The UVic Writer's Guide



Unlike the epigram, which is characterized by wit, an aphorism is the concisely phrased statement of an opinion or general truth:

"Virtue is like a rich stone, best plain set" (Francis Bacon, "Of Virtue").

Sometimes the aphorism may be cryptic, like these two from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell).:

"Joys impregnate. Sorrows bring forth."

"The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction"

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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria, 1995

This page updated September 23, 1995