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Cool Quotes - A


There is something that is much more scarce, something rarer than ability. It is the ability to recognize ability.
Robert Half

They are able because they think they are able.

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

The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.
Edward Gibbon

It generally happens that assurance keeps an even pace with ability, and the fear of miscarriage, which hinders Our first attempts, is gradually dissipated as our skill advances towards certainty of success.
Samuel Johnson


Nothing out of the common order of nature can be long borne.
Samuel Johnson


I will not give to a woman an instrument to procure abortion.
The Hippocratic Oath, c. 400 B. C.

Prevention of birth is a precipitation of murder. He also is a man who is about to be one.

Abortions will not let you forget. You remember the children you got that you did not get.
Gwendolyn Brooks

Abraham Lincoln

My fellow citizens, the President is dead, but the Government lives and God Omnipotent reigns.
James Abram Garfield, after President Lincoln's assassination.

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still.
Walt Whitman

Lincoln is one of those peculiar men who perform with admirable skill everything which they undertake.
Stephen A. Douglas

I will make a prophecy that may now sound peculiar. In fifty years, perhaps much sooner, Lincoln's name will be inscribed close to Washington's on this Republic's roll of honor.
Carl Schurz

Now he belongs to the ages.
Edwin M. Stanton, on being told of Lincoln's death

He [President Abraham Lincoln] has a face like a hoosier Michael Angelo, so awful ugly it becomes beautiful, with its strange mouth, its deep-cut, criss-cross lines, and its doughnut complexion.
Walt Whitman


Speak no evil of an absent friend. (Non male loquare absenti amico.)

Seldom seen, soon forgotten.
Richard Hilles

The pain without the peace of death.
Thomas Campbell

The absent are as good as dead.
Latin Proverb

The absent and the dead have no friends.
Spanish Proverb

Absence makes the heart go wander.
Author unidentified

Absence diminishes mediocre passions and increases great ones, as the wind blows out candles and fans fire.
La Rochefoucauld

Absence is to love what wind is to fire;
It extinguishes the small, it kindles the great.

(L'absence est à l'amour ce qu'est au feu le vent;
Il éteint le petit, il allume le grand

Comte de Bussy-Rabutin

Abstemiousness and Gluttony

To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals.
Benjamin Franklin

Short supper; long life.
Serbian proverb

If you find honey, eat just enough—
too much of it, and you will vomit.
Proverbs 25:16


Abstinence is as easy to me, as temperance would be difficult.
Samuel Johnson

Thanks be to God, since my leaving drinking of wine, I do find myself much better, and do mind my business better, and do spend less money, and less time lost in idle company.
Samuel Pepys

To set the mind above the appetites is the end of abstinence, which one of the Fathers observes to be not a virtue, but the ground-work of virtue. By forbearing to do what may innocently be done, we may add hourly new vigour to resolution, and secure the power of resistance when pleasure or interest shall lend their charms to guilt.
Samuel Johnson


A man proposes his schemes of life in a state of abstraction and disengagement, exempt from the enticements of hope, the solicitations of affection, the importunities of appetite, or the depressions of fear, and is in the same state with him that teaches upon land the art of navigation, to whom the sea is always smooth, and the wind always prosperous.
Samuel Johnson


Abundance kills more than hunger.
German proverb

Just as I see abundance as validation of my faith in God, the religion of Secular Fundamentalism sees shortage as validation of their faith.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin

Academic Freedom

A university studies politics, but it will not advocate fascism or communism. A university studies military tactics, but it will not promote war. A university studies peace, but it will not organize crusades of pacifism. It will study every question that affects human welfare, but it will not carry a banner in a crusade for anything except freedom of learning.
L. D. Coffman


Nothing under the sun is ever accidental.
G. E. Lessing

Accident counts for as much in companionship as in marriage.
Henry Brooks Adams


If someone accuses you for something you haven't done he either has done it himself or he would do it if he were you.
Edi Rama (Attributed)


No man has lived to much purpose unless he has built a house, begotten a son, or written a book.
Italian Proverb

Never mistake activity for achievement.
John Wooden

Accomplishing something provides the only real satisfaction in life.
Thomas Edison


The wisest man I have ever known once said to me: "Nine out of every ten people improve on acquaintance," and I have found his words true.
Frank Swinnerton

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to min'?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o' lang syne?
Robert Burns

If a man is worth knowing at all, he is worth knowing well.
Alexander Smith

Acquaintance, n. A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to.
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

A wise man knows everything; a shrewd one, everybody.
Author unidentified

Sir, I look upon every day to be lost, in which I do not make a new acquaintance.
Samuel Johnson


The Japanese have a word for it. It's judo—the art of conquering by yielding. The Western equivalent of judo is, "Yes, dear."
J. P. McEvoy


On the stage he was natural, simple, affecting; ’Twas only that when he was off he was acting.
Oliver Goldsmith


There are two kinds of people: those who don't do what they want to do, so they write down in a diary about what they haven't done, and those who haven't time to write about it because they're out doing it.
Richard Flournoy and Lewis R. Foster

I plow, but I do not write about plowing.
Voltaire (François Marie Arouet)

It seems to me that man is made to act rather than to know: the principles of things escape our most persevering researches.
Frederick The Great

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

The hottest places in hell are reserved for those, who in times of moral crisis, do nothing.
Dante Alighieri

To an active mind, indolence is more painful than labor.
Edward Gibbon

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Theodore Roosevelt

"He means well" is useless unless he does well.

The inactivity of a conqueror betrays the loss of strength and blood.
Edward Gibbon

No matter how big and tough a problem may be, get rid of confusion by taking one little step toward solution. Do something.
George F. Nordenholt

Colonel Brighton: Look, sir, we can't just do nothing.
General Allenby: Why not? It's usually best.
David Lean

No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.
Edmund Burke

This world, where much is to be done and little to be known.
Samuel Johnson

Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
Napoleon Bonaparte

If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes.
John Wooden

We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.
Calvin Coolidge

I never worry about action, but only about inaction.
Winston Churchill

[They] rate themselves by the goodness of their opinions, and forget how much more easily men may shew their virtue in their talk than in their actions.
Samuel Johnson

I prefer the talents of action—of war—of the senate—or even of science—to all the speculations of those mere dreamers of another existence.
Lord Byron

The end of man is an action and not a thought, though it were the noblest.
Thomas Carlyle

And whoever he be that has but little in his power, should be in haste to do that little, lest he be confounded with him that can do nothing.
Samuel Johnson

Man can only form a just estimate of his own actions, by making his power the test of his performance, by comparing what he does with what he can do.
Samuel Johnson

We must beat the iron while it is hot, but we may polish it at leisure.
John Dryden

To do nothing every man is ashamed; and to do much almost every man is unwilling or afraid. Innumerable expedients have, therefore, been invented to produce motion without labour, and employment without solicitude.
Samuel Johnson

So many worlds, so much to do,
So little done, such things to be.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

A man of action forced into a state of thought is unhappy until he can get out of it.
John Galsworthy

It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.
Charlotte Brontë


Actors are a nuisance in the earth, the very offal of society.
Timothy Dwight

[Studio official's assessment of Fred Astaire:] Can't act. Slightly bald. Also dances.
Author unidentified


The life of youth and beauty is too short for the bringing an actress to perfection.
Colley Cibber


In the Garden of Eden sat Adam,
Massaging the bust of his madam,
He chuckled with mirth,
For he knew that on earth,
There were only two boobs and he had 'em.
Author unidentified

What could Adam have done to God that made Him put Eve in the garden?
Polish Proverb

The tomb of Adam! How touching it was, here in a land of strangers, far away from home, and friends, and all who cared for me, thus to discover the grave of a blood relation. True, a distant one, but still a relation.
Mark Twain


It's like I have a shotgun in my mouth, and I've got my finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gun metal.
Robert Downey Jr.


As to the adjective, when in doubt strike it out.
Mark Twain

The adjective is the enemy of the noun.
Author unidentified


Admiration is a very short-lived passion, that immediately decays upon growing familiar with its object.
Joseph Addison

Admiration, n. Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves.
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Things not understood are admired.
Thomas Fuller


Admonish your friends in private; praise them in public.
Publilius Syrus


I had always thought that once you grew up you could do anything you wanted—stay up all night or eat ice-cream straight out of the container.
Bill Bryson


For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword.
Proverbs 5:3-4

All at once he followed her [the adulteress] like an ox going to the slaughter
Proverbs 7:22


If a married woman shall be caught lying with another man, both shall be bound and thrown into the river.
The Code of the Hammurabi

But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment;
whoever does so destroys himself.
Proverbs 6:32

Between a man and his wife a husband's infidelity is nothing. The man imposes no bastards on his wife.
Samuel Johnson

A wanton and lascivious eye
Betrays the heart's adultery.
Robert Herrick

Do not adultery commit;
Advantage rarely comes of it.
Arthur Hugh Clough

That which constitutes adultery is not the hour that she accords to her lover: it is the night that she afterward passes in the arms of her husband.
George Sand


It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent.
Charlie Munger


We [hobbits] are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!
J. R. R. Tolkien


The adverb is the enemy of the verb.
Author unidentified

The beastly adverb—far more damaging to a writer than an adjective.
Graham Greene


Most people can bear adversity. But if you wish to know what a man really is, give him power. This is the supreme test.

(Popular variation: Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.)

Robert G. Ingersoll

In time of prosperity friends will be plenty;
In time of adversity not one in twenty.
James Howell

In prosperity, caution; in adversity, patience.
Dutch Proverb

By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity. Another man's, I mean.
Mark Twain

While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.
Henry C. Link

Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.
John Wooden

You can't adjust the winds, but you can adjust your sails.
Author unidentified

Prosperity getteth friends, but adversity trieth them.
Nicholas Ling

In the adversity of our best friends we often find something that is not wholly displeasing to us.
Francois De La Rochefoucauld

Adversity makes a man wise, not rich.
John Ray

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

Prosperity makes friends, adversity tries them.

The pencil of the Holy Ghost hath laboured more in describing the afflictions of Job than the felicities of Solomon.
Francis Bacon

Prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue.
Francis Bacon


Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.
Stephen Leacock

Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark: you know what you are doing, but nobody else does.
Edgar Watson Howe

Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.
Thomas Jefferson

I always hated those testimonials on TV … [where the actress says,] "If I can do it, you can do it." How the hell does she know what I can and cannot do?
Stephen Furst

You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements.
Norman Douglas


Advertising … makes you spend money you haven't got for things you don't want.
Will Rogers


When we ask advice, we are usually looking for an accomplice.
Marquis de Lagrange

Whatever your advice, make it brief.

Advice is least heeded when most needed.
English Proverb

You may give him good advice, but who can give him wit to take it?
Thomas Fuller

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

Beware the advice of a poor man.
Spanish Proverb

Never advise anyone to go to war or to marry.
Spanish Proverb

Years ago, my mother used to say to me, "In this world, Elwood, you must be be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.
Elwood P. Dowde (James Stewart), "Harvey"

Ask advice only of your equals.
Danish Proverb

Many receive advice, few profit by it.
Publilius Syrus

Good advice is something a man gives when he is too old to set a bad example.
Francois De La Rochefoucauld

[But] if the royal ear [of Theodoric] was open to the voice of truth, a saint and a philosopher are not always to be found at the ear of kings.
Edward Gibbon

If you've ever taken advice from a cartoonist, there's a good chance it didn't end well.
Scott Adams

It is better to advise than upbraid, for the one corrects the erring; the other only convicts them.

How is it possible to expect that mankind will take advice, when they will not so much as take warning?
Jonathan Swift

Advice is seldom welcome; and those who want it the most always like it the least.
Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield

We ask advice but mean approbation.
C. C. Colton

We may give advice but we cannot give conduct.
Benjamin Franklin

Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet,
To think how mony counsels sweet,
How mony lengthen'd, sage advices,
The husband frae the wife despises!

(Ah, gentle ladies, it makes me cry,
To think how many counsels sweet,
How much long and wise advice
The husband from the wife despises!)

Robert Burns

I have, all my life long, been lying till noon; yet I tell all young men, and tell them with great sincerity, that nobody who does not rise early will ever do any good.
Samuel Johnson

Vanity is so frequently the apparent motive of advice, that we, for the most part, summon our powers to oppose it without any very accurate inquiry whether it is right. It is sufficient that another is growing great in his own eyes at our expense, and assumes authority over us without our permission; for many would contentedly suffer the consequences of their own mistakes, rather than the insolence of him who triumphs as their deliverer.
Samuel Johnson

In matters of religion and matrimony I never give any advice; because I will not have anybody's torments in this world or the next laid to my charge.
Lord Chesterfield

Fortunately I have never learned to take the good advice I give myself nor the counsel of my fears.
Ernest Hemingway

Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.
J. R. R. Tolkien

Seldom give unguarded advice, for advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill.
J. R. R. Tolkien


The qualities we have do not make us so ridiculous as those we affect to have.
Francois De La Rochefoucauld

And I cannot always withhold some expression of anger, like Sir Hugh in the comedy, when I happen to find that a woman has a beard.
Samuel Johnson

[For] it is not folly but pride, not errour but deceit, which the world means to persecute, when it raises the full cry of nature to hunt down affectation.
Samuel Johnson

The hatred which dissimulation always draws upon itself, is so great, that if I did not know how much cunning differs from wisdom, I should wonder that any men have so little knowledge of their own interest, as to aspire to wear a mask for life.
Samuel Johnson

Hypocrisy is the necessary burthen of villany, affectation part of the chosen trappings of folly; the one completes a villain, the other only finishes a fop. Contempt is the proper punishment of affectation, and detestation the just consequence of hypocrisy.
Samuel Johnson

For, if the pinnacles of fame be at best slippery, how unsteady must his footing be who stands upon pinnacles without foundation!
Samuel Johnson

Affectation may possibly succeed for a time, and a man may, by great attention, persuade others, that he really has the qualities which he presumes to boast; but the hour will come when he should exert them, and then whatever he enjoyed in praise, he must suffer in reproach.
Samuel Johnson


Affection is a coal that must be cooled;
Else, suffered, it will set the heart on fire.
William Shakespeare

I could have been happy with a servant girl had she only in sincerity of heart responded to my affection.
S. T. Coleridge

You can have true affection for only a few things in your life, and by getting rid of material things, I make sure I won't waste mine on something that can't feel my affection.
Ernest Hemingway


Affliction may one day smile again; and till then, sit thee down, sorrow!


[The] bulk of mankind must owe their affluence to small and gradual profits, below which their expense must be resolutely reduced.
Samuel Johnson


And how am I to face the odds
Of man's bedevilment and God's?
I, a stranger and afraid
In a world I never made.
A. E. Housman


Man developed in Africa. He has not continued to do so there.
P. J. O'Rourke

After Life

Since the common events of the present life happen alike to the good and bad, it follows from the justice of the Supreme Being, that there must be another state of existence, in which a just retribution shall be made, and every man shall be happy and miserable according to his works.
Samuel Johnson


One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell that would tell anything.
Oscar Wilde

I'm very pleased with each advancing year. It stems back to when I was forty. I was a bit upset about reaching that milestone, but an older friend consoled me. 'Don't complain about growing old—many, many people do not have that privilege.'
Earl Warren

Old age is not so bad when you consider the alternatives.
Maurice Chevalier

As for me, except for an occasional heart attack, I feel as young as I ever did.
Robert Benchley

You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.
Woody Allen

Nothing so dates a man as decrying the younger generation.
Adlai Stevenson

There are three categories of age: youth, middle age, and "Gee, you're looking well."
Dean Rusk

Youth is a blunder; manhood a struggle; old age a regret.
Benjamin Disraeli

Perhaps in time the so-called Dark Ages will be thought of as including our own.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg


Aggression unchallenged is aggression unleashed.


To know how to grow old is the masterwork of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living.
Henri-Frédéric Amiel


In every unbeliever's heart there is an uneasy feeling that, after all, he may awake after death and find himself immortal. This is his punishment for his unbelief. This is the agnostic's Hell.
H. L. Mencken


I do not consider it an insult, but rather a compliment to be called an agnostic. I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure—that is all that agnosticism means.
Clarence Darrow


My idea of an agreeable person is a person who agrees with me.
Benjamin Disraeli


All I can say is that I have taken more out of alcohol than it has taken out of me.
Winston Churchill

To alcohol! The cause of—and solution to—all of life's problems.
The Simpsons

Alcohol is the prince of liquids, and carries the palate to its highest pitch of exaltation.
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

A man shouldn't fool with booze until he's fifty; then he's a damn fool if he doesn't.
William Faulkner


Say, for what were hop-yards meant,
Or why was Burton built on Trent?
Oh many a peer of England brews
Livelier liquor than the Muse,
And malt does more than Milton can
To justify God's ways to man.
Ale, man, ale's the stuff to drink
For fellows whom it hurts to think.
A. E. Housman

Alexander Hamilton

Hamilton was honest as a man, but, as a politician, believed in the necessity of either force or corruption to govern men.
Thomas Jefferson

There is an elegant memorial in Washington to Jefferson, but none to Hamilton. However, if you seek Hamilton's monument, look around. You are living in it. We honor Jefferson, but live in Hamilton's country, a mighty industrial nation with a strong central government.
George F. Will

Alice Roosevelt Longworth

I can do one of two things. I can be president of the United States or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both.
Theodore Roosevelt


Close alliances with despots are never safe for free states.

Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations—entangling alliances with none.
Thomas Jefferson

The nature of the English government forbids, of itself, reliance on her engagements; and it is well known she has been the least faithful to her alliances of any nation of Europe.
Thomas Jefferson

Any alliance whose purpose is not the intention to wage war is senseless and useless
Adolph Hitler


Alliteration tickles the ear, and is a very popular form of language among savages.
Benjamin Disraeli


I must be dunned for alms, and do not scramble over hedges and ditches in searching for opportunities of flinging away my money on good works.
Horace Walpole

I do not give alms: I am not poor enough for that.
Friedrich Nietzsche


It is better to be alone than in ill company.
George Pettie

A man is never alone, not only because he is with himself and his own thoughts, but because he is with the Devil, who ever consorts with our solitude.
Thomas Browne

I was never less alone than while by myself.
Edward Gibbon

Woe unto him that is never alone, and cannot bear to be alone.
P. G. Hamerton

A man alone is either a god or a devil. (Homo solus aut deus, aut daemon.)
Latin Proverb

You come into the world alone and you go out of the world alone yet it seems to me you are more alone while living than even going and coming.
Emily Carr


It is the freeman who must win freedom for the slave; it is the wise man who must think for the fool; it is the happy who must serve the unhappy.
Jean Paul Richter

Nobody does good to men with impunity.
Auguste Rodin


A sovereign should always regard an ambassador as a spy.
The Hitopadesa

Ambassadors are the eyes and ears of the state.
Francesco Guicciardini

[An ambassador is] a politician who is given a job abroad in order to get him out of the country.
Author unidentified


Vain the ambition of kings
Who seek by trophies and dead things
To leave a living name behind,
And weave but nets to catch the wind.
John Webster

It seems that ambition makes most people wish to be loved rather than to love others.

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

I would to God there were more ambition in the country … ambition of that laudable kind, to excel.
John Adams

Men are generally idle, and ready to satisfy themselves, and intimidate the industry of others, by calling that impossible which is only difficult.
Samuel Johnson

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

The same ambition can destroy or save,
And makes a patriot as it makes a knave.
Alexander Pope

Where ambition ends happiness begins.
Hungarian proverb

Ambition is the rankest poison to the church, when it possesses preachers. It is a consuming fire.
Martin Luther

His demands were, indeed, very often such as virtue could not easily consent to gratify; but virtue is not to be consulted when men are to raise their fortunes by the favour of the great.
Samuel Johnson

Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition:
By that sin fell the angels.

Those who are believed to be most abject and humble are usually most ambitious and envious.
John Locke

I have never yet exerted ambition in rising in the state. But sure I am, no man has made his way better to the best company.
James Boswell

To be admired must be the constant aim of ambition.
Samuel Johnson


In England I would rather be a man, a horse, a dog, or a woman, in that order. In America I think the order would be reversed.
Bruce Gould

I regard England as my wife and America as my mistress.
Cedric Hardwicke

The European traveler in America—at least if I may judge by myself—is struck by two peculiarities: first, the extreme similarity of outlook in all parts of the United States (except the Old South), and secondly, the passionate desire of each locality to prove that it is peculiar and different from every other. The second of these is, of course, caused by the first.
Bertrand Russell

Because I really want to live in a country where the poor people are fat.
Unidentified Indian immigrant when asked why he wants to come to America

The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.
Frank Zappa

America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.
Oscar Wilde

America is not what's wrong with the world.
Donald Rumsfeld

America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Attributed)

I'll start to worry about America's standing in the world when people from all corners of the earth cease to want to come here.
Attributed to Paul Johnson

America is harmless as an enemy and treacherous as a friend.
Bernard Lewis

The Americans can always be trusted to do the right thing, once all other possibilities have been exhausted.
Winston Churchill (Attributed)

We have learned one lesson in the last half-century: the well-being of the world depends, above all, on the sensible pursuit of common aims by the United States and the free European peoples. That the Japanese are rapidly transforming this relationship into a triangular one goes without saying. But the U.S.-European axis remains the fulcrum of stability, and the Europeans know it: it is the one fixed point in their geopolitics. For this reason they are remarkably dependent on the workings of the American system, and the character of the man it places in the White House.
Paul Johnson

I wonder if the word "American" will one day have the same connotation as the word "byzantine."
Author unidentified

America is now a land that rewards failure—at the personal, corporate, and state level.
Mark Steyn

The later chapters of "The Decline and Fall of the United States" will make interesting reading.
Charles C. W. Cooke

I want no criticism of America at my table. The Americans criticize themselves more than enough.
Winston Churchill

Europe is the product of history. America is the product of philosophy.
Margaret Thatcher (paraphrased)

Anyone, in any walk of life, who is content with mediocrity is untrue to himself and to American tradition.
George S. Patton, Jr.

America will never be an ordinary country; it's always going to be extraordinary.
Paul Johnson

Anyone who travels to every part of the United States, as I do, becomes aware that the notion of America oppressing humanity is absurd. To a great extent, America is humanity.
Paul Johnson

In the 1770s, surveying the immensity and diversity of London, Dr. Samuel Johnson laid down: "Sir, a man who is tired of London is tired of life." The saying could be rephrased today. A man who hates America hates humanity.
Paul Johnson

In America the geography is sublime, but the men are not: the inventions are excellent, but the inventors one is sometimes ashamed of.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?
Samuel Johnson

Young man, there is America—which at this day serves for little more than to amuse you with stories of savage men and uncouth manners; yet shall, before you taste of death, show itself equal to the whole of that commerce which now attracts the envy of the world.
Edmund Burke

Not a place upon earth might be so happy as America. Her situation is remote from all the wrangling world, and she has nothing to do but to trade with them.
Thomas Paine

Nothing contributes more to peace of soul than having no opinion at all.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

I do not think the Red Indians had any right to say, "The American Continent belongs to us and we are not going to have any of these European settlers coming in here." They had not the right, nor had they the power.
Winston Churchill

[America] goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.
John Quincy Adams

Shall I tell you what this collision [of free and slave labor] means? … It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces, and it means that the United States must and will, sooner or later, become entirely a slave-holding nation or entirely a free-labor nation.
William Henry Seward

America is now wholly given over to a damned mob of scribbling women.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

America is a land of wonders, in which everything is in constant motion and every change seems an improvement. The idea of novelty is there indissolubly connected with the idea of amelioration.
Alexis de Tocqueville

America and Russia

The American’s principal means of action is liberty; the Russian’s, servitude. Their points of departure are different, their ways diverse. Yet each seems called by a secret design of Providence some day to sway the destinies of half the globe.
Alexis de Tocqueville


No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.
H. L. Mencken

The American people, taking one with another, constitute the most timorous, sniveling, poltroonish, ignominious mob of serfs and goosesteppers ever gathered under one flag in Christendom since the end of the Middle Ages.
H. L. Mencken

The Americans are the illegitimate children of the English.
H. L. Mencken

Americans are very smart about the things they care about, and ignorant about the things they don't.
Jonah Goldberg

We [Americans] are fat, overgrown lab rats, and we get too many reward pellets for too little effort.
Graeme Wood

There are no people in the world who are so slow to develop hostile feelings against a foreign country as the Americans and there are no people who once estranged, are more difficult to win back.
Winston Churchill

I am not a Virginian but an American.
Patrick Henry

They [Americans] are a race of convicts, and ought to be thankful for anything we allow them short of hanging.
Samuel Johnson

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

See what it is to have a nation to take its place among civilized states before it has either gentlemen or scholars. They have in the course of 20 years acquired a distinct national character for low, lying knavery.
Robert Southey

I have traveled more than four thousand miles about this country; and I never met one single insolent or rude … American.
Thomas Holme

[An American is] an Anglo-Saxon relapsed into semi-barbarism.
Bayard Taylor

The American is nomadic in religion, in ideas, in morals.
James Russell Lowell

God looks after drunks, children, and Americans.
Author unidentified

A European says: I can't understand this, what's wrong with me? An American says: I can't understand this, what's wrong with him [the author]?
Terry Pratchett

The American has grown so accustomed to the denial of his constitutional rights and to the minute regulation of his conduct by swarms of spies, letter-openers, informers and agents provocateurs that he no longer makes any serious protest.
H. L. Mencken

Oppressive laws do not destroy minorities; they simply make bootleggers.
H. L. Mencken

What then is the American, this new man? He is either a European, or the descendant of a European, hence that strange mixture of blood, which you will find in no other country … Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men, whose labours and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world.
Michel Guillaume Jean de Crèvecoeur

The American people are a very generous people and will forgive almost any weakness, with the possible exception of stupidity.
Will Rogers

And we Americans are the peculiar, chosen people—the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of the liberties of the world.
Herman Melville

American Fanaticism

Sometimes it [the witch-hunt] is launched from one end of the ideological spectrum, sometimes from the other, but its characteristics remain the same: fanaticism, self-righteousness, abuse of the legal forms, contempt for justice.
Paul Johnson

American Government

What was once a constitutional federal republic is now converted, in reality, into one as absolute as that of the autocrat of Russia, and as despotic in its tendency as any absolute government that ever existed.
John C. Calhoun

American Language

It is remarkable how very debased the language has become in a short period in America.
Frederick Marryat

When I speak my native tongue in its utmost purity in England, and Englishman can't understand me at all.
Mark Twain


The next Augustan age will dawn on the other side of the Atlantic. There will, perhaps, be a Thucydides at Boston, a Xenophon at New York, and, in time, a Virgil at Mexico, and a Newton at Peru. At last, some curious traveler from Lima will visit England and give a description of the ruins of St. Paul’s, like the editions of Balbec and Palmyra.
Horace Walpole

Ammianus Marcellinus

Ammianus is so eloquent, that he writes nonsense.
Edward Gibbon


I am a great friend to public amusements; for they keep people from vice.
Samuel Johnson


The following classes of aliens shall be excluded from admission into the United States: … anarchists, or persons who believe in or advocate the overthrow by force or violence of the government of the United States, or of all government, or of all forms of law, or the assassination of public officials.
Act of Congress, Feb. 20, 1907

We started off trying to set up a small anarchist community, but people wouldn't obey the rules.
Alan Bennett


Life is surely given us for higher purposes than to gather what our ancestors have wisely thrown away, and to learn what is of no value, but because it has been forgotten.
Samuel Johnson


I don't know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.
Abraham Lincoln

Nothing is so soothing to our self-esteem as to find our bad traits in our forebears. It seems to absolve us.
Van Wyck Brooks

It is certainly desirable to be well descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestors.

He who boasts of his descent praises another.

A mule always boasts that its ancestors were horses.
German Proverb

Speak of the moderns without contempt and of the ancients without idolatry; judge them all by their merits and not by their age.
Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield

People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.
Edmund Burke

The Queen is not amused.
Queen Victoria

Andrew Jackson

If we had had the cable telegraph in those days, this blood [from the battle of New Orleans] would not have been spilt, those lives would not have been wasted; and better still, Jackson would probably never have been president. We have gotten over the harms done us by the war of 1812, but not over some of those done us by Jackson's presidency.
Mark Twain

I feel much alarmed at the prospect of seeing General Jackson President. He is one of the most unfit men I know of for such a place.
Thomas Jefferson

Where is there a chief magistrate of whom so much evil has been predicted, and from whom so much good has come?
Thomas H. Benton, of Andrew Jackson


Who does the best his circumstances allows
Does well, acts nobly; angels could do no more.
Edward Young


The best cure for anger is delay.

How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.
Marcus Aurelius

Whate'er's begun in anger ends in shame.
Benjamin Franklin

When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.
Thomas Jefferson

Anger is a vulgar passion directed to vulgar ends, and it always sinks to the level of its object.
Ernst Von Feuchtersleben

The size of a man can be measured by the size of the thing that makes him angry.
J. Kenfield Morley

He who is slow to anger is longer getting over it.
Hungarian Proverb

Never forget what a man says to you when he is angry.
Henry Ward Beecher

An angry man [differs] from a madman only in the shorter time which his passion [endures].
Cato the Elder (Marcus Porcius Cato)

"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
Ephesians 4:26,27

Anger so clouds the mind, that it cannot perceive the truth.
Cato the Elder (Marcus Porcius Cato)

We are all crazy when we are angry.

Women are like wasps in their anger.
Nicholas Breton

The angry man never wanted woe.
Thomas Draxe

Anger begins with folly, and ends with repentance.
H. G. Bohn

The best answer to anger is silence.
German Proverb

He who restrains his anger overcomes his greatest enemy.
Hungarian Proverb

Those sudden bursts of rage generally break out upon small occasions; for life, unhappy as it is, cannot supply great evils as frequently as the man of fire thinks it fit to be enraged
Samuel Johnson

Whoever converses with him (the man prone to anger), lives with the suspicion and solicitude of a man that plays with a tame tiger, always under a necessity of watching the moment in which the capricious savage shall begin to growl.
Samuel Johnson

This is the round of a passionate man's life; he contracts debts when he is furious, which his virtue, if he has virtue, obliges him to discharge at the return of reason. He spends his time in outrage and acknowledgment, injury and reparation.
Samuel Johnson

I am angry nearly every day of my life … but I have learned not to show it; and I still hope to learn not to feel it, though it may take me another forty years to do so.
Louisa May Alcott

Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor.
Francis Bacon

Anger is never without an Argument, but seldom with a good one. (Alternative version: Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one.)
Lord Halifax

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

Anger and jealousy can no more bear to lose sight of their objects than love.
George Eliot

Anger is one of the sinews of the soul.
Thomas Fuller

Anger is a short madness. (Ira furor brevis est.)


The great qualities of the Anglo-Saxon race are industry, intelligence, and self-confidence.
Anthony Trollope

The Anglo-Saxon carries self-government and self-development with him wherever he goes.
H. W. Beecher


I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
Winston Churchill

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.
Josh Billings

The pig, if I am not mistaken,
Supplies us sausage, ham, and bacon.
Let others say his heart is big—
I call it stupid of the pig.
Ogden Nash

If you have no trouble, buy a goat.
Persian Proverb

Our toil is lessened, and our wealth is increased, by our dominion over the useful animals.
Edward Gibbon

There be beasts that, at a year old, observe more, and pursue that which is for their good more prudently, than a child can do at ten.
Thomas Hobbes

The lower animals have not the high advantages which we have, but they have some which we lack. They know nothing of our hopes, but they also know nothing of our fears; they are subject to death as we are, but they are not aware of it; most of them are better able to take care of themselves than we are, and they make a less evil use of their passions.
C. L. de Montesquieu

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

We have no reason to believe that other creatures have higher faculties, or more extensive capacities, than the preservation of themselves, or their species, requires; they seem always to be fully employed, or to be completely at ease without employment, to feel few intellectual miseries or pleasures, and to have no exuberance of understanding to lay out upon curiosity or caprice, but to have their minds exactly adapted to their bodies, with few other ideas than such as corporal pain or pleasure impresses upon them.
Samuel Johnson

We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.
Immanuel Kant


No answer is also an answer.
German Proverb

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1


Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.
Proverbs 6:6-8

As a thinker and a planner the ant is the equal of any savage race of men; as a self-educated specialist in several arts she is the superior of any savage race of men; and in one or two high mental qualities she is above the reach of any man, savage or civilized.
Mark Twain


Violent antipathies are always suspicious, and betray a secret affinity.
William Hazlitt


Let others praise ancient times; I am glad that I was born in these.

Damn the age; I will write for antiquity.
Attributed to Charles Lamb


The antisocial or asocial man is either a beast or a god.


To live in anguish is death itself; anxiety defeats and destroys man.
The Madness of Tristan

You know what is before you. The whips and scorpions, the thorns without roses, the dangers, anxieties, and weight of Empire.
Abigail Adams


It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what other men in whole books—what other men do not say in whole books.
F. W. Nietzsche

But, perhaps, the excellence of aphorisms consists not so much in the expression of some rare or abstruse sentiment, as in the comprehension of some obvious and useful truth in few words.
Samuel Johnson


Never make a defence or apology before you be accused.
Charles I


If I am asked, Shall I utter the formula of Islam or submit to death? I answer, Utter the formula and live.


All is not gold that shines like gold. (Non teneas aurum totum quod splendet ut aurum.)
Other translations:
  1. Everything that glitters is not gold.
  2. Do not hold as gold all that shines as gold.
Alanus De Insulis

Three-tenths of a good appearance are due to nature; seven-tenths to dress.
Chinese Proverb

A good exterior is a silent recommendation.
Publilius Syrus

Appearances are very deceitful.
Tobias Smollett

Men are valued, not for what they are, but for what they seem to be.
E. G. Bulwer-Lytton

Do not praise individuals for their good looks, or loathe anyone because of appearance alone.
Ecclesiasticus 11:2

Beware, as long as you live, of judging people by appearances.
Jean de La Fontaine

Keep up appearances; there lies the test;
The world will give thee credit for the rest.
Outward be fair, however foul within;
Sin if thou wilt, but then in secret sin.
Charles Churchill

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost.
J. R. R. Tolkien

Not all that tempts your wand'ring eyes
And heedless hearts, is lawful prize;
Nor all, that glisters, gold.
Thomas Gray


I … smell the stench of appeasement in the air.
Margaret Thatcher

I think that if I give him [Stalin] everything I possibly can and ask nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he won't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt

My good friends this is the second time in our history that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honor. I believe it is peace in our time.
Neville Chamberlain

We seem to be very near the bleak choice between war and shame. My feeling is that we shall choose shame and then have war thrown in a little later on even more adverse terms than at present.
Winston Churchill

The utmost he [Neville Chamberlain] has been able to gain for Czechoslovakia and in the matters which were in dispute has been that the German dictator, instead of snatching his victuals from the table, has been content to have them served to him course by course.
Winston Churchill


All man's efforts are for his mouth, yet his appetite is never satisfied.
Ecclesiastes 6:7

Subdue your appetites, and you've conquered human nature.
Charles Dickens

Appetite comes with eating … but the thirst goes away with drinking.
François Rabelais

Let appetite obey reason.

Leave with an appetite.
William Bullein

If thou rise with an appetite thou art sure never to sit down without one.
William Penn

The most violent appetites in all creatures are lust and hunger; the first is a perpetual call upon them to propagate their kind, the latter to preserve themselves.
Joseph Addison


When most the world applauds you, most beware:
'Tis often less a blessing than a snare.
Edward Young

Do not trust to the cheering, for those very persons would shout as much if you and I were going to be hanged.
Oliver Cromwell

When you applaud me at the start [of my speech], that's faith; midway through, that's hope. But, ah, my dear friends, if you applaud me at the end, that will be charity!
Bishop Fulton J. Sheen


Better the oppression of Turks than the justice of Arabs.
Arab Proverb

The life of a wandering Arab [in the time of Gibbon] is a life of danger and distress; and though sometimes, by rapine or exchange, he may appropriate the fruits of industry, a private citizen in Europe is in the possession of more solid and pleasing luxury than the proudest emir, who marches in the field at the head of ten thousand horse.
Edward Gibbon

[The] noblest of [Arabs] united the love of arms with the profession of merchandise.
Edward Gibbon

[Arabs are] a people, whom it is dangerous to provoke, and fruitless to attack.
Edward Gibbon

But [the Arabs'] friendship was venal, their faith inconstant, their enmity capricious: it was an easier task to excite than to disarm these roving barbarians; and, in the familiar intercourse of war, they learned to see, and to despise, the splendid weakness both of Rome and of Persia.
Edward Gibbon

The character of Hatem is the perfect model of Arabian virtue: he was brave and liberal, an eloquent poet, and a successful robber.
Edward Gibbon

Arabs would have sat in the dark forever had not the Zionist engineers harnessed the Jordan river for electrification. Now they swarm into Palestine in seeking the light.
Winston Churchill


He was swearing audibly, and when he found that the infirmities of the English tongue hemmed in his rage, he sought consolation in Arabic, which is expressly designed for the use of the afflicted.
Rudyard Kipling


Scanavius relates that he knew an archbishop who was so old that he could remember a time when he did not deserve hanging.
Ambrose Bierce


Architect, n. One who drafts a plan of your house, and plans a draft of your money.
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

The fate of the architect is the strangest of all. How often he expends his whole soul, his whole heart and passion, to produce buildings into which he himself may never enter.
J. W. Goethe


I have found a paper of mine in which I call architecture frozen music [erstarrte Musik]. Really there is something in this; the tone of mind produced by architecture approaches the effect of music.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

In architecture the pride of man, his triumph over gravitation, his will to power, assume a visible form. Architecture is a sort of oratory of power.
Friedrich Nietzsche


This gloomy region [the Arctic], where the year is divided into one day and one night, lies entirely outside the stream of history.
W. Winwood Reade


Be calm in arguing: for fierceness makes
Error a fault, and truth discourtesy.
George Herbert


When we wish to reprove with profit, and show another that he is mistaken, we must observe on what side he looks at the thing, for it is usually true on that side, and to admit to him that truth, but to discover to him the side whereon it is false. He is pleased with this, for he perceives that he was not mistaken, and that he only failed to look on all sides.
Blaise Pascal

It is not necessary to understand things in order to argue about them.
Caron de Beaumarchais

To attempt to argue any great question upon facts only is absurd; you cannot state any fact before a mixed audience which an opponent as clever as yourself cannot with ease twist towards another bearing, or at least meet by a contrary fact, as it is called.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

There is no greater mistake that the hasty conclusion that opinions are worthless because they are badly argued.
T. H. Huxley

You cannot argue with someone who denies the first principles. (Contra negantem principia non est disputandum.)
Auctoritates Aristotelis


I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents.
Thomas Jefferson


If you can make a good bargain with an Armenian you can make a good bargain with the Devil.
Persian Proverb


This is not a peace treaty, it is an armistice for twenty years.
Ferdinand Foch, at the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, 1919


The principal foundations of all states are good laws and good arms; and there cannot be good laws where there are not good arms.
Niccolò Machiavelli

Both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms.

I do not wish to see guns in the hands of all the world, for there are other ferae naturae besides hares and partridges.
Horace Walpole

A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Constitution of the United States of America, Amendment II

Arms are the props of peace. (Arma pacis fulcra.)
Latin Proverb


An army of stags led by a lion is more to be feared than an army of lions led by a stag.
Attributed to Chabrias

That's what an army is—a mob; they don't fight with courage that's born in them, but with courage that's borrowed from their mass, and from their officers.
Mark Twain

A large army is always disorderly.

Walled towns, stored arsenals and armories, goodly races of horse, chariots of war, elephants, ordinance, artillery, and the like; all this is but a sheep in lion's skin except the breed and disposition of the people be stout and warlike.
Francis Bacon

The Greeks by their laws, and the Romans by the spirit of their people, took care to put into the hands of their rulers no such engine of oppression as a standing army. Their system was to make every man a soldier, and oblige him to repair to the standard of his country whenever that was reared. This made them invincible; and the same remedy will make us so.
Thomas Jefferson

The army has always been the basis of power, and it is so today. Power is always in the hands of those who command it.
Lyof N. Tolstoy

It may be said, therefore, that the military opinion of the world is opposed to those people who cry 'Democratize the army!' and it must be remembered that an army is not a field upon which persons with Utopian ideas may exercise their political theories, but a weapon for the defence of the State.
Winston Churchill


[Their] minds were not yet humbled to their condition.
Edward Gibbon

It has been long observed, that drollery and ridicule is the most easy kind of wit: let it be added that contempt and arrogance is the easiest philosophy.
Samuel Johnson


I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Art for art's sake makes no more sense than gin for gin's sake.
Somerset Maugham

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

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

You must treat a work of art like a great man: stand before it and wait patiently till it deigns to speak.
Arthur Schopenhauer

No one can explain how the notes of a Mozart melody, or the folds of a piece of Titian's drapery, produce their essential effects. If you do not feel it, no one can by reasoning make you feel it.
John Ruskin

I don't know anything about art, but I know what I like.
American Proverb

Another unsettling element in modern art is that common symptom of immaturity, the dread of doing what has been done before.
Edith Wharton

By a curious confusion, many modern critics have passed from the proposition that a masterpiece may be unpopular to the other proposition that unless it is unpopular it cannot be a masterpiece.
G. K. Chesterton

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
Scott Adams

I passionately hate the idea of being with it, I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time.
Orson Welles

I don't know what art is, but I do know what it isn't. And it isn't someone walking around with a salmon over his shoulder, or embroidering the name of everyone they have slept with on the inside of a tent.
Brian Sewell

The photographer is like the cod which produces a million eggs in order that one may reach maturity.
George Bernard Shaw

I always ask the sitter if they want truth or flattery. They always ask for truth, and I always give them flattery.
Ruskin Spear

Yes—one does like to make one's mummy just as nice as possible!
James McNeill Whistler

All that I desire to point out is the general principle that Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.
Oscar Wilde

If a scientist were to cut his ear off, no one would take it as evidence of a heightened sensibility.
Peter Medawar

The joy of conceptual art is that the description is everything. Oh yes, there is real artistry at work here. It just isn't on the walls but in the catalogue descriptions.
Benet Brandreth

Art! Who comprehends her? With whom can one consult concerning this great goddess?
Ludwig van Beethoven

The period in which any given people reach their highest power in art is precisely that in which they appear to sign the warrant of their own ruin.
John Ruskin

It is a gratification to me to know that I am ignorant of art.
Mark Twain

It is the treating of the commonplace with the feeling of the sublime that gives to art its true power.
Jean-Francois Millet

The struggle against a purpose in art is always a struggle against the moral tendency in art—against its subordination to morality. L'art pour l'art means, Let morality go to the Devil.
F. W. Nietzsche

Art is the stored honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and travail.
Theodore Dreiser

There is sometimes a greater judgement shewn in deviating from the rules of art, than in adhering to them; and … there is more beauty in the works of a great genius who is ignorant of all the rules of art, than in the works of a little genius, who not only knows but scrupulously observes them.
Joseph Addison

All passes. Art alone
Enduring stays to us;
The Bust outlasts the throne,—
The Coin, Tiberius.
Henry Austin Dobson

Human life is a sad show, undoubtedly: ugly, heavy and complex. Art has no other end, for people of feeling, than to conjure away the burden and bitterness.
Gustave Flaubert


A man is as old as his arteries.
Thomas Sydenham


The gods that first taught artists their craft laid a great curse on mankind.

Artists are on the average less happy than men of science.
Bertrand Russell

The torpid artist seeks inspiration at any cost—by virtue or by vice, by friend or by fiend, by prayer or by wine.
E. W. Emerson

The great artist is the simplifier.
H. F. Amiel

The true artist will let his wife starve, his children go barefoot, his mother drudge for his living at seventy, sooner than work at anything but his art.
George Bernard Shaw

The great artists of the world are never Puritans, and seldom even ordinarily respectable. No virtuous man—that is, virtuous in the Y.M.C.A. sense—has ever painted a picture worth looking at, or written a symphony worth hearing, or a book worth reading.
H. L. Mencken

It is closing time in the gardens of the West and from now on an artist will be judged only by the resonance of his solitude or the quality of his despair.
Cyril Connolly

That terrible mood of depression of whether it's any good or not is what is known as The Artist's Reward.
Ernest Hemingway

The artist must be in his work as God is in creation, invisible and all-powerful; one must sense him everywhere but never see him.
Gustave Flaubert


There is no virtue in penance and fasting which waste the body; they are only fanatical and monkish.
Immanuel Kant

A dominant religion is never ascetic.
Thomas Babington Macaulay

Asceticism may be a mere expression of organic hardihood, disgusted with too much ease.
William James


I am ashes where once I was fire.
Lord Byron


Asia is not going to be civilised after the methods of the West. There is too much Asia and she is too old.
Rudyard Kipling


He that asketh faintly beggeth a denial.
Thomas Fuller

The man who is afraid of asking is ashamed of learning.
Danish Proverb


Men would be angels, angels would be gods.
Alexander Pope

Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's Heaven for?
Robert Browning

The aim, if reached or not, makes great the life:
Try to be Shakespeare, leave the rest to fate.
Robert Browning

Hitch your wagon to a star.
R. W. Emerson

If you aspire to the highest place it is no disgrace to stop at the second, or even the third.


Assassination is the last resource of cowards.
Edward Gibbon


The more numerous an assembly may be, of whatever characters composed, the greater is known to be the ascendancy of passion over reason.
Alexander Hamilton


When you are at Rome live in the Roman style; when you are elsewhere live as they live elsewhere.
Saint Ambrose


I am always longing to be with men more excellent than myself.
Charles Lamb

When a dove begins to associate with crows its feathers remain white but its heart grows black.
German Proverb


[Astrology] is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune (often the surfeit of our own behavior) we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars; as if we were villains by necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and teachers by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforced obedience of planetary influence.
William Shakespeare

I don't believe in astrology; I'm a Sagittarius and we're sceptical.
Arthur C. Clarke


[The] sublime science of astronomy … elevates the mind of man to disdain his diminutive planet and momentary existence.
Edward Gibbon


A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth a man's mind about to religion.
Francis Bacon

The three great apostles of practical atheism, that make converts without persecuting, and retain them without preaching, are wealth, health, and power.
C. C. Colton

Practical atheism, seeing no guidance for human affairs but its own limited foresight, endeavors itself to play the god, and decide what will be good for mankind and what bad.
Herbert Spencer

By cutting the umbilical cord with God, our source of ethical vitality would be gone. Morally, we would be come nothing better than a species of fantastically clever monkeys. Our ultimate fate would be too horrible to contemplate. For the truth is that we humans are all Jekyll and Hyde creatures, and the monster within each of us is always striving to take over.
Paul Johnson

They that deny a God destroy man's nobility; for certainly man is of kin to the beasts by his body; and, if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature.
Francis Bacon

Man is by his constitution a religious animal; atheism is against not only our reason, but our instincts.
Edmund Burke


The kingdom that is infested by atheists is beset by famine and disease and soon perishes.
The Code of Manu

To you I'm an atheist; to God, I'm the Loyal Opposition.
Woody Allen

Some are atheists by neglect; others are so by affectation; they that think there is no God at some times do not think so at all times.
Benjamin Whichcote

Boldness formerly was not the character of Atheists as such. … But of late they are grown active, designing, turbulent, and seditious.
Edmund Burke

An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support.
John Buchan (Lord Tweedsmuir)

There are no atheists in the foxholes.
William Thomas Cummings

All thinking men are atheists.
Ernest Hemingway


Don't fire until you can see the whites of their eyes.
William Prescott


A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
Herm Albright


Success is the child of audacity.
Benjamin Disraeli


The best audience is intelligent, well-educated, and a little drunk.
Alben W. Barkley

The play was a great success, but the audience was a total failure.
Oscar Wilde


Austerity is the proper antidote to indulgence.
Samuel Johnson


Poor Austria! Two things made her a nation: she was German and she was Catholic, and now she has neither.
Benjamin Disraeli


So long as the Austrian has his beer and sausages he will not revolt.
Ludwig van Beethoven

No Italian can hate an Austrian more than I do; unless it is the English, the Austrians seem to me the most obnoxious race under the sky.
Lord Byron


The best part of every author is in general to be found in his book, I assure you.
Samuel Johnson

While an author is yet living we estimate his powers by his worst performance, and when he is dead we rate them by his best.
Samuel Johnson

An author is like a baker; it is for him to make the sweets, and others to buy and enjoy them.
Leigh Hunt

An author is a fool who, not content with boring those he lives with, insists on boring future generations.
Charles de Montesquieu

Authors with a mortgage never get writer's block.
Mavis Cheek

An author places himself uncalled before the tribunal of criticism, and solicits fame at the hazard of disgrace.
Samuel Johnson

To commence author is to claim praise, and no man can justly aspire to honour, but at the hazard of disgrace.
Samuel Johnson

There are men that will make you books, and turn 'em loose into the world, with as much dispatch as they would do a dish of fritters.

Choose an author as you choose a friend.
Wentworth Dillon

The most "popular," the most "successful" writers among us (for a brief period, at least) are, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, persons of mere address, perseverance, effrontery—in a word, busy-bodies, toadies, quacks.
Edgar Allan Poe

The author who speaks about his own books is almost as bad as a mother who talks about her own children.
Benjamin Disraeli

A writing man is something of a black sheep, like the village fiddler. Occasionally a fiddler becomes a violinist, and is a credit to his family, but as a rule he would have done better had his tendency been toward industry and saving.
E. W. Howe

I have protracted my work till most of those whom I wished to please have sunk into the grave, and success and miscarriage are empty sounds. I therefore dismiss it with frigid tranquility, having little to fear or hope from censure or from praise.
Samuel Johnson

No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.
Samuel Johnson

The wickedness of a loose or profane author is more atrocious than that of the giddy libertine, or drunken ravisher, not only because it extends its effects wider, as a pestilence that taints the air is more destructive than poison infused in a draught, but because it is committed with cool deliberation.
Samuel Johnson

The gradations of a hero's life are from battle to battle, and of an author.s from book to book.
Samuel Johnson

The author in his work should be like God in the universe: everywhere present and nowhere visible.
Gustave Flaubert

The praise of ancient authors proceeds not from the reverence of the dead, but from the competition, and mutual envy of the living.
Thomas Hobbes


Nothing has been found so mighty
That it has not found a master.
Elias Lonnrot, The Kalevala


Autobiography is now as common as adultery and hardly less reprehensible.
Lord Altrincham (John Grigg)

An autobiography is an obituary in serial form with the last installment missing.
Quentin Crisp

To write one's memoirs is to speak ill of everybody except oneself.
Henri Philippe Pétain

The next thing like living one's life over again seems to be a recollection of that life, and to make that recollection as durable as possible by putting it down in writing.
Benjamin Franklin

To set about writing my own life would be no less than horrible to me; and shall of a certainty never be done. The common impious vulgar of this earth, what has it to do with my life or me?
Thomas Carlyle


Is fuel efficiency really what we need most desperately? I say that what we really need is a car that can be shot when it breaks down.
Russell Baker

Carriage without horses shall go,
And accidents fill the world with woe.
Anonymous, 1862


Avarice and luxury have been the ruin of every great state.

Avarice has so seized upon mankind that their wealth seems rather to possess them than they to possess their wealth.
Pliny the Younger

Avarice is the root of evil. (Radix malorum est cupiditas.)
1 Timothy 6:10 (translation of the Vulgate)

Avarice, the spur of industry, is so obstinate a passion, and works its way through so many real dangers and difficulties, that it is not likely to be scared by an imaginary danger, which is so small that it scarcely admits of calculation.
David Hume


What can you conceive more silly and extravagant than to suppose a man racking his brains, and studying night and day how to fly?
William Law

The birds can fly,
An' why can't I?
J. T. Trowbridge


I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don't deserve that either.
Jack Benny


Men lose more conquests by their own awkwardness than by any virtue in the woman.
Ninon de Enclos

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Last updated: July 12, 2024