Yesterday I posted about what a treat it was to read two essays by Lord Acton. Here are some of his more-humorous lines.

On Heraclitus:

Heraclitus is, unfortunately, so obscure that Socrates could not understand him, and I won’t pretend to have succeeded better.

On Machiavelli:

I have shown you how Machiavelli supplied the immoral theory needful for the consummation of royal absolutism; the absolute oligarchy of Venice required the same assurance against the revolt of conscience. It was provided by a writer as able as Machiavelli, who analysed the wants and resources of aristocracy, and made known that its best security is poison.

His retelling of an old philosophical joke:

At that time there was some truth in the old joke which describes the English dislike of speculation by saying that all our philosophy consists of a short catechism in two questions: “What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind.”