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The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations

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upon the poor and the ignorant in their humility, as well as upon the wealthy, and the philosopher in all his pride of human learning?’ ‘What you imagine to be the new light of grace, (said his master) I take to be a deceitful vapour, glimmering through a crack in your upper storey.’

‘The Expedition of Humphry Clinker’ (1771) vol. 2, letter from Jery Melford, 10 June

Mourn, hapless Caledonia, mourn Thy banished peace, thy laurels torn.

‘The Tears of Scotland’ (1746)

7.119 C. P. Snow (Baron Snow of Leicester) 1905-80

The official world, the corridors of power.

‘Homecomings’ (1956) ch. 22

I believe the intellectual life of the whole of western society is increasingly being split into two polar groups...Literary intellectuals at one pole—at the other scientists, and as the most representative, the physical scientists. Between the two a gulf of mutual incomprehension.

‘The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution’ (1959 Rede Lecture) p. 3

7.120 Philip Snowden (Viscount Snowden) 1864-1937

This is not Socialism. It is Bolshevism run mad.

BBC radio election broadcast on the election programme of the Labour Party, 17 October 1931; in ‘The Times’ 19 October 1931

7.121 Socrates 469-399 B.C.

How many things I can do without!

On looking at a multitude of wares exposed for sale, in Diogenes Laertius ‘Lives of the Eminent Philosophers’ bk. 2, ch. 25

I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.

In Diogenes Laertius ‘Lives of Eminent Philosophers’ bk. 2, sect. 32

The unexamined life is not worth living.

In Plato ‘Apology’ 38a

But already it is time to depart, for me to die, for you to go on living; which of us takes the better course, is concealed from anyone except God.

In Plato ‘Apology’ 42a

A man should feel confident concerning his soul, who has renounced those pleasures and fineries that go with the body, as being alien to him, and considering them to result more in harm than in good, but has pursued the pleasures that go with learning and made the soul fine with no alien but rather its own proper refinements, moderation and justice and courage and freedom and truth; thus it is ready for the journey to the world below.

In Plato ‘Phaedo’ 114d

‘What do you say about pouring a libation to some god from this cup? Is it allowed or not?’ ‘We only prepare just the right amount to drink, Socrates,’ he [the jailor] said.

‘I understand,’ he went on; ‘but it is allowed and necessary to pray to the gods, that my moving

from hence to there may be blessed; thus I pray, and so be it.’

In Plato ‘Phaedo’ 117b

Crito, we owe a cock to Aesculapius; please pay it and don’t let it pass.

In Plato ‘Phaedo’ 118, last words

7.122 Solon c.630-c.555 B.C.

I grow old ever learning many things.

Theodor Bergk (ed.) ‘Poetae Lyrici Graeci’ (1843) no. 18

Laws are like spider’s webs: if some poor weak creature come up against them, it is caught; but a bigger one can break through and get away.

In Diogenes Laertius ‘Lives of the Eminent Philosophers’ bk. 1, ch. 58.

Call no man happy till he dies, he is at best but fortunate.

In Herodotus ‘Histories’ bk. 1, ch. 32

7.123 Alexander Solzhenitsyn 1918—

You only have power over people as long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything he’s no longer in your power—he’s free again.

‘‘ (The First Circle, 1968) ch. 17

The Gulag Archipelago.

Title of book (1973-5)

7.124 William Somerville 1675-1742

My hoarse-sounding horn

Invites thee to the chase, the sport of kings; Image of war, without its guilt.

‘The Chase’ (1735) bk. 1, l. 13.

Hail, happy Britain! highly favoured isle, And Heaven’s peculiar care!

‘The Chase’ (1735) bk. 1, l. 84

7.125 Anastasio Somoza 1925-80

You won the elections, but I won the count.

Reply to accusation of ballot-rigging, in ‘Guardian’ 17 June 1977.

7.126 Stephen Sondheim 1930—

Everything’s coming up roses.

Title of song (1959); music by Jule Styne Send in the clowns. Title of song (1973)

7.127 Susan Sontag 1933—

Interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art.

‘Evergreen Review’ December 1964

The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people’s reality, and eventually in one’s own.

‘New York Review of Books’ 18 April 1974

Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.

‘New York Review of Books’ 26 January 1978

The white race is the cancer of human history, it is the white race, and it alone—its ideologies and inventions—which eradicates autonomous civilizations wherever it spreads, which has upset the ecological balance of the planet, which now threatens the very existence of life itself.

‘Partisan Review’ Winter 1967, p. 57

It is the nature of the pornographic imagination to prefer ready-made conventions of character, setting, and action. Pornography is a theatre of types, never of individuals.

‘The Pornographic Imagination’ (1967)

7.128 Donald Soper (Baron Soper) 1903—

It is, I think, good evidence of life after death.

On the quality of debate in the House of Lords, in ‘Listener’ 17 August 1978

7.129 Sophocles 496-406 B.C.

My son, may you be happier than your father.

‘Ajax’ l. 550

Enemies’ gifts are no gifts and do no good.

‘Ajax’ l. 665

His death concerns the gods, not those men, no!

‘Ajax’ l. 970 (referring to Ajax’s enemies, the Greek leaders)

There are many wonderful things, and nothing is more wonderful than man.

‘Antigone’ l. 333

Not to be born is, past all prizing, best.

‘Oedipus Coloneus’ l. 1224 (translation by R. W. Jebb)

Someone asked Sophocles, ‘How do you feel now about sex? Are you still able to have a woman?’ He replied, ‘Hush, man; most gladly indeed am I rid of it all, as though I had escaped from a mad and savage master.’

In Plato ‘Republic’ bk. 1, 329b

7.130 Charles Hamilton Sorley 1895-1915

When you see millions of the mouthless dead Across your dreams in pale battalions go, Say not soft things as other men have said,

That you’ll remember. For you need not so.

Give them not praise. For, deaf, how should they know It is not curses heaped on each gashed head?

‘A Sonnet’ (1916)

We swing ungirded hips, And lightened are our eyes, The rain is on our lips,

We do not run for prize.

‘Song of the Ungirt Runners’ (1916)

We have the evil spirits too

That shake our soul with battle-din. But we have an eviller spirit than you, We have a dumb spirit within:

The exceeding bitter agony But not the exceeding bitter cry.

‘To Poets’ (1916)

7.131 John L. B. Soule 1815-91

Go West, young man, go West!

‘Terre Haute’ [Indiana] ‘Express’ (1851) editorial.

7.132 Robert South 1634-1716

An Aristotle was but the rubbish of an Adam, and Athens but the rudiments of Paradise.

‘Sermons’ vol. 1, no. 2

7.133 Thomas Southerne 1660-1746

When we’re worn,

Hacked hewn with constant service, thrown aside To rust in peace, or rot in hospitals.

‘The Loyal Brother’ (1682) act 1

Be wise, be wise, and do not try How he can court, or you be won; For love is but discovery:

When that is made, the pleasure’s done.

‘Sir Anthony Love’ (1690) act 2 ‘Song’

7.134 Robert Southey 1774-1843

It was a summer evening, Old Kaspar’s work was done,

And he before his cottage door Was sitting in the sun,

And by him sported on the green His little grandchild Wilhelmine.

‘The Battle of Blenheim’

Now tell us all about the war,

And what they fought each other for.

‘The Battle of Blenheim’

‘And everybody praised the Duke, Who this great fight did win.’ ‘But what good came of it at last?’ Quoth little Peterkin.

‘Why that I cannot tell,’ said he, ‘But ’twas a famous victory.’

‘The Battle of Blenheim’

My name is Death: the last best friend am I.

‘Carmen Nuptiale’ ‘The Lay of the Laureate. The Dream’ 87

Curses are like young chickens, they always come home to roost.

‘The Curse of Kehama’ (1810) motto

Thou hast been called, O Sleep! the friend of Woe, But ’tis the happy who have called thee so.

‘The Curse of Kehama’ (1810) canto 15, st. 12

No stir in the air, no stir in the sea, The ship was still as she could be.

‘The Inchcape Rock’

Blue, darkly, deeply, beautifully blue.

‘Madoc’ (1805) pt. 1, canto 5 ‘Lincoya’ l. 102

We wage no war with women nor with priests.

‘Madoc’ (1805) pt. 1, canto 15 ‘The Excommunication’ l. 65

You are old, Father William, the young man cried, The few locks which are left you are grey;

You are hale, Father William, a hearty old man, Now tell me the reason, I pray.

‘The Old Man’s Comforts, and how he Gained them’.

In the days of my youth I remembered my God! And He hath not forgotten my age.

‘The Old Man’s Comforts, and how he Gained them’

The arts babblative and scribblative.

‘Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society’ (1829) coll. 10, pt. 2

The march of intellect.

‘Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society’ (1829) coll. 14

Your true lover of literature is never fastidious.

‘The Doctor’ (1812) ch. 17

Show me a man who cares no more for one place than another, and I will show you in that same person one who loves nothing but himself. Beware of those who are homeless by choice.

‘The Doctor’ (1812) ch. 34

Live as long as you may, the first twenty years are the longest half of your life.

‘The Doctor’ (1812) ch. 130

The death of Nelson was felt in England as something more than a public calamity; men started at the intelligence, and turned pale, as if they had heard of the loss of a dear friend.

‘The Life of Nelson’ (1813) ch. 9

She has made me in love with a cold climate, and frost and snow, with a northern moonlight.

Letter to his brother Thomas, 28 April 1797, in Charles C. Southey ‘The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey’ vol. 1 (1849) p. 311 (on the letters of Mary Wollstonecraft from Sweden and Norway)

7.135 Robert Southwell c.1561-95

As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow, Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow; And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,

A pretty Babe all burning bright did in the air appear.

‘The Burning Babe’ (1595)

Times go by turns, and chances change by course, From foul to fair, from better hap to worse.

‘Times go by Turns’ (1595).

Before my face the picture hangs, That daily should put me in mind

Of those cold qualms, and bitter pangs, That shortly I am like to find:

But yet alas full little I

Do think hereon that I must die.

‘Upon the Image of Death’

7.136 Muriel Spark 1918—

The one certain way for a woman to hold a man is to leave him for religion.

‘The Comforters’ (1957) ch. 1

I am putting old heads on your young shoulders and all my pupils are the créme de la créme.

‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ (1961) ch. 1

Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life.

‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ (1961) ch. 1

One’s prime is elusive. You little girls, when you grow up, must be on the alert to recognise your prime at whatever time of your life it may occur.

‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ (1961) ch. 1

To me education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil’s soul. To Miss Mackay it is a putting in of something that is not there, and that is not what I call education, I call it intrusion.

‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ (1961) ch. 2

Where I come from sex is what you get your coals in.

‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ (1961)

7.137 John Sparrow 1906-92

Without you, Heaven would be too dull to bear, And Hell would not be Hell if you are there.

Epitaph for Maurice Bowra, in ‘Times Literary Supplement’ 30 May 1975

That indefatigable and unsavoury engine of pollution, the dog.

Letter to ‘The Times’ 30 September 1975

7.138 Countess Spencer (Raine Spencer) 1929—

Alas, for our towns and cities. Monstrous carbuncles of concrete have erupted in gentle Georgian Squares.

‘The Spencers on Spas’ (1983) p. 14.

7.139 Herbert Spencer 1820-1903

The Republican form of Government is the highest form of government; but because of this it requires the highest type of human nature—a type nowhere at present existing.

‘Essays’ (1891) vol. 3 ‘The Americans’

Science is organized knowledge.

‘Education’ (1861) ch. 2

People are beginning to see that the first requisite to success in life is to be a good animal.

‘Education’ (1861) ch. 2

Evolution...is—a change from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity, to a definite coherent heterogeneity.

‘First Principles’ (1862) ch. 16, 138

It cannot but happen...that those will survive whose functions happen to be most nearly in equilibrium with the modified aggregate of external forces...This survival of the fittest implies multiplication of the fittest.

‘Principles of Biology’ (1865) pt. 3, ch. 12, 164.

How often misused words generate misleading thoughts.

‘Principles of Ethics’ bk. 1 (1879) pt. 2, ch. 8, 152

Absolute morality is the regulation of conduct in such a way that pain shall not be inflicted.

‘Essays’ (1891) vol. 3 ‘Prison Ethics’

Progress, therefore, is not an accident, but a necessity...It is a part of nature.

‘Social Statics’ (1850) pt. 1, ch. 2, 4

A clever theft was praiseworthy amongst the Spartans; and it is equally so amongst Christians, provided it be on a sufficiently large scale.

‘Social Statics’ (1850) pt. 2, ch. 16, 3

Education has for its object the formation of character.

‘Social Statics’ (1850) pt. 2, ch. 17, 4

Opinion is ultimately determined by the feelings, and not by the intellect.

‘Social Statics’ (1850) pt. 4, ch. 30, 8

No one can be perfectly free till all are free; no one can be perfectly moral till all are moral; no one can be perfectly happy till all are happy.

‘Social Statics’ (1850) pt. 4, ch. 30, 16

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly, is to fill the world with fools.

‘Essays’ (1891) vol. 3 ‘State Tamperings with Money and Banks’

It was remarked to me by the late Mr Charles Roupell...that to play billards well was a sign of an ill-spent youth.

Duncan ‘Life and Letters of Spencer’ (1908) ch. 20, p. 298

French art, if not sanguinary, is usually obscene.

‘Home Life with Herbert Spencer’ (1906) ch. 4, p. 115 ‘Two’

7.140 Stephen Spender 1909—

After the first powerful plain manifesto

The black statement of pistons, without more fuss But gliding like a queen, she leaves the station.

‘The Express’ (1933)

The names of those who in their lives fought for life Who wore at their hearts the fire’s centre.

Born of the sun they travelled a short while towards the sun, And left the vivid air signed with their honour.

‘I think continually of those who were truly great’ (1933)

Never being, but always at the edge of Being.

Title of poem (1933)

My parents kept me from children who were rough

And who threw words like stones and who wore torn clothes.

‘My parents kept me from children who were rough’ (1933)

What I had not foreseen Was the gradual day Weakening the will

Leaking the brightness away.

‘What I expected, was’ (1933)

Who live under the shadow of a war, What can I do that matters?

‘Who live under the shadow of a war’ (1933)

Their collected

Hearts wound up with love, like little watch springs.

‘The Past Values’ (1939)

Pylons, those pillars

Bare like nude, giant girls that have no secret.

‘The Pylons’ (1933)

Consider: only one bullet in ten thousand kills a man. Ask: was so much expenditure justified

On the death of one so young and so silly

Stretched under the olive trees, Oh, world, Oh, death?

‘Regum Ultimo Ratio’ (1933)

7.141 Edmund Spenser c.1552-99

The merry cuckoo, messenger of Spring,

His trumpet shrill hath thrice already sounded.

‘Amoretti’ (1595) sonnet 19

Most glorious Lord of life, that on this day Didst make thy triumph over death and sin: And, having harrowed hell, didst bring away Captivity thence captive, us to win.

‘Amoretti’ (1595) sonnet 68

So let us love, dear Love, like as we ought, —Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.

‘Amoretti’ (1595) sonnet 68

Fresh spring the herald of love’s mighty king, In whose coat armour richly are displayed

All sorts of flowers the which on earth do spring In goodly colours gloriously arrayed.

‘Amoretti’ (1595) sonnet 70

One day I wrote her name upon the strand, But came the waves and washéd it away: Again I wrote it with a second hand,

But came the tide, and made my pains his prey. Vain man, said she, that dost in vain assay,

A mortal thing so to immortalize, For I myself shall like to this decay,

And eke my name be wipéd out likewise. Not so, quoth I, let baser things devise To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:

My verse your virtues rare shall eternize, And in the heavens write your glorious name,

Where when as death shall all the world subdue, Our love shall live, and later life renew.

‘Amoretti’ (1595) sonnet 75

So love is Lord of all the world by right.

‘Colin Clout’s Come Home Again’ (1595) l. 883

So you great Lord, that with your counsel sway The burden of this kingdom mightily,

With like delights sometimes may eke delay, The rugged brow of careful Policy.

‘Dedicatory Sonnet to Sir Christopher Hatton’

Open the temple gates unto my love, Open them wide that she may enter in.

‘Epithalamion’ (1595) l. 204

Ah! when will this long weary day have end, And lend me leave to come unto my love?

‘Epithalamion’ (1595) l. 278

Song made in lieu of many ornaments,

With which my love should duly have been decked.

‘Epithalamion’ (1595) l. 427

The general end therefore of all the book is to fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline.

‘The Faerie Queen’ (1596) preface

Fierce wars and faithful loves shall moralize my song.

‘The Faerie Queen’ (1596) bk. 1, introduction, st. 1

A gentle knight was pricking on the plain.

‘The Faerie Queen’ (1596) bk. 1, canto 1, st. 1

But on his breast a bloody cross he bore, The dear remembrance of his dying Lord.

‘The Faerie Queen’ (1596) bk. 1, canto 1, st. 2

But of his cheer did seem too solemn sad; Yet nothing did he dread, but ever was ydrad.

‘The Faerie Queen’ (1596) bk. 1, canto 1, st. 2

A bold bad man, that dared to call by name Great Gorgon, Prince of darkness and dead night.

‘The Faerie Queen’ (1596) bk. 1, canto 1, st. 37.

Her angel’s face

As the great eye of heaven shinéd bright, And made a sunshine in the shady place;

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