Thursday, July 27, 2017

Monarchy in quotations

  • As long as the human heart is strong and the human reason weak, royalty will be strong because it appeals to diffuse feeling, and Republics weak because they appeal to the understanding.- Walter BagehotThe English Constitution (186
  • 7)
  • Britain is fortunate indeed in having a breed of distinguished people ...whom people come from all over the world to see. It would be an act of cruelty to impose that function of royalty on any normal family of citizens, but seeing that there is a family which is born to it as the fruit of a long historical evolution it would be an act of great political folly to establish a Presidency...I have such a strong sense of the political usefulness of British royalty to substantial and competent progressive forces in the society. - Brendan Clifford, "The Monarchy & Progress", in "Labour & Trade Union Review" Magazine, December 1987.
  • The metaphor of the king as the shepherd of his people goes back to ancient Egypt. Perhaps the use of this particular convention is due to the fact that, being stupid, affectionate, gregarious and easily stampeded, the societies formed by sheep are most like human ones.Northrop Frye, Canadian literary critic, 1957. Quoted in 100 good reasons to be a Republican, "New Statesman", August 2000.
  • If instead of insisting on rights everyone does his duty, there will immediately be the rule of order established among mankind. There is no such thing as the divine right of kings to rule and the humble duty of the ryots to pay respectful obedience.-Mohandas Gandhi, "Rights or Duties?", Harijan Magazine, 6 July 1947. Quoted in Mahatma Gandhi: The Essential Writings, edited by Judith M. Brown. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2008. (p.91)
  • Of the various forms of government that have prevailed in the world, a hereditary monarchy seems to present the fairest scope for ridicule.-Edward GibbonDecline and Fall of the Roman Empire, (1776-1788).
  • A monarch's neck should always have a noose around it. It keeps him upright.-Robert A. Heinlein in The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (1985)
  • Humans should not worship other humans at all, but if they must do so it is better that the worshipped ones do not occupy any positions of political power.-Christopher HitchensThe Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (1990), Chatto Counterblasts

  • We know well that the Primitive Church in her greatest purity were but voluntary congregations of believers, submitting themselves to the Apostles, and after to other Pastors, to whom they did minister of their Temporals, as God did move them. So as Ecclesiasticus, cap. 17, says, God appointed a Ruler over every people, when he divided nations of the whole Earth. And therefore if a people will refuse all government, it were against the law of God; and yet if a popular State will receive a Monarchy it stands well with the Law of God.-Sir Henry Hobart, 1st Baronet, C.J., Bruton v. Morris (1614), Lord Hobart's Rep. 149; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 100.
  • The state of Monarchy is the supremest thing upon earth; for kings are not only God's lieutenants upon earth and sit upon God's throne, but even by God himself they are called gods.-James I of England, speech to Parliament at Whitehall (21 March 1609), from Political Works of James I.

The insuperable objection to monarchy is that the king or queen is elevated, and respect is accorded, for no reason other than birth . . . No one who believes either in the claims of merit or in the pursuit of equality can defend the system.-Mervyn Jones, 1977. Quoted in 100 good reasons to be a Republican, "New Statesman", August 2000.

Great Britain is a republic with a hereditary president, while the United States is a monarchy with an elective king.- The Knoxville Journal 9 Feb 1896, Quoted in "The Politics of American Foreign Policy" by Peter Heys Gries p 170

We Britons should rejoice that we have contrived to reach much legal democracy (we still need more of the economic) without losing our ceremonial Monarchy. For there, right in the midst of our lives, is that which satisfies the craving for inequality, and acts as a permanent reminder that medicine is not food. Hence a man's reaction to Monarchy is a kind of test. Monarchy can easily be "debunked", but watch the faces, mark well the accents of the debunkers. These are the men whose taproot in Eden has been cut — whom no rumor of the polyphony, the dance, can reach – men to whom pebbles laid in a row are more beautiful than an arch. Yet even if they desire mere equality they cannot reach it. Where men are forbidden to honor a king they honor millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead — even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served — deny it food and it will gobble poison.- C. S. Lewis, in "Equality", in The Spectator, Vol. CLXXI (27 August 1943)


  • A crown
  • Golden in show, is but a wreath of thorns.
    Brings dangers, troubles, cares, and sleepless nights
    To him who wears the regal diadem.- John MiltonParadise Regained (1671), Book II, line 458.
  • A king is a king, not because he is rich and powerful, not because he is a successful politician, not because he belongs to a particular creed or to a national group. He is King because he is born. And in choosing to leave the selection of their head of state to this most common denominator in the world- the accident of birth- Canadians implicitly proclaim their faith in human equality; their hope for the triumph of nature over political manoeuvre, over social and financial interest; for the victory of the human person.- Jacques Monet, in "The Canadian Monarchy" in The West and the Nation : Essays in Honour of W. L. Morton(1976), edited by Ramsay Cook, and Carl Berger. p. 324.

  • Fear God. Honour the King.- I Peter, II. 17
  • The monarchy is a political referee, not a political player, and there is a lot of sense in choosing the referee by a different principle from the players. It lessens the danger that the referee might try to start playing.- Conrad Russell, 5th Earl Russell, as quoted in The Spectator (11 January 1997).

  • Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.-William ShakespeareHenry IV, Part II (c. 1597-99), Act III, scene 1, line 31.

  • I believe that the royal family are a focus of patriotism, of loyalty, of affection and of esteem. That is a rare combination, and we should value it highly. - Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, in a Civil List debate, in the House of Commons (24 July 1990

  • The king reigns but does not govern.-Otto von Bismarck, in a debate in the Reichstag (Jan. 24, 1882). He denied the application of this maxim to Germany.

  • The Prussian Sovereigns are in possession of a crown not by the grace of the people, but by God's grace.-Otto von Bismarck, speech in the Prussian Parliament (1847).

  • That the king can do no wrong is a necessary and fundamental principle of the English constitution.- William BlackstoneBook III, Chapter XVII.

  • The king never dies.-William BlackstoneCommentaries, IV. 249

  • In good King Charles's golden days
  • When royalty no harm meant,
    A zealous high-churchman was I,
    And so I got preferment.- Vicar of Bray, English song written before 1710. Also said to have been written by an officer in George the First's army, Col. Fuller's regiment. The Vicar of Bray was said to be Rev. Symon Symonds; also Dr. Francis Caswell. A Vicar of Bray, in Berkshire, Eng., was alternately Catholic and Protestant under Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth. See Fuller—Worthies of Berkshire. Simon Aleyn (Allen) named in Brom's Letters from the Bodleian, Volume II, Part I, p. 100.
  • Every noble crown is, and on Earth will forever be, a crown of thorns.-Thomas CarlylePast and Present, Book III, Chapter VIII
  • I am monarch of all I survey,
    My right there is none to dispute,
    From the centre all round to the sea,
    I am lord of the fowl and the brute.-William Cowper, verses supposed to be written by Alexander Selkirk.
  • The Royal Crown cures not the headache.-George HerbertJacula Prudentum (1651)

  • Whenever monarchs err, the people are punished.-HoraceEpistles, I. 2. 14.

  • God gives not kings the stile of Gods in vaine,
  • For on his throne his sceptre do they sway;
    And as their subjects ought them to obey,
    So kings should feare and serve their God againe.-King JamesSonnet Addressed to his son, Prince Henry.
  • They say Princes learn no art truly, but the art of horsemanship. The reason is, the brave beast is no flatterer. He will throw a Prince as soon as his groom.-Ben JonsonDiscoveriesIlliteratusPrincep
    • He who knows not how to dissimulate, can not reign.
    • Louis XI. See Roche et Chasles, Hist. de France, Volume II, p. 3
    • He who knows how to dissimulate knows how to reign.- Vicentius Lupanus,De Magistrat. Franc. Lib. I. See Lipsius, Politica sive Civilis Doctrina. Lib. IV. Cap. 14. Conrad Lycosthenes—Apopothegmata. De Simulatione & Dissimulatione. Burton—Anatomy of Melancholy, Part I. Sect. II. Mem. III. Subsec. 15. Palingenius—Zodiacus Vitæ. Lib. IV. 684. Also given as a saying of Emperor Frederick I., (Barbarossa), Louis XI, and Philip II. of Spain. Tacitus—Annales. IV. 71.
  • A crown! what is it?
    It is to bear the miseries of a people!
    To hear their murmurs, feel their discontents,
    And sink beneath a load of splendid care!- Hannah MoreDaniel, Part VI
  • What is a king? a man condemn'd to bear
    The public burthen of the nation's care.-Matthew Prior, Solomon, Book III, line 275.
  • Put not your trust in princes.-Psalms. CXLVI. 3.

  • To know how to dissemble is the knowledge of kings.-RichelieuMiranne.

  • Here lies our sovereign lord, the king,
  • Whose word no man relies on,
    Who never said a foolish thing,
    And never did a wise one.-Rochester. To Charles II. "That is very true, for my words are my own. My actions are my minister's." Answer of Charles II, according to the account in Hume's History of England, VIII, p. 312.

  • Here lies our mutton-looking king,
    Whose word no man relied on,
    Who never said a foolish thing,
    Nor ever did a wise one.-Another version of Rochester's Epitaph on Charles II, included in works of Quarles.

  • The first art to be learned by a ruler is to endure envy.-Seneca the YoungerHercules Furens, CCCLIII

  • Every monarch is subject to a mightier one.-Seneca the YoungerHercules Furens, DCXIV.

  • Kings are like stars—they rise and set, they have
    The worship of the world, but no repose.-Percy Bysshe ShelleyHellas, Mahmud to Hassan, line 195
    • The first king was a successful soldier;
      He who serves well his country has no need of ancestors.-Voltaire, Mérope. I. 3.

  • Hail to the crown by Freedom shaped—to gird
    An English sovereign's brow! and to the throne
    Whereon he sits! whose deep foundations lie
    In veneration and the people's

  • Let kings be as David was, men after God's own heart, yet they will not want a Shimei to rail on them.-Finch, L.C.J., Hampden's Case (1637), 3 How. St. Tr. 1232.

  • The King can do no wrong; he cannot constitutionally be supposed capable of injustice.-Sir John Nicholl, Goods of King George HI., deceased (1822), 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 1287

  • It is true that the King never dies; the demise is immediately followed by the succession; there is no interval: the Sovereign always exists; the person only is changed.-Lord Lyndhurst, Viscount Canterbury v. Att.-Gen. (1843), 1 Phill. 322.
  • All Governments rest mainly on public opinion, and to that of his own subjects every wise Sovereign will look. The opinion of his subjects will force a Sovereign to do his duty, and by that opinion will he be exalted or depressed in the politics of the world.-Lord KenyonTrial of John Vint and others (1799), 27 How. St. Tr. 640.

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