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Gilbert K. Chesterton quotes (142)

A businessman is the only man who is forever apologizing for his occupation.
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A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.
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A man does not know what he is saying until he knows what he is not saying.
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A man who says that no patriot should attack the war until it is over... is saying no good son should warn his mother of a cliff until she has fallen.
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A new philosophy generally means in practice the praise of some old vice.
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A puritan is a person who pours righteous indignation into the wrong things.
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A radical generally meant a man who thought he could somehow pull up the root without affecting the flower. A conservative generally meant a man who wanted to conserve everything except his own reason for conserving anything.
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A room without books is like a body without a soul.
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A stiff apology is a second insult... The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt.
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A teacher who is not dogmatic is simply a teacher who is not teaching.
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A woman uses her intelligence to find reasons to support her intuition.
Gilbert K. Chesterton   Category: Intelligence

A yawn is a silent shout.
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All architecture is great architecture after sunset; perhaps architecture is really a nocturnal art, like the art of fireworks.
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All conservatism is based upon the idea that if you leave things alone you leave them as they are. But you do not. If you leave a thing alone you leave it to a torrent of change.
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All slang is metaphor, and all metaphor is poetry.
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An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.
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An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.
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And they that rule in England, in stately conclaves met, alas, alas for England they have no graves as yet.
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And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.
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Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.
Gilbert K. Chesterton   Category: Art

Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.
Gilbert K. Chesterton   Category: Art

Artistic temperament is the disease that afflicts amateurs.
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Being "contented" ought to mean in English, as it does in French, being pleased. Being content with an attic ought not to mean being unable to move from it and resigned to living in it; it ought to mean appreciating all there is in such a position.
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Brave men are all vertebrates; they have their softness on the surface and their toughness in the middle.
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Buddhism is not a creed, it is a doubt.
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Chastity does not mean abstention from sexual wrong; it means something flaming, like Joan of Arc.
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Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.
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Coincidences are spiritual puns.
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Compromise used to mean that half a loaf was better than no bread. Among modern statesmen it really seems to mean that half a loaf; is better than a whole loaf.
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Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.
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Cruelty is, perhaps, the worst kid of sin. Intellectual cruelty is certainly the worst kind of cruelty.
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Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated.
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Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel.
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Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable.
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Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.
Gilbert K. Chesterton   Category: Education

Education is the period during which you are being instructed by somebody you do not know, about something you do not want to know.
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Experience which was once claimed by the aged is now claimed exclusively by the young.
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Fable is more historical than fact, because fact tells us about one man and fable tells us about a million men.
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Half a truth is better than no politics.
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Happiness is a mystery, like religion, and should never be rationalised.
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Happy is he who still loves something he loved in the nursery: He has not been broken in two by time; he is not two men, but one, and he has saved not only his soul but his life.
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How you think when you lose determines how long it will be until you win.
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I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.
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I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.
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I regard golf as an expensive way of playing marbles.
Gilbert K. Chesterton   Category: Sports

I was planning to go into architecture. But when I arrived, architecture was filled up. Acting was right next to it, so I signed up for acting instead.
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I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
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I've searched all the parks in all the cities and found no statues of committees.
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If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.
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If I can put one touch of rosy sunset into the life of any man or woman, I shall feel that I have worked with God.
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If I had only one sermon to preach it would be a sermon against pride.
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If you do not understand a man you cannot crush him. And if you do understand him, very probably you will not.
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In matters of truth the fact that you don't want to publish something is, nine times out of ten, a proof that you ought to publish it.
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It is as healthy to enjoy sentiment as to enjoy jam.
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It is not funny that anything else should fall down; only that a man should fall down. Why do we laugh? Because it is a gravely religious matter: it is the Fall of Man. Only man can be absurd: for only man can be dignified.
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It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it.
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It isn't that they can't see the solution. It is that they can't see the problem.
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Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers is another.
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Journalism largely consists of saying "Lord Jones is Dead" to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive.
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Large organization is loose organization. Nay, it would be almost as true to say that organization is always disorganization.
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Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.
Gilbert K. Chesterton   Category: Religion

Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity.
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Love means to love that which is unlovable; or it is no virtue at all.
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Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling.
Gilbert K. Chesterton   Category: Art

Man does not live by soap alone; and hygiene, or even health, is not much good unless you can take a healthy view of it or, better still, feel a healthy indifference to it.
Gilbert K. Chesterton   Category: Health

Man is an exception, whatever else he is. If he is not the image of God, then he is a disease of the dust. If it is not true that a divine being fell, then we can only say that one of the animals went entirely off its head.
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Man seems to be capable of great virtues but not of small virtues; capable of defying his torturer but not of keeping his temper.
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Marriage is an adventure, like going to war.
Gilbert K. Chesterton   Category: Marriage

Men always talk about the most important things to perfect strangers. In the perfect stranger we perceive man himself; the image of a God is not disguised by resemblances to an uncle or doubts of wisdom of a mustache.
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Men feel that cruelty to the poor is a kind of cruelty to animals. They never feel that it is an injustice to equals; nay it is treachery to comrades.
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