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Cool Quotes - E


I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character … like those among men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor, and often very lousy …. The turkey … is a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America.
Benjamin Franklin


Nature has given man one tongue, but two ears, that we may hear twice as much as we speak.
Diogenes Laertius

Earl of Chesterfield

This man I thought had been a lord among wits, but I find he is only a wit among lords. [His letters to his son] teach the morals of a whore, and the manners of a dancing-master.
Samuel Johnson


Earnestness is just stupidity sent to college.
P. J. O'Rourke


All things come from earth, and to earth they all return.

Six feet of earth make all men equal.
James Howell

He saw with his own eyes the moon was round,
Was also certain that the earth was square.
Because he had journey'd fifty miles, and found
No sign that it was circular anywhere.

Look round and survey the various beauties of the globe, which heaven has destined for the seat of the human race, and consider whether a world thus exquisitely framed could be meant for the abode of misery and pain.
Samuel Johnson

The earth belongs to the living, not to the dead.
Thomas Jefferson

How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is clearly Ocean.
Arthur C. Clarke


It is in vain, I perceive, to look for ease and happiness in a world of troubles.
George Washington

Honor and ease are seldom bedfellows.
John Clarke

Never do anything standing that you can do sitting, or anything sitting that you can do lying down.
Chinese Proverb

Ease, if it is not rising into pleasure, will be falling towards pain.
Samuel Johnson


Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.
Rudyard Kipling


Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.


In general they [my children] refused to eat anything that hadn't danced on TV.
Erma Bombeck

"There's nothing like eating hay when you're faint" … "I didn't say there was nothing better," the King replied, "I said there was nothing like it."
Lewis Carroll

We each day dig our graves with our teeth.
Samuel Smiles

He found that a fork in his inexperienced hand was an instrument of chase rather than capture.
H. G. Wells

Don't graze—unless you are a cow or want to be the size of one.
Zoë Harcombe

We have the nature and manner of all wild beasts in eating. The wolves eat sheep; we also. The foxes eat hens, geese, etc.; we also. The hawks and kites eat fowl and birds; we also. Pikes eat other fish; we also. With oxen, horse, and kine, we also eat salads, grass, etc.
Martin Luther

A full gorged belly never produced a sprightly mind.
Jeremy Taylor

Lord, Madame, I have fed like a farmer, I shall grow as fat as a porpoise.
Jonathan Swift

Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are. (Dismoi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.)
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

He that eats till he is sick must fast till he is well.
H. G. Bohn

In eating, a third of the stomach should be filled with food, a third with drink, and the rest left empty.
The Talmud

The choleric drinks, the melancholic eats, the phlegmatic sleeps.
George Herbert

Be the first to stop, as befits good manners, and do not be insatiable, or you will give offense.
Ecclesiasticus 31:17


And of all plagues with which mankind are curst,
Ecclesiastic tyranny's the worst.
Daniel Defoe


The statesman, who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.
Adam Smith

No nation was ever ruined by trade.
Benjamin Franklin

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest.
Adam Smith

There's no such thing as a free lunch.
Author unidentified

The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.
John Maynard Keynes

Blockading squadrons are a means whereby nations seek to prevent their enemies from trading; protective tariffs are a means whereby nations attempt to prevent their own people from trading. What protectionism teaches us, is to do to ourselves in time of peace what enemies seek to do to us in time of war.
Henry George

It is impossible to understand the history of economic thought if one does not pay attention to the fact that economics as such is a challenge to the conceit of those in power.
Ludwig von Mises

At least half of the popular fallacies about economics come from assuming that economic activity is a zero-sum game, in which what is gained by someone is lost by someone else. But transactions would not continue unless both sides gained, whether in international trade, employment, or renting an apartment.
Thomas Sowell

[The] zero-sum caricature [applies] much more accurately to socialism, which stifles the creation of new wealth and thus fosters a dog-eat-dog struggle over existing material resources.
George Gilder

The active, insatiate principle of self-love can alone supply the arts of life and the wages of industry; and as soon as civil government and exclusive property have been introduced, they become necessary to the existence of the human race.
Edward Gibbon

The economic miracle that has been the United States was not produced by socialized enterprises, by government union-industry cartels or by centralized economic planning. It was produced by private enterprises in a profit-and-loss system.
Milton Friedman

There is no such thing on this earth as something for nothing.
William Graham Sumner

There cannot be overproduction of anything which men and women want. And their wants are unlimited, except by the size of their stomachs.
Thomas Edison

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound nought and six, result misery.
Charles Dickens

Your money does not cause my poverty. Refusal to believe this is at the bottom of most bad economic thinking.
P. J. O'Rourke


An economist is someone who sees something working in practice and wonders if it will work in theory.
Ronald Reagan


The love of economy is the root of all virtue.
George Bernard Shaw

I would rather have my people laugh at my economies than weep for my extravagance.
King Oscar II of Sweden

I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.
Adam Smith

There can be no economy where there is no efficiency.
Benjamin Disraeli


Edible, adj. Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm.
Ambrose Bierce


[An editor is] person employed on a newspaper, whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed.
Elbert Hubbard

Edmund Burke

I believe in any body of men in England I should have been in the minority; I have always been in the minority.
Edmund Burke

You could not stand five minutes with that man beneath a shed while it rained, but you must be convinced you had been standing with the greatest man you had ever yet seen.
Samuel Johnson

Educated and Uneducated

But the two classes [the educated and the uneducated] so beheld in contrast, might they not seem to belong to two different nations?
John Foster


I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
Chinese Proverb

"Whom are you?" he asked, for he had attended business college.
George Ade

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
William Butler Yeats

I find the three major administrative problems on a campus are sex for the students, athletics for the alumni and parking for the faculty.
Clark Kerr

Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run.
Mark Twain

It takes me several days, after I get back to Boston, to realize that the reference "the president" refers to the president of Harvard and not to a minor official in Washington.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

I've over-educated myself in all the things I shouldn't have known at all.
Noel Coward

I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly
Michel de Montaigne

An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
Alexander Pope

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.
William Arthur Ward

Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.
George Bernard Shaw

Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
Oscar Wilde

The learned are seldom pretty fellows, and in many cases their appearance tends to discourage a love of study in the young.
H. L. Mencken

The trouble is not chiefly that our universities are unfit for students but that many present-day students are unfit for universities.
Eric Hoffer

I was a modest, good-humored boy. It is Oxford that has made me insufferable.
Max Beerbohm

School teachers, taking them by and large, are probably the most ignorant and stupid class of men in the whole group of mental workers.
H. L. Mencken

The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality.
H. L. Mencken

More than any other class of blind leaders of the blind they are responsible for the degrading standardization which now afflicts the American people.
H. L. Mencken, on pedagogues

Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.
Carl Gustav Jung

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
Mark Twain

Give your ears, hear the sayings,
Give your heart to understand them;
It profits to put them in your heart.

The power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy, except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous.
Edward Gibbon

It is better to learn late than never.
Publilius Syrus

Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.
Winston Churchill

When you wish to instruct, be brief; that men's minds take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it faithfully. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind.

[It] is not sufficiently considered, that men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.
Samuel Johnson

In the productions of the mind, as in those of the soil, the gifts of nature are excelled by industry and skill.
Edward Gibbon

Genius may anticipate the season of maturity; but in the education of a people, as in that of an individual, memory must be exercised, before the powers of reason and fancy can be expanded: nor may the artist hope to equal or surpass, till he has learned to imitate, the works of his predecessors.
Edward Gibbon

Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge.
Mark Twain

The idea of education has been so tied to schools, universities, and professors that many assume there is no other way, but education is available to anyone within reach of a library, a post office, or even a newsstand.
Louis L'Amour

If I am through learning, I am through.
John Wooden

One of the benefits of a bad education is the constant pleasure of discovery.
Richard Brookhiser

No other society in human history has placed such a strong and consistent emphasis on education at all levels as the United States has from its very inception. But there has been a failure somewhere. … There is a universal complaint in Europe and North America that the young emerge from high school (and often from university) with only tolerable literacy, unable to write their own language well, ignorant of other languages, knowing little of their country's history, literature, and culture—fitter candidates for a mob than for a citizenry.
Paul Johnson

The purpose of a college education is to give you the correct view of minorities, and the means to live as far away from them as possible.
Joseph Sobran

[Bilingual education:] a school system that can't teach its charges in one language has smoothly diversified into not teaching them in two.
Mark Steyn

In modern education, girls are treated as the gold standard, and boys are treated as "defective girls."
Dennis Prager

Genius without education is like silver in the mine.
Author unidentified

Learn of [from] the skillful: He that teaches himself, hath a fool for his master.
Author unidentified

[Authentic] education is not "value-neutral" but includes moral education that explains the standards for right and wrong.
The 1776 Report

[Education experts] have not completely killed the habit among children of reading worthwhile books but they have certainly had a go.
Paul Johnson

Do not train boys to learning by force and harshness, but lead them by what amuses them, so that they may better discover the bent of their minds.
Plato: The Republic, vII, c. 370 B.C.

Children should be led into the right paths, not by severity, but by persuasion.

The great secret of education is to direct vanity to proper objects.
Adam Smith

I have never thought a boy should undertake abstruse or difficult sciences, such as mathematics in general, till fifteen years of age at soonest. Before that time, they are best employed in learning the languages, which is merely a matter of memory.
Thomas Jefferson

Education, however indispensable in a cultivated age, produces nothing on the side of genius. When education ends, genius often begins.
Isaac D'Israeli

Every man who rises above the common level has received two educations: the first from his teachers; the second, more personal and important, from himself.
Edward Gibbon

Repetition is the mother of education.
Jean Paul Richter

The things taught in schools and colleges are not an education, but the means of education.
R. W. Emerson

No child under the age of fifteen should receive instruction in subjects which possibly be the vehicle of serious error, such as philosophy or religion, for wrong notions imbibed early can seldom be rooted out, and of all the intellectual faculties, judgment is the last to arrive at maturity. The child should give its attention either to subjects where no error is possible at all, such as mathematics, or to those in which there is no particular danger in making a mistake, such as languages, natural science, history, and so on.
Arthur Schopenhauer

No mother's mark is more permanent than the mental naevi and moles, and excrescences, and mutilations, that students carry with them out of the lecture room.
O. W. Holmes

Wherever is found what is called a paternal government, there is found state education. It has been discovered that the best way to insure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery.
Benjamin Disraeli

The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn.
John Lubbock (Lord Avebury)

We need education in the obvious more than investigation of the obscure.
O. W. Holmes II

The state has a right to insist that its citizens shall be educated.
Pastoral Letter of the American Roman Catholic hierarchy, Feb., 1920

The parents have a right to say that no teacher paid by their money shall rob their children of faith in God and send them back to their homes skeptical, or infidels, or agnostics, or atheists.
W. J. Bryan

The effects of infantile instruction are, like those of syphilis, never completely cured.
Robert Briffault

There is now less flogging in our great schools than formerly, but then less is learned there; so that what the boys get at one end they lose at the other.
Samuel Johnson

To spend too much time in studies is sloth.
Francis Bacon

Wear your learning, like your watch, in a private pocket: and do not pull it out and strike it, merely to show that you have one.
Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield

Where my reason, imagination or interest were not engaged, I would not or I could not learn.
Winston Churchill

Certainly the prolonged education indispensable to the progress of Society is not natural to mankind.
Winston Churchill

Why then should women be denied the benefits of instruction? If knowledge and understanding had been useless additions to the sex, God almighty would never have given them capacities.
Daniel Defoe


In this life we get nothing save by effort. Freedom from effort in the present, merely means that there has been stored-up effort in the past.
Theodore Roosevelt

He who does his best, however little, is always to be distinguished from him who does nothing.
Samuel Johnson


I don't let the hate go to my heart, and I don't let the praise go to my head.
Dennis Prager


If she think not well of me,
What care I how fair she be?
George Wither

I am clever; and make no scruple of declaring it; why should I?
La Rochefoucauld

We cannot possibly feel for others; it is solely for ourselves that we feel. It is not father or mother, wife or child, that we love, but the agreeable emotions that they set up in us—emotions of pride and self-love.
G. C. Lichtenberg


An egotist is a man who thinks that if he hadn't been born, people would have wondered why.
Dan Post

Egotist, n. A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me.
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

He was like a cock who thought the sun had risen to hear him crow.
George Eliot


The riches of Egypt all go to foreigners.
Arab Proverb


Elections are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody.
Franklin P. Adams

Whatever one may think about democratic government, it is just as well to have practical experience of its rough and slatternly foundations. No part of the education of a politician is more indispensable than the fighting of elections.
Winston Churchill


When you have got an elephant by the hind leg, and he is trying to run away, it's best to let him run.
Abraham Lincoln


Eloquent speakers are inclined to ambition; for eloquence seemeth wisdom, both to themselves and others.
Thomas Hobbes

Eloquence, smooth and cutting, is like a razor whetted with oil.
Jonathan Swift

Can there be a more horrible object in existence than an eloquent man not speaking the truth?
Thomas Carlyle

Who can speak well can also lie well.
Japanese Proverb


Emacs is a nice [operating system], but a weird editor.
M. J. Blom


A little daily embroidery had been a constant element in Mrs Transome's life; that soothing occupation of taking stitches to produce what neither she nor any one else wanted, was then the resource of many a well-born and unhappy woman.
George Eliot


Nearest the king, nearest the gallows.
Danish Proverb

Every man ought to endeavour at eminence, not by pulling others down, but by raising himself.
Samuel Johnson

It is no less a proof of eminence to have many enemies than many friends, and I look upon every letter, whether it contains encomiums or reproaches, as an equal attestation of rising credit.
Samuel Johnson

He who ascends to mountaintops, shall find
The loftiest peaks most wrapt in clouds and snow;
He who surpasses or subdues mankind
Must look down on the hate of those below.
Lord Byron


As you pass from the tender years of youth into harsh and embittered manhood, make sure you take with you on your journey all the human emotions! Don't leave them on the road, for you will not pick them up afterwards!
Nikolai Gogol


Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?
William Blake


Because I pillage with one little ship I am called a pirate; because you do it with a great navy you are called an emperor.
A captured pirate to Alexander of Macedon, c. 330 B.C.


[An] extensive empire must be supported by a refined system of policy and oppression; in the centre, an absolute power, prompt in action and rich in resources; a swift and easy communication with the extreme parts; fortifications to check the first effort of rebellion; a regular administration to protect and punish; and a well-disciplined army to inspire fear, without provoking discontent and despair.
Edward Gibbon

One reason empires fail is that they are too big to run; they are easier to create than to administer, consolidate and defend.
Paul Johnson

The Earth is littered with the ruins of empires that believed they were eternal.
Camille Paglia

I have not become the King's First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.
Winston Churchill

Employee Retention

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


A man who qualifies himself well for his calling never fails of employment in it.
Thomas Jefferson

Employment gives health, sobriety, and morals. Constant employment and well-paid labor produce, in a country like ours, general prosperity, content, and cheerfulness.
Daniel Webster

When men are employed, they are best contented; for on the days they worked they were good-natured and cheerful, and, with the consciousness of having done a good day’s work, they spent the evening jollily; but on our idle days they were mutinous and quarrelsome.
Benjamin Franklin


Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
Winston Churchill

All lovely things will have an ending,
All lovely things will fade and die,
All youth, that's now so bravely spending,
Will beg a penny by and by.
Conrad Aiken

The line, often adopted by strong men in controversy, of justifying the means by the end.
Saint Jerome

He who wills the end wills the means.
English Proverb

May God make our end better than our beginning.
Arab Saying


What can't be cured must be endured.
English Proverb


A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
Oscar Wilde

Whoever has his foe at his mercy, and does not kill him, is his own enemy.

He makes no friend who never made a foe.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

We should forgive our enemies, but only after they have been hanged first.
Heinrich Heine

Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.
Thomas Jones

The savage nations of the globe are the common enemies of civilized society; and we may inquire, with anxious curiosity, whether Europe is still threatened with a repetition of those calamities, which formerly oppressed the arms and institutions of Rome.
Edward Gibbon

Yet this apparent security should not tempt us to forget, that new enemies, and unknown dangers, may possibly arise from some obscure people, scarcely visible in the map of the world. The Arabs or Saracens, who spread their conquests from India to Spain, had languished in poverty and contempt, till [Muhammad] breathed into those savage bodies the soul of enthusiasm.
Edward Gibbon

I have made plenty of enemies in my lifetime, but none has ever done me as much injury as I do myself.
Kathryn L. Nelson

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
Napoleon Bonaparte

You have enemies? Why, it is the story of every man who has done a great deed or created a new idea.
Victor Hugo

Wise men learn much from their enemies.

A man has no enemy worse than himself.

How pleasant it is to pity the fate of an enemy when we have nothing more to fear from him.
Pierre Corneille

The gifts of an enemy are justly to be dreaded.

If we are bound to forgive an enemy, we are not bound to trust him.
Thomas Fuller

There is not a more prudent maxim than to live with one's enemies as if they may one day become one's friends.
Lord Chesterfield

All things human have their ends, and some day England will lose its liberty, and perish. It will perish when its legislative power becomes more corrupt than its executive power.
C. L. de Montesquieu

When an army in the field becomes imbued with the idea that the enemy are vermin who cumber the earth, instances of barbarity may easily be the outcome.
Winston Churchill


There are three principal ways to lose money: wine, women, and engineers. While the first two are more pleasant, the third is by far the more certain.
Baron Rothschild, ca. 1800

If you can write code and understand systems, you're a geek. If you can communicate, coordinate, and control—you're an engineer.
Author unidentified


To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day.
W. Somerset Maugham

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England.
Rupert Brooke

Industrialization came to England but has since left.
P. J. O'Rourke

England is the paradise of women, the purgatory of men, and the hell of horses.
John Florio

Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones!

England, bound in with the triumphant sea,
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of watery Neptune.

England is a moon shone upon by France. France has all things within herself; and she possesses the power of recovering from the severest blows. England is an artificial country: take away her commerce, and what has she?
Ascribed to Edmund Burke

You cannot imagine, you say, that England will ever be ruined and conquered; and for no other reason that I can find, but because it seems so very odd it should be ruined and conquered. Alas! so reasoned, in their time, the Austrian, Russian and Prussian Plymleys. But the English are brave; so were all these nations.
Sydney Smith

I consider the government of England as totally without morality, insolent beyond bearing, inflated with vanity and ambition, aiming at the exclusive dominion of the sea, lost in corruption, of deep-rooted hatred towards us, hostile to liberty wherever it endeavors to show its head, and the eternal disturber of the peace of the world.
Thomas Jefferson

It was never good times in England since the poor began to speculate upon their condition.
Charles Lamb

Oh, England is a pleasant place for them that's rich and high,
But England is a cruel place for such poor folks as I.
Charles Kingsley

Bognor has always meant to me the quintessential English seaside experience (before all this global warming stuff): driving in the rain to get there, walking around in the rain looking for something to do when you're there, and driving home in the rain again.
Terry Pratchett

Be England what she will,
With all her faults she is my country still.
Charles Churchill

Our cloudy climate, and our chilly women.
Lord Byron

The English winter—ending in July,
To recommence in August.
Lord Byron

England a happy land we know,
Where follies naturally grow.
Charles Churchill

Our severest winter, commonly called the spring.
William Cowper

England's not a bad country … It's just a mean, cold, ugly, divided, tired, clapped-out, post-imperial, post-industrial slag-heap covered in polystyrene hamburger cartons.
Margaret Drabble

I feel in regard to this aged England … that she sees a little better on a cloudy day, and that, in storm of battle and calamity, she has a secret vigour and a pulse like a cannon.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ideal perfection is not the true basis of English legislation. We look at the attainable; we look at the practical, and we have too much English sense to be drawn away by those sanguine delineations of what might possibly be attained in Utopia, from a path which promises to enable us to effect great good for the people of England.
W. E. Gladstone


The difference between the vanity of a Frenchman and an Englishman seems to be this: The one thinks everything right that is French, the other thinks everything wrong that is not English.
William Hazlitt

The English instinctively admire any man who has no talent and is modest about it.
James Agee

An Englishman thinks he is moral when he is only uncomfortable.
George Bernard Shaw

The most dangerous thing in the world is to make a friend of an Englishman, because he'll come sleep in your closet rather than spend ten shillings on a hotel.
Truman Capote

The English find ill-health not only interesting but respectable and often experience death in the effort to avoid a fuss.
Pamela Frankau

The English are a huge force for good and evil.
Paul Johnson

The [Medieval] English thought war was a business, which should turn in a profit.
Paul Johnson

The English take their pleasures sadly.
Maximilien de Bethune

Raw meat makes animals fierce, and it has the same effect on man. The English, who eat their meat red and bloody, show the savagery that goes with such food.
J. O. de la Mettrie

The English are a busy people. They haven't the time to become polished.
C. L. Montesquieu

Though I love my country, I do not love my countrymen.

They doubt a man's sound judgment if he does not eat with appetite, and shake their heads if he is particularly chaste.
R. W. Emerson

Historians have noticed, all down the centuries, one peculiarity of the English people which has cost them dear. We have always thrown away after a victory the greater part of the advantages we gained in the struggle.
Winston Churchill

English Language

If the King's English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me!
"Ma" Ferguson, Governor of Texas (circa 1920)

Naturally I am biased in favor of boys learning English. I would make them all learn English: and then I would let the clever ones learn Latin as an honour, and Greek as a treat. But the only thing I would whip them for is not knowing English, I would whip them hard for that.
Winston Churchill

I have labored to refine our language to grammatical purity, and to clear it from colloquial barbarisms, licentious idioms, and irregular combinations.
Samuel Johnson

Good English is plain, easy and smooth in the mouth of an unaffected English gentleman.
Samuel Johnson

It may be doubted whether a composite language like the English is not a happier instrument of expression than a homogeneous one like the German. We possess a wonderful richness and variety of modified meanings in our Saxon and Latin quasi-synonyms, which the Germans have not.
S. T. Coleridge

View'd freely, the English language is the accretion and growth of every dialect, race and range of time, and is both the free and compacted composition of all.
Walt Whitman

There is one expression that continually comes to my mind whenever I think of the English language and compare it with others: it seems to me positively and expressly masculine. It is the language of a grown-up man and has very little childish or feminine about it.
Otto Jespersen

English and Irish

I could wish that the English kept history in mind more, that the Irish kept it in mind less.
Elizabeth Bowen


How hard it is to make an Englishman acknowledge that he is happy.
W. M. Thackeray

An Englishman,
Being flattered, is a lamb; threatened, a lion.
George Chapman


The first half of life consists of the capacity to enjoy without the chance; the last half consists of the chance without the capacity.
Mark Twain

The poor have little,—beggars none;
The rich too much—enough not one.
Benjamin Franklin


Ennui: nothing is so intolerable to man as to be completely at rest, without passions, without occupation, without diversion, without work. He then feels his nothingness, his abandonment, his insufficiency, his dependence, his powerlessness, his emptiness. Immediately from the depth of his heart will emerge ennui, gloom, sadness, resentment, vexation, despair.
Blaise Pascal


You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.
William Blake


The people that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions, and all else, now concerns itself no more, and longs eagerly for just two things—bread and circuses!


Enthusiasm is that temper of the mind in which the imagination has got the better of the judgment.
William Warburton

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


No wild enthusiast ever yet could rest,
Till half mankind were like himself possess'd.
William Cowper

Opposition always inflames the enthusiast, never converts him.
J. C. F. Schiller


People are easily anesthetized by overstatement, and there is a danger that the environmental movement will fall flat on its face when it is most needed, simply because it has pitched its tale too strongly.
John Maddox

Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes.
P. J. O'Rourke

A pleasant natural environment is a good—a luxury good, philosophical good, a moral goody-good, a good time for all. Whatever, we want it. If we want something, we should pay for it, with our labor or our cash. We shouldn't beg it, steal it, sit around wishing for it, or euchre the government into taking it by force.
P. J. O'Rourke

[The land] was then covered with morasses and forests, which spread to a boundless extent, whenever man has ceased to exercise his dominion over the earth.
Edward Gibbon

Once ecology became a fashionable good cause, as it did in the late 1960s, reason, logic and proportion flew out of the window. It became a campaign not against pollution, but against growth itself, and especially against free enterprise growth—totalitarian communist growth was somehow less morally offensive.
Paul Johnson

Generally speaking, [climate] skeptics are not skeptical of any human influence. We are skeptical of (1) the size of the influence, (2) whether it presents any substantial danger, and (3) whether doing something about it with current alternative energy technologies would do more good than harm.
Roy Spencer

The [climate] models are what are being relied upon for proposed changes in energy policy; the observations are, apparently, a mere curiosity.
Roy Spencer

Wherever the material condition of the laboring classes has been improved, improvement in their personal qualities has followed, and wherever their material condition has been depressed, deterioration in these qualities has been the result.
Henry George


Worshiping the earth is more fun than going to church. It's also closer.
P. J. O'Rourke

Truly, environmentalism has displaced economics as the dismal science.
Steven Hayward

One should never underestimate the ruthlessness of the men and women possessed with the transcendental notion that only their acts can save the human race from imminent destruction.
Paul Johnson

People with a mission to save the earth want the earth to seem worse than it is so their mission will look more important.
P. J. O'Rourke


Benign environmentalists are opposed to pollution, as all sensible people are; malign environmentalists are opposed to energy and most of what it enables.
Kevin D. Williamson

The collegiate idealists who fill the ranks of the environmental movement seem willing to do absolutely anything to save the biosphere, except take science courses and learn something about it.
P. J. O'Rourke


Pity is for the living, envy is for the dead.
Mark Twain

Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple.
Job 5:2

[They] saw, they envied.
Edward Gibbon

The covetous man is ever in want.

Few men have the strength of character to rejoice in a friend's success without a touch of envy.

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

Envy is to be overcome only by death.

Every other sin hath some pleasure annexed to it, or will admit of an excuse: envy alone wants both.
Robert Burton

A man shall never be enriched by envy.
Thomas Draxe

Envy not greatness, for thou mak'st thereby Thyself the worse, and so the distance greater.
George Herbert

The envious man shall never want woe.
William Camden

Envy is more irreconcilable than hatred.
La Rochefoucauld

Honor is always attended on by envy.
William Winstanley

There is but one man who can believe himself free from envy, and it is he who has never examined his own heart.
C. A. Helvétius

Envy, among other ingredients, has a mixture of the love of justice in it. We are more angry at undeserved than at deserved good fortune.
William Hazlitt

All kinds of enmity are curable save that which flows out of envy.
Hebrew Proverb

Envy and anger shorten life.
Hebrew Proverb

The dullard's envy of brilliant men is always assuaged by the suspicion that they will come to a bad end.
Max Beerbohm

Such is the state of every age, every sex, and every condition: all have their cares, either from nature or from folly: and whoever therefore finds himself inclined to envy another, should remember that he knows not the real condition which he desires to obtain.
Samuel Johnson

There is not a passion so strongly rooted in the human heart as envy.
Richard Sheridan

Envy is, indeed, a stubborn weed of the mind, and seldom yields to the culture of philosophy.
Samuel Johnson


What is an epigram? A dwarfish whole,
Its body brevity, and wit its soul.
S. T. Coleridge

Short, it is easily retained in the memory; pithy, it contains in the compass of a few lines the sum of an argument; and the result of experience it often expresses the wisdom of ages.
H. P. Dodd


If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl.
H. L. Mencken

Pause, stranger, when you pass me by.
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so you will be.
So prepare for death and follow me.
Author unidentified

Here lies W. C. Fields. I would rather be living in Philadelphia.
W. C. Fields

Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear
To dig the dust enclosed here;
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
And curst be he that moves my bones.
William Shakespeare's epitaph

Once I was not. Now I am not. I know nothing about it, and it is no concern of mine.
Author unidentified

Here halt, I pray you, make a little stay,
O wayfarer, to read what I have writ,
And know by my fate what thy fate shall be.
What thou art now, wayfarer, world renowned,
I was: what I am now, so shall thou be.
The world’s delight I followed with a heart
Unsatisfied: ashes am I, and dust.

Go tell the Spartans, thou that passeth by,
That here, obedient to the laws, we lie.

Alternative translation:
Go, tell the Spartans
stranger passing by,
that here, obedient to Spartan law,
we dead of Sparta lie.

Simonides: Epitaph for the Spartans who fell at Thermopylae, 480 B.C.

Here, lapped in hallowed slumber, Saon lies,
Asleep, not dead; a good man never dies.

May the earth lie light upon thee. (Sit tibi terra levis.)
Epitaph common on Roman tombs

All hope of never dying here lies dead.
Richard Crashaw

The body of Benjamin Franklin, Printer (like the cover of an old book, its contents torn out and stript of its lettering and gilding), lies here, food for worms; but the work shall not be lost, for it will (as he believed) appear once more in a new and more elegant edition, revised and corrected by the Author.
Benjamin Franklin

Let my epitaph be, "Here lies Joseph, who failed in everything he undertook."
Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor: Last words

And when I lie in the green kirkyard,
With the mold upon my breast,
Say not that she did well, or ill,
Only, She did her best.
Dinah Mulock Craik: Epitaph for herself

Epitaph, n. An inscription on a tomb, showing that virtues acquired by death have a retroactive effect.
Ambrose Bierce

This turf has drank
A widow's tear;
Three of her husbands
Slumber here.
Epitaph in a churchyard in Staffordshire England

Here lies our sovereign lord the King,
Whose promise none relies on;
He never said a foolish thing,
Nor ever did a wise one.
John Wilmot, of Charles II

Near this spot are deposited the remains of one who possessed beauty without vanity, strength without insolence, courage without ferocity, and all the virtues of Man, without his vices.
Lord Byron, Inscription on the Monument of a Newfoundland Dog

Good to the poor, to kindred dear,
To servants kind, to friendship clear,
To nothing but herself severe.
Thomas Carew, epitaph for Lady Mary Wentworth

If there’s another world, he lives in bliss;
If there is none, he made the best of this.
Robert Burns, epitaph on William Muir

By many lands and over many a wave
I come, my brother, to your piteous grave,
To bring you the last offering in death
And o'er dumb dust expend an idle breath
Yet take these gifts, brought as our fathers bade
For sorrow's tribute to the passing shade;
A brother's tears have wet them o'er and o'er;
And so, my brother, hail, and farewell evermore!

(Multas per gentes et multa per aequora vectus
Advenio has miseras, frater, ad inferias,
Ut te postremo donarem munere mortis
Et mutam nequiquam alloquerer cinerem …
Nunc tamen interea haec prisco quae more parentum
Tradita sunt tristi munere ad inferias,
Accipe fraterno multum manantia fletu,
Atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale


O, lift one thought in prayer for S. T. C.;
That he who many a year with toil of breath
Found death in life, may here find life in death.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, epitaph for himself

Toll for the brave—
The brave! that are no more:
All sunk beneath the wave,
Fast by their native shore.
William Cowper

And were an epitaph to be my story
I'd have a short one ready for my own.
I would have written of me on my stone:
I had a lover's quarrel with the world.
Robert Frost


If I wish to walk with my equals, I have to go to the Capuchin crypt.
Joseph II


The Romans had aspired to be equal; they were leveled by the equality of servitude.
Edward Gibbon

The yearning after equality [in economic outcome] is the offspring of envy and covetousness, and there is no possible plan for satisfying that yearning which can do aught else than rob A to give to B; consequently all such plans nourish some of the meanest vices of human nature, waste capital, and overthrow civilization.
William Graham Sumner

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

It is not true that equality is a law of nature. Nature knows no equality. Its sovereign law is subordination and dependence.
Luc de Varvenargues

It is better that some should be unhappy than that none should be happy, which would be the case in a general state of equality.
Samuel Johnson

A musical instrument composed of chords, keys or pipes, all perfectly equal in size and power, might as well be expected to produce harmony as a society composed of members all perfectly equal to be productive of peace and order.
Jonathan Boucher

The best way to make every one poor is to insist on equality of wealth.
Napoleon I

Equality, in a social sense, may be divided into that of condition and that of rights. Equality of condition is incompatible with civilization, and is found only to exist in those communities that are but slightly removed from the savage state. In practice, it can only mean a common misery.
J. Fenimore Cooper

The defect of equality is that we only desire it with our superiors.
Henry Becque

The only real equality is in the cemetery.
German Proverb


Law and equity are two things which God hath joined, but which man hath put asunder.
C. C. Colton


Equivocation is half way to lying, as lying is the whole way to Hell.
William Penn


Erasmus of Rotterdam is the vilest miscreant that ever disgraced the earth. He made several attempts to draw me into his snares, and I should have been in danger, but that God lent me special aid.
Martin Luther

Whenever I pray, I pray for a curse upon Erasmus.
Martin Luther

I hold Erasmus of Rotterdam to be Christ's most bitter enemy.
Martin Luther

Ernest Hemingway

He [Hemingway] has never been known to use a word that might cause the reader to check with a dictionary to see if it is properly used.
William Faulkner


The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of the truth—that error and truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it has been cured of one error, is usually simply another error, and maybe one worse than the first one.
H. L. Mencken

Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.
Thomas Jefferson

Where error is irretrievable, repentance is useless.
Edward Gibbon

It is almost as difficult to make a man unlearn his errors as his knowledge. Mal-information is more hopeless than non-information; for error is always more busy than ignorance.
C. C. Colton

An old error is always more popular than a new truth.
German Proverb

It is one thing to show a man that he is in an error, and another to put him in possession of truth.
John Locke

Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow;
He who would search for pearls must dive below.
John Dryden


It may be laid down as a position which will seldom deceive, that when a man cannot bear his own company, there is something wrong. He must fly from himself, either because he feels a tediousness in life from the equipoise of an empty mind, which, having no tendency to one motion more than another, but as it is impelled by some external power, must always have recourse to foreign objects; or he must be afraid of the intrusion of some unpleasing ideas, and perhaps is struggling to escape from the remembrance of a loss, the fear of a calamity, or some other thought of greater horrour.
Samuel Johnson

Men, not having been able to cure death, misery, and ignorance, have imagined to make themselves happy by not thinking of these things.
Blaise Pascal


[Every] man desires to be most esteemed by those whom he loves.
Samuel Johnson

We are usually mistaken in esteeming men too much; rarely in esteeming them too little.
Stanislaus Leszcynski


Eternity is a terrible thought. I mean, where's it going to end?
Tom Stoppard

Like a drop of water from the sea and a grain of sand, so are a few years among the days of eternity.
Ecclesiasticus 18:10


Our whole dignity consists in thought. Let us endeavor, then, to think well: this is the principle of ethics.
Blaise Pascal

In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of another. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.
Immanuel Kant


Three generations of imbeciles are enough.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Go through the towns and ask yourselves whether these people should reproduce! Let them go to their whores!
Friedrich Nietzsche

The best of either sex should be united with the best as often, and the inferior with the inferior as seldom, as possible.


[Euphemism is] … a human device to conceal the horrors of reality.
Paul Johnson


Europe is secure from any future irruptions of Barbarians; since, before they can conquer, they must cease to be barbarous.
Edward Gibbon

When life becomes an extended picnic, with nothing of importance to do, ideas of greatness become an irritant. Such is the nature of the Europe syndrome.
Charles Murray

In Europe, nothing is certain except death and welfare, and why let the former get in the way of the latter?
Mark Steyn

Europe, as an entity, was the offspring of the marriage between the culture of ancient Greece and Rome and the morality of Judeo Christianity.
Paul Johnson


Wherever the European has trod, death seems to pursue the aboriginal.
Charles Darwin

European Union

The world is already drifting into three huge trading systems—the Americas, East Asia, and Europe. There is no doubt that the French, and the bulk of the Brussels machine, see the EC as an internal free-trading area, surrounded by a high protective wall—Fortress Europe. If the French determine the European pattern, then the Big Three will emerge as fiercely antagonistic, repelling one another's trade and fostering their own. The scene would be set for the greatest trade wars the world has ever known—and history teaches that trade wars lead to real ones. We could well face the nightmare of that tripartite world, engaged in perpetual warfare, foreseen in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Paul Johnson


Every evening we are poorer by a day.
Arthur Schopenhauer


Someone who is determined to disbelieve something can manage to disregard an Everest of evidence for it.
George F. Will


The beginning of evil is the assault on truth. The first sin, of Adam, was preceded by the first lie, Satan's, and its unthinking repetition by Eve. The metaphor of Genesis teaches that anti-truth is the cause of active evil. Lying is the prolegomenon, the foreword, to the encyclopaedia of evil.
Paul Johnson

[Back] in Sudan, the killing went on: hundreds of thousands of people were murdered. With machetes … The mound of corpses piled up around the world at the turn of the century was not from high-tech nuclear states but from low-tech psycho states.
Mark Steyn

Instead of learning to fight evil, the Germans learned that fighting is evil.
Dennis Prager (paraphrased)

Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Psalm 97:10

To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
Proverbs 8:13

There are very few true monsters in the world. Most evil is committed by banal men holding evil beliefs.
Dennis Prager

It is characteristic of the accretive subtlety of Christianity that it ascribes evil in the world to a multiplicity of causes. Marx, by contrast, has a single-cause theory: all the evils of society arise from private property; abolish that, and they will disappear. But the result is not happiness. It is the Gulag.
Paul Johnson

He who is bent on doing evil can never want occasion.

Submit to the present evil, lest a greater one befall you.

I would rather live with a lion and a dragon than live with an evil woman.
Ecclesiasticus 25:16

For what is that which we call evil but the absence of good?
St. Augustine

And thus I clothe my naked villany
With odd old ends stol’n forth of holy writ,
And seem a saint when most I play the devil.

An event has happened, upon which it is difficult to speak, and impossible to be silent.
Edmund Burke

The gods can either take away evil from the world and will not, or, being willing to do so cannot; or they neither can nor will, or lastly, they are both able and willing. If they have the will to remove evil and cannot, then they are not omnipotent. If they can, but will not, then they are not benevolent. If they are neither able nor willing, then they are neither omnipotent nor benevolent. Lastly, if they are both able and willing to annihilate evil, how does it exist?

God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to suffer no evil to exist.
St. Augustine

Of two evils we should always choose the less.
Thomas à Kempis

A beast is but like itself, but an evil man is half a beast and half a devil.
Joseph Hall (Bishop of Norwich)

There are men of whom we can never believe evil without having seen it. Yet there are few in whom we should be surprised to see it.
La Rochefoucauld

The three evils are the sea, fire, and woman.
Greek Proverb

Whenever God prepares evil for a man, He first damages his mind, with which he deliberates.

I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.
W. H. Auden

We believe no evil till the evil’s done.
Jean de La Fontaine

Shame be to the man who has evil in his mind. (Hony soyt qui mal pence.)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

A belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.
Joseph Conrad

As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy.
Christopher Dawson

Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.
John 3:20

We find it difficult to conceive of evil and beauty together.
J. R. R. Tolkien

Never open the door to the least of evils, for many other, greater ones lurk outside.
Baltasar Gracián

Evil Doing

No man is clever enough to know all the evil he does.
La Rochefoucauld

Who would do ill ne’er wants occasion.
George Herbert


It is an error to imagine that evolution signifies a constant tendency to increased perfection. That process undoubtedly involves a constant remodeling of the organism in adaptation to new conditions; but it depends on the nature of those conditions whether the direction of the modifications effected shall be upward or downward.
T. H. Huxley

Evolution was far more thrilling to me than the biblical account. Who would not rather be a rising ape than a falling angel? To my juvenile eyes Darwin was proved true every day. It doesn't take much to make us flip back into monkeys again.
Terry Pratchett


Delusive exactness is a source of fallacy throughout the law.
Mr. Justice O. W. Holmes

Exactness is the sublimity of fools.
Author unidentified


Examinations are formidable even to the best prepared, for the greatest fool may ask more than the wisest man can answer.
C. C. Colton


Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
Mark Twain

How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds
Makes ill deeds done!

Example is better than precept.
English Proverb

Example is a dangerous lure: where the wasp got through the gnat is stuck.
Jean de la Fontaine

Example is always more efficacious than precept.
Samuel Johnson

Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.
Edmund Burke

He who will not be warned by the example of others shall become an example to others.
Author unidentified

If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.
Catherine Aird


We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
Will Durant

By different methods different men excel,
But where is he who can do all things well?
Charles Churchill

I trust a good deal to common fame, as we all must. If a man has good corn, or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.
R. W. Emerson


Nothing in excess.
Ascribed to Thales (and others)

Even nectar is poison if taken to excess.
Hindu Proverb


From the year of our Lord 1518, to the present time, every Maundy Thursday, at Rome, I have been by the pope excommunicated and cast into hell; yet I still live.
Martin Luther


And oftentimes excusing of a fault
Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.


Sir, executions are intended to draw spectators. If they do not draw spectators they don't answer their purpose.
Samuel Johnson

Thou wilt show my head to the people: it is worth showing.
Georges Jacques Danton, to his executioner


We must be on guard against giving interpretations of Scripture that are far-fetched or opposed to science, and so exposing the word of God to the ridicule of unbelievers.
St. Augustine


Not less than two hours a day should be devoted to exercise.
Thomas Jefferson

Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness.
The Earl of Derby

Whenever I feel like exercise I lie down until the feeling passes.
Ascribed to Robert M. Hutchins


There is nothing in the essence of man which makes his existence necessary; it may equally well happen that this or that man does or does not exist.
Baruch Spinoza

Mere existence is so much better than nothing that one would rather exist even in pain than not exist.
Samuel Johnson


Blessed is the man who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.
Alexander Pope

It is generally allowed, that no man ever found the happiness of possession proportionate to that expectation which incited his desire, and invigorated his pursuit; nor has any man found the evils of life so formidable in reality, as they were described to him by his own imagination: every species of distress brings with it some peculiar supports, some unforeseen means of resisting, or power of enduring.
Samuel Johnson

For the pleasure of expecting enjoyment is often greater than that of obtaining it, and the completion of almost every wish is found a disappointment.
Samuel Johnson

To whom nothing is given, of him can nothing be required.
Henry Fielding


It may, however, be laid down as a rule never to be broken, that a man's voluntary expense should not exceed his revenue.
Samuel Johnson


Experience is the worst teacher; it gives the test before presenting the lesson.
Vernon Law

Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes.
Oscar Wilde

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

I had rather have a fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad.

The reward of suffering is experience.

It is costly wisdom that is bought by experience. … Learning teacheth more in one year than experience in twenty.
Roger Ascham

Man really knows nothing save what he has learned by his own experience.
C. M. Wieland

To most men, experience is like the stern lights of a ship, which illumine only the track it has passed.
S. T. Coleridge

Experience is of no ethical value; it is simply the name we give our mistakes. It demonstrates that the future will be the same as the past.
Oscar Wilde

If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives is a lantern on the stern, which shines only on the waves behind us!
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced—Even a proverb is no Proverb to you till your Life has illustrated it.
John Keats


The true worth of an experimenter consists in his pursuing not only what he seeks in his experiment, but also what he did not seek.
Claude Bernard


An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less.
Nicholas Murray Butler


Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
H. L. Mencken


A few strike out, without map or chart,
Where never a man has been,
From the beaten paths they draw apart
To see what no man has seen.
Edgar Guest


Whatever we conceive well we express clearly, and words flow with ease.
Nicolas Boileau


Many people do not realize that the real adversary of extremism is not its opposite, but moderation.
Dennis Prager

Because extremes, as we all know, in every point which relates either to our duties or satisfactions in life, are destructive both to virtue and enjoyment.
Edmund Burke


The error of our eye directs our mind.

He had but one eye, and the popular prejudice runs in favour of two.
Charles Dickens

Eye and Ear

That which is conveyed through the ear affects us less than what the eye receives.

What a mercy it would be if we were able to open and close our ears as easily as we open and close our eyes!
G. C. Lichtenberg

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Last updated: June 20, 2024