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The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations

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Our lives would grow together In sad or singing weather, Blown fields or flowerful closes, Green pleasure or grey grief.

‘A Match’

There was a poor poet named Clough, Whom his friends all united to puff, But the public, though dull,

Had not such a skull

As belonged to believers in Clough.

‘Essays and Studies’ (1875) ‘Matthew Arnold’

I will go back to the great sweet mother, Mother and lover of men, the sea.

I will go down to her, I and no other,

Close with her, kiss her and mix her with me.

‘The Triumph of Time’

I shall sleep, and move with the moving ships, Change as the winds change, veer in the tide.

‘The Triumph of Time’

There lived a singer in France of old By the tideless dolorous midland sea. In a land of sand and ruin and gold

There shone one woman, and none but she.

‘The Triumph of Time’

7.193 Eric Sykes and Max Bygraves 1922—

Eric Sykes had this quick ear and could tell by any inflection I put into a line how to make it a catch phrase—at one time I had more catch phrases than I could handle. I had the whole country saying things like ‘I’ve arrived and to prove it I’m here!’ ‘A good idea—son’ ‘Bighead!’ ‘Dollar lolly’.

Max Bygraves ‘I Wanna Tell You a Story!’ (1976) p. 96 (describing catch-phrases on ‘Educating Archie’, 1950-3 BBC radio comedy series)

7.194 John Addington Symonds 1840-93

These things shall be! A loftier race

Than e’er the world hath known shall rise, With flame of freedom in their souls, And light of knowledge in their eyes.


7.195 John Millington Synge 1871-1909

‘A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drownded,’ he said ‘for he will be going out on a day he shouldn’t. But we do be afraid of the sea, and we do only be drownded now and again.’

‘The Aran Islands’ (1907) pt. 2

‘A translation is no translation,’ he said, ‘unless it will give you the music of a poem along with the words of it.’

‘The Aran Islands’ (1907) pt. 3

Oh my grief, I’ve lost him surely. I’ve lost the only Playboy of the Western World.

‘The Playboy of the Western World’ (1907) act 3 (last lines)

7.196 Thomas Szasz 1920—

A child becomes an adult when he realizes that he has a right not only to be right but also to be wrong.

‘The Second Sin’ (1973) ‘Childhood’

A teacher should have maximal authority and minimal power.

‘The Second Sin’ (1973) ‘Education’

Happiness is an imaginary condition, formerly often attributed by the living to the dead, now usually attributed by adults to children, and by children to adults.

‘The Second Sin’ (1973) ‘Emotions’

The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naïve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.

‘The Second Sin’ (1973) ‘Personal Conduct’

If you talk to God, you are praying; if God talks to you, you have schizophrenia. If the dead talk to you, you are a spiritualist; if God talks to you, you are a schizophrenic.

‘The Second Sin’ (1973) ‘Schizophrenia’

Formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic.

‘The Second Sin’ (1973) ‘Science and Scientism’

Masturbation: the primary sexual activity of mankind. In the nineteenth century, it was a disease; in the twentieth, it’s a cure.

‘The Second Sin’ (1973) ‘Sex’

Two wrongs don’t make a right, but they make a good excuse.

‘The Second Sin’ (1973) ‘Social Relations’

7.197 Albert von Szent-Györgyi 1893-1986

Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.

In Irving Good (ed.) ‘The Scientist Speculates’ (1962) p. 15

8.0 T

8.1 Tacitus A.D. c.56-after 117

Nunc terminus Britanniae patet, atque omne ignotum pro magnifico est.

Now the boundary of Britain is revealed, and everything unknown is held to be glorious.

‘Agricola’ ch. 30, reporting the speech of a British leader, Calgacus

Solitudinem faciunt pacem appellant.

They make a wilderness and call it peace.

‘Agricola’ ch. 30

Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris.

It is part of human nature to hate the man you have hurt.

‘Agricola’ ch. 42

Tu vero felix, Agricola, non vitae tantum claritate, sed etiam opportunitate mortis.

You were indeed fortunate, Agricola, not only in the distinction of your life, but also in the

lucky timing of your death.

‘Agricola’ ch. 45

Sine ira et studio.

With neither anger nor partiality.

‘Annals’ bk. 1, ch. 1

Elegantiae arbiter.

The arbiter of taste.

‘Annals’ bk. 16, ch. 18, on Petronius

Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet.

These times having the rare good fortune that you may think what you like and say what you


‘Histories’ bk. 1, ch. 1

Maior privato visus dum privatus fuit, et omnium consensu capax imperii nisi imperasset.

He seemed much greater than a private citizen while he still was a private citizen, and had he

never become emperor everyone would have agreed that he had the capacity to reign.

‘Histories’ bk. 1, ch. 49 (on the Emperor Galba)

Etiam sapientibus cupido gloriae novissima exuitur.

Love of fame is the last thing even learned men can bear to be parted from.

‘Histories’ bk. 4, ch. 6

Deos fortioribus adesse.

The gods are on the side of the stronger.

‘Histories’ bk. 4, ch. 17.

8.2 Sir Rabindranath Tagore 1861-1941

Bigotry tries to keep truth safe in its hand With a grip that kills it.

‘Fireflies’ (1928) p. 29

8.3 Nellie Talbot

Jesus wants me for a sunbeam.

Title of hymn (1921), in ‘CSSM Choruses’ No. 1

8.4 Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand 1754-1838

Surtout, Messieurs, point de zéle.

Above all, gentlemen, not the slightest zeal.

In P. Chasles ‘Voyages d’un critique á travers la vie et les livres’ (1868) vol. 2, p. 407

Qui n’a pas vècu dans les annèes voisines de 1789 ne sait pas ce que c’est que le plaisir de vivre.

He who has not lived during the years around 1789 can not know what is meant by the pleasure

of life.

In M. Guizot ‘Mèmoires pour servir á l’histoire de mon temps’ (1858) vol. 1, ch. 6

Ils n’ont rien appris, ni rien oubliè.

They have learnt nothing, and forgotten nothing.

Attributed to Talleyrand by the Chevalier de Panat in a letter to Mallet du Pan, January 1796, in A. Sayons (ed.) ‘Mèmoires et correspondance de Mallet du Pan’ (1851) vol. 2, p. 196.

Quelle triste vieillesse vous vous prèparez.

What a sad old age you are preparing for yourself.

Addressed to a young diplomat who boasted of his ignorance of whist in Talleyrand’s presence, in J. J. M. C. Amèdèe Pichot ‘Souvenirs Intimes sur M. de Talleyrand’ (1870) ‘Le Pour et le Contre’

Voilá le commencement de la fin.

This is the beginning of the end.

Attributed; on the announcement of Napoleon’s defeat at Borodino, 1812, in Sainte-Beuve ‘M. de Talleyrand’ (1870) ch. 3

8.5 Booth Tarkington 1869-1946

There are two things that will be believed of any man whatsoever, and one of them is that he has taken to drink.

‘Penrod’ (1914) ch. 10

8.6 Nahum Tate 1652-1715

When I am laid in earth my wrongs create. No trouble in thy breast,

Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.

‘Dido and Aeneas’ (1689) act 3 (‘Dido’s Lament’)

While shepherds watched their flocks by night, All seated on the ground,

The angel of the Lord came down, And glory shone around.

‘Supplement to the New Version of the Psalms’ (1700) ‘While Shepherds Watched’

8.7 Nahum Tate 1652-1715 and Nicholas Brady 1659-1726

As pants the hart for cooling streams When heated in the chase.

‘New Version of the Psalms’ (1696) Psalm 42.

Through all the changing scenes of life.

‘New Version of the Psalms’ (1696) Psalm 34

8.8 R. H. Tawney 1880-1962

Militarism...is fetish worship. It is the prostration of men’s souls and the laceration of their bodies to appease an idol.

‘The Acquisitive Society’ (1921) ch. 4

The characteristic virtue of Englishmen is power of sustained practical activity and their characteristic vice a reluctance to test the quality of that activity by reference to principles.

‘The Acquisitive Society’ (1921)

Inequality, again, leads to misdirection of production. For, since the demand of one income of £50,000 is as powerful a magnet as the demand of 500 incomes of £100, it diverts energy from the creation of wealth to the multiplication of luxuries.

‘The Acquisitive Society’ (1921) ch. 4

Those who dread a dead-level of income or wealth...do not dread, it seems, a dead-level of law and order, and of security of life and property.

‘Equality’ (4th ed., 1931) p. 85

Both the existing economic order and too many of the projects advanced for reconstructing it break down through their neglect of the truism that, since even quite common men have souls, no increase in material wealth will compensate them for arrangements which insult their self-respect and impair their freedom. A reasonable estimate of economic organisation must allow for the fact that, unless industry is to be paralysed by recurrent revolts on the part of outraged human nature, it must satisfy criteria which are not purely economic.

‘Religion and the Rise of Capitalism’ (1926)

What harm have I ever done to the Labour Party?

On declining the offer of a peerage, in ‘Evening Standard’ 18 January 1962

8.9 A. J. P. Taylor 1906-90

History gets thicker as it approaches recent times.

‘English History 1914-45’ Bibliography

‘That’s their Westminster Abbey! That’s their Houses of Parliament!’ Lenin was making a class, not a national, emphasis. By them he meant not the English, but the governing classes, the


‘Essays in English History’ ‘William Cobbett’

The war that would not boil.

Of the Crimean War, in ‘Essays in English History’

Like most of those who study history, he [Napoleon III] learned from the mistakes of the past how to make new ones.

‘Listener’ 6 June 1963

Human blunders usually do more to shape history than human wickedness.

‘The Origins of the Second World War’ (1961) ch. 10

If men are to respect each other for what they are, they must cease to respect each other for what they own.

‘Politicians, Socialism and Historians’ (1980) ch. 33

The origins of the First World War are to be found in the railway timetables of central Europe.

‘War by Timetable’

8.10 Ann Taylor 1782-1866 and Jane Taylor 1783-1824

I thank the goodness and the grace Which on my birth have smiled,

And made me, in these Christian days, A happy English child.

‘Hymns for Infant Minds’ (1810) ‘A Child’s Hymn of Praise’

’Tis a credit to any good girl to be neat, But quite a disgrace to be fine.

‘Hymns for Sunday Schools’ (1810) ‘The Folly of Finery’

Who ran to help me when I fell, And would some pretty story tell, Or kiss the place to make it well? My Mother.

‘Original Poems for Infant Minds’ (1804) ‘My Mother’ (by Ann Taylor)

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are! Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky!

‘Rhymes for the Nursery’ (1806) ‘The Star’ (by Jane Taylor)

How pleasant it is, at the end of the day, No follies to have to repent;

But reflect on the past, and be able to say, That my time has been properly spent.

‘Rhymes for the Nursery’ (1806) ‘The Way to be Happy’ (by Jane Taylor)

8.11 Bayard Taylor 1825-78

Till the sun grows cold, And the stars are old,

And the leaves of the Judgement Book unfold.

‘Bedouin Song’

8.12 Jeremy Taylor 1613-67

Si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more; si fueris alibi, vivito sicut ibi.

If you are at Rome, live in the Roman style; if you are elsewhere, live as they live elsewhere.

‘Ductor Dubitantium’ (1660) 1.1.5; usually quoted: ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

As our life is very short, so it is very miserable, and therefore it is well it is short.

‘The Rule and Exercise of Holy Dying’ (1651) ch. 1, sect. 4

How many people there are that weep with want, or are mad with oppression, or are desperate by too quick a sense of a constant infelicity.

‘The Rule and Exercise of Holy Dying’ (1651) ch. 1, sect. 5

This thing...that can be understood and not expressed, may take a neuter gender;—and every schoolboy knows it.

‘The Real Presence and Of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament’ sect. 5, subsect. 1

The union of hands and hearts.

‘XXV Sermons Preached at Golden Grove’ (1653) ‘The Marriage Ring’ pt. 1

8.13 Tom Taylor 1817-80

Hawkshaw, the detective.

‘The Ticket-of-leave Man’ (1863) act 4, sc. 1; usually quoted: ‘I am Hawkshaw, the detective’

8.14 Norman Tebbit 1931—

I grew up in the Thirties with our unemployed father. He did not riot, he got on his bike and looked for work.

Speech at Conservative Party Conference, 15 October 1981, in ‘Daily Telegraph’ 16 October 1981

8.15 Sir William Temple 1628-99

When all is done, human life is, at the greatest and the best, but like a froward child, that must be played with and humoured a little to keep it quiet till it falls asleep, and then the care is over.

‘Miscellanea. The Second Part’ (1690) ‘Of Poetry’ ad fin.

8.16 William Temple 1881-1944

Human status ought not to depend upon the changing demands of the economic process.

‘The Malvern Manifesto’ (1941)

It is a mistake to suppose that God is only, or even chiefly, concerned with religion.

In R. V. C. Bodley ‘In Search of Serenity’ (1955) ch. 12

Personally, I have always looked on cricket as organized loafing.


8.17 Sir John Tenniel 1820-1914

Dropping the pilot.

Cartoon caption and title of poem on Bismarck’s departure from office, in ‘Punch’ 29 March 1890

8.18 Alfred, Lord Tennyson 1809-92

For nothing worthy proving can be proven, Nor yet disproven: wherefore thou be wise, Cleave ever to the sunnier side of doubt.

‘The Ancient Sage’ (1885) l. 66

Break, break, break,

On thy cold grey stones, O Sea!

And I would that my tongue could utter The thoughts that arise in me.

‘Break, Break, Break’ (1842)

And the stately ships go on To their haven under the hill;

But O for the touch of a vanished hand, And the sound of a voice that is still!

‘Break, Break, Break’ (1842)

I come from haunts of coot and hern, I make a sudden sally

And sparkle out among the fern, To bicker down a valley.

‘The Brook’ (1855) l. 23

For men may come and men may go, But I go on for ever.

‘The Brook’ (1855) l. 33

Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward,

All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.

‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ (1854)

‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’ Was there a man dismayed? Not though the soldier knew Some one had blundered: Their’s not to make reply,

Their’s not to reason why,

Their’s but to do and die:

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon in front of them

Volleyed and thundered.

‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ (1854)

Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of Hell.

‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ (1854)

Come not, when I am dead,

To drop thy foolish tears upon my grave, To trample round my fallen head,

And vex the unhappy dust thou wouldst not save.

‘Come not, when I am dead’ (1850)

Sunset and evening star, And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar, When I put out to sea.

‘Crossing the Bar’ (1889)

Twilight and evening bell, And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell, When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of time and place The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my pilot face to face

When I have crossed the bar.

‘Crossing the Bar’ (1889)

O Love, what hours were thine and mine, In lands of palm and southern pine;

In lands of palm, of orange-blossom, Of olive, aloe, and maize and vine.

‘The Daisy’ (1855) st. 1

A daughter of the gods, divinely tall, And most divinely fair.

‘A Dream of Fair Women’ (1832) l. 87

He clasps the crag with crookéd hands;

Close to the sun in lonely lands,

Ringed with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls; He watches from his mountain walls,

And like a thunderbolt he falls.

‘The Eagle’ (1851)

And when they buried him the little port Had seldom seen a costlier funeral.

‘Enoch Arden’ (1864) closing words

The mellow lin-lan-lone of evening bells.

‘Far-Far-Away’ (1889)

O Love, O fire! once he drew

With one long kiss my whole soul through My lips, as sunlight drinketh dew.

‘Fatima’ (1832) st. 3

More black than ashbuds in the front of March.

‘The Gardener’s Daughter’ (1842) l. 28

A sight to make an old man young.

‘The Gardener’s Daughter’ (1842) l. 140

Then she rode forth, clothed on with chastity.

‘Godiva’ (1842) l. 53

With twelve great shocks of sound, the shameless noon Was clashed and hammered from a hundred towers.

‘Godiva’ (1842) l. 74

Ah! when shall all men’s good

Be each man’s rule, and universal peace Lie like a shaft of light across the land?

‘The Golden Year’ (1846) l. 47

Through all the circle of the golden year.

‘The Golden Year’ (1846) l. 51

That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright, But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight.

‘The Grandmother’ (1859) st. 8

That man’s the true Conservative Who lops the mouldered branch away.

‘Hands all Round’ (1882) l. 7

Pray God our greatness may not fail Through craven fears of being great.

‘Hands all Round’ (1882) l. 31

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