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The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations

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Stolen sweets are best.

‘The Rival Fools’ (1709) act 1, sc. 1

3.102 Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero) 106-43 B.C.

Dicit enim tamquam in Platonis politeia, non tamquam in Romuli faece sententiam.

For he delivers his opinions as though he were living in Plato’s Republic rather than among the

dregs of Romulus.

‘Ad Atticum’ bk. 2, letter 1, sect. 8 (of M. Porcius Cato, the Younger)

Sed nescio quo modo nihil tam absurde dici potest quod non dicatur ab aliquo philosophorum

There is nothing so absurd but some philosopher has said it.

‘De Divinatione’ bk. 2, ch. 119

Vulgo enim dicitur: Iucundi acti labores.

For it is commonly said: completed labours are pleasant.

‘De Finibus’ bk. 2, ch. 105

Salus populi suprema est lex.

The good of the people is the chief law.

‘De Legibus’ bk. 3, ch. 8

‘Ipse dixit.’ ‘Ipse’ autem erat Pythagoras.

‘He himself said’, and this ‘himself’ was Pythagoras.

‘De Natura Deorum’ bk. 1, ch. 10

Summum bonum.

The highest good.

‘De Officiis’ bk. 1, ch. 5

Cedant arma togae, concedant laurea laudi.

Let war yield to peace, laurels to paeans.

‘De Officiis’ bk. 1, ch. 77

Numquam se minus otiosum esse quam cum otiosus, nec minus solum quam cum solus esset.

Never less idle than when wholly idle, nor less alone than when wholly alone.

‘De Officiis’ bk. 3, ch. 1

Mens cuiusque is est quisque.

The spirit is the true self.

‘De Republica’ bk. 6, ch. 26

Quousque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra?

How long will you abuse our patience, Catiline?

‘In Catilinam’ speech 1, ch. 1

O tempora, O mores!

Oh, the times! Oh, the manners!

‘In Catilinam’ speech 1, ch. 1

Abiit, excessit, evasit, erupit.

He departed, he withdrew, he strode off, he broke forth.

‘In Catilinam’ speech 2, ch. 1

Civis Romanus sum.

I am a Roman citizen.

‘In Verrem’ speech 5, ch. 147

Quod di omen avertant.

May the gods avert this omen.

‘Third Phillippic’ ch. 35

Nervos belli, pecuniam infinitam.

The sinews of war, unlimited money.

‘Fifth Phillippic’ ch. 5

Silent enim leges inter arma.

Laws are silent in time of war.

‘Pro Milone’ ch. 11

Id quod est praestantissimum maximeque optabile omnibus sanis et bonis et beatis, cum dignitate otium.

The thing which is the most outstanding and chiefly to be desired by all healthy and good and

well-off persons, is leisure with honour.

‘Pro Sestio’ ch. 98

Errare mehercule malo cum Platone...quam cum istis vera sentire

I would rather be wrong, by God, with Plato...than be correct with those men.

‘Tusculanae disputationes’ bk. 1, ch. 39 (on Pythagoreans)

O fortunatam natam me consule Romam!

O happy Rome, born when I was consul!

In Juvenal ‘Satires’ poem 10, l. 122

3.103 John Clare 1793-1864

When badgers fight then everyone’s a foe.


He could not die when the trees were green, For he loved the time too well.

‘The Dying Child’

My life hath been one chain of contradictions, Madhouses, prisons, whore-shops.

‘The Exile’

They took me from my wife, and to save trouble I wed again, and made the error double.

‘The Exile’

Here let the Muse Oblivion’s curtain draw, And let man think—for God hath often saw Things here too dirty for the light of day; For in a madhouse there exists no law Now stagnant grows my too refinéd clay;

I envy birds their wings to fly away.

‘The Exile’

Pale death, the grand physician, cures all pain; The dead rest well who lived for joys in vain.

‘The Exile’

Hopeless hope hopes on and meets no end,

Wastes without springs and homes without a friend.

‘The Exile’

When words refuse before the crowd My Mary’s name to give,

The muse in silence sings aloud: And there my love will live.

‘First Love’

A quiet, pilfering, unprotected race.

‘The Gypsy Camp’ (1841)

I am—yet what I am, none cares or knows; My friends forsake me like a memory lost: I am the self-consumer of my woes.

‘I Am’ (1848)

I long for scenes where man hath never trod A place where woman never smiled or wept There to abide with my Creator God

And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept, Untroubling and untroubled where I lie The grass below, above, the vaulted sky.

‘I Am’ (1848)

The present is the funeral of the past, And man the living sepulchre of life.

‘The Past’

Summers pleasures they are gone like to visions every one And the cloudy days of autumn and of winter cometh on I tried to call them back but unbidden they are gone

Far away from heart and eye and for ever far away.


3.104 Earl of Clarendon 1609-74

Without question, when he first drew the sword, he threw away the scabbard.

‘The History of the Rebellion’ (1703) ed. W. D. Macray (1888) vol. 3, bk. 7, sect. 84 (of Hampden)

He had a head to contrive, a tongue to persuade, and a hand to execute any mischief.

‘The History of the Rebellion’ (1703) ed. W. D. Macray (1888) vol. 3, bk. 7, sect. 84 (of Hampden).

He...would, with a shrill and sad accent, ingeminate the word Peace, Peace.

‘The History of the Rebellion’ (1703) ed. W. D. Macray (1888) vol. 3, bk. 7, sect. 233 (of Falkland)

So enamoured on peace that he would have been glad the King should have bought it at any price.

‘The History of the Rebellion’ (1703) ed. W. D. Macray (1888) vol. 3, bk. 7, sect. 233 (of Falkland)

He will be looked upon by posterity as a brave bad man.

‘The History of the Rebellion’ (1703) ed. W. D. Macray (1888) vol. 6, bk. 15, last line (of Cromwell)

3.105 Claribel (Mrs C. A. Barnard) 1840-69

I cannot sing the old songs I sang long years ago,

For heart and voice would fail me, And foolish tears would flow.

‘The Old Songs’ (1865)

3.106 Brian Clark 1932—

Whose life is it anyway?

Title of play (1977)

3.107 Kenneth Clark (Baron Clark) 1903-83

Medieval marriages were entirely a matter of property, and, as everyone knows, marriage without love means love without marriage.

‘Civilisation’ (1969) ch. 3

It’s a curious fact that the all-male religions have produced no religious imagery—in most cases have positively forbidden it. The great religious art of the world is deeply involved with the female principle.

‘Civilisation’ (1969) ch. 7

Perrault’s façade [of the Louvre] reflects the triumph of an authoritarian state...It was the work not of craftsmen, but of wonderfully gifted civil servants.

‘Civilisation’ (1969) ch. 9

3.108 Arthur C. Clarke 1917—

If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible he is almost certainly right, but if he says that it is impossible he is very probably wrong.

In ‘New Yorker’ 9 August 1969

3.109 Grant Clarke 1891-1931 and Edgar Leslie 1885-1976

He’d have to get under, get out and get under And fix up his automobile.

‘He’d Have to Get Under—Get Out and Get Under’ (1913 song)

3.110 James Stanier Clarke c.1765-1834

Perhaps when you again appear in print you may choose to dedicate your volumes to Prince Leopold: any historical romance, illustrative of the history of the august House of Coburg, would just now be very interesting.

Letter to Jane Austen, 27 March 1816, in R. W. Chapman (ed.) ‘Jane Austen’s Letters’ (1952)

3.111 John Clarke d. 1658

He that would thrive Must rise at five; He that hath thriven May lie till seven.

‘Paraemiologia Anglo-Latina’ (1639) ‘Diligentia’

Home is home, though it be never so homely.

‘Paraemiologia Anglo-Latina’ (1639) ‘Domi vivere’

3.112 Claudius Caecus, Appius fl. 312-279 B.C.

Faber est suae quisque fortunae.

Each man is the smith of his own fortune.

In Sallust ‘Ad Caesarem Senem de Re Publica Oratio’ ch. 1, sect. 2

3.113 Karl von Clausewitz 1780-1831

Der Krieg ist nichts als eine Fortsetzung des politischen Verkehrs mit Einmischung anderer Mittel.

War is nothing but a continuation of politics with the admixture of other means.

‘Vom Kriege’ (1832-4) bk. 8, ch. 6, sect. B, commonly rendered in the form ‘War is the continuation of politics by other means’.

3.114 Henry Clay 1777-1852

How often are we forced to charge fortune with partiality towards the unjust!

Letter, 4 December 1801

If you wish to avoid foreign collision, you had better abandon the ocean.

Speech in the House of Representatives, 22 January 1812

The gentleman [Josiah Quincy] can not have forgotten his own sentiments, uttered even on the floor of this House, ‘peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must’.

Speech, 8 January 1813, in C. Colton (ed.) ‘The Works of Henry Clay’ (1904) vol. 1, p. 197.

The arts of power and its minions are the same in all countries and in all ages. It marks its victim; denounces it; and excites the public odium and the public hatred, to conceal its own abuses and encroachments.

Speech in the Senate, 14 March 1834

I had rather be right than be President.

To Senator Preston of South Carolina, 1839

I have heard something said about allegiance to the South. I know no South, no North, no East, no West, to which I owe any allegiance...The Union, sir, is my country.

Speech in the Senate (1848)

3.115 Eldridge Cleaver 1935—

What we’re saying today is that you’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem.

Speech in San Francisco, 1968, in R. Scheer ‘Eldridge Cleaver, Post Prison Writings and Speeches’ (1969) p. 32

3.116 John Cleese 1939—

See Graham Chapman et al. (3.74)

3.117 John Cleese 1939—and Connie Booth

They’re Germans. Don’t mention the war.

‘Fawlty Towers’ (BBC TV comedy series) ‘The Germans’ (1975)

Pretentious? Moi?

‘Fawlty Towers’ (BBC TV comedy series) ‘The Psychiatrist’ (1979)

3.118 John Cleland 1710-89

Truth! stark naked truth, is the word.

‘Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure’ a.k.a. ‘Fanny Hill’ (1749) vol. 1

3.119 Georges Clemenceau 1841-1929

La guerre, c’est une chose trop grave pour la confier á des militaires.

War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men.

Attributed to Clemenceau, e.g. in Hampden Jackson ‘Clemenceau and the Third Republic’ (1946) p. 228, but also to Briand and Talleyrand

Politique intèrieure, je fais la guerre; politique extèrieure, je fais toujours la guerre. Je fais toujours la guerre.

My home policy: I wage war; my foreign policy: I wage war. All the time I wage war.

Speech to French Chamber of Deputies, 8 March 1918, in ‘Discours de Guerre’ (1968) p. 172

Il est plus facile de faire la guerre que la paix.

It is easier to make war than to make peace.

Speech at Verdun, 20 July 1919, in ‘Discours de Paix’ (1938) p. 122

3.120 Pope Clement XIII 1693-1769

Sint ut sunt aut non sint.

Let them be as they are or not be at all.

Reply to request for changes in the constitutions of the Society of Jesus, in J. A. M. Crètineau-Joly ‘Clèment XIV et les Jèsuites’ (1847) p. 370 n.

3.121 Grover Cleveland 1837-1908

I have considered the pension list of the republic a roll of honour.

Veto of Dependent Pension Bill, 5 July 1888

The lessons of paternalism ought to be unlearned and the better lesson taught that while the people should patriotically and cheerfully support their government, its functions do not include the support of the people.

Inaugural Address, 4 March 1893

3.122 Harlan Cleveland 1918—

The revolution of rising expectations.

Phrase coined, 1950, in Arthur Schlesinger ‘A Thousand Days’ (1965) ch. 16

3.123 John Cleveland 1613-58 English Cavalier poet

Here lies wise and valiant dust, Huddled up, ’twixt fit and just: Strafford, who was hurried hence ’Twixt treason and convenience. He spent his time here in a mist, A Papist, yet a Calvinist...

Riddles lie here, or in a word, Here lies blood; and let it lie Speechless still, and never cry.

‘Epitaph on the Earl of Strafford’ (1647)

Had Cain been Scot, God would have changed his doom Nor forced him wander, but confined him home.

‘The Rebel Scot’ (1647)

3.124 Lord Clive (Robert, Baron Clive of Plassey) 1725-74

By God, Mr Chairman, at this moment I stand astonished at my own moderation!

Reply during Parliamentary cross-examination, 1773, in G. R. Gleig ‘The Life of Robert, First Lord Clive’ (1848) p. 6

I feel that I am reserved for some end or other.

When his pistol failed to go off twice, while attempting to commit suicide, in G. R. Gleig ‘The Life of Robert,

First Lord Clive’ (1848) ch. 1

3.125 Arthur Hugh Clough 1819-61

Rome, believe me, my friend, is like its own Monte Testaceo, Merely a marvellous mass of broken and castaway wine-pots.

‘Amours de Voyage’ (1858) canto 1, pt. 2

The horrible pleasure of pleasing inferior people.

‘Amours de Voyage’ (1858) canto 1, pt. 11

Am I prepared to lay down my life for the British female? Really, who knows? ...

Ah, for a child in the street I could strike; for the full-blown lady— Somehow, Eustace, alas! I have not felt the vocation.

‘Amours de Voyage’ (1858) canto 2, pt. 4

I do not like being moved: for the will is excited; and action Is a most dangerous thing: I tremble for something factitious, Some malpractice of heart and illegitimate process;

We are so prone to these things with our terrible notions of duty.

‘Amours de Voyage’ (1858) canto 2, pt. 11

But for his funeral train which the bridegroom sees in the distance, Would he so joyfully, think you, fall in with the marriage-procession?

‘Amours de Voyage’ (1858) canto 3, pt. 6

Allah is great, no doubt, and Juxtaposition his prophet.

‘Amours de Voyage’ (1858) canto 3, pt. 6

Mild monastic faces in quiet collegiate cloisters.

‘Amours de Voyage’ (1858) canto 3, pt. 9

Whither depart the souls of the brave that die in the battle,

Die in the lost, lost fight, for the cause that perishes with them?

‘Amours de Voyage’ (1858) canto 5, pt. 6

Sesquipedalian blackguard.

‘The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich’ (1848) pt. 2, l. 223

Good, too, Logic, of course; in itself, but not in fine weather.

‘The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich’ (1848) pt. 2, l. 249

Grace is given of God, but knowledge is bought in the market.

‘The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich’ (1848) pt. 4, l. 159

Afloat. We move: Delicious! Ah, What else is like the gondola?

‘Dipsychus’ (1865) sc. 5

This world is bad enough may-be; We do not comprehend it;

But in one fact can all agree

God won’t, and we can’t mend it.

‘Dipsychus’ (1865) sc. 5

I drive through the street, and I care not a d-mn; The people they stare, and they ask who I am; And if I should chance to run over a cad,

I can pay for the damage if ever so bad. So pleasant it is to have money, heigho! So pleasant it is to have money.

‘Dipsychus’ (1865) sc. 5

They may talk as they please about what they call pelf, And how one ought never to think of one’s self,

And how pleasures of thought surpass eating and drinking— My pleasure of thought is the pleasure of thinking

How pleasant it is to have money, heigh ho! How pleasant it is to have money.

‘Dipsychus’ (1865) sc. 5

‘There is no God,’ the wicked saith, ‘And truly it’s a blessing,

For what he might have done with us It’s better only guessing.’

‘Dipsychus’ (1865) sc. 6

And almost every one when age, Disease, or sorrows strike him, Inclines to think there is a God, Or something very like Him.

‘Dipsychus’ (1865) sc. 6

Thou shalt have one God only; who Would be at the expense of two?

‘The Latest Decalogue’ (1862)

Thou shalt not kill; but need’st not strive Officiously to keep alive.

‘The Latest Decalogue’ (1862)

Do not adultery commit; Advantage rarely comes of it.

‘The Latest Decalogue’ (1862)

Thou shalt not steal; an empty feat, When it’s so lucrative to cheat.

‘The Latest Decalogue’ (1862)

Thou shalt not covet; but tradition Approves all forms of competition.

‘The Latest Decalogue’ (1862)

’Tis better to have fought and lost, Than never to have fought at all.

‘Peschiera’ (1854).

As ships, becalmed at eve, that lay With canvas drooping, side by side, Two towers of sail at dawn of day Are scarce long leagues apart descried.

‘Qua Curam Ventus’ (1849)

Say not the struggle naught availeth, The labour and the wounds are vain, The enemy faints not, nor faileth,

And as things have been, things remain.

‘Say not the struggle naught availeth’ (1855)

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars.

‘Say not the struggle naught availeth’ (1855)

In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly, But westward, look, the land is bright.

‘Say not the struggle naught availeth’ (1855)

What shall we do without you? Think where we are. Carlyle has led us all out into the desert, and he has left us there.

Parting words to Ralph Waldo Emerson, 15 July 1848, in David Williams ‘Too Quick Despairer’ (1969) ch. 4

3.126 William Cobbett 1762-1835

Resolve to free yourselves from the slavery of the tea and coffee and other slop-kettle.

‘Advice to Young Men’ (1829) letter 1, sect. 31

Nouns of number, or multitude, such as Mob, Parliament, Rabble, House of Commons, Regiment, Court of King’s Bench, Den of Thieves, and the like.

‘English Grammar’ (1817) letter 17 ‘Syntax as Relating to Pronouns’

From a very early age, I had imbibed the opinion, that it was every man’s duty to do all that lay in his power to leave his country as good as he had found it.

‘Political Register’ 22 December 1832

But what is to be the fate of the great wen of all? The monster, called...’the metropolis of the empire’?

‘Rural Rides’ (1830) referring to London

3.127 Alison Cockburn (nèe Rutherford) 1713-94

I’ve seen the smiling of Fortune beguiling, I’ve felt all its favours and found its decay; Sweet was its blessing, kind its caressing,

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