Quotations about Quotations 2

A good conversationalist is not one who remembers what was said, but says what someone wants to remember. ~John Mason Brown

But in the dying world I come from quotation is a national vice. No one would think of making an after-dinner speech without the help of poetry. It used to be the classics, now it's lyric verse. ~Evelyn Waugh, The Loved One: An Anglo-American Tragedy, 1948

When you see yourself quoted in print and you're sorry you said it, it suddenly becomes a misquotation. ~Laurence J. Peter, Peter's Quotations: Ideas for Our Times

Quotation mistakes, inadvertency, expedition, and human lapses, may make not only moles but warts in learned authors... ~Thomas Browne, Christian Morals, 1716 (Part the Second, sect. ii)

It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations. Bartlett's Familiar Quotations is an admirable work, and I studied it intently. The quotations when engraved upon the memory give you good thoughts. They also make you anxious to read the authors and look for more. ~Winston Churchill, Roving Commission: My Early Life, 1930

The present volume is the result of a taste for collecting poetical quotations, which beset me in the days of my nonage, now more than half a century ago.... I read the poets diligently, and registered, in a portable form, whatever I thought apposite and striking. ~Henry G. Bohn, A Dictionary of Quotations from the English Poets, 1881

A quoting author is just as ridiculous as a country girl upon her first coming to town; who being decked up by the help of her friends, should make public acknowledgement from whom she received her stockings, her shirt, her stays, &c. so that if every person was there to claim their own, she would be left as naked as the jay in the fable; or as such a pye-bald author, say writer rather, say compiler, say publisher, say second-hand cook, who gives you a beggar's dish out of fragments; or say printer's sign-post, upon which are pasted the heterogeneous scraps of many authors. ~"Thoughts on Quotations," The Town and Country Magazine; Or, Universal Repository of Knowledge, Instruction, and Entertainment, February 1776

Reader, Now I send thee like a Bee to gather honey out of flowers and weeds; every garden is furnished with either, and so is ours. Read and meditate; thy profit shall be little in any book, unless thou read alone, and unless thou read all and record after. ~Henry Smith

Thus have I, as well as I could, gathered a posey of observations as they grew; and if some rue and wormwood be found among the sweeter herbs, their wholesomeness will make amends for their bitterness. ~Lord Lyttleton

He lik'd those literary cooks
Who skim the cream of others' books;
And ruin half an author's graces,
By plucking bon-mots from their places...
~Hannah More, Florio, 1786

In literary composition a well-chosen quotation lights up the page like a fine engraving... ~William Francis Henry King, "Introduction," Classical and Foreign Quotations, 1889

It is in fact one of the charms of the book, that it has gathered its contents from almost every latitude and longitude, and sometimes from the opposite poles of thought. Jew, Pagan, and Christian—classic and patristic—primitive and recent authors—furnish each his quota to the design. Men are here found standing side by side who were wide apart in time, space, and character—agreeing in nothing, except that they thought on the same subject, and thought well. ~James Elmes, Classic Quotations: A Thought-Book of the Wise Spirits of All Ages and All Countries, Fit for All Men and All Hours, 1863

To such as these we offer, with some confidence, and with no little sympathy, our collection of choice flowers, culled from the gardens of Poesy: may they refresh the mind, and gladden the heart, and beautify the path, of many a careworn toiler in the fields of labour, of whatsoever kind. ~H.G. Adams, A Cyclopædia of Poetical Quotations; Consisting of Choice Passages from the Poets of Every Age and Country, 1853

The genius of quotation is abroad. Public speakers, preachers, pleaders, and teachers are wont to enrich their addresses with the bright utterances of brilliant men. If this practice be managed deftly and honestly, there is good in it. The long processes of many years of study are often concentrated into a single paragraph, and often delivered in a figure of surpassing force.... Even if the purpose be no higher than mere ornamentation, the practice need not be despised. Beauty and utility are not necessarily and always to be divorced. ~Charles S. Robinson, introduction to Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers: A Cyclopædia of Quotations from the Literature of All Ages by Josiah H. Gilbert, 1895

An apt quotation is as good as an original remark. ~Proverb

The man whose book is filled with quotations, may be said to creep along the shore of authors, as if he were afraid to trust himself to the free compass of reasoning. ~Quoted unattributed in The Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure, April 1794; has since been attributed to Anonymous, Johann Peter Friedrich Ancillon, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The wise men of old have sent most of their morality down the stream of time in the light skiff of apothegm or epigram; and the proverbs of nations, which embody the commonsense of nations, have the brisk concussion of the most sparkling wit. ~Edwin P. Whipple, lecture delivered before the Boston Mercantile Library Association, December 1845

In the Bodleian Library at Oxford, there is an English Translation of Saint Paul's Epistles, printed in the black letter, which the Princess used while she was here imprisoned; in a blank leaf of which, the following paragraph, written with her own hand, and in the pedantry of the times, yet remains: "I walke many times into the pleasant fieldes of the Holye Scriptures; where I plucke up the goodlisome herbs of sentences by pruning, eate them by reading, chawe them by musing, and laie them up at length in the high seate of memorie, by gathering them together. That so having tasted the sweetnes, I maye the lesse perceave the bitternesse of this miserable life." ... Another volume in the Bodleian Library contains "Sentences and Phrases collected by Queen Elizabeth in the 13th and 14th years of her age." ~John Nichols, "The Princess Elizabeth at Woodstock, 1554," The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth, 1788

Whatever we may say against collections, which present authors in a disjointed form, they nevertheless bring about many excellent results. We are not always so composed, so full of wisdom, that we are able to take in at once the whole scope of a work according to its merits. Do we not mark in a book passages which seem to have a direct reference to ourselves? Young people especially, who have failed in acquiring a complete cultivation of mind, are roused in a praiseworthy way by brilliant passages... ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, translated from German

Perish the men who said our good things before us! ~Aelius Donatus, quoted in Edge-Tools of Speech by Maturin M. Ballou, 1886

Whoever reads only to transcribe or quote shining remarks without entering into the genius and spirit of the author, will be apt to be misled out of a regular way of thinking, and the product of all this will be found to be a manifest incoherent piece of patchwork. ~Attributed to Swift in A Dictionary of Thoughts, Being a Cyclopedia of Laconic Quotations from the Best Authors, Both Ancient and Modern by Tryon Edwards, 1891

An epigram often flashes light into regions where reason shines but dimly. ~Edwin P. Whipple, lecture delivered before the Boston Mercantile Library Association, October 1846, quoted in Lectures on Subjects Connected with Literature and Life

Books of quotation are not only of importance to the reader for what they contain of matured thought, but also for what they suggest. Our brains receive the spark and become luminous, like inflammable material by the contact of flint and steel. ~Maturin M. Ballou, Edge-Tools of Speech, 1886

If the grain were separated from the chaff which fills the Works of our National Poets, what is truly valuable would be to what is useless in the proportion of a mole-hill to a mountain. ~Edmund Burke

The Grecian's maxim would indeed be a sweeping clause in Literature; it would reduce many a giant to a pygmy; many a speech to a sentence; and many a folio to a primer. ~C.C. Colton, "Preface," Lacon: Or, Many Things in Few Words: Addressed To Those Who Think, 1820

I will therefore spend this Preface, rather about those, from whom I have gathered my knowledge; For I am but a gatherer and disposer of other mens stuffe, at my best value. ~Henry Wotton, The Elements of Architecture, 1624, commonly modernized to "I am but a gatherer and disposer of other men's stuff."

And if these little sparks of holy fire, which I have heaped together, do not give life to your prepared and already enkindled spirit, yet they will sometimes help to entertain a thought, to actuate a passion, to employ and hallow a fancy, and put the body of your piety into fermentation, by presenting you with the circumstances and parts of such meditations.... I have known and felt comfort by reading, or hearing from other persons, what I knew myself; and it was unactive upon my spirit, till it was made vigorous and effective from without. ~Jeremy Taylor, to Christopher Lord Hatton

Apothegms are the wisdom of the past condensed for the instruction and guidance of the present. ~Tryon Edwards

Proverbs are in the world of thought what gold coin is in the world of business—great value in small compass, and equally current among all people. Sometimes the proverb may be false, the coin counterfeit, but in both cases the false proves the value of the true. ~Attributed to D. March in A Dictionary of Thoughts: A Cyclopedia of Laconic Quotations from the Best Authors of the World, Both Ancient and Modern by Tryon Edwards, 1908

The short sayings of the wise and good men are of great value, like the dust of gold, or the sparks of diamonds. ~Attributed to Tillotson in A Dictionary of Thoughts: A Cyclopedia of Laconic Quotations from the Best Authors of the World, Both Ancient and Modern by Tryon Edwards, 1908

Wise sayings are the light-towers along the journey of life. ~Attributed to Johnson in Sayings: Proverbs, Maxims, Mottoes by Charles F. Schutz, 1915

Maxims are texts to which we turn in danger or sorrow, and we often find what seems to have been expressly written for our use. ~Attributed to George Eliot in Sayings: Proverbs, Maxims, Mottoes by Charles F. Schutz, 1915

At any rate, nothing was more characteristic of him [Walter Benjamin] in the thirties than the little notebooks with black covers which he always carried with him and in which he tirelessly entered in the form of quotations what daily living and reading netted him in the way of "pearls" and "coral." On occasion he read from them aloud, showed them around like items from a choice and precious collection. ~Hannah Arendt

He repeated to himself an old French proverb that he had made up that morning. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Why lift aphorisms from a novel at all? [Geoffrey] Bennington speculates that one's chief motivation for taking such a course... has been (and he quotes Derrida) to "monumentalize inscriptions now made lapidary: 'the rest' in peace." In other words, the anthologizer sets out to rescue the essence, the "surplus" of a novelistic text and to create a monument to it. In this connection Bennington appropriates a notion from Freudian psychoanalysis to make his point. He sees the drive to anthologize as a "manifestation of repressed anality; the precious metal of the maxim is easily enough identified with the faeces, a 'reste' detached from the body. The 'orderliness' of the anthology can also be linked to Freud's description of anal eroticism. ~Mark Bell, Aphorism in the Francophone Novel of the Twentieth Century, 1997

It has a constant tendency to the aphorism—the ripe fruit hanging on the tree of knowledge—noticeable in the writings of the higher order of men of genius; the great dramatists, the poets generally, Bacon, Burke, Franklin, Landor, and indeed most of the classic authors who pass current in the world in quotation. ~Evert A. Duyckinck, "Biographical Memoir," Wit and Wisdom of the Rev. Sydney Smith, 1856

It is perfectly delightful to take advantage of the conscientious labors of those who go through and through volume after volume, divide with infinite patience the gold from the dross, and present us with the pure and shining coin. Such men may be likened to bees who save us numberless journeys by giving us the fruit of their own. ~Robert G. Ingersoll, introduction to Modern Thinkers by Van Buren Denslow, 1884

I am now to offer some thoughts upon that sameness or familiarity which we frequently find between passages in different authors without quotation. This may be one of three things either what is called Plagiarism, or Imitation, or Coincidence. ~James Boswell, "The Hypochondriack," No. XXII, 1779

But, perhaps, the excellence of aphorisms consists not so much in the expression of some rare or abstruse sentiment, as in the comprehension of some obvious and useful truth in a few words. ~Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, November 19, 1751

When I first collected these authorities, I was desirous that every quotation should be useful to some other end than the illustration of a word; I therefore extracted from philosophers principles of science; from historians remarkable facts; from chymists complete processes; from divines striking exhortations; and from poets beautiful descriptions. ~Samuel Johnson, "Preface," A Dictionary of the English Language, Volume I, 1755

Say what you want without saying it yourself: quote. Very useful, this, sometimes lovely, and versatile, too: big thoughts in small pieces, neatly wrapped and bundled in bulk, in different flavors for different tastes. ~Willis Goth Regier, Quotology, 2010

No, Sir, it is a good thing; there is a community of mind in it. Classical quotation is the parole of literary men all over the world. ~Samuel Johnson, quoted in The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell, Volume III, 1807

Quotations are the backbone of much of literature, and of the transmission of art and thought more generally.... Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote." The delight is our natural response to the monuments of creativity and wisdom, kept alive by quotations, a communal bond uniting us with past culture and with other lovers of words and ideas in our own time. ~Fred R. Shapiro, The Yale Book of Quotations, 2006 (Introduction)

Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it. Many will read the book before one thinks of quoting a passage. As soon as he has done this, that line will be quoted east and west. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Quotation and Originality," Letters and Social Aims, 1876

The profoundest thought or passion sleeps as in a mine, until an equal mind and heart finds and publishes it. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Quotation and Originality," Letters and Social Aims, 1876

The adventitious beauty of poetry may be felt in the greater delight which a verse gives in happy quotation than in the poem. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Art"

Immortality. I notice that as soon as writers broach this question they begin to quote. I hate quotation. Tell me what you know. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals, May 1849

The borrowing is often honest enough, and comes of magnanimity and stoutness. A great man quotes bravely and will not draw on his invention when his memory serves him with a word as good. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Quotation and Originality," Letters and Social Aims, 1876

Most of the classical citations you shall hear or read in the current journals or speeches were not drawn from the originals, but from previous quotations in English books... ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Quotation and Originality," Letters and Social Aims, 1876

....whether your jewel was got from the mine or from an auctioneer. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Quotation and Originality," Letters and Social Aims, 1876

We are as much informed of a writer's genius by what he selects as by what he originates. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Quotation and Originality," Letters and Social Aims, 1876

Many of the historical proverbs have a doubtful paternity. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Quotation and Originality," Letters and Social Aims, 1876

Whatever we think and say is wonderfully better for our spirits and trust in another mouth. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Quotation and Originality," Letters and Social Aims, 1876

We may like well to know what is Plato's and what is Montesquieu's or Goethe's part, and what thought was always dear to the writer himself; but the worth of the sentences consists in their radiancy and equal aptitude to all intelligence. They fit all our facts like a charm. We respect ourselves the more that we know them. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Quotation and Originality," Letters and Social Aims, 1876

When a man thinks happily, he finds no foot-track in the field he traverses. All spontaneous thought is irrespective of all else. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Quotation and Originality," Letters and Social Aims, 1876

The divine gift is ever the instant life, which receives and uses and creates, and can well bury the old in the omnipotency with which Nature decomposes all her harvest for recomposition. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Quotation and Originality," Letters and Social Aims, 1876

Attend to me, Sancho, I do not say a proverb is amiss when aptly and seasonably applied; but to be for ever discharging them, right or wrong, hit or miss, renders conversation insipid and vulgar. ~Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated from Spanish

There are but few proverbial sayings that are not true, for they are all drawn from experience itself, which is the mother of all sciences. ~Miguel de Cervantes

The proper proportions of a maxim: a minimum of sound to a maximum of sense. ~Mark Twain

To cover a man's self, as I have seen some do, with another man's armour, so as not to discover so much as their fingers' ends; to carry on his design, as it is not hard for a man that has any thing of a scholar in him, in an ordinary subject, to do, under old inventions, patched up here and there; and then to endeavour to conceal the theft... of discovering their insufficiency to men of understanding... who will soon smell out and trace them under their borrowed crust. For my own part there is nothing I would not sooner do than that; I quote others only in order the better to express myself. ~Michel de Montaigne

And as hearbes and trees are bettered and fortified by being transplanted, so formes of speach are embellished and graced by variation.... As in our ordinary language, we shall sometimes meete with excellent phrases, and quaint metaphors, whose blithnesse fadeth through age, and colour is tarnish by to common using them.... ~Michel de Montaigne, "Upon some Verses of Virgill," translated by John Florio

Quotations calcify into clichés. ~Willis Goth Regier, Quotology, 2010

Nor do apophthegms only serve for ornament and delight, but also for action and civil use, as being the edge-tools of speech which cut and penetrate the knots of business and affairs: for occasions have their revolutions, and what has once been advantageously used may be so again, either as an old thing or a new one. ~Francis Bacon, Advancement of Learning, translated from Latin ("secures aut mucrones verborum")

But as young men, when they knit and shape perfectly, do seldom grow to a further stature, so knowledge, while it is in aphorisms and observations, it is in growth: but when it once is comprehended in exact methods, it may perchance, be further polished and illustrate and accommodated for use and practice; but it increaseth no more in bulk and substance. ~Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning

Antiquities, or remnants of history, are, as was said, tanquam tabula naufragii: when industrious persons, by an exact and scrupulous diligence and observation, out of monuments, names, words, proverbs, traditions, private records and evidences, fragments of stories, passages of books that concern not story, and the like, do save and recover somewhat from the deluge of time. ~Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning

He presents me with what is always an acceptable gift who brings me news of a great thought before unknown. He enriches me without impoverishing himself. The judicious quoter, too, helps on what is much needed in the world, a freer circulation of good thoughts, pure feelings, and pleasant fancies. ~Christian Nestell Bovee, "Quoters and Quoting," Institutions and Summaries of Thought, 1862

At all events, the next best thing to being witty one's self, is to be able to quote another's wit. ~Christian Nestell Bovee, "Quoters and Quoting," Institutions and Summaries of Thought, 1862

It is safer to quote what is written than what is spoken. What a man writes it is fair to presume he believes as a matter of general conviction, but it is not so with what he utters in the freedom of conversation. In that he may only express the feeling of the moment, and not his settled judgment, or matured opinion. ~Christian Nestell Bovee, "Quoters and Quoting," Institutions and Summaries of Thought, 1862

A good thought is indeed a great boon, for which God is to be first thanked; next he who is the first to utter it, and then, in a lesser, but still in a considerable degree, the friend who is the first to quote it to us. Whoever adopts and circulates a just thought, participates in the merit that originated it. ~Christian Nestell Bovee, "Thought," Institutions and Summaries of Thought, 1862

To quote copiously and well, requires taste, judgment, and erudition, a feeling for the beautiful, an appreciation of the noble, and a sense of the profound. ~Christian Nestell Bovee, "Thought," Institutions and Summaries of Thought, 1862

A quotation at the right moment is like bread in a famine. ~Yiddish Proverb

Every proverb speaketh sooth;
Dreams and omens mask the truth.
~Welsh Proverb, quoted in British Reason in English Rhyme by Henry Halford Vaughan, 1889

Epigrams succeed where epics fail. ~Persian Proverb

The maxims of men disclose their hearts. ~French Proverb

What flowers are to gardens, spices to food, gems to a garment, and stars to heaven; such are proverbs interwoven in speech. ~Hebrew Proverb

Proverbs bear age and he who should do well may view himself in them as in a looking-glass. ~Italian Proverb

The common sayings of the multitude are too true to be laughed at. ~Welsh Proverb

The fox has a hundred proverbs; ninety-nine are about poultry. ~Osmanli Proverb

A man's life is often builded on a proverb. ~Hebrew Proverb

A proverb is an ornament to language. ~Persian Proverb

Besides, it happens (how, I cannot tell) that an idea launched like a javelin in proverbial form strikes with sharper point on the hearer's mind and leaves implanted barbs for meditation... ~Desiderius Erasmus, Adages

It hardly needs explaining at length, I think, how much authority or beauty is added to style by the timely use of proverbs. In the first place who does not see what dignity they confer on style by their antiquity alone?... And so to interweave adages deftly and appropriately is to make the language as a whole glitter with sparkles from Antiquity, please us with the colours of the art of rhetoric, gleam with jewel-like words of wisdom, and charm us with titbits of wit and humour. ~Desiderius Erasmus, Adages

A wise man who knows proverbs reconciles difficulties. ~Yoruba Proverb, quoted in Curiosities in Proverbs: A Collection of Unusual Adages, Maxims, Aphorisms, Phrases and Other Popular Dicta from Many Lands by Dwight Edwards Marvin, 1916

To appreciate and use correctly a valuable maxim requires a genius, a vital appropriating exercise of mind, closely allied to that which first created it. ~William Rounseville Alger, "The Utility and the Futility of Aphorisms," The Atlantic Monthly, February 1863

...though many a gatherer has carried his basket through these diamond districts of the mind... ~William Rounseville Alger, "The Utility and the Futility of Aphorisms," The Atlantic Monthly, February 1863, commonly quoted as "Proverbs are mental gems gathered in the diamond districts of the mind."

Cunning authors cut to be quoted. ~Willis Goth Regier, Quotology, 2010

Proverbs embrace the wide sphere of human existence, they take all the colours of life, they are often exquisite strokes of genius, they delight by their airy sarcasm or their caustic satire, the luxuriance of their humour, the playfulness of their turn, and even by the elegance of their imagery, and the tenderness of their sentiment. They give a deep insight into domestic life, and open for us the heart of man, in all the various states which he may occupy—a frequent review of Proverbs should enter into our readings; and although they are no longer the ornaments of conversation, they have not ceased to be the treasures of Thought! ~Isaac D'Israeli, "The Philosophy of Proverbs," Curiosities of Literature: Volume V

It is generally supposed that where there is no QUOTATION, there will be found most originality; and as people like to lay out their money according to their notions, our writers usually furnish their pages rapidly with the productions of their own soil: they run up a quickset hedge, or plant a poplar, and get trees and hedges of this fashion much faster than the former landlords procured their timber. The greater part of our writers, in consequence, have become so original, that no one cares to imitate them; and those who never quote, in return are never quoted! ~Isaac D'Israeli, "Quotation," A Second Series of Curiosities of Literature, Volume I, second edition, 1824

This is one of the results of that adventurous spirit which is now stalking forth and raging for its own innovations. We have not only rejected AUTHORITY, but have also cast away EXPERIENCE; and often the unburthened vessel is driving to all points of the compass, and the passengers no longer know whither they are going. The wisdom of the wise, and the experience of ages, may be preserved by QUOTATION. ~Isaac D'Israeli, "Quotation," A Second Series of Curiosities of Literature, Volume I, second edition, 1824

Quotation, like much better things, has its abuses. One may quote till one compiles. The ancient lawyers used to quote at the bar till they had stagnated their own cause. ~Isaac D'Israeli, "Quotation," A Second Series of Curiosities of Literature, Volume I, second edition, 1824

Such do not always understand the authors whose names adorn their barren pages, and which are taken, too, from the third or the thirtieth hand. Those who trust to such false quoters will often learn how contrary this transmission is to the sense and application of the original. Every transplantation has altered the fruit of the tree; every new channel, the quality of the stream in its remove from the spring-head. ~Isaac D'Israeli, "Quotation," A Second Series of Curiosities of Literature, Volume I, second edition, 1824

Bayle, when writing on "Comets," discovered this; for having collected many things applicable to his work, as they stood quoted in some modern writers, when he came to compare them with their originals, he was surprised to find that they were nothing for his purpose! the originals conveyed a quite contrary sense to that of the pretended quoters, who often, from innocent blundering, and sometimes from purposed deception, had falsified their quotations. This is an useful story for second-hand authorities! ~Isaac D'Israeli, "Quotation," A Second Series of Curiosities of Literature, Volume I, second edition, 1824

A learned historian declared to me of a contemporary, that the latter had appropriated his researches; he might, indeed, and he had a right to refer to the same originals; but if his predecessor had opened the sources for him, gratitude is not a silent virtue. ~Isaac D'Israeli, "Quotation," A Second Series of Curiosities of Literature, Volume I, second edition, 1824

Whenever we would prepare the mind by a forcible appeal, an opening quotation is a symphony preluding on the chords whose tones we are about to harmonize. ~Isaac D'Israeli, "Quotation," A Second Series of Curiosities of Literature, Volume I, second edition, 1824

Quotes are nothing but inspiration for the uninspired. ~Attributed to Richard Kemph

The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit. ~Attributed to W. Somerset Maugham

A man, groundly learned already, may take much profit himself in using by epitome to draw other men's works, for his own memory sake, into short room. ~Roger Ascham

Great quotation collections glean the millennia, distill essences, and battle for bragging rights about who's bigger, who's smarter, who's best. Who-knows-who-said-what has a market, a history, and a hall of fame. ~Willis Goth Regier, Quotology, 2010

A beautiful verse, an apt remark, or a well-turned phrase, appropriately quoted, is always effective and charming. ~Marie Anne de Vichy-Chamrond du Deffand

I never have found the perfect quote. At best I have been able to find a string of quotations which merely circle the ineffable idea I seek to express. ~Attributed to Caldwell O'Keefe in The Trademark Reporter, Vol. 93, 2003

In ancient days, tradition says,
When knowledge was much stinted—
When few could teach and fewer preach,
And books were not yet printed—
What wise men thought, by prudence taught,
They pithily expounded;
And proverbs sage, from age to age,
In every mouth abounded.
O Blessings on the men of yore,
Whom wisdom thus augmented,
And left a store of easy lore
For human use invented.
~Blackwood's Magazine, 1864, quoted in Curiosities in Proverbs: A Collection of Unusual Adages, Maxims, Aphorisms, Phrases and Other Popular Dicta from Many Lands by Dwight Edwards Marvin, 1916

The study of proverbs may be more instructive and comprehensive than the most elaborate scheme of philosophy. ~Attributed to Motherwell in Pearls of Thought by Maturin M. Ballou, 1882

How many of us have been first attracted to reason, first learned to think, to draw conclusions, to extract a moral from the follies of life, by some dazzling aphorism from Rochefoucauld or La Bruyere. ~Edward Lytton Bulwer

The proverbial wisdom of the populace in the street, on the roads, and in the markets instructs the ear of him who studies man more fully than a thousand rules ostentatiously displayed. ~Johann Lavater

General observations drawn from particulars are the jewels of knowledge, comprehending great store in a little room; but they are therefore to be made with the greater care and caution, lest, if we take counterfeit for true, our loss and shame be the greater when our stock comes to a severe scrutiny. ~John Locke, "Of the Conduct of the Understanding"

The more an idea is developed, the more concise becomes its expression: the more a tree is pruned, the better is the fruit. ~Alfred Bougeart, quoted in A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness collected and translated by J. De Finod, 1880

Nevertheless, a maxim does not necessarily become a proverb. Many grubs never grow to butterflies; and a maxim is only a proverb in its caterpillar stage—a candidate for a wider sphere and longer flight than most are destined to attain. ~"Proverbs Secular and Sacred," The North British Review, February 1858

As proverbs are meant to be portable, it is essential that they should be packed up in few words... ~"Proverbs Secular and Sacred," The North British Review, February 1858

A proverb is an exploding atom of wisdom. ~Gaston Kaboré

Of course, talking only in proverbs would be impossible. Proverbs are full of poetry and twists. They are made up of words that have been molded for centuries, if not milleniums, until a minimum of words carry an extraordinary potential for meaning. ~Gaston Kaboré

People who rarely read long books, or even short stories, still appreciate the greatest examples of the shortest literary genres. I have long been fascinated by these short genres. They seem to lie just where my heart is, somewhere between literature and philosophy. ~Gary Saul Morson, The Long and Short of It: From Aphorism to Novel, 2012

Give your ears, hear the sayings,
Give your heart to understand them;
It profits to put them in your heart;
Woe to him who neglects them!

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced—even a Proverb is no proverb to you till your Life has illustrated it. ~John Keats, letter to George and Georgiana Keats, February 24, 1819

Wisdom is meaningless until your own experience has given it meaning... and there is wisdom in the selection of wisdom. ~Bergen Evans

The aphorism is cultivated only by those who have known fear in the midst of words, that fear of collapsing with all the words. ~E.M. Cioran, "Atrophy of Utterance," All Gall Is Divided: Gnomes and Apothegms, translated from French by Richard Howard

If, with the literate, I am
Impelled to try an epigram,
I never seek to take the credit;
We all assume that Oscar said it.
~Dorothy Parker, referring to Oscar Wilde

Quotations cause all kinds of trouble. ~Willis Goth Regier, Quotology, 2010

The difference between my quotations and those of the next man is that I leave out the inverted commas. ~George Moore, quoted in Peter's Quotations: Ideas for Our Times by Laurence J. Peter

Hush, little bright line, don't you cry
You'll be a cliché by and by.
~Fred Allen

How do people go to sleep? I'm afraid I've lost the knack. I might try busting myself smartly over the temple with the night-light. I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound; if I can remember any of the damn things. ~Dorothy Parker, Here Lies, 1939

As a good housewife out of divers fleeces weaves one piece of cloth, a bee gathers wax and honey out of many flowers, and makes a new bundle of all... I have laboriously collected this Cento out of divers writers, and... I have wronged no authors, but given every man his own.... I can say of myself, Whom have I injured? The matter is theirs most part, and yet mine... ~Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy

My life's entwined by curly quote marks
Clever phrases and profound remarks....
~Terri Guillemets

Unraveling proverbs is a suitable puzzle for an old man. I put pieces in order and build up a kind of Utopian castle. ~Matti Kuusi

Quotation lovers love rare words. ~Willis Goth Regier, Quotology, 2010

Some for renown on scraps of learning dote,
And think they grow immortal as they quote.
To patch-work learned quotations are allied;
Both strive to make our poverty our pride.
~Edward Young, Love of Fame

I doubt whether Cromwell or Milton could have rivaled [William Lloyd] Garrison in this field of quotation; and the power of quotation is as dreadful a weapon as any which the human intellect can forge. ~John Jay Chapman

[T]he governess... looked upon him [Mr. Swiveller] as a literary gentleman of eccentric habits, and of a most prodigious talent in quotation. ~Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop, 1841

In the mountains the shortest route is from peak to peak but for that you must have long legs. Aphorisms should be peaks, and those to whom they are spoken should be big and tall of stature. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Someone - Cyril Connolly? Ezra Pound? - once said that anything that can be read twice is literature; I would say that anything that bears saying twice is quotable. ~Joseph Epstein, "Quotatious," A Line Out for a Walk: Familiar Essays, 1991

Let's have some new clichés! ~Attributed to Samuel Goldwyn

One man's wit, and all men's wisdom. ~John Russell, definition of a proverb

Seek not to know who said this or that, but take note of what has been said. ~Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, translated from Latin

A garbled quotation is equivalent to a betrayal, an insult, a prejudice. ~E.M. Cioran

The little honesty that exists among authors is discernible in the unconscionable way they misquote from the writings of others. ~Arthur Schopenhauer, "On Authorship and Style," translated from German by Mrs. Rudolf Dircks

What is an Epigram? A dwarfish Whole,
Its Body brevity, and wit its Soul.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "Epigrams"

Precepts or maxims are of great weight; and a few useful ones at hand do more toward a happy life than whole volumes that we know not where to find. ~Seneca

We prefer to think that the absence of inverted commas guarantees the originality of a thought, whereas it may be merely that the utterer has forgotten its source. ~Clifton Fadiman, The American Treasury, 1455-1955, 1955

When a thing has been said and well said, have no scruple: take it and copy it. ~Anatole France, "The Creed"

Take my advice, dear reader, don't talk epigrams even if you have the gift. I know, to those have, the temptation is almost irresistible. But resist it. Epigram and truth are rarely commensurate. Truth has to be somewhat chiselled, as it were, before it will quite fit into an epigram. ~Joseph Farrell, "About Conversation," The Lectures of a Certain Professor, 1877

Why are not more gems from our great authors scattered over the country? Great books are not in everybody’s reach; and though it is better to know them thoroughly than to know them only here and there, yet it is a good work to give a little to those who have neither the time nor the means to get more. Let every bookworm, when in any fragrant, scarce old tome he discovers a sentence, a story, an illustration, that does his heart good, hasten to give it. ~David Hartley Coleridge

But proverbs are always platitudes until you have personally experienced the truth of them. ~Aldous Huxley, Jesting Pilate: The Diary of a Journey, 1926

Platitude. An idea (a) that is admitted to be true by everyone, and (b) that is not true. ~H.L. Mencken, "The Jazz Webster," A Book of Burlesques, 1920

I love quotes because good quotes are vitamins for the brain! ~Patrick Driessen

Books of quotations are an elemental model of how culture is perpetuated, the wisdom of the tribe passed on to posterity, to be added to, edited, and modified by subsequent generations. But whereas many anthologies remain content to recycle inventories of ancestral wisdom, cataloguing our cultural waymarks according to the gnomic pronouncements of our forebears, The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations is a book intended for our own times; its keynote is not familiarity, but aptness. It embraces the past in order to illustrate the present. ~Robert Andrews, The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations, "Introduction"

A true quotation cannot be divorced from the character who uttered or scribbled it; it should say as much about the person quoted as about the particular subject referred to, and for this reason an anthology of quotations should be a kind of portrait gallery. ~Robert Andrews, The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations, "Introduction"
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