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Cool Quotes - W

Wagner


Wagner's music is better than it sounds.
Mark Twain

Wagner had some wonderful moments but awful half hours.
Gioacchino Rossini

One cannot judge Wagner's opera Lohengrin from a first hearing, and I certainly do not intend to hear it a second time.
Gioacchino Rossini

War


Hang yourself, brave Crillon; we fought at Arques and you were not there.
William Shakespeare

A general and a bit of shooting makes you forget your troubles . . . it takes your mind off the cost of living.
Brendan Behan

War is evil, but it is often the lesser evil.
George Orwell

Beware lest in your anxiety to avoid war you obtain a master.
Demosthenes

It takes in reality only one to make a quarrel. It is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favour of vegetarianism while the wolf remains of a different opinion.
William Ralph Inge

There must be some good in the life of battle, for so many good men have enjoyed being soldiers.
G. K. Chesterton

In war, truth is the first casualty.
Aeschylus

I reverence the field of battle, stained with their blood, and the blood of the Barbarians. Those honorable marks have been already washed away by the rains; but the lofty monuments of their bones, the bones of generals, of centurions, and of valiant warriors, claim a longer period of duration.
Libanius

If you are a god, we shall not be harmed by you, for we have done no wrong; but if you are a man, you may meet with a stronger man than yourself.
Mandrokleides, a Spartan envoy, to Pyrrhus

If we win one more such victory over the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined.
Pyrrhus, when congratulated on his victory

Carthage must be destroyed! (Carthago delenda est!)
Cato the Elder (Marcus Porcius Cato)

You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.
Attributed to Leon Trotsky

I have given two cousins to war and I stand ready to sacrifice my wife's brother.
Artemus Ward

Not those alone who make the war must feel the war!
George Alfred Townsend

For what fortress, what city, in the wide extent of the Roman empire, can hope to exist, secure and impregnable, if it is our pleasure that it should be erased from the earth?
Attila the Hun

The conflict was obstinate; the slaughter was mutual.
Edward Gibbon

We make war that we may live in peace.
Aristotle

[Whole] generations may be swept away by the madness of kings in the space of a single hour.
Edward Gibbon

A bloody and complete victory has sometimes yielded no more than the possession of the field and the loss of ten thousand men has sometimes been sufficient to destroy, in a single day, the work of ages.
Edward Gibbon

[Every age], however destitute of science or virtue, sufficiently abounds with acts of blood and military renown.
Edward Gibbon

[To] the vanquished, death [is] a relief, life a burden, and infamy the only object of terror.
Gelimer, King of the Vandals (Attributed)

[It is a melancholy truth] that the first and most cruel sufferings [in war] must be the lot of the innocent and helpless . . .
Edward Gibbon

[The] events by which the fate of nations is not materially changed, leave a faint impression on the page of history, and the patience of the reader would be exhausted by the repetition of the same hostilities [between Rome and Persia], undertaken without cause, prosecuted without glory, and terminated without effect.
Edward Gibbon

Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.
Sir Winston Churchill

Those who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace and those who could make a good peace would never have won the war.
Sir Winston Churchill

Don't Delay: The best is the enemy of the good [emphasis added]. By this I mean that a good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week. War is a very simple thing, and the determining characteristics are self-confidence, speed, and audacity. None of these things can ever be perfect, but they can be good.
George S. Patton, Jr.

[In] the national and religious conflict of the [Byzantine and Saracen] empires, peace was without confidence, and war without mercy.
Edward Gibbon

The great questions of our time will be decided not by resolutions and majority votes, but by blood and iron.
Otto von Bismarck

So familiar, and as it were so natural to man, is the practice of violence, that our indulgence allows the slightest provocation, the most disputable right, as a sufficient ground of national hostility.
Edward Gibbon

[Every] hour of delay abates the fame and force of the invader, and multiplies the resources of defensive war.
Edward Gibbon

War kills men, and men deplore the loss; but war also crushes bad principles and tyrants, and so saves societies.
Colton

The single combats of the heroes of history or fable amuse our fancy and engage our affections: the skillful evolutions of war may inform the mind, and improve a necessary, though pernicious, science. But in the uniform and odious pictures of a general assault, all is blood, and horror, and confusion . . .
Edward Gibbon

Weakness is a provocation.
Donald Rumsfeld

[Much] as war attracts me and fascinates my mind with its tremendous situations, I feel more deeply every year . . . what vile and wicked folly and barbarism it all is.
Winston Churchill

The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on.
Joseph Heller

It is only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated . . . that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation.
William T. Sherman

War is Hell!
William T. Sherman

War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it . . .
William T. Sherman

For Christ's sake men -- come on! Do you want to live forever?
Daniel Daly

"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

If we clear the air of the fog of catchwords which surround the conduct of war, and grasp that in the human will lies the source and mainspring of all conflict, as of all other activities of man's life, it becomes clear that our object in war can only be attained by the subjugation of the opposing will. All acts, such as defeat in the field, propaganda, blockade, diplomacy, or attack on the centres of government and population, are seen to be but means to that end.
Captain Sir Basil Liddell Hart

War, which used to be cruel and magnificent, has become cruel and squalid.
Winston Churchill

Don't give up the ship!
Captain James Lawrence

I believe in fighting until lack of supplies forces you to stop -- then digging in.
George S. Patton, Jr.

I maintained my contention that it is better to attack with a small force at once, and attain surprise, than it is to wait and lose it.
George S. Patton, Jr.

One continues to learn about war by practicing war.
George S. Patton, Jr.

It always made me mad to have to beg for opportunities to win battles.
George S. Patton, Jr.

The acid test of battle brings out the pure metal.
George S. Patton, Jr.

In war, the only sure defense is offense, and the efficiency of offense depends on the warlike souls of those conducting it.
George S. Patton, Jr.

When we got to the far side [of the Rhine], I also deliberately stubbed my toe and fell, picking up a handful of German soil, in emulation of Scipio Africanus and William the Conqueror, who both stumbled and both made a joke of it, saying, "I see in my hands the soil of Africa" or ". . . the soil of England." I saw in my hands the soil of Germany.
George S. Patton, Jr.

Here again we took advantage of a theory of our own, that the impossible place is usually the least well defended.
George S. Patton, Jr.

It is an unfortunate fact that few commanders, and no politicians, realize the individuality of units and the necessity of playing on human emotion.
George S. Patton, Jr.

It is an unfortunate and, to me, tragic fact that, in our attempts to prevent war, we have taught our people to belittle the heroic qualities of the soldier.
George S. Patton, Jr.

If you want to know when a war might be coming, you just watch the United States and see when it starts cutting down on its defenses. It's the surest barometer in the world.
Will Rogers

The best armor (and the best defense) is a rapid and well-directed fire.
David Farragut

When soldiers are caught in a barrage, either from mortars, rockets, or artillery, the surest way to get out of it is to go forward fast, because it is almost the invariable practice of the enemy to increase rather than decrease his range.
George S. Patton, Jr.

In small operations, as in large, speed is the essential element of success.
George S. Patton, Jr.

It is much better to go over difficult ground where you are not expected than it is over good ground where you are expected.
George S. Patton, Jr.

The Americans, as a race, are the foremost mechanics in the world. America, as a nation, has the greatest ability for mass production of machines. It therefore behooves us to devise methods of war which exploit our inherent superiority.
George S. Patton, Jr.

Washington


Washington is a city of southern efficiency and northern charm.
John F. Kennedy

Weakness


Feeble and timid minds . . . consider the use of dilatory and ambiguous measures as the most admirable efforts of consummate prudence.
Edward Gibbon

Wealth


I've been rich and I've been poor; rich is better.
Sophie Tucker

I have no complex about wealth. I have worked hard for my money, producing things people need. I believe that the able industrial leader who creates wealth and employment is more worthy of historical notice than politicians or soldiers.
J. Paul Getty

It is the wretchedness of being rich that you have to live with rich people.
Logan Pearsall Smith

[We've] been guided by [an] administration who believes in the simplistic notion that people who have wealth are entitled to keep it and they have an antipathy towards the means of redistributing wealth.
Jim Moran

He does not possess wealth, it possesses him.
Benjamin Franklin

A rich person is just a poor person with money.
Rush Limbaugh

Wealth And Money


A rich man's joke is always funny.
Thomas Edward Brown

The rich rob the poor and the poor rob one another.
Sojourner Truth

One of the weaknesses of our age is our apparent inability to distinguish our needs from our greeds.
Don Robinson

Not he who has little, but he who wishes more, is poor.
Seneca

Citizens of rich countries often fret about the occasional harm that corporations do, yet take for granted the prosperity they create. People in developing countries do not have that luxury.
Author unidentified (The Economist Editors)

Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money?
Matthew 20:15

Weapon


Ages in which the dominant weapon is expensive or difficult to make will tend to be ages of despotism, whereas when the dominant weapon is cheap and simple, the common people have a chance. Thus, for example, tanks, battleships and bombing planes are inherently tyrannical weapons, while rifles, muskets, long-bows and hand-grenades are inherently democratic weapons. A complex weapon makes the strong stronger, while a simple weapon -- so long as there is no answer to it -- gives claws to the weak.
George Orwell

Weather


Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.
Mark Twain

The trouble with weather forecasting is that it's right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it.
Patrick Young

Welfare


The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. It is inimical to the dictates of a sound policy. It is in violation of the traditions of America.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

[Giving welfare to poor people] is the equivalent of the government sending [fat people] a jumbo bag of Bugles in the mail twice a month.
Adam Carolla

Wife


Houses and wealth are inherited from parents,
but a prudent wife is from the LORD.
Proverbs 19:14

Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
Proverbs 21:9

Better to live in a desert
than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.
Proverbs 21:19

A quarrelsome wife is like
a constant dripping on a rainy day;
restraining her is like restraining the wind
or grasping oil with the hand.
Proverbs 27:15,16

Wine


Take counsel in wine, but resolve afterwards in water.
Benjamin Franklin

In vino veritas. (In wine [there is the] truth.)
Pliny the Elder

Winning


Winning isn't everything, but wanting to win is.
Vince Lombardi

Wisdom


We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it -- and stop there, lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again -- and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.
Mark Twain

For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
the more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes 1:18

I prefer the errors of enthusiasm to the indifference of wisdom.
Anatole France

Give your decisions, never your reasons; your decisions may be right, your reasons are sure to be wrong.
Earl of Mansfield

He dares to be a fool, and that is the first step in the direction of wisdom.
James Gibbons Huneker

He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know.
Lao Tsu

Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Great men are not always wise.
Job 32:9 (KJV)

[It is] better [to] be wise by the misfortunes of others than by your own.
Aesop

Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.
George Orwell

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
Bertrand Russell

He was sadder but wiser . . .
Author unidentified

He is no wise man who will quit a certainty for an uncertainty.
Samuel Johnson

Tis sometimes the height of wisdom to feign stupidity.
Cato the Elder (Marcus Porcius Cato)

Wise men profit more from fools than fools from wise men; for the wise men shun the mistakes of fools, but fools do not imitate the successes of the wise.
Cato the Elder (Marcus Porcius Cato)

Even brute beasts and wandering birds do not fall into the same traps or nets twice.
Saint Jerome

The doors of wisdom are never shut.
Benjamin Franklin

Wisdom comes from context.
Author unidentified

The easily embarrassed are unable to learn.
Author unidentified

A proud person talks about all he has done, a foolish person talks about all he will do, and a wise man does it, and says nothing.
Keith Harmon

Wisdom is the accumulation of insights into how the world actually works -- as opposed to how we would like it to work.
Jonah Goldberg

Wish


We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified.
Aesop

Wistfulness


Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: It Might Have Been.
John Greenleaf Whittier

Witchcraft


The nations, and the sects, of the Roman world, admitted with equal credulity, and similar abhorrence, the reality of that infernal art [witchcraft], which was able to control the eternal order of the planets, and the voluntary operations of the human mind. . . . They believed, with the wildest inconsistency, that this preternatural dominion of the air, of earth, and of hell, was exercised, from the vilest motives of malice or gain, by some wrinkled hags and itinerant sorcerers, who passed their obscure lives in penury and contempt.
Edward Gibbon

Women


But I'm not here to give you some bullshit talk about women. There are three billion of them, and to generalize that many people with some blanket statement is the definition of being an asshole. Women are all different, so I don't have any advice on them.
Samuel Halpern

Um, when a woman talks, she just wants to be heard.
Lisa Simpson, The Simpsons

Word


"I don't know what you mean by 'glory,'" Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don't -- till I tell you. I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!'"

"But glory doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument,'" Alice objected.

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master -- that's all."

Lewis Carroll

Colors fade, temples crumble, empires fall, but wise words endure.
Edward Thorndike

He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I ever met.
Abraham Lincoln

The more the words,
the less the meaning,
and how does that profit anyone?
Ecclesiastes 6:11

Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.
Winston Churchill

The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another.
George Orwell

When ideas fail, words come in very handy.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

There are some that only employ words for the purpose of disguising their thoughts.
Voltaire (François Marie Arouet)

Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when you mean 'very'; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.
C. S. Lewis

The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.
Mark Twain

It ain't how many words you know, it's how you use them.
Samuel Halpern

Work


I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.
Winston Churchill, first speech as prime minister

When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt.
Henry J. Kaiser

Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 2:11

So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Ecclesiastes 2:17

What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless.
Ecclesiastes 2:22,23

In populous cities, which are the seat of commerce and manufactures, the middle ranks of inhabitants, who derive their subsistence from the dexterity or labor of their hands, are commonly the most prolific, the most useful, and, in that sense, the most respectable part of the community.
Edward Gibbon

Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all.
Sam Ewing

[Personal] industry must be faint and languid, which is not excited by the sense of personal interest.
Edward Gibbon

If a man will not work, he shall not eat.
2 Thessalonians 3:10

Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment.
Robert Benchley

The things are mighty few on earth
That wishes can attain.
Whate'er we want of any worth
We've got to work to gain.
Edgar Guest

For great and low there's but one test:
'Tis that each man shall do his best.
Who works with all the strength he can
Shall never die in debt to man.
Edgar Guest

Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, [and] Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.
Mark Twain

There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.
Thomas Edison

I wish to preach not the doctrine of ignoble ease but the doctrine of the strenuous life; the life of toil and effort . . .
Theodore Roosevelt

If a task is once begun
Never leave it till it's done.
Be the labor great or small
Do it well or not at all.
Author unidentified

Train people well enough so they can leave, pay them well enough so they don't want to.
Richard Branson

I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near.
Margaret Thatcher

World


The world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel.
Horace Walpole

Worry


If evils come not, then our fears are vain: And if they do, Fear but augments the pain.
Author unidentified

Worry is a misuse of imagination.
Dan Zadra

Worrying


Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. -- KJV)
Matthew 6:34

When I look back on all these worries I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened.
Winston Churchill

Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes anything.
Mary Hemingway

Worthiness


What's not worth doing is not worth doing well.
Don Hebb

Wretch


The wretch, concentrated all in self
Living, shall forfeit fair renown
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung
Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.
Sir Walter Scott

Writer


In Ireland, a writer is looked upon as a failed conversationalist.
Author unidentified

Writing


Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.
William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White

Vigorous writing is concise. Omit needless words.
William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White

Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.
Samuel Johnson

It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.
Robert Benchley

[Writing a book] is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.
Winston Churchill

And, like every other ink-stained wretch, he could never be certain of future income.
William Manchester, on writing

Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
Mark Twain

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vain.
Red Smith

Just as the sentence contains one idea in all its fullness, so the paragraph should embrace a distinct episode; and as sentences should follow one another in harmonious sequence, so paragraphs must fit into another like the automatic couplings of railway carriages.
Winston Churchill

If any man wish to write in a clear style, let him be first clear in his thoughts; and if any would write in a noble style, let him first possess a noble soul.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Journalist" is a term of contempt employed by writers who are not read to refer to writers who are read.
Ernest Newman (Attributed)

When I want to read a novel, I write one.
Benjamin Disraeli

Of writing well the source and fountainhead is wise thinking.
Horace

In matters editorial, I am a believer in totalitarian despotism. Most writers are lazy, difficult, selfish, thoughtless, and unreliable.
John Derbyshire

If you write for the critics, only the critics will read you.
Jonah Goldberg

Start. Don't look back. If at the end it doesn't meet your hopes, start again. Now you know more about your hopes.
Roger Ebert, on Writing

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Last updated: August 11, 2017