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Cool Quotes - W
Wagner's music is better than it sounds.
Wagner had some wonderful moments but awful half hours.
One cannot judge Wagner's opera Lohengrin from a first hearing, and I certainly do not intend to hear it a second time.
Hang yourself, brave Crillon; we fought at Arques and you were not there.
A general and a bit of shooting makes you forget your troubles … it takes your mind off the cost of living.
War is evil, but it is often the lesser evil.
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.
There must be some good in the life of battle, for so many good men have enjoyed being soldiers.
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.
If we win one more such victory over the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined.
Carthage must be destroyed! (Carthago delenda est!)
You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.
I have given two cousins to war and I stand ready to sacrifice my wife's brother.
Not those alone who make the war must feel the war!
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?
The conflict was obstinate; the slaughter was mutual.
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.
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.
[Every age], however destitute of science or virtue, sufficiently abounds with acts of blood and military renown.
[To] the vanquished, death [is] a relief, life a burden, and infamy the only object of terror.
[It is a melancholy truth] that the first and most cruel sufferings [in war] must be the lot of the innocent and helpless …
[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.
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.
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.
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.
[In] the national and religious conflict of the [Byzantine and Saracen] empires, peace was without confidence, and war without mercy.
The great questions of our time will be decided not by resolutions and majority votes, but by blood and iron.
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.
[Every] hour of delay abates the fame and force of the invader, and multiplies the resources of defensive war.
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 …
Weakness is a provocation.
[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.
The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on.
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.
War is Hell!
War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it …
For Christ's sake men—come on! Do you want to live forever?
"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.
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.
War, which used to be cruel and magnificent, has become cruel and squalid.
Don't give up the ship!
I believe in fighting until lack of supplies forces you to stop—then digging in.
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.
One continues to learn about war by practicing war.
It always made me mad to have to beg for opportunities to win battles.
The acid test of battle brings out the pure metal.
In war, the only sure defense is offense, and the efficiency of offense depends on the warlike souls of those conducting it.
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.
Here again we took advantage of a theory of our own, that the impossible place is usually the least well defended.
It is an unfortunate fact that few commanders, and no politicians, realize the individuality of units and the necessity of playing on human emotion.
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.
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.
The best armor (and the best defense) is a rapid and well-directed fire.
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.
In small operations, as in large, speed is the essential element of success.
It is much better to go over difficult ground where you are not expected than it is over good ground where you are expected.
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.
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 …
Washington is a city of southern efficiency and northern charm.
Feeble and timid minds … consider the use of dilatory and ambiguous measures as the most admirable efforts of consummate prudence.
I've been rich and I've been poor; rich is better.
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.
It is the wretchedness of being rich that you have to live with rich people.
[We've] been guided by [an] administration who believes in the simplistic notion that people who have wealth are entitled to keep it and they have an antipathy towards the means of redistributing wealth.
He does not possess wealth, it possesses him.
A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money.
Wealth And Money
A rich man's joke is always funny.
The rich rob the poor and the poor rob one another.
One of the weaknesses of our age is our apparent inability to distinguish our needs from our greeds.
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.
Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money?
A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money.
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.
Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.
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.
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.
[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.
Everything great in western culture has come from the quarrel with nature.
Houses and wealth are inherited from parents,
but a prudent wife is from the LORD.
Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
Better to live in a desert
than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.
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.
Many a man owes his success to his first wife and his second wife to his success.
Here lies my wife; here let her lie!
Now she's at peace and so am I.
The comfortable estate of widowhood, is the only hope that keeps up a wife's spirits.
When you marry your mistress you create a job vacancy.
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.
Who was that lady I saw you with last night?
She ain't no lady; she's my wife.
Wives are young men's mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men's nurses.
Happy wife, happy life.
Take counsel in wine, but resolve afterwards in water.
In vino veritas. (In wine [there is the] truth.)
I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to food.
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!
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.
Winning isn't everything, but wanting to win is.
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.
For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
the more knowledge, the more grief.
I prefer the errors of enthusiasm to the indifference of wisdom.
Give your decisions, never your reasons; your decisions may be right, your reasons are sure to be wrong.
He dares to be a fool, and that is the first step in the direction of wisdom.
He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know.
Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.
Great men are not always wise.
[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.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.
He is no wise man who will quit a certainty for an uncertainty.
Tis sometimes the height of wisdom to feign stupidity.
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.
Even brute beasts and wandering birds do not fall into the same traps or nets twice.
The doors of wisdom are never shut.
Wisdom comes from context.
The easily embarrassed are unable to learn.
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.
Wisdom is the accumulation of insights into how the world actually works—as opposed to how we would like it to work.
Horse sense is the good judgement which keeps people from betting on horses.
Wisdom comes through suffering.
We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified.
Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: It Might Have Been.
Conquered people tend to be witty.
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.
Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.
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?"
If a woman likes another woman, she's cordial. If she doesn't like her, she's very cordial.
Women are like elephants. They are interesting to look at, but I wouldn't want to own one.
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.
When women kiss it always reminds me of prize-fighters shaking hands.
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.
A beautiful woman is a blessing from Heaven, but a good cigar is a smoke.
When there is an old maid in the house, a watch dog is unnecessary.
She wore far too much rouge last night and not quite enough clothes. That is always a sign of despair in a woman.
Most women are not as young as they are painted.
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.
Never trust a woman, even though she has given you ten sons.
Women always excel men in that sort of wisdom which comes from experience. To be a woman is in itself a terrible experience.
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.
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.
Um, when a woman talks, she just wants to be heard.
Women complain about premenstrual syndrome, but I think of it as the only time of the month I can be myself.
You know that look women get when they want to have sex? Me neither.
Remember, you're fighting for this woman's honour … which is probably more than she ever did.
The fickleness of the women I love is only equalled by the infernal constancy of the women who love me.
Her mother grieved in secret with the grim, philosophic, almost cheerful hopelessness of women whose lives have taught them always to expect the worst
"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."
Colors fade, temples crumble, empires fall, but wise words endure.
He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I ever met.
The more the words,
the less the meaning,
and how does that profit anyone?
Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.
The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another.
When ideas fail, words come in very handy.
There are some that only employ words for the purpose of disguising their thoughts.
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.
The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.
It ain't how many words you know, it's how you use them.
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.
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.
I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.
When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
[Personal] industry must be faint and languid, which is not excited by the sense of personal interest.
If a man will not work, he shall not eat.
Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment.
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.
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.
Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, [and] Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.
There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.
I wish to preach not the doctrine of ignoble ease but the doctrine of the strenuous life; the life of toil and effort …
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.
Train people well enough so they can leave, pay them well enough so they don't want to.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is not hard to work; it is hard to begin to work.
The world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel.
If evils come not, then our fears are vain: And if they do, Fear but augments the pain.
Worry is a misuse of imagination.
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)
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.
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.
What's not worth doing is not worth doing well.
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.
In Ireland, a writer is looked upon as a failed conversationalist.
I suppose most editors are failed writers—but so are most writers.
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.
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.
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.
Vigorous writing is concise. Omit needless words.
Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.
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.
[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.
And, like every other ink-stained wretch, he could never be certain of future income.
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.
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vain.
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.
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.
"Journalist" is a term of contempt employed by writers who are not read to refer to writers who are read.
When I want to read a novel, I write one.
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.
If you write for the critics, only the critics will read you.
Start. Don't look back. If at the end it doesn't meet your hopes, start again. Now you know more about your hopes.
After being turned down by numerous publishers, he had decided to write for posterity.
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.
Anyone could write a novel given six weeks, pen, paper, and no telephone or wife.
If you want to get rich from writing, write the sort of thing that's read by persons who move their lips when reading.
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Last updated: December 2, 2022