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Words of Wisdom


Quotes by Authors A to Z

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Favorite quotations


Abscence makes the heart grow fonder. -Anonymous, (Davison, Potential Rhapsody)

We do not what we ought,
What we ought not, we do,
And lean upon the thought
That Chance will bring us through. -Matthew Arnold, Empedocles on Etna

Constancy is the foundation of virtues. -Francis Bacon, De Augmentia Scientiarum Pt. i, bk. vi, sec. 23

If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties. -Francis Bacon, Advancement of Learning Bk. i

It is sufficiently clear that all things are changed, and nothing really perishes, and that the sum of matter remains absolutely the same. -Francis Bacon, De Natura Rerum

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books may also be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others. -Francis Bacon, Essays "Of Studies"

Rugged the breast that beauty cannot tame. -John Codrington Bampfylde, "Sonnet in Praise of Delia"

No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings. -William Blake, Proverbs of Hell

If you get simple beauty and naught else,
You get about the best thing God invents. -Robert Browning, Fra Lippo Lippi

Make no little plans: they have no magic to stir men's blood . . . make big plans, aim high in hope and work. - Daniel H. Burnham

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to taht tender light
Which heaven to gaudy days denies. -George Gordon, Lord Byron, Hebrew Melodies "She Walks in Beauty"

You are successful the moment you start moving toward a worthwhile good. -Charles Carlson

A good book is the purest essence of a human soul. -Thomas Carlyle, Speech 1840

The world's a scene of changes, and to be Constant, in Nature were inconstancy. -Abraham Cowley, Inconstancy

Between the mouth and the morsel many things may happen. (Inter os atque offam multa intervenire posse.) -Cato the Censor, "On the Improper Election Aediles" (Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae Bk. xiii, ch. 18, sec. 1)

Abscence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it enkindles the great. (L'abscence est a l'amour ce qu'est au feu le vent; it eteint le petit, il allume le grand.) -Comte De Bussy-Rabutin, Histoire Amoureuse des Gaules "Maximes d'Amours"

One joy dispels a hundred cares. -Confucius

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

Without music, life is a journey through a desert. -Pat Conroy

Change is inevitable in a progressive country. Change is constant. -Benjamin Disraeli, Speech October 20

Beware the fury of a patient man. -John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel Pt. I

Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits. -Thomas A. Edison

What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight --it's the size of the fight in the dog. -Dwight Eisenhower

Belief consist in accepting the affirmations of the soul; unbelief, in denying them. -Ralph Waldo Emerson, Representative Men "Montaigne"

For everything you have missed, you have gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hitch your wagon to a star. Let us not fag in paltry works which serve our pot and bag alone. Let us not lie and steal. No god will help. We shall find all their teams going the other way: every god will leave us. Work rather for those interests which the divinities honor and promote, --justice, love, freedom, knowledge, utility. -Ralph Waldo Emerson, Society and Solitude "Civilization"

Some books leave us free and some books make us free. -Ralph Waldo Emerson, Society and Solitude "Books"

Prevention is better than cure. -Erasmus

Chance fights ever on the side of the prudent. -Euripides, Pirithous

Great actions speak great minds. -John Fletcher, The Prophetess Act ii, sc. 3

But in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. -Benjamin Franklin, Writings Vol. x "Letter to Jean Baptiste Le Roy"

We may be personally defeated, but our principles never. -William Lloyd Garrison

I abhor vivisection with my whole soul. All the scientific discoveries stained with blood I count as of no consequence. -Mahatma Gandhi

We must either find a way or make one. -Hannibal

He that does evil that good may come, pays a toll to the devil to let him into heaven. -Hare and Charles

True philosophers who are burning with love for truth and learning never see themselves . . . as wise man, brim- full of knowledge . . . For most of them would admit that even the very greatest number of things of which we know is only equal to the very smallest fraction of things of which we are ignorant. Nor are these philosophers so addicted to any kind of tradition or doctrine that they suffer themselves to become their slaves, and thus lose their liberty. -William Harvey

Always listen to experts. They're tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it. -Robert Heinlen

Anger is momentary madness. (Ira furor brevis est.) -Horace, Epistles Bk. i, epis, ii

Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them. -David Hume, Essays "Of Tragedy"

No truth appears to me more evident than that beasts are endowed with thought and reason as well as men. -David Hume

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. -Margaret Wolfe Hungerford, quoted in Molly Bawn

Sit down before fact like a little child, and be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing. -Thomas Henry Huxley

There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse; as I have found in travelling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position and be bruised in a new place. -Washington Irving, Tales of a Traveller "To the Reader"

Who longest wait of all surely wins. -Helen Hunt Jackson

I never told my own religion nor scrutinized that of another. I never attempted to make a convert, nor wished to change another's creed. I am satisfied that yours must be an excellent religion to have produced a life of such exemplary virtue and correctness. For it is our lives, and not from our words, that our religion must be judged. - In a letter from Thomas Jefferson to Mrs. H. Harrison Smith (1816)

Victory and defeat are each ofht esame price. -Thomas Jefferson

When angry, count to ten before you speak; if very angry, an hundred. -Thomas Jefferson, Writings Vol. xvi

A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health,
and quiet breathing. -John Keats, Endymion Bk. i, I

"Beauty is truth, truth beauty,"--that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. -John Keats, "Ode on a Grecian Urn"

Security is mostly a superstitiion. It does not exist in nature . . . life is either a daring adventure or nothing. -Helen Keller

We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about. -Charles Kingsley

He who knows much about others may be learned, but he who understands himself is more intelligent. He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still -Lao-Tsu. Tao Teh King

Nothing under the sun is accidental. -Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Emilia Galotti Act vi, sc. 3

I don't know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be. -Abraham Lincoln (Gross, Lincoln's Own Stories)

At first laying down, as a fact fundamental,
New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common. -John Locke, Essay on Human Understanding

That nothing with God can be accidental. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Golden Legend Pt. vi

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labour and to wait. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, A Psalm of Life St. 9

The thing we long for, that we are
For one transcendent moment. -James Russel Lowell, Longing

What chance has made yours is not really yours. (Non est tuum, fortuna quod fecit tuum.) -Lucilius (Seneca, Epistulae ad Lucilium Epis. viii, sec. 10)

Watch out and guard yourselves from every kind of greed: because a person's true life is not made up of the things he owns. -Luke 12:15

Every day is a fresh opportunity to continue the quest toward out mission. -Harold McAlindon

Beauty is the purgation of superfluities. -Michelangelo, (Emerson, Conduct of Life "Beauty")

Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle. -Michelangelo

As good almost kill a man as kill a good book; who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were, in the eye. -John Milton, Areopagitica Sec. 6

Books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a progeny of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. -John Milton, Areopagitica Sec. 6

We do not inherit the earth from out parents. We borrow it from our children. -Native American proverb

I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. -Isaac Newton

'Tis now a lip, or eye, we beauty call,
But the joint force and full result of all. -Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. -Proverbs xv, 1

When a giftedteam dedicates itself to unselfish trust and combines instinct with boldness and effort --it is ready to climb. -Pat Riley

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. -Eleanor Roosevelt

Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together. -John Ruskin, The Two Paths Lecture ii

He who boasts of his descent, praises the deeds of another. (Qui genus jactat suum, Aliena laudat.) -Seneca, Hercules Furens

I have Immortal longings in me. -William Shakespeare, Anthony and Cleopatra Act v, sc. 2

There are two things to aim at in life: first to get what you want; and after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. -Logan Pearsall Smith

You cannot define talent. All you can do is build the greenhouse and see if it grows. -Willian P. Steven

May the teachings of those
you admire become part of you, so that
you may call upon them.
Remember, those
whose lives you have touched and who have
touched yours are always a part of you,
even if the encounters were less than you
would have wished. It is the content of
the encounter that is more important than
its form. May you not become too
concerned with material matters, but
instead place immeasurable value on the
goodness in your heart. Find time in
each day to see beauty and love in the
world around you. Realize that each
person has limitless abilities, but each
of us is different in our own way. What
you may feel you lavk in one regard may
be more than compensated for in another.
What you feel you lack in the present may
become one of your strengths in the
future. May you see your future as one
filled with promise and possibility.
Learn to view everything as a worthwhile
experience. May you find enough inner
strength to determine your own worth by
yourself, and not be dependent on
another's judgment of your accomplishments.
May you always feel loved. -Sandra Sturtz

What I have learned is but a handful of earth, what is left unlearned is the Earth itself. -Tamil proverb

Win without boasting. Lose without excuse. -Albert Payson Terhune

A good book is the best of friends, the same to-day and forever. -Martin Farquhar Tupper, Proverbial Philosophy "Of Reading"

Be careful about reading health books. You might die of a misprint. -Mark Twain

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would rather have talked. -Mark Twain

Chance is a word void of sense; nothing can exist without a cause. -Voltaire, A Philosophical Dictionary

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. -Edith Wharton

The thing always happen that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen. -Frank Lloyd Wright

There is no limit to what can be accomplished if it doesn't matter who gets the credit. -Ralph Waldo Emerson


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updated 11/5/05