Talk:Josh Billings

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Wikiquote no longer allows unsourced quotations, and they are in process of being removed from our pages (see Wikiquote:Limits on quotations); but if you can provide a reliable, precise and verifiable source for any quote on this list please move it to Josh Billings. --Antiquary 12:03, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

  • A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.
  • As a general rule, if you want to get at the truth — hear both sides and believe neither.
  • Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there.
  • Beauty is a very handy thing to have, especially for a woman who ain't handsome.
  • Confess your sins to the Lord and you will be forgiven; confess them to man and you will be laughed at.
  • Don't despise your poor relations, they may become suddenly rich one day.
  • Flattery is like cologne water, to be smelt of, not swallowed.
  • Health is like money, we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.
  • I have finally come to the conclusion that a good reliable set of bowels is worth more to a man than any quantity of brains.
  • If you ever find happiness by hunting for it, you will find it, as the old woman did her lost spectacles, safe on her own nose all the time.
  • In youth we run into difficulties, in old age, difficulties run into us.
  • It ain't what a man don't know that makes him a fool; it's the things he does know, that ain't so.
  • Laughing is the sensation of feeling good all over and showing it principally in one spot.
  • Life is a grindstone, and whether it grinds a man down or polishes him up depends on what he is made of.
  • Life is short, but it's long enough to ruin any man who wants to be ruined.
  • Love looks through a telescope; envy, through a microscope.
  • Man was created a little lower than the angels, and has been getting lower ever since.
  • Man is my brother, and I am nearer related to him through his vices than I am through his virtue.
  • Marrying for love may be a bit risky, but it is so honest that God can't help but smile on it.
  • Old maids sweeten their tea with scandal.
  • Remember the poor, it costs nothing.
  • Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute.
  • The man whose only pleasure in life is making money, weighs less on the moral scale than an angleworm.
  • The thinner the ice, the more anxious is everyone to see whether it will bear.
  • There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness.
  • There's a great power in words, if you don't hitch too many of them together.
  • A learned fool is one who has read everything, and simply remembered it.
  • "First have something to say, Second say it, Third stop when you have said it, and Finally give it an accurate title."
    • Not the same Billings. This quote is attributed to John Shaw Billings (1838–1913) in "Johns Hopkins Historical Club: Special Meeting, May 26, 1913, in Memory of Dr. John Shaw Billings", Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Vol. 25, No. 282 (August 1914), p. 247. The quote is an expansion on the first two clauses, which were in circulation considerably earlier and are attributable to Nathanael Emmons (1745–1840), as quoted by Edwards Amasa Park in "Miscellaneous Reflections of a Visiter upon the Character of Dr. Emmons" (Familias Lecture at Andover Theological Seminary), published in The Works of Nathanael Emmons (1842), ed. Jacob Ide, Vol. 1, p. cxxxii, where he (Emmons) is also quoted saying "What a pity that a man who can write so well, hadn't something to write." ~ Ningauble 16:50, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
    • P.S.: I have added Emmons' and Billings' quotes to the Writing theme article. ~ Ningauble 17:21, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
Several of these are contained in the enWP article, sometimes slightly altered, but I would assume they are sourced there.
This is what started my study of Billings, but I lack a good source, as well, having seen it on a puzzle-page:
* Always live within your income, even if you have to borrow money to do so.

Spelling: Affurisms[edit]

I assume the section title "Affurisms. From Josh Billings: His Sayings" is verbatim from a book title; and an example or emulation of his "eccentric phonetic spelling" mentioned in the Wikipedia article. The modern spelling is Aphorisms. - Ac44ck (talk) 20:46, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

Misspellings/phonetic sp were a folksy trademark, and it makes him challenging to read, to the point of being irritating, esp after years of correcting such. I have an idea that his lack of modern popularity is largely due to this outworn fashion of humor writing. Twain does it, especially within his novels when writing dialog. Other 19th century writers come to mind (JC Harris, JW Riley): it was a popular practice, and now often viewed as racist/elitist. I have to read Billings in small doses, but find him worth the effort. Ragityman (talk) 05:52, 22 November 2019 (UTC)