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Phrases starting with the letter: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


The following pages contain more than 1600 significant sayings, epigrams, and thoughts of all ages, including our own. The quotations are grouped under 178 subject headings—from Ability to Youth—and following each is the author's name, his birth and death dates, and, in most cases, the source from which the quotation was obtained.

Most of the selections come from familiar sources—Shakespeare, Emerson, Bacon, Cervantes, Cicero, La Rochefoucauld, Aristotle, Thomas Jefferson, the Old and New Testaments, etc. Many additional selections, however, have been made from the ranks of contemporary thinkers, world leaders, and authors. Among those quoted are Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Pope John XXIII, Winston Churchill, Arthur Miller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jacques Maritain, and Edith Hamilton.


Natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study.

—FRANCIS BACON (1561–1620) Essays: Of Studies

I add this also, that natural ability without education has oftener raised man to glory and virtue than education without natural ability.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) Oratio Pro Licinio Archia

Skill to do comes of doing.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) Society and Solitude

A man who qualifies himself well for his calling, never fails of employment.


It is a great ability to be able to conceal one's ability.


Better be proficient in one art than a smatterer in a hundred.


So long as a man imagines that he cannot do this or that, so long is he determined not to do it; and consequently so long is it impossible to him that he should do it.

—BENEDICT SPINOZA (1632–1677) Ethics

They are able because they think they are able.

—VERGIL (70–19 B.C.) Aeneid


But ay the tear comes in me ee,

To think on him that's far awa.

—ROBERT BURNS (1759–1796) The Bonnie Lad That's Far Awa

Our hours in love have wings; in absence crutches.

—COLLEY CIBBER (1671–1757) Xerxes

To him that absent is All things succeed amiss

—CERVANTES (1547–1616) Don Quixote

Friends, though absent, are still present.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Amicitia

Absence from whom we love is worse than death

And frustrate hope severer than despair

—WILLIAM COWPER (1731–1800) Despair at his Separation

Love reckons hours for months, and days for years;

And every little absence is an age.

—JOHN DRYDEN (1631–1700) Amphitryon

Out of sight, out of mind

—HOMER (c. 10th–8th C. B.C.) Odyssey

Friendship, like love, is destroyed by long absence, though it may be increased by short intermissions.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) The Idler

But O the heavy change, now thou art gone,

Now thou art gone, and never must return!

—JOHN MILTON (1608–1674) Lycidas

Two evils, monstrous either one apart

Possessed me, and were long and loath at going:

A cry of Absence, Absence, in the heart,

And in the wood the furious winter blowing.

—JOHN CROWE RANSOM (1888–1974) Winter Remembered

Hast thou no care of me? shall I abide

In this dull world, which in thy absence is

No better than a sty?

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Antony and Cleopatra, IV, xiii, 60

The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent from one another.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Genesis, xxxi, 49

Greater things are believed of those who are absent.

—TACITUS (c. 55–117) Histories


I am perplexed … whether to act or not to act.

—AESCHYLUS (525–456 B.C.) Suppliant Maidens

Of every noble action the intent

Is to give worth reward, vice punishment.

—FRANCIS BEAUMONT (1584–1616) and JOHN FLETCHER (1579–1625) The Captain

The end of man is an action, not a thought.

—THOMAS CARLYLE (1795–1881) Sartor Resartus

Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.

—BENJAMIN DISRAELI (1804–1881) Lothair

A man's action is only a picture book of his creed.


Brave actions never want a Trumpet.

—THOMAS FULLER (1608–1681) Gnomologia

The great end of life is not knowledge, but action.

—T. H. HUXLEY (1825–1895) Technical Education

We would often be ashamed of our finest actions if the world understood all the motives which produced them.


Actions speak louder than words.


One hour of life, crowded to the full with glorious action, and filled with noble risks, is worth whole years of those mean observances of paltry decorum.

—SIR WALTER SCOTT (1771–1832) Count Robert of Paris

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well

It were done quickly.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Macbeth, I, vii, i

Heaven n'er helps the men who will not act.

—SOPHOCLES (495–406 B.C.) Fragment

No sooner said than done.

—TERENCE (c. 190–150 B.C.) Eunuchus

We cannot think first and act afterwards. From the moment of birth we are immersed in action, and can only fitfully guide it by taking thought.



The virtue of prosperity is temperance; the virtue of adversity is fortitude. …

—FRANCIS BACON (1561–1620) Essays

Hope and patience are two sovereign remedies for all, the surest reposals, the softest cushions to lean on in adversity.

—ROBERT BURTON (1577–1640) Anatomy of Melancholy

Adversity is sometimes hard upon a man; but for one man who can stand prosperity there are a hundred that will stand adversity.

—THOMAS CARLYLE (1795–1881) Heroes and Hero-Worship

Friendship, of itself a holy tie,

Is made more sacred by adversity.

—JOHN DRYDEN (1631–1700) The Hind and the Panther

In time of prosperity friends will be plenty;

In time of adversity not one in twenty.

—JAMES HOWELL (1594?–1666) Proverbs

Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle.

—HERMAN MELVILLE (1819–1891) Cambridge Thirty Years Ago

In adversity a man is saved by hope.

—MENANDER (342–291 B.C.) Fragments

It is a kingly action, believe me, to come to the help of those who are fallen.

—OVID (43 B.C.–A.D. 18?) Epistulae ex Ponto

Great men rejoice in adversity just as brave soldiers triumph in war.

—SENECA (4? B.C.–A.D. 65) De Providentia

Trial is the true test of mortal men.

—PINDAR (c. 522–442 B.C.) Olympian Odes

Of one ill comes many.


Sweet are the uses of adversity,

Which like the toad, ugly and venomous,

Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) As You Like It, II, i, 12

 The worst is not

So long as we can say, “This is the worst.”

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) King Lear, IV, i, 28

It is the duty of all persons, when affairs are the most prosperous, then in especial to reflect within themselves in what way they are to endure adversity.

—TERENCE (c. 190–150 B.C.) Phormio

In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Ecclesiastes, viii

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Proverbs, xvii, 17


A fool sometimes gives weighty advice.


Who cannot give good counsel? 'Tis cheap, it costs them nothing.

—ROBERT BURTON (1577–1640) Anatomy of Melancholy

A woman's advice is not worth much, but he who doesn't heed it is a fool.

—PEDRO CALDERÓN (1600–1681) El medico de su honra

No one can give you better advice than yourself.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) Ad Atticum

We ask advice, but we mean approbation.

—CHARLES C. COLTON (1780?–1832) Lacon

When Thales was asked what was difficult, he said, “To know one's self.” And what was easy, “To advise another.”

—DIOGENES LAERTIUS (2nd or 3rd C.)

'Tis easier to advise the suffering than to bear suffering.

—EURIPIDES (480–406 B.C.) Alcestis

Don't give your advice before you are called upon.

—DESIDERIUS ERASMUS (1466–1536) Adagia

Whatever advice you give, be short.

—HORACE (B.C. 65–8) Ars Poetica

Advice is offensive, —because it shows us that we are known to others as well as to ourselves.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) The Rambler

Advice is least heeded when most needed.


Never advise anyone to go to war or to marry.


Many receive advice, only the wise profit by it.


The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.

—OSCAR WILDE (1854–1900) An Ideal Husband


Age appears to be the best in four things—old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.

—FRANCIS BACON (1561–1620) Apothegms, No. 97

He lives long that lives till all are weary of him.

—HENRY GEORGE BOHN (1797–1884) Handbook of Proverbs

Grow old along with me!

The best is yet to be,

The last of life, for which the first was made.

—ROBERT BROWNING (1812–1889) Rabbi Ben Ezra

Let age approve of youth, and death complete the same.

—ROBERT BROWNING (1812–1889) Rabbi Ben Ezra

Young men think old men are fools; but old men know young men are fools.

—GEORGE CHAPMAN (1559?–1634?) All Fools, Act V

I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.

—WINSTON CHURCHILL (1874–1965) remark on eve of his 75th birthday

For as I like a young man in whom there is something of the old, so I like an old man in whom there is something of the young.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Senectute

No one is so old as to think he cannot live one more year.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Senectute

A man is as old as he's feeling

A woman as old as she looks.

—MORTIMER COLLINS (1827–1876) How Old Are You?

Folly in youth is sin, in age is madness.

—SAMUEL DANIEL (1562–1619)

Age is like love; it cannot be hid.

—THOMAS DEKKER (1570?–1632) Old Fortunatus, Act II

Youth is a blunder; Manhood a struggle;

Old Age a regret.

—BENJAMIN DISRAELI (1804–1881) Coningsby

A woman is as old as she looks to a man that likes to look at her.

—FINLEY PETER DUNNE (1867–1936) Old Age

We do not count a man's years until he has nothing else to count.


Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age.

—VICTOR HUGO (1802–1885)

Whenever a man's friends begin to compliment him about looking young, he may be sure that they think he is growing old.


It was near a miracle to see an old man silent, since talking is the disease of age.

—BEN JONSON (1572–1637)

We hope to grow old, and we fear old age: that is to say, we love life and flee death.

— JEAN DE LA BRUYÉRE (1645–1696) Caractères

Of middle age the best that can be said is that a middle-aged person has likely learned how to have a little fun in spite of his troubles.

—DON MARQUIS (1878–1932) The Almost Perfect State

He who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of Age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition, youth and age are equally a burden.

—PLATO (428–347 B.C.) The Republic

He whom the gods favour dies in youth.

—PLAUTUS (c. 254–184 B.C.) Bacchides

When men grow virtuous in old age, they only make a sacrifice to God of the devil's leavings.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) Thoughts on Various Subjects

To the old cat give a tender mouse.


Before old age my care was to live well; in old age, to die well.

—SENECA (4? B.C.–A.D. 65)

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale

Her infinite variety.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Antony and Cleopatra, II, ii, 243

No wise man ever wished to be younger.

—JONATHAN SWIFT (1667–1745)

To love is natural in a young man, a shame in an old one.


Nobody loves life like an old man.

—SOPHOCLES (495–406 B.C.) Acrisius, Frag. 63

In the days of my youth I remembered my God,

And He hath not forgotten my age.

—ROBERT SOUTHEY (1774–1843) The Old Man's Comforts

We are always the same age inside.

—GERTRUDE STEIN (1874–1946)

A fool at forty is a fool indeed.

—EDWARD YOUNG (1683–1765) Love of Fame


Every eel hopes to become a whale.


The same ambition can destroy or save,

And makes a patriot as it makes a knave.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) Essay on Man

All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind.

—JOSEPH CONRAD (1857–1924) Personal Record

'Tis a laudable Ambition, that aims at being better than his Neighbours.

—BEN FRANKLIN (1706–1790) Poor Richard's Almanack

A man without ambition is like a woman without beauty.

—FRANK HARRIS (1856–1931) Montes the Matador

Ambition is a vice, but it may be the father of virtue.

—QUINTILIAN (40–c. 100)

The slave has but one master; the man of ambition has as many as there are people useful to his fortune.

—JEAN DE LA BRUYÉRE (1645–1696) Caractères

Ambition and suspicion always go together.


The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616), Hamlet, II, ii, 268


Driven from every other corner of the earth, freedom of thought and the right of private judgment in matters of conscience direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum.

—SAMUEL ADAMS (1722–1803) Speech at Philadelphia, 1776

The South! the South! God knows what will become of her.

—JOHN C. CALHOUN (1782–1850) on his deathbed.

Our country! in her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong!

—STEPHEN DECATUR (1779–1820) Toast at a dinner, 1816

I feel that you are justified in looking into the future with true assurance, because you have a mode of living in which we find the joy of life and the joy of work harmoniously combined. Added to this is the spirit of ambition which pervades your very being, and seems to make the day's work like a happy child at play.

—ALBERT EINSTEIN (1879–1955) New Year's Greeting, 1931

America means opportunity, freedom, power.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) Essays, Second Series

We must meet our duty and convince the world that we are just friends and brave enemies.


The citizens of America have explored the sea and air. They have given open-handed hospitality and employment to people immigrating from every land. America has continued to overcome with courage the various difficulties that have arisen from time to time and to render her legislation ever more in keeping with the dignity of the human person.

—POPE JOHN XXIII (1881–1963), March 17, 1963

If we are to keep our system secure and our society stable, we must all begin to work where all of us work best—and that is in the communities where we all live.

—LYNDON B. JOHNSON (1908–1973) Speech, August, 1964

I am willing to love all mankind, except an American.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) in Boswell's Life

And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.

—JOHN F. KENNEDY (1917–1963) Inauguration Speech, 1961

A citizen, first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.


Intellectually I know that America is no better than any other country; emotionally I know she is better than every other country.

—SINCLAIR LEWIS (1885–1951) Interview in Berlin, 1930

In the wars of the European powers in matters relating to themselves we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make preparation for our defence.

—JAMES MONROE (1758–1831) Message to Congress, 1823

The United States never lost a war or won a conference.

—WILL ROGERS (1879–1935)

There is a homely adage which runs, “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.” If the American nation will speak softly and yet build and keep at a pitch of the highest training the Monroe Doctrine will go far.


Every American takes pride in our tradition of hospitality, to men of all races and all creeds. We must be constantly vigilant against the attacks of intolerance and injustice. We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens, whatever their background.


Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date that will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.


In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book? or goes to an American play? or looks at an American picture or statue? What does the world yet owe to American physicians or surgeons? … What have they done in mathematics? Who drinks out of American glasses? … or wears American coats and gowns? … Finally, under which of the old tyrannical governments of Europe is every sixth man a slave …?

—SIDNEY SMITH (1771–1845) in the Edinburgh Review, 1820

Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!

—DANIEL WEBSTER (1782–1852) Speech, 1830

The Americans, like the English, probably make love worse than any other race.

—WALT WHITMAN (1819–1892) An American Primer

Our whole duty, for the present at any rate, is summed up in the motto: America first.

—WOODROW WILSON (1856–1924) Speech, 1915

America is God's crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and re-forming.

—ISRAEL ZANGWILL (1864–1926) The Melting-Pot


I was angry with my friend:

I told my wrath, my wrath did end.

I was angry with my foe;

I told it not, my wrath did grow.

—WILLIAM BLAKE (1757–1827) Christian Forbearance

Anger begins with folly and ends with repentance.

—HENRY GEORGE BOHN (1796–1884) Handbook of Proverbs

Truly to moderate your mind and speech when you are angry, or else to hold your peace, betokens no ordinary nature.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) Epistolae Quintum Fratrem

Beware the fury of a patient man.

—JOHN DRYDEN (1631–1700) Absalom and Achitophel

Anger and folly walk cheek by jowl; repentance treads on both their heels.

—BEN FRANKLIN (1706–1790) Poor Richard's Almanack

Two things a man should never be angry at: what he can help, and what he cannot help.

—THOMAS FULLER (1608–1681) Historie of the Holy Warre

Temper: a quality that, at critical moments, brings out the best in steel and the worst in people.

—OSCAR HAMMLING (1890–) Laconics

Let anger's fire be slow to burn.

—GEORGE HERBERT (1593–1633) Jacula Prudentum

When I am angry I can write, pray, and preach well, for then my whole temperament is quickened, my understanding sharpened, and all mundane vexations and temptations depart.

—MARTIN LUTHER (1483–1546) Table-Talk

The best answer to anger is silence.


A soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous words stir up anger.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Proverbs, xv, i

April See MONTHS


It is the glory and good of Art,

That Art remains the one way possible

Of speaking truth. …

—ROBERT BROWNING (1812–1889) The Ring and the Book

Art imitates nature as well as it can, as a pupil follows his master; thus is it a sort of grandchild of God.

—DANTE (1265–1321) Inferno, Canto xi

In life beauty perishes, but not in art.

—LEONARDO DA VINCI (1452–1519) Notebook

Great art is the contempt of a great man for small art.

—F. SCOTT FITZGERALD (1896–1940) Notebooks

Nobody, I think, ought to read poetry, or look at pictures or statues, who cannot find a great deal more in them than the poet or artist has actually expressed.

—NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE (1804–1864) The Marble Faun

Rules and models destroy genius and art.

—WILLIAM HAZLITT (1778–1830) On Taste

Life is short, the art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgment difficult.

—HIPPOCRATES (460?–377? B.C.) Aphorisms

Art may make a suit of clothes; but Nature must produce a man.

—DAVID HUME (1711–1776) Essays: The Epicurean, 15

Art is nothing more than the shadow of humanity.

—HENRY JAMES (1843–1916) Lectures

Art hath an enemy called ignorance.

—BEN JONSON (1574–1637)

The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.

—MICHELANGELO (1475–1564)

To have faithfully studied the honorable arts, softens the manners and keeps them free from harshness.

—OVID (43 B.C.–A.D. 18?) Epistles

There are three arts which are concerned with all things: one which uses, another which makes, and a third which imitates them.

—PLATO (428–347 B.C.) The Republic

True artists are almost the only men who do their work with pleasure.

—AUGUSTE RODIN (1840–1917)

When love and skill work together expect a masterpiece.

—JOHN RUSKIN (1819–1900)

Art is not a handicraft; it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.

—LEO TOLSTOY (1828–1910) What is Art?

A work of art is a corner of creation seen through a temperament.

—ÉMILE ZOLA (1840–1902) Mes Haines

An artist may visit a museum, but only a pedant can live there.

—GEORGE SANTAYANA (1853–1952) Life of Reason

August See MONTHS


Autumn wins you best by this, its mute

Appeal to sympathy for its decay.

—ROBERT BROWNING (1812–1889) Paracelsus

All-cheering Plenty, with her flowing horn,

Led yellow Autumn, wreath'd with nodding corn.

—ROBERT BURNS (1759–1796; The Brigs of Ayr

The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year,

Of wailing winds, and naked woods, and meadows brown and sear.

—WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT (1794–1878) The Death of the Flowers

She loves the bare, the withered tree;

She walks the sodden pasture lane.

—ROBERT FROST (1875–1963) My November Guest

Dread autumn, harvest-season of the Goddess of Death.

—HORACE (65–8 B.C.) Satires

A solemn land of long-fulfilled desires

Is this, and year by year the self-same fires

Burn in the trees.

—MARY WEBB (1881–1927) The Plain in Autumn


Be not penny-wise; riches have wings, and sometimes they fly away of themselves, sometimes they must be set flying to bring in more.

—FRANCIS BACON (1561–1620) Essays: Of Riches

If you would abolish avarice, you must abolish its mother, luxury.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Oratore

Would'st thou both eat thy cake and have it?

—GEORGE HERBERT (1593–1633) The Size

It is sheer madness to live in want in order to be wealthy when you die.

—JUVENAL (c. 60–c. 130) Satires

The beautiful eyes of my money-box!

He speaks of it as a lover of his mistress.

—MOLIÈRE (1622–1673) L'Avare

They are greedy dogs which can never have enough.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Isaiah, lvi, 11



Beauty is a gift of God.

—ARISTOTLE (384–322 B.C.) Apothegm

There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.

—FRANCIS BACON (1561–1620) Essays: Of Beauty

Beauty is not caused. It is.

—EMILY DICKINSON (1830–1886) Further Poems

No Spring, nor Summer beauty hath such grace,

As I have seen in one Autumnal face.

—JOHN DONNE (1572–1631) Elegies

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


A thing of beauty is a joy forever;

Its loveliness increases; it will never

Pass into nothingness. …

—JOHN KEATS (1795–1821) Endymion

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” that is all

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

—JOHN KEATS (1795–1821) Ode on a Grecian Urn

Euclid alone

Has looked on Beauty bare.

—EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY (1892–1951) Sonnets

Beauty and wisdom are seldom found together.

—PETRONIUS ARBITER (1st C. A.D.) Satyricon

It is the beautiful bird that gets caged.


Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) As You Like It, I, iii, 13

O how can beautie maister the most strong!

—EDMUND SPENSER (1552?–1599) Faerie Queene



It is a great happiness to see our children rising round us, but from that good fortune spring the bitterest woes of man.

—AESCHYLUS (525–456 B.C.) Agamemnon

Cornelia kept her in talk till her children came from school, “And these,” said she, “are my jewels.”

—ROBERT BURTON (1557–1640) Anatomy of Melancholy

Respect the child. Be not too much his parent.

Trespass not on his solitude.


To a father waxing old nothing is dearer than a daughter. Sons have spirits of higher pitch, but less inclined to sweet, endearing fondness.

—EURIPIDES (480–406 B.C.)

An undutiful Daughter will prove an unmanageable Wife.

—BEN FRANKLIN (1706–1790) Poor Richard's Almanack

It is a wise child that knows his own father.

—HOMER (10th–8th C. B.C.) Odyssey

Children have more need of models than of critics.

—JOSEPH JOUBERT (1754–1824) Pensées, No. 261

Between the dark and the daylight,

When the night is beginning to lower,

Comes a pause in the day's occupations

That is known as the children's hour.

—HENRY W. LONGFELLOW (1807–1882) The Children's Hour

Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for such is the kingdom of God.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Mark, x, 14; Luke, xviii, 16

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Luke, xvii, 2

Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Psalms, viii, 2

The wildest colts make the best horses.

—PLUTARCH (46–120)

A wise son maketh a glad father.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Proverbs, x, 1

Even a child is known by his doings.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Proverbs, xx, 11

Behold the child, by nature's kindly law,

Pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) Essay on Man

Lacking all sense of right and wrong, a child can do nothing which is morally evil, or which merits either punishment or reproof.

—JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU (1712–1778) Emile

At first the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.

And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel,

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) As You Like It, II, viii, 143

I do not love him because he is good, but because he is my little child.

—SIR RABINDRANATH TAGORE (1861–1941) The Crescent Moon

A child tells in the street what its father and mother say at home.


A babe in a house is a well-spring of pleasure.

—MARTIN FARQUHAR TUPPER (1810–1889) Of Education

Heaven lies about us in our infancy.

—WILLIAM WORDSWORTH (1770–1850) Intimations of Immortality

The child is father of the man.

—WILLIAM WORDSWORTH (1770–1850) My Heart Leaps up When I Behold


Civilization degrades the many to exalt the few.

—BRONSON ALCOTT (1799–1888) Table-Talk

Increased means and increased leisure are the two civilizers of man.

—BENJAMIN DISRAELI (1804–1881) Speech, 1872

The true test of civilization is not the census, nor the size of cities, nor the crops, —no, but the kind of man the country turns out.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) Essays: Society and Solitude.

No one is so savage that he cannot become civilized, if he will lend a patient ear to culture.

—HORACE (65–8 B.C.) Epistles

Things have their day, and their beauties in that day. It would be preposterous to expect any one civilization to last forever.

—GEORGE SANTAYANA (1863–1952) Character and Opinion in the United States

A civilization which develops only on its material side, and not in corresponding measure on its mental and spiritual side, is like a vessel with a defective steering gear. …

—ALBERT SCHWEITZER (1875–1965) The Decay and Restoration of Civilization

Common Sense

If a man can have only one kind of sense, let him have common sense. If he has that and uncommon sense too, he is not far from genius.


Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) Art

Where sense is wanting, everything is wanting.

—BEN FRANKLIN (1706–1790) Poor Richard's Almanack

Common sense is only a modification of talent. Genius is an exaltation of it.


Common sense is not so common.

—VOLTAIRE (1694–1778) Philosophical Dictionary


For every thing you have missed, you have gained something else; and for every thing you gain, you lose something.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) Compensation

For all our works a recompense is sure:

'Tis sweet to think on what was hard t'endure.

—ROBERT HERRICK (1591–1674) Hesperides

It is a comfort that the medal has two sides. There is much vice and misery in the world, I know; but more virtue and happiness, I believe.


Whoever tries for great objects must suffer something.

—PLUTARCH (46?–120?) Lives

There is no evil without its compensation. Avarice promises money; luxury, pleasure; ambition, a purple robe.

—SENECA (4? B.C.–A.D. 65) Epistulae ad Lucillium

Give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Isaiah, lxi, 3

Conceit See EGOTISM


Conscience and reputation are two things. Conscience is due to yourself, reputation to your neighbor.

—ST. AUGUSTINE (354–430)

There is another man within me that's angry with me.

—SIR THOMAS BROWNE (1605–1682) Religio Medici

Condotscience, good my lord,

Is but the pulse of reason.

—SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE (1772–1834) Zapolya

The still small voice.

—WILLIAM COWPER (1731–1800) The Task

A good conscience is a continual Christmas.

—BEN FRANKLIN (1706–1790) Poor Richard's Almanack

The man who acts never has any conscience; no one has any conscience but the man who thinks.

—GOETHE (1749–1832)

That fierce thing

They call a conscience.

—THOMAS HOOD (1799–1845) Lamia

The sting of conscience, like the gnawing of a dog at a bone, is mere foolishness.

—FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE (1844–1900) Human All-too-Human

There is no witness so terrible, no accuser so potent, as the conscience that dwells in every man's breast.

—POLYBIUS (c. 204–122 B.C.) Histories

The worm of conscience keeps the same hours as the owl.

—SCHILLER (1759–1805) Kabale und Liebe

The play's the thing

Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Hamlet, II, ii, 641

Trust that man in nothing who has not a conscience in everything.

—LAURENCE STERNE (1713–1768) Tristram Shandy

Conscience is, in most men, an anticipation of the opinion of others.

—SIR HENRY TAYLOR (1800–1886) The Statesman

Conscience and cowardice are really the same thing.

—OSCAR WILDE (1854–1900) The Picture of Dorian Gray


The absurd man is one who never changes.

—AUGUSTE BARTHELEMY (1796–1867) Nemesis

Conservative: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others.

—AMBROSE BIERCE (1842–1914?) The Devil's Dictionary

A conservative government is an organized hypocrisy.


A conservative is a man who is too cowardly to fight and too fat to run.

—ELBERT HUBBARD (1856–1915) Epigrams

What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried?

—ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809–1865) Cooper Union Address, 1860

Be not the first by whom the new are tried,

Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) Essay on Criticism

The man for whom the law exists—the man of forms, the Conservative, is a tame man.

—HENRY DAVID THOREAU (1817–1862) An Essay on Civil Disobedience

Constancy and Inconstancy

Without constancy there is neither love, friendship, nor virtue in the world.

—JOSEPH ADDISON (1672–1719)

It is as absurd to say that a man can't love one woman all the time as it is to say that a violinist needs several violins to play the same piece of music.

—HONORÉ DE BALZAC (1799–1850) Physiology of Marriage

A good man it is not mine to see. Could I see a man possessed of constancy, that would satisfy me.

—CONFUCIUS (c. 551–478 B.C.) Analects

What is there in this vile earth that more commendeth a woman than constancy?

—JOHN LYLY (1554?–1606) Euphues

There are two sorts of constancy in love—one rises from continually discovering in the loved person new subjects for love, the other arises from our making a merit of being constant.


But I am constant as the northern star,

Of whose true-fix'd and resting quality

There is no fellow in the firmament.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Julius Caesar, III, i, 58

There is nothing in this world constant but inconstancy.

—JONATHAN SWIFT (1667–1745)


Familiarity breeds contempt, while rarity wins admiration.

—APULEIUS (2nd C.) De Deo Socratis

None but the contemptible are apprehensive of contempt.


Here is another man with whom I cannot get angry, because I despise him.


Man is much more sensitive to the contempt of others than to self-contempt.

—FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE (1844–1900) Human All-too-Human

Contempt penetrates even the shell of the tortoise.


Content and Discontent

No form of society can be reasonably stable in which the majority of the people are not fairly content. People cannot be content if they feel that the foundations of their lives are wholly unstable.

—JAMES TRUSLOW ADAMS (1878–1949) Record of America

Be content with your lot; one cannot be first in everything.

—AESOP (6th C. B.C.) The Peacock and Juno

A perverse and fretful disposition makes any state of life unhappy.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Senectute

Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.

—BEN FRANKLIN (1706–1790) Poor Richard's Almanack

Unhappy man! He frets at the narrow limits of the world.

—JUVENAL (c. 60–c. 130 A.D.)

When we cannot find contentment in ourselves it is useless to seek it elsewhere.


Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or nation

—OSCAR WILDE (1854–1900) A Woman of No Importance

Poor in abundance, famish'd at a feast.

—EDWARD YOUNG (1683–1765) Night Thoughts

I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Hebrews, iv, 11


Often the test of courage is not to die but to live.

—VITTORIO ALFIERI (1749–1803) Oreste

But where life is more terrible than death, it is then the truest valor to dare to live.

—SIR THOMAS BROWNE (1663–1704) Religio Medici

Courage is that virtue which champions the cause of right.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Officiis

Every man of courage is a man of his word.

—PIERRE CORNEILLE (1606–1684) Le Menteur

Courage consists in equality to the problem before us.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) Society and Solitude

Courage may be taught as a child is taught to speak.

—EURIPIDES (480–406 B.C.) The Suppliant Women

A decent boldness ever meets with friends.

—HOMER (c. 10th C.–8th C. B.C.) Iliad

Nothing is too high for the daring of mortals; we storm Heaven itself in our folly.

—HORACE (65–8 B.C.) Odes

It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.

—LA PASIONARIA (1895– ) Speech at Paris, 1936

True courage is to do, without witnesses, everything that one is capable of doing before all the world.


What though the field be lost?

All is not lost; th'unconquerable will,

And study of revenge, immortal hate,

And courage never to submit or yield.

—JOHN MILTON (1608–1674) Paradise Lost

The strongest, most generous, and proudest of all virtues is true courage.

—MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE (1533–1592) Essays

Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, xiv, 27

We shall attack and attack until we are exhausted, and then we shall attack again.

—GENERAL GEORGE S. PATTON (1885–1945) Address to his troops before the invasion of North Africa, 1942

The smallest worm will turn being trodden on,

And doves will peck in safeguard of their brood.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) III Henry VI, II, ii, 17

Why, courage then! What cannot be avoided

'Twere childish weakness to lament or fear.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Henry VI, V, iv, 37


Those marriages generally abound most with love and constancy that are preceded by a long courtship.

—JOSEPH ADDISON (1672–1719) The Spectator

He that will win his dame must do

As love does when he draws his bow;

With one hand thrust the lady from,

And with the other pull her home.

—SAMUEL BUTLER (1612–1680) Hudibras

Courtship to marriage is but as the music in the playhouse till the curtain's drawn.

—WILLIAM CONGREVE (1670–1729) The Old Bachelor

If I am not worth the wooing, I am surely not worth the winning.

—HENRY W. LONGFELLOW (1807–1882) Courtship of Miles Standish

Had we but world enough and time

This coyness, lady, were no crime.

—ANDREW MARVELL (1621–1678) To His Coy Mistress

I will now court her in the conqueror's style;

“Come, see, and overcome.”

—PHILIP MASSINGER (1583–1640) Maid of Honor

We cannot fight for love, as men may do;

We should be woo'd and were not made to woo.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Midsummer Night's Dream, II, i, 241

The weather is usually fine when people are courting.

—R. L. STEVENSON (1850–1894) Virginibus Puerisque

A man always chases a woman until she catches him.



If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers it shows he is a citizen of the world.

—FRANCIS BACON (1561–1620) Essays

Politeness. The most acceptable hypocrisy.

—AMBROSE BIERCE (1842–1914?) Devil's Dictionary

'Tis ill talking of halters in the house of a man that was hanged.

—CERVANTES (1547–1616) Don Quixote, Pt. i

Politeness is the ritual of society, as prayers are of the church.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) English Traits

Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few.

—BEN FRANKLIN (1706–1790) Poor Richard's Almanack

He was so generally civil, that nobody thanked him for it.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) in Boswell's Life

Civility is a desire to receive it in turn, and to be accounted well bred.


Politeness costs nothing and gains everything.

—LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU (1689–1762) Letters

It is one of the greatest blessings that so many women are so full of tact. The calamity happens when a woman who has all the other riches of life just lacks that one thing.

—SIR WILLIAM OSLER (1848–1919)

True politeness consists in being easy one's self, and in making every one about one as easy as one can.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) Table-Talk

To speak kindly does not hurt the tongue.


Dissembling courtesy! How fine this tyrant

Can tickle where she wounds!

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Cymbeline, I, i, 84

The greater man the greater courtesy.

—TENNYSON (1809–1882) The Last Tournament


Coward. One who in a perilous emergency thinks with his legs.

—AMBROSE BIERCE (1842–1914?) Devil's Dictionary

To see what is right and not do it is want of courage.

—CONFUCIUS (551–478 B.C.) Analects

The coward never on himself relies,

But to an equal for assistance flies.

—GEORGE CRABBE (1754–1832) The Gentleman Farmer

Many would be cowards if they had courage enough.

—THOMAS FULLER (1608–1681) Gnomologia

Ever will a coward show no mercy.

—SIR THOMAS MALORY (f. 1470) Morte d'Arthur

It is the act of a coward to wish for death.

—OVID (43 B.C.–A.D. 18?) Metamorphoses

The coward calls himself cautious.

—PUBLILIUS SYRUS (1st C. B.C.) Sententiae

A cowardly cur barks more fiercely than it bites.

—QUINTUS CURTIUS RUFUS (c. 2nd C. A.D.) De Rebus Gestis Alexandri Magni

When all the blandishments of life are gone,

The coward sneaks to death, the brave live on.

—GEORGE SEWELL (d. 1726)

A coward, a most devout coward, religious in it.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Twelfth Night, III, iv, 427

Cowards dic many times before their deaths;

The valiant never taste of death but once.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Julius Caesar, II, ii, 32


Criticism is a disinterested endeavour to learn and propagate the best that is known and thought in the world.

—MATTHEW ARNOLD (1822–1888) Essays in Criticism

As the arts advance towards their perfection, the science of criticism advances with equal pace.

—EDMUND BURKE (1729–1797) On the Sublime and Beautiful

Let dull critics feed upon the carcasses of plays; give me the taste and the dressing.

—LORD CHESTERFIELD (1694–1773) Letters to his Son



Those who write ill, and they who ne'er durst write,

Turn critics out of mere revenge and spite.

—JOHN DRYDEN (1631–1700) Conquest of Granada

Blame where you must, be candid where you can,

And be each critic the Good-natured Man.

—OLIVER GOLDSMITH (1728–1774) Good-Natured Man

Criticism is the art wherewith a critic tries to guess himself into a share of the artist's fame.

—GEORGE JEAN NATHAN (1882–1958) House of Satan

Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer

And without sneering teach the rest to sneer.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot

They damn what they do not understand.

—QUINTILIAN (c. 40–100 A.D.) De Institutione Oratoria

Critic: a man who writes about things he doesn't like.


Really to stop criticism they say one must die.

—VOLTAIRE (1694–1778)


This disease of curiosity.

—ST. AUGUSTINE (354–430) Confessions

The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind is curiosity.

—EDMUND BURKE (1729–1797) The Sublime and Beautiful

Shun the inquisitive person, for he is also a talker.

—HORACE (65–8 B.C.) Epistles

Curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) The Rambler

Curiosity killed the cat.


He that pryeth into every cloud may be struck by a thunderbolt.

—JOHN RAY (1627?–1705) English Proverbs

You know what a woman's curiosity is. Almost as great as a man's!

—OSCAR WILDE (1854–1900) An Ideal Husband

Curiosity. The reason why most of us haven't committed suicide long ago.



Dangers bring fears, and fears more dangers bring.

—RICHARD BAXTER (1615–1691) Love Breathing Thanks

Danger, the spur of all great minds.

—GEORGE CHAPMAN (1559?–1634?) Bussy d'Ambois

Moving of the earth brings harms and fears.

Men reckon what it did and meant.

But trepidation of the spheres

Though greater far, is innocent.

—JOHN DONNE (1573–1631) Valediction Forbidding Mourning

As soon as there is life there is danger.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) Lectures

Great perils have this beauty, that they bring to light the fraternity of strangers.

—VICTOR HUGO (1802–1885) Les Misérables

Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) I Henry IV, II, iii, 10

Better face a danger once than be always in fear.


Darkness See NIGHT

Daughter See CHILDREN

Dawn see DAY


Day is a snow-white Dove of heaven

That from the East glad message brings.

—THOMAS BAILEY ALDRICH (1836–1907) Day and Night


O'er nights brim, day boils at last;

Boils, pure gold, o'er the cloud-cup's brim.

—ROBERT BROWNING (1812–1889) Pippa Passes

One day well spent is to be preferred to an eternity of error.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) Tusculanarum Disputationum

He is only rich who owns the day. There is no king, rich man, fairy, or demon who possesses such power as that. . . . The days are made on a loom whereof the warp and woof are past and future time.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) Society and Solitude

Rosy-fingered Dawn.

—HOMER (l0th–8th? C. B.C.) Iliad

The day has eyes; the night has ears.


Wait till it is night before saying it has been a fine day.


My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Job, vii, 6

Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn!

Look to this Day! For it is Life,

The very Life of Life.

Salutation of the Dawn (SANSKRIT)

The glow-worm shows the matin to be near,

And gins to pale his uneffectual fire.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Hamlet, I, v, 89

Night's candles are burnt out, and jocund day

Stands tiptoe on the misty mountaintops.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Romeo and Juliet, III, v, 9


Death is a black camel, which kneels at the gates of all.

—ABD-EL-KADER (1807?–1883)

It is good to die before one has done anything deserving death.

—ANANANDRIDES (4th C. B.C.) Fragment

Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other.

—FRANCIS BACON (1561–1620) Essays: Of Death

He that unburied lies wants not his hearse,

For unto him a Tomb's the Universe.

—SIR THOMAS BROWNE (1605–1682) Religio Medici

We all labor against our own cure, for death is the cure of all diseases.

—SIR THOMAS BROWNE (1605–1682) Religio Medici

The fear of death is worse than death.

—ROBERT BURTON (1577–1640) Anatomy of Melancholy

Ah, surely nothing dies but something mourns!

—LORD BYRON (1788–1824) Don Juan

Death levels all things.

—CLAUDIAN (c. 395) De Raptu Proserpinae

These have not the hope of death.

—DANTE (1265–1321) Inferno

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so:

For those, whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,

Die not, poor Death. . .

—JOHN DONNE (1572–1631) Divine Poems: Holy Sonnet

There were some who said that a man at the point of death was more free than all others, because death breaks every bond, and over the dead the united world has no power.

—FÉNELON (1651–1715) Telemachus

Death is Nature's expert advice to get plenty of Life.

—GOETHE (1749–1832)

We die ourselves a little every time we kill in others something that deserved to live.

—OSCAR HAMMLING (1890– ) Laconics

I have been half in love with easeful death,

Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme.

—JOHN KEATS (1795–1821) Ode to a Nightingale

So now he is a legend when he would have preferred to be a man.

—MRS. JACQUELINE KENNEDY (1929– ) in a tribute to her husband, Nov. 1964

Wheresoever ye be, death will overtake you, although ye be in lofty towers.


A man's dying is more the survivors' affair than his own.

—THOMAS MANN (1875–1955) The Magic Mountain

The grave's a fine and private place,

But none, I think, do there embrace.

—ANDREW MARVELL (1621–1678) To His Coy Mistress

Death has a thousand doors to let out life.

I shall find one.

—PHILIP MASSINGER (1584–1640) A Very Woman

Whom the gods love dies young.

—MENANDER (342–291 B.C.)

Dead men tell no tales.


To die at the will of another is to die twice.

—PUBLILIUS SYRUS (b. 1st C. B.C.) Sententiae

Death seems to provide the minds of the Anglo-Saxon race with a greater fund of innocent amusement than any other single subject.

—DOROTHY L. SAYERS (1893–1957)

I have a rendezvous with Death

At some disputed barricade. . .

—ALAN SEEGER (1888–1916) I Have a Rendezvous with Death

Death is a punishment to some, to some a gift, and to many a favor.

—SENECA (4? B.C. –A.D. 65)

Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it . . . .

SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Macbeth, I, iv, 7

Imperious Caesar, dead and turn'd to clay,

Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Hamlet, V, i, 235

To die. —to sleep,

No more, and by that sleep to say we end

The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to . . . .

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Hamlet, III, i, 60

Say nothing but good of the dead.

—SOLON (638–559 B.C.)

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

—DYLAN THOMAS (1914–1953) Poem to My Father

I saw him now going the way of all flesh.

—JOHN WEBSTER (1580–1625) Westward Ho!, Act II

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

—NEW TESTAMENT: I Corinthians, xv, 55

I looked and beheld a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Revelation, vi, 8

Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Genesis, iii, 19


God is not averse to deceit in a holy cause.

—AESCHYLUS (525–456 B.C.)

We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves.

—GOETHE (1749–1832)

Hateful to me as the gates of hell,

Is he, who, hiding one thing in his heart,

Utters another.

—HOMER (c. l0th–8th C. B.C.) Iliad

It is a double pleasure to deceive the deceiver.

—JEAN DE LA FONTAINE (1621–1695) Fables

The surest way to be deceived is to think one's self more clever than others.


You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

—ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809–1865)

Listen at the key-hole and you'll hear news of yourself.


Oh, what a tangled web we weave,

When first we practise to deceive!

—SIR WALTER SCOTT (1771–1832) Marmion

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,

Men were deceivers ever.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Much Ado About Nothing, II, iii, 65

December See MONTHS

Decision and Indecision

There is grief in indecision.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De officiis

The wavering mind is but a base possession.

—EURIPIDES (480–406 B.C.)

There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.

—WILLIAM JAMES (1842–1910) Psychology

Decide not rashly. The decision made

Can never be recalled.

—HENRY W. LONGFELLOW (1807–1882) Masque of Pandora

Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide. . . .

—JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL (1819–1891) The Present Crisis

To be or not to be, that is the question . . . .

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Hamlet, III, i, 56

I am at war twixt will and will not.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Measure for Measure, II, ii, 32

Quick decisions are unsafe decisions.

—SOPHOCLES (495–406 B.C.) Oedipus Tyrannus


If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost.

—ARISTOTLE (384–322 B.C.) Politics

The tyranny of a multitude is a multiplied tyranny.

—EDMUND BURKE (1729–1797) Letter to Thomas Mercer

Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated.

—G. K. CHESTERTON (1874–1936) Interview, 1931

The tendency of democracies is, in all things, to mediocrity.

—JAMES FENIMORE COOPER (1789–1851) American Democrat

Only if basically the democracy of our day satisfies the mental, moral, and physical wants of the masses living under it, can it continue to exist.

—DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (1890–1969) Crusade in Europe

The world is weary of statesmen whom democracy has degraded into politicians.


Democracy has another merit. It allows criticism, and if there isn't public criticism there are bound to be hushed-up scandals.

—E. M. FORSTER (1879-1970) I Believe

Democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people.

—HARRY EMERSON FOSDICK (1878–1969) Democracy

The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind.

—THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743–1826) Reply to Address

If we fail now, then we will have forgotten in abundance what we learned in hardship: that democracy rests on faith, that freedom asks more than it gives, and the judgment of God is harshest on those who are most favored.

—LYNDON B. JOHNSON (1908–1973) Inaugural Address, Jan. 1965

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe . . .

—JOHN F. KENNEDY (1917–1963), Inaugural Address, Jan. 1961

All creatures arc members of the one family of God.


Democracy gives to every man

The right to be his own oppressor.

—JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL (1819–1891) Bigelow Papers

We must define democracy as that form of government and of society which is inspired above every other, with the feeling and consciousness of the dignity of man.

—THOMAS MANN (1875–1955) The Coming Victory of Democracy

We must be the great arsenal of democracy.

—FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT (1882–1945) Radio Address, 1940

Democracy is unfinished business, not fulfilment; it is a process of always advancing toward fulfilment.


Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.

—E. B. WHITE (1899–1985)

I believe in democracy because it releases the energies of every human being.

—WOODROW WILSON (1856–1924) Address to Congress, 1917

The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty.

—WOODROW WILSON (1856–1924) Address to Congress, 1917

Dependence and Independence

Each man for himself.

—GEOFFREY CHAUCER (1340?–1400) Canterbury Tales

The greatest man living may stand in need of the meanest, as much as the meanest does of him.

—THOMAS FULLER (1608–1681)

Even in the common affairs of life, in love, friendship, and marriage, how little security have we when we trust our happiness in the hands of others!

—WILLIAM HAZLITT (1778–1830) On Living to Oneself

The strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone.

—HENRIK IBSEN (1828–1906) An Enemy of the People

No degree of knowledge attainable by man is able to set him above the want of hourly assistance.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784)

To be independent is the business of a few only; it is the privilege of the strong.

—FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE (1844–1900) Beyond Good and Evil

Independence? That's middle class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.

—GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (1856–1950) Pygmalion

Without the help of thousands of others, any one of us would die, naked and starved.

—ALFRED E. SMITH (1873–1944)

Dependence is a perpetual call upon humanity, and a greater incitement to tenderness and pity than any other motive whatever.



He begins to die that quits his desires.

—GEORGE HERBERT (1593–1633) Outlandish Proverbs

Naked I see the camp of those who desire nothing.

—HORACE (65–8 B.C.) Odes

We live in our desires rather than in our achievements.

—GEORGE MOORE (1852–1933) Ave

We desire most what we ought not to have.

—PUBLILIUS SYRUS (1st C. B.C.) Sententiae

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.


Can one desire too much of a good thing?

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) As You Like It, IV, i, 129

The fewer desires, the more peace.

—THOMAS WILSON (1663–1755)

Desire accomplished is sweet to the soul.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Proverbs, xiii, 19


I want to be forgotten even by God.

—ROBERT BROWNING (1812–1889) Easter Day

The name of the Slough was Despond.

—JOHN BUNYAN (1628–1688) Pilgrim's Progress

Despair is the damp of hell, as joy is the serenity of heaven.

—JOHN DONNE (1572–1631)

Despondency is not a state of humility. On the contrary, it is the vexation and despair of a cowardly pride . . . .

—FÉNELON (1651–1715)

Then black despair,

The shadow of a starless night, was thrown

Over the world in which I moved alone.

—PERCY B. SHELLEY (1792–1822) Revolt of Islam

The only refuge from despair is to project one's ego into the world.

—LEO TOLSTOY (1828–1910)

When we have lost everything, including hope, life becomes a disgrace and death a duty.

—VOLTAIRE (1694–1778) Merope

Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Psalms, cxxx, 1

Depotism See TYRANNY

Destiny See FATE

Discontent See CONTENT

Discretion and Indiscretion

An indiscreet man is more hurtful than an ill-natured one; for the latter will only attack his enemies, and those he wishes ill to; the other injures indifferently both friends and foes.

—JOSEPH ADDISON (1672–1719) The Spectator

He knows not when to be silent who knows not when to speak.


Least said, soonest mended.

—CHARLES DICKENS (1812–1870) David Copperfield

For good and evil in our actions meet;

Wicked is not much worse than indiscreet.

—JOHN DONNE (1572–1631)

A demi-vierge is a woman for whom chastity, from being a temporary asset, has become a permanent liability.


Let your discretion be your tutor; suit the action to the word, the word to the action.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Hamlet, III, ii, 18

The better part of valour is discretion; in the which better part I have saved my life.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) I Henry IV, V, iv, 121

Be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.

—NEW TESTAMENT: James, i, 19


Doubt whom you will, but never doubt yourself.


Doubting charms me not less than knowledge.

—DANTE (1265–1321) Inferno, canto xii, I. 93

Just think of the tragedy of teaching children not to doubt.

—CLARENCE DARROW (1857–1938)

Scepticism is the first step on the road to philosophy.

—DENIS DIDEROT (1713–1784)

To believe with certainty we must begin with doubting.


I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education.

—WILSON MIZNER (1876–1933)

Doubt makes the mountain which faith can move.


 Our doubts are traitors

And make us lose the good we oft might win

By fearing to attempt.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Measure for Measure, I, iv, 77


The more a man dreams, the less he believes.

—H. L. MENCKEN (1880–1956) Prejudices

Dreams are the true interpreters of our inclinations, but art is required to sort and understand them.

—MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE (1533–1592) Essays

Those dreams are true which we have in the morning, as the lamp begins to flicker.

—OVID (43 B.C.–A.D. 18?) Epistles

All that we see or seem

Is but a dream within a dream.

—EDGAR ALLAN POE (1809–1849) A Dream Within a Dream

To sleep; perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil Must give us pause.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Hamlet, III, i, 65

 We are such stuff

As dreams are made on, and our little life

Is rounded out with a sleep.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) The Tempest, IV, i, 156

We rest. A dream has power to poison sleep;

We rise. One wandering thought pollutes the day.

—PERCY B. SHELLEY (1792–1822) Mutability

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly, for you tread on my dreams.

—WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS (1865–1939) The Cloths of Heaven

Your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.



In doing what we ought we deserve no praise, because it is our duty.

—ST. AUGUSTINE (354–430)

The fulfilment of spiritual duty in our daily life is vital to our survival.

—WINSTON CHURCHILL (1874–1965) Speech, 1949

Do your duty and leave the rest to heaven.

—PIERRE CORNEILLE (1606–1684) Horace

The reward of one duty is the power to fill another.

—GEORGE ELIOT (1819–1880) Daniel Deronda

Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Ecclesiastes, xii, 13

Up to a certain point it is good for us to know that there are people in the world who will give us love and unquestioned loyalty to the limit of their ability. I doubt, however, if it is good for us to feel assured of this without the accompanying obligation of having to justify this devotion by our behavior.

—ELEANOR ROOSEVELT (1884–1962) This Is My Story

There is no duty we underrate so much as the duty of being happy.

—R. L. STEVENSON (1850–1894) Virginibus Puerisque

He who eats the fruit should at least plant the seed.


Duty is what one expects from others.

—OSCAR WILDE (1854–1900) Woman of No Importance

Education See LEARNING


(See also VANITY)

Self-conceit may lead to self-destruction.

—AESOP (6th C. B.C.) The Frog and the Ox

Why should I be angry with a man, for loving himself better than me?

—FRANCIS BACON (1561–1620) Essays

Conceit is God's fit to little men.

—BRUCE BARTON (1886–1967) Conceit

I've never had any pity for conceited people, because I think they carry their comfort about with them.

—GEORGE ELIOT (1819–1880) The Mill on the Floss

We reproach people for talking about themselves; but it is the subject they treat best.

—ANATOLE FRANCE (1844–1924)

We would rather speak ill of ourselves than not talk of ourselves at all.


There is not enough love and goodness in the world to throw any of it away on conceited people.


If you love yourself over much, nobody else will love you at all.


Every bird loves to hear himself sing.


Who loves himself need fear no rival.


Conceit may puff a man up, but never prop him up.

—JOHN RUSKIN (1819–1900) True and Beautiful

Self-love, in nature rooted fast,

Attends us first, and leaves us last.

—JONATHAN SWIFT (1667–1745) Cadenus and Vanessa

We are interested in others when they are interested in us.

—PUBLILIUS SYRUS (1st C. B.C.) Sententiae

From his cradle to his grave a man never does a single thing which has any first and foremost object save one—to secure peace of mind, spiritual comfort, for himself.

—MARK TWAIN (1835–1910) What is Man?

All men think all men mortal but themselves.

—EDWARD YOUNG (1683–1765) Night Thoughts


Wise men learn much from their enemies.

—ARISTOPHANES (444–380 B.C.) The Birds

Every man is his own greatest enemy, and as it were his own executioner.

—SIR THOMAS BROWNE (1605–1682) Religio Medici

You shall judge a man by his foes as well as by his friends.

—JOSEPH CONRAD (1857–1924) Lord Jim

Though thy enemy seems a mouse, yet watch him like a lion.


One enemy can do more hurt than ten friends can do good.

—JONATHAN SWIFT (1667–1745) Letter, 1710

He makes no friend who never made a foe.

—TENNYSON (1809–1892) Idylls of the King

Rejoice not over thy greatest enemy being dead, but remember that we die all.

—APOCRYPHA: Ecclesiasticus

A man's foes shall be they of his own household.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew x, 36

Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you. . .

—NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, v, 44


Those that are not envied are never wholly happy.

—AESCHYLUS (525–456 B.C.) Agamemnon

Envy not greatness: for thou mak'st thereby

Thyself the worse, and so the distance greater.

—GEORGE HERBERT (1593–1633) The Church

All the tyrants of Sicily never invented a worse torment than envy.

—HORACE (65–8 B.C.) Epistles

No man likes to be surpassed by those of his own level.

—LIVY (59 B.C.–A.D. 17) Annales

Since we cannot attain to greatness, let us revenge ourselves by railing at it.

—MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE (1533–1592) Essays

It is a nobler fate to be envied than to be pitied.

—PINDAR (c. 522–442 B.C.) Pythian Odes

The truest mark of being born with great qualities is being born without envy.


 No metal can,

No, not the hangman's axe, bear half the keenness

Of thy sharp envy.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Merchant of Venice, IV, i, 123

Where envying and strife is, there is confusion, and every evil work.

—NEW TESTAMENT: James, iii, 16

Equality and Inequality

The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law.

—ARISTOTLE (384–322 B.C.) Politics

We hold these truths to be self-evident—that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


Before God we are all equally wise—equally foolish.

—ALBERT EINSTEIN (1879–1955) Cosmic Religion

Men are made by nature unequal. It is vain, therefore, to treat them as if they were equal.


Though all men are made of one metal, yet they were not cast all in the same mold.

—THOMAS FULLER (1608–1681) Gnomologia

That all men are equal is a proposition to which at ordinary times no sane individual has ever given his assent.

—ALDOUS HUXLEY (1894–1963) Proper Studies

And our sorrowing gaze turns also to the other children of God everywhere, suffering because of race and economic conditions, at once complex and giving reason for anxiety, or through the limitation on the exercise of their natural and civil rights.

—POPE JOHN XXIII (1881–1963) April 17, 1960

All animals are created equal—but some animals are created more equal than others.

—GEORGE ORWELL (1903–1950) Animal Farm

The only real equality is in the cemetery.


Nature knows no equality; its sovereign law is subordination and dependence.

—MARQUIS DE VAUVENARGUES (1715–1747) Reflections


There is many a slip

'Twixt the cup and the lip.

—RICHARD HARRIS BARHAM (1788–1845) Ingoldsby Legends

I can pardon everybody's mistakes except my own.

—MARCUS CATO (234–149 B.C.)

Who errs and mends, to God himself commends.

—CERVANTES (1547–1616) Don Quixote

Mistake, error, is the discipline through which we advance.


It is the nature of every man to err, but only the fool perseveres in error.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) Philippicae

The cautious seldom err.

—CONFUCIUS (c. 551–478 B.C.) Analects

Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow;

He who would search for pearls must dive below.

—JOHN DRYDEN (1631–1700) All for Love

Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement.

—HENRY FORD (1863–1947) Interview, 1938

Dark Error's other hidden side is truth.

—VICTOR HUGO (1802–1885) Legend of the Centuries

The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.

—BISHOP W.C. MAGEE (1821–1891)

To err is human, to forgive divine.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) Essay on Criticism

The wise course is to profit from the mistakes of others.

—TERENCE (c. 190–150 B.C.)

I fear our mistakes far more than the strategy of our enemies.

—THUCYDIDES (471?–400? B.C.) Funeral Oration

The progress of the rivers to the ocean is not so rapid as that of man to error.

—VOLTAIRE (1694–1778) Philosophical Dictionary

Evening See NIGHT


Evil events from evil causes spring.

—ARISTOPHANES (444–380 B.C.)

Better suffer a great evil than do a little one.

—HENRY GEORGE BOHN (1796–1884) Handbook of Proverbs

Often the fear of one evil leads us into a worse.

—NICOLAS BOILEAU (1636–1711) The Poetic Art

God bears with the wicked, but not forever.

—CERVANTES (1547–1616) Don Quixote

Evil to him who thinks evil. [Honi soit qui mal y pense.]

—EDWARD III (1327–1377) Motto of the Order of the Garter

A wicked man is his own hell.

—THOMAS FULLER (1606–1661) Gnomologia, No. 460

Don't let us make imaginary evils, when you know we have so many real ones to encounter.


The source of all wars, the source of all evil, lies in us.

—PIERRE LECOMTE DU NOÜY (1883–1947) Human Destiny

The evil best known is the most tolerable.

—LIVY (59 B.C.–A.D. 17) History of Rome

An evil life is a kind of death.

—OVID (43 B.C.–A.D. 18?) Epistulae ex Ponto

No evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.

—SOCRATES (470?–399 B.C.)

Every one that doeth evil hateth the light.

—NEW TESTAMENT: John, iii, 20

I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like the green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and lo, he was not.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Isaiah, lv, 7

Fret not thyself because of evildoers . . . for they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Psalms, xxxvii, 1–2


All experience is an arch to build upon.

—HENRY ADAMS (1838–1918) Education of Henry Adams

It is costly wisdom that is bought by experience.

—ROGER ASCHAM (1515–1568) Schoolmaster

Thou shalt know by experience how salt the savor is of another's bread, and how sad a path it is to climb and descend another's stairs.

—DANTE (1265–1321) Paradiso

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.

—BEN FRANKLIN (1706–1790) Poor Richard's Almanack

The finished man of the world must eat of every apple once.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) Conduct of Life

Happy is he who gains wisdom from another's mishap.

—PUBLILIUS SYRUS (1st C. B.C.) Sententiae

Experience is the name everyone gives to his mistakes.

—OSCAR WILDE (1854–1900) Lady Windermere's Fan


Faith is a higher faculty than reason.


I believe in the incomprehensibility of God.

—HONORÉ DE BALZAC (1799–1850)

To me, faith means not worrying.

—JOHN DEWEY (1859–1952)

Faith is not belief. Belief is passive. Faith is active. It is vision which passes inevitably into action.

—EDITH HAMILTON (1867–1963) Witness to the Truth

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.

—H. L. MENCKEN (1880–1956) Prejudices, Series iii

Faith is like love; it cannot be forced.


Faith is the antiseptic of the soul.

—WALT WHITMAN (1819–1892) Leaves of Grass, preface

We walk by faith, not by sight.

—NEW TESTAMENT: II Corinthians, v, 7

If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove: and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, xvii, 20




Nor sitting at his hearth at home doth man escape his appointed doom.

—AESCHYLUS (525–456 B.C.) The Choephorae

Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.

—WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN (1860–1925) Speech, 1899

'Tis fate that flings the dice, and as she flings

Of kings makes peasants, and of peasants kings.

—JOHN DRYDEN (1631–1700) Jupiter Cannot Alter the Decrees of Fate

The moving finger writes; and having writ

Moves on; nor all your Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line.

—EDWARD FITZGERALD (1809–1883) tr.: Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

Man supposes that he directs his life and governs his actions, when his existence is irretrievably under the control of destiny.

—GOETHE (1749–1832)

That which God writes on thy forehead, thou wilt come to it.


Our hour is marked, and no one can claim a moment of life beyond what fate has predestined.


This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.

—FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT (1882–1945) Address, 1936

Fate leads the willing, and drags along those who hang back.

—SENECA (4? B.C.–A.D. 65)

There is a divinity that shapes our ends, Rough-hew them how we will.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Hamlet, V, ii, 10

All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean. . . .

—OLD TESTAMENT: Ecclesiastes, ix, 2


Diogenes struck the father when the son swore.

—ROBERT BURTON (1577–1640) Anatomy of Melancholy

He that has his father for judge goes safe to the trial.

—CERVANTES (1547–1616) Don Quixote

One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.

—GEORGE HERBERT (1593–1633) Jacula Prudentum

If a man strike his father his hand shall be cut off.

The Code of Hammurabi

It is a wise father that knows his own child.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Merchant of Venice, II, ii, 80

A wise son maketh a glad father.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Proverbs, x, i

He that honoureth his father shall have a long life.

—APOCRYPHA: Ecclesiasticus, iii, 6


What an absurd thing it is to pass over all the valuable parts of a man, and fix our attention on his infirmities.

—JOSEPH ADDISON (1672–1719)

The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.

—THOMAS CARLYLE (1795–1881) Heroes and Hero-Worship

Men ought to be most annoyed by the sufferings which come from their own faults.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) Epistolae ad Fratrem

The defects of great men are the consolation of dunces.

—ISAAC D'ISRAELI (1766–1848)

All his faults were such that one loved him still the better for them.

—OLIVER GOLDSMITH (1730–1774) The Good-Natur'd Man

A fault confessed is more than half amended.


If we had no faults, we should not take so much pleasure in remarking them in others.


He who loves not the loved one's faults does not truly love.


The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,

But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Julius Caesar, I, ii, 140


No one loves the man whom he fears.

—ARISTOTLE (384–322 B.C.)

We listen'd and look'd sideways up!

Fear at my heart, as at a cup.

My life-blood seem'd to sip.

—SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE (1772–1834) Ancient Mariner

Fear always springs from ignorance.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) The American Scholar

Fear is the parent of cruelty.


Many may not love us, but all shall fear us.


Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.

—JOHN F. KENNEDY (1917–1963), Inaugural Address, 1961

Apprehensions are greater in proportion as things are unknown.

—LIVY (B.C. 59-A.D. 17) Annales

Fear is a feeling that is stronger than love.

—PLINY THE YOUNGER (62–113) Letters

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

—FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT (1882–1945) Inaugural Address, 1933

His flight was madness; when our actions do not,

Our fears do make us traitors.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Macbeth, IV, ii, 3

To him who is in fear everything rustles.

—SOPHOCLES (495–406 B.C.)

Fear, like pain, looks and sounds worse than it feels.

—REBECCA WEST (1892–1983)

February See MONTHS

Fidelity and Infidelity

Give me a man that is capable of a devotion to anything, rather than a cold, calculating average of all the virtues.

—BRET HARTE (1838–1902) Two Men of Sandy Bar

The fidelity of most men is merely an invention of self-love to win confidence . . .


Fidelity bought with money is overcome by money.

—SENECA (4? B.C.-A.D. 65) Agamemnon

 Oh, where is loyalty?

If it be banish'd from the frosty head,

Where shall it find a harbour in the earth?

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) II Henry IV, V, i, 166

To God, thy countrie, and thy friend be true.

—HENRY VAUGHAN (1622–1695) Rules and Lessons

Be thou faithful unto death.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Revelation, ii, 10


A flatterer is a friend who is your inferior or pretends to be so.

—ARISTOTLE (384–322 B.C.) Nicomachean Ethics

We sometimes think that we hate flattery, but we only hate the manner in which it is done.


'Tis hard to find a man of great estate,

That can distinguish flatterers from friends.

—HORACE (65–8 B.C.)

When flatterers meet, the Devil goes to dinner.

—JOHN RAY (1627?–1705) English Proverbs

But when I tell him he hates flatterers,

He says he does, being then most flattered.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Julius Caesar, II, i, 208

They do abuse the king that flatter him:

For flattery is the bellows blows up sin.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Pericles, I, ii, 38

A flattering mouth worketh ruin.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Proverbs, xxvi, 28

Flowers See GARDEN

Folly and Fools

The folly of one man is the fortune of another.

—FRANCIS BACON (1561–1620) Essays: Of Fortune

A sucker is born every minute.

—P. T. BARNUM (1810–1891)

The hours of folly are measur'd by the clock; but of wisdom, no clock can measure.

—WILLIAM BLAKE (1757–1827) Marriage of Heaven and Hell

A fool always finds one still more foolish to admire him.

—NICOLAS BOILEAU (1636–1711) The Poetic Art

And fools cannot hold their tongue.

—GEOFFREY CHAUCER (1340?–1400) Romaunt of the Rose

The first degree of folly is to conceit one's self wise; the second to profess it; the third to despise counsel.

—BEN FRANKLIN (1706–1790) Poor Richard's Almanack When lovely woman stoops to folly,

And finds too late that men betray,

What charm can soothe her melancholy?

What art can wash her guilt away?

—OLIVER GOLDSMITH (1730–1774) Vicar of Wakefield

I am always afraid of a fool. One cannot be sure that he is not a knave as well.

—WILLIAM HAZLITT (1778–1830) Characteristics

Folly pursues us in every period of life. If any one appears wise, it is only because his follies are proportioned to his age and fortune.


There is no fool like an old fool.

—JOHN LYLY (1554?–1606)

I enjoy vast delight in the folly of mankind; and, God be praised, that is an inexhaustible source of entertainment.

—LADY MARY WORTLY MONTAGU (1689–1762) Letter

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) An Essay on Criticism

If every fool wore a crown, we'd all be kings.


The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) As You Like It, V, i, 34

Give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself.

—R. L. STEVENSON (1850–1894) Virginibus Puerisque

A fool and his money are soon parted.


The best way to silence any friend of yours whom you know to be a fool is to induce him to hire a hall.

—WOODROW WILSON (1856–1924) Speech, 1916

The wise man's eyes are in his head, but the fool walketh in darkness.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Ecclesiastes, ii, 14


A man must get a thing before he can forget it.

—OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES (1809–1894) Medical Essays

Blessed are the forgetful; for they get the better of even their blunders.

—FRIEDRICK NIETZSCHE (1844–1900) Beyond Good and Evil

We have all forgotten more than we remember.


 We bury love,

Forgetfulness grows over it like grass;

That is a thing to weep for, not the dead.

—ALEXANDER SMITH (1830–1867) City Poems

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Psalms, cxxxvii, 5

Foresight See PRUDENCE


You may pardon much to others, nothing to yourself.

—AUSONIUS (ƒ. 4th C. A.D.) Epigrams

Those who forgive most shall be most forgiven.

—PHILIP JAMES BAILEY (1816–1902) Festus

He who forgives readily only invites offense.

—PIERRE CORNEILLE (1606–1684) Cinna

God may forgive you, but I never can.

—QUEEN ELIZABETH I (1533–1603) to the Countess of Nottingham

It is often easier to forgive those who have wronged us than those whom we have wronged.

—OSCAR HAMMLING (1890– ) Laconics

Know all and you will pardon all.

—THOMAS À KEMPIS (1380–1471) Imitation of Christ

We pardon in proportion as we love.


We read that we ought to forgive our enemies; but we do not read that we ought to forgive our friends.

—COSIMO DE' MEDICI (1519–1574)

If the injured one could read your heart, you may be sure he would understand and pardon.

—R. L. STEVENSON (1850–1894) Truth of Intercourse

There is nothing so advantageous to a man than a forgiving disposition.

—TERENCE (c. 190–150 B.C.) Adelphi

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Luke, xxiii, 34

A woman may consent to forget and forgive, but she never will drop the habit of referring to the matter now and then.



Fortune is a god and rules men's lives.

—AESCHYLUS (525–456 B.C.) The Choephorae

Every man is the architect of his own fortune.


All fortune is to be conquered by bearing it.

—FRANCIS BACON (1561–1620) Advancement of Learning

I am not now in fortune's power;

He that is down can fall no lower.

—SAMUEL BUTLER (1612–1680) Hudibras

Fortune hath somewhat the nature of a woman; if she be too much wooed, she is the farther off.

—EMPEROR CHARLES V (1500–1588)

It is fortune, not wisdom, that rules man's life.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.)

Ill fortune seldom comes alone.

—JOHN DRYDEN (1631–1700) Cymon and Iphigenia, Act I

Fortune never seems so blind as to those upon whom she confers no favors.


Not many men have both good fortune and good sense.

—LIVY (50 B.C.-A.D. 17) History of Rome

The wheel goes round and round

And some are up and some are on the down

And still the wheel goes round.

—JOSEPHINE POLLARD (1843–1892) Wheel of Fortune

Fortune can take from us nothing but what she gave us.

—PUBLILIUS SYRUS (1st C. B.C.) Sententiae

Fear of the future is worse than one's present fortune.

—QUINTILIAN (40 –c. 100)

Everyone is the architect of his own fortune.

—ABBÉ RÉGNIER (1794–?) Satire

Fortune, that arrant whore

Ne'er turns the key to the poor.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) King Lear, II, iv, 52


The cause of freedom is the cause of God.


A man can be free even within prison walls. Freedom is something spiritual. Whoever has once had it, can never lose it. There are some people who are never free outside a prison.

—BERTOLD BRECHT (1898–1956) A Penny for the Poor

Hereditary bondsmen! Know ye not

Who would be free themselves must strike the blow?

—LORD BYRON (1788–1824) Childe Harold

Perfect freedom is reserved for the man who lives by his own work and in that work does what he wants to do.

—ROBIN GEORGE COLLINGWOOD (1889–1943) Speculum Mentis

I am as free as nature first made man.

Ere the base laws of servitude began,

When wild in woods the noble savage ran.

—JOHN DRYDEN (1631–1700) Conquest of Granada

Freedom from fear and injustice and oppression will be ours only in the measure that men who value such freedom are ready to sustain its possession—to defend it against every thrust from within or without.

—DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (1890–1969) Crusade in Europe

No man is free who is not master of himself.

—EPICTETUS (1st C. A.D.) Discourses

No man is wholly free. He is a slave to wealth, or to fortune, or the laws, or the people restrain him from acting according to his will alone.

—EURIPIDES (480–406 B.C.) Hecuba

The right to personal freedom comes second in importance to the duty of maintaining the race.

—ADOLF HITLER (1889–1945) Mein Kampf

Who then is free? the wise man who is lord over himself; Whom neither poverty nor death, nor chains alarm, strong to withstand his passions and despise honors, and who is completely finished and founded off in himself.

—HORACE (65–8 B.C.) Satires

Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) in Boswell's Life

The most unfree souls go west and shout of freedom. Men are freest when they are most unconscious of freedom. The shout is a rattling of chains.

—D.H. LAWRENCE (1885–1930) Studies in Classic American Literature

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God cannot long retain it.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809–1865) Letter, 1859

If I have freedom in my love.

And in my soul am free,

Angels alone, that soar above,

Enjoy such liberty.

—RICHARD LOVELACE (1618–1658) To Althea from Prison

There is only one cure for the evils which newly acquired freedom produces, and that is more freedom.

—THOMAS MACAULAY (1800–1859) Essay on Milton

In the modern social order, the person is sacrificed to the individual. The individual is given universal suffrage, equality of rights, freedom of opinion; while the person, isolated, naked, with no social armor to sustain and protect him, is left to the mercy of all the devouring forces which threaten the life of the soul. . . .

—JACQUES MARITAIN (1882–1973) Three Reformers

Oh, Lord, I want to be free, want to be free;

Rainbow round my shoulder, wings on my feet.

—UNKNOWN, American Negro Spiritual

Is any man free except the one who can pass his life as he pleases?

—PERSIUS (34–62) Satires

The people who settled in New England came here for religious freedom, but religious freedom to them meant freedom only for their kind of religion. . . . This attitude seems to be our attitude in many situations today.


Man is born free—and everywhere he is in irons.

—JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU (1712–1778) Social Contract

No one can be perfectly free till all are free.

—HERBERT SPENCER (1820–1903) Social Statics

There are times in the lives of all people when freedom is the twin of duty, sacrifice the companion of happiness, and when courage—parent of fortitude, endurance, determination—is the first virtue.

—DOROTHY THOMPSON (1894–1961) On the Record

I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than to be crowded on a velvet cushion.

—HENRY DAVID THOREAU (1817–1862) Walden

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

—Attributed to VOLTAIRE by a later biographer

Freedom exists only where the people take care of the government.

—WOODROW WILSON (1856–1924) Speech, 1912


One friend in a lifetime is much; two are many; three are hardly possible. Friendship needs a certain parallelism of life, a community of thought, a rivalry of aim.

—HENRY ADAMS (1838–1918) Education of Henry Adams

Beast knows beast; birds of a feather flock together.

—ARISTOTLE (384–322 B.C.) Rhetoric

Thy friendship oft has made my heart to ache:

Do be my enemy—for friendship's sake.

WILLIAM BLAKE (1757–1827) To H.

Friendships multiply joys and divide griefs.

—HENRY GEORGE BOHN (1796–1884) Handbook of Proverbs

I have loved my friends as I do virtue, my soul, my God.

—SIR THOMAS BROWNE (1605–1682) Religio Medici

Tell me what company thou keepest, and I'll tell thee what thou art.

—CERVANTES (1547–1616) Don Quixote

Endeavor, as much as you can, to keep company with people above you.

—LORD CHESTERFIELD (1694–1773) Letters

Never injure a friend, even in jest.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Amicitia

Friendship often ends in love; but love in friendship, never.

—CHARLES C. COLTON (1780?–1832) Lacon

Chance makes our parents, but choice makes our friends.

—JACQUES DELILLE (1738–1813) Pitié

Animals are such agreeable friends—they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.

—GEORGE ELIOT (1819–1880)

The dearest friends are separated by impassable gulfs.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) Essays

The only way to have a friend is to be one.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) Essays

Men who know the same things are not long the best company for each other.


In prosperity it is very easy to find a friend; in adversity, nothing is so difficult.

—EPICTETUS (1st C. A.D.) Encheiridion

Real friends are our greatest joy and our greatest sorrow. It were almost to be wished that all true and faithful friends should expire on the same day.

—FÉNELON (1651–1715)

If you have one true friend you have more than your share.

—THOMAS FULLER (1608–1681) Gnomologia

There is no better looking-glass than an old friend.

—THOMAS FULLER (1608–1681) Gnomologia

'Tis thus that on the choice of friends

Our good or evil name depends.

—JOHN GAY (1688–1732) Old Woman and Her Cats

There is no desert like being friendless.


To have a great man for an intimate friend seems pleasant to those who have never tried it; those who have, fear it.

—HORACE (65–8 B.C.) Epistulae

I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.

—THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743–1826) Letter, 1800

An injured friend is the bitterest of foes.


I find as I grow older that I love those most whom I loved first.

—THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743–1826) Letter, 1787

I live in the crowds of jollity, not so much to enjoy company

as to shun myself.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) Rasselas

If my friends are one-eyed, I look at them in profile.

JOSEPH JOUBERT (1754–1824) Pensées

In friendship, as in love, we are often more happy from the things we are ignorant of than from those we are acquainted with.


If you want to make a dangerous man your friend, let him do you a favor.

—LEWIS E. LAWES (1883–1947)

The vulgar estimate friends by the advantage to be derived from them.

—OVID (43 B.C.–A.D. 18?)

It is better to be alone than in ill company.

—GEORGE PETTIE (1548–1589)

Histories are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) Letter, 1709

A friend in need is a friend indeed.


It is fun to be in the same decade with you.


He that goeth to bed with dogs ariseth with fleas.

—JAMES SANDFORD (f. 1572) Hours of Recreation

The principal task of friendship is to foster one's friends' illusions.

—ARTHUR SCHNITZLER (1862–1931) Anatole

Friendship always benefits; love sometimes injures.

—SENECA (4? B.C.–A.D. 65) Epistulae ad Lucilium

To lose a friend is the greatest of all evils, but endeavour rather to rejoice that you possessed him than to mourn his loss.

—SENECA (4? B.C.–A.D. 65) Epistulae ad Lucilium

Keep thy friend under thine own life's key.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) All's Well that Ends Well, I, i, 74

Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,

Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;

But do not dull thy palm with entertainment

Of each new–hatch'd, unfledg'd comrade.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Hamlet, I, iii, 59

 To wail friends lost

Is not by much so wholesome—profitable,

As to rejoice at friends but newly found.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Love's Labour Lost, V, ii, 759

I am not of that feather to shake off

My friend when he must need me.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Timon of Athens, I, i, 100

The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend.

—HENRY DAVID THOREAU (1817–1862) Journal, 1841

God save me from my friends. I can protect myself from my enemies.


Friendship's the wine of life.

—EDWARD YOUNG (1683–1765) Night Thoughts

A faithful friend is a strong defense: and he that hath found such an one hath found a treasure.

—APOCRYPHA: Ecclesiasticus, vi, 14

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

—NEW TESTAMENT: John, xv, 13

Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided.

OLD TESTAMENT: II Samuel, i, 23

A friend is one who dislikes the same people that you dislike.



We are always doing something for Posterity, but I would fain see Posterity do something for us.

—JOSEPH ADDISON (1672–1719) The Spectator

You can never plan the future by the past.

—EDMUND BURKE (1729–1797) Letter

For my part, I think that a knowledge of the future would be a disadvantage.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Devinatione

I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.

—ALBERT EINSTEIN (1879–1955)

The future is a convenient place for dreams.

—ANATOLE FRANCE (1844–1924)

I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.

—PATRICK HENRY (1736–1799) Speech, 1775

Trust no future, howe'er pleasant!

Let the dead Past bury its dead!

—HENRY W. LONGFELLOW (1801–1882) Psalm of Life

The mind that is anxious about the future is miserable.

—SENECA (4? B.C.–A.D. 65) Epistulae ad Lucilium

We know what we are, but know not what we may be.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Hamlet, IV, v, 43

Take no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, vi, 34

Garden and Flowers

Who loves a garden still his Eden keeps . . . .


Ah, Sunflower, weary of time,

Who countest the steps of the sun;

Seeking after that sweet golden clime,

Where the traveller's journey is done . . . .

—WILLIAM BLAKE (1757–1827) The Sunflower

God the first garden made, and the first city Cain.

—ABRAHAM COWLEY (1618–1667) The Garden

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

Is hung with bloom along the bough,

And stands about the woodland ride

Wearing white for Eastertide.

A. E. HOUSMAN (1859–1936)

Your sacred plants, if here below,

Only among the plants will grow.

Society is all but rude,

To this delicious solitude.

—ANDREW MARVELL (1621–1678) The Garden

Many things grow in the garden that were never sowed there.


Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Sonnets, xciv

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, vi, 28

The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Genesis, ii, 8



Doing easily what others find difficult is talent; doing what is impossible for talent is genius.

—HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL (1828–1881) Journal

Genius is mainly an affair of energy.

—MATTHEW ARNOLD (1822–1888) Essays in Criticism

I have known no man of genius who had not to pay, in some affliction or defect either physical or spiritual, for what the gods had given him.

—MAX BEERBOHM (1872–1956) The Pines

Patience is a necessary ingredient of genius.

—BENJAMIN DISRAELI (1805–1881) Contarini Fleming

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety–nine percent perspiration.

—THOMAS A. EDISON (1847–1931) Newspaper interview

Every man of genius sees the world at a different angle from his fellows, and there is his tragedy.

—HAVELOCK ELLIS (1859–1939) Dance of Life

Genius is the power of lighting one's own fire.

—JOHN FOSTER (1770–1843)

A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.

—JAMES JOYCE (1882–1941) Ulysses

Gift, like genius, I often think only means an infinite capacity for taking pains.


Genius is a promontory jutting out into the infinite.

—VICTOR HUGO (1802–1885) William Shakespeare

Genius begets great works; labor alone finished them.

—JOSEPH JOUBERT (1754–1824) Pensées

One science only will one genius fit;

So vast is art, so narrow human wit.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1668–1744) Essay on Criticism

The poets' scrolls will outlive the monuments of stone.

Genius survives; all else is claimed by death.

—EDMUND SPENSER (1552?–1599) Shepherd's Calendar

There is a certain characteristic common to all those whom we call geniuses. Each of them has a consciousness of being a man apart.

—MIGUEL DE UNAMUNO (1864–1936) Essays and Soliloquies

Gifts and Giving

It is easy to become generous with other people's property.


The most important thing in any relationship is not what you get but what you give . . . . In any case, the giving of love is an education in itself.


You must be fit to give before you can be fit to receive.

—JAMES STEPHENS (1882–1950)

I fear the Greeks, even when they bring gifts.

—VERGIL (70–19 B.C.) Aeneid

It is more blessed to give than to receive.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Acts, xx, 35

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

—NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, vii, 9



God's mouth knows not to utter falsehood, but he will perform each word.

—AESCHYLUS (525–456 B.C.) Prometheus

Nature herself has imprinted on the minds of all the idea of God.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Natura Deorum

Earth with her thousand voices, praises God


God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform.

—WILLIAM COWPER (1731–1800) Light Shining out of Darkness

Father expected a great deal of God. He didn't actually accuse God of inefficiency, but when he prayed his tone was loud and angry, like that of a disatisfied guest in a carelessly managed hotel.

—CLARENCE DAY (1874–1935) God and My Father

God tempers the cold to the shorn lamb.

—HENRI ESTIENNE (d. 1520) Premises

There is no God but God.

—THE KORAN, Bk. iii

I live and love in God's peculiar light.

—MICHELANGELO (1475–1564)

God never shuts one door but he opens another.


Had I but served my God with half the zeal

I served my king, he would not in mine age

Have left me naked to mine enemies.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Henry VIII, III, ii, 456

Man proposes, but God disposes.

—THOMAS Á KEMPIS (1380–1471) Imitation of Christ

If God didn't exist, man would have to invent Him.

—VOLTAIRE (1694–1778)

If God be for us, who can be against us?

—NEW TESTAMENT: Romans, viii, 31

God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Psalms, xlvi, i

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Psalms, xix, i.


Goodness is easier to recognize than to define; only the greatest novelists can portray good people.

—W. H. AUDEN (1907–1973) I Believe

It is as hard for the good to suspect evil, as it is for the bad to suspect good.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.)

Good and bad men are each less so than they seem.

—SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE (1772–1834) Table-Talk

True goodness springs from a man's own heart. All men are born good.

—CONFUCIUS (c. 551–479 B.C.) Analects

The ground that a good man treads is hallowed.

—GOETHE (1749–1832) Torquato Tasso

Let them be good that love me, though but few.

—BEN JONSON (1572–1637) Cynthia's Revels

The greatest pleasure I know is to do a good action by stealth, and to have it found out by accident.

—CHARLES LAMB (1775–1834)

There is no man so good, who, were he to submit all his thoughts and actions to the laws, would not deserve hanging ten times in his life.

—MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE (1533–1592) Essays

Goodness is a special kind of truth and beauty. It is truth and beauty in human behavior,


The good die young.


He is so good that he is good for nothing.


The evil that men do lives after them;

The good is oft interred with their bones.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Julius Caesar, III, ii, 81

The good man is his own friend.

—SOPHOCLES (495–406 B.C.) Oedipus Coloneus

Be good, and you will be lonesome.

—MARK TWAIN (1835–1910)


The marvel of history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.

—WILLIAM E. BORAH (1865–1940) Speech in U.S. Senate

And having looked to Government for bread, on the very first scarcity they will turn and bite the hand that fed them.

—EDMUND BURKE (1729–1797)

A thousand years scarce serve to form a state;

An hour may lay it in the dust.

—LORD BYRON (1788–1824) Childe Harold

Self-government is the natural government of man.

—HENRY CLAY (1777–1852) Speech, 1818

No man has any right to rule who is not better than the people over whom he rules.

—CYRUS THE ELDER (600?–529 B.C.)

I can retain neither respect nor affection for a Government which has been moving from wrong to wrong in order to defend its immorality.

—MOHANDAS K. GANDHI (1869–1948)

The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.

—THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743–1826) to Abigail Adams

No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent.

—ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809–1865) Speech, 1854

That is the best government which desires to make the people happy, and knows how to make them happy.

—THOMAS B. MACAULAY (1800–1859)

If men be good, government cannot be bad.

—WILLIAM PENN (1644–1718) Fruits of Solitude

Oligarchy: A government resting on a valuation of property, in which the rich have power and the poor man is deprived of it.

—PLATO (428–347 B.C.) The Republic

That form of government is best which includes monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy.

—POLYBIUS (205?–125 B.C.) Histories

Any government, like any family, can for a year spend a little more than it earns. But you and I know that a continuance of that habit means the poorhouse.

—FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT (1882–1945) Radio Speech, 1932

Gratitude and Ingratitude

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.

—AESOP (6th C. B.C.) Androcles

Earth produces nothing worse than an ungrateful man.

—AUSONIUS (ƒ. 4th C. B.C.) Epigrams

Next to ingratitude, the most painful thing to bear is gratitude.


Words are but empty thanks.

—COLLEY CIBBER (1671–1757) Women's Wit

When I'm not thanked at all I'm thanked enough.

—HENRY FIELDING (1707–1754)

A man is very apt to complain of the ingratitude of those who have risen far above him.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) in Boswell's Life

A man who is ungrateful is often less to blame than his benefactor.


The gratitude of most men is but a secret desire of receiving greater benefits.


Gratitude is the least of virtues, but ingratitude the worst of vices.


Blow, blow, thou winter wind,

Thou art not so unkind

As man's ingratitude . . . .

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) As You Like It, II, vii, 174

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is

To have a thankless child.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) King Lear, I, iv, 312

Do you like gratitude? I don't. If pity is akin to love, gratitude is akin to the other thing.

—GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (1856–1950) Arms and the Man

Alas! the gratitude of men

Hath often left me mourning.

—WILLIAM WORDSWORTH (1770–1850) Simon Lee


When the dust of death has choked

A great man's voice, the common words he said Turn oracles.


The price of greatness is responsibility.

—WINSTON CHURCHILL (1874–1965) Speech, 1943

The world cannot live at the level of its great men.

—SIR JAMES FRAZER (1854–1941) The Golden Bough

No really great man ever thought himself so.

—WILLIAM HAZLITT (1778–1830) Table-Talk

There would be no great ones if there were no little ones.

—GEORGE HERBERT (1593–1633)

Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Twelfth Night, II, v, 156

Great men are not always wise.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Job, xxxii, 9



It is dangerous to abandon one's self to the luxury of grief: it deprives one of courage, and even of the wish for recovery.

—HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL (1828–1881) Journal, 1871

There is no grief which time does not lessen and soften.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) Epistles

Grief is itself a medicine.

—WILLIAM COWPER (1731–1800) Charity

Grief is the agony of an instant: the indulgence of grief the blunder of a life.

—BENJAMIN DISRAELI (1804–1881) Vivian Grey

The only cure for grief is action.


If our inward griefs were seen written on our brow, how many would be pitied who are now envied.

—METASTASIO (1698–1782) Guiseppe Riconosciuto

Grief is a tree that has tears for its fruit.

—PHILEMON (361?–263? B.C.) Fragment

Grief fills the room up of my absent child,

Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,

Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,

Remembers me of all his gracious parts,

Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) King John, III, iv, 93


The pot calls the kettle black.

—CERVANTES (1547–1616) Don Quixote

Guilt is present in the very hesitation, even though the deed be not committed.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Officiis

Secret guilt by silence is betrayed.

—JOHN DRYDEN (1631–1700) The Hind and the Panther

Men's minds are too ready to excuse guilt in themselves.

—LIVY (59 B.C.-17 A.D.) History

He that knows no guilt can know no fear.


He confesseth himself guilty, who refuseth to come to trial.


The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Hamlet, III, ii, 242

In other words, psychoanalysts relieve their patients from feeling guilty about things of which they are not guilty, and leave them with the sense of guilt about things of which they really are guilty.

—GREGORY ZILBOORG (1890–1959) Psychoanalysis and Religion


Habit is a sort of second nature.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Finibus

It seems, in fact, as though the second half of a man's life is made up of nothing but the habits he has accumulated during the first half.

—FËODOR DOSTOEVSKI (1821–1881) The Possessed

Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it every day, and at last we cannot break it.

—HORACE MANN (1796–1859)

How use doth breed a habit in a man!

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Two Gentlemen of Verona, V, iv, 1


Living from hand to mouth, soon satisfi'd.

—GUILLAUME DU BARTAS (1544–1590) Devine Weekes

Many hands make light work.


One hand washeth the other.

—SENECA (4? B.C. –A.D 65) Apocolocyntosis

All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Macbeth, V, i, 57

See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!

O, that I were a glove upon that hand,

That I might touch that cheek!

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Romeo and Juliet, II, ii, 23

Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, vi, 3

His hand will be against every man and every man's hand against him.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Genesis, xvi, 12


Hold him alone truly fortunate who has ended his life in happy well-being.

—AESCHYLUS (525–456 B.C.) Agamemnon

Happiness is at once the best, the noblest and the pleasantest of things.

—ARISTOTLE (384–322 B.C.) Nicomachean Ethics

What is given by the gods more desirable than a happy hour?

—CATULLUS (84?–54 B.C.) Odes

The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions—the little soon forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals of pleasurable and genial feeling.


To fill the hour—that is happiness.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) Experience

Often the greatest enemy of present happiness is past happiness too well remembered.


Call no man happy till you know the nature of his death! He is at best but fortunate.

—HERODOTUS (484–424? B.C.)

And there is even a happiness

That makes the heart afraid.

—THOMAS HOOD (1799–1845) Ode to Melancholy

The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved.

—VICTOR HUGO (1802–1885) Les Misérables

He is happiest of whom the world says least, good or bad.

—THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743–1826) Letter to John Adams, 1786

The happiness or unhappiness of men depends no less upon their dispositions than on their fortunes.


Oh, how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) As You Like It, V, ii, 48

Happiness is the shadow of things past,

Which fools still take for that which is to be!

—FRANCIS THOMPSON (1859–1907) From the Night of Forebeing

The sun and stars that float in the open air;

The apple-shaped earth, and we upon it—

 surely the drift of them is something grand!

I do not know what it is, except that it is grand,

 and that it is happiness.

—WALT WHITMAN (1819–1892) Carol of Occupations


Now hatred is by far the greatest pleasure;

Men love in haste, but they detest at leisure.

—LORD BYRON (1788–1824) Don Juan

People hate those who make them feel their own inferiority.

—LORD CHESTERFIELD (1694–1773) Letters to His Son

There are glances of hatred that stab and raise no cry of murder.

—GEORGE ELIOT (1819–1880) Felix Holt

Whom men fear they hate, and whom they hate, they wish dead.

—QUINTUS ENNIUS (239–169 B.C.) Thyestes

How incredible it is that in this fragile existence we should hate and destroy one another. There are possibilities enough for all who will abandon mastery over others to pursue mastery over nature. There is world enough for all to seek their happiness in their own way.

—LYNDON B. JOHNSON (1908–1973) Inaugural Address, Jan. 1965

Men hate more steadily than they love.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) Boswell's Life of Johnson

For never can true reconcilement grow,

Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep.

—JOHN MILTON (1608–1674) Paradise Lost

There is no sport in hate when all the rage

Is on one side.

—PERCY B. SHELLEY (1792–1822) Lines to a Reviewer

It is characteristic of human nature to hate the man whom you have wronged.

—TACITUS (54–119) Agricola

As love, if love be perfect, casts out fear,

So hate, if hate be perfect, casts out fear.

—TENNYSON (1809–1892) Idylls of the King


In nothing do men more nearly approach the gods than in giving health to men.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) Pro Ligario

The health of the people is really the foundation upon which all their happiness and all their powers as a State depend.


Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind.

—MARY BAKER G. EDDY (1821–1910) Science and Health

O health! health! the blessing of the rich! the riches of the poor! who can buy thee at too dear a rate, since there is no enjoying this world without thee?

—BEN JONSON (1572–1637) Volpone

Our prayers should be for a sound mind in a healthy body.

—JUVENAL (47–138) Satires

Life is not merely being alive, but being well.

—MARTIAL (c. A.D. 66) Epigrams

A man in good health is always full of advice to the sick.

—MENANDER (342–291 B.C.) Andria

It is part of the cure to wish to be cured.

—SENECA (8 B.C. –A.D. 65) Hippolytus

Measure your health by your sympathy with morning and spring. If there is no response in you to the awakening of nature, if the prospect of an early morning walk does not banish sleep, if the warble of the first bluebird does not thrill you, know that the morning and spring of your life are past, Thus may you feel your pulse.

—HENRY DAVID THOREAU (1817–1862) Early Spring in Massachusetts


My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here;

My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer.

—ROBERT BURNS (1759–1796)

Maid of Athens, ere we part,

Give, oh, give me back my heart!

—LORD BYRON (1788–1824) Maid of Athens

Faint heart never won fair lady.

—WILLIAM CAMDEN (1551–1623) Remains Concerning Britain

The heart has eyes that the brain knows nothing of.


And let me wring your heart; for so I shall,

If it be made of penetrable stuff.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Hamlet, III, iv, 35

I will wear my heart upon my sleeve

For daws to peck at.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Othello, I, i, 64

He hath a heart as sound as a bell and his tongue is the clapper, for what his heart thinks his tongue speaks.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Much Ado About Nothing, III, ii, 12

My heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill.

—WILLIAM SHARP (1856?–1905) The Lonely Hunter

My true-love hath my heart, and I have his

By just exchange one for the other given

I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss

There never was a better bargain driven.

—SIR PHILIP SIDNEY (1554–1586) The Bargain

Let not your heart be troubled.

—NEW TESTAMENT: John, xiv, 1



All places are distant from heaven alike.

—ROBERT BURTON (1577–1640) Anatomy of Melancholy

To Appreciate heaven well

'Tis good for a man to have some fifteen minutes of hell.

—WILL CARLETON (1845–1912) Farm Ballads

And so upon this wise I prayed,—

 Great Spirit, give to me

A heaven not so large as yours

 But large enough for me.

—EMILY DICKINSON (1830–1886) A Prayer

I sent my soul through the invisible,

Some letter of that after-life to spell:

 And by and by my soul return'd to me,

And answer'd, “I myself am Heav'n and Hell.”

—EDWARD FITZGERALD (1809–1883) tr.: Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

All this, and Heaven too!

—MATTHEW HENRY (1662–1714) Life of Philip Henry

What came from the earth returns back to the earth, and the spirit that was sent from heaven, again carried back, is received into the temple of heaven.

—LUCRETIUS (96–55 B.C.) De Rerum Natura

Here we may reign secure; and in my choice

To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell:

Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav'n.

—JOHN MILTON (1608–1674) Paradise Lost

Heaven-gates are not so highly arch'd

As princes' palaces; they that enter there

Must go upon their knees.

—JOHN WEBSTER (1580?–1625) The Duchess of Malfi

In my father's house are many mansions.

—NEW TESTAMENT: John, xiv, 2


Hell is full of good intentions or desires.


Here sighs, plaints, and voices of the deepest woe resounded through the starless sky. Strange languages, horrid cries, accents of grief and wrath, voices deep and hoarse, with hands clenched in despair, made a commotion which whirled forever through that air of everlasting gloom, even as sand when whirlwinds sweep the ground.

—DANTE (1265–1321) Inferno, Canto iii

Abandon every hope, ye who enter here.

—DANTE (1265–1321) Inferno, Canto iii [Inscription over the gate of Hell]

I found the original of my hell in the world which we inhabit.

—DANTE (1265–1321)

Hell is a circle about the unbelieving.


Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscrib'd

In one self-place; for where we are is hell;

And where hell is, there must we ever be;

And to conclude, when all the world dissolves,

And every creature shall be purified,

All places shall be hell that are not heaven.

—CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE (1564–1593) Dr. Faustus

Myself am Hell;

And, in the lowest deep, a lower deep,

Still threat'ning to devour me, opens wide;

To which the hell I suffer seems a heaven.

—JOHN MILTON (1608–1674) Paradise Lost


No man is a hero to his valet.

—MLLE. AISSE (1694?–1733) Letters

Heroism is the brilliant triumph of the soul over the flesh—that is to say, over fear. . . . Heroism is the dazzling and glorious concentration of courage.

—HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL (1828–1881) Journal, October 1, 1849

Heroism feels and never reasons and therefore is always right.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) Heroism

There is nothing more touching than the sight of a Nation in search of its great men, nothing more beautiful than its readiness to accept a hero on trust.

—JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL (1819–1891) General McClellan's Report


The great object in trying to understand history is to get behind men and grasp ideas.

—LORD ACTON (1834–1902) Letters to Mary Gladstone

Biography is the only true history.

—THOMAS CARLYLE (1795–1881) Journal, January 13, 1832

All history, so far as it is not supported by contemporary evidence, is romance.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) Boswell's Tour to Hebrides

History is the witness of the times, the torch of truth, the life of memory, the teacher of life, the messenger of antiquity.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Oratore

History is clarified experience.

—JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL (1819–1891) Books and Libraries

History repeats itself.

—THUCYDIDES (471?–400? B.C.) History, Bk. i


You are a King by your own Fireside, as much as any Monarch on his Throne.

—CERVANTES (1547–1616) Don Quixote

In love of home, the love of country has its rise.

—CHARLES DICKENS (1812–1870) Old Curiosity Shop

Home is the place where, when you have to go there,

They have to take you in.

—ROBERT FROST (1875–1963) The Death of the Hired Man

Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.

—JOHN HOWARD PAYNE (1791–1852) Home Sweet Home

Home is where the heart is.


Weep no more, my lady;

 Oh, weep no more today!

We will sing one song for the old Kentucky home,

 For the old Kentucky home, far away.

—STEPHEN C. FOSTER (1812–1864) Old Folks At Home

It takes a heap o' livin' in a house ť make it home.

—EDGAR A. GUEST (1881–1959) Home

To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition, the end to which every enterprise and labor tends, and of which every desire prompts the prosecution.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) Rambler

When I was at home I was in a better place.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) As You Like It, II, iv, 14

As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Proverbs, xxvii, 8


A trustee is held to something stricter than the morals of the market place. Not honesty alone, but the punctilio of an honor the most sensitive, is then the standard of behavior.

—BENJAMIN N. CARDOZO (1870–1938)

Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one rascal less in the world.

—THOMAS CARLYLE (1795–1881)

Honesty is the best policy.

—CERVANTES (1547–1616) Don Quixote

If he were

To be made honest by an act of parliament

I should not alter in my faith of him.

—BEN JONSON (1572–1637) Devil is an Ass

An honest man is the noblest work of God.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) Essay on Man

You are underrating the President [Lincoln]. I grant that he lacks higher education and his manners are not in accord with European conceptions of the dignity of a chief magistrate. He is a well-developed child of nature and is not skilled in polite phrases and poses. But he is a man of profound feeling, correct and firm principles and incorruptible honesty. His motives are unquestionable, and he possesses to a remarkable degree the characteristic, God-given trait of this people, sound common sense.

—CARL SCHURZ (1829–1906) Letter, October, 1864

There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats,

For I am arm'd so strong in honesty

That they pass by me as the idle wind,

Which I respect not.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Julius Caesar, IV, iii, 66


The best memorial for a mighty man is to gain honour ere death.

—BEOWULF (8th C.)

Better a thousand times to die with glory than live without honor.

—LOUIS VI OF FRANCE (1081–1137)

I could not love thee, dear, so much.

Loved I not honor more.

—RICHARD LOVELACE (1618–1658) To Lucasta, On Going to Wars

Set honour in one eye and death i' the other

And I will look on both indifferently;

For let the gods so speed me as I love

The name of honour more than I fear death.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Julius Caesar, I, ii, 86

Mine honour is my life; both grow in one;

Take honour from me and my life is done.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Richard II, I, i, 182


I live on hope and that I think do all

Who come into this world.

—ROBERT BRIDGES (1844–1930) The Growth of Love

To the sick, while there is life there is hope.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) Epistolae Ad Atticum

Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) in Boswell's Life of Johnson

The setting of a great hope is like the setting of the sun. The brightness of our life is gone.

—HENRY W. LONGFELLOW (1807–1882) Hyperion

Hopes are but the dreams of those who wake.

—PINDAR (c. 522–442 B.C.) Fragment

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;

Man never is, but always to be blest.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) Essay on Man

Hope, dead lives nevermore,

No, not in heaven.

—CHRISTINA ROSSETTI (1830–1894) Dead Hope

True hope is swift, and flies with swallow's wings;

Kings it makes gods, and meaner creatures kings.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Richard III, V, ii, 23

We did not dare to breathe a prayer

 Or to give our anguish scope!

Something was dead in each of us,

 And what was dead was hope.

—OSCAR WILDE (1854–1900) The Ballad of Reading Gaol


People are either born hosts or born guests.

—MAX BEERBOHM (1872–1956)

Hospitality consists in a little fire, a little food, and an immense quiet.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) Journal

Then why should I sit in the scorner's seat,

 Or hurl the cynic's ban?

Let me live in my house by the side of the road,

 And be a friend to man.

—SAM WALTER FOSS (1858–1911) House by the Side of the Road

Hail Guest! We ask not what thou art:

If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart;

If Stranger, such no longer be;

If Foe, our love shall conquer thee.

—ARTHUR GUITERMAN (1871–1943) Old Welsh Door Verse

True friendship's laws are by this rule express'd,

Welcome the coming, speed the parting guest.

—HOMER (c. 10th–8th C. B.C.) The Odyssey

Fish and guests in three days are stale.

—JOHN LYLY (1554?–1606) Euphues

When there is room in the heart there is room in the house.


I had three chairs in my house: one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.

—HENRY DAVID THOREAU (1817–1862) Walden

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Hebrews, xiii, 2


Lowliness is the base of every virtue,

And he who goes the lowest builds the safest.

—PHILIP J. BAILEY (1816–1902) Festus

I ate umble pie with an appetite.

—CHARLES DICKENS (1812–1870) David Copperfield

 True humility,

The highest virtue, mother of them all.

—TENNYSON (1809–1892) Idylls of the King

Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, v, 39: Luke, vi, 29

Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, vi, 41


Hunger is the best sauce in the world.

—CERVANTES (1547–1616) Don Quixote

An empty stomach is not a good political adviser.

—ALBERT EINSTEIN (1879–1955) Cosmic Religion

They that die by famine die by inches.

—MATTHEW HENRY (1662–1714) Commentaries

Death in all its shapes is hateful to unhappy man, but the worst is death from hunger.

—HOMER (c. 10th-8th C. B.C.) Odyssey

If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to cat.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Lamentations, iv, 9


We wedded men live in sorrow and care.

—GEOFFREY CHAUCER (1340?–1400) Merchant's Tale Prologue

It is necessary to be almost a genius to make a good husband.

—HONORÉ DE BALZAC (1799–1850) Physiology of Marriage

Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

—NEW TESTAMENT: I Corinthians, vii, 3

Idleness is only the refuge of weak minds, and the holiday of fools.

—LORD CHESTERFIELD (1694–1773) Letters, July 20, 1749

Absence of occupation is not rest,

A mind quite vacant is a mind distress'd.

—WILLIAM COWPER (1731–1800) Retirement

There is no place in civilization for the idler. None of us has any right to ease.

—HENRY FORD (1863–1947)

Laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him.

—BEN FRANKLIN (1706–1790) Poor Richard's Almanack

To be idle and to be poor have always been reproaches, and therefore every man endeavors with his utmost care to hide his poverty from others, and his idleness from himself.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) The Idler

Of all our faults, the one that we excuse most easily is idleness.


For Satan finds some mischief still

 For idle hands to do.

—ISAAC WATTS (1674–1748) Divine Songs

To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual.

—OSCAR WILDE (1854–1900) The Critic as Artist.

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Proverbs, vi, 6


Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon or star.

—CONFUCIUS (c. 551–478 B.C.) Analects

To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge.

—BENJAMIN DISRAELI (1804–1881) Sybil

To the ignorant even the words of the wise seem foolishness.

—EURIPIDES (480–406 B.C.) The Bacchae

No more; where ignorance is bliss,

 'Tis folly to be wise.

—THOMAS GRAY (1716–1771) On a Distant Prospect of Eton College

Ignorance of the law excuses no man: not that all can know the law, but because 'tis an excuse everyone will plead, and no man can tell how to refute him.

—JOHN SELDEN (1584–1654) Table-Talk

There is no darkness, but ignorance.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Twelfth Night, IV, ii, 44


Only in men's imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life.

—JOSEPH CONRAD (1857–1924) A Personal Record

To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything.

—ANATOLE FRANCE (1844–1924) The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard

Were it not for imagination a man would be as happy in the arms of a chambermaid as of a duchess.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) Boswell's Life of Johnson

His imagination resembled the wings of an ostrich. It enabled him to run, though not to soar.

—THOMAS B. MACAULAY (1800–1859) On John Dryden

The human race is governed by its imagination.



Men often applaud an imitation, and hiss the real thing.

—AESOP (6th C. B. C.) The Buffoon and the Countryman

Imitation is the sincerest flattery.

—CHARLES C. COLTON (1780?–1832)

He who imitates what is evil always goes beyond the example that is set; on the contrary, he who imitates what is good always falls short.

—FRANCESCO GUICCIARDINI (1483–1540) Story of Italy

Agesilaus, being invited once to hear a man who admirably imitated the nightingale, declined, saying he had heard the nightingale itself.

—PLUTARCH (46?–120?) Lives: Agesilaus

A great part of art consists in imitation. For the whole conduct of life is based on this: that what we admire in others we want to do ourselves.

—QUINTILIAN (40–c. 100) De institutio Oratoria

Go, and do thou likewise.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Luke, x, 37


Let us not lament too much the passing of our friends. They are not dead, but simply gone before us along the road which all must travel.

—ANTIPHANES (c. 360 B.C.) Fragment

After the resurrection of the body shall have taken place, being set free from the condition of time, we shall enjoy eternal life, with love ineffable and steadfastness without corruption.

—ST. AUGUSTINE (354–430) Of the Faith and of the Creed

If I err in my belief that the souls of men are immortal, I err gladly, and I do not wish to lose so delightful an error.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Senectute

My humble friend, we know not how to live this life which is so short yet seek one that never ends.

—ANATOLE FRANCE (1844–1924) The Red Lily

Either the soul is immortal and we shall not die, or it perishes with the flesh, and we shall not know that we are dead. Live, then, as if you were eternal.

—ANDRÉ MAUROIS (1885–1967)

Indecision See DECISION

Independence See DEPENDENCE

Indiscretions See DISCRETION


What another would have done as well as you, do not do it. What another would have said as well as you, do not say it; written as well, do not write it. Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself—and thus make yourself indispensable.

—ANDRÉ GIDE (1869–1951) Fruits of the Earth

Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called.

—JOHN STUART MILL (1806–1873) On Liberty

An individual is as superb as a nation when he has the qualities which make a superb nation.

—WALT WHITMAN (1819–1892) Leaves of Grass, preface


Anger and jealousy can no more bear to lose sight of their objects than love.

—GEORGE ELIOT (1819–1880) The Mill on the Floss

Though jealousy be produced by love, as ashes are by fire, yet jealousy extinguishes love as ashes smother the flame.

—MARGARET OF NAVARRE (1492–1549) Heptameron

O! beware, my lord, of jealousy

It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock

The meat it feeds on.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Othello, III, iii, 166

Love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Song of Solomon, viii, 6


Joy rises in me like a summer's morn.

—SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE (1772–1834) Christmas Carol

My theory is to enjoy life, but the practice is against it.

—CHARLES LAMB (1775–1834)

My candle burns at both ends,

 It will not last the night;

But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends,

 It gives a lovely light!


Drink and dance and laugh and lie,

 Love the reeling midnight through,

For tomorrow we shall die!

 (But, alas, we never do.)

—DOROTHY PARKER (1893–1968) The Flaw in Paganism

A joy that's shared is a joy made double.

—JOHN RAY (1627?–1705) English Proverbs

Silence is the perfectest herald of joy:

I were but little happy if I could say how much.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Much Ado About Nothing, II, i, 317

 I have drunken deep of joy,

And I will taste no other wine to-night.

—PERCY B. SHELLEY (1792–1822) The Cenci

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Psalms, xxx, 5


Heaven gives long life to the just and the intelligent.

—CONFUCIUS (c. 551–478 B.C.) The Book of History

Justice is truth in action.

—BENJAMIN DISRAELI (1804–1881) Speech, Feb. 11, 1851

He reminds me of the man who murdered both his parents, and then, when sentence was about to be pronounced, pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan.

—ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809–1865) attributed

Just as, in fact there can be no peace without order so there can be no order without justice. . . .

—POPE PIUS XII (1876–1958) Address on Laster Sunday, 1939

Only the actions of the just

Smell sweet and blossom in the dust.

—JAMES SHIRLEY (1596–1666) The Contention of Ajax and Ulysses

Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just,

And he but naked, though licked up in steel,

Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Henry VI, III, ii, 232

What's sauce for a goose is sauce for a gander.

—JONATHAN SWIFT (1667–1745) Polite Conversation

Judging from the main portions of the history of the world, so far, justice is always in jeopardy.

—WALT WHITMAN (1819–1892) Democratic Vistas

He that ruleth over men must be just.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Samuel, xxiii, 3

The spirit of just men made perfect.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Hebrews, xii, 23


It is difficult to tell how much men's minds are conciliated by a kind manner and gentle speech.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Officiis

A kindness loses its grace by being noised abroad,

Who desires it to be remembered should forget it.

—PIERRE CORNEILLE (1606–1684) Theodore

It is a kindness to refuse gently what you intend to deny.

—PUBLILIUS SYRUS (1st C. B.C.) Sententiae

This was the unkindest cut of all.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Julius Caesar, III, ii, 187

 Yet do I fear thy nature;

It is too full o' the milk of human kindness.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Macbeth, I, v, 14


What one knows is, in youth, of little moment; they know enough who know how to learn.

—HENRY ADAMS (1838–1918) Education of Henry Adams

Knowledge is, indeed, that which, next to virtue, truly and essentially raises one man above another.

—JOSEPH ADDISON (1672–1719) The Guardian

I assure you I had rather excel others in the knowledge of what is excellent, than in the extent of my power and dominion.


Knowledge is power.

—FRANCIS BACON (1561–1620) De Haeresibus

Knowledge is a comfortable and necessary retreat and shelter for us in an advanced age; and if we do not plant it while young, it will give us no shade when we grow old.

—LORD CHESTERFIELD (1694–1773) Letters

No technical knowledge can outweigh knowledge of the humanities, in the gaining of which philosophy and history walk hand in hand. Our inheritance of well-founded slowly conceived codes of honor, morals and manners, the passionate convictions which so many hundreds of millions share together of the principles of freedom and justice, are far more precious to us than anything which scientific discoveries can bestow.

—WINSTON CHURCHILL (1874–1965) Speech, March 31, 1949

It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.


Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find information upon it.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) Boswell's Life of Johnson

To myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble, or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

—SIR ISAAC NEWTON (1642–1727)

Then I began to think, that it is very true which is commonly said, that the one-half of the world knoweth not how the other half liveth.

—FRANçOIS RABELAIS (1494?–1553) Pantagruel

 Ignorance is the curse of God,

Knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) II Henry VI, IV, vii, 78

I do not know that knowledge amounts to anything more definite than a novel and grand surprise, or a sudden revelation of the insufficiency of all that we had called knowledge before; an indefinite sense of the grandeur and glory of the universe.

—HENRY DAVID THOREAU (1817–1862) Spring in Massachusetts


There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, anytime.

—CALVIN COOLIDGE (1872–1933) Letter to Samuel Gompers

Each needs the other: capital cannot do without labor, nor labor without capital.

—POPE LEO XIII (1810–1903) Rerum Novarum

Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans

Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground,

The emptiness of the ages in his face,

And on his back the burden of the world.

—EDWIN MARKHAM (1852–1940) Man With the Hoe

No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.

—FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT (1882–1945) Public statement

I am a true labourer: I earn that I eat, get that I wear, owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness, glad of other men's good.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) As You Like It, III, ii, 78

There is no real wealth but the labor of man. Were the mountains of gold and the valleys of silver, the world would not be one grain of corn the richer; no one comfort would be added to the human race.

—PERCY B. SHELLEY (1792–1822) Queen Mab, notes

The labourer is worthy of his hire.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Luke, x, 7

Let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Joshua, ix, 21


You are worth as many men as you know languages.


In language clearness is everything.

—CONFUCIUS (c. 551–478 B.C.) Analects

A man who does not know foreign languages is ignorant of his own.

—GOETHE (1749–1832) Sprüche in Prosa

There is no master key to the inner life of a people, but language unlocks a vast treasure house.

—EDGAR LEE HEWETT (1865–1946) Ancient Life in Mexico

Every language is a temple in which the soul of those who speak it is enshrined.


Language is the dress of thought.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) Lives of the Poets

The way to learn a language is to sit down and learn it.

—WILLIAM GRAHAM SUMNER (1840–1910) Reminiscences

Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God.

—NOAH WEBSTER (1758–1843) American Dictionary, Preface

Language is not an abstract construction of the learned, or of dictionary makers, but it is something arising out of the work, needs, ties, joys, affections, tastes, of long generations of humanity, and has its bases broad and low, close to the ground.

—WALT WHITMAN (1819–1892) Slang in America


God hath not granted to woeful mortals even laughter without tears.

—CALLIMACHUS (c. 260–240 B.C.) Fragments

You no doubt laugh in your sleeve.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Finibus

The loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind.

—OLIVER GOLDSMITH (1730–1774) The Deserted Village

Laughter unquenchable arose among the blessed gods.

—HOMER (c. l0th–8th C. B.C.) Iliad

I laugh because I must not cry.

—ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809–1865)

He deserves Paradise who makes his companions laugh.

—MOHAMMED (570–632) The Koran

Everything gives cause for either laughter or tears.

—SENECA (4? B.C.–A.D. 65) De Ira

The pleasantest laughter is at the expense of our enemies.

—SOPHOCLES (495–406 B.C.) Ajax

Laughter is not a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is the best ending for one.

—OSCAR WILDE (1854–1900) The Picture of Dorian Gray

Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Luke, vi, 25

As the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of a fool.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Ecclesiastes, vii, 6


Law is a pledge that the citizens of a state will do justice to one another.

—ARISTOTLE (384–322 B.C.) Politics

The beginning of the law is benevolence, and with benevolence it ends.


The laws place the safety of all before the safety of individuals.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Finibus

Men would be great criminals did they need as many laws as they make.

—CHARLES JOHN DARLING (1849–1936) ScintillŒ; Juris

Time is the best interpreter of every doubtful law.

—DIONYSIUS OF HALICARNASSUS (d. c. 7 B.C.) Antiquities of Rome

Possession is nine points of the law.

—THOMAS FULLER (1608–1681) Holy War

In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of another.

In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.

—IMMANUEL KANT (1724–1804) Lecture at Königsberg, 1775

The purpose of law is to prevent the strong from always having their way.

—OVID (43 B.C.–A.D. 18?) Fasti

No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it.

—THEODORE ROOSEVELT (1858–1919) Message, Jan. 1904

Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Leviticus, xxiv, 22

Where is there any book of the law so clear to each man as that written in his heart?

—LEO TOLSTOY (1828–1910) The Chinese Pilot

He that pleads his own cause has a fool for his client.



I light my candle from their torches.

—ROBERT BURTON (1577–1640) Anatomy of Melancholy

And when we think we lead we most are led.

—LORD BYRON (1788–1824) The Two Foscari

The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on.

—WALTER LIPPMANN (1889–1974) Roosevelt Has Gone

An two men ride of a horse, one must ride behind.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Much Ado About Nothing, III, v, 40

Ill can he rule the great that cannot reach the small.

—EDMUND SPENSER (1552?–1599) The Faerie Queen

Reason and calm judgment, the qualities specially belonging to a leader.

—TACITUS (55–117) History


What one knows is, in youth, of little moment; they know enough who know how to learn.

—HENRY ADAMS (1838–1918) Education of Henry Adams

All men by nature desire to know.

—ARISTOTLE (384–322 B.C.)

That there should one man die ignorant who had capacity for knowledge, this I call tragedy.

—THOMAS CARLYLE (1795–1881)

Wear your learning, like your watch, in a private pocket; and do not pull it out, and strike it, merely to show that you have one.

—LORD CHESTERFIELD (1694–1773) Letters, February 22, 1748

A smattering of everything and a knowledge of nothing.

—CHARLES DICKENS (1812–1870) Sketches by Boz

Education is a controlling grace to the young, consolation to the old, wealth to the poor, and ornament to the rich.

—DIOGENES LAERTIUS (2nd or 3rd C. A.D.)

You send your child to the schoolmaster, but 'tis the schoolboys who educate him.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) Conduct of Life

If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it.

—MARGARET FULLER (1810–1850)

A child's education should begin at least one hundred years before he was born.


The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn.

—SIR JOHN LUBBOCK (1834–1913) Pleasures of Life

A little learning is a dangerous thing;

Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:

There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,

And drinking largely sobers us again.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) An Essay On Criticism

'Tis education forms the common mind:

Just as the twig is bent the tree's inclined.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) Moral Essays

I am glad to learn, in order that I may teach.

—SENECA (4? B.C.–A.D. 65) Ad Lucilium

The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.

—HERBERT SPENCER (1820–1903)

There is no royal road to learning; no short cut to the acquirement of any valuable art.

—ANTHONY TROLLOPE (1815–1882) Barchester Towers


When a man's busy, why, leisure

Strikes him as wonderful pleasure;

'Faith, and at leisure once is he?

Straightway he wants to be busy.

—ROBERT BROWNING (1812–1889) The Glove

It is the mark of a superior man that he will take no harmful ease.

—CONFUCIUS (c. 551–478 B.C.) Book of History

A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things.

—BEN FRANKLIN (1706–1790) Poor Richard's Almanack

Give time to your friends, leisure to your wife, relax your mind, give rest to your body, so that you may the better fulfil your accustomed occupation.

—PHAEDRUS (A.D. 1st C.) Fables

To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization.

—BERTRAND RUSSELL (1872–1970) The Conquest of Happiness


Eternal spirit of the chainless mind!

Brightest in dungeons, Liberty! thou art.

—LORD BYRON (1788–1824) The Prisoner of Chillon

The condition upon which God has given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.

—JOHN PHILPOT CURRAN (1750–1817) Speech upon the Right of Election, July 10, 1790.

Those, who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

—BEN FRANKLIN (1706–1790) Historical Review of Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania

Is Life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.

—PATRICK HENRY (1736–1799) Speech, 1775

The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.

—THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743–1826) The Rights of British America

It is true that liberty is precious—so precious that it must be rationed.

—NIKOLAI LENIN (1870–1924)

The inescapable price of liberty is an ability to preserve it from destruction.


He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression.

—THOMAS PAINE (1737–1809) First Principles of Government

There is … no liberty but liberty under law. Law does not restrict liberty; it creates the only real liberty there is.

—WILLIAM SUMNER (1840–1910) The Forgotten Man


Remember that man's life lies all within this present, as 't were but a hair's breadth of time; as for the rest, the past is gone, the future may never be. Short, therefore, is man's life, and narrow is the corner of the earth wherein he dwells.

—MARCUS AURELIUS (121–180) Meditations

Life is a test and this world a place of trial. Always the problems—or it may be the same problem—will be presented to every generation in different forms.

—WINSTON CHURCHILL (1874–1965) Speech 1949

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.

—T. S. ELIOT (1888–1965) Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

The fool, with all his other faults, has this also: he is always getting ready to live.

—EPICURUS (342–270 B.C.) Fragments

Were it offered to my choice, I should have no objection to a repetition of the same life from its beginnings, only asking the advantages authors have in a second edition to correct some faults.

—BEN FRANKLIN (1706–1790) Autobiography

There is more to life than increasing its speed.

—MOHANDAS GANDHI (1869–1948)

I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life.

—THEODORE ROOSEVELT (1858–1919) Speech

Life is neither a good nor an evil; it is simply the place where good and evil exist.

—SENECA (4? B.C.–A.D. 65) Epistulae ad Lucilium

Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale,

Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) King John, III, iv, 108

One man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) As You Like It, II, vii, 142

The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) All's Well That Ends Well, IV, iii, 83

As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Psalms, viii, 15

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

—HENRY DAVID THOREAU (1817–1862) Walden


I have never loved anyone for love's sake, except, perhaps, Josephine—a little.


How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

. . .

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints, —I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life!—, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

—ELIZABETH B. BROWNING (1806–1861) Sonnets from the Portuguese

God be thanked, the meanest of his creatures

Boasts two soul-sides, one to face the world with,

One to show a woman when he loves her.

—ROBERT BROWNING (1812–1889) One Word More

Oh my luve's like a red, red, rose,

 That's newly sprung in June;

Oh my luve's like the melodie

 That's sweetly played in tune.

—ROBERT BURNS (1759–1796) Red, Red Rose

To see her is to love her.

 And love but her forever;

For nature made her what she is,

 And never made anither!

—ROBERT BURNS (1759–1796) Bonny Lesley

Alas! the love of women! it is known

To be a lovely and a fearful thing.

—LORD BYRON (1788–1824) Don Juan

Let Time and Chance combine, combine!

Let Time and Chance combine!

The fairest love from heaven above,

 That love of yours was mine,

 My Dear!

 That love of yours was mine.

—THOMAS CARLYLE (1795–1881) Adieu

Love and war are the same thing, and stratagems and policy are as allowable in the one as in the other.

—CERVANTES (1547–1616) Don Quixote

If love be good, from whennes comth my wo?

—GEOFFREY CHAUCER (1340?–1400) Troilus and Criseyde

The Stoics define love as the endeavor to form a friendship inspired by beauty.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) Tusculanae Disputationes

When povertie comes in at doores, love leaps out at windowes.

—JOHN CLARK (1609–1676) Paroemiologia

Love's but a frailty of the mind,

When 'tis not with ambition joined:

A sickly flame, which, if not fed, expires,

And feeding, wastes in self consuming fires.

—WILLIAM CONGREVE (1670–1729) Way of the World

Say what you will, 'tis better to be left

Than never to have loved.

—WILLIAM CONGREVE (1670–1729) Way of the World

We are all born for love. . . . It is the principle of existence and its only end.

—BENJAMIN DISRAELI (1804–1881) Sybil

Men and women call one another inconstant, and accuse one another of having changed their minds, when, God knows, they have but changed the object of their eye, and seen a better white or red.

—JOHN DONNE (1572–1631) Sermons

Last night, ah, yesternight, betwixt her lips and mine

There fell thy shadow, Cynara! Thy breath was shed

Upon my soul between the kisses and the wine;

And I was desolate and sick of an old passion,

Yea, I was desolate and bowed my head:

I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

—ERNEST DOWSON (1867–1900) Cynara

But you must believe me when I tell you that I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.

—EDWARD VIII (1894–1972) Abdication Speech

All mankind love a lover.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) Essays

He is not a lover who does not love forever.

—EURIPIDES (480–406 B.C.) Troades

Perhaps they were right in putting love into books . . .

Perhaps it could not live anywhere else.

—WILLIAM FAULKNER (1897–1962) Light in August

Love grants in a moment

What toil can hardly achieve in an age.

—GOETHE (1749–1832) Torquato Tasso

Ah! What is love? It is a pretty thing,

As sweet unto a shepherd as a king,

 And sweeter too;

For kings have cares that wait upon a crown,

And cares can make the sweetest love to frown.

—ROBERT GREENE (1560?–1592) Shepherd's Wife

To demand of love that it be without jealousy is to ask of light that it cast no shadows.

—OSCAR HAMMLING (1890– ) Laconics

If you would be loved, love.

—HECATO (c. 550–476 B.C.) Fragments

At thy command I would change, not merely my costume, but my very soul, so entirely art thou the sole possessor of my body and my spirit. Never, God is my witness, never have I sought anything in thee but thyself; I have sought thee, and not thy gifts. I have not looked to the marriage-bond or dowry.

—HÉLOISE (1101–1164) to Abelard

Love in a hut, with water and a crust,

Is—love, forgive us!—cinders, ashes, dust.

—JOHN KEATS (1795–1821) Lamia

Come live with me and be my love,

And we will all the pleasures prove,

That valleys, groves, or hills, or fields,

Or woods and steepy mountains yields.

—CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE (1564–1593) Passionate Shepherd to his Love

If I were a king, ah love, if I were a king!

What tributary nations I would bring

To stoop before your sceptre and to swear

Allegiance to your lips and eyes and hair.

—JUSTIN HUNTLY MCCARTHY (1861–1936) If I Were King

'Tis not love's going hurts my days,

But that it went in little ways.

—EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY (1892–1951) Spring and Fall

Take love away from life and you take away its pleasures.

—MOLIÈRE (1622–1673) Bourgeois Gentleman

'Tis sweet to think, that, where'er we rove,

We are sure to find something blissful and dear;

And when we're far from the lips we love,

We've but to make love to the lips we are near.

—THOMAS MOORE (1779–1852) 'Tis Sweet to Think

But there's nothing half so sweet in life

As love's young dream.

—THOMAS MOORE (1779–1852) Love's Young Dream

Love that comes late oft claims a heavy toll.

—SEXTUS PROPERTIUS (50?–15 B.C.) Elegies

If all the world and love were young,

And truth in every shepherd's tongue,

These pretty pleasures might me move

To live with thee, and be thy love.

—SIR WALTER RALEIGH (1552?–1618)

The pleasure of love is in loving; and we are much happier in the passion we feel than in that which we inspire.


If thou remember'st not the slightest folly

That ever love did make thee run into,

Thou hast not lov'd.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) As You Like It, II, iv, 34

No sooner met but they looked, no sooner looked but they loved, no sooner loved but they sighed, no sooner sighed but they asked one another the reason.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) As You Like It, V, ii, 36

Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear;

When little fears grow great, great love grows there.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Hamlet, III, ii, 188

But love is blind, and lovers cannot see

The pretty follies that themselves commit.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Merchant of Venice, II, vi, 344

Ay me! for aught that I ever could read,

Could ever hear by tale or history,

The course of true love never did run smooth.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Midsummer Night's Dream, I, i, 132

Speak low, if you speak love.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Much Ado About Nothing, II, i, 102

There is no creature loves me,

And if I die, no soul shall pity me.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Richard III, V, iii, 200

For stony limits cannot hold love out,

And what love can do that dares love attempt.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Romeo and Juliet, II, ii, 67

Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,

Take him and cut him out in little stars,

And he will make the face of heaven so fine,

That all the world will be in love with night,

And pay no worship to the garish sun.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Romeo and Juliet, III, ii, 21

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

 Within his bending sickle's compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

 But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Sonnet CXVI.

Common as light is love,

And its familiar voice wearies not ever,

Like the wide heaven, the all-sustaining air,

It makes the reptile equal to the god.

—PERCY B. SHELLEY (1792–1822) Prometheus Unbound

Love is a symbol of eternity. It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end.

—MADAME DE STAËL (1766–1817) Corinne

And blessings on the falling out

That all the more endears,

When we fall out with those we love,

And kiss again with tears.

—TENNYSON (1809–1892) The Princess

To say that you can love one person all your life is just like saying that one candle will continue burning as long as you live.

—LEO TOLSTOY (1828–1910) Kreutzer Sonata

Yet each man kills the thing he loves,

By each let this be heard,

Some do it with a bitter look,

Some with a flattering word,

The coward does it with a kiss,

The brave man with a sword.

—OSCAR WILDE (1854–1900) Ballad of Reading Gaol

Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Hebrews, xii, 6

Who love too much, hate in the like extreme.

—HOMER (c. 10th–8th C. B.C.) Odyssey

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

—NEW TESTAMENT: John, xv, 13

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.

—NEW TESTAMENT: I John, iv, 8

Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Ruth, i, 16

Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Songs of Solomon, viii, 7


Luxury and avarice—these pests have been the ruin of every state.

—CATO (234–149 B.C.) In support of the Oppian Law

Faint-hearted men are the fruit of luxurious countries. The same soil never produces both luxuries and heroes.

—HERODOTUS (484–424 B.C.) History

Fell luxury! more perilous to youth

Than storms or quicksands, poverty, or chains

—HANNAH MORE (1745–1833) Belshazzar

People have declaimed against luxury for 2000 years, in verse and in prose, and people have always delighted in it.

—VOLTAIRE (1694–1778) Philosophical Dictionary

On the soft beds of luxury most kingdoms have expired.

—EDWARD YOUNG (1683–1765) Centaur

Majority and Minority

The oppression of a majority is detestable and odious: the oppression of a minority is only by one degree less detestable and odious.


It is my principle that the will of the majority should always prevail.

—THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743–1826) Letter to James Madison

One, of God's side, is a majority.

—WENDELL PHILLIPS (1811–1884) Speech on John Brown


Malice is cunning.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Natura Deorum

Malice hath a strong memory.

—THOMAS FULLER (1608–1681) Pisgah Sight

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in.

—ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809–1865) Second Inaugural Address


This Being of mine, whatever it really is, consists of a little flesh, a little breath and the ruling Reason.

—MARCUS AURELIUS (121–180) Meditations

No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; everyman is a piece of the Continent, a part of the maine, if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

—JOHN DONNE (1572–1631) Devotions

Man is a fallen god who remembers the heavens.

—ALPHONSE DE LAMARTINE (1790–1869) Meditations

He's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He's not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog.

—ARTHUR MILLER (1915– ) Death of a Salesman

Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the superman—a rope over an abyss.

—FRIEDRICH W. NIETZSCHE (1844–1900) Thus Spake Zarathustra

What a chimera, then, is man! What a novelty! What a monster, what a chaos, what a contradiction, what a prodigy! Judge of all things, feeble worm of the earth, depositary of truth, a sink of uncertainty and error, the glory and the shame of the universe.

—BLAISE PASCAL (1623–1662) Pensées

Placed on this isthmus of a middle state

A being darkly wise and rudely great

Created half to rise and half to fall

Great lord of all things, yet prey to all.

Sole judge of truth in endless error hurled,

The glory, jest and riddle of the world.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) Essay on Man

 What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And, yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me: no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling, you seem to say so.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Hamlet, II, 2, 313

Man's capacities have never been measured; nor are we to judge of what he can do by any precedents, so little has been tried.

—HENRY DAVID THOREAU (1817–1862) Walden

Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.

—MARK TWAIN (1835–1910) Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar

Who shall enumerate the many ways in which that costly piece of fixed capital, a human being, may be employed! More of him is wanted everywhere! Hunt, then, for some situation in which your humanity may be used.

—ALBERT SCHWEITZER (1875–1965) Civilization and Ethics

He was a man, take him for all in all,

I shall not look upon his like again.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Hamlet, I, ii, 187

How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,

That has such people in 't!

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) The Tempest, V, i, 183

Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Psalms, viii, 5


 He that hath a wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief.

—FRANCIS BACON (1561–1626) Marriage and Single Life

Cursed be the man, the poorest wretch in life,

The crouching vessel, to the tyrant wife,

Who has no will but her high permission;

Who has not sixpence but in her possession;

Who must to her his dear friend's secret tell;

Who dreads a curtain lecture worse than hell.

Were such the wife had fallen to my part,

I'd break her spirit or I'd break her heart.

—ROBERT BURNS (1759–1796) Henpecked Husband

Marriage and hanging go by destiny; matches are made in heaven.

—ROBERT BURTON (1577–1640) Anatomy of Melancholy

 The first bond of society is marriage; the next, our children; then the whole family and all things in common.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Officiis

Like blood, like goods, and like age,

Make the happiest marriage.

—JOHN CLARKE (1609–1676) Paroemiologia

Thus grief still treads upon the heels of pleasure,

Marry'd in haste, we may repent at leisure.

—WILLIAM CONGREVE (1670–1729) Old Bachelor

Happy and thrice happy are they who enjoy an uninterrupted union, and whose love, unbroken by any complaints, shall not dissolve until the last day.

—HORACE (65–8 B.C.) Carmina

Marriages are made in heaven.

—MIDRASH: Genesis Rabbah, lxviii

Hail, wedded love, mysterious law; true source

Of human offspring.

—JOHN MILTON (1608–1674) Paradise Lost

If you would marry wisely, marry your equal.

—OVID (43 B.C.–A.D. 18?) Heroides

All happy families resemble one another; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own fashion.

—LEO TOLSTOY (1828–1910) Anna Karenina

When a man marries again it is because he adored his first wife.

—OSCAR WILDE (1854–1900) Picture of Dorian Gray


To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Oratore

There is no greater sorrow than to recall, in misery, the time when we were happy.

—DANTE (1265–1321) Inferno

Memory is the treasure-house of the mind.

—THOMAS FULLER (1608–1681) The Holy State: Memory

A retentive memory is a good thing, but the ability to forget is the true token of greatness.

—ELBERT HUBBARD (1856–1915) Epigrams

The leaves lie thick upon the way

Of Memories.

—JAMES JOYCE (1882–1941) Chamber Music

Better by far you should forget and smile,

Than that you should remember and be sad.

—CHRISTINA ROSSETTI (1830–1894) A Birthday

Things that were hard to bear are sweet to remember.

—SENECA (4? B.C.–A.D. 65) Hercules Furens

Hamlet: Methinks I see my father.

Horatio: O! Where, my lord?

Hamlet: In my mind's eye, Horatio.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Hamlet, I, ii, 184

 Remember thee!

Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat

In this distracted globe. Remember thee!

Yea, from the fable of my memory

I'll wipe away all trivial fond records.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Hamlet, I, v, 97

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought

I summon up remembrance of things past,

I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,

And old woes new wail my dear time's waste.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Sonnets, xxx

I shall remember while the light lives yet,

And in the night-time I shall not forget.



The quality of mercy is not strain'd

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes;

'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown;

His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,

The attribute to awe and majesty,

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;

But mercy is above this sceptred sway;

It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,

It is an attribute to God himself;

And earthly power doth show likest God's

When mercy seasons justice.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Merchant of Venice, IV, i, 184

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, v, 7

What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Micah, iv, 4

Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Psalms, lxxxv, 10

To hide the fault I see:

That mercy I to others show

That mercy show to me.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) Universal Prayer


Pale January lay

In its cradle day by day,

Dead or living, hard to say.

—ALFRED AUSTIN (1835–1913) Primroses

 That blasts of January

Would blow you through and through.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Winter's Tale, IV, iv, 3

Late February days; and now, at last,

Might you have thought that Winter's woe was past;

So fair the sky and so soft the air.

—WILLIAM MORRIS (1834–1896) Earthly Paradise

Menallo: I would chuse March, for I would come in like a Lion.

Tony: But you'd go out like a Lamb when you went to hanging.

—JOHN FLETCHER (1579–1625) Wife for a Month

April is the cruelest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

—T. S. ELIOT (1888–1965) The Waste Land

Oh, to be in England

Now that April's here.

—ROBERT BROWNING (1812–1889) Home Thoughts

He has a hard heart who does not love in May.

—GUILLAUME DE LORRIS (d. c. 1235) Roman de la Rose

And what is so rare as a day in June?

 Then, if ever, come perfect days;

Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,

 And over it softly her warm ear lays.

—JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL (1819–1891) Vision of Sir Launfa

The Summer looks out from her brazen tower,

 Through the flashing bars of July.

—FRANCIS THOMPSON (1859–1907) Corymbus for Autumn

Hot July brings cooling showers,

Apricots and gillyflowers.

—SARA COLERIDGE (1802–1852) Pretty Lessons in Verse

Never return in August to what you love;

Along the leaves will rust

And over the hedges dust,

And in the air vague thunder and silence burning . . .

Choose some happier time for your returning.


 I'm not a chicken; I have seen

Full many a chill September.

—OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES (1809–1894) September Gale

The skies they were ashen and sober;

The leaves they were crisp and sere—

The leaves they were withering and sere;

It was night in the lonesome October

Of my most immemorial year.

—EDGAR ALLAN POE (1809–1849) Ulalume

When chill November's surly blast

Made fields and forests bare.

—ROBERT BURNS (1759–1796) Man Was Made to Mourn

In a drear-nighted December,

 Too happy, happy brook,

Thy bubblings ne'er remember

 Apollo's summer look;

But with a sweet forgetting,

They stay their crystal fretting,

 Never, never petting

 About the frozen time.

—JOHN KEATS (1795–1821) Stanzas

 When we shall hear

The rain and wind beat dark December, how

In this our pinching cave, shall we discourse

The freezing hours away.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Cymbeline, III, iii, 36


Music, the greatest good that mortals know,

And all of heaven we have below.

—JOSEPH ADDISON (1672–1719) Song for St. Cecilia's Day

Music exalts each joy, allays each grief,

Expels diseases, softens every pain,

Subdues the rage of poison, and the plague.

—JOHN ARMSTRONG (1709–1779) Preserving Health

Who hears music, feels his solitude

Peopled at once.

—ROBERT BROWNING (1812–1889) Balaustion's Adventure

Music is well said to be the speech of angels.

—THOMAS CARLYLE (1795–1881) Essays: The Opera

Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast,

To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.

—WILLIAM CONGREVE (1670–1729) The Mourning Bride

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard

Are sweeter: therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;

Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,

Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone.

—JOHN KEATS (1795–1821) Ode to a Grecian Urn


How much more are men than nations!

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) Letters and Social Aims

It is because nations tend to stupidity and baseness that mankind moves so slowly; it is because individuals have a capacity for better things that it moves at all.

—GEORGE GISSING (1857–1903) Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft

The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.

—ERNEST HEMINGWAY (1898–1961) Notes on the Next War

There is no such thing as a little country. The greatness of a people is no more determined by their number than the greatness of a man is determined by his height.

—VICTOR HUGO (1802–1885)

The political life of a nation is only the most superficial aspect of its being. In order to know its inner life, the source of its action, one must penetrate to its soul by literature, philosophy and the arts, where are reflected the ideas, the passions, the dreams of a whole people.

—ROMAIN ROLLAND (1866–1945) Musicians of the Past

That nation is worthless which does not joyfully stake everything in defense of her honor.

—SCHILLER (1759–1805) Maid of Orleans

It is a maxim founded on the universal experience of mankind that no nation is to be trusted farther than it is bound by its interest.

—GEORGE WASHINGTON (1732–1799) Letter to Congress, 1778

No nation is fit to sit in judgment upon any other nation.

—WOODROW WILSON (1856–1924)

And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Acts, xvii, 26

A little one shall be come a thousand and a small one a strong nation.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Isaiah, ix, 22


The study of Nature is intercourse with the Highest Mind. You should never trifle with Nature.

—JEAN LOUIS AGASSIZ (1807–1873) Agassiz at Penikese

Believe one who knows: you will find something greater in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.

—ST. BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX (1091–1153) Epistles

Whatever befalls in accordance with Nature shall be accounted good.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Senectute

Nor rural sounds alone, but rural sounds,

Exhilarate the spirit, and restore

The tone of languid Nature.

—WILLIAM COWPER (1731–1800) The Task

Hast thou named all the birds without a gun;

Loved the wood-rose, and left it on its stalk?

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) Forbearance

Never does Nature say one thing and Wisdom another.

—JUVENAL (c. 60–130 A.D.) Satires

So Nature deals with us, and takes away

Our playthings one by one, and by the hand

Leads us to rest.

—HENRY W. LONGFELLOW (1807–1882) Nature

All that thy seasons, O Nature, bring is fruit for me!

All things come from thee, subsist in thee, go back to thee.

—MARCUS AURELIUS (121–180) Meditations

In those vernal seasons of the year, when the air is calm and pleasant, it were an injury and sullenness against Nature not to go out and see her riches and partake in her rejoicing with heaven and earth.

—JOHN MILTON (1608–1674) Tractate of Education

The perfections of Nature show that she is the image of God; her defects show that she is only his image.

—BLAISE PASCAL (1623–1662) Pensées

All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee;

All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not see.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) Essay on Man

Nature abhors a vacuum.

—FRANÇOIS RABELAIS (1494?–1553) Gargantua

And this our life, exempt from public haunt,

Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,

Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) As You Like It, II, i, 15

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Troilus and Cressida, III, iii, 175

I inhale great draughts of space,

The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine.

I am larger than I thought,

I did not know I held so much goodness.

—WALT WHITMAN (1819–1892) Song of the Open Road


Reprove thy neighbor before thou threaten.

—BEN SIRA (c. 190 B.C.) Book of Wisdom

You must ask your neighbour if you shall live in peace.

—JOHN CLARK (1609–1676) Paroemiologia

Good fences make good neighbors.

—ROBERT FROST (1875–1963) Mending Wall

Love your neighbor, yet pull not down your hedge.

—GEORGE HERBERT (1593–1633) Jacula Prudentum

A bad neighbor is as great a plague as a good one is a blessing; he who enjoys a good neighbor has a precious possession.

—HESIOD (c. 735 B.C.) Works and Days

There is an idea abroad among moral people that they should make their neighbors good. One person I have to make good: myself. But my duty to my neighbor is much more nearly expressed by saying that I have to make him happy—if I may.

—R. L. STEVENSON (1850–1894) A Christmas Sermon

Love thy neighbour as thyself.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, xix, 19

Better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Proverbs, xxvii, 10


I linger yet with Nature, for the night

Hath been to me a more familiar face

Than that of man; and in her starry shade

Of dim and solitary loveliness

I learn'd the language of another world.

—LORD BYRON (1788–1824) Manfred, III, iv

The night . . . giveth truce to all labours, and by sleeping maketh sweet all pains and travail.

—WILLIAM CAXTON (1422?–1491) Eneydos

Dark was the night as pich, or as the cole.

—GEOFFREY CHAUCER (1340?–1400) Canterbury Tales

Every evening we are poorer by a day.


 Come, seeling night,

Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day;

And with thy bloody and invisible hand

Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond

Which keeps me pale.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Macbeth, III, ii, 46

In the night there is peace for the old and hope for the young.

—GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (1856–1950) Heartbreak House

Press close, bare-bosom'd night—press close, magnetic nourishing night!

Night of south winds—night of the large few stars!

Still nodding night—mad naked summernight.

—WALT WHITMAN (1819–1882) Song of Myself

The night cometh when no man can work.

—NEW TESTAMENT: John, ix, 4

Watchman, what of the night?

—OLD TESTAMENT: Isaiah, xxi, ii


The nobleman is he whose noble mind

Is filled with inborn worth, unborrowed from his kind.

—GEOFFREY CHAUCER (1340?–1400) Canterbury Tales

Send your noble Blood to Market, and see what it will buy.

—THOMAS FULLER (1608–1681) Gnomologia

To live as one likes is plebeian; the noble man aspires to order and law.

—GOETHE (1749–1832)

Hereditary nobility is due to the presumption that we shall do well because our fathers have done well.

—JOSEPH JOUBERT (1754–1824) Pensées

Noblesse oblige.

—FRANCOIS GASTON DE LÉVIS (1720–1787) Maxims

True nobility is exempt from fear.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) II Henry VI, IV, i, 129

 There is

One great society alone on earth;

The Noble Living and the Noble Dead.

—WILLIAM WORDSWORTH (1770–1850) Prelude


An oath sworn with the clear understanding in one's mind that it should be performed must be kept.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Officiis

A liar is always prodigal with oaths.

—PIERRE CORNEILLE (1606–1684) The Liar

We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

—THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743–1826) Declaration of Independence

 Ease would recant

Vows made in pain, as violent and void.

—JOHN MILTON (1608–1674) Paradise Lost

'Tis not the many oaths that make the truth,

But the plain single vow that is vow'd true.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) All's Well that Ends Well, IV, ii, 21

I write a woman's oaths in water.

—SOPHOCLES (B.C. 495–406) Fragment


The fear of some divine and supreme power keeps men in obedience.

—ROBERT BURTON (1577–1640) Anatomy of Melancholy

All arts his own, the hungry Greekling counts;

And bid him mount the skies, the skies he mounts.

—JUVENAL (c. 60–130) Satires


Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,

Makes slaves of men, and, of the human frame,

A mechanized automaton.

—PERCY B. SHELLEY (1792–1822) Queen Mab

Learn to obey before you command.

—SOLON (638–559 B.C.)

Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs but to do and die.

—TENNYSON (1809–1892) Charge of the Light Brigade

Obedience is the courtesy due to kings.

—TENNYSON (1809–1892) Idylls of the King

We ought to obey God rather than men.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Acts, v, 29


The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.

—WILLIAM BLAKE (1757–1827) Proverbs of Hell

He that complies against his will

Is of his own opinion still.

—SAMUEL BUTLER (1612–1680) Hudibras

No well-informed person has declared a change of opinion to be inconstancy.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) Ad Atticum

The only sin which we never forgive in each other is difference of opinion.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) Society and Solitude

Men will die for an opinion as soon as for anything else.

—WILLIAM HAZLITT (1778–1830) Characteristics

With effervescing opinions, as with the not yet forgotten champagne, the quickest way to let them get flat is to let them get exposed to the air.


For a thousand heads, a thousand tastes.

—HORACE (65–8 B.C.) Satires

The foolish and dead alone never change their opinion.

—JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL (1819–1891) My Study Windows

You are young, my son, and as the years go by, time will change, and even reverse many of your present opinions. Refrain therefore, awhile from setting yourself up as a judge of the highest matters.

—PLATO (428–347 B.C.) Laws

Some praise at morning what they blame at night,

But always think the last opinion right.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) Essay on Criticism

A plague of opinion! a man may wear it on both sides, like a leather jerkin.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Troilus and Cressida, III, iii, 268

It were not best that we should all think alike; it is difference of opinion that makes horse-races.

—MARK TWAIN (1835–1910) Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar

Public opinion is stronger than the legislature, and nearly as strong as the Ten Commandments.

—CHARLES D. WARNER (1829–1900) My Summer in a Garden


A wise man makes more opportunities than he finds.

—FRANCIS BACON (1561–1620)

When one door is shut, another opens.

—CERVANTES (1547–1616) Don Quixote

He who seizes the (right) moment is the right man.

—GOETHE (1749–1832) Faust

I knock unbidden once at every gate!

If sleeping, wake; if feasting, rise before

I turn away. It is the hour of fate.

—JOHN JAMES INGALLS (1833–1900) Opportunity

Four things come not back:

The spoken word; The sped arrow;

Time past; The neglected opportunity.

—OMAR IBN (c. 581–644) Sayings

O Opportunity, thy guilt is great!

'Tis thou that execut'st the traitor's treason;

Thou set'st the wolf where he the lamb may get;

Whoever plots the sin, thou point'st the season.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) The Rape of Lucrece


Optimism. The doctrine or belief that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly.

—AMBROSE BIERCE (1842–1914?) Devil's Dictionary

God's in his Heaven—

All's right with the world!

—ROBERT BROWNING (1812–1889) Pippa Passes

A man that could look no way but downwards with a muckrake in his hand.

—JOHN BUNYAN (1628–1688) Pilgrim's Progress

The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.

—JAMES BRANCH CABELL (1879–1958) Silver Stallion

An optimist is a guy that has never had much experience.

—DON MARQUIS (1878–1937) Maxims of Archy

The refuge from pessimism is the good men and women existing at any time in the world—they keep faith and happiness alive.

—CHARLES E. NORTON (1827–1908)

All is for the best of all possible worlds.

—VOLTAIRE (1694–1778) Candide


He can best be described as one of those orators who, before they get up, do not know what they are going to say; when they are speaking, do not know what they are saying; and, when they have sat down, do not know what they have said.


When his words fell soft as snowflakes on a winter's day, then could no mortal man beside vie with Odysseus.

—HOMER (c. 10th–8th C. B.C.) Iliad

Oratory is the power of beating down your adversary's arguments, and putting better in their place.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) Boswell's Life of Johnson

Fear not, my lord, I'll play the orator

As if the golden fee for which I plead

Were for myself.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Richard III, III, V, 95

It is not the powerful arm,

But soft enchanting tongue that governs all.

—SOPHOCLES (495–406 B.C.) Philoctetes

If ever a woman feels proud of her lover, it is when she sees him as a successful public speaker.



Order means light and peace, inward liberty and free command over oneself; order is power.

—HENRI-FRÉDÉRIC AMIEL (1828–1881) Journal

Order is Heav'ns first law.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) Essay on Man

A place for everything and everything in its place.

—SAMUEL SMILES (1812–1904) Thrift

Order governs the world. The Devil is the author of confusion.

—JONATHAN SWIFT (1667–1745) Letter to Stella

Have a place for everything and keep the thing somewhere else. This is not advice, it is merely custom.

—MARK TWAIN (1835–1910) Diaries

Let all things be done decently and in order.

—NEW TESTAMENT: I Corinthians, xiv, 40


Pleasure must succeed to pleasure, else past pleasure turns to pain.

—ROBERT BROWNING (1812–1889) La Saisiaz

Real pain can alone cure us of imaginary ills.

—JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703–1757) Resolutions

He has seen but half the universe who never has been shewn the house of Pain.


The gods have so spun the thread for wretched mortals that they must live in pain.

—HOMER (c. 10th–8th C. B.C.) Iliad

Those who do not feel pain seldom think that it is felt.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) The Rambler

There is a certain pleasure which is akin to pain.

—METRODORUS (f. 168 B.C.)

Pain is perfect misery, the worst of evils,

And excessive, overturns all patience.

—JOHN MILTON (1608–1674) Paradise Lost

Ay, but I fear you speak upon the rack,

Where men enforced do speak anything.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Merchant of Venice, III, ii, 32


A book of Verses underneath the Bough,

A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread—and Thou

Beside me singing in the Wilderness—

Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

—EDWARD FITZGERALD (1809–1883) Rubaiyat

Man and Woman may only enter Paradise hand in hand. Together, the myth tells us, they left it and together must they return.

—RICHARD GARNETT (1835–1906) De Flagello Myrteo

Paradise is a dwelling place promised the faithful.

—MOHAMMED (570–632) The Koran

The loves that meet in Paradise shall cast out fear,

And Paradise hath room for you and me and all.

—CHRISTINA ROSSETTI (1830–1894) Saints and Angels


Reverence for parents—this standeth written third among the statutes of Justice to whom supreme honor is due.

—AESCHYLUS (525–456 B.C.) Suppliants

There are three degrees of filial piety. The highest is being a credit to our parents, the second is not disgracing them; the lowest is being able simply to support them.

—CONFUCIUS (c. 551–478 B.C.) Book of Rites

It used to be believed that the parent had unlimited claims on the child and rights over him. In a truer view of the matter, we are coming to see that the rights are on the side of the child and the duties on the side of the parent.

—WILLIAM G. SUMNER (1840–1910) Forgotten Man's Almanac

He argued that the principal duty which a parent owed to a child was to make him happy.

—ANTHONY TROLLOPE (1815–1882) Doctor Thorne

Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.

—OSCAR WILDE (1854–1900) Dorian Gray

Honour thy father and mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Exodus, XX, 12


Go from me. Yet I feel that I shall stand

Henceforward in thy shadow.

—ELIZABETH B. BROWNING (1806–1861) Sonnets from Portuguese

Parting is all we know of heaven,

And all we need of hell.

—EMILY DICKINSON (1830–1886) Poems

 They who go

Feel not the pain of parting; it is they

Who stay behind that suffer.

—HENRY W. LONGFELLOW (1807–1882) Michael Angelo

Good night! Good night! parting is such sweet sorrow

That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Romeo and Juliet, II, ii, 185


Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.

—JANE AUSTEN (1775–1817) Pride and Prejudice

I have small patience with the antiquarian habit which magnifies the past and belittles the present. . . . Change is inevitable, at once a penalty and a privilege.

—JOHN BUCHAN (1875–1940) Memory Hold-the-Door

 He seems

To have seen better days, as who has not

Who has seen yesterday?

—LORD BYRON (1788–1824) Age of Bronze

Oh! leave the past to bury its own dead.

—WILLIAM S. BLUNT (1840–1922) To One Who Would make a Confession

Historic continuity with the past is not a duty, it is only a necessity.


Tomorrow I will live, the fool does say;

Today itself's too late; the wise lived yesterday.

—MARTIAL (c. 66 A.D.) Epigrams

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

—GEORGE SANTAYANA (1863–1952) Life of Reason


There is a limit at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue.

—EDMUND BURKE (1729–1797) Observations

Beware the fury of a patient man.

—JOHN DRYDEN (1631–1700) Absalom and Achitophel

Patience, that blending of moral courage with physical timidity.

—THOMAS HARDY (1840–1928) Tess of the D' Urbervilles

All men commend patience, although few be willing to practice it.

—THOMAS Á KEMPIS (1380–1471) Imitation of Christ

Forbearance is a part of justice.

—MARCUS AURELIUS (121–180) Meditations

They also serve who only stand and wait.

—JOHN MILTON (1608–1674) On His Blindness

It's a long lane that has no turning.

—SAMUEL RICHARDSON (1689–1761) Clarissa

'Tis all men's office to speak patience

To those who wring under the load of sorrow;

But no man's virtue nor sufficiency

To be so moral when he shall endure

The like himself.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Much Ado About Nothing, V, i, 27

Ye have heard of the patience of Job.

—NEW TESTAMENT: James, v, ii

In your patience possess ye your souls.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Luke, xxi, 18


The die was now cast; I had passed the Rubicon. Swim or sink, live or die, survive or perish with my country was my unalterable determination.

—JOHN ADAMS (1735–1826)

The country of every man is that one where he lives best.

—ARISTOPHANES (444–380 B.C.) Plutus

No man can be a patriot on an empty stomach.

—WILLIAM C. BRANN (1855–1898) Iconoclast

He who loves not his country can love nothing.

—LORD BYRON (1788–1824) Two Foscari

Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong.

—STEPHAN DECATUR (1779–1820)

My affections are first for my own country, and then, generally, for all mankind.

—THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743–1826) Letter to Thomas Law

My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.

—THOMAS PAINE (1737–1809) Rights of Man

If I were an American, as 1 am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country I never would lay down my arms, never! never! never!

—WILLIAM PITT (1708–1778) Speech, 1777

We should behave toward our country as women behave toward the men they love. A loving wife will do anything for her husband except stop criticizing and trying to improve him. We should cast the same affectionate but sharp glance at our country.

—J. B. PRIESTLEY (1894–1984)

Where is the man who owes nothing to the land in which he lives? Whatever the land may be, he owes to it the most precious thing possessed by man, the morality of his actions and the love of virtue.

—JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU (1712–1778) Émile

Breathes there a man with soul so dead,

Who never to himself hath said,

This is my own, my native land!

—SIR WALTER SCOTT (1771–1832) Lay of the Last Minstrel

 I do love

My country's good with a respect more tender,

More holy and profound, than my own life.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Coriolanus, III, iii, 111

The proper means of increasing the love we bear our native country is to reside some time in a foreign one.

—WILLIAM SHENSTONE (1714–1763) Of Men and Manners

Our country, right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right.

—CARL SCHURZ (1829–1906) Speech, 1872

The more I see of other countries, the more I love my own.

—MADAME DE STAËL (1766–1817) Corinne


He makes a solitude, and calls it—peace!

—LORD BYRON (1788–1824) Bride of Abydos

We have preserved peace in our time.

—NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN (1869–1940) Speech, 1938

Peace rules the day, where reason rules the mind.

—WILLIAM COLLINS (1720–1756) Hassan

The gentleman (Josiah Quincy) cannot have forgotten his own sentiment, uttered even on the floor of this House, “Peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must.”

—HENRY CLAY (1777–1852) Speech, 1813

Peace at any price.


Peace will come soon and come to stay, and so come as to be worth keeping in all future time. It will then have been proved that among free men there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet, and that they who take such appeal are sure to lose their cases and pay the cost.

—ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809–1865)

We supplicate all rulers not to remain deaf to the cry of mankind. Let them do everything in their power to save peace. By so doing they will spare the world the horrors of a war that would have disastrous consequences, such as nobody can foresee.

—POPE JOHN XXIII (1881–1963) Oct. 25, 1962

We will have to want Peace, want it enough to pay for it, before it becomes an accepted rule.


A peace is of the nature of a conquest;

For then both parties nobly are subdued

And neither party loser.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Henry IV, IV, ii, 89

Peace be to you. [Pax vobiscum.]

—OLD TESTAMENT: Genesis, xliii, 23

Go in peace. [Vade in pace.)

—OLD TESTAMENT: Exodus, iv, 18

The peace of God, which passeth all understanding.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Philippians, iv, 7

Blessed are the peace-makers.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, v, 9

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Luke, ii, 14

They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Isaiah, ii, 4


A people's voice is dangerous when charged with wrath.

—AESCHYLUS (525–456 B.C.) Agamemnon

The individual is foolish; the multitude, for the moment is foolish, when they act without deliberation; but the species is wise, and, when time is given to it, as a species it always acts right.

—EDMUND BURKE (1729–1797)

The rabble estimate few things according to their real value, most things according to their prejudices.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) Oratio Pro Quinto Roscio Comaedo

Your people, sir, is nothing but a great beast!

—ALEXANDER HAMILTON (1757–1804) Argument with Thomas Jefferson

The Lord prefers common-looking people. That is the reason He made so many of them.

—ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809–1865)

The people is Everyman, everybody.

Everybody is you and me and all others.

What everybody says is what we all say.

—CARL SANDBURG (1878–1967) The People, Yes


There never was such beauty in another man,

Nature made him, and broke the mould.

—LODOVICO ARIOSTO (1474–1533) Orlando Furioso

The more a thing is perfect, the more it feels pleasure and likewise pain.

—DANTE (1265–1321) Inferno

In this broad earth of ours,

Amid the measureless grossness and the slag,

Enclosed and safe within its central heart,

Nestles the seed Perfection.

—WALT WHITMAN (1819–1892) Song of the Universal

Be ye therefore Perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, v, 48


He who bestows his goods upon the poor,

Shall have as much again, and ten times more.

—JOHN BUNYAN (1628–1688) Pilgrim's Progress

In nothing do men more nearly approach the gods than in doing good to their fellow men.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) Pro Ligario

The most acceptable service to God is doing good to man.

—BEN FRANKLIN (1706–1790) Autobiography

I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for 1 shall not pass this way again.

—STEPHEN GRELLET (1773–1855)

The hands that help are holier than the lips that pray.


To pity distress is but human: to relieve it is Godlike.

—HORACE MANN (1796–1859) Lectures on Education

Benevolence is the distinguishing characteristic of man. As embodied in man's conduct, it is called the path of duty.

—MENCIUS (372?–289 B.C.) Discourses

I am a man, and nothing in man's lot can be indifferent to me.

—TERENCE (c. 190–150 B.C.) Heautontimoroumenos

Myself not ignorant of adversity, I have learned to befriend the unhappy.

—VERGIL (70–19 B.C.) Aeneid

I was a stranger, and ye took me in.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, xxv, 35


What I have gained from philosophy is the ability to feel at ease in any society.

—ARISTIPPUS (425?–366? B.C.)

The Philosopher is he to whom the Highest has descended, and the Lowest has mounted up; who is the equal and kindly brother of all.

—THOMAS CARLYLE (1795–1881) Sartor Resartus

Philosophy as a fellow once said to me is only thinking. Thinking is an instrument of adjustment to the conditions of life—but it becomes an end in itself.


Philosophy is an attitude toward life, based on a greater or lesser, but always limited comprehension of the universe as far as we happen to know it.

—LIN YUTANG (1895–1976) I Believe

Philosophy is toleration, and it is only one step from toleration to forgiveness.

—ARTHUR W. PINERO (1855–1934) Second Mrs. Tanqueray

The greater the philosopher, the harder it is for him to answer the questions of common people.

—HENRYK SIENKIEWICZ (1846–1916) Quo Vadis

Men of Athens, I honor and love you; but I shall obey God rather than you, and while I have life and strength I shall never cease from the practise and teaching of philosophy.

—SOCRATES (470–399? B.C.) in Plato's Apology

Philosophers must deal with ideas, but the trouble with most nineteenth century poets is too much philosophy; they are nearer to being philosophers than poets, without being in the true sense either.

—ALLEN TATE (1899–1979) Reactionary Essays


Poetry is simply the most beautiful, impressive and widely effective mode of saying things, and hence its importance.

—MATTHEW ARNOLD (1822–1888) Essays

Poetry has been to me an exceeding great reward; it has soothed my affliction; it has multiplied and refined my enjoyments; it has endeared my solitude; and it has given me the habit of wishing to discover the Good and the Beautiful in all that meets and surrounds me.


Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.

—T. S. ELIOT (1888–1965) Tradition and the Individual Talent

Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down.

—ROBERT FROST (1875–1963) Address

Do you suppose we owe nothing to Pope's deformity?—He said to himself, “If my person be crooked, my verses shall be straight.”

—WILLIAM HAZLITT (1778–1830)

I have reared a monument more enduring than bronze and loftier than the royal pyramids, one that no wasting rain, no unavailing north wind can destroy; no, not even the unending years nor the flight of time itself. I shall not wholly die. The greater part of me shall escape oblivion.

—HORACE (65–8 B.C.) Odes

A poet is a nightingale who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds.

—PERCY B. SHELLEY (1792–1822) Defense of Poetry

Verse without rhyme is a body without a soul.

—JONATHAN SWIFT (1667–1745) Advice to a Young Poet


Politics make strange bedfellows.

—JOHN S. BASSETT (1867–1928) Life of Jackson

Politics. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.

—AMBROSE BIERCE (1842–1914?) Devil's Dictionary

I shall not help crucify mankind upon a cross of gold. I shall not aid in pressing down upon the bleeding brow of labor this crown of thorns.

—WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN (1860–1925) Speech

We are Republicans, and we don't propose to leave our party and identify ourselves with the party whose antecedents have been rum, Romanism and rebellion.

—REV. S. D. BURCHARD (1812–1891) Speech, 1884

When I was called upon to be Prime Minister, now nearly two years ago, there were not many applicants for the job. Since then perhaps the market has improved.

—WINSTON CHURCHILL (1874–1965) Speech, Jan. 1942

Damn your principles. Stick to your party.


Every time I bestow a vacant office I make a hundred discontented persons and one ingrate.

—LOUIS XIV OF FRANCE (1638–1715)

The various admirable movements in which I have been engaged have always developed among their members a large lunatic fringe.



“Oh, God, if I were sure I were to die tonight I would repent at once.” It is the commonest prayer in all languages.

—JAMES M. BARRIE (1860–1937) Sentimental Tommy

He prayeth well who loveth well

Both man and bird and beast;

He prayeth best who loveth best

All things both great and small

For the dear God who loveth us.

He made and loveth all.

—SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE (1772–1834) Ancient Mariner

We, on our side, are praying to Him to give us victory, because we believe we are right; but those on the other side pray to Him, too, for victory, believing they are right. What must He think of us?

—ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809–1865)

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.


More things are wrought by prayer

Than this world dreams of.

—TENNYSON (1809–1892) Morte d'Arthur

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one:

“O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.” And God granted it.

—VOLTAIRE (1694–1778)

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall receive them.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Mark, XI, 23, 24

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, vii, 7


Pride is the beginning of sin.

—BEN SIRA (c. 190 B.C.) Book of Wisdom

Pride, Envy, Avarice—these are the sparks

Have set on fire the hearts of all men.

—DANTE (1265–1321) Inferno

The readiness with which we admit a fault or acknowledge a weakness may be only our pride masquerading as humility.


In pride, in reas'ning pride, our error lies;

All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies!

Pride still is aiming at the bless'd abodes,

Men would be angels, Angels would be Gods.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) Essay on Man

War is the child of pride, and pride the daughter of riches.

—JONATHAN SWIFT (1667–1745) Battle of the Books

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Proverbs, xvi, 18


Make haste slowly.


Put your trust in God, my boys, and keep your powder dry.

—OLIVER CROMWELL (1599–1658)

The greatest good is prudence; a more precious thing even than philosophy; from it spring all the other virtues.

—EPICURUS (342–270 B.C.) Letter to Menaeceus

That man is prudent who neither hopes nor fears anything from the uncertain events of the future.

—ANATOLE FRANCE (1844–1924) Procurator of Judea

Beware of rashness, but with energy and sleepless vigilance go forward and give us victories.

—ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809–1865) Letter to Gen. Hooker

Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak.

—NEW TESTAMENT: James, i, 19


Reading is to the Mind, what Exercise is to the Body.

—JOSEPH ADDISON (1672–1719) The Tatler

To read a book for the first time is to make the acquaintance of a new friend; to read it a second time is to meet an old one.

—SELWYN G. CHAMPION (1875–1950) Racial Proverbs

Some read to think—these are rare; some to write—these are common; and some to talk—and these form the great majority.

—CHARLES C. COLTON (1780?–1832) Lacon

There is an art of reading, as well as an art of thinking, and an art of writing.

—ISAAC D'ISRAELI (1766–1848) Literary Character

A man ought to read just as inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good. A young man should read five hours in a day, and so may acquire a great deal of knowledge.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) Boswelľs Life

I'm quite illiterate, but I read a lot.

—J. D. SALINGER (1919– ) Catcher in the Rye

He hath never fed of the dainties that are bred in a book.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Love's Labour's Lost, IV, ii, 25

The habit of reading is the only enjoyment in which there is no alloy; it lasts when all other pleasures fade.



Reason is a light that God has kindled in the soul.

—ARISTOTLE (384–322 B.C.) Art of Rhetoric

He who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot is a fool; and he who dares not is a slave.

—WILLIAM DRUMMOND (1585–1649) Academical Question

It is wise even in adversity to listen to reason.

—EURIPIDES (480–406 B.C.) Hecuba

The soul of man is divided into three parts, intelligence, reason and passion. Intelligence and passion are possessed by other animals, but reason by man alone. . . . Reason is immortal, all else mortal.

—PYTHAGORAS (582–500 B.C.)


Regret not that which is past; and trust not to thine own righteousness.

—ST. ANTHONY (c. 250–350)

O lost days of delight, that are wasted in doubting and waiting!

O lost hours and days in which we might have been happy!

—HENRY W. LONGFELLOW (1807–1882) Tales of a Wayside Inn

Of all sad words of tongue or pen,

The saddest are these: “It might have been.”

—JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER (1807–1892) Maud Muller


Respect is what we owe; love, what we give.

—PHILIP JAMES BAILEY (1816–1902) Festus

He removes the greatest ornament of friendship, who takes away from it respect.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Amicitia

A man's real life is that accorded to him in the thoughts of other men by reason of respect or natural love.

—JOSEPH CONRAD (1857–1924) Under Western Eyes

Deference is the instinctive respect which we pay to the great and good; the unconscious acknowledgment of the superiority or excellence of others.

—TRYON EDWARDS (1809–1894)

Even a nod from a person who is esteemed is of more force than a thousand arguments or studied sentences from others.

—PLUTARCH (46?–120?) Lives: Phocion

There is no respect of persons with God.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Romans, ii, 11


Don't think of retiring from the world until the world will be sorry that you retire. I hate a fellow whom pride or cowardice or laziness drive into a corner, and who does nothing when he is there but sit and growl. Let him come out as I do, and bark.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784)

Let me caution persons grown old in active business, not lightly, nor without weighing their own resources, to forego their customary employment all at once, for there may be danger in it.

—CHARLES LAMB (1775–1834) Superannuated Man

 I could be well content

To entertain the lag-end of my life

With quiet hours.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) 1 Henry IV, V, i, 23


Science bestowed immense new powers on man and at the same time created conditions which were largely beyond his comprehension and still more beyond his control.

—WINSTON CHURCHILL (1874–1965) Speech, March 31, 1949

In science we must be interested in things, not in persons.

—MARIE CURIE (1867–1934)

What art was to the ancient world, science is to the modern.

—BENJAMIN DISRAELI (1804–1881) Coningsby

Why does this magnificent applied science, which saves work and makes life easier, bring us little happiness? The simple answer runs, because we have not yet learned to make sensible use of it.

—ALBERT EINSTEIN (1879–1955) Address, 1931

Science is the knowledge of consequences, and dependence of one fact upon another.

—THOMAS HOBBES (1588–1679) Leviathan

In science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea first occurs.

—SIR WILLIAM OSLER (1849–1919)


Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean, roll.

Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain:

Man marks the earth with ruin, —his control

Stops with the shore.

—LORD BYRON (1788–1824) Childe Harold

The sea possesses a power over one's moods that has the effect of a will. The sea can hypnotize. Nature in general can do so.

—HENDRIK IBSEN (1828–1906) Lady from the Sea

Comrades! now that we have established our peace on land, let us conquer the freedom of the seas.


Any one can hold the helm when the sea is calm.

—PUBLILIUS SYRUS (1st C. B.C.) Sententiae

The sea folds away from you like a mystery. You can look and look at it and mystery never leaves it.

—CARL SANDBURG (1878–1967) Remembrance Rock

Full fathom five thy father lies;

 Of his bones are coral made;

Those are pearls that were his eyes;

 Nothing of him that doth fade

But doth suffer a sea-change

 Into something rich and strange.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Tempest, I, ii, 394

All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Ecclesiastes, i, 7


To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Ecclesiastes, iii, 1


One of the most important, but one of the most difficult things for a powerful mind is, to be its own master. A pond may lie quiet in a plain; but a lake wants mountains to compass and hold it in.

—JOSEPH ADDISON (1672–1719)

I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is the victory over self.

—ARISTOTLE (384–322 B.C.) Stobaeus: Florilegium

Conquer thyself. Till thou hast done this, thou art but a slave for it is almost as well to be subjected to another's appetite as to thine own.

—ROBERT BURTON (1577–1640) Anatomy of Melancholy

Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.


No conflict is so severe as his who labors to subdue himself.

—THOMAS Á KEMPIS (1380–1471) Imitation of Christ

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Proverbs, xvi, 32


People often grudge others what they cannot enjoy themselves.

—AESOP (6th C. B.C.) Dog in the Manger

This is the plain truth: every one ought to keep a sharp eye for the main chance.

—PLAUTUS (c. 254–184 B.C.) Asinaria

We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics.

—FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT (1882–1945) Second Inaugural

There's plenty of boys that will come hankering and gruvelling around when you've got an apple, and beg the core off you; but when they've got one, and you beg for the core, and remind them how you give them a core one time, they make a mouth at you, and say thank you most to death, but there ain't a-going to be no core.

—MARK TWAIN (1835–1910) Tom Sawyer Abroad

Selfishness is the only real atheism; aspiration, unselfishness, the only real religion.

—ISRAEL ZANGWILL (1864–1926) Children of the Ghetto


The reverence of a man's self is, next to religion, the chiefest bridle of all vices.

—FRANCIS BACON (1561–1620) New Atlantis

Few men survey themselves with so much severity as not to admit prejudices in their own favor.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) The Rambler

I care not so much what I am in the opinion of others as what I am in my own; I would be rich of myself and not by borrowing.

—MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE (1533–1592) Essays

If ye would go up high, then use your own legs! Do not get yourselves carried aloft; do not seat yourselves on other's backs and heads!

—FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE (1844–1900) Thus Spake Zarathustra

To have a respect for ourselves guides our morals; and to have a deference for others governs our manners.

—LAURENCE STERNE (1713–1768)


Remember to preserve an even mind in adverse circumstance and likewise in prosperity a mind free from overweening joy.

—HORACE (65–8 B.C.) Odes

Calm of mind, all passion spent.

—JOHN MILTON (1608–1674) Samson Agonistes

He who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition youth and age are equally a burden.

—PLATO (428–347 B.C.) The Republic


Silence gives consent.

—CANON LAW: Decretals

Silence is the unbearable repartee.

—G. K. CHESTERTON (1874–1936) Dickens

Silence is true wisdom's best reply.

—EURIPIDES (480–406 B.C.) Fragments

There is an eloquent silence: it serves sometimes to approve, sometimes to condemn; there is a mocking silence; there is a respectful silence.

—FRANÇOIS DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD (1613–1680) Reflections

He has occasional flashes of silence, that make his conversation perfectly delightful.

—SYDNEY SMITH (1771–1845) Speaking of Macaulay

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Proverbs, xvii, 28


We sleep, but the loom of life never stops and the pattern which was weaving when the sun went down is weaving when the sun comes up tomorrow.

—HENRY WARD BEECHER (1813–1887) Life Thoughts

Sleep is a death; oh, make me try

By sleeping, know what it is to die,

And as gently lay my head

On my grave, as now my bed.

—THOMAS BROWNE (1605–1682) Religio Medici

Our life is two-fold: Sleep hath its own world,

A boundry between the things misnamed

Death and existence: Sleep hath its own world.

And a wise realm of wild reality.

—LORD BYRON (1788–1824) The Dream

Now blessings light on him that first invented this same sleep! It covers a man all over, thoughts and all, like a cloak; 'tis meat for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, heat for the cold, and cold for the hot. 'Tis the current coin that purchases all the pleasures of the world cheap; and the balance that sets the king and the shepherd, the fool and the wise man even.

—CERVANTES (1547–1616) Don Quixote

O Sleep, thou rest of all things, Sleep, gentlest of the gods, peace of the soul, who puttest care to flight.

—OVID (43 B.C.–A.D. 18?) Metamorphoses

Our foster-nurse of nature is repose,

The which he lacks; that to provoke in him,

Are many simples operative, whose power

Will close the eye of anguish.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) King Lear, IV, iv, 12

Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care, The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,

Chief nourisher in life's feast.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Macbeth, II, ii, 36

Thou hast been called, O sleep! the friend of woe;

But 'tis the happy that have called thee so.

—ROBERT SOUTHEY (1774–1843) Curse of Kehama

Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Proverbs, vi, 10


What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. They are but trifles, to be sure; but, scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.

—JOSEPH ADDISON (1672–1719)

There is a smile of Love,

And there is a smile of Deceit,

And there is a smile of smiles

In which these two smiles meet.

—WILLIAM BLAKE (1757–1827) Smile and Frown

A smile is ever the most bright and beautiful with a tear upon it. What is the dawn without the dew? The tear is rendered by the smile precious above the smile itself.

—WALTER S. LANDOR (1775–1864)


It were better to be a soldier's widow than a coward's wife.

—THOMAS B. ALDRICH (1836–1907) Mercedes

I love a brave soldier who has undergone the baptism of fire.


The army is a school in which the miser becomes generous, and the generous prodigal; miserly soldiers are like monsters, very rarely seen.

—CERVANTES (1547–1616) Don Quixote

How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,

By all their country's wishes blest!

—WILLIAM COLLINS (1721–1759) Ode Written in 1746

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an'

 “Chuck 'im out, the brute!”

But it's the “Saviour of 'is country” when

 the guns begin to shoot.

—RUDYARD KIPLING (1865–1936) Tommy

But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

—ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809–1865) Gettysburg Address

“Companions,”said he [Saturninus], “you have lost a good captain, to make of him a bad general.”

—MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE (1533–1592) Essays

Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier's debt:

He only lived but till he was a man;

The which no sooner had his prowess confirm'd

In the unshrinking station where he fought,

But like a man he died.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Macbeth, V, vii, 68

The proper qualities of a general are judgment and deliberation.

—TACITUS (c. 55–117) History

The combat infantryman should combine the arts of a successful poacher, a cat-burglar and a gunman.




There is no sorrow which length of time does not diminish and soften.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Finibus

I have had sorrows . . . but I have borne them ill.

I have broken where I should have bent.

—CHARLES DICKENS (1812–1870) Barnaby Rudge

When sorrows come, they come not single spies, But in battalions.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Hamlet, IV, v, 78


Heat, ma'am! It was so dreadful here that I found nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.

—SYDNEY SMITH (1771–1845) in Lady Holland's Memoirs

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Sonnets, xviii

Today the summer has come at my window with its sighs and murmurs; and the bees are plying their minstrelsy at the court of the flowering grove.

—RABINDRANATH TAGORE (1861–1941) Gitanjali


 The man who melts

With social sympathy, though not allied,

Is of more worth than a thousand kinsmen.

—EURIPIDES (480–406 B.C.) Orestes

Sympathy is a virtue much cultivated by those who are morally uplifted by the sufferings and misfortunes of others.


As man laughs with those that laugh, so he weeps with those that weep; if thou wish me to weep, thou must first shed tears thyself; then thy sorrows will touch me.

—HORACE (65–8 B.C.) De Arte Poetica

It is better to be generous than just. It is sometimes better to sympathize instead of trying to understand.

—PIERRE LECOMTE DE NOÜY (1883–1947) Human Destiny


Doing easily what others find difficult is talent. …

—HENRI-FRÉDÉRIC AMIEL (1828–1881) Journal

Every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner and another after that.

—NEW TESTAMENT: I Corinthians, vii, 7


Happy is the man possessing

The superior holy blessing

Of a judgment and a taste

Accurate, refined and chaste.

—ARISTOPHANES (444–380 B.C.) The Frogs

Love of beauty is Taste. … The creation of beauty is Art.


Teacher and Teaching

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.

—HENRY ADAMS (1838–1918) Education of Henry Adams

The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence.

—AMOS BRONSON ALCOTT (1799–1888) Orphic Sayings

To know how to suggest is the great art of teaching.

—HENRI-FRÉDÉRIC AMIEL (1828–1881) Journal

What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state, than that of the man who instructs the rising generation?

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) De Divinatione

The secret of teaching is to appear to have known all your life what you learned this afternoon.



A man's ordinary expenses ought to be but half of his receipts, and if he think to wax rich, but to the third part.

—FRANCIS BACON (1561–1620)

He will always be a slave, who does not know how to live upon a little.

—HORACE (65–8 B.C.) Epistulae

Resolve not to be poor; whatever you have, spend less.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) Boswell's Life

Thrift is care and scruple in the spending of one's means. It is not a virtue, and it requires neither skill nor talent.

—IMMANUEL KANT (1724–1804) Lecture


Go, sir, gallop, and don't forget that the world was made in six days. You can ask me for anything you like except time.

—NAPOLEON BONAPARTE (1769–1821) To one of his aides

Never the time and the place

And the loved one all together!

—ROBERT BROWNING (1812–1889) Never the Time and Place

There is no remembrance which time does not obliterate, nor pain which death does not end.

—CERVANTES (1547–1616) Don Quixote

For though we sleep or wake, or roam, or ride,

Aye fleets the time, it will no man abide.

—GEOFFREY CHAUCER (1340?–1400) Canterbury Tales

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.

—BEN FRANKLIN (1706–1790) Poor Richard's Almanack

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,

 Old Time is still a-flying,

And this same flower that smiles today,

 Tomorrow will be dying.

—ROBERT HERRICK (1591–1674) To the Virgins

Stand still, you ever moving spheres of heaven,

That time may cease, and midnight never come.

—CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE (1564–1593) Dr. Faustus

The time which we have at our disposal every day is elastic; the passions that we feel expand it, those that we inspire contract it; and habit fills up what remains.

—MARCEL PROUST (1871–1922) Remembrance of Things Past

Time flies on restless pinions—constant never.

Be constant—and thou chainest time forever.

—JOHANN SCHILLER (1759–1805) Epigram

Make use of time, let not advantage slip;

Beauty within itself should not be wasted:

Fair flowers that are not gather'd in their prime,

Rot and consume themselves in little time.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Venus and Adonis, 129

There is … a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; … A time to love and a time to hate.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Ecclesiastes, iii, 1

Tolerance and Intolerance

He knows not how to wink at human frailty,

Or pardon weakness that he never felt.

—JOSEPH ADDISON (1672–1719) Cato

Toleration is good for all or it is good for none.

—EDMUND BURKE (1729–1797) Speech, 1773

I have seen gross intolerance shown in support of toleration.

—SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE (1772–1834) Biographia

Give to every other human being every right you claim for yourself.

—ROBERT GREEN INGERSOLL (1833–1899) Limitations of Toleration

Shall I ask the brave soldier, who fights by my side

In the cause of mankind, if our creeds agree!

Shall I give up the friend I have valued and tried,

If he kneel not before the same altar with me.

—THOMAS MOORE (1779–1852) Come, Send Round the Wine

It is easy to be tolerant when you do not care.

—CLEMENT F. ROGERS (1866- ) Verify Your References

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it were by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent rights.

—GEORGE WASHINGTON (1732–1799) Letter to Hebrew Congregation of Newport, R.I.


Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise

From outward things, whate'er you may believe

There is an inmost centre in us all

Where truth abides in fulness.

—ROBERT BROWNING (1812–1889) Paracelsus

Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again;

 The eternal years of God are hers;

But error, wounded, writhes in pain,

 And dies among his worshippers.

—WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT (1794–1878) Living Lost

'Tis strange, but true; for truth is always strange,—

Stranger than fiction.

—LORD BYRON (1788–1824) Don Juan

The greatest friend of truth is Time, her greatest enemy is Prejudice, and her constant companion is Humility.

—CHARLES C. COLTON (1780?–1832) Lacon

God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose.

Take which you please—you can never have both.

—RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) Essays

If the truth hurts most of us so badly that we don't want it told, it hurts even more grievously those who dare to tell it. It is a two-edged sword, often deadly dangerous to the user.

—JUDGE BEN LINDSEY (1869–1943) Revolt of Modern Youth

The smallest atom of truth represents some man's bitter toil and agony; for every ponderable chunk of it there is a brave truth-seeker's grave upon some lonely ash-dump and a soul roasting in hell.

—H. L. MENCKEN (1880–1956) Prejudices

Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders, than from the arguments of its opposers.

—WILLIAM PENN (1644–1718) Fruits of Solitude

'Tis not enough your counsel still be true;

Blunt truths more mischief than nice falsehoods do.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) Essay on Criticism

We know the truth has been

Told over to the world a thousand times;—

But we have had no ears to listen yet

For more than fragments of it; we have heard

A murmur now and then, an echo here

And there.

—EDWIN ARLINGTON ROBINSON (1869–1935) Captain Orsig

A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.

—OSCAR WILDE (1854–1900) Portrait of Mr. W. H.

That witty and eloquent old Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes once said … “You needn't fear to handle the truth roughly; she is no invalid.”

—WOODROW WILSON (1856–1924) Address, 1918

If you shut up truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through, it will blow up everything in its way.

—ÈMILE ZOLA (1840–1902) J'accuse

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

—NEW TESTAMENT: John, viii, 32


I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.


They [the people in lands with dictators] have forgotten the lessons of history that the ultimate failures of dictatorships cost humanity far more than any temporary failures of democracy.

—FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT (1882–1945) Address, 1937

Like the form of a seen and unheard prowler,

like a slow and cruel violence,

is the known unspoken menace:

do what we tell you or go hungry;

listen to us or you don't eat.

—CARL SANDBURG (1878–1967) The People, Yes

And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed.

—JOHN STEINBECK (1902–1968) Grapes of Wrath



An ostentatious man will rather relate a blunder or an absurdity he has committed, than be debarred from talking of his own dear person.

—JOSEPH ADDISON (1672–1719)

One will rarely err if extreme actions be ascribed to vanity, ordinary actions to habit, and mean actions to fear.


Vanity as an impulse has without doubt been of far more benefit to civilization than modesty has ever been.

—WILLIAM E. WOODWARD (1874–1950) George Washington

Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Ecclesiastes, i, 2


In war there are no winners.

—NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN (1869–1940) Speech, 1938

Little did we guess that what has been called the Century of the Common Man would witness as its outstanding feature more common men killing each other with greater facilities than any other five centuries together in the history of the world.

—WINSTON CHURCHILL (1874–1965) Speech, 1949

If, however, there is to be a war of nerves let us make sure our nerves are strong and are fortified by the deepest convictions of our hearts.

—WINSTON CHURCHILL (1874–1965) Speech, Mar. 31, 1949

I wisht it cud be fixed up, so' th' men that starts th' wars could do th' fightin'.

—FINLEY PETER DUNNE (1867–1936) War and War Makers

So long as mankind shall continue to lavish more praise upon its destroyers than upon its benefactors war shall remain the chief pursuit of ambitious minds.

—EDWARD GIBBON (1737–1794) Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

It must be thoroughly understood that the lost land will never be won back by solemn appeals to the good God, nor by hopes in any League of Nations, but only by the force of arms.

—ADOLF HITLER (1889–1945) Mein Kampf

If—which God prevent—a new war breaks out, nothing else will await or confront all peoples . . . but appalling destruction and ruin, and this whether they are victor or vanquished.

—POPE JOHN XXIII (1881–1963) July 2, 1959

War is the greatest plague that can afflict mankind. . . . Any scourge is preferable to it.

—MARTIN LUTHER (1483–1546) Table-Talk, No. 821

War ought to be the only study of a prince.

—NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI (1469–1527) The Prince

They shall not pass.

—MARSHAL HENRI PÉTAIN (1856–1951) Battle of Verdun, 1916

And after the strife of war begins the strife of peace.

—CARL SANDBURG (1878–1967) The People, Yes

And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,

With Ate by his side come hot from hell,

Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice,

Cry “Havoc” and let slip the dogs of war.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Julius Caesar, III, i, 270

In peace there's nothing so becomes a man

As modest stillness and humility;

But when the blast of war blows in our ears,

Then imitate the action of the tiger:

Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Henry V, III, ii, 3

In the arts of life man invents nothing: but in the arts of death he outdoes Nature herself, and produces by chemistry and machinery all the slaughter of plague, pestilence and famine.

—GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (1856–1950) Man and Superman, Act III

It [War] is all hell. . . . I look upon war with horror.

—WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN (1820–1891) Address, 1880

To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.

—GEORGE WASHINGTON (1732–1799) Speech, 1790

The war to end wars.

—H. G. WELLS (1860–1946) Attributed

Wars and rumours of wars.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, xxiv, 6


For the man sound in body and serene of mind there is no such thing as bad weather! every sky has its beauty, and storms which whip the blood do but make it pulse more vigorously.

—GEORGE GISSING (1857–1903)

We may achieve climate, but weather is thrust upon us.

—O. HENRY (1862–1910) Fog in Santone

Climate is theory. Weather is condition.

—OLIVER HERFORD (1865–1935)

I wonder that any human being should remain in a cold country who could find room in a warm one.

—THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743–1826) Letter

The fog comes

on little cat feet.

It sits looking

over the harbor and city

on silent haunches

and then, moves on.

—CARL SANDBURG (1878–1967) Fog

When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowring.

—NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, xvi, 2–3


Helmer: Before all else you are a wife and a mother.

Nora: That I no longer believe. I think that before all else I am a human being.

—HENRIK IBSEN (1828–1906) Doll's House

If you want peace in the house, do what your wife wants.


A good wife should be as a looking glass to represent her husband's face and passion; if he be pleasant, she should be merry; if he laugh, she should smile; if he look sad, she should participate of his sorrow.

—PLUTARCH (46?–120?) Moralia: Advice to a Bride

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Proverbs, xxxi, 27


Wise men, though all laws were abolished, would lead the same lives.

—ARISTOPHANES (444–380 B.C.)

Make wisdom your provision for the journey from youth to old age, for it is a more certain support than all other possessions.

—BIAS (f. 570 B.C.)

A man doesn't begin to attain wisdom until he recognizes that he is no longer indispensable.

—ADMIRAL RICHARD E. BYRD (1888–1957) Alone

Wisdom is full of pity, and thereby

Men pay for too much wisdom with much pain.

—EURIPIDES (480–406 B.C.) Electra

Wisdom is not finally tested in the schools,

Wisdom cannot be passed from one having it to another not having it,

Wisdom is of the soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof.

—WALT WHITMAN (1819–1892) Song of the Open Road

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

—OLD TESTAMENT: Psalms, cxi, 10



I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that.

Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.

—PEARL BUCK (1892–1973) Reader's Digest

Writing a long and substantial book is like having a friend and companion at your side, to whom you can always turn for comfort and amusement, and whose society becomes more attractive as a new and widening field of interest is lighted in the mind.

—WINSTON CHURCHILL (1874–1965) Gathering Storm

Composition is for the most part, an effort of slow diligence and steady perseverence, to which the mind is dragged by necessity or resolution.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) The Adventurer

The chief glory of every people arises from its authors.

—SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709–1784) Preface to Dictionary

The writers who have nothing to say are the ones you can buy; the others have too high a price.

—WALTER LIPPMANN (1889–1974) Preface to Politics

The impulse to create beauty is rather rare in literary men . . . Far ahead of it comes the yearning to make money. And after the yearning to make money comes the yearning to make a noise.

—H. L. MENCKEN (1880–1956) Prejudices


Young men are fitter to invent than to judge; fitter for execution than for counsel; and fitter for new projects than for settled business.

—FRANCIS BACON (1561–1626) Of Youth and Age

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,

We shall remember them.

—LAURENCE BINYON (1869–1943) For the Fallen

Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!

 There's none of these so lonely and poor of old,

 But dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.

These laid the world away: poured out the red

Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be

 Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene

 That men call age, and those who would have been

Their sons, they gave their immortality.

—RUPERT BROOKE (1887–1915) The Dead (1914)

Ah! happy years! once more who would not be a boy!

—LORD BYRON (1788–1824) Childe Harolde

 Youth is to all the glad season of life; but often only by what it hopes, not by what it attains, or what it escapes.

—THOMAS CARLYLE (1795–1881) Essays

As I approve of a youth that has something of the old man in him, so I am no less pleased with an old man that has something of the youth. He that follows this rule may be old in body, but can never be so in mind.

—CICERO (106–43 B.C.) Cato

There is a feeling of Eternity in youth which makes us amends for everything. To be young is to be as one of the Immortals.

—WILLIAM HAZLITT (1778–1830) Table-Talk

When all the world is young, lad,

 And all the trees are green;

And every goose a swan, lad,

 And every lass a queen;

Then hey, for boot and horse, lad,

 And round the world away;

Young blood must have its course, lad,

 And every dog his day.

—CHARLES KINGSLEY (1819–1875) Water Babies

How different from the present man was the youth of earlier days!

—OVID (43 B.C.–A.D. 18) Heroides

We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow;

Our wiser sons, no doubt, will think us so.

—ALEXANDER POPE (1688–1744) Essay on Criticism

 My salad days;

When I was green in judgement.

—SHAKESPEARE (1564–1616) Antony and Cleopatra, I, v, 73

Through all the lying days of my youth

I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun;

Now I may wither into the truth.

—WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS (1865–1939) The Coming of Wisdom with Time

Youth is not rich in time; it may be poor;

Part with it as with money, sparing; pay

No moment but in purchase of its worth,

And what it's worth, ask death-beds; they can tell.

—EDWARD YOUNG (1684–1765) Night Thoughts

Phrases starting with the letter: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z