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Cool Quotes - C


Cabbage twice cooked is death.
Greek Proverb.


You can’t eat your cake and have it. [Alternative version, "Wouldst thou both eat thy cake and have it?"]
English proverb


To have been happy adds to the calamity.
John Fletcher

Calamities are of two kinds: misfortune to ourselves, and good fortune to others.
Ambrose Bierce


California's like an artificial limb the rest of the country doesn't really need.
Saul Bellow


Keep calm and carry on.
Author unidentified. The text appears on a British World War II poster that was apparently never used.


Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny.
William Shakespeare

A man calumniated is doubly injured—first by him who utters the calumny, and then by him who believes it.

Calumny disregarded is soon forgotten by the world, but if you get into a passion about it, it seems to have a foundation of truth about it.

As there is no mountain without mist, so there is no man of merit without calumniators.
Turkish proverb

Calumnies are answered best with silence.
Ben Johnson


The peasants either use a horse and a camel, a burro and a camel, a bull and a camel, or a bull and a horse. I am informed that they cannot use two camels because they fight each other. Any animal hooked up with a camel becomes disgusted and loses interest in life.
George S. Patton, Jr.


I wish the British Government would give you Canada at once. It is fit for nothing but to breed quarrels.
Lord Ashburton

Canada could have enjoyed:
English government,
French culture,
and American know-how.
Instead it ended up with:
English know-how,
French government,
and American culture.
John Robert Colombo

England would be better off without Canada; it keeps her in a prepared state for war at a great expense and constant irritation.
Napoleon I


Americans are benevolently ignorant about Canada, while Canadians are malevolently well informed about the United States.
J. Bartlet Brebner


'Yes,' I answered you last night;
'No,' this morning, sir, I say.
Colours seen by candle-light
Will not look the same by day.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning


Choose not a woman nor a linen cloth by the candle.
James Sandford


Cannibals have the same notions of right and wrong that we have. They make war in the same anger and passion that move us, and the same crimes are committed everywhere. Eating fallen enemies is only an extra ceremonial. The wrong does not consist in roasting them, but in killing them.


Cannons and firearms are cruel and damnable machines. I believe them to have been the direct suggestion of the devil.
Martin Luther


Capital must be propelled by self-interest; it cannot be enticed by benevolence.
Walter Bagehot

Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights.
Abraham Lincoln

Capital is mobile. It goes where it is welcomed and stays where it is well-treated, so states compete to create tax and regulatory environments conducive to job creation. Liberals call this a "race to the bottom." Conservatives call it a race to rationality.
George F. Will

Capital and Labor

Each needs the other: capital cannot do without labor, nor labor without capital.
Pope Leo XIII


Those who pillory capitalism for "creating artificial needs" strike me as timid and dismal souls. You might just as well denounce Monet for creating an "artificial need" for Impressionism.
Paul Johnson

Despite the miracles of capitalism, it doesn't do well in popularity polls. One of the reasons is that capitalism is always evaluated against the non-existent, non-realizable utopias of socialism or communism. Any earthly system, when compared to a Utopia, will pale in comparison. But for the ordinary person, capitalism, with all of its warts, is superior to any system yet devised to deal with our everyday needs and desires.
Walter E. Williams

Industrial capitalism simply evolved, from the free and uncoordinated transactions and unimpeded movements of countless unknown individuals. It was not a political creation at all.
Paul Johnson

Industrial capitalism has done more to promote content among mankind than any other man-made phenomenon in history.
Paul Johnson

The market is the only kind of collective which conforms to nature and actually works after a fashion, because it is based upon the voluntary principle and remains a free combination of individuals.
Paul Johnson

We may indeed ask ourselves how it is that capitalism and free enterprise enable the United States not only to support its vast and varied life and needs, but also to supply these enormous sums to lighten the burden of others in distress.
Winston Churchill

Capitalism and Socialism

It is one of history's great ironies that capitalists built decent and humane societies on the basis of an amoral approach to the economics of pricing, whereas socialists built exploitative and inhumane societies on the basis of a morally inflamed approach to economics.
Kevin D. Williamson

When losses are made, under the present system those losses are borne by the individuals who sustained them and took the risk and judged things wrongly, whereas under State management all losses are quartered upon the taxpayers and the community as a whole. The elimination of the profit motive and of self-interest as a practical guide in the myriad transactions of daily life will restrict, paralyse and destroy British ingenuity, thrift, contrivance and good housekeeping at every stage in our life and production, and will reduce all our industries from a profit-making to a loss-making process.
Winston Churchill

When I see the present Socialist Government denouncing capitalism in all its forms, mocking with derision and contempt the tremendous free enterprise capitalist system on which the mighty production of the United States is founded, I cannot help feeling that as a nation we are not acting honourably or even honestly.
Winston Churchill

The choice is between two ways of life: between individual liberty and State domination; between concentrations of ownership in the hands of the State and the extension of ownership over the widest number of individuals; between the dead hand of monopoly and the stimulus of competition; between a policy of increasing restraint and a policy of liberating energy and ingenuity; between a policy of leveling down and a policy of opportunity for all to rise upwards from a basic standard.
Winston Churchill


The trouble with socialism is socialism. The trouble with capitalism is capitalists.
Willi Schlamm


It offends my eyes to see rome, france, caesar, henry the fourth, etc., begin with small letters; and I do not conceive there can be any reason for doing it half so strong as the reason of long usage is to the contrary
Lord Chesterton


I am sorry I have not learned to play at cards. It is very useful in life: it generates kindness and consolidates society.
Samuel Johnson

From such assemblies (card games), in whatever humour I happened to enter them, I was quickly forced to retire; they were too trifling for me, when I was grave, and too dull, when I was cheerful.
Samuel Johnson


Small cares speak; great ones are dumb.

Care keeps his watch in every old man’s eye,
And where care lodges, sleep will never lie.

It is a great mistake to suppose that all care is wakeful. People sometimes sleep, as well as wake, by reason of their sorrow.
Leigh Hunt

What though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.

I am sure care’s an enemy to life.


If you can't be good be careful.
American Proverb

Be careful, and you will save many men from the sin of robbing you.
E. W. Howe


The wife of a careless man is almost a widow.
Hungarian Proverb

Careless she is with artful care,
Affecting to seem unaffected.
William Congreve

Caroline of England

Most gracious queen, we thee implore
To go away and sin no more,
But if that effort be too great,
To go away at any rate.
Anonymous: Verse circulated in London on the trial of Queen Caroline for adultery, 1820.


People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.
Adam Smith

In a free trade, an effectual combination cannot be established but by the unanimous consent of every single trader, and it cannot last longer than every single trader continues of the same mind. The majority of a corporation can enact a bye-law, with proper penalties, which will limit the competition more effectually and more durably than any voluntary combination whatever.
Adam Smith


That country [Carthage] was rapidly sinking into the state of barbarism from whence it had been raised by the Phoenician colonies and Roman laws; and every step of intestine discord was marked by some deplorable victory of savage man over civilized society.
Edward Gibbon


Hard cases make bad law.
English proverb


In God we trust; all others must pay cash.
American Saying


There is a demand today for men who can make wrong appear right.
Terrence, c. 160 B.C.


When I play with my cat, who knows whether I do not make her more sport than she makes me?
Michel Eyquem, seigneur de Montaigne

Stately, kindly, lordly friend
Here to sit by me.
Algernon Charles Swinburne, to a Cat

Any member introducing a dog into the Society's premises shall be liable to a fine of £10. Any animal leading a blind person shall be deemed to be a cat.
Rule 46, Oxford Union Society (circa 1997)

I've never understood why women love cats. Cats are independent, they don't listen, they don't come in when you call, they like to stay out all night, and when they're home they like to be left alone and sleep. In other words, every quality that women hate in a man, they love in a cat.
Jay Leno

If man could be crossed with a cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.
Mark Twain

Cats are cleverer than we think, but less clever than they think.
Author unidentified

When the cat's away the mice will play.
English proverb

Cat mighty dignified till de dog come by.
American negro proverb

Those who’ll play with cats must expect to be scratched.

In ancient times cats were worshiped as gods; they have not forgotten this.
Sir Terry Pratchett


Luther, taking up a caterpillar, said: 'Tis an emblem of the devil in its crawling walk, and bears his colors in its changing hue.
Martin Luther


If we take the widest and wisest view of a Cause, there is no such thing as a Lost Cause, because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause. We fight for lost causes because we know that our defeat and dismay may be the preface to our successors' victory, though that victory itself will be temporary; we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation it will triumph.
T. S. Eliot

The best causes tend to attract to their support the worst arguments.
R. A. Fisher

Cause and Effect

The thorns which I have reap'd are of the tree I planted.

After this, therefore because of this. (Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.)
Latin Phrase (A familiar logical fallacy)

For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.
Hosea 8:7 (KJV)

The most important events are often determined by trivial causes.

No man has a right to repine at evils which, against warning, against experience, he deliberately and leisurely brings upon his own head.
Samuel Johnson


The cautious seldom make mistakes.

Think much and often, speak little, and write less.
Italian Proverb

If not chastely, then at least cautiously. (Nisi caste, saltem caute.)
Latin Proverb

Drive carefully. We have two cemeteries [but] no hospital.
Billboard outside of Branxton, New South Wales

Look before you leap.
English proverb

If your lips would keep from slips
Five things observe with care:
To whom you speak, of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Author unidentified

The most cautious woman gets the reputation of being the most chaste.
Spanish proverb


A celebrity is one who is known to many persons he is glad he doesn't know.
H. L. Mencken


Marriage may often be a stormy lake, but celibacy is almost always a muddy horsepond.
Thomas Love Peacock

The interdiction of marriage to priests was an act of impious tyranny, not only contrary to the word of God, but at war with every principle of justice.
John Calvin

They that have grown old in a single state are generally found to be morose, fretful and captious, tenacious of their own practices and maxims.
Samuel Johnson

The Church of Rome have an idea that the pope is St. Peter's successor, and that the clergy ought not to marry. But I would ask, if it was lawful for St. Peter to have a wife, why not lawful for a priest or other preacher to have one?
Lorenzo Dow


The Celts or Sidonides are an old family, of whose beginning there is no memory, and their end is likely to be still more remote in the future; for they have endurance and productiveness.
R. W. Emerson


The fence around a cemetery is foolish, for those inside can't get out and those outside don't want to get in.
Arthur Brisbane

He who seeks equality should go to a cemetery.
German Proverb


The first thing will be to establish a censorship of fiction. Let the censors accept any tale that is good, and reject any that is bad.

If there had been a censorship of the press in Rome we should have had today neither Horace nor Juvenal, nor the philosophical writings of Cicero.

I am mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, the sale of a book can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too, as an offence against religion; that a question like this can be carried before the civil magistrate. Is this then our freedom of religion?
Thomas Jefferson

There is no time in history [when] the people who were censoring speech were the good guys.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

In order to keep any coherence in the governmental process, to prevent the wildest anarchy in thought and act, the government must put limits upon the free play of opinion. In part, it can reach that end by mere propaganda, by the bald force of its authority—that is, by making certain doctrines officially infamous.
H. L. Mencken

Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings. (Dort, wo man Bücher Verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen.)
Heinrich Heine

We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still.
John Stuart Mill


Censure is the tax a man pays to the public for being eminent.
Jonathan Swift

I find the pain of a little censure, even when it is unfounded, is more acute than the pleasure of much praise.
Thomas Jefferson

I am now too old to be much pained by hasty censure.
Samuel Johnson


If ever this vast country is brought under a single government, it will be one of the most extensive corruption.
Thomas Jefferson

To bring about government by oligarchy, masquerading as democracy, it is fundamentally essential that practically all authority and control be centralized in our national government. The individual sovereignty of our states must first be destroyed.
F. D. Roosevelt


Cerberus, n. The watch-dog of Hades, whose duty it was to guard the entrance—against whom or what does not clearly appear; everybody, sooner or later, had to go there, and nobody wanted to carry off the entrance.
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

The hound of hell, in Greek, is called Cerberus; in Hebrew, Scorphur: he has three throats—sin, the law, and death.
Martin Luther


The public, with its mob yearning to be instructed, edified and pulled by the nose, demands certainties; it must be told definitely and a bit raucously that this is true and that is false. But there are no certainties.
H. L. Mencken

If you forsake a certainty and depend on an uncertainty, you will lose both the certainty and the uncertainty.
Sanskrit Proverb

In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.
Bertrand Russell

Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality.
Bertrand Russell

Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right.
Laurens Van der Post

If you are sure you understand everything that is going on, you are hopelessly confused.
Walter Mondale

A mind [David Howell's] not so much open as permanently vulnerable to a succession of opposing certainties.
W. Somerset Maugham

The world is made up for the most part of morons and natural tyrants, sure of themselves, strong in their own opinions, never doubting anything.
Clarence Darrow

Certitude is not the test of certainty. We have been cocksure of many things that were not so.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.


A single glass of champagne imparts a feeling of exhilaration. The nerves are braced, the imagination is agreeably stirred, the wits become more nimble. A bottle produces a contrary effect.
Winston Churchill


The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.
Ecclesiastes 9:11

A wise man turns chance into good fortune.
Thomas Fuller

A man, thus cut off from the prospect of that port to which his address and fortitude had been employed to steer him, often abandons himself to chance and to the wind, and glides careless and idle down the current of life, without resolution to make another effort, till he is swallowed up by the gulph of mortality.
Samuel Johnson

We do not what we ought;
What we ought not, we do;
And lean upon the thought
That chance will bring us through.
Matthew Arnold


Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.

There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new.
Niccolò Machiavelli

Everything changes but the avant-garde.
Paul Valéry

The more that things change, the more we need to depend upon those things that never change.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin

If nothing changes, nothing changes. If you keep doing what you're doing, you're going to keep getting what you're getting. You want change, make some.
Courtney C. Stevens

Can an Ethiopian change his skin or a leopard his spots?
Jeremiah 23:13

All things are changed, and we change with them. (Omnia mutantur nos et mutamur in illis.)
Lothair I

Times change and men deteriorate. (Tempora mutantur et homines deteriorantur.)
The Gesta Romanorum

Woman, wind, and luck soon change.
Portuguese proverb

When it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.
Lucius Cary (Viscount Falkland)

Such is the state of life that none are happy but by the anticipation of change. The change itself is nothing: when we have made it the next wish is to change again.
Samuel Johnson

Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.
Thomas à Kempis

Only the most intelligent and the most stupid do not change.
Confucius (K'ung Fu-tzu)

In a higher world it is otherwise, but here below to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.
John Henry Cardinal Newman

You can't step twice into the same river.


Life doesn't happen in chapters—at least, not regular ones. Nor do movies. Homer didn't write in chapters. I can see what their purpose is in children's books ("I'll read to the end of the chapter, and then you must go to sleep") but I'm blessed if I know what function they serve in books for adults.
Terry Pratchett


There are things about me you wouldn't understand, things you couldn't understand, things you shouldn't understand.
Pee Wee Herman

The louder he talked of his honour, the faster we counted our spoons.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

A man never discloses his own character so clearly as when he describes another's.
Jean Paul Richter

If I keep my good character, I shall be rich enough.

There is something even more valuable to civilization than wisdom, and that is character.
H. L. Mencken

The older I grow the less I esteem mere ideas. In politics, particularly, they are transient and unimportant … There are only men who have character and men who lack it.
H. L. Mencken

Mankind is made up of inconsistencies, and no man acts invariably up to his predominant character. The wisest man sometimes acts weakly, and the weakest sometimes wisely.
Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield

When wealth is lost, nothing is lost;
When health is lost, something is lost;
When character is lost, all is lost!
Author unidentified

But the human character, however it may be exalted or depressed by a temporary enthusiasm, will return by degrees to its proper and natural level, and will resume those passions that seem the most adapted to its present condition.
Edward Gibbon

There never could be a man so brave that he would not sometime, or in the end, turn part or all coward; or so wise that he was not, from beginning to end, part ass if you knew where to look; or so good that nothing at all about him was despicable.
James Gould Cozzen

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
John Wooden

Tell me with whom you consort and I will tell you who you are; if I know how you spend your time, then I know what might become of you.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It is in trifles, and when he is off his guard, that a man best shows his character.
Arthur Schopenhauer

Your character depends largely upon what the public doesn't know about you.
Author unidentified

One must not always think so much about what one should do, but rather what one should be. Our works do not ennoble us; but we must ennoble our works.
Meister Eckhart

Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds; and until we know what has been or will be the peculiar combination of outward with inward facts, which constitute a man's critical actions, it will be better not to think ourselves wise about his character.
George Eliot

A man's character is his fate.


With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Abraham Lincoln

Charity and pride have different aims, yet both feed the poor.
Thomas Fuller

He gives twice that gives soon; i.e., he will soon be called to give again.
Benjamin Franklin

I cannot describe to you the despairing sensation of trying to do something for a man who seems incapable or unwilling to do anything further for himself.

Do not tell me of my obligation to put all poor men in good situations. Are they my poor? I tell thee, thou foolish philanthropist, that I grudge the dollar, the dime, the cent I give to such men as do not belong to me and to whom I do not belong.
R. W. Emerson

With one hand I take thousands of rubles from the poor, and with the other I hand back a few kopecks.
Leo Tolstoy

The charity that hastens to proclaim its good deeds, ceases to be charity, and is only pride and ostentation.
William Hutton

It was his doctrine that the poor
Were always able, never willing;
And so the beggar at the door
Had first abuse and then a shilling.
W. M. Praed

Whatever capital you divert to the support of to a shiftless and good-for-nothing person is so much diverted from some other employment, and that means from somebody else.
W. G. Sumner

I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan to indulge a benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds for that purpose. I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution.
Grover Cleveland

Charity begins at hame, but shouldna end there.
Scottish Proverb

Charity cannot take the place of justice unfairly withheld.
Pope Pius XI

But how shall we expect charity towards others, when we are uncharitable to ourselves? Charity begins at home, is the voice of the world; yet is every man his greatest enemy, and, as it were, his own executioner.
Sir Thomas Browne

"To wipe all tears from off all faces," is a task too hard for mortals; but to alleviate misfortunes is often within the most limited power: yet the opportunities which every day affords of relieving the most wretched of human beings are overlooked and neglected, with equal disregard of policy and goodness.
Samuel Johnson

Charity degrades those who receive it and hardens those who dispense it.
George Sand

Charles Dickens

Mr. Dickens writes too often and too fast …. If he persists much longer in this course, it requires no gift of prophecy to foretell his fate he has risen like a rocket, and he will come down like a stick.
Anonymous review 1838

Dickens was the incarnation of cockneydom, a caricaturist who aped the moralist; he should have kept to short stories. If his novels are read at all in the future people will wonder what we saw in him.
George Meredith

He [Charles Dickens] describes London like a special correspondent for posterity.
Walter Bagehot

Charles I

His [Charles I] policy was a series of intrigues which failed, and a succession of bargains in which he asked much, offered little, and got nothing.
C. H. Firth


Charming people live up to the very edge of their charm, and behave as outrageously as the world will let them.
Logan Pearsall Smith

All charming people, I fancy, are spoiled. It is the secret of their attraction.
Oscar Wilde


Give me chastity and continence, but not just now.
Saint Augustine

Chaste makes waste.
Author unidentified

An untempted woman cannot boast of her chastity.
Michel Eyquem, seigneur de Montaigne

Although the progress of civilization has undoubtedly contributed to assuage the fiercer passions of human nature, it seems to have been less favorable to the virtue of chastity … The refinements of life corrupt while they polish the intercourse of the sexes.
Edward Gibbon

A reputation for chastity is necessary to a woman. Chastity itself is also sometimes useful.
Author unidentified

It is possible to meet with women who have never had an affair of gallantry; but it is rare to find any who have had only one.
La Rochefoucauld

Your women of honor, as you call 'em, are only chary of their reputations, not their persons; and 'tis scandal that they would avoid, not men.
William Wycherley

A woman's resistance is no proof of her virtue; it is much more likely to be a proof of her experience. If we spoke sincerely, we should have to confess that our first impulse is to yield; we only resist on reflection.
Ninon D'Enclos

Chastity is a monkish and evangelical superstition, a greater foe to natural temperance even than unintellectual sensuality; it strikes at the root of all domestic happiness, and consigns more than half of the human race to misery.
P. B. Shelley: Queen Mab, notes, 1813

The most virtuous woman always has something within her that is not quite chaste.
Honoré de Balzac

Che Guevara

Che was an enemy of freedom, and yet he has been erected into a symbol of freedom. He helped establish an unjust social system in Cuba and has been erected into a symbol of social justice. He stood for the ancient rigidities of Latin-American thought, in a Marxist-Leninist version, and he has been celebrated as a freethinker and a rebel.
Paul Berman


What we obtain too cheap we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.
Thomas Paine


He that cheats me once, shame on him; he that cheats me twice, shame on me. (He that cheats me ance, shame fa' him; he that cheats me twice; shame fa' me.)
Scottish Proverb

'Tis no sin to cheat a cheater. (Fallere fallentem non est fraus.)
Medieval Latin Proverb

And while a rightful claim to pleasure or to affluence must be procured either by slow industry or uncertain hazard, there will always be multitudes whom cowardice or impatience incite to more safe and more speedy methods, who strive to pluck the fruit without cultivating the tree, and to share the advantages of victory without partaking the danger of the battle.
Samuel Johnson


See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
Oh, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!


Be cheerful while you are alive.

Health and cheerfulness mutually beget each other.
Joseph Addison


Life's too short for chess.
Henry J. Byron

[Chess is a] foolish expedient for making idle people believe they are doing something very clever, when they are only wasting their time.
George Bernard Shaw


Chicago has a strange metaphysical elegance of death about it.
Claes Oldenburg


The child is not the mere creature of the state.
U.S. Supreme Court, 1925

A child is a lifetime of worry.
Author unidentified

Even very young children need to be informed about dying. Explain the concept of death very carefully to your child. This will make threatening him with it much more effective.
P. J. O'Rourke

Teach your child to hold his tongue, he'll learn fast enough to speak.
Author unidentified

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

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child!

A naughty child is better sick than whole.
George Herbert

The fundamental theory of liberty upon which governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the state.
Decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the Oregon school case, 1925


Grow up, and that is a terribly hard thing to do. It is much easier to skip it and go from one childhood to another.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

The childhood shows the man
As morning shows the day.
John Milton

It is customary, but I think it is a mistake, to speak of happy childhood. Children are often overanxious and acutely sensitive. Man ought to be man and master of his fate; but children are at the mercy of those around them.
John Lubbock (Lord Avebury)


The childless escape much misery.

It is horrible to see oneself die without children.
Napoleon I


I am married to Beatrice Salkeld, a painter. We have no children, except me.
Brendan Behan

Insanity is hereditary. You get it from your children.
Author unidentified

Anybody who hates children and dogs can't be all bad.
W. C. Fields

Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.
Oscar Wilde

Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said.
Author unidentified

I take my children everywhere, but they always find their way back home.
Robert Orben

My husband and I are either going to buy a dog or have a child. We can't decide whether to ruin our carpet or ruin our lives.
Rita Rudner

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Mark 10:14

He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune, for they are impediments to great enterprises.
Francis Bacon

When children stand quiet they have done some ill.
George Herbert

We are given children to test us and make us more spiritual.
George F. Will

Learning to dislike children at an early age saves a lot of expense and aggravation later in life.
Robert Byrne

Every generation faces a barbarian invasion in the form of its own children, who need to be civilized.
Attributed to Irving Kristol

It was no wonder that people were so horrible when they started life as children.
Kingsley Amis

It's never the right time to have kids, but it's always the right time for screwing. God's not a dumb shit. He knows how it works.
Samuel Halpern

Children's tongues are filled with questions,
Children cannot speak in wisdom.
Elias Lonnrot, The Kalevala

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

What greater grief can there be for mortals than to see their children dead?

Children and chickens would ever be eating.
Thomas Tusser

Children are poor men's riches.
English Proverb

Children are certain cares and uncertain comforts.
English Proverb

Late children, early orphans.
Benjamin Franklin

Children have neither a past nor a future. Thus they enjoy the present—which seldom happens to us.
Jean de la Bruyère

Children should be seen and not heard.
English Proverb

All children are by nature evil, and while they have none but the natural evil principle to guide them, pious and prudent parents must check their naughty passions in any way that they have in their power, and force them into decent and proper behavior and into what are called good habits.
Martha Mary Butt

Children need models more than they need critics.
Joseph Joubert

Children are never too tender to be whipped:—like tough beefsteaks, the more you beat them the more tender they become.
E. A. Poe

Children are a torment, and nothing else.
Lyof N. Tolstoy

There are many loving parents in the world, but no loving children.
Chinese Proverb

A house without children is only a cemetery.
Sanskrit Proverb

The dearest child of all is the dead one.
Spanish Proverb

Little children, little sorrows; big children, great sorrows. (Variation: Small child, small problems. Big child, big problems.)
Danish Proverb

Is it not a fundamental error to consider children as innocent beings, whose little weaknesses may perhaps want some correction, rather than as beings who bring into the world a corrupt nature and evil dispositions, which it should be the great end of education to rectify?
Hannah More

Envy the kangaroo. That pouch setup is extraordinary; the baby crawls out of the womb when it is about two inches long, gets into the pouch, and proceeds to mature. I'd have a baby if it would develop in my handbag.
Rita Rudner


But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever.
Edmund Burke


The superiority of chocolate, both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the same preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain.
Thomas Jefferson


May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.
Nelson Mandela

It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.
J. K. Rowling

Was there ever in anyone's life span a point free in time, devoid of memory, a night when choice was any more than the sum of all the choices gone before?
Joan Didion

Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.
Henry Ford, on the Model T Ford

If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.
E. M. Forster


The Christians are unhappy men who are persuaded that they will survive death and live forever; in consequence, they despise death and are willing to sacrifice their lives to their faith.

Methinks sometimes I have no more wit than a Christian.

To make one a complete Christian he must have the works of a papist, the words of a Puritan, and the faith of a Protestant.
James Howell

I have sent for you that you may see how a Christian can die.
Joseph Addison, on his deathbed

A very heathen in the carnal part,
Yet still a sad, good Christian at her heart.
Alexander Pope

I think all Christians, whether papists or Protestants, agree in the essential articles, and that their differences are trivial, and rather political than religious.
Samuel Johnson

Christians have burnt each other, quite persuaded
That all the Apostles would have done as they did.

Whatever makes men good Christians makes them good citizens.
Daniel Webster

Christianity is the bastard progeny of Judaism. It is the basest of all national religions.

The Christian religion teaches me two points—that there is a God whom men can know, and that their nature is so corrupt that they are unworthy of Him.
Blaise Pascal

I would believe in Christianity if it dated from the beginning of the world.
Napoleon I

Offences by Christians are far more abominable than those by the heathen.
Martin Luther


To be mistaken in believing that the Christian religion is true is no great loss to anyone; but how dreadful to be mistaken in believing it to be false!
Blaise Pascal

It is no fault of Christianity that a hypocrite falls into sin.
Saint Jerome

I discovered that the calamities of mankind during the Christian centuries occurred not because men and women practiced Christianity but because they failed to do so. Bad as it was with religion, mankind would be infinitely worse without it.
Paul Johnson

A shipwrecked sailor, landing on a lonely beach, observed a gallows. "Thank God," he exclaimed, "I am in a Christian country!
Author unidentified

Christianity teaches a man to spend the best part of his life preparing for the worst.
Author unidentified

The man who gave them their name, Christus, had been executed during the rule of Tiberius by the [prefect] Pontius Pilatus. The pernicious superstition had been temporarily suppressed, but it was starting to break out again, not just in Judaea, the starting point of the curse, but in Rome as well, where all that is abominable and shameful in the world flows together and gains popularity. And so, at first, those who confessed were apprehended, and subsequently, on the disclosures they made, a huge number were found guilty—more because of their hatred of mankind than because they were arsonists.

Of all the religions ever devised by the great practical jokers of the race, [Christianity] is the one that offers most for the least money, so to speak, to the inferior man. It starts out by denying his inferiority in plain terms: all men are equal in the sight of God. It ends by erecting that inferiority into a sort of actual superiority: it is a merit to be stupid, and miserable, and sorely put upon—of such are the celestial elect.
H. L. Mencken


Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat,
Please to put a penny in the old man's hat;
If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do,
If you haven't got a ha'penny, God bless you.
Old English Carol

Christmas is the Disneyfication of Christianity.
Don Cupitt

Christopher Columbus

When he [Christopher Columbus] started out he didn't know where he was going, when he got there he didn't know where he was, and when he got back he didn't know where he had been.
Author unidentified

Christopher Marlowe

Marlowe was happy in his buskin Muse—
Alas, unhappy in his life and end;
Pity it is that wit so ill should dwell,
Wit lent from Heaven, but vices sent from Hell.


Dear mother, dear mother, the church is cold,
But the ale-house is healthy and pleasant and warm.
William Blake

We must recall that the Church is always 'one generation away from extinction.'
George Carey

Church and State

Christianity, with its doctrine of humility, of forgiveness, of love, is incompatible with the state, with its haughtiness, its violence, its punishments, its wars.
Lyof N. Tolstoy


There never was a Churchill from John of Marlborough down that had either morals or principles.
W. E. Gladstone


Sublime tobacco! which from East to West,
Cheers the tar's labor or the Turkman's rest;
Divine in hookas, glorious in a pipe,
When tipp'd with amber, mellow, rich, and ripe;
Like other charmers wooing the caress,
More dazzling when daring in full dress;
Yet thy true lovers more adore by far
Thy naked beauties—Give me a cigar!

And a woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.
Rudyard Kipling


I never was truly my own master; but was always controlled by circumstances.

Circumstantial Evidence

Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.
H. D. Thoreau


A good circus is an oasis of Hellenism in a world that reads too much to be wise, and thinks too much to be beautiful.
Oscar Wilde


Civis, the most honorable name among the Romans; a citizen, a word of contempt among us.
Jonathan Swift


I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth.
Steve McQueen

When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.
Thomas Jefferson

I was rear'd
In the great city, pent mid cloisters dim,
And saw naught lovely but the sky and stars.
S. T. Coleridge

If you would be known, and not know, vegetate in a village; if you would know, and not be known, live in a city.
C. C. Colton

A great city, a great solitude. (Magna civitas, magna solitudo.)
Latin Proverb

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

Civic Duty

From a very early age, I had imbibed the opinion, that it was every man's duty to do all that lay in his power to leave his country as good as he had found it.
William Cobbett

Civil Service

The business of the Civil Service is the orderly management of decline.
William Armstrong

Civil War

Thus ended the great American Civil War, which upon the whole must be considered the noblest and least avoidable of all the great mass conflicts of which till then there was record.
Winston Churchill

Say to the seceded States, "Wayward sisters, depart in peace."
Winfield Scott


Sleep not when others speak, sit not when others stand, speak not when you should hold your peace, walk not on when others stop.
George Washington


Civilizations die from suicide, not murder.
Arnold Toynbee

Yet the experience of four thousand years should enlarge our hopes, and diminish our apprehensions: we cannot determine to what height the human species may aspire in their advances towards perfection; but it may safely be presumed, that no people, unless the face of nature is changed, will relapse into their original barbarism.
Edward Gibbon

Civilization is an enormous improvement on the lack thereof.
P. J. O'Rourke

A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within.
Will Durant

Civilization is not an evolution of mankind but the imposition of human good on human evil. It is not a historical inevitability. It is a battle that has to be fought every day, because evil doesn't recede willingly before the wheels of progress.
Andrew McCarthy

Some of us worry about a resurgent Islam and its attendant complications for a decayed Western civilization; some of us worry about global warming. In twenty years' time, one of us will be proved right.
Dennis Prager (Attributed)

Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.
Jean-François Revel

There is the moral of all human tales;
'Tis but the same rehearsal of the past,
First Freedom, and then Glory—when that fails,
Wealth, vice, corruption—barbarism at last.
Lord Byron

We think our civilization near its meridian, but we are yet only at the cock-crowing and the morning star.
R. W. Emerson

Civilization is carried on by superior men, and not by people in the mass; if nature sends no such men, civilization declines.
Victor Duruy

All the civilizations we know have been created and directed by small intellectual aristocracies, never by people in the mass. The power of crowds is only to destroy.
Gustave Lebon

A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.
Samuel Johnson

The three great elements of modern civilization, gunpowder, printing, and the Protestant religion.
Thomas Carlyle

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


A charlatan makes obscure what is clear; a thinker makes clear what is obscure.
Hugh Kingsmill

I prefer clarity to agreement.
Dennis Prager

Don't express your ideas too clearly. Most people think little of what they understand, and venerate what they do not.
Baltasar Gracián


The class distinctions simply result from the different degrees of success with which men have availed themselves of the chances which were presented to them. Instead of endeavoring to redistribute the acquisitions which have been made between the existing classes, our aim should be to increase, multiply, and extend the chances.
William Graham Sumner


The relation between superiors and inferiors is like that between the wind and the grass. The grass must bend when the wind blows over it.

That some men are poorer than others ever was and ever will be; and that many are naturally querulous and envious is an evil as old as the world.
William Petty

Many faint with toil,
That few may know the cares and woe of sloth.
P. B. Shelley

Why is one man richer than another? Because he is more industrious, more persevering, and more sagacious.
John Ruskin

It is the tendency of all social burdens to crush out the middle class, and to force society into an organization of only two classes, one at each social extreme.
W. G. Sumner


There was no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn't get any worse.
Quentin Crisp

Cleanliness and order are not matters of instinct; they are matters of education, and like most great things, you must cultivate a taste for them.
Benjamin Disraeli

Cleanness of body was ever deemed to proceed from a due reverence to God, to society, and to ourselves.
Francis Bacon


To a philosophic eye the vices of the clergy are far less dangerous than their virtues.
Edward Gibbon


They [clichés] will construct your sentences for you—even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent—and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself.
George Orwell


Choose clients as you would friends.
Charlie Munger


In northern climates you will find people who have few vices, many virtues, and much sincerity and frankness. Go southward, and you will think that you have removed altogether from morality.
C. L. de Montesquieu

I wonder that any human being should remain in a cold country who could find room in a warm one.
Thomas Jefferson

I believe we should all behave quite differently if we lived in a warm, sunny climate all the time.
Noël Coward


Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
Mark Twain

She wears her clothes as if they were thrown on her with a pitchfork.
Jonathan Swift

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
Matthew 6:28-29


Cocaine is God's way of saying you're making too much money.
Robin Williams

[Is] cocaine habit-forming? Of course not. I ought to know. I've been using it for years.
Tallulah Bankhead

I said to a guy, I said, "Tell me, what is it about cocaine that makes it so wonderful?", and he said, "Well, it intensifies your personality." I said, "Yes, but what if you're an asshole?"
Bill Cosby


A little whiskey to make it strong,
A little water to make it weak,
A little lemon to make it sour,
A little sugar to make it sweet.


Oh, no doubt the cod is a splendid swimmer—admirable for swimming purposes but not for eating.
Oscar Wilde


Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined and imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one-half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites.
Thomas Jefferson

Experience has taught us that men will not adopt and carry into execution measures the best calculated for their own good without the intervention of a coercive power.
George Washington


Coffee, because adulting is hard.
Author unidentified

Of all the unchristian beverages that ever passed my lips, Turkish coffee is the worst. The cup is small, it is smeared with grounds; the coffee is black, thick, unsavory of smell, and execrable in taste.
Mark Twain

Coffee should be black as Hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.
Turkish Proverb


Good cognac is like a woman. Do not assault it. Coddle and warm it in your hands before you sip it.
Winston Churchill


Colleges hate geniuses, just as convents hate saints.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


The colonial powers did not conspire against the natives. They conspired against each other. Each colonial power hated all the rest, despised their methods, rejoiced in their misfortunes and happily aggravated them when convenient. They would not cooperate even when imperative self-interest demanded it.
Paul Johnson

The Europeans have scarcely visited any coast but to gratify avarice and extend corruption; to arrogate dominion without right, and practice cruelty without incentive.
Samuel Johnson


I cannot pretend to feel impartial about the colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones, and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.
Winston Churchill


I certainly know that a comedian can only last till he either takes himself serious or his audience takes him serious and I don't want either of those to happen to me til I am dead (if then).
Will Rogers


The funniest thing about comedy is that you never know why people laugh. I know what makes them laugh but trying to get your hands on the why of it is like trying to pick an eel out of a tub of water.
W. C. Fields

They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian … They're not laughing now.
Bob Monkhouse

Comedy is tragedy that happens to other people.
Angela Carter


The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort.

The man who expects comfort in this life must be born deaf, dumb and blind.
Turkish Proverb

Human comfort and divine comfort are of different natures: human comfort consists in external, visible help, which a man may see, hold, and feel; divine comfort only in words and promises, where there is neither seeing, hearing, nor feeling.
Martin Luther

I do not ask you much: I beg cold comfort.


He that cannot obey, cannot command.
Author unidentified

[It] is sad to remember that, when anyone has fairly mastered the art of command, the necessity for that art usually expires—either through the termination of the war or through the advanced age of the commander.
George S. Patton, Jr.

No man is fit to command another that cannot command himself.
William Penn


In my experience, all very successful commanders are prima donnas, and must be so treated. Some officers require urging, others require suggestions, very few have to be restrained.
George S. Patton, Jr.


I think 'No Comment' is a splendid expression. I am using it again and again.
Winston Churchill


As the sun of civilisation rose above the hills, the fair flowers of commerce unfolded, and the streams of supply and demand, hitherto congealed by the frost of barbarism, were thawed.
Winston Churchill

And honour sinks where commerce long prevails.
Oliver Goldsmith


Committee: A group of the unfit appointed by the unwilling to do the unnecessary.
Carl C. Byers

I've searched all the parks in all the cities—and found no statues of Committees.
G. K. Chesterton

Committee—a group of men who individually can do nothing but as a group decide that nothing can be done.
Fred Allen (attributed)

Common Law

The Common Law of England has been laboriously built about a mythical figure-the figure of "The Reasonable Man".
A. P. Herbert

Common People

If by the people you understand the multitude, the hoi polloi, 'tis no matter what they think; they are sometimes in the right, sometimes in the wrong: their judgement is a mere lottery.
John Dryden

Common Sense

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

[As] a rule, only very learned and clever men deny what is obviously true; common men have less brains, but more sense.
Walter T. Stace

Common sense is not so common.

Common sense is the best distributed commodity in the world, for every man is convinced that he is well supplied with it. (Le bon sens est la chose du monde la mieux partagée, car chacun pense en être bien pourvu.)
René Descartes


The great enemy of communication, we find, is the illusion of it.
William H. Whyte


Communism requires of its adherents that they arise early and participate in a strenuous round of calisthenics. To someone who wishes that cigarettes came already lit the thought of such exertion at an hour when decent people are just nodding off is thoroughly abhorrent.
Fran Lebowitz

Communism is the opiate of the intellectuals.
Clare Booth Luce

I sometimes think that the entire [Communist movement] was just a front for the cement industry.
Author unidentified

Losing you is not a loss, and keeping you is no specific gain.
Khmer Rouge slogan

For over ten years, bombs rained down on every village and hamlet in South Vietnam, and no one budged. It took the coming of a Communist 'peace' to send hundreds of thousands of people out into the South China Sea, on anything that could float, or might float, to risk dehydration, piracy, drowning.
General Vernon Walters (paraphrased)

Were it possible to have a community of property, it would soon be found that no one would toil, but that men would be disposed to be satisfied with barely enough for the supply of their physical wants, since none would exert themselves to obtain advantages solely for the use of others.
J. Fenimore Cooper

All men have an equal right to the free development of their faculties; they have an equal right to the impartial protection of the state; but it is not true, it is against all the laws of reason and equity, it is against the eternal nature of things, that the indolent man and the laborious man, the spendthrift and the economist, the imprudent and the wise, should obtain and enjoy an equal amount of goods.
Victor Cousin

Institutions grounded on Communism always have brilliant beginnings, for Communism involves a great exaltation; but they decline rapidly, for Communism is in conflict with human nature.
Ernest Renan

When two friends have a common purse, one sings and the other weeps.
Spanish Proverb

Everyone can see how communism rots the soul of a nation. How it makes it abject in peace and proves it abominable in war.
Winston Churchill

A shadow has fallen upon the scenes so lately lighted by the Allied victory. … From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.
Winston Churchill

I think the day will come when it will be recognized without doubt, not only on one side of the House, but throughout the civilized world, that the strangling of Bolshevism at its birth would have been an untold blessing to the human race.
Winston Churchill

If I had been properly supported in 1919, I think we might have strangled Bolshevism in its cradle, but everybody turned up their hands and said, 'How shocking!'
Winston Churchill

Fascism was the shadow or ugly child of communism … As Fascism sprang from Communism, so Nazism developed from Fascism. Thus were set on foot those kindred movements which were destined soon to plunge the world into more hideous strife, which none can say has ended with their destruction.
Winston Churchill

Fidel Castro is right. You do not quieten your enemy by talking with him like a priest, but by burning him.
Nicolae Ceauşescu

In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.
Marx and Engels


[A communist is] one who has nothing, and is eager to share it with others.
Author unidentified

What is a communist? One who hath yearnings For equal division of unequal earnings.
Ebenezer Elliott

Community Organizer

Like most people, I have no wish to live in a community organized by community organizers.
Mark Steyn

The thirteenth rule of radical tactics: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
Saul Alinsky

The organizer must become schizoid, politically, in order to slip into becoming a true believer. Before men can act an issue must be polarized. Men will act when they are convinced their cause is 100 percent on the side of the angels and that the opposition are 100 percent on the side of the devil. He knows there can be no action until issues are polarized to this degree.
Saul Alinsky

Dostoevsky said that taking a new step is what people fear most. Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future.
Saul Alinsky

The classic statement on polarization comes from Christ: 'He that is not with me is against me.' (Luke 11:23) He allowed no middle ground to the moneychangers in the Temple. One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.
Saul Alinsky

It should be borne in mind that the target is always trying to shift responsibility to get out of being the target. There is a constant squirming and moving and strategy … on the part of the designated target. The forces for change must keep this in mind and pin that target down securely. If an organization permits responsibility to be diffused and distributed in a number of areas, attack becomes impossible.
Saul Alinsky


The companion of an evening and the companion for life, require very different qualifications.
Samuel Johnson


The wise man will want to be ever with him who is better than himself.

He that goeth to bed with dogs ariseth with fleas.
John Sanford

A man is known by the company he keeps.
English Proverb

Keep not ill company lest you increase the number.
George Herbert

Company in distress
Makes the sorrow less.
Thomas Fuller

Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company.
George Washington

Lay aside the best book whenever you can go into the best company; and depend upon it, you change for the better.
Lord Chesterfield

Bad company corrupts good character.
1 Corinthians 15:33


Take thou heed that thou make no comparisons, and if any body happen to be praised for some brave act, or virtue, praise not another for the same virtue in his presence, for every comparison is odious.
Francis Hawkins

But how can it avail the man who languishes in the gloom of sorrow, without prospect of emerging into the sunshine of cheerfulness, to hear that others are sunk yet deeper in the dungeon of misery, shackled with heavier chains, and surrounded with darker desperation?
Samuel Johnson


If we wish to feel good, compassion is excellent. But if we want to do good, our compassion must be guided by moral standards.
Dennis Prager

We should only affect compassion, and carefully avoid having any.
La Rochefoucauld


Since I must be old and have the gout, I have long turned those disadvantages to my own account, and plead them to the utmost when they will save me from doing anything I dislike.
Horace Walpole


Of all the human qualities, the one I admire the most is competence. A tailor who is really able to cut and fit a coat seems to me an admirable man, and by the same token a university professor who knows little or nothing of the thing he presumes to teach seems to me to be a fraud and a rascal.
H. L. Mencken


The best competition I have is against myself to become better.
John Wooden


Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining, always blaming others.
C. S. Lewis

Complaining about a problem without proposing a solution is called whining.
Author unidentified

To complain of the age we live in, to murmur at the present possessors of power, to lament the past, to conceive extravagant hopes of the future, are the common dispositions of the greatest part of mankind.
Edmund Burke


Increasingly, people seem to misinterpret complexity as sophistication, which is baffling—the incomprehensible should cause suspicion rather than admiration. Possibly this trend results from a mistaken belief that using a somewhat mysterious device confers an aura of power on the user.
Niklaus Wirth


There is nothing you can say in answer to a compliment. I have been complimented myself a great many times, and they always embarrass me—I always feel that they have not said enough.
Mark Twain

Women are never disarmed by compliments; men always are.
Oscar Wilde

"It was a compliment," said Merry Brandybuck, "and so, of course, not true."
J. R. R. Tolkien


The good composer is slowly discovered, the bad composer is slowly found out.
Ernest Newman

The public doesn't want new music; the main thing that it demands of a composer is that he be dead.
Arthur Honegger

Tchaikovsky thought of committing suicide for fear of being discovered as a homosexual, but today, if you are a composer and not homosexual, you might as well put a bullet through your head.
Sergei Diaghilev


You can't stop. Composing's not voluntary, you know. There's no choice, you're not free. You're landed with an idea and you have responsibility to that idea.
Harrison Birtwhistle

The pride of the peacock is the glory of God.
The lust of the goat is the bounty of God.
The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God.
The nakedness of woman is the work of God.
William Blake


[A compromise] is an agreement between two men to do what both agree is wrong.
Lord Edward Cecil


Yet we are constantly annoyed, and the legislatures are kept constantly busy, by the people who have made up their minds that it is wise and conducive to happiness to live in a certain way, and who want to compel everybody else to live in their way.
William Graham Sumner


But they [computers] are useless. They can only give you answers.
Pablo Picasso

To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.
Author unidentified

Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random numbers is, of course, in a state of sin.
John von Neumann

Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.
Rick Cook

Whenever I'm on my computer, I don't type 'lol'. I type 'lqtm': 'laugh quietly to myself'. It's more honest.
Demetri Martin

A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history, with the possible exception of handguns and tequila.
Mitch Ratcliffe

The computer, with its multiplying forums for spontaneous free expression from e-mail to listservs and blogs, has increased facility and fluency of language but degraded sensitivity to the individual word and reduced respect for organized argument, the process of deductive reasoning.
Camille Paglia

Computers are anti-Faraday machines. He said he couldn't understand anything until he could count it, while computers count everything and understand nothing.
Ralph Cornes

Computer Programming

Real programmers don't comment their code. It was hard to write, it should be hard to understand.
Author unidentified

A good programmer can overcome a poor language or a clumsy operating system, but even a great programming environment will not rescue a bad programmer.
Kernighan and Pike

[The C programming language] is a razor-sharp tool, with which one can create an elegant and efficient program or a bloody mess.
Kernighan and Pike

Sometimes a programmer confronted with a problem thinks, "I know, I'll use regular expressions." Now he has two problems.
Jamie Zawinski, paraphrased

Let us change our traditional attitude to the construction of programs. Instead of imagining that our main task is to instruct a computer what to to, let us concentrate rather on explaining to human beings what we want a computer to do.
Donald Knuth

Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight.
Bill Gates

As soon as we started programming, we found to our surprise that it wasn't as easy to get programs right as we had thought. Debugging had to be discovered. I can remember the exact instant when I realized that a large part of my life from then on was going to be spent in finding mistakes in my own programs.
Maurice Wilkes, who discovered debugging c. 1949

[The C programming language] makes it easy to shoot yourself in the foot; C++ makes it harder, but when you do, it blows your whole leg off.
Bjarne Stroustrup

Theory is when you know something, but it doesn't work. Practice is when something works, but you don't know why. Programmers combine theory and practice: Nothing works and they don't know why.
Author unidentified

When someone says, "I want a programming language in which I need only say what I want done," give him a lollipop.
Alan Perlis

That's the thing about people who think they hate computers. What they really hate is lousy programmers.
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

Einstein argued that there must be simplified explanations of nature, because God is not capricious or arbitrary. No such faith comforts the software engineer.
Fred Brooks, Jr.

PHP is a minor evil perpetrated and created by incompetent amateurs, whereas Perl is a great and insidious evil, perpetrated by skilled but perverted professionals.
Jon Ribbens

We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil.
Donald Knuth

Correctness is clearly the prime quality. If a system does not do what it is supposed to do, then everything else about it matters little.
Bertrand Meyer

The most amazing achievement of the computer software industry is its continuing cancellation of the steady and staggering gains made by the computer hardware industry.
Henry Petroski

To this very day, idiot software managers measure "programmer productivity" in terms of "lines of code produced," whereas the notion of "lines of code spent" is much more appropriate.

Generally, the length of a variable name should be inversely related to its scope.
Author unidentified

If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.
Gerald Weinberg (Attributed)

Hyrum's Law: With a sufficient number of users of an API, it does not matter what you promise in the contract: all observable behaviors of your system will be depended on by somebody.
Hyrum Wright

Con Man

[Con] men have long known … that their job is not to convince skeptics but to enable the gullible to continue to believe what they want to believe.
Thomas Sowell


Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.
Proverbs 26:12

Conceit causes more conversation than wit.
La Rochefoucauld

I've never any pity for conceited people, because I think they carry their comfort about with them.
Marian Evans (George Eliot)


They are well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for another man’s wife.
Jeremiah 5:8


There is nothing more likely to betray a man into absurdity than condescension.
Samuel Johnson


Why do we have to have all these third-rate foreign conductors around-when we have so many second-rate ones of our own?
Thomas Beecham


What madness to confess by day what was concealed by the darkness of night, and to relate openly what thou hast done secretly.

We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.
The Book of Common Prayer


We seldom confide in those who are better than ourselves. (Nous nous confions rarement à ceux qui sont meilleurs que nous.)
Albert Camus


Positive, adj. Mistaken at the top of one's voice.
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Rational confidence [is] the just result of knowledge and experience.
Edward Gibbon

Confidence comes from being prepared.
John Wooden

You need confidence to play a sport well. How do you get confidence? You get confidence from playing well.
Author unidentified

I can't believe that there are any heights that can't be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four Cs. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence.
Walt Disney

If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. It is true that you may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all the time.
Abraham Lincoln


Since it is now fashionable to laugh at the conservative French Academy, I have remained a rebel by joining it.
Jean Cocteau

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Author unknown

To think for himself! Oh, my God, teach him to think like other people!
Mary Godwin Shelley, On being advised to send her son to a school where he would be taught to think for himself

The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion.
R. W. Emerson


Confusion is always the most honest response.
Marty Indik


It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.
Mark Twain

Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
Mark Twain

Oh, I don't blame Congress. If I had $600 billion at my disposal, I'd be irresponsible, too.
Lichty and Wagner

Being elected to Congress, though I am very grateful to our friends for having done it, has not pleased me as much as I expected.
Abraham Lincoln

We do not elect our wisest and best men to represent us in the Senate and the Congress. In general, we elect men of the type that subscribes to only one principle—to get reelected.
Terry M. Townsend

Papers say: "Congress is deadlocked and can't act." I think that is the greatest blessing that could befall this country.
Will Rogers

This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer.
Will Rogers

Kid [tease] Congress and the Senate, don't scold 'em. They are just children thats never grown up. They don't like to be corrected in company. Don't send messages to 'em, send candy.
Will Rogers, advice to President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt


You have no idea how destitute of talent are more than half of the members of Congress. Nine out of ten of your ordinary acquaintances are fully equal to them.
Sergeant S. Prentiss

You can't use tact with a Congressman. A Congressman is a hog. You must take a stick and hit him on the snout.
Henry Adams


What millions died—that Caesar might be great!
Thomas Campbell

The English conquered us, but they are far from being our equals.
Napoleon I

The greatest conqueror is he who overcomes the enemy without a blow.
Chinese Proverb


A philosopher may deplore the eternal discords of the human race, but he will confess, that the desire of spoil is a more rational provocation than the vanity of conquest.
Edward Gibbon

Resistance was fatal; flight was impracticable; and the patient submission of helpless innocence seldom found mercy from the Barbarian conqueror.
Edward Gibbon

To rejoice in conquest is to rejoice in murder.

If there be one principle more deeply rooted than any other in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.
Thomas Jefferson

By adverting to the dignity of this high calling our ancestors have turned a savage wilderness into a glorious empire: and have made the most extensive, and the only honorable conquests, not by destroying, but by promoting the wealth, the number, the happiness of the human race.
Edmund Burke

Happiness lies in conquering one's enemies, in driving them in front of oneself, in taking their property, in savouring their despair, in outraging their wives and daughters.
Genghis Khan


The Anglo-Saxon conscience does not prevent the Anglo-Saxon from sinning, it merely prevents him from enjoying his sin.
Salvador De Madariaga

Conscience is what hurts when everything else feels so good.
Author unidentified

Bachelors have consciences. Married men have wives.
H. L. Mencken

Cowardice asks: Is it safe? Expediency asks: Is it politic? But Conscience asks: Is it right?
William Punshon

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
Author unidentified

First [a man facing temptation] sees difficulty, then he sees the danger, then he sees wrong.
H. L. Mencken

The laws of conscience, though we ascribe them to nature, actually come from custom.
Michel de Montaigne

A guilty conscience needs no accuser.
English Proverb

Conscience does make cowards of us all.

I feel within me
A peace above all earthly dignities;
A still and quiet conscience.
Shakespeare and John Fletcher

A man that will enjoy a quiet conscience must lead a quiet life.
Lord Chesterfield

Conscience admonishes as a friend before punishing us as a judge.
Stanislaus Leszcynski

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

Conscience is but a word that cowards use,
Devis’d at first to keep the strong in awe.

Conscience is thoroughly well-bred and soon leaves off talking to those who do not wish to hear it.
Samuel Butler


Consensus is the absence of leadership.
Margaret Thatcher

Nothing is more obstinate than a fashionable consensus.
Margaret Thatcher

To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.
Margaret Thatcher

The herd is usually wrong.
Author unidentified


A little still she strove, and much repented,
And whispering "I will ne'er consent"—consented.
Lord Byron


If you do what you should not, you must hear what you would not.
Author unidentified

Grief often treads upon the Heels of Pleasure, Marry'd in Haste, we oft repent at Leisure.
Author unidentified

The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.
Winston Churchill


Because we can expect future generations to be richer than we are, no matter what we do about resources, asking us to refrain from using resources now so that future generations can have them later is like asking the poor to make gifts to the rich.
Julian Simon


Be not the first by whom the new are tried,
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.
Alexander Pope

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

Savages are the most conservative of human beings.
A. H. Sayce

I grew up in central Illinois midway between Chicago and St. Louis and I made an historic blunder. All my friends became Cardinals fans and grew up happy and liberal and I became a Cubs fan and grew up embittered and conservative.
George F. Will


I am a Conservative to preserve all that is good in our constitution, a Radical to remove all that is bad. I seek to preserve property and to respect order, and I equally decry the appeal to the passions of the many or the prejudices of the few.
Benjamin Disraeli

[Conservatives are inclined] to believe that old wisdom is plentiful while new wisdom is scarce and suspect.
William Voegeli

The facts of life are conservative.
Author unidentified

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

Conservatives do not believe that the political struggle is the most important thing in life … The simplest of them prefer fox-hunting—the wisest religion.
Quintin Hogg


Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
Oscar Wilde

Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.
Bernard Berenson

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?
John Maynard Keynes

Like all weak men he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing one's mind.
W. Somerset Maugham


Before the affliction is digested consolation comes too soon, and after it is digested it comes too late.
Laurence Sterne

Do not try to console a man while the corpse is still in the house.
Hebrew Proverb


The wife seldom rambles till the husband shows her the way.
John Vanbrugh

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


No society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living generation.
Thomas Jefferson


I hope your committee will not permit doubts as to constitutionality, however reasonable, to block the suggested legislation.
F. D. Roosevelt

Constructive Criticism

Will you tell me my fault, frankly as to yourself, for I had rather wince, than die. Men do not call the surgeon to commend the bone, but to set it, Sir.
Emily Dickinson


Well, one can always consult a man and ask him, "Would you like your head cut off tomorrow?" and after he has said "I would rather not," cut it off. "Consultation" is a vague and elastic term.
Winston Churchill


Many can bear adversity, but few contempt.
Thomas Fuller

Contempt is the sharpest reproof.
H. G. Bohn

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


Content and riches
Seldom meet together.
Riches take thou,
Contentment I had rather.
Benjamin Franklin

The greatest wealth is to live content with little, for there is never want where the mind is satisfied.

Poor and content is rich and rich enough.

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

Happy the man, of mortals happiest he,
Whose quiet mind from vain desires is free;
Whom neither hopes deceive, nor fears torment,
But lives at peace, within himself content.
George Granville

The utmost we can hope for in this world is contentment; if we aim at anything higher, we shall meet with nothing but grief and disappointment.
Joseph Addison

Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.
Benjamin Franklin

My motto is "contented with little, yet wishing for more."
Charles Lamb

No man is content with his lot. (Nemo sua sorte contentus.)
Latin Proverb

How is it, Maecenas, that no one lives contented with his lot, whether he has planned it for himself or fate has flung him into it, but yet he praises those who follow different paths?

(Qui fit, Maecenas, ut nemo, quam sibi sortem
Seu ratio dederit seu fors obiecerit, illa
Contentus vivat, laudet diversa sequentis



The important thing in life is not the victory but the contest; the essential thing is not to have won but to have fought well.
Baron Pierre de Coubertin


I guess the argument of contextuality is that anything is okay as long as it's done by people who are sufficiently unlike you.
P. J. O'Rourke


Continence is a greater good than marriage. But I am aware of some that murmur: if all men should abstain from intercourse, how will the human race exist? Would that all would abstain; much more speedily would the City of God be filled, and the end of the world hastened.
St. Augustine


A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it is written on.
Sam Goldwyn


When we risk no contradiction,
It prompts the tongue to deal in fiction.
John Gay

Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Walt Whitman

The heart of man is made to reconcile the most glaring contradictions.
David Hume


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
Charles Dickens

I love to mark sad faces in fair weather,
And hear a merry laugh amid the thunder.
John Keats


The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way.
Bertrand Russell


I like convents, but I wish they would not admit anyone under the age of fifty.
Napoleon I


A gossip talks about others, a bore talks about himself—and a brilliant conversationalist talks about you.
Author unidentified

Learned conversation is either the affectation of the ignorant or the profession of the mentally unemployed.
Oscar Wilde

Talk to every woman as if you loved her, and to every man as if he bored you.
Oscar Wilde

I like to do all the talking myself. It saves time, and prevents arguments.
Oscar Wilde

When I left the dining room from sitting next to Mr. Gladstone I thought he was the cleverest man in England, but after sitting next to Mr. Disraeli I thought I was the cleverest woman in England.
Author unidentified, but sometimes attributed to Queen Victoria

Although there exist many thousand subjects for elegant conversation, there are persons who cannot meet a cripple without talking about feet.
Ernest Bramah

"Then you should say what you mean," the March Hare went on.

"I do," Alice hastily replied; "at least—at least I mean what I say —that's the same thing, you know."

"Not the same thing a bit!" said the Hatter. "Why, you might just as well say that 'I see what I eat' is the same thing as 'I eat what I see!'"

Lewis Carroll

Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact.
George Eliot

The more the bodily pleasures decrease, the greater grows the desire for the pleasure of conversation.

The reason why so few people are agreeable in conversation is that each is thinking more about what he intends to say than about what others are saying, and we never listen when we are eager to speak.
La Rochefoucauld

If the minds of men were laid open, we should see but little difference between that of the wise man and that of the fool. The great difference is that the first knows how to pick and cull his thoughts for conversation, by suppressing some and communicating others; whereas the other lets them all indifferently fly out in words.
Joseph Addison

The pleasure which men are able to give in conversation holds no stated proportion to their knowledge or their virtue.
Samuel Johnson

The happiest conversation is that of which nothing is distinctly remembered, but a general effect of pleasing impression.
Samuel Johnson

A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years' study of books.
H. W. Longfellow


Every story of conversion is the story of a blessed defeat.
C. S. Lewis


A man who is converted from Protestantism to popery parts with nothing; he is only superadding to what he already had. But a convert from popery to Protestantism gives up as much of what he has held sacred as anything that he retains.
Samuel Johnson


Convictions are more dangerous to truth than lies.
F. W. Nietzsche


Too many cooks spoil the broth.
English Proverb

Heaven sends us good meat, but the Devil sends cooks.
David Garrick


Cooking is the most ancient of the arts, for Adam was born hungry.
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin


Many hands make light work.
English Proverb

The business of life is carried on by a general co-operation; in which the part of any single man can be no more distinguished, than the effect of a particular drop when the meadows are floated by a summer shower: yet every drop increases the inundation, and every hand adds to the happiness or misery of mankind.
Samuel Johnson


In fact, it is my opinion that co-ordination is a very much-misused word and its accomplishment is difficult.
George S. Patton, Jr.


Copernicus did not publish his book until he was on his deathbed. He knew how dangerous it is to be right when the rest of the world is wrong.
Thomas B. Reed


Coquetry is of advantage only to the beautiful.

Such is your cold coquette, who can't say "No,"
And won't say "Yes," and keeps you on and off-ing.

And what, after all, is the benefit which the gay coquette obtains by her flutters? … she has companions indeed, but no lovers; for love is respectful and timorous; and where among all her followers will she find a husband?
Samuel Johnson


Corporations cannot commit treason, nor be outlawed, nor excommunicated, for they have no souls.
Edward Coke

Corporations … are many lesser commonwealths in the bowels of a greater, like worms in the entrails of a natural man.
Thomas Hobbes

Corruption's not of modern date;
It hath been tried in ev'ry state.
John Gay


He'd make a lovely corpse.
Charles Dickens


I want either less corruption, or more chance to participate in it.
Ashleigh Brilliant

The only way to reduce corruption in government is to reduce the size of government.
Paul Johnson

All who have ever written on government are unanimous, that among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.
Edmund Burke

There is not, perhaps, in all the stores of ideal anguish, a thought more painful, than the consciousness of having propagated corruption by vitiating principles, of having not only drawn others from the paths of virtue, but blocked up the way by which they should return, of having blinded them to every beauty but the paint of pleasure, and deafened them to every call but the alluring voice of the syrens of destruction.
Samuel Johnson


Their prominent national character is never to forget a benefit or an injury. For the slightest insult in Corsica, a shot. Murders are consequently very common. At the same time, no people are more grateful for benefits conferred, and they will not scruple to sacrifice their lives for the person who bestowed them.
Napoleon I


She looks like an old coach newly painted.
William Wycherley


I don't set up for being a cosmopolite, which to my mind signifies being polite to every country except your own.
Thomas Hood

Cosmopolitan critics, men who are the friends of every country save their own.
Benjamin Disraeli


What costs little is less esteemed.
Thomas Fuller


Give neither counsel nor salt till you are asked for it.
Italian Proverb

Who cannot give good counsel? 'tis cheap, it costs them nothing.
Robert Burton


My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
Senator Carl Schurz

Long before they slump into poverty, great powers succumb to a poverty of ambition.
Mark Steyn

[A London clubman's view of the country:] A damp sort of place where all sorts of birds fly about uncooked.
Joseph Wood Krutch

Breathes there the man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Walter Scott

I, for one, do not call the sod under my feet my country. But language, religion, laws, government, blood-identity of these makes men of one country.
S. T. Coleridge

Every man loves his own country best, even though it be Hell.
Persian Proverb

He likes the country, but in truth must own,
Most likes it, when he studies it in town.
William Cowper

When I am in the country I wish to vegetate like the country.
William Hazlitt


Courage arises in a great measure from the consciousness of strength.
Edward Gibbon

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
C. S. Lewis

Do not take counsel of your fears.
George S. Patton, Jr.

No sane man is unafraid in battle, but discipline produces in him a form of vicarious courage which, with his manhood, makes for victory.
George S. Patton, Jr.

Screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we’ll not fail.

Courage is a virtue only so far as it is directed by prudence.
François Fénelon

I would define true courage to be a perfect sensibility of the measure of danger, and a mental willingness to endure it.
W. T. Sherman

The Lacedemonians (Spartans) are not wont to ask how many the enemy are, but where they are.
Ascribed to Agis II, King of Sparta, c. 415 B.C.

Courage is a quality so necessary for maintaining virtue that it is always respected, even when it is associated with vice.
Samuel Johnson

Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities, because, as has been said, it is the quality which guarantees all others.
Winston Churchill

"But where shall I find courage?" asked Frodo. "Courage is found in unlikely places," said Gildor. "Be of good hope! Sleep now!"
J. R. R. Tolkien

Oh courage … oh yes! If only one had that … Then life might be livable, in spite of everything.
Henrik Ibsen

Courage and Cowardice

The human race is a race of cowards; and I am not only marching in that procession but carrying a banner.
Mark Twain

There are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice.
Mark Twain

We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.
Benjamin Franklin

Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.
William Shakespeare

To persevere, trusting in what hopes he has, is courage in a man. The coward despairs.

The better part of valor is discretion.
William Shakespeare

There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result.
Winston Churchill

Valor, n. A soldierly compound of vanity, duty, and the gambler's hope.
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear.
Mark Twain

Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

There grows
No herb of help to heal a coward heart.
Algernon Charles Swinburne

It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.
Mark Twain

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.
G. K. Chesterton

I scorned the sword of Catiline, I will not quail before yours.


Is not uncertainty and inconstancy in the highest degree disreputable to a court?
Samuel Johnson

When counsel addresses an argument on the ground of natural justice to a court of law, he addresses it to the wrong tribunal. It may be a good argument for inducing the legislature to alter the law; but in a court of law all that we can deal with is the law of the land as we find it.
Mr. Justice North


The more courtesy, the more craft.
John Clarke

He may freely receive courtesies who knows how to requite them.
John Ray

Where there is o'er mickle courtesy there is little kindness.
James Kelly

An excess of courtesy is discourtesy.
Japanese Proverb


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


In order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain.
Mark Twain

The covetous man is full of fear; and he who lives in fear will ever be a bondman.

Riches have made more covetous men than covetousness hath made rich men.
Thomas Fuller

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
Exodus 20:17

Thou shalt not covet; but tradition
Approves all forms of competition.
Arthur Hugh Clough


Instinct is a great matter; I was a coward on instinct.
William Shakespeare

The coward calls himself cautious. (Timidus se vocat cautum.)
Publilius Syrus

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

Cowards fight when they can fly no further;
As doves do peck the falcon's piercing talons.

Few cowards know the extent of their fear.
La Rochefoucauld

He who fights and runs away
May live to fight another day;
But he who is in battle slain
Can never rise and fight again.
Oliver Goldsmith

Were one-half of mankind brave and one-half cowards, the brave would be always beating the cowards. Were all brave, they would lead a very uneasy life; all would be continually fighting; but being all cowards, we go on very well.
Samuel Johnson: Boswell's Life, 1778.

It is better to be a coward for a minute than dead the rest of your life.
Irish Proverb

He was just a coward and that was the worst luck any man could have.
Ernest Hemingway


To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice.

A cowardly act! What do I care about that? You may be sure that I should never fear to commit one if it were to my advantage.
Napoleon I

A curse upon cowardice and covetousness.
They breed villainy and vice, and destroy all virtue.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Cowardice, as distinguished from panic, is almost always simply a lack of ability to suspend the functioning of the imagination.
Ernest Hemingway


I teach that all men are crazy. (Doceo insanire omnes.)


Had I been present at the Creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe.
Alfonso the Wise, on studying the Ptolemaic system (Attributed)


The most gifted members of the human species are at their creative best when they cannot have their way, and must compensate for what they miss by realizing and cultivating their capacities and talents.
Eric Hoffer


The world is naturally averse
To all the truth it sees or hears,
But swallows nonsense, and a lie
With greediness and gluttony.
Samuel Butler

Better be too credulous than too skeptical.
Chinese Proverb

Credulity is the common failing of unexperienced virtue.
Samuel Johnson

Credulity is the man’s weakness, but the child’s strength.
Charles Lamb


Wrongdoing can only be avoided if those who are not wronged feel the same indignation at it as those who are.

The greatest crimes are caused by surfeit, not by want. Men do not become tyrants in order that they may not suffer cold.

All go free when multitudes offend. (Quicquid multis peccatur, inultum est.)

What man was ever content with one crime?

Providence sees to it that no man gets happiness out of crime.
Vittorio Alfieri

Crime and Punishment

Hanging one scoundrel, it appears, does not deter the next. Well, what of it? The first one is at least disposed of.
H. L. Mencken

The argument that capital punishment degrades the state is moonshine, for if that were true then it would degrade the state to send men to war … The state, in truth, is degraded in its very nature: a few butcheries cannot do it any further damage.
H. L. Mencken

But I wonder where we will land if trial judges begin deciding that the fact that a man has committed an atrocious crime is proof sufficient that he is not responsible for his acts.
H. L. Mencken

[The] penalty of death was abolished in the Roman empire, a law of mercy most delightful to the humane theorist, but of which the practice, in a large and vicious community, is seldom consistent with the public safety.
Edward Gibbon

No man who commits a crime in secret can ever be sure that he will not be detected, even though he has escaped 10,000 times in the past.

It is not only vain, but wicked, in a legislator to frame laws in opposition to the laws of nature, and to arm them with the terrors of death. This is truly creating crimes in order to punish them.
Thomas Jefferson

And what makes robbers bold but too much lenity?

To equal robbery with murder is to reduce murder to robbery; to confound in common minds the gradations of iniquity, and incite the commission of a greater crime to prevent the detection of a less.
Samuel Johnson

If only murder were punished with death, very few robbers would stain their hands in blood; but when, by the last act of cruelty, no new danger is incurred, and greater security may be obtained, upon what principle shall we bid them forbear?
Samuel Johnson

The gibbet, indeed, certainly disables those who die upon it from infesting the community; but their death seems not to contribute more to the reformation of their associates, than any other method of separation.
Samuel Johnson


The learned, the judicious, the pious Boerhaave relates that he never saw a criminal dragged to execution without asking himself, "Who knows whether this man is not less culpable than me?"
Samuel Johnson

The criminal of today is the hero of our old legends.
Author unidentified

Prisoner, God has given you good abilities, instead of which you go about the country stealing ducks.
William Arabin


Critics are like eunuchs in a harem: they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves.
Brendan Behan

The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.
Oscar Wilde

Critics, as they are birds of prey, have ever a natural inclination to carrion.
Alexander Pope

A fly, sir, may sting a stately horse, and make him wince; but one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still.
Samuel Johnson

A poet that fails in writing becomes often a morose critic. The weak and insipid white wine makes at length excellent vinegar.
William Shenstone

The man who is asked by an author what he thinks of his work is put to the torture, and is not obliged to speak the truth.
Samuel Johnson

Reviewers are usually people who would have been poets, historians, biographers, if they could; they have tried their talents at one or the other, and have failed; therefore they turn critics.
S. T. Coleridge

Nature fits all her children with something to do: He who would write and can't write can surely review.
J. R. Lowell

The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all.
Mark Twain

There are men to whom the satisfaction of throwing down a triumphant fallacy is as great as that which attends the discovery of a new truth.
T. H. Huxley

Insects sting, not in malice, but because they want to live. It is the same with critics: they desire our blood, not our pain.
F. W. Nietzsche

[A critic is] a man who writes about things he doesn't like.
Author unidentified

A true critic ought to dwell rather upon excellencies than imperfections, to discover the concealed beauties of a writer, and communicate to the world such things as are worth their observation.
Joseph Addison

The critick’s purpose is to conquer, the author only hopes to escape.
Samuel Johnson

God knows, people who are paid to have attitudes toward things, professional critics, make me sick; camp-following eunuchs of literature. They won't even whore. They're all virtuous and sterile. And how well meaning and high minded. But they're all camp-followers.
Ernest Hemingway

You know who the critics are? The men who have failed in literature and art.
Benjamin Disraeli


Taking to pieces is the trade of those who cannot construct.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
Elbert Hubbard

The most worthless of mankind are not afraid to condemn in others the same disorders which they allow in themselves; and can readily discover some nice difference of age, character, or station, to justify the partial distinction.
Edward Gibbon

To find a fault is easy; to do better may be difficult.

Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who'll argue with you.
John Wooden

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
Winston Churchill

Criticism is easy and art is difficult.
P. N. Destouches

Criticism is a study by which men grow important and formidable at very small expense.
Samuel Johnson

You may abuse a tragedy though you cannot write one. You may scold a carpenter who has made you a bad table, though you cannot make a table. It is not your trade to make tables.
Samuel Johnson

The duty of criticism is neither to depreciate, nor dignify by partial representations, but to hold out the light of reason, whatever it may discover; and to promulgate the determinations of truth, whatever she shall dictate.
Samuel Johnson

Others are furnished by criticism with a telescope. They see with great clearness whatever is too remote to be discovered by the rest of mankind, but are totally blind to all that lies immediately before them.
Samuel Johnson

Long experience has taught me that to be criticized is not always to be wrong.
Anthony Eden

If this sort of thing continues no more novel-writing for me. A man must be a fool to deliberately stand up and be shot at.
Thomas Hardy, of a hostile review


How cheerfully he [the crocodile] seems to grin,
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!
Lewis Carroll


Observe any meetings of people, and you will always find their eagerness and impetuosity rise or fall in proportion to their numbers: when the numbers are very great, all sense and reason seem to subside, and one sudden frenzy to seize on all, even the coolest of them.
Lord Chesterfield

Large bodies are far more likely to err than individuals. The passions are inflamed by sympathy; the fear of punishment and the sense of shame are diminished by partition.
T. B. Macaulay

The individuals in a crowd, by their numbers, acquire a feeling of power which gives rein to instincts that, alone, they would have been forced to keep in check.
Gustave Lebon

And those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness. (Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.)


Every noble crown is, and on earth will forever be, a crown of thorns.
Thomas Carlyle


All cruelty springs from weakness.

I must be cruel, only to be kind:
Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.
William Shakespeare

The sins to which the Devil of Christian tradition has tempted human beings are varied indeed: apostasy, idolatry, heresy, fornication, gluttony, vanity, using cosmetics, dressing luxuriously, going to the theater, gambling, avarice, quarreling, spiritual sloth have all, at times, figured in the list. … I have looked in vain for a single instance … of the Devil tempting a human being to cruelty.
Norman Cohn

Scarcely anything awakens attention like a tale of cruelty. The writer of news never fails to tell how the enemy murdered children and ravished virgins; and if the scene of action be somewhat distant, scalps half the inhabitants of a province.
Samuel Johnson

Man is little inferior to the tiger and hyena in cruelty and savagery.
Arthur Schopenhauer

Being cruel to be kind is just ordinary cruelty with an excuse made for it. And it is right that it should be more resented, as it is.
Ivy Compton-Burnett

Cruelty, like every other vice, requires no motive outside itself—it only requires opportunity.
George Eliot

Never … be mean in anything; never be false; never be cruel.
Charles Dickens


A cucumber should be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out, as good for nothing.
Samuel Johnson


Culture is "to know the best that has been said and thought in the world."
Matthew Arnold

Hebraism and Hellenism—between these two points of influence moves our world.
Matthew Arnold

The great law of culture is: Let each become all that he was created capable of being.
Thomas Carlyle

Culture War

As a historian I have become increasingly fascinated by the perennial culture conflict … between radicals and conservatives: between, that is, those who believe the world can be reshaped by their own unaided intelligence and those who distrust reason in isolation and think it should be anchored in prescriptive wisdom, natural law and other restraints. … If you believe in the Hegelian dialectic, this is an example of its powerful spirit in action.
Paul Johnson


I dressed him; God cured him. (Je le pansay; Dieu le guarit.)
Ambrose Paré

The cure is worse than the disease.
Philip Massinger


I don't give a shit what time you get home, just don't wake me up. That's your curfew: not waking me up.
Samuel Halpern


Curiosity is a lust of the mind.
Thomas Hobbes

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
Dorothy Parker

Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say only that the cat died nobly.
Arnold Edinborough

Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristicks of a vigorous intellect.
Samuel Johnson

Curiosity is only vanity. Most frequently we wish not to know, but to talk. We would not take a sea voyage for the sole pleasure of seeing without hope of ever telling.
Blaise Pascal

Envy and idleness married together begot curiosity.
Thomas Fuller

A generous and elevated mind is distinguished by nothing more certainly than an eminent degree of curiosity.
Samuel Johnson

Yet it is dangerous to discourage well-intended labours, or innocent curiosity.
Samuel Johnson

The gratification of curiosity rather frees us from uneasiness than confers pleasure; we are more pained by ignorance, than delighted by instruction. Curiosity is the thirst of the soul; it inflames and torments us, and makes us taste every thing with joy, however otherwise insipid, by which it may be quenched.
Samuel Johnson


"Curiouser and curiouser!" cried Alice.
Lewis Carroll


Too great a quantity of cash in circulation is a much greater evil than too small a quantity.
Noah Webster


May you live in interesting times.
Author unidentified, often described as a Chinese curse

Despair, and die!
William Shakespeare

To curse is to pray to the Devil.
German Proverb

Curses are like young chickens, they always come home to roost.
Robert Southey


Custom does often reason overrule
And only serves for reason to the fool.
John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

You say that it is your [Hindu] custom to burn widows. Very well. We [British] also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.
Sir Charles Napier

Just because you don’t know why we do something doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason for it.
Jonah Goldberg

Custom without reason is only ancient error.
English Proverb

Customs, even the most foolish and the most cruel, have always their source in the real or apparent utility of the public.
C. A. Helvétius

As the good writer forbears to depart from the common use of words, so the good citizen should avoid deviating too far from custom.
G. C. Lichtenberg

The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement.
J. S. Mill

Custom reconciles us to every thing.
Edmund Burke

When I am in Rome, I fast as the Romans do; when I am at Milan, I do not fast. So likewise you, whatever church you come to, observe the custom of the place.

(Cum Romanum venio, ieiuno Sabbato; cum hic sum, non ieiuno: sic etiam tu, ad quam forte ecclesiam veneris, eius morem serva, si cuiquam non vis esse scandalum nec quemquam tibi.)

St Ambrose

It ought to be the first endeavour of a writer to distinguish nature from custom; or that which is established because it is right, from that which is right only because it is established; that he may neither violate essential principles by a desire of novelty, nor debar himself from the attainment of beauties within his view, by a needless fear of breaking rules which no literary dictator had authority to enact.
Samuel Johnson

Custom, then, is the great guide of human life.
David Hume


The cynic is one who never sees a good quality in a man, and never fails to see a bad one. He is the human owl, vigilant in darkness, and blind to light, mousing for vermin, and never seeing noble game.
H. W. Beecher


Cynicism—the intellectual cripple's substitute for intelligence.
Russell Lynes

A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.
H. L. Mencken

Cynic—a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Oscar Wilde

Cynic, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision.
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Cynicism such as one finds very frequently among the most highly educated young men and women of the West results from the combination of comfort with powerlessness.
Bertrand Russell

Cynicism is intellectual dandyism.
George Meredith

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Last updated: July 12, 2024