85 Best Ever Jonathan Swift Quotes From The Author Of Gulliver's Travels

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Jonathan Swift is known best as a political satirist, pamphleteer as well as an essayist of Anglo-Irish descent who is deemed as one of the most noteworthy literary geniuses in the world of literature.

His famous works, including 'Gulliver's Travels', 'A Tale Of A Tub', 'A Modest Proposal' and the like, have been critically acclaimed as some of the finest satirical pieces of literature ever written. The archetypal form of satire attributed to his works has been termed as 'Swiftian' and widely influenced contemporary and future writers as well.  

You could also check out Jonathan Swift books, quotes on reasoning and Jonathan Swift quotes on religion. Even a great genius appears to need to read some Jonathan Swift quotes. Here is a list of the best quotes by Jonathan Swift which are considered to be gems in literature.

If you like our content, you can check out other quotes articles like John Locke quotes and Thomas More quotes.

Jonathan Swift Famous Quotes

Jonathan Swift quotes are still relevant to life today.

Here is a list of some of the best and the most iconic quotes by Jonathan Swift.

1. "A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, that he is wiser today than yesterday."

-Jonathan Swift.

2. "Live every day as your last, because one of these days, it will be."

-Jonathan Swift.

3. "Fine words! I wonder where you stole them."

-Jonathan Swift.

4. "May you live every day of your life."

-Jonathan Swift.

5. "It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."

-Jonathan Swift.

6. "Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others."

-Jonathan Swift.

7. "Proper words in proper places make the true definition of style."

-Jonathan Swift.

8. "Whoever makes the fewest persons uneasy, is the best-bred man in company."

-Jonathan Swift.

9. "Power is no blessing in itself, except when it is used to protect the innocent."

-Jonathan Swift.

10. "He was a bold man that first ate an oyster."

-Jonathan Swift.

11. "When I am reading a book, whether wise or silly, it seems to me to be alive and talking to me."

-Jonathan Swift.

12. "The worthiest people are the most injured by slander, as is the best fruit which the birds have been pecking at."

-Jonathan Swift.

13. "There is no absolute success in the world, only constant progress."

-Jonathan Swift.

14. "There is nothing constant in this world but inconsistency."

-Jonathan Swift.

15. "Vision is the art of seeing things invisible."

-Jonathan Swift.

16. "You should never be ashamed to admit you have been wrong. It only proves you are wiser today than yesterday."

-Jonathan Swift.

17. "Satire is a sort of glass wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own; which is the chief reason for that kind reception it meets with in the world, and that so very few are offended with it."

-Jonathan Swift, ' The Battle Of The Books And Other Short Pieces'.

18. "There are few, very few, that will own themselves in a mistake."

-Jonathan Swift.

19. "Every dog must have his day."

-Jonathan Swift.

20. "If a man makes me keep my distance, the comfort is, he keeps his at the same time."

-Jonathan Swift.

21. "Happiness is the perpetual possession of being well deceived."

-Jonathan Swift.

22. "No wise man ever wished to be younger."

-Jonathan Swift.

23. "Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late..."

-Jonathan Swift.

Jonathan Swift Quotes On Life

Jonathan Swift quotes should be treated as life morals.

Jonathan Swift's works have a lot of religious significance as well. Here is a list of Jonathan Swift quotes about religion, society, satire, and life, including Jonathan Swift quotes from books.  

24. "When a great genius appears in the world you may know him by this sign; that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Abolishing Christianity And Other Essays'.

25. "We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another."

-Jonathan Swift.

26. "I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed."

-Jonathan Swift.

27. "The latter part of a wise person's life is occupied with curing the follies, prejudices and false opinions they contracted earlier."

-Jonathan Swift.

28. "We of this age have discovered a shorter, and more prudent method to become scholars and wits, without the fatigue of reading or of thinking."

-Jonathan Swift.

29. "I have ever hated all nations, professions, and communities, and all my love is toward individuals."

-Jonathan Swift.

30. "Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own."

-Jonathan Swift.

31. "A soldier is a 'Yahoo' hired to kill in cold blood as many of his own species, who have never offended him, as possibly he can."

-Jonathan Swift.

32. "I'm as old as my tongue and a little older than my teeth."

-Jonathan Swift.

33. "In men desire begets love, and in women love begets desire."

-Jonathan Swift.

34. "We have chosen to fill our hives with honey and wax; thus furnishing mankind with the two noblest of things, which are sweetness and light."

-Jonathan Swift.

35. "That the universe was formed by a fortuitous concourse of atoms."

-Jonathan Swift.

36. "Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through."

-Jonathan Swift.

37. "The stoical scheme of supplying our wants by lopping off our desires, is like cutting off our feet, when we want shoes."

-Jonathan Swift.

38. "As love without esteem is capricious and volatile; esteem without love is languid and cold."

-Jonathan Swift.

39. "I will no more believe than that the accidental jumbling of the alphabet would fall into a most ingenious treatise of philosophy."

-Jonathan Swift.

40. "In answer to which, I assured his honor that in all points out of their lawyers' own trade, they were usually the most ignorant and stupid generation among us, the most despicable in common conversation."

-Jonathan Swift.

41. "One enemy can do more hurt than ten friends can do good."

-Jonathan Swift.

42. "Words are the clothing of our thoughts."

-Jonathan Swift.

43. "Let that be as it will, thus much is certain, that, however spiritual intrigues begin, they generally conclude like all others; they may branch upward toward heaven, but the root is in the earth."

-Jonathan Swift.

44. "Punning is a talent which no man affects to despise but he that is without it."

-Jonathan Swift.

45.  "Some men, under the notion of weeding out prejudice, eradicate virtue, honesty and religion."

-Jonathan Swift.

46. "So that, upon the whole, there must be some kind of subjection due from every man to every man, which cannot be made void by any power, pre-eminence, or authority whatsoever."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Three Sermons'.

47. "Books, the children of the brain."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Tale Of A Tub And Other Writings'.

48. “Whereof one was a page that held up his train.”

― Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels'.

49. "A person with good eyes may see to the bottom of the deepest, provided any water be there; and often, when there is nothing in the world at the bottom, besides dryness and dirt, though it be but a yard and half under ground, it shall pass however for wondrous deep, upon no wiser a reason than because it is wondrous dark."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Tale Of A Tub And Other Writings'.

50. "I have one word to say upon the subject of profound writers, who are grown very numerous of late."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Tale Of A Tub And Other Writings'.

51. "These reasonings will furnish us with an adequate definition of a true critic: that he is a discoverer and collector of writers’ faults."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Tale Of A Tub And Other Writings'.

52. "I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricasie, or a ragoust."

-Jonathan Swift, 'A Modest Proposal'.

Quotes From 'Gulliver's Travels'

'Gulliver's Travels' is said to be Swift's most celebrated work of all time. If you are looking for some satirist quotes, 'Gulliver's Travels' quotes will be perfect for you. Here is a list you might find interesting.

53. "The use of speech was to make us understand one another, and to receive information of facts."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

54. "The cottagers and laborers keep their children at home, their business being only to till and cultivate the earth, and therefore their education is of little consequence to the public."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

55. "Undoubtedly, philosophers are in the right when they tell us that nothing is great or little otherwise than by comparison."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

56. "Many hundred large volumes have been published upon this controversy: but the books of the Big-endians have been long forbidden, and the whole party rendered incapable by law of holding employments."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

57. "When people are met together, a short silence does much improve conversation."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

58. "Men are never so serious, thoughtful, and intent, as when they are at stool."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

59. "I could not sufficiently wonder at the intrepidity of these diminutive mortals."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

60. "When a great office is vacant, either by death or disgrace (which often happens,) five or six of those candidates petition the emperor to entertain his majesty and the court with a dance on the rope; and whoever jumps the highest, without falling, succeeds in the office."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

61. "And he gave it for his opinion, 'that whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.'"

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

62. "Ingratitude is amongst them a capital crime, as we read it to have been in some other countries."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

63. "This made me reflect, how vain an attempt it is for a man to endeavor to do himself honor among those who are out of all degree of equality or comparison with him."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

64. "They look upon fraud as a greater crime than theft, and therefore seldom fail to punish it with death."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

65. "The tiny Lilliputians surmise that Gulliver’s watch may be his god, because it is that which, he admits, he seldom does anything without consulting."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

66. "Difference in opinions has cost many millions of lives: for instance, whether flesh be bread, or bread be flesh; whether the juice of a certain berry be blood or wine."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

67. "Whoever makes ill-returns to his benefactor, must needs be a common enemy to the rest of the mankind, from where he has received no obligations and therefore such man is not fit to live."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

68. "A wife should be always a reasonable and agreeable companion because she cannot always be young."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

69. "The empress, and young princes of the blood of both sexes, attended by many ladies, sat at some distance in their chairs."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

70. "I attempted to rise, but was not able to stir: for, as I happened to lie on my back, I found my arms and legs were strongly fastened on each side to the ground; and my hair, which was long."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

71. "He called it his oracle, and said, it pointed out the time for every action of his life."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

72. "Honesty has no defence against superior cunning."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

73. "Care and vigilance, with a very common understanding, may preserve a man's goods from thieves."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

74. "They look upon fraud as a greater crime than theft, and therefore seldom fail to punish it with death."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

75. "I cannot but conclude that the Bulk of your Natives, to be the most pernicious Race of little odious Vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the Surface of the Earth."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

76. "Undoubtedly philosophers are in the right, when they tell us that nothing is great or little otherwise than by comparison."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

77. "Undoubtedly philosophers are in the right, when they tell us that nothing is great or little otherwise than by comparison."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

78. "Every man desires to live long; but no man would be old."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

79. "I winked at my own littleness, as people do at their own faults."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

80. "Regard to good morals than to great abilities; for, since government is necessary to mankind, they believe, that the common size of human understanding is fitted to some station or other."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

81. "No person can disobey reason, without giving up his claim to be a rational creature."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

82. "You have clearly proved that ignorance, idleness, and vice, are the proper ingredients for qualifying a legislator."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

83. "Laws are best explained, interpreted, and applied by those whose interest and abilities lie in perverting, confounding, and eluding them."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

84. "The different nations of the world had different customs."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

85. "He had therefore begun to think it not unwise in us to cover our bodies, and by that invention conceal many of our deformities from each other, which would else be hardly supportable."

-Jonathan Swift, 'Gulliver's Travels', 1726.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Jonathan Swift quotes then why not take a look at Keats quotes, or J.R.R. Tolkien quotes?

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