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The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations

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mort est le reméde.

Living is an illness to which sleep provides relief every sixteen hours. It’s a palliative. The

remedy is death.

‘Maximes et Pensèes’ (1796) ch. 2

Des qualitès trop supèrieures rendent souvent un homme moins propre á la sociètè. On ne va pas au marchè avec des lingots; on y va avec de l’argent ou de la petite monnaie.

Qualities too elevated often unfit a man for society. We don’t take ingots with us to market; we

take silver or small change.

‘Maximes et Pensèes’ (1796) ch. 3

L’amour, tel qu’il existe dans la sociètè, n’est que l’èchange de deux fantaisies et le contact de deux èpidermes.

Love, in the form in which it exists in society, is nothing but the exchange of two fantasies and

the superficial contact of two bodies.

‘Maximes et Pensèes’ (1796) ch. 6

Je dirais volontiers des mètaphysiciens ce que Scaliger disait des Basques, on dit qu’ils s’entendent, mais je n’en crois rien.

I am tempted to say of metaphysicians what Scaliger used to say of the Basques: they are said

to understand one another, but I don’t believe a word of it.

‘Maximes et Pensèes’ (1796) ch. 7

Les pauvres sont les négres de l’Europe.

The poor are Europe’s blacks.

‘Maximes et Pensèes’ (1796) ch. 8

Sois mon frére, ou je te tue.

Be my brother, or I kill you.

His interpretation of Fraternitè ou la mort Fraternity or death, in P. R. Anguis (ed.) ‘Oeuvres Complétes’ (1824) vol. 1 ‘Notice Historique sur la Vie et les Ècrits de Chamfort’.

3.67 Harry Champion 1866-1942

See Charles Collins, E. A. Sheppard, and Fred Terry (3.145)

3.68 John Chandler 1806-76

Conquering kings their titles take From the foes they captive make: Jesu, by a nobler deed,

From the thousands He hath freed.

‘Hymns Ancient and Modern’ (translated from Latin)

3.69 Raymond Chandler 1888-1959

It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it.

‘The Big Sleep’ (1939) ch. 1

It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window.

‘Farewell, My Lovely’ (1940) ch. 13

A big hard-boiled city with no more personality than a paper cup.

‘The Little Sister’ (1949) ch. 26 (of Los Angeles)

Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid.

‘Atlantic Monthly’ December 1944 ‘The Simple Art of Murder’

If my books had been any worse, I should not have been invited to Hollywood, and if they had been any better, I should not have come.

Letter to Charles W. Morton, 12 Dec. 1945, in Dorothy Gardiner and Katherine S. Walker ‘Raymond Chandler Speaking’ (1962) p. 126

Would you convey my compliments to the purist who reads your proofs and tell him or her that I write in a sort of broken-down patois which is something like the way a Swiss waiter talks, and that when I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it will stay split.

Letter to Edward Weeks, 18 January 1947, in F. MacShane ‘Life of Raymond Chandler’ (1976) ch. 7

3.70 Coco Chanel (Gabrielle Bonheur) 1883-1971

Art is ugly things that become beautiful; fashion is beautiful things that become ugly.

3.71 Charlie Chaplin (Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin) 1889-1977

All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.

‘My Autobiography’ (1964) ch. 10

3.72 Arthur Chapman 1873-1935

Out where the handclasp’s a little stronger, Out where the smile dwells a little longer, That’s where the West begins.

‘Out Where the West Begins’ (1916) p. 1

3.73 George Chapman c.1559-c.1634

I know an Englishman,

Being flattered, is a lamb; threatened, a lion.

‘Alphonsus, Emperor of Germany’ (1654) act 1

Who to himself is law, no law doth need, Offends no law, and is a king indeed.

‘Bussy D’Ambois’ (1607-8) act 2, sc. 1

Oh my fame,

Live in despite of murder! Take thy wings

And haste thee where the grey eyed Morn perfumes Her rosy chariot with Sabaean spices!

Fly, where the Evening from th’Iberian vales Takes on her swarthy shoulders Hecate, Crowned with a grove of oaks; fly where men feel The burning axletree, and those that suffer Beneath the chariot of the snowy Bear.

‘Bussy D’Ambois’ (1607-8) act 5, sc. 3

Man is a torch borne in the wind; a dream

But of a shadow, summed with all his substance.

‘Bussy D’Ambois’ (1607-8)

There is no danger to a man, that knows What life and death is; there’s not any law, Exceeds his knowledge; neither is it lawful That he should stoop to any other law, He goes before them, and commands them all, That to himself is a law rational.

‘The Conspiracy of Charles, Duke of Byron’ (1608) act 3, sc. 3

O incredulity! the wit of fools,

That slovenly will spit on all things fair,

The coward’s castle, and the sluggard’s cradle.

‘De Guiana’ l. 82, verses prefixed to Lawrence Keymis ‘A Relation of the Second Voyage to Guiana’ (1596)

We have watered our houses in Helicon.

‘May-Day’ (1611) act 3, sc. 3; occasionally misread as ‘We have watered our horses in Helicon’. A. H. Holaday (ed.) ‘The Plays of George Chapman: The Comedies’ (1970) p. 383

For one heat, all know, doth drive out another, One passion doth expel another still.

‘Monsieur D’Olive’ (1606) act 5, sc. 1

I am ashamed the law is such an ass.

‘Revenge for Honour’ (1654) act 3, sc. 2.

They’re only truly great who are truly good.

‘Revenge for Honour’ (1654) act 5, sc. 2, last line

A poem, whose subject is not truth, but things like truth.

‘The Revenge of Bussy D’Ambois’ (1613) dedication

Danger, the spur of all great minds.

‘The Revenge of Bussy D’Ambois’ (1613) act 5, sc. 1

And let a scholar all Earth’s volumes carry, He will be but a walking dictionary.

‘The Tears of Peace’ (1609) l. 530

3.74 Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin

Graham Chapman 1941-89

John Cleese 1939—

Terry Gilliam 1940—

Eric Idle 1943—

Terry Jones 1942—

Michael Palin 1943—

I’m a lumberjack And I’m OK

I sleep all night

And I work all day.

‘Monty Python’s Big Red Book’ (1971)

And now for something completely different.

Catch-phrase popularized in ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ (BBC TV programme, 1969-74)

This parrot is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! This is a late parrot! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life it rests in peace—if you hadn’t nailed it to the perch it would be pushing up the daisies! It’s rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible! This is an exparrot!

‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ (BBC TV programme, 1969)

3.75 King Charles I 1629-49

Never make a defence or apology before you be accused.

Letter to Lord Wentworth, 3 September 1636, in Sir Charles Petrie (ed.) ‘Letters of King Charles I’ (1935)

I see all the birds are flown.

In the House of Commons, 4 January 1642, after attempting to arrest the Five Members: ‘Hansard Parliamentary History to the year 1803’ vol. 2 (1807) col. 1010

Sweet-heart, now they will cut off thy father’s head. Mark, child, what I say: they will cut off my head, and perhaps make thee a king. But mark what I say: you must not be a king, so long as your brothers Charles and James do live.

Said to Prince Henry, in ‘Reliquiae Sacrae Carolinae’ (1650) p. 337

As to the King, the laws of the land will clearly instruct you for that...For the people; and truly I desire their liberty and freedom, as much as any body: but I must tell you, that their liberty and freedom consists in having the government of those laws, by which their life and their goods may be most their own; ’tis not for having share in government [sirs] that is nothing pertaining to ’em. A subject and a sovereign are clean different things...If I would have given way to an arbitrary way, for to have all laws changed according to the power of the sword, I needed not to have come here; and therefore I tell you (and I pray God it be not laid to your charge) that I am the martyr of the people.

Speech on the scaffold, 30 January 1649. J. Rushworth ‘Historical Collections’ pt. 4, vol. 2 (1701) p. 1429

I die a Christian, according to the profession of the Church of England, as I found it left me by my father.

In J. Rushworth ‘Historical Collections’ pt. 4, vol. 2 (1701) p. 1430

3.76 King Charles II 1660-85

It is upon the navy under the Providence of God that the safety, honour, and welfare of this realm do chiefly attend.

Articles of War (1652) preamble

This is very true: for my words are my own, and my actions are my ministers’.

Reply to Lord Rochester’s epitaph on him.

Better than a play.

On the debates in the House of Lords on Lord Ross’s Divorce Bill, 1670, in A. Bryant ‘King Charles II’ (1931) p. 209

He [Charles II] said once to myself, he was no atheist, but he could not think God would make a man miserable only for taking a little pleasure out of the way.

Bishop Gilbert Burnet ‘History of My Own Time’ (1724) vol. 1, bk. 2, p. 93

He [Lauderdale] told me, the king spoke to him to let that [Presbytery] go, for it was not a religion for gentlemen.

Bishop Gilbert Burnet ‘History of My Own Time’ (1724) vol. 1, bk. 2, p. 107

His nonsense suits their nonsense.

Said of Woolly, afterward Bishop of Clonfert (‘a very honest man, but a very great blockhead’) who had gone from house to house trying to persuade Nonconformists to go to church, in Bishop Gilbert Burnet ‘History of My Own Time’ (1724) vol. 1, bk. 2, ch. 11

Let not poor Nelly starve.

Referring to Nell Gwyn, his mistress, in Bishop Gilbert Burnet ‘History of My Own Time’ (1724) vol. 1, bk. 3, p. 609

Never in the way, nor out of the way.

Of Lord Godolphin, who had been raised as page to the king, in Bishop Gilbert Burnet ‘History of My Own Time’ (1724) vol. 2, bk. 3, ch. 11, note

I am sure no man in England will take away my life to make you King.

To his brother James, in William King ‘Political & Literary Anecdotes’ (1818) p. 62

He had been, he said, an unconscionable time dying; but he hoped that they would excuse it.

Lord Macaulay ‘The History of England’ (1849) vol. 1, ch. 4

3.77 Emperor Charles V 1500-58

Je parle espagnol á Dieu, italien aux femmes, français aux hommes et allemand á mon cheval.

To God I speak Spanish, to women Italian, to men French, and to my horse—German.


3.78 Prince Charles (Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales) 1948—

A monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend.

Describing the proposed extension to the National Gallery, London: speech to Royal Institute of British Architects, 30 May 1984, in ‘The Times’ 31 May 1984.

3.79 Pierre Charron 1541-1603

La vraye science et le vray ètude de l’homme, c’est l’homme.

The true science and study of man is man.

‘De la Sagesse’ (1601) bk. 1, preface.

3.80 Salmon Portland Chase 1808-73

The Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union composed of indestructible States.

Decision in Texas v. White, 7 Wallace, 725

3.81 Earl of Chatham

See William Pitt (4.64) in Volume II

3.82 Chateaubriand François-Renè, Viconte de Chateaubriand 1768-1848

L’ècrivain original n’est pas celui qui n’imite personne, mais celui que personne ne peut imiter.

The original writer is not he who refrains from imitating others, but he who can be imitated by


‘Gènie du Christianisme’ (1802)

3.83 Geoffrey Chaucer c.1343-1400

Line references are to The Riverside Chaucer (ed. F. N. Robinson, 3rd ed., 1987)

Ful craftier to pley she was

Than Athalus, that made the game First of the ches, so was his name.

‘The Book of the Duchess’ l. 662

Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote

The droghte of March hath perced to the roote.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 1

And smale foweles maken melodye, That slepen al the nyght with open ye (So priketh hem nature in hir corages),

Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 9

He loved chivalrie,

Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 45

He was a verray, parfit gentil knyght.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 72

He was as fressh as is the month of May.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 92

He koude songes make and wel endite.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 95

Curteis he was, lowely, and servysable, And carf biforn his fader at the table.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 99

Hire gretteste ooth was but by Seinte Loy.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 120

Ful weel she soong the service dyvyne, Entuned in hir nose ful semely;

And Frenssh she spak ful faire and fetisly, After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe, For Frenssh of Parys was to hire unknowe.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 122

She wolde wepe, if that she saugh a mous Kaught in a trappe, if it were deed or bledde. Of smale houndes hadde she that she fedde With rosted flessh, or milk and wastel-breed. But soore wepte she if oon of hem were deed.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 144

Of smal coral aboute hire arm she bar A peire of bedes, gauded al with grene,

And theron heng a brooch of gold ful sheene, On which ther was first write a crowned A, And after Amor vincit omnia.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 158.

He yaf nat of that text a pulled hen,

That seith that hunters ben nat hooly men.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 177

Somwhat he lipsed, for his wantownesse, To make his Englissh sweete upon his tonge.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 264

A Clerk there was of Oxenford also, That unto logyk hadde longe ygo. As leene was his hors as is a rake, And he was nat right fat, I undertake, But looked holwe, and therto sobrely.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 285

For hym was levere have at his beddes heed Twenty bookes, clad in blak or reed,

Of Aristotle and his philosophie

Than robes riche, or fithele, or gay sautrie.

But al be that he was a philosophre, Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 293

And gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 308

Nowher so bisy a man as he ther nas, And yet he semed bisier than he was.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 321

For he was Epicurus owene sone.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 336

It snewed in his hous of mete and drynke.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 345

Housbondes at chirche dore she hadde fyve, Withouten oother compaignye in youthe— But thereof nedeth nat to speke as nowthe.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 460

This noble ensample to his sheep he yaf,

That first he wroghte, and afterward he taughte.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 496

If gold ruste, what shall iren do?

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 500

But Cristes loore and his apostels twelve He taughte; but first he folwed it hymselve.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 527

A Somonour was ther with us in that place, That hadde a fyr-reed cherubynnes face, For saucefleem he was, with eyen narwe. As hoot he was and lecherous as a sparwe.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 623

Wel loved he garleek, oynons, and eek lekes, And for to drynken strong wyn, reed as blood.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 634

His walet, biforn him in his lappe,

Bretful of pardoun, comen from Rome al hoot.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 686

He hadde a croys of latoun ful of stones, And in a glas he hadde pigges bones. But with thise relikes, whan that he fond A povre person dwellynge upon lond, Upon a day he gat hym moore moneye

Than that the person gat in monthes tweye; And thus, with feyned flaterye and japes, He made the person and the peple his apes.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The General Prologue’ l. 699

‘O stormy peple! Unsad and evere untrewe!’

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The Clerk’s Tale’ l. 995

Grisilde is deed, and eek hire pacience, And bothe atones buryed in Ytaille; For which I crie in open audience

No wedded man so hardy be t’assaille His wyves pacience in trust to fynde Grisildis, for in certein he shal faille.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The Clerk’s Tale: Lenvoy de Chaucer’ l. 1177

Ye archewyves, stondeth at defense, Syn ye be strong as is a greet camaille;

Ne suffreth nat that men yow doon offense. And sklendre wyves, fieble as in bataille, Beth egre is a tygre yond in Ynde;

Ay clappeth as a mille, I yow consaille.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The Clerk’s Tale: Lenvoy de Chaucer’ l. 1195

Be ay of chiere as light as leef on lynde,

And lat hym care, and wepe, and wrynge, and waille!

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The Clerk’s Tale: Lenvoy de Chaucer’ l. 1211

For o thyng, sires, saufly dar I seye,

That freendes everych oother moot obeye, If they wol longe holden compaignye. Love wol nat been constreyned by maistrye.

When maistrie comth, the God of Love anon Beteth his wynges, and farewel, he is gon! Love is a thyng as any spirit free. Wommen, of kynde, desiren libertee,

And nat to been constreyned as a thral; And so doon men, if I sooth seyen shal.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The Franklin’s Tale’ l. 761

Til that the brighte sonne loste his hewe;

For th’ orisonte hath reft the sonne his lyght— This is as muche to seye as it was nyght.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The Franklin’s Tale’ l. 1016

Trouthe is the hyeste thyng that man may kepe.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The Franklin’s Tale’ l. 1479

The carl spak oo thing, but he thoghte another.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The Friar’s Tale’ l. 1568

And therefore, at the kynges court, my brother, Ech man for hymself, ther is noon oother.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The Knight’s Tale’ l. 1181

And whan a beest is deed he hath no peyne; But man after his deeth moot wepe and pleyne.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The Knight’s Tale’ l. 1319

The bisy larke, messager of day.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The Knight’s Tale’ l. 1491

For pitee renneth soone in gentil herte.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The Knight’s Tale’ l. 1761

The smylere with the knyf under the cloke.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The Knight’s Tale’ l. 1999

Up roos the sonne, and up roos Emelye.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The Knight’s Tale’ l. 2273

What is this world? what asketh men to have? Now with his love, now in his colde grave.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The Knight’s Tale’ l. 2777

She is mirour of alle curteisye.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The Man of Law’s Tale’ l. 166

Have ye nat seyn somtyme a pale face, Among a prees, of hym that hath be lad Toward his deeth, wher as hym gat no grace, And swich a colour in his face hath had Men myghte knowe his fact that was bistad Amonges alle the faces in that route?

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The Man of Law’s Tale’ l. 645

Lat take a cat, and fostre hym wel with milk And tendre flessh, and make his couche of silk, And lay hym seen a mous go by the wal, Anon he weyveth milk and flessh and al,

And every deyntee that is in that hous, Swich appetit hath he to ete a mous.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The Manciple’s Tale’ l. 175

Kepe wel they tonge, and thenk upon the crowe.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The Manciple’s Tale’ l. 362

And what is better than wisedoom? Womman. And what is bettre than a good womman? Nothyng.

‘The Canterbury Tales’ ‘The Tale of Melibee’ l. 1107

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