Most Popular Essays

  1. “A modest proposal”

  2. Jonathan Swift

    A Modest Proposal for preventing the children of poor people in Ireland, from being a burden on their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the publick. (169675)

  3. “On running after one’s hat”

  4. G. K. Chesterton

    An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered. (167472)

  5. “On lying in bed”

  6. G. K. Chesterton

    If there is one thing worse that the modern weakening of major morals, it is the modern strengthening of minor morals. (154698)

  7. “On laziness”

  8. Christopher Morley

    The man who is really, thoroughly, and philosophically slothful is the only thoroughly happy man. It is the happy man who benefits the world. The conclusion is inescapable. (136079)

  9. “Dream children: A reverie”

  10. Charles Lamb

    We are nothing; less than nothing, and dreams. We are only what might have been, and must wait upon the tedious shores of Lethe millions of ages before we have existence, and a name. (120082)

  11. “A bachelor’s complaint of the behaviour of married people”

  12. Charles Lamb

    Nothing is to me more distasteful than that entire complacency and satisfaction which beam in the countenances of a new-married couple. (114017)

  13. “Of studies”

  14. Francis Bacon

    Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. (92743)

  15. “Leaves from the mental portfolio of an Eurasian”

  16. Sui Sin Far

    I look back over the years and see myself so keenly alive to every shade of sorrow and suffering that it is almost a pain to live. (82168)

  17. “Of cannibals”

  18. Michel de Montaigne

    I am afraid our eyes are bigger than our bellies, and that we have more curiosity than capacity; for we grasp at all, but catch nothing but wind. (63801)

  19. “Of experience”

  20. Michel de Montaigne

    There is no desire more natural than that of knowledge. We try all ways that can lead us to it; where reason is wanting, we therein employ experience, more weak and cheap; but truth is so great a thing that we ought not to disdain any mediation that will guide us to it. (55654)

  21. “That to study philosophy is to learn to die”

  22. Michel de Montaigne

    Let us disarm him of his novelty and strangeness, let us converse and be familiar with him, and have nothing so frequent in our thoughts as death. (54495)

  23. “Of the education of children”

  24. Michel de Montaigne

    We often take very great pains, and consume a good part of our time in training up children to things, for which, by their natural constitution, they are totally unfit (54320)

  25. “Description of a desert”

  26. Ann Plato

    To be thirsty in a desert...is the most terrible situation that a man can be placed in. (51503)

  27. “New Year’s Eve”

  28. Charles Lamb

    Every man hath two birth-days: two days, at least, in every year, which set him upon revolving the lapse of time, as it affects his mortal duration. (49871)

  29. “Dreamthorp”

  30. Alexander Smith

    This place suits my whim, and I like it better year after year. As with everything else, since I began to love it I find it gradually growing beautiful. (46290)

  31. “Of smells”

  32. Michel de Montaigne

    To smell, though well, is to stink. (44562)

  33. “Of the force of imagination”

  34. Michel de Montaigne

    My conscience does not falsify one tittle; what my ignorance may do, I cannot say. (42569)

  35. “On the pleasure of hating”

  36. William Hazlitt

    We hate old friends: we hate old books: we hate old opinions; and at last we come to hate ourselves. (42061)

  37. “Of idleness”

  38. Michel de Montaigne

    I fancied I could not more oblige my mind than to suffer it at full leisure to entertain and divert itself. (41690)

  39. “The art of the essayist”

  40. Arthur Benson

    The essayist is really a lesser kind of poet, working in simpler and humbler materials, more in the glow of life perhaps than in the glory of it. (41377)

  41. “Tradition and the individual talent”

  42. T. S. Eliot

    The conscious present is an awareness of the past in a way and to an extent which the past’s awareness of itself cannot show. (39207)

  43. “To the reader”

  44. Michel de Montaigne

    I have had no consideration at all either to thy service or to my glory. (37924)

  45. “As a white slave”

  46. Nellie Bly

    There was one way of getting at the truth, and I determined to try it. (37352)

  47. “Of a monstrous child”

  48. Michel de Montaigne

    Whatever falls out contrary to custom we say is contrary to nature, but nothing, whatever it be, is contrary to her. Let, therefore, this universal and natural reason expel the error and astonishment that novelty brings along with it. (37315)

  49. “All fool’s day”

  50. Charles Lamb

    The more laughable blunders a man shall commit in your company, the more tests he giveth you, that he will not betray or overreach you. (35163)

  51. “Of coaches”

  52. Michel de Montaigne

    Fear springs sometimes as much from want of judgment as from want of courage. (33962)

  53. “The south-sea house”

  54. Charles Lamb

    To the idle and merely contemplative, to such as me, old house! there is a charm in thy quiet:--a cessation--a coolness from business--an indolence almost cloistral--which is delightful! (32486)

  55. “Of the inconstancy of our actions”

  56. Michel de Montaigne

    Considering the natural instability of our manners and opinions, I have often thought even the best authors a little out in so obstinately endeavouring to make of us any constant and solid contexture. (32090)

  57. “The two races of men”

  58. Charles Lamb

    There is a class of alienators more formidable than that which I have touched upon: I mean our borrowers of books--those mutilators of collections, spoilers of the symmetry of shelves, and creators of odd volumes. (30859)

  59. “A dissertation upon roast pig”

  60. Charles Lamb

    Pig—let me speak his praise—is no less provocative of the appetite, than he is satisfactory to the criticalness of the censorious palate. (28371)

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