prev   -   next   -   home   -   no frames   -   frames

Cool Quotes - W


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

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

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


I nauseate walking; ’tis a country diversion, I loathe the country.
William Congreve


Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Robert Frost


It is impossible to supply wants as fast as an idle imagination may be able to form them, or to remove all inconveniences by which elegance refined into impatience may be offended.
Samuel Johnson


Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.
Howell M. Forgy

I dropped an aerial torpedo right in the center, and the group opened up like a flowering rose. It was most entertaining.
Vittorio Mussolini

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

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

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

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

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

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

In war, truth is the first casualty.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We make war that we may live in peace.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weakness is a provocation.
Donald Rumsfeld

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

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

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

War is Hell!
William T. Sherman

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

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

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

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

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

Don't give up the ship!
Captain James Lawrence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war …
2 Samuel 11:1 (NIV)

As war is one of the heaviest of national evils, a calamity in which every species of misery is involved; as it sets the general safety to hazard, suspends commerce, and desolates the country; as it exposes great numbers to hardships, dangers, captivity, and death; no man, who desires public prosperity, will inflame general resentment.
Samuel Johnson

History shows that trade wars have a depressing tendency to erupt into fighting wars.
Paul Johnson

The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.
Edward Grey

The corpse of an enemy always smells sweet.
Titus Flavius Vespasian

Don't cheer, boys; the poor devils are dying.
John Woodward Philip

War spares not the brave, but the cowardly.

In peace, children inter their parents; war violates the order of nature and causes parents to inter their children.

We are mad, not only individually, but nationally. We check manslaughter and isolated murders; but what of war and the much vaunted crime of slaughtering whole peoples?

"War," says Machiavel, "ought to be the only study of a prince;" and by a prince he means every sort of state, however constituted. "He ought," says this great political doctor, "to consider peace only as a breathing-time, which gives him leisure to contrive, and furnishes ability to execute military plans." A meditation on the conduct of political societies made old Hobbes imagine that war was the state of nature.
Edmund Burke

After each war there is a little less democracy to save.
Brooks Atkinson

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier."
Rudyard Kipling

What your soldier wants—really, really wants—is no-one shooting back at him.
Terry Pratchett

There never has been a war yet which, if the facts had been put calmly before the ordinary folk, could not have been prevented … The common man, I think, is the great protection against war.
Ernest Bevin

To be always ready for war, said Mentor, is the surest way to avoid it.
François de Salignac de la Mothe Fénelon

But now … when the resources of science and civilisation sweep away everything that might mitigate their fury, a European war can only end in the ruin of the vanquished and the scarcely less fatal commercial dislocation and exhaustion of the conquerors.
Winston Churchill

The wars of peoples will be more terrible than those of kings.
Winston Churchill

Unless Germany is beaten in a manner which leaves no room for doubt or dispute, unless she is convinced by the terrible logic of events that the glory of her people can never be achieved by violent means, unless her war-making capacity after the war is sensibly diminished, a renewal of the conflict, after an uneasy and malevolent truce, seems unavoidable.
Winston Churchill, 1917

I think a curse should rest on me—because I love this war. I know it's smashing and shattering the lives of thousands every moment—and yet—I can't help it—I enjoy every second of it.
Winston Churchill

We cannot, in any circumstances acquiesce to the non-utilisation of any weapons which are available to procure a speedy termination of the disorder which prevails on the frontier.
Winston Churchill

Is this the end? Is it to be merely a chapter in a cruel and senseless story? Will a new generation in their turn be immolated to square the black accounts of the Teuton and Gaul? Will our children bleed and gasp again in devastated lands? Or will there spring from the very fires of conflict that reconciliation of the three giant combatants, which would unite their genius and secure to each in safety and freedom a share in rebuilding the glory of Europe.
Winston Churchill, at the end of World War I

I can with truth assure you, I heard Bulletts whistle and believe me there was something charming in the sound.
George Washington

We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.
George Washington

Always remember, however sure you are that you could easily win, that there would not be a war if the other man did not think he also had a chance.
Winston Churchill

War, in its fairest form, implies a perpetual violation of humanity and justice.
Edward Gibbon

Except for a few handfuls of ferocious romanticists, or sordid would-be profiteers, war spells nothing but toil, waste, sorrow and torment to the vast mass of ordinary folk in every land.
Winston Churchill

We were told that the old wars of religion had ended, but that is not much comfort if the wars of various kinds of secular religions or non-God religions are to begin and are to make Europe the arena of their hideous conflict, and if all that makes life worth living to the mass of the people is to be destroyed in the process.
Winston Churchill

Whensoever hostile aggressions … require a resort to war, we must meet our duty and convince the world that we are just friends and brave enemies.
Thomas Jefferson

It is magnificent, but it is not war. (C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre.)
Pierre Bosquet, on the charge of the Light Brigade

The story of the human race is war. Except for brief and precarious interludes, there has never been peace in the world; and before history began, murderous strife was universal and unending.
Winston Churchill

War always finds a way.
Bertolt Brecht

War is horrible, but slavery is worse, and you may be sure that the British people would rather go down fighting than live in servitude.
Winston Churchill

You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour and you will have war.
Winston Churchill

But be the ordeal sharp or long, or both, we shall seek no terms, we shall tolerate no parley; we may show mercy—we shall ask for none.
Winston Churchill

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.
Winston Churchill

The hour has come; kill the Hun.
Winston Churchill

Here is the answer which I will give to President Roosevelt: Put your confidence in us. … We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle, nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools and we will finish the job.
Winston Churchill

How many wars have been precipitated by firebrands! How many misunderstandings which led to wars could have been removed by temporizing! How often have countries fought cruel wars and then after a few years found themselves not only friends but allies!
Winston Churchill

War is mainly a catalogue of blunders.
Winston Churchill

No one can guarantee success in war, but only deserve it.
Winston Churchill

War is nothing but a continuation of politics with the admixture of other means.
Karl von Clausewitz

War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men.
Georges Clemenceau

But what they fought each other for, I could not well make out.
Robert Southey, on the Battle of Blenheim

But war's a game, which, were their subjects wise,
Kings would not play at.
William Cowper

Put your trust in God, my boys, and keep your powder dry!
Valentine Blacker

War is the most exciting and dramatic thing in life. In fighting to the death you feel terribly relaxed when you manage to come through.
Moshe Dayan

I was always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious and sacrifice and the expression in vain. We had heard them, sometimes standing in the rain almost out of earshot, so that only the shouted words came through, and had read them, on proclamations that were slapped up by billposters over other proclamations, now for a long time, and I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it.
Ernest Hemingway

They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for ones country. But in modern war there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.
Ernest Hemingway

No catalogue of horrors ever kept men from war. Before the war you always think that it's not you that dies. But you will die, brother, if you go to it long enough.
Ernest Hemingway

An aggressive war is the great crime against everything good in the world. A defensive war, which must necessarily turn to aggressive at the earliest moment, is the necessary great counter-crime. But never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime. Ask the infantry and ask the dead.
Ernest Hemingway

Perpetual peace is a dream, and it is not even a beautiful dream. War is an element in the order of the world ordained by God. In it the noblest virtues of mankind are developed; courage and the abnegation of self, faithfulness to duty, and a spirit of sacrifice: the soldier gives his life. Without war the world would stagnate, and lose itself in materialism.
Helmuth von Moltke

All delays are dangerous in war.
John Dryden

I love the smell of napalm in the morning. It smells like victory.
Apocalypse Now (1979 film)

You can't say that civilization don't advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way.
Will Rogers

I renounce war for its consequences, for the lies it lives on and propagates, for the undying hatred it arouses, for the dictatorships it puts in the place of democracy, for the starvation that stalks after it.
Harry Emerson Fosdick

You think you are dying for your country; you die for the industrialists.
Anatole France

I believed that all one did about a war was go to it, as a gesture of solidarity, and get killed, or survive if lucky until the war was over … I had no idea you could be what I became, an unscathed tourist of wars.
Martha Gellhorn

I have many times asked myself whether there can be more potent advocates of peace upon earth through the years to come than this massed multitude of silent witnesses to the desolation of war.
George V

All gave some. Some gave all.
Ascribed to Howard William Osterkamp


Who is the happy Warrior? Who is he
That every man in arms should wish to be?
William Wordsworth


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


Yet we see men that waste their patrimony in luxury, destroy their health with debauchery, and enervate their minds with idleness.
Samuel Johnson


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


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

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

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

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

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

The power of perpetuating our property in our families is one of the most valuable and interesting circumstances belonging to it, and that which tends most to the perpetuation of society itself. It makes our weakness subservient to our virtue; it grafts benevolence even upon avarice. The possession of family wealth and of the distinction which attends hereditary possessions (as most concerned in it,) are the natural securities for this transmission.
Edmund Burke

If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free; if our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.
Edmund Burke

A mere madness, to live like a wretch and die rich.
Robert Burton

All this [wealth] excludes but one evil,—poverty.
Samuel Johnson

Riches are for spending.
Francis Bacon

With respect to the mind, it has rarely been observed, that wealth contributes much to quicken the discernment, enlarge the capacity, or elevate the imagination; but may, by hiring flattery, or laying diligence asleep, confirm errour, and harden stupidity.
Samuel Johnson

When therefore the desire of wealth is taking hold of the heart, let us look round and see how it operates upon those whose industry or fortune has obtained it.
Samuel Johnson

Little wealth, little care.
George Herbert

Get place and wealth, if possible with grace;
If not, by any means get wealth and place.
Alexander Pope, Imitations of Horace

I noted this almost universal respect for wealth early in life, and have put it to profitable use ever since. That is, I have always pretended to be a great deal better heeled than I am in fact. It has got me deference in quarters where, otherwise, I might have been scorned, and materially eased my days.
H. L. Mencken

It is better to live rich, than to die rich.
Samuel Johnson

I am rich beyond the dreams of avarice.
Edward Moore

With the greater part of rich people, the chief enjoyment of riches consists in the parade of riches, which in their eyes is never so complete as when they appear to possess those decisive marks of opulence which nobody can possess but themselves.
Adam Smith

Retire, and enjoy thy riches in sordid ostentation; thou wast born to be wealthy, but never canst be great.
Samuel Johnson

The lust of wealth can never bear delay. (Dives qui fieri vult, Et cilo vult fieri.)
Samuel Johnson, variation on Juvenal

Of riches, as of every thing else, the hope is more than the enjoyment: while we consider them as the means to be used, at some future time, for the attainment of felicity, we press on our pursuit ardently and vigorously, and that ardour secures us from weariness of ourselves; but no sooner do we sit down to enjoy our acquisitions, than we find them insufficient to fill up the vacuities of life.
Samuel Johnson

I have long sought content, and have not found it; I will from this moment endeavour to be rich.
Samuel Johnson

If you can actually count your money, are not really a rich man.
J. Paul Getty

Wealth and Money

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

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

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

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

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

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

A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money.
W. C. Fields

Wealth and Poverty

Too much wealth is very frequently the occasion of poverty. He whom the wantonness of abundance has once softened, easily sinks into neglect of his affairs; and he that thinks he can afford to be negligent, is not far from being poor.
Samuel Johnson

Where Plenty smiles-alas! she smiles for few,
And those who taste not, yet behold her store,
Are as the slaves that dig the golden ore,
The wealth around them makes them doubly poor.
George Crabbe


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

Hence it comes about that all armed Prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed Prophets have been destroyed.
Niccolò Machiavelli

Let none presume to tell me that the pen is preferable to the sword.


Weariness and negligence are perpetually prevailing by silent encroachments, assisted by different causes, and not observed till they cannot, without great difficulty, be opposed.
Samuel Johnson


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

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

The weather is a nobler and more interesting subject; it is the present state of the skies, and of the earth, on which plenty and famine are suspended, on which millions depend for the necessaries of life.
Samuel Johnson


Saw a wedding in the church … and strange to see what delight we married people have to see these poor fools decoyed into our condition.
Samuel Pepys

No man is in love when he marries. He may have loved before; I have even heard he has sometimes loved after: but at the time never. There is something in the formalities of the matrimonial preparations that drive away all the little cupidons.
Fanny Burney

O! how short a time does it take to put an end to a woman's liberty!
Fanny Burney, of a wedding


Now ’tis the spring, and weeds are shallow-rooted;
Suffer them now and they’ll o’ergrow the garden.

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


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

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

The danger of the kind of welfare state [President] Johnson was creating was that it pushed people out of the productive economy permanently and made them dependents of the state.
Paul Johnson

Western World

Everything great in western culture has come from the quarrel with nature.
Camille Paglia


A congressman was once asked his attitude about whiskey. "If you mean the demon drink that poisons the mind, pollutes the body, desecrates family life, and inflames sinners, then I'm against it. But if you mean the elixir of Christmas cheer, the shield against winter chill, the taxable potion that puts needed funds into public coffers to comfort little crippled children, then I'm for it. This is my position, and I will not compromise."
Mark Edward Lender and James Kirby Martin

It [Scotch whisky] was strong, but not pungent, and was free from the empyreumatic [burnt] taste or smell. What was the process I had no opportunity of inquiring, nor do I wish to improve the art of making poison pleasant.
Samuel Johnson


Wickedness is always easier than virtue; for it takes the short cut to everything.
Samuel Johnson

Nothing contributes more to the frequency of wickedness, than the representation of it as already frequent.
Samuel Johnson


Take my wife … please!
Henny Youngman

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

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

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

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

Many a man owes his success to his first wife and his second wife to his success.
Jim Backus (Attributed)

Here lies my wife; here let her lie!
Now she's at peace and so am I.
John Dryden

The comfortable estate of widowhood, is the only hope that keeps up a wife's spirits.
John Gay

When you marry your mistress you create a job vacancy.
James Goldsmith

Only two things are necessary to keep one's wife happy. One is to let her think she is having her own way, and the other, to let her have it.
Lyndon B. Johnson

Who was that lady I saw you with last night?
She ain't no lady; she's my wife.
Joe Weber and Lew Fields

Wives are young men's mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men's nurses.
Francis Bacon

Happy wife, happy life.
Author unidentified

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
Jane Austen

You are my true and honorable wife,
As dear to me as are the ruddy drops
That visit my sad heart.

A man is in general better pleased when he has a good dinner upon his table, than when his wife talks Greek.
Samuel Johnson

I find my wife hath something in her gizzard, that only waits an opportunity of being provoked to bring up; but I will not, for my content-sake, give it.
Samuel Pepys


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

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

I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to food.
W. C. Fields

Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy!
Benjamin Franklin

The wine urges me on, the bewitching wine, which sets even a wise man to singing and to laughing gently and rouses him up to dance and brings forth words which were better unspoken.

It is better to hide ignorance, but it is hard to do this when we relax over wine.

I am falser than vows made in wine.

O thou invisible spirit of wine! if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil!

Wine makes a man more pleased with himself. I do not say that it makes him more pleasing to others.
Samuel Johnson

Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape
Crush’d the sweet poison of misused wine.
John Milton

From wine what sudden friendship springs!
John Gay

When the wine goes in, strange things come out.
Johann [Christoph] Friedrich von Schiller

I rather like bad wine … one gets so bored with good wine.
Benjamin Disraeli

Wine and Women

Wine and women lead intelligent men astray.
Ecclesiasticus 19:2

I may not here omit those two main plagues, and common dotages of human kind, wine and women, which have infatuated and besotted myriads of people. They go commonly together.
Robert Burton

Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter,
Sermons and soda-water the day after.
Lord Byron

Fill ev'ry glass, for wine inspires us,
And fires us
With courage, love and joy.
Women and wine should life employ.
Is there ought else on earth desirous?
John Gay


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

Of course, when you are winning a war almost everything that happens can be claimed to be right and wise.
Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill

He [Winston Churchill] does not talk the language of the 20th century but that of the 18th. He is still fighting Blenheim all over again. His only answer to a difficult situation is send a gun-boat.
Aneurin Bevan

I have never accepted what many people have kindly said—namely, that I inspired the nation. Their will was resolute and remorseless and it proved unconquerable. It fell to me to express it and if I found the right word you must remember that I have always earned my living by my pen, and by my tongue.
Winston Churchill

Historians are apt to judge war ministers less by the victories achieved under their direction than by the political results which flowed from them. Judged by that standard, I am not sure that I shall be held to have done very well.
Winston Churchill

I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial.
Winston Churchill


From winter, plague and pestilence, good Lord, deliver us!
Thomas Nashe


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The doors of wisdom are never shut.
Benjamin Franklin

Wisdom comes from context.
Author unidentified

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

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

Wisdom comes through suffering.

A lawyer is wise according to human wisdom, a divine according to God's wisdom.
Martin Luther

I consider our fore-fathers as deeper Thinkers than ourselves, because they set an higher Value on good sense than Knowledge in various Sciences, & this good sense was derived very often from as much study & more knowledge, though of another sort.
Edmund Burke

The French are wiser than they seem, and the Spaniards seem wiser than they are.
Francis Bacon

Wisdom is supreme—so acquire wisdom, and whatever you acquire, acquire understanding!
Proverbs 4:7 (NET)

Be wise today; ’tis madness to defer.
Edward Young

So learn from this and understand true values.
I who tell you have wintered into wisdom.

Acknowledging what you don't know is the dawning of wisdom.
Charlie Munger

Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Day by day, and at the end of the day, if you live long enough … you will get out of life what you deserve.
Charlie Munger

He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The highest sacrifice is a broken and contrite heart; the highest wisdom is that which is found in the Torah; the noblest of all ornaments is modesty; and the most beautiful thing that man can do, is to forgive a wrong.
Eleazar of Worms

There is a wisdom of the head, and … a wisdom of the heart.
Charles Dickens

It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
Henry David Thoreau

He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.
J. R. R. Tolkien

I am wise enough to know that there are some perils from which a man must flee.
J. R. R. Tolkien


We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified.

Like our shadows,
Our wishes lengthen as our sun declines.
Edward Young


Conquered people tend to be witty.
Saul Bellow

A thing well said will be wit in all languages.
John Dryden


August 25, 1538, the conversation fell upon witches who spoil milk, eggs, and butter in farm yards. Dr. Luther said: "I should have no compassion on these witches; I would burn all of them."
Martin Luther

It was asked: Can good Christians and God fearing people also undergo witchcraft? Luther replied: Yes; for our bodies are always exposed to the attacks of Satan. The maladies I suffer are not natural, but devil's spells.
Martin Luther


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


Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.
J. R. R. Tolkien


I beheld once a wolf tearing sheep. When the wolf comes into a sheep-fold, he eats not any until he has killed all, and then he begins to eat, thinking to devour all.
Martin Luther


The great question which I have not been able to answer, despite my 30 years of research into the feminine soul, is "What does woman want?"
Sigmund Freud

If a woman likes another woman, she's cordial. If she doesn't like her, she's very cordial.
Irvin S. Cobb

Women are like elephants. They are interesting to look at, but I wouldn't want to own one.
W. C. Fields

If I were asked … to what the singular prosperity and growing strength of [Americans] ought mainly to be attributed, I should reply: to the superiority of their women.
Alexis de Tocqueville

When women kiss it always reminds me of prize-fighters shaking hands.
H. L. Mencken

She strode like a grenadier, was strong and upright like an obelisk, had a beautiful face, a candid brow, and not a thought of her own in her head.
Joseph Conrad

When there is an old maid in the house, a watch dog is unnecessary.
Honoré de Balzac

She wore far too much rouge last night and not quite enough clothes. That is always a sign of despair in a woman.
Oscar Wilde

Most women are not as young as they are painted.
Max Beerbohm

No trust is to be placed in women.

There is no fouler fiend than a woman when her mind is bent to evil.

I trust only one thing in a woman: that she will not come to life again after she is dead. In all other things I distrust her.

In point of morals, the average woman is, even for business, too crooked.
Stephen Leacock

Never trust a woman, even though she has given you ten sons.
Chinese Proverb

Women always excel men in that sort of wisdom which comes from experience. To be a woman is in itself a terrible experience.
H. L. Mencken

If a woman has "It," she doesn't need anything else; but if she doesn't have "It," it doesn't matter what else she has.
Winston Churchill

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

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

Women complain about premenstrual syndrome, but I think of it as the only time of the month I can be myself.
Roseanne Barr

You know that look women get when they want to have sex? Me neither.
Steve Martin

Remember, you're fighting for this woman's honour … which is probably more than she ever did.
Bret Kalmar

The fickleness of the women I love is only equalled by the infernal constancy of the women who love me.
George Bernard Shaw

Her mother grieved in secret with the grim, philosophic, almost cheerful hopelessness of women whose lives have taught them always to expect the worst
Rudyard Kipling

These impossible women! How they do get around us!
The poet was right: can't live with them, or without them!

When the candles are out all women are fair.

That's the nature of women … not to love when we love them, and to love when we love them not.

O tiger’s heart wrapp’d in a woman’s hide!

Do you not know I am a woman? when I think, I must speak.

Frailty, thy name is woman!

[Women] are desirous to hide from themselves the advances of age, and endeavour too frequently to supply the sprightliness and bloom of youth by artificial beauty and forced vivacity.
Samuel Johnson

Nature has given women so much power that the law has very wisely given them little.
Samuel Johnson

A woman always has her revenge ready.

How full of fury woman is!
The Madness of Tristan

There's such great nobility in a dog, such great deceit in woman.
The Madness of Tristan

After forty a woman has to choose between losing her figure or her face. My advice is to keep your face, and stay sitting down.
Barbara Cartland

And what is bettre than wisedoom? Womman.
And what is bettre than a good womman? Nothyng.

Women can't forgive failure.
Anton Chekhov

A woman watches her body uneasily, as though it were an unreliable ally in the battle for love.
Leonard Cohen

Women are like tricks by sleight of hand,
Which, to admire, we should not understand.
William Congreve

Women never have young minds. They are born three thousand years old.
Shelagh Delaney

Women are at once the boldest and most unmanageable revolutionaries.
Eamonn de Valera

Women like not only to conquer, but to be conquered.
William Makepeace Thackeray

A miss for pleasure, and a wife for breed.
John Gay

Women's Liberation

The freedom women were supposed to have found in the Sixties largely boiled down to easy contraception and abortion: things to make life easier for men, in fact.
Julie Burchill


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

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

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

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

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

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

Lewis Carroll

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By hard, honest labour I've dug all the large words out of my vocabulary … I never write metropolis for seven cents because I can get the same money for city. I never write policeman, because I can get the same money for Cop.
Mark Twain

Words have a longer life than deeds.

One of our defects as a nation is a tendency to use what have been called "weasel words." When a weasel sucks eggs it sucks the meat out of the egg and leaves it an empty shell. If you use a "weasel word" after another there is nothing left of the other.
Theodore Roosevelt

Men of few words are the best men.

How many honest words have suffered corruption since Chaucer's days!
Thomas Middleton

Good words are worth much, and cost little.
George Herbert

Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but not as many as have fallen because of the tongue.

We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out.
Winston Churchill

But words once spoke can never be recalled.
Wentworth Dillon

Confound those who have said our remarks before us. (Pereant, inquit, qui ante nos nostra dixerunt.)
Aelius Donatus

All our words from loose using have lost their edge.
Ernest Hemingway

Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don't know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.
Ernest Hemingway

When Adam Smith was being incomprehensible, he didn't have the luxury of brief, snappy technical terms as a shorthand for incoherence.
P. J. O'Rourke


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A professional is a man who can do his job when he doesn't feel like it. An amateur is a man who can't do his job when he does feel like it.
James Agate

Oh you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY and they meet at the bar.
Drew Carey

It is allowed that vocations and employments of least dignity are of the most apparent use; that the meanest artisan or manufacturer contributes more to the accommodation of life than the profound scholar and argumentative theorist; and that the public would suffer less present inconvenience from the banishment of philosophers than from the extinction of any common trade.
Samuel Johnson

It is not hard to work; it is hard to begin to work.
Constantin Brancusi (Attributed)

Shun those studies in which the work that results dies with the worker.
Leonardo da Vinci

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
Proverbs 14:23

Work keeps us from three great evils, boredom, vice, and poverty.

Without work, all life goes rotten, but when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.
Albert Camus (Attributed)

Like Sisyphus, our work is never done;
Continually rolls back the restless stone.
Stephen Duck

Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night’s repose.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

What the country needs is dirtier fingernails and cleaner minds.
Will Rogers

Work is love made visible.
Kahlil Gibran


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

I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
A stage where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one.

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,

Who knows but the world may end tonight?
Robert Browning

The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility … The fact that it is comprehensible is a miracle.
Albert Einstein

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
T. S. Eliot

The world is disgracefully managed, one hardly knows to whom to complain.
Ronald Firbank


The plow is one of the most ancient and most valuable of man’s inventions; but long before he existed the land was in fact regularly plowed, and still continues to be thus plowed by earthworms. It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have these lowly organized creatures.
Charles Darwin


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

Worry is a misuse of imagination.
Dan Zadra


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

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

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


The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful. And thus toleration produced not only mutual indulgence, but even religious concord.
Edward Gibbon


To fear the worst oft cures the worse.

You do your worst!—and we will do our best!
Winston Churchill

The worst is yet to come.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson


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


Their wounded shall fill their ravines and gullies, and the swelling river shall be filled with their dead.
Judith 2:8


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


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

I suppose most editors are failed writers—but so are most writers.
T. S. Eliot

The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any.
Russell Baker

Those who claim to teach the craft are, almost by definition, failed writers, with not much value to impart. Most successful writers cannot talk about their books coherently or are unwilling to divulge what they have acquired the hard way.
Paul Johnson

Those writers who lay on the watch for novelty, could have little hope of greatness; for great things cannot have escaped former observation.
Samuel Johnson

The original writer is not one who imitates nobody, but one whom nobody can imitate.
François René de Chateaubriand

Until you understand a writer's ignorance, presume yourself ignorant of his understanding.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Writers of all ages have had the same sentiments, because they have in all ages had the same objects of speculation; the interests and passions, the virtues and vices of mankind, have been diversified in different times, only by unessential and casual varieties: and we must, therefore, expect in the works of all those who attempt to describe them, such a likeness as we find in the pictures of the same person drawn in different periods of his life.
Samuel Johnson

The first qualification of a writer is a perfect knowledge of the subject which he undertakes to treat.
Samuel Johnson

Dostoevsky was made by being sent to Siberia. Writers are forged in injustice as a sword is forged.
Ernest Hemingway

The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit detector. This is the writer's radar and all great writers have had it.
Ernest Hemingway

Those who do not last are always more beloved since no one has to see them in their long, dull, unrelenting, no-quarter-given-and-no-quarter-received, fights that they make to do something as they believe it should be done before they die. Those who die or quit early and easy and with every good reason are preferred because they are understandable and human. Failure and well-disguised cowardice are more human and more beloved.
Ernest Hemingway

The bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

One of the amusements of idleness is reading without the fatigue of close attention, and the world therefore swarms with writers whose wish is not to be studied, but to be read.
Samuel Johnson

It is splendid to be a great writer, to put men into the frying pan of your words and make them pop like chestnuts.
Gustave Flaubert


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

Omit needless words.
William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of writing well the source and fountainhead is wise thinking.

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

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

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

After being turned down by numerous publishers, he had decided to write for posterity.
George Ade

Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
E. L. Doctorow

Anyone could write a novel given six weeks, pen, paper, and no telephone or wife.
Evelyn Waugh

If you want to get rich from writing, write the sort of thing that's read by persons who move their lips when reading.
Don Marquis

The only end of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.
Samuel Johnson

It is one of the common distresses of a writer to be within a word of a happy period, to want only a single epithet to give amplification its full force, to require only a correspondent term in order to finish a paragraph with elegance, and make one of its members answer to the other; but these deficiencies cannot always be supplied; and after a long study and vexation, the passage is turned anew, and the web unwoven that was so nearly finished.
Samuel Johnson

Gentlemen, you do me too much honor, but I have four reasons for not writing: I am too old, too fat, too lazy, and too rich.
David Hume

I finished the lives of the Poets, which I wrote in my usual way, dilatorily and hastily, unwilling to work, and working with vigour and haste.
Samuel Johnson

If, as it has sometimes happened in general combinations against merit, he cannot persuade the world to buy his works, he may present them to his friends; and if his friends are seized with the epidemical infatuation (folly, foolishness), and cannot find his genius, or will not confess it, let him then refer his cause to posterity, and reserve his labours for a wiser age.
Samuel Johnson

It is not difficult to conceive, however, that for many reasons a man writes much better than he lives.
Samuel Johnson

[They] do not know, or do not reflect, that an author has a rule of choice peculiar to himself; and selects those subjects which he is best qualified to treat, by the course of his studies, or the accidents of his life; that some topicks of amusement have been already treated with too much success to invite a competition; and that he who endeavours to gain many readers must try various arts of invitation, essay every avenue of pleasure, and make frequent changes in his methods of approach.
Samuel Johnson

The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write: a man will turn over half a library to make one book.
Samuel Johnson

Too many people want to have written.
Terry Pratchett

It requires no especially great talent to write in such a way that another will be very hard put to it to understand what you have written.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

In composing, as a general rule, run your pen through every other word you have written; you have no idea what vigor it will give your style.
Sydney Smith

Learn to write well, or not to write at all.
John Sheffield

Johnson's style was grand and Gibbon's elegant; the stateliness of the former was sometimes pedantic, and the polish of the latter was occasionally finical. Johnson marched to kettle-drums and trumpets; Gibbon moved to flute and hautboys: Johnson hewed passages through the Alps, while Gibbon levelled walks through parks and gardens.
George Colman, the Younger

The perfect delight of writing tales where so many lives come and go at the cost of one which slips imperceptibly away.
Joseph Conrad

I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.
Ernest Hemingway

He that without forming his style by the study of the best models hastens to obtrude his compositions on the publick, may be certain, that whatever hope or flattery may suggest, he shall shock the learned ear with barbarisms, and contribute, wherever his work shall be received, to the depravation of taste and the corruption of language.
Samuel Johnson

Writing is turning one's worst moments into money.
J. P. Donleavy

It is wonderful how much news there is when people write every other day; if they wait for a month, there is nothing that seems worth telling.
O. Douglas

How simple the writing of literature would be if it were only necessary to write in another way what has been well written. It is because we have had such great writers in the past that a writer is driven far out past where he can go, out to where no one can help him.
Ernest Hemingway

Sometimes many thoughts present themselves; but so confused and unconnected, that they are not without difficulty reduced to method, or concatenated in a regular and dependent series; the mind falls at once into a labyrinth, of which neither the beginning nor end can be discovered, and toils and struggles without progress or extrication.
Samuel Johnson

You can write any time people will leave you alone and not interrupt you. Or rather you can if you will be ruthless enough about it. But the best writing is certainly when you are in love.
Ernest Hemingway

Beginnings are always troublesome. … Even Macaulay's few pages of introduction to his 'Introduction' in the English History are the worst bit of writing in the book.
George Eliot

Only amateurs say that they write for their own amusement. Writing is not an amusing occupation. It is a combination of ditch-digging, mountain-climbing, treadmill and childbirth. Writing may be interesting, absorbing, exhilarating, racking, relieving. But amusing? Never!
Edna Ferber

An author ought to write for the youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever after.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

What a heavy oar the pen is, and what a strong current ideas are to row in!
Gustave Flaubert

Life is short and Art is long, indeed nearly impossible when one is writing in a language that is worn to the point of being threadbare, so worm-eaten that it frays at every touch.
Gustave Flaubert

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.
Robert Frost

Three hours a day will produce as much as a man ought to write.
Anthony Trollope

What's writing? A way of escape, like travelling to a war, or to see the Mau Mau. Escaping what? Boredom. Death.
Graham Greene


Why should you mind being wrong if someone can show you that you are?
A. J. Ayer (Attributed)

prev   -   next   -   home   -   no frames   -   frames

Last updated: May 23, 2024