The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations of Perspective

The question is not what you look at, but what you see. ~Henry David Thoreau

But other questions come upon us. What is a man's eye but a machine for the little creature that sits behind in his brain to look through?... Is it man's eyes, or is it the big seeing engine which has revealed to us the existence of worlds beyond worlds into infinity?... Or again is it the eye or the little see-engine which has shown us the existence of infinitely minute organisms which swarm unsuspected around us? ~Samuel Butler, Erewhon, 1872

If you do not raise your eyes you will think that you are the highest point. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

In a rapidly ascending balloon were two men.
One watched the earth getting farther and farther away.
One watched the stars getting nearer and nearer.
~George Jean Nathan, "Viewpoint," A Book Without a Title, 1918

The deer isn't crossing the road. It's crossing the forest. ~Author unknown

So often in life a new chapter awaits. You ride off into the sunset and discover it's the sunrise. ~Robert Brault,

What if when you die, they ask "How was heaven?" ~Author unknown

You spend years learning what's important and one heart-stopping moment learning what's more important. ~Robert Brault,, 2019

Inside my empty bottle
I was constructing a lighthouse
While all the others
Were making ships.
~Charles Simic, "Solving the Riddle," Return to a Place Lit by a Glass of Milk, 1974

I am chained to the earth to pay for the freedom of my eyes. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

Life just seems so full of connections. Most of the time we don't even pay attention to the depth of life. We only see flat surfaces. ~Colin Neenan, Live a Little, 1996,

He is my greatest well-wisher who wishes me not only all attainment, but much defeat. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Prayer, 1904

It is the barely-visible stars which sharpen our eyesight. ~Henry Stanley Haskins, "The Order of Nature," Meditations in Wall Street, 1940

Do not call any work menial until you have watched a proud person do it. ~Robert Brault,

Strong measures are the first resort of the weak; the last of the strong. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Set out from any point. They are all alike. They all lead to a point of departure. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

Is the glass half empty, half full, or twice as large as it needs to be? ~Author unknown

If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882), "Drift Wood, A Collection of Essays: Table-Talk," Prose Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1857

A surrender is sometimes merely a way of avoiding capture. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Cake will tempt the Amply Fed;
What the Hungry want is Bread.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Food," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

Proverbs for Paranoids, 3: If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers. ~Thomas Pynchon, Jr., Gravity's Rainbow, 1973

As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. As a man sees in his heart, so he sees. Through unclean windows, lenses, senses, we see things not as they are but as we are. ~Jersey Journal, 1914  []

[N]o man but feels more of a man in the world if he have a bit of ground that he can call his own. However small it is on the surface, it is four thousand miles deep; and that is a very handsome property. ~Charles Dudley Warner, "Preliminary," My Summer in a Garden, 1870

He who looks before he leaps is often satisfied to stay where he is. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

I searched up and down the earth — and found it in my own soul. I implored heaven and hell — and the field daisies answered me. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Prayer, 1904

An impossibility does not disturb us until its accomplishment shows what fools we were. ~Henry Stanley Haskins, "Marginalia," Meditations in Wall Street, 1940

Hay is more acceptable to an ass than gold. ~Latin proverb

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. ~Khalil Gibran (1883–1931), The Prophet

We envy others, for we see their lives in broad outline, while forced to live ours in every detail. ~Robert Brault,

All the suns labor to kindle your flame and a microbe puts it out. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

One of the joys of a real emergency is throwing yourself into it. Another is that non-essentials get dumped. ~Barry Fox Stevens (1902–1985), Don't Push the River (it flows by itself), 1970

There is no burnt rice to a hungry person. ~Philippine proverb

We underrate the courage of common civility, for what do we know of another person's day, of their worries and anxieties, of how deep into their innermost resources they had to reach for that friendly hello, that gracious smile. ~Robert Brault,

Dare to turn life on its end, and you may find that topsy-turvy is a truer perspective than turvy-topsy. ~Robert Brault,

Nothing is further than Earth from Heaven: nothing is nearer than Heaven to Earth. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

Well, every one can master a grief but he that has it. ~William Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing, c.1598  [III, 2, Benedick]

Anytime you hear the words, "The end justifies the means," you can be sure that something mean is about to be justified. ~Robert Brault,

Man looks earthward with a microscopic eye; heavenward with telescopic lenses. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

As far as the Moon is concerned, he is always full. ~Terri Guillemets

Life is inherently paradoxical: every dream has the potential for nightmare; every nightmare may reveal some truth. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

Reading the words of Hitler, Stalin, or the Marquis de Sade may be hard on the nervous system, but set against the thoughts of a Jefferson or a John Stuart Mill they help us to see the deeper meanings of democracy and demagoguery, individualism and collectivism, intellect and propaganda. ~Wesley Douglass Camp (1915–1991), Preface to What a Piece of Work Is Man: Camp's Unfamiliar Quotations from 2000 B.C. to the Present, 1989

Nothing is less promising than precocity. A young thistle is more like a future tree than is a young oak. ~Marie Dubsky, Freifrau von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830–1916), translated by Mrs Annis Lee Wister, 1882

Would it not be wiser for people to rejoice at all that they now sorrow, and vice versâ? To put on bridal garments at funerals, and mourning at weddings? For their friends to condole with them when they attained riches and honour, as only so much care added? ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

It is good sometimes, as we jog along in our smooth-riding waggon of Progress, to steal our way... to the rear of the vehicle and look back upon the road by which it has come. Then it is that we experience the mental counterpart of that physical sensation of travelling backwards so charmingly described by Margaret Fairless Barber in The Roadmender. To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forwards. There is something less dynamic and more reposeful in a retreating landscape than in an advancing one. A retreating scene appears to be withdrawn gently and smoothly from our gaze; an advancing one intrudes itself with bustle, flurry, and arrogance. This contrast is more especially felt when the vehicle is a rapidly moving one. And as with physical so it is with intellectual vision. We are all the better for the repose and refreshment of an occasional glance backward, the more so since our waggon of Progress is ever being urged forward with accelerated velocities. ~E. W. Adams, "The Philosophy of Epicurus — An Unclosed Chapter in Human Thought," in The Hibbert Journal, 1921  [A little altered. See Fairless quotation below. —tg]

I lay as in a blissful dream and watched my road unfold... It is like Life, this travelling backwards — that which has been, alone visible — like Life, which is after all, retrospective with a steady moving on into the Unknown and the Unseen... ~Michael Fairless (Margaret Fairless Barber, d. 1901), The Roadmender, No. VI, 1900

We all have fog on our path at times — but clarity comes from within. ~Terri Guillemets

If we were unable to tell the sexes by their dress, nay, if in general we had to guess at them, a new world of love would arise. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated by Norman Alliston, 1908

Gratitude, respect, friendship — funny how it's never called loyalty when there's actually a reason for it. ~Robert Brault,

The poor never estimate as a virtue the generosity of the rich. ~Marie Dubsky, Freifrau von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830–1916), translated by Mrs Annis Lee Wister, 1882

The rich would have to eat money if the poor did not provide food. ~Russian proverb

After the striving, the fine talk, and the grandeur of dreams — all that remains is an elegance of bones. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

Some people think they are in tune with the infinite when they are only out of tune with the definite. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1904, George Horace Lorimer, editor

You must judge a man's greatness by how much he will be missed. ~Will Rogers (1879–1935)

Expectant of greater things,
We try climbing -
And Higher;
An effort that costs us much,
Leaving us short of breath
To find only
The ground below is much prettier.
~Phillip Pulfrey, "Mountains" Love, Abstraction and other Speculations,

Offense is taken, not given. ~[Modern paraphrase of an older idea, I'm working on finding a good older version for quoting but haven't completed my research yet... —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
• "distinction between an offence given and an offence taken" (1816)
• "yet the offence is not given, but taken" (1681)
• "if others will take offence, and stumble, 'tis their sin, not mine... the offence is taken, not given" (1683)
• "the empty quibble that the offense was 'taken, not given'" (1846)

I remember when I saw very dimly that we set up all sorts of difficulties for ourselves like a barricade, haul ourselves over them, then pat ourselves on the back for our accomplishment. ~Barry Fox Stevens (1902–1985), Don't Push the River (it flows by itself), 1970

The Hawk with Envy sees the Otter swim,
Not dreaming how the Otter envies him.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Certain Birds," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

Vision may sometimes sleep in the sun, while it wakens to widest revelation in utter darkness. Thus I am rapt in a trance-like acceptance of opening cavernous depths, crypts of decyphered gloom, yielding hollows of velvet obscurity that go down, down to the roots of things. ~Virginia Garland, "The Rain," Out West: A Magazine of the Old Pacific and the New, February 1908

Favors that we beg and pray for
Cost us more than those we pay for.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Neighborliness," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

Exceptions do not always prove the rule; they may be even the first germs of a new rule. ~Marie Dubsky, Freifrau von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830–1916), translated by Mrs Annis Lee Wister, 1882

In smoldering ashes,
do you see dead fire? —
or the phoenix's glittering dreams?
~Terri Guillemets

Change our thought, and the world around us changes. ~Richard Bach, The Bridge Across Forever:  a lovestory, 1984

No Race is Won or Lost
Before the Line is crossed.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Sport," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

Just as important as having a list of priorities is every once in a while starting from the bottom. ~Robert Brault,

If you see the world in black and white, you're missing important grey matter. ~Jack Fyock

Listen with your feelings, see with your heart. ~Tom Brown, Jr.

Then my father's God did well
When he prohibited the fatal tree.
But had done better in not planting it.
But ignorance of evil doth not save
From evil: it must still roll on the same,
A part of all things.
~Lord Byron, "Cain"

A boil is no big deal. On someone else's neck. ~Jewish saying

If hindrances could hinder, not one could do his work. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

The most rapid motions are those which are not perceived; and the greatest changes, both in nature and life, are brought about by invisible causes. ~William Benton Clulow, Aphorisms and Reflections: A Miscellany of Thought and Opinion, 1843

Saints in stone have done more in the world than living ones. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated by Norman Alliston, 1908

Events and external objects are, so to speak, but a neutral substance, which receives its colour and its significance from our soul. ~Alexandre Vinet (1797–1847)

So much unmerited honour has been paid me in my lifetime that I may upon occasion well put up with a little unmerited censure. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), "The Character of a Person of my Acquaintance"  [Lichtenberg's unfinished "autopsychography" (Norman Alliston, 1908). —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

A kind soul knows impoliteness is just preoccupied with distraction. ~Mike Dolan, @HawaiianLife, tweet, 2012

The bat hanging upside down laughs at the topsy-turvy world. ~Japanese proverb

The Poison Weeds and Tares that Earth produces
Are changed to Blessings when we learn their Uses.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Science," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

Equality looks like a peach, tastes like a lemon. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

If we would see others as they see themselves, our shyness would soon become compassion. ~Robert Brault,

Unappreciated Greatness often starves, while appreciated Littleness feeds on the fat of the land. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

That, chang'd thro' all and yet in all the same,
Great in the Earth as in th' Ætherial frame,
Warms in the Sun, refreshes in the Breeze,
Glows in the Stars, and blossoms in the Trees...
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part...
Submit — in this, or any other Sphere,
Secure to be as blest as thou canst bear.
All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee;
All Chance, Direction which thou canst not see;
All Discord, Harmony not understood...
All partial Evil, universal Good...
~Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

An abridgement may be a bridge: it may help us over the water: but it keeps us from drinking. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

The shadows:  some hide, others reveal. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

Originality — A target best hit when not aimed at. ~Charles Searle, Look Here!, 1885

It's a shame that philosophical ideals don't always match up to pragmatic reality. We live in an analog world, not a digital one, so binary black-and-white choices and reflexive adherence to absolutes are rarely useful or applicable. Deal with it. ~David C. Hill,

It's a shame that pragmatic reality doesn't always live up to our philosophical ideals. There is right and wrong, even if we aren't always gifted with the knowledge of which is which. One can too easily get lost in a world of greys, and so guarded commitment to some absolutes (while acknowledging one's own fallibility) can be essential to avoid sliding down that old slippery slope. ~David C. Hill,

Every once in a while, turn life over to see what it looks like from the other side. ~Terri Guillemets

It is a positive fact that some thoughts please us when we are lying down which fail to please us any more when we are on our feet. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated by Norman Alliston, 1908

While it may not be appropriate in every venue, and on every occasion, mockery is the guardian of reason, the enemy of pretension, and the mirror to folly. No belief, no passion, no commitment should be considered immune from the acerbic test of ridicule. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!
~William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, c.1596  [I, 3, Antonio]

Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time. ~Steven Wright, A Steven Wright Special, 1985,

Damn the lights! Watch the cars! The lights ain't never killed nobody! ~Jackie "Moms" Mabley  [on telling children to watch traffic lights when crossing the street —tg]

When some one asks to see you on urgent business the urgency usually is his. ~Arnold H. Glasow (1905–1999), "Glasow's Gloombusters," 1947

Love can illumine a dungeon, but it cannot fill an empty stomach. ~Minna Thomas Antrim (1861–1950), Phases, Mazes, and Crazes of Love, 1904

Control sometimes hurts more than chaos. ~Terri Guillemets

GRACE  Something that comes just before Grumble at the dinner table. ~Charles Wayland Towne, The Altogether New Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz, 1914

I have scarcely touched clay and I am made of it. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019)

Given a little time, regulation regulates nothing. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

Today I'm in a window mood,
to live seems just to look...
And when night falls, who knows,
perhaps I'll find I've spent all day
given to you, inexhaustible window,
to be the other half of the world.
~Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926), translated from the French by A. Poulin, Jr., 1979

The last thing we learn in life is to put first things first. ~Arnold H. Glasow (1905–1999)

Don't reinvent the wheel, just realign it. ~Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book, 1995,

Nothing's a gift, it's all on loan. ~Wisława Szymborska (1923–2012), "Nothing's a Gift," The End and the Beginning, 1993, translated from the Polish by Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh

The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning. ~Ivy Baker Priest, as quoted in Herbert R. Mayes, An Editor's Treasury, 1968

Pain looks like a lot of things. You may not recognize it when you see it. ~Terri Guillemets, "Faces & temptation," 2003

The commonest opinions and the things that everybody takes for granted often most deserve examination. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated by Norman Alliston, 1908

While his eyes saw the sky, his soul saw Heaven. ~K. Smith

Everyone slips onto the naughty list once in a while. ~Stevie Wermers-Skelton, Kevin Deters, and Chris Williams, Prep & Landing, 2009  [Santa to Wayne —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

I love and honour him,
But must not break my back to heal his finger...
~William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens, c.1607  [II, 1, Senator]

It is hard to reform the boy who got whipped in his youth for telling the truth. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

You wonder sometimes what good might accomplish if it had evil's sense of self-righteousness. ~Robert Brault,

Why should I be ambitious? Shall I write verses? I am not likely to surpass Mr Tennyson or Mr Browning in that walk. Shall I be a musician? The blackbird singing this moment somewhere in my garden-shrubbery puts me to instant shame. Shall I paint? The intensest scarlet on an artist's palette is but ochre to that I saw this morning at sunrise.... I am happier as it is. I do not need to make history—there are plenty of people willing to save me trouble on that score. ~Alexander Smith, "Books and Gardens," Dreamthorp: A Book of Essays Written in the Country, 1863

Disappointment is as inevitable as hope is necessary. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

Old fool! I have made you weep again! Do not listen! I am death advising life how to live! Be deaf to me! Strive after what your heart desires! Who can ever know which are the mistakes we make? One should be either sad or joyful. Contentment is a warm sty where the eaters sleep and the sleepers eat! Do not weep! ~Eugene O'Neill, Marco's Millions, 1925–1927

...the hurt you give yourself hurts us too. ~George Sand, letter to Gustave Flaubert, 1870

If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work...
~William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I, c.1597  [I, 2, Henry V]

Life is a series of tasks that you absolutely must get done before they don't matter any more. ~Robert Brault,

Because the Well resounds, it does not follow
That it is Deep; it may be merely Hollow.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Self-Esteem," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

Some women look prettier than they are; others are prettier than they look. ~Charles Searle, Look Here!, 1885

Eddy is white, and we know he is because nobody says so. ~Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, 1992

When Famine must be fed,
Remember, Crumbs are Bread.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Thrift," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds; and until we know what has been or will be the peculiar combination of outward with inward facts, which constitute a man's critical actions, it will be better not to think ourselves wise about his character. There is a terrible coercion in our deeds which may at first turn the honest man into a deceiver, and then reconcile him to the change; for this reason—that the second wrong presents itself to him in the guise of the only practicable right. The action which before commission has been seen with that blended common sense and fresh untarnished feeling which is the healthy eye of the soul is looked at afterward with the lens of apologetic ingenuity, through which all things that men call beautiful and ugly are seen to be made up of textures very much alike. ~George Eliot, Adam Bede

It is easier to be the hero of the moment than the hero of every drudging hour and every grinding day. ~Robert Brault,

Do the stars out-number the sands of the sea?
What part is an hour of eternity?
Is the Past quite as long as the Future will be?
~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

Nothing supports evil like the assumption of good people that there is some sort of line it will not cross. ~Robert Brault,, 2019

You taught me all about love, all about faith, and then God turned your lessons inside out, let me see the underside of every good thing you gave me. ~Margaret Blair Young, Heresies of Nature, 2002

Everything is best until we know better. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

In reality, plants are farming humans — giving us oxygen until we eventually decompose so they can consume us. ~Author unknown, c. 2007

New is something old that has been long forgotten. ~Russian proverb

Publicity is not the same thing as immortality. ~Alena Smith, "Because I could not stop," Dickinson, 2019  [S1, E1; Death speaking to Emily —tg]

A crown is no cure for the headache. ~German proverb

The hand of one person may express more than the face of another. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

      Every once in a while I get to just this point in the day and realize that I really have nothing to say. I suppose I don’t actually mean this literally, although it feels like I do. I think it’s more that I feel that nothing I have to say makes much of a difference.
      And I’m not the sort of person who has a lot of patience with people who run around saying that they “want to make a difference,” either. The phrase always feels to me incredibly vague and not very well thought out. Make a difference to what? In what sense?
      Hitler made a difference. In fact, he changed the world. So did Stalin and Mao. So did the Black Plague. Of course, so did Washington and Jefferson and Adams, and Jonas Salk. There are people who “make a difference” for the better.
      But the phrase always seems to me to be aimed at something more fundamental, and probably at something impossible to change. Or it’s something worse — it’s a catch phrase for not doing very much of anything, but feeling noble about it. ~Jane Haddam, "Speechless,", 2011

He who holds me by a thread is not strong; the thread is strong. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

The activities you spent your time on yesterday were the things that were important to you. Calendars don't lie. ~Scott Ginsberg,

Sometimes we must unfocus our way to clarity. ~Terri Guillemets

Don't confuse fun with fulfillment, or pleasure with happiness. ~Michael Josephson,

Hints to the thoughtful are often more convincing than elaborate arguments. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

Distance is inspiration's best hearting. ~E. Marshall

One day it's your turn, and all the stumbling words of consolation you ever said are said to you — and they don't seem stumbling at all. ~Robert Brault,

To see the world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.
~William Blake (1757-1827), "Auguries of Innocence"

It's really too bad that so much crumby stuff is a lot of fun sometimes. ~J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, 1951

Edges are more beautiful than anything—
Where the quiet deep shallows into loveliness,
Where the clouds feather to wavering silver,
And color kisses its brighter self.
Life is most whitely light
Where its low edge
Melts in the still pool of death,
As the sky-rim sinks
In a moon-filled sea.
~Henry Bellamann, "Edges," c.1921

I was walking my dog around my building — on the ledge. A lot of people are afraid of heights, not me — I'm afraid of widths. ~Steven Wright, A Steven Wright Special, 1985,

Nothing lasts forever, and forever doesn't last, either. ~Robert Brault,, 2019

My great day came and went, I do not know how. Because it did not pass through dawn when it came, nor through dusk when it went. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

Why am I considered rude if I say I don't want it and not rude for the other person to foist it on me? ~Barry Fox Stevens (1902–1985), Burst Out Laughing, 1985

To live in scarcity is to worry about the cost of food; to live in abundance is to worry about who else you can invite for dinner. ~Mike Dolan, @HawaiianLife, tweet, 2015

Morning walks —
rich man walks to digest food
a poor to earn.
~Kiran Bantawa, "Morning Walks"

We feed upon the finest of animal flesh, and at last ourselves become food for worms. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

A senseless tragedy remains forever tragic, but it is up to us whether it remains forever senseless. ~Robert Brault,

You take my house when you do take the prop
That doth sustain my house; you take my life
When you do take the means whereby I live.
~William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, c.1596  [IV, 1, Shylock]

If the world were crumbled to the finest dust, and scattered through the universe, there would not be an atom of dust for each star. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

There is differency between a grub and a butterfly;
yet your butterfly was a grub...
~William Shakespeare

The virtues of a thing do not come from it:  they go to it. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

The real purpose of arbitration is to show that the other fellow is wrong. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Gayety always keeps company with servitude. This blessing God has given the poor to console them for their miseries, just as he has made certain grasses to grow between the pavements that we tread under our feet, certain birds to sing on the old towers, and the beautiful verdure of the ivy to smile upon grimacing ruins. ~Claude Tillier (1801–1844), My Uncle Benjamin: A Humorous, Satirical, and Philosophical Novel, 1843, translated from the French by Benjamin R. Tucker, 1890  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

The difference between a bandit and a patriot is a good press agent. ~Will Rogers (1879–1935)

The most amazing things that can happen to a human being will happen to you, if you just lower your expectations. ~"Phil's-osophy" by Phil Dunphy (Christopher Lloyd, Steven Levitan, and Dan O'Shannon, Modern Family, "Schooled," original airdate 2012 Oct 10)

He who takes his own time generally takes other people's, too. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1904, George Horace Lorimer, editor

A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day. ~Emily Dickinson, 1872

In the hey-day I painted the spirit of the free, unfettered flight, and men passed it by, but later I painted the shadow of the broken pinion, and they came to look. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

What makes it so hard to organize the environment sensibly is that everything we touch is hooked up to everything else. ~Isaac Asimov

It is concentration that counts. The flame of a candle applied direct is more uncomfortable than the diffused heat of a blast furnace. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

I have been alone in a crowd and, in fact, have many times sought a crowd for that purpose. ~Robert Brault,

Progress is slow because it is the work of dreamers. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

A child on a farm sees a plane fly overhead and dreams of a faraway place. A traveler on the plane sees the farmhouse below and dreams of home. ~Robert Brault,

But even Hell, you must admit, has always had its patriots... ~Christopher Morley, "To a New Yorker a Hundred Years Hence," 1921

You never know what you can't do till you try. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1904, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Evil always tries to paint good as foolishness and itself as common sense. ~Robert Brault, experience — my own observation — is that trying to make everything safe — like the U.S. has been doing for so long — leads to madness like the war in Vietnam, and in any case if we had a fool-proof world, only fools could live in it. ~Barry Fox Stevens (1902–1985), Don't Push the River (it flows by itself), 1970

Sometimes the faces of the wicked are turned towards heaven for the first time when they are laid in the grave. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

Even the sun can't shine on an entire world at once. ~Terri Guillemets

A barley-corn is better than a diamond to a cock. ~Thomas Fuller's Gnomologia, 1732

One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries. ~A. A. Milne

Just so if we were to take, as a principle — all the climates of the earth are meant to be made habitable for man, by the efforts of man — the objection would be immediately raised, — Will the top of Mount Blanc ever be made habitable? Our answer would be, it will be many thousands of years before we have reached the bottom of Mount Blanc in making the earth healthy. Wait till we have reached the bottom before we discuss the top. ~Florence Nightingale, Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not, 1860

I looked at myself in the mirror (such a wiggly old glass that showed one in streaks like bacon)... ~Lloyd Osbourne, "ffrenches First," 1902

I'm right-handed, whereas the fellow in my mirror is left-handed. I start shaving from the left; he starts from the right. Differences only in perception, but religious wars have been fought over such. ~Robert Brault,

The tougher you are, the more fragile. ~Terri Guillemets

The minute atom has as many degrees of latitude and longitude as the mighty Jupiter. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

If I choose to believe that we're all God's children, it's because I'm darn sure it's all or none. ~Robert Brault,

I know what I have given you. I do not know what you have received. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

When the young doctors come to me and complain that the older men don't "throw them anything," I tell them that they don't know how to catch. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

From a natural standpoint, each and every species survives by taking life in some way, shape, or form. ~R. D. Lawrence, Secret Go the Wolves, 1980

If a dream is realistic, it's not really a dream. It's a to-do. ~Kim & Jason Kotecki, @kimandjason, tweet, 2010,

How long has it been since someone touched part of you other than your body? ~Terri Guillemets, "Spiritual wandering," 1995

The bee can never be an eagle, but it can make honey. ~William Arthur Ward, Thoughts of a Christian Optimist, 1968

The judicial mind is too commonly characterized by a regard for a fourth decimal as the equal of a whole number. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

God and the devil lose to a common enemy: inertia. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

We pray for fruition, when, if our prayer were answered, our all-too-soon-ripened fruit would be worm-mellowed and wind-blown. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

Yes and No are always dancing. ~Betsy Cañas Garmon,

Eventually you realize that not all opposing viewpoints come from people who oppose you. ~Robert Brault,

The least unkindness from a friend is of greater smart than the hardest usage from an enemy. ~Greek proverb

A small wrong from a friend makes a greater wound in a man's heart than a great wrong from an enemy. ~Spanish proverb

The enemy of your enemy is your friend. ~Proverb

Satire.— Attacking the vices and follies of others instead of reforming our own. ~"Specimens of a Patent Pocket Dictionary, For the use of those who wish to understand the meaning of things as well as words," The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal, 1824‑5

Too much attention to others' business often directs their attention to yours. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

      How much is essential? Really essential. Our biological needs are few...
      On the Navajo reservation, Beulah, the cook in the dormitory, one morning gave the children fried eggs by putting the fried eggs in their hands. They carried them into the dining room, at the table, and ate them out of their hands.
      This was talked about over a hundred miles of reservation for two weeks — by the white folks. ~Barry Fox Stevens (1902–1985), Don't Push the River (it flows by itself), 1970

I have found that the conclusion, "Nobody cares" is always based on an insufficient sampling. ~Robert Brault,

the universe isn't big
it fits inside each of us
~Terri Guillemets

What's frustrating about being disliked is that it's invariably for the wrong reason. ~Robert Brault,

An exhibitionist is nothing without a voyeur. ~S.A. Sachs

The one true measure of the things that matter in life is that they can't be insured against loss. ~Robert Brault,

If the complexity of the universe demands, as explanation, an intelligent creator — then, by the same reasoning — so does the intelligent creator. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

A Jest, unduly pushed, becomes no Jest;
Remember always, too far East is West.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Anger," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

Merited rebuke from an inferior has a double sting. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

      What shall I be —
      the angry sea
that pounds against the shore
      or soft agleam
      the quiet stream
that carves the canyon floor?
~Robert Brault,

To go wrong is sometimes the surest way to go right. It is not always down to depths: it is down, sometimes, to heights. I got my first perspective of heaven from hell. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

Old Satan couldn't get along without plenty of help. ~African-American saying

How, child, do I know where you're headed? Because I'm there, and I can see you coming. ~Robert Brault,

Sometimes we don't look up unless we have a reason to. And then it all becomes clear. ~Terri Guillemets

My endurance may be born of courage, but I will not forget that it may also be born of that most pitiable of human things, — weakness. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

Sometimes the littlest inquiries produce the biggest results. ~Terri Guillemets, "Glad I asked," 2001

The grass may be greener on the other side of the fence, but you still have to mow it. ~Author unknown

Here's to the floor,
Our best friend of all,
Who sticks to us close
In the time of our fall.
When benches are fickle
And tables betray
And rugs are revolving,
He meets us half-way.
~Oliver Herford, "The Floor," Happy Days, illustrated by John Cecil Clay, 1917

To the best of refuges I prefer their doorways. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

Every person born has been chosen from a trillion possibilities, in case you wonder what you would do if you won the lottery. ~Robert Brault,

Monotony is what is found by those who seek sensations. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1904, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Just remember that if you had the most winning personality on earth, you'd always wonder if people liked you only for your personality. ~Robert Brault,

...for there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. ~William Shakespeare, Hamlet, c.1600  [II, 2, Hamlet]

The keenest critic of the sculptor is the stone-cutter. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Life is not all Beer and Skittles. The inherent tragedy of things works itself out from white to black and blacker, and the poor things of a day look ruefully on. Does it shake my cast-iron faith? I cannot say it does. I believe in an ultimate decency of things; ay, and if I woke in hell, should still believe it. ~Robert Louis Stevenson, letter to Sidney Colvin, 1893 August 23rd

All we can see is reality filtered with self. ~Terri Guillemets, "View," 1991

The reverse side also has a reverse side. ~Japanese proverb


He is the most popular plagiarist who improves most upon what he steals. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

Who praised the Bad work falsely, is the one
To blame for Future Work as badly done.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Judgments," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

At high tide the fish eat ants; at low tide the ants eat fish. ~Thai proverb

It takes a while, but eventually we appreciate that the people who were always there for the special occasions of our youth had other things to do. ~Robert Brault,

The long way around is the shortcut when everybody knows the shortcut. ~Robert Brault,

The wings of angels and devils are in all of us. ~Jakarat Chotdamorng, @jakarat, May 2011 entry to The Quote Garden create your own quote contest on Twitter, @quotegarden

A hole is nothing at all, but you can still break your neck in it. ~Author unknown

Sometimes I prefer Zen even if it does take twenty years. ~Barry Fox Stevens (1902–1985), Don't Push the River (it flows by itself), 1970

So often we complain of a good thing because it isn't better while accepting a bad thing because it isn't worse. ~Robert Brault,

Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it. ~Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

There is nothing as easy as denouncing. It don't take much to see that something is wrong but it does take some eyesight to see what will put it right again. ~Will Rogers (1879–1935)

I come from dying, not from having been born. From having been born I am going. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), Voices, 1988

Perhaps there should be one day a week when you tackle your "Things I Gotta Undo" list. ~Robert Brault,

If the day ever comes when everything worth doing has been done, there will be plenty worth undoing. ~Robert Brault,

The stars, like many other things, are only romantic from a distance. ~Terri Guillemets

You know, not all Freudian slips are created equal. ~Rachel Maddow, 2009  [On George W. Bush saying "authoritarian" instead of "authoritative." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

We may build a mountain in a day that a lifetime cannot remove. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

Walking into someone's house for the first time is like entering another country. ~My So-Called Life, "Other People's Mothers," 1994, written by Richard Kramer  [S1, E10]

I do love my friends who wouldn't dare judge me — but we all need to be judged, sometimes. ~Terri Guillemets, "Dissent," 2016

To every corner there is always more than one way out. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

Don't Praise yourself, lest others Doubt and Grieve you;
Yet don't Dispraise yourself — they might Believe you.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Bragging," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

Fortune is a centaur —
half man, half luck.
~Terri Guillemets, "Hoofprints," 2019

Great Works demand Great Critics: Is it well
To Measure Ocean with an Oyster Shell?
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Criticism," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

It is hard to say which is the more indelible memory — the anxious minute that lasted forever or the comfortable forever that lasted a minute. ~Robert Brault,

Helping others out of trouble generally helps the helper into trouble. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

You've got to keep moving to keep the beauty of life in perspective. If you hold still too long, things go blurry. ~Terri Guillemets, "Beauty goes along," 2015

There are always three sides to every story: your side, the other side, and the truth. ~Author unknown

In the life we might have lived, the years never pass. On the person we might have been, time never leaves its mark. How different would seem our might-have-beens if we could picture them as would-be-nows. ~Robert Brault,

It is not easy, the choice between God and the devil, for it is presented to us as a choice between forgiveness and understanding. ~Robert Brault,

How many merits one sees in those one likes! how many faults in those one dislikes! Yet people fancy they see with their eyes. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

A whirl of torrid dust veils the picture. ~Vladimir Nabokov, The Gift, 1963, translated from Russian by Michael Scammell

One man's quiet is another man's din. ~Terri Guillemets

When you are one of the pieces, it doesn't seem like a game. ~Robert Brault,

Naughts are Nothings till our Pens
Put in Strokes and make them Tens.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Achievement," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

Apocalypse by a thousand paper cuts. ~Lucifer, "Goodbye, Lucifer," 2021, written by Chris Rafferty  [S6, E9, Amenadiel]

Darkness is the thief's best accomplice. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

It was the tiniest thing I ever decided to put my whole life into. ~Terri Guillemets, "Healing kind," 1986  [People have often used this quote to refer to a newborn or yet-to-be-born baby, which is fine with me, but I actually wrote it in my diary at age 12 when I was trying to nurse a sick baby bird back to health in my parents' yard. —tg]

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. ~John Muir, 1869, My First Summer in the Sierra

It is easier for me to see everything as one thing than to see one thing as one thing. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it. ~Author unknown, 1800s

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published 1998 Mar 18
revised 2021 Mar 7
last saved 2023 Jun 4