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Boys Pilfering Molasses – On The Quays, New Orleans, 1853 painting by George Henry Hall

Sweetness is one of the five basic tastes and is almost universally regarded as a pleasurable experience. Foods rich in simple carbohydrates such as sugar are those most commonly associated with sweetness, although there are other natural and artificial compounds that are sweet at much lower concentrations, allowing their use as non-caloric sugar substitutes. Other compounds may alter perception of sweetness itself.


  • The Greek word euphuia, a finely tempered nature, gives exactly the notion of perfection as culture brings us to perceive it; a harmonious perfection, a perfection in which the characters of beauty and intelligence are both present, which unites "the two noblest of things"—as Swift … most happily calls them in his Battle of the Books, "the two noblest of things, sweetness and light."
  • The pursuit of the perfect, then, is the pursuit of sweetness and light.
  • Culture is the passion for sweetness and light, and (what is more) the passion for making them prevail.
  • Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
    • Psalms, XIX. 10.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 774.
  • Everye white will have its blacke
    And everye sweete its soure.
  • Nor waste their sweetness in the desert air.
  • Sweet meat must have sour sauce.
  • To pile up honey upon sugar, and sugar upon honey, to an interminable tedious sweetness.
  • Instead of dirt and poison, we have rather 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, Battle of the Books, fable on the merits of the bee (the ancients) and the spider (the moderns).
  • The sweetest thing that ever grew
    Beside a human door.

See also

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