William Ralph Inge Quotes

William Ralph Inge, 1860 – 1954

Born: 6 June 1860, Crayke, Yorkshire, England, UK
Died: 26 February 1954, Wallingford, England, UK

Inge (pronounced “inj”, one syllable) was educated at Eton College with honors, then King’s College, Cambridge where he won several prizes and took two firsts. He served as a tutor at Hertford College, Oxford and was ordained a deacon in the Church of England in 1888. He held a chair in divinity at Jesus College,Cambridge in 1907, then was chosen by Prime Minister Asquith to be Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral at London. In 1921 he became a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery and a columnist for the Evening Standard. He retired from the church in 1934, continued his column until 1946, and served at the NPG through 1951. His pessimism in his columns led to his being known as “The Gloomy Dean”. He wrote extensively, over thirty-five books, and was an authority on Christian Mysticism and Platonism. Dean Inge was also known as a supporter of animal rights and his understanding of a spiritual autonomous religion led to frequent criticism of the Roman church.

William Ralph Inge quotes:

A man may build himself a throne of bayonets, but he cannot sit on it.
    William Ralph Inge

A nation is a society united by a delusion about its ancestry and by a common hatred of its neighbours.
    William Ralph Inge – The End of an Age: and other essays (1948)

Civilization is a disease which is almost invariably fatal.
    William Ralph Inge

Civilization is being poisoned by its own waste products.
    William Ralph Inge

Consciousness is a phase of mental life which arises in connection with the formation of new habits. When habit is formed, consciousness only interferes to spoil our performance.
    William Ralph Inge

Events in the past may be roughly divided into those which probably never happened and those which do not matter.
    William Ralph Inge

Experience is a good teacher, but her fees are very high.
    William Ralph Inge

I have never understood why it should be considered derogatory to the Creator to suppose that he has a sense of humour.
    William Ralph Inge

I think middle-age is the best time, if we can escape the fatty degeneration of the conscience which often sets in at about fifty.
    William Ralph Inge

In dealing with Englishmen you can be sure of one thing only, that the logical solution will not be adopted.
    William Ralph Inge

It is astonishing with how little wisdom mankind can be governed, when that little wisdom is its own.
    William Ralph Inge

It is quite natural and inevitable that, if we spend sixteen hours daily of our waking lives in thinking about the affairs of the world and five minutes in thinking about God and our souls, this world will seem two hundred times more real to us than God.
    William Ralph Inge

It is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favor of vegetarianism while the wolf remains of a different opinion.
    William Ralph Inge

Let us remember, when we are inclined to be disheartened, that the private soldier is a poor judge of the fortunes of a great battle.
    William Ralph Inge

Literature flourishes best when it is half trade and half an art.
    William Ralph Inge

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