William Cole, 28 May 1774
The next Augustan age will dawn on the other side of the Atlantic. There will, perhaps, be a Thucydides at Boston, a Xenophon at New York, and, in time, a Virgil at Mexico, and a Newton at Peru. At last, some curious traveller from Lima will visit England and give a description of the ruins of St Paul's, like the editions of Balbec and Palmyra.
- Letter to Horace Mann, 24 November 1774
This world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel.
- Letter to Anne, Countess of Upper Ossory, 16 August 1776
Indeed, Madam, I write unwillingly; there is not a word left in my Dictionary that can express what I feel. Savages, barbarians, &c., were terms for poor ignorant Indians and Blacks and Hyaenas, or, with some superlative epithets, for Spaniards in Peru and Mexico, for Inquisitors, or for Enthusiasts of every breed in religious wars. It remained for the enlightened eighteenth century to baffle language and invent horrors that can be found in no vocabulary. What tongue could be prepared to paint a Nation that should avow Atheism, profess Assassination, and practice Massacres on Massacres for four years together: and who, as if they had destroyed God as well as their King, and established Incredulity by law, give no symptoms of repentance! These Monsters talk of settling a Constitutionit may be a brief one, and couched in one Law, "Thou shalt reverse every Precept of Morality and Justice, and do all the Wrong thou canst to all Mankind".
-- Speaking of the French Revolution, 1793
That hyena in petticoats, Mrs Wollstonecraft.
- Letter to Hannah More, 26 January 1795
Virtue knows to a farthing what it has lost by not having been vice.
-- Quoted in L. Kronenberger, The Extraordinary Mr Wilkes (1974)
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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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