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Intemperance is the lack of moderation or temperance, most often expressed as the tendency towards drunkenness and gluttony.

The most damaging forms of intemperance are connected with eating, strong drink, and sexual activities. Overindulgence in any of these is fatal to success. ~ Napoleon Hill


  • Beware the deadly fumes of that insane elation
    Which rises from the cup of mad impiety,
    And go, get drunk with that divine intoxication
    Which is more sober far than all sobriety.
  • Sinners, hear and consider, if you wilfully condemn your souls to bestiality, God will condemn them to perpetual misery.
  • Men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.
    • Edmund Burke, Letter to a Member of the National Assembly (1791).
  • Man, being reasonable, must get drunk;
    The best of life is but intoxication:
    Glory, the grape, love, gold, in these are sunk
    The hopes of all men and of every nation;
    Without their sap, how branchless were the trunk
    Of life's strange tree, so fruitful on occasion:
    But to return,—Get very drunk; and when
    You wake with headache, you shall see what then.
  • Intemperance is a hydra with a hundred heads. She never stalks abroad unaccompanied with impurity, anger, and the most infamous profligacies.
    • Chrysostom, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 353.
  • All learned, and all drunk!
  • Gloriously drunk, obey the important call.
  • If the body brought a suit against the soul for all the sufferings and ills it had endured throughout its whole life, and one had to judge the case oneself, one would readily condemn the soul for having ruined certain features of the body through carelessness and made it soft through drink and brought it to rack and ruin through love of pleasure, just as if a tool or a utensil were in a bad state one would blame the person who used it carelessly.
    • Democritus, Fragment 34, cited in Plutarch, Do Desire and Distress Belong to the Body or the Soul?, The Atomists, C. Taylor, trans. (1999)
  • Then hasten to be drunk, the business of the day.
  • Petition me no petitions, Sir, to-day;
    Let other hours be set apart for business,
    To-day it is our pleasure to be drunk;
    And this our queen shall be as drunk as we.
  • He that is drunken
    Is outlawed by himself; all kind of ill
    Did with his liquor slide into his veins.
  • Shall I, to please another wine-sprung minde,
    Lose all mine own? God hath giv'n me a measure
    Short of His can and body; must I find
    A pain in that, wherein he finds a pleasure?
  • No person may enjoy outstanding success without good health. Many of the causes of ill health are subject to mastery and control. These, in the main are: a. Overeating of foods not conducive to health. b. Wrong habits of thought... c. Wrong use of, and over indulgence in sex. d. Lack of proper physical exercise e. An inadequate supply of fresh air, due to improper breathing.... The most damaging forms of intemperance are connected with eating, strong drink, and sexual activities. Overindulgence in any of these is fatal to success...
  • A man may choose whether he will have abstemiousness and knowledge, or claret and ignorance.
  • The use of flesh foods, by the excitation that it exercises on the nervous system, prepares the way for habits of intemperance in everything; and the more flesh is consumed, the more serious is the danger of confirmed alcoholism...The lower part of man’s nature is undoubtedly intensified by the habit of feeding upon corpses. Even after eating a full meal of such horrible material, a man still feels unsatisfied, for he is still conscious of a vague, uncomfortable sense of want, and consequently he suffers greatly from nervous strain. This craving is the hunger of the bodily tissues, which cannot be renewed by the poor stuff offered to them as food. To satisfy this vague craving, or rather to appease these restless nerves so that it will no longer be felt, recourse is often had to stimulants. Sometimes alcoholic beverages are taken; sometimes an attempt is made to allay these feelings with black coffee, and at other times strong tobacco is used in the endeavor to soothe the irritated, exhausted nerves. Here we have the beginning of intemperance, for in the majority of cases intemperance began in the attempt to allay with alcoholic stimulants the vague, uncomfortable sense of want which follows the eating of impoverished food—food that does not feed. There is no doubt that drunkenness, and all the poverty, wretchedness, disease and crime associated with it, may frequently be traced to errors of feeding.
  • Touch the goblet no more!
    It will make thy heart sore
    To its very core!
  • Voluptuous habits speedily bind all the powers of the soul in loathsome vassalage, and exclude every thought except such as relate to the beastly pleasures of which it is the slave. Distracted by cravings as inexorable as they are base, and in their vileness perpetually reproduced, — tantalized by the impure fountains of a diseased imagination, and oppressed with its own effeminacy, — the mind loses its vigor and its productiveness. Every faculty rapidly deteriorates and decays; memory becomes extinguished, inanity destroys resolution, and the heart is as cold and callous as a cinder extinct. It ceases to love, to sympathize, and diffuse the delicious tears that sanctify friendship's shrine. The whole countenance assumes an expression of obdurateness and repugnance. The features, marked with premature decay, proclaim that the source of gentle sentiments, pure emotions, and innocent joys, is exhausted, like a limpid fountain invaded by the scoria and flame of a volcano. All the elements of life seem to have retreated into their abused organs only to perish there. Even the organs themselves are withered, and worse than dead; their infirmities, maladies, sufferings, rush in a multitude upon the degraded victim, and overwhelm him in awful retribution.
    • Elias Lyman Magoon, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 354.
  • Soon as the potion works, their human count'nance,
    Th' express resemblance of the gods, is chang'd
    Into some bruitish form of wolf or bear,
    Or ounce or tiger, hog, or bearded goat,
    All other parts remaining as they were;
    And they, so perfect in their misery,
    Not once perceive their foul disfigurement.
  • And when night
    Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons
    Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.
  • But in the eighth month a severe disease attacked Gaius who had changed the manner of his living which was a little while before, while Tiberius was alive, very simple and on that account more wholesome than one of great sumptuousness and luxury; for he began to indulge in abundance of strong wine and eating of rich dishes, and in the abundant license of insatiable desires and great insolence, and in the unseasonable use of hot baths, and emetics, and then again in winebibbing and drunkenness, and returning gluttony, and in lust after boys and women, and in everything else which tends to destroy both soul and body, and all the bonds which unite and strengthen the two; for the rewards of temperance are health and strength, and the wages of intemperance are weakness and disease which bring a man near to death.
  • Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth its color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright: at the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
  • Other vices make their own way; this makes way for all vices. He that is a drunkard is qualified for all vice.
    • Francis Quarles, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 353.
  • Boundless intemperance
    In nature is a tyranny, it hath been
    Th' untimely emptying of the happy throne,
    And fall of many kings.
  • And now, in madness,
    Being full of supper and distempering draughts,
    Upon malicious bravery, dost thou come
    To start my quiet.
  • O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! that we should, with joy, pleasance, revel, and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!
  • I will ask him for my place again; he shall tell me, I am a drunkard! Had I as many mouths as Hydra, such an answer would stop them all. To be now a sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a beast!
  • Every inordinate cup is unblessed and the ingredient is a devil.
  • I told you, sir, they were red-hot with drinking;
    So full of valour that they smote the air
    For breathing in their faces; beat the ground
    For kissing of their feet.
  • What's a drunken man like, fool?
    Like a drowned man, a fool and a madman: one draught above heat makes him a fool; the second mads him; and a third drowns him.
  • I never drink. I cannot do it, on equal terms with others. It costs them only one day; but me three,—the first in sinning, the second in suffering, and the third in repenting.
    • Laurence Sterne, he Koran: or, The Life, Characters, and Sentiments, of Tria Juncta in Uno, M. N. A., or Master of No Arts (1794).
  • A drunkard clasp his teeth and not undo 'em,
    To suffer wet damnation to run through 'em.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 398-99.
  • Libidinosa etenim et intemperans adolescentia effœtum corpus tradit senectuti.
    • A sensual and intemperate youth hands over a worn-out body to old age.
    • Cicero, De Senectute, IX.
  • Ha! see where the wild-blazing Grog-Shop appears,
    As the red waves of wretchedness swell,
    How it burns on the edge of tempestuous years
    The horrible Light-House of Hell!
  • He calls drunkenness an expression identical with ruin.
  • Quid non ebrietas designat? Operta recludit;
    Spes jubet esse ratas; in prælia trudit inermem.
    • What does drunkenness not accomplish? It discloses secrets, it ratifies hopes, and urges even the unarmed to battle.
    • Horace, Epistles, I. 5. 16.
  • In vain I trusted that the flowing bowl
    Would banish sorrow, and enlarge the soul.
    To the late revel, and protracted feast,
    Wild dreams succeeded, and disorder'd rest.
  • Nihil aliud est ebrietas quam voluntaria insania.
    • Drunkenness is nothing but voluntary madness.
    • Seneca the Younger, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium, LXXXIII.
  • Drunkenness is an immoderate affection and use of drink. That I call immoderation that is besides or beyond that order of good things for which God hath given us the use of drink.
  • The wine of Love is music,
    And the feast of Love is song:
    And when Love sits down to the banquet,
    Love sits long:
    * * * * *
    Sits long and rises drunken,
    But not with the feast and the wine;
    He reeleth with his own heart,
    That great, rich Vine.

See also

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