Quotations I Like



Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way.

            Jane Austen


How small, of all that human hearts endure,

That part which laws or kings can cause or cure.

            Samuel Johnson


Art is either plagiarism or revolution.

            Paul Gauguin


Don't worry about people stealing an idea. If it's original, you will have to ram it down their throats.

            Howard Aiken


Every truth goes through three stages: first it’s laughable; then it’s attacked; finally it becomes obvious.

            Arthur Schopenhauer


It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do.

            Jerome K. Jerome


It was many years before I understood that I had surrendered myself to the chief temptation of the artist, creation without toil.

            William Butler Yeats, Autobiographies


If you know exactly what you're going to do, what's the point in doing it?

            Pablo Picasso


An old pro told me that originality does not consist of saying what has never been said before; it consists of saying what you have to say that you know to be the truth.

            Harvey Penick, Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book


The growing good of the world is partly dependent upon unhistoric acts, and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life…

            George Eliot, Middlemarch.


Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,

And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

            Thomas Gray, “Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard”


No one can rule guiltlessly.

            Louis Saint-Just


There can be no power without mystery. There must always be a “something” which others cannot altogether fathom, which puzzles them, stirs them, and rivets their attention.... Nothing more enhances authority than silence. It is the crowning virtue of the strong, the refuge of the weak, the modesty of the proud, the pride of the humble, the prudence of the wise, and the sense of fools.

            Charles de Gaulle


Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.

            Edmund Burke


Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself…

            Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”


I will study and prepare and perhaps my chance will come.

            Abraham Lincoln


Out of the crooked timber of humanity, nothing straight was ever made.

            Immanuel Kant


Falling is neither dangerous nor dishonorable. But staying down is both.

(Fallen ist weder gefährlich noch eine Schande. Aber Liegenbleiben ist beides.)

            Konrad Adenauer


I slept and dreamt that life was joy.

I awoke and saw that life was duty.

I acted and beheld that duty was joy.

Rabindranath Tagore


…the hardest to learn was the least complicated…

            Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, “Least Complicated”


The graveyards of the world are full of indispensable men.

            Charles de Gaulle


Become what you are!



Genius…means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.

            William James


Speak the affirmative; emphasize your choice by utter ignoring of all that you reject.

            Ralph Waldo Emerson


Be good, and you will be lonesome.

            Mark Twain, “Following the Equator”


He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.

            Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France


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

            Winston Churchill


…that best portion of a good man's life,

His little, nameless, unremembered, acts

Of kindness and of love.

            William Wordsworth, “Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey”



Last updated: Wednesday, July 16, 2008