Horace Walpole Quotes

Horatio “Horace” Walpole, 1717 – 1797

Born: 24 September 1717, London, England, UK
Died: 2 March 1797, Berkeley Square, London, England, UK

Generally known as “Horace”, he was the fourth and youngest son of the prime minister Robert Walpole. He was an indifferent student at Eton College and King’s College, Cambridge and soon entered parliament. He served three different ridings in sequence over 47 years, but showed little other political ambition. He had two passions: writing and his “Strawberry Hill” home at Twickenham, south-west of London. He spent a quarter century adding Gothic decoration to the house, spurring a new trend, and filled it with oddities from around the world. He gave tours of the house for a fee while complaining about the invasion of his privacy. To facilitate his literary efforts he equipped Strawberry Hill with a printing press. Along with several novels, he left behind a chest of memoirs totaling some three million words, mostly still unpublished, and over three thousand letters which Yale has now published in 48 volumes. It was Walpole who coined the word “serendipity”, based on the Italian story, The Three Princes of Serendip, which, in turn, was a Persian fairy tale.

Horace Walpole quotes:

A careless song, with a little nonsense in it now and then, does not misbecome a monarch.
    Horace Walpole

A poet who makes use of a worse word instead of a better, because the former fits the rhyme or the measure, though it weakens the sense, is like a jeweller, who cuts a diamond into a brilliant, and diminishes the weight to make it shine more.
    Horace Walpole

Alexander at the head of the world never tasted the true pleasure that boys of his own age have enjoyed at the head of a school.
    Horace Walpole

Anything but history, for history must be false.
    Horace Walpole

By deafness one gains in one respect more than one loses; one misses more nonsense than sense.
    Horace Walpole

Defaced ruins of architecture and statuary, like the wrinkles of decrepitude of a once beautiful woman, only make one regret that one did not see them when they were enchanting.
    Horace Walpole

Don’t play for safety. It’s the most dangerous thing in the world.
    Horace Walpole

Exercise is the worst thing in the world and as bad an invention as gunpowder.
    Horace Walpole

Foolish writers and readers are created for each other.
    Horace Walpole

Had I children, my utmost endeavors would be to make them musicians.
    Horace Walpole

History is a romance that is believed; romance, a history that is not believed.
    Horace Walpole

How well Shakespeare knew how to improve and exalt little circumstances, when he borrowed them from circumstantial or vulgar historians.
    Horace Walpole

I am persuaded that foolish writers and foolish readers are created for each other; and that fortune provides readers as she does mates for ugly women.
    Horace Walpole

I avoid talking before the youth of the age as I would dancing before them: for if one’s tongue don’t move in the steps of the day, and thinks to please by its old graces, it is only an object of ridicule.
    Horace Walpole

I do not admire politicians; but when they are excellent in their way, one cannot help allowing them their due.
    Horace Walpole

I do not admire politicians; but when they are excellent in their way, one cannot help allowing them their due.

Horace Walpole
I do not dislike the French from the vulgar antipathy between neighboring nations, but for their insolent and unfounded air of superiority.

Horace Walpole
I firmly believe, notwithstanding all our complaints, that almost every person upon earth tastes upon the totality more happiness than misery.

Horace Walpole
I have known men of valor cowards to their wives.

Horace Walpole
I have known several persons of great fame for wisdom in public affairs and councils governed by foolish servants. I have known great ministers, distinguished for wit and learning, who preferred none but dunces. I have known men of valor cowards to their wives. I have known men of cunning perpetually cheated. I knew three ministers who would exactly compute and settle the accounts of a kingdom, wholly ignorant of their own economy.

Horace Walpole
I have often said, and oftener think, that this world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel — a solution of why Democritus laughed and Heraclitus wept.

Horace Walpole
I look upon paradoxes as the impotent efforts of men who, not having capacity to draw attention and celebrity from good sense, fly to eccentricities to make themselves noted.

Horace Walpole
I never found even in my juvenile hours that it was necessary to go a thousand miles in search of themes for moralizing.

Horace Walpole
I shun authors, and would never have been one myself, if it obliged me to keep such bad company.

Horace Walpole
I sit with my toes in a brook,
  And if any one axes forwhy?
I hits them a rap with my crook,
  For ’tis sentiment does it, says I.

Horace Walpole
If a passion for freedom is not in vogue, patriots may sound the alarm till they are weary. The Act of Habeas Corpus, by which prisoners may insist on being brought to trial within a limited time, is the corner stone of our liberty.

Horace Walpole
Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he isn’t. A sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is.

Horace Walpole
In all science error precedes the truth, and it is better it should go first than last.

Horace Walpole
In my youth I thought of writing a satire on mankind! but now in my age I think I should write an apology for them.

Horace Walpole
It is difficult to divest one’s self of vanity; because impossible to divest one’s self of self-love.

Horace Walpole

Justice is rather the activity of truth, than a virtue in itself. Truth tells us what is due to others, and justice renders that due. Injustice is acting a lie.

Horace Walpole
Letters to absence can a voice impart,
And lend a tongue when distance gags the heart.

Horace Walpole
Men are often capable of greater things than they perform. They are sent into the world with bills of credit, and seldom draw to their full extent.

Horace Walpole

“Detached Thoughts” in The Works of Horatio Walpole, Vol. IV (1798)
My aversion to them … springs from the perniciousness of that sect to society. I hate Papists, as a man, not as a Protestant. If Papists were only enemies to the religion of other men, I should overlook their errors. As they are foes to liberty, I cannot forgive them.

Horace Walpole
Mystery is the wisdom of blockheads.

Horace Walpole
Nine-tenths of the people were created so you would want to be with the other tenth.

Horace Walpole
Nothing has shown more fully the prodigious ignorance of human ideas and their littleness, than the discovery of [Sir William] Herschell, that what used to be called the Milky Way is a portion of perhaps an infinite multitude of worlds!

Horace Walpole
Oh that I were seated as high as my ambition, I’d place my naked foot on the necks of monarchs.

Horace Walpole
Oh, we are ridiculous animals; and if the angels have any fun in them, how we must divert them!

Horace Walpole
Old friends are the great blessings of one’s latter years. Half a word conveys one’s meaning. They have memory of the same events, and have the same mode of thinking. I have young relations that may grow upon me, for my nature is affectionate, but can they grow old friends? My age forbids that. Still less can they grow companions. Is it friendship to explain half one says? One must relate the history of one’s memory and ideas; and what is that to the young but old stories?

Horace Walpole
One of the greatest geniuses that ever existed, Shakespeare, undoubtedly wanted taste.

Horace Walpole
One’s mind suffers only when one is young and while one is ignorant of the world. When one has lived for some time, one learns that the young think too little and the old too much, and one grows careless about both.

Horace Walpole
Poetry is a beautiful way of spoiling prose, and the laborious art of exchanging plain sense for harmony.

Horace Walpole
Prognostics do not always prove prophecies, at least the wisest prophets make sure of the event first.

Horace Walpole
Serendipitous discoveries are made by chance, found without looking for them but possible only through a sharp vision and sagacity, ready to see the unexpected and never indulgent with the apparently unexplainable.

Horace Walpole

Shakespeare had no tutors but nature and genius. He caught his faults from the bad taste of his contemporaries. In an age still less civilized Shakespeare might have been wilder, but would not have been vulgar.

Horace Walpole
That is the best, to laugh with someone because you think the same things are funny.

Horace Walpole
The contempt of money is no more a virtue than to wash one’s hand is one; but one does not willingly shake hands with a man that never washes his.

Horace Walpole
The curse of modern times is, that almost everything does create controversy.

Horace Walpole
The most wonderful of all things in life, I believe, is the discovery of another human being with whom one’s relationship has a glowing depth, beauty, and joy as the years increase. This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing, it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is sort of a Divine accident.

Horace Walpole
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 traveler from Lima will visit England and give a description of the ruins of St Paul’s, like the editions of Balbec and Palmyra.

Horace Walpole
The passions seldom give good advice but to the interested and mercenary. Resentment generally suggests bad measures. Second thoughts and good nature will rarely, very rarely, approve the first hints of anger.

Horace Walpole
The sure way of judging whether our first thoughts are judicious, is to sleep on them. If they appear of the same force the next morning as they did over night, and if good nature ratifies what good sense approves, we may be pretty sure we are in the right.

Horace Walpole
The whole secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and in a thousand things well.

Horace Walpole
This world is a comedy for those who think but a tragedy for those who feel.

Horace Walpole

letter to the Countess of Ossory (16 August 1776)
This world is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel! This is the quintessence of all I have learnt in fifty years!

Horace Walpole

letter to Horace Mann (5 March 1772)
To act with common sense, according to the moment, is the best wisdom I know; and the best philosophy, to do one’s duties, take the world as it comes, submit respectfully to one’s lot, bless the goodness that has given us so much happiness with it, whatever it is, and despise affectation.

Horace Walpole
We are largely the playthings of our fears. To one, fear of the dark; to another, of physical pain; to a third, of public ridicule; to a fourth, of poverty; to a fifth, of loneliness … for all of us, our particular creature waits in ambush.

Horace Walpole
We often repent of our first thoughts, and scarce ever of our second.

Horace Walpole
When people will not weed their own minds, they are apt to be overrun by nettles.

Horace Walpole

letter to Countess Caroline of Ailesbury (10 July 1779)

Without grace no book can live, and with it the poorest may have its life prolonged.

Horace Walpole

What do you think?

861 Points
Upvote Downvote

Written by MoneyNet

MoneyNet is the team behind the research and fact-checking of our net worth listings. We strive to provide the most up-to-date listings of the wealthiest people in the world from a wide range of industries and professions. If you have a tip, or think that we have something factually incorrect, then please let us know. Aside from that, enjoy learning everything there is to know about the rich and famous.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Lee Trevino Quotes

Vincent van Gogh Quotes