Comparisons are acts of comparing one thing to another, in order to determine similarities and differences, relative size, relative importance.


  • Comparisons are odious.
    • Old proverb, quoted in The International Encyclopedia of Prose And Poetical Quotations From The Literature of The World, p. 129
  • Is it possible your pragmatical worship should not know that the comparisons made between wit and wit, courage and courage, beauty and beauty, birth and birth, are always odious and ill taken?
  • Great things with small.
  • It is important to recognize that comparison is not a method or even an academic technique; rather, it is a discursive strategy. There are a few important points to bear in mind when one wants to make a comparison. First of all, one has to decide, in any given work, whether one is mainly after similarities or differences. It is very difficult, for example, to say, let alone prove, that Japan and China or Korea are basically similar or basically different. Either case could be made, depending on one’s angle of vision, one’s framework, and the conclusions towards which one intends to move. (In the jingoist years on the eve of the First World War, when Germans and Frenchmen were encouraged to hate each other, the great Austro-Marxist theoretician Otto Bauer enjoyed baiting both sides by saying that contemporary Parisians and Berliners had far more in common than either had with their respective medieval ancestors.) Here I have tried, as perhaps offering a useful example, to show how the comparative works I wrote between the early 1970s and the 2000s reflected, in their real difference, changing perspectives, framings and (political) intentions.
  • THE same, yet not the same — her face
    Has still that Grecian line ;
    The sculptured perfectness whose grace
    Has long been held divine.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 125-27.
  • How God ever brings like to like.
    • Aristotle, Ethics Mag. 2. 11. Also Politics, VIII, Chapter II. 12. "One pin drives out another," as translation, by Congreve. Aristophanes, Pluto, 32. Euripides, Hecuba, 993. Homer, Odyssey, 17, 218.
  • Defining night by darkness, death by dust.
  • 'Tis light translateth night; 'tis inspiration
    Expounds experience; 'tis the west explains
    The east; 'tis time unfolds Eternity.
  • Glass antique! 'twixt thee and Nell
    Draw we here a parallel!
    She, like thee, was forced to bear
    All reflections, foul or fair.
    Thou art deep and bright within,
    Depths as bright belong'd to Gwynne;
    Thou art very frail as well,
    Frail as flesh is,—so was Nell.
  • Comparisons are odious.
    • Archbishop Boiardo, Orlando Innamorato, Chapter VI, Stanza 4. Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part III, Section III. Memb. 1. Subsec. 2. Carew—Describing Mount Edgcumbe. (About 1590). John Donne, Elegy, VIII. (1619). Fortescue, De Laudibus Leg. Angliæ, Chapter 19. Gabriel Harvey, Archaica, Volume II, p. 23. (1592). Herbert, Jacula Prudentum (1651). Heywood, Woman Killed with Kindness, Act I, scene 2. Lodowich, Lloyd Marrow of History, p. 19. (1653). William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing (1598-99), Act III, scene 5. 1. 19. has odorous. W. P. in Pasquine in a Traunce. Folio 4. (1549). Whitgift, Defence of the Answer to the Administration (1574). Parker Society's Whitgift, Volume II, p. 434.
  • Not worthy to carry the buckler unto him.
  • It's wiser being good than bad;
    It's safer being meek than fierce:
    It's fitter being sane than mad.
    My own hope is, a sun will pierce
    The thickest cloud earth ever stretched;
    That, after Last, returns the First,
    Though a wide compass round be fetched;
    That what began best, can't end worst,
    Nor what God blessed once, prove accurst.
  • It has all the contortions of the sibyl without the inspiration.
  • To liken them to your auld-warld squad,
    I must needs say comparisons are odd.
  • Some say, that Seignior Bononchini
    Compar'd to Handel's a mere Ninny;
    Others aver, to him, that Handel
    Is scarcely fit to hold a candle.
    Strange! that such high Disputes shou'd be
    'Twixt Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
    • John Byrom, epigram on the Feuds between Handel and Banoncini, as given in the London Journal (June 5, 1725).
  • Some say, compared to Bononcini,
    That Mynheer Handel's but a ninny;
    Others aver, that he to Handel
    Is scarcely fit to hold a Candle:
    Strange all this difference should be,
    'Twixt Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee!
    • John Byrom's Epigram as published later, probably changed by himself. "Not fit to hold a candle to him" is from the Roman Catholic custom of holding candles before shrines, in processions.
  • Is it possible your pragmatical worship should not know that the comparisons made between wit and wit, courage and courage, beauty and beauty, birth and birth, are always odious and ill taken?
  • At whose sight, like the sun,
    All others with diminish'd lustre shone.
    • Cicero, Tusculan Disp, Book III. Div. 18. Yonge's translation.
  • Similem habent labra lactucam.
    • Like lips like lettuce (i. e. like has met its like).
    • Crassus. See Cicero, De Finibus, V, 30, 92.
  • About a donkey's taste why need we fret us?
    To lips like his a thistle is a lettuce.
    • Free translation. by William Ewart of the witticism that made Crassus laugh for the only time, on seeing an ass eat thistles. Quoted by Facciolati (Bailey's ed.) and by Moore in his Diary (Lord John Russell's ed.).
  • Like to like.
  • Everything is twice as large, measured on a three-year-old's three-foot scale as on a thirty-year-old's six-foot scale.
  • And but two ways are offered to our will,
    Toil with rare triumph, ease with safe disgrace,
    The problem still for us and all of human race.
  • Comparisons do ofttime great grievance.
  • Who wer as lyke as one pease is to another.
  • Hoc ego, tuque sumus: sed quod sum, non potes esse:
    Tu quod es, e populo quilibet esse potest.
    • Such are thou and I: but what I am thou canst not be; what thou art any one of the multitude may be.
    • Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), V. 13. 9.
  • Sunt bona, sunt quædam mediocria, sunt mala plura.
    • Some are good, some are middling, the most are bad.
    • Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), I. 17. 1.
  • L'ape e la serpe spesso
    Suggon l'istesso umore;
    • The bee and the serpent often sip from the selfsame flower.
    • Metastasio, Morte d'Abele, I.
  • II y a fagots et fagots.
    • There are fagots and fagots.
    • Molière, Le Médecin Malgré lui (1666), I. 6.
  • The souls of emperors and cobblers are cast in the same mould. * * * The same reason that makes us wrangle with a neighbour causes a war betwixt princes.
  • We are nearer neighbours to ourselves than whiteness to snow, or weight to stones.
  • No more like together than is chalke to coles.
  • Everye white will have its blacke,
    And everye sweet its soure.
  • The rose and thorn, the treasure and dragon, joy and sorrow, all mingle into one.
    • Saadi, The Gulistan, Chapter VII. Apologue 21. Ross' translation.
  • Einem ist sie die hohe, die himmlische Göttin, dem andern
    Eine tüchtige Kuh, die ihn mit Butter versorgt.
    • To one it is a mighty heavenly goddess, to the other an excellent cow that furnishes him with butter.
    • Friedrich Schiller, Wissenschaft.
  • Those that are good manners at the court are as ridiculous in the country as the behaviour of the country is most mockable at the court.
  • What, is the jay more precious than the lark,
    Because his feathers are more beautiful?
    Or is the adder better than the eel,
    Because his painted skin contents the eye?
  • Here and there a cotter's babe is royal—born by right divine;
    Here and there my lord is lower than his oxen or his swine.
  • Duo quum idem faciunt, sæpe ut possis dicere,
    Hoc licet impune facere huic, illi non licet:
    Non quod dissimilis res sit, sed quod is sit.
    • When two persons do the self-same thing, it oftentimes falls out that in the one it is criminal, in the other it is not so; not that the thing itself is different, but he who does it.
    • Terence, Adelphi, V, III. 37.
  • Sic canibus catulos similes, sic matribus hædos
    Noram; sic parvis componere magna solebam.
    • Thus I knew that pups are like dogs, and kids like goats; so I used to compare great things with small.
    • Virgil, Eclogæ, I, 23.
  • Qui n'est que juste est dur, qui n'est que sage est triste.
    • He who is not just is severe, he who is not wise is sad.
    • Voltaire, Epître au Roi de Prusse (1740).
  • The little may contrast with the great, in painting, but cannot be said to be contrary to it. Oppositions of colors contrast; but there are also colors contrary to each other, that is, which produce an ill effect because they shock the eye when brought very near it.
    • Voltaire, Dictionnaire philosophique portatif ("A Philosophical Dictionary") (1764), Essay, Contrast.
  • For like to like, the proverb saith.
  • For as saith a proverb notable,
    Each thing seeketh his semblable.
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