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Wisdom from David Copperfield

Wisdom from David Copperfield

Wisdom from David Copperfield
21 August 2014

Despite being published in 1850, Charles Dickens' semi-autobiographical masterpiece David Copperfield is still overflowing with quotes applicable to life in 2014.

As the book sees a young David through from child to adulthood, here are 20 quotes from the novel which will see you from adulthood to…even older adulthood?



“...trifles make the sum of life.”

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”

“There can be no disparity in marriage like unsuitability of mind and purpose.”

“I had considered how the things that never happen, are often as much realities to us, in their effects, as those that are accomplished.”

“It's in vain to recall the past, unless it works some influence upon the present.”

“We must meet reverses boldly, and not suffer them to frighten us, my dear. We must learn to act the play out. We must live misfortune down, Trot!”

“Try not to associate bodily defect with mental, my good friend, except for a solid reason”

There can't be a quarrel without two parties, and I won't be one.”

“It will be your duty, and it will be your pleasure too to estimate her (as you chose her) by the qualities that she has, and not by the qualities she may not have.”

“The sight of me is good for sore eyes”

“Least said, soonest mended”

“Mature affection, homage, devotion, does not easily express itself. Its voice is low. It is modest and retiring, it lies in ambush, waits and waits. Such is the mature fruit. Sometimes a life glides away, and finds it still ripening in the shade.”

“You can never show better than as your own natural self”

“When a plunge is to be made into the water, it's of no use lingering on the bank.”

“My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him!”

“Conventional phrases are a sort of fireworks, easily let off, and liable to take a great variety of shapes and colours not at all suggested by their original form.”

“…unless we learn to do our duty to those whom we employ, they will never learn to do their duty to us”

“….a loving heart [is] better and stronger than wisdom”

“a man must take the fat with the lean”

“Let sleeping dogs lie – who wants to rouse ‘em?”