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The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations

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Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night Sailed off in a wooden shoe—

Sailed on a river of crystal light, Into a sea of dew.

‘Wynken, Blynken, and Nod’

He played the King as though under momentary apprehension that someone else was about to play the ace.

Writing of Creston Clarke as King Lear, in a review attributed to Field, in the ‘Denver Tribune’ c.1880

6.21 Henry Fielding 1707-54

It hath been often said, that it is not death, but dying, which is terrible.

‘Amelia’ (1751) bk. 3, ch. 4

One fool at least in every married couple.

‘Amelia’ (1751) bk. 9, ch. 4

Oh! The roast beef of England, And old England’s roast beef.

‘The Grub Street Opera’ (1731) act 3, sc. 3

He in a few minutes ravished this fair creature, or at least would have ravished her, if she had not, by a timely compliance, prevented him.

‘Jonathan Wild’ (1743) bk. 3, ch. 7

To whom nothing is given, of him can nothing be required.

‘Joseph Andrews’ (1742) bk. 2, ch. 8

I describe not men, but manners; not an individual, but a species.

‘Joseph Andrews’ (1742) bk. 3, ch. 1

Public schools are the nurseries of all vice and immorality.

‘Joseph Andrews’ (1742) bk. 3, ch. 5

Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.

‘Love in Several Masques’ (1728) act 4, sc. 11

Necessity is a bad recommendation to favours...which as seldom fall to those who really want them, as to those who really deserve them.

‘The Modern Husband’ (1732) act 2, sc. 5

Map me no maps, sir, my head is a map, a map of the whole world.

‘Rape upon Rape’ (1730) act 2, sc. 5

When I mention religion, I mean the Christian religion; and not only the Christian religion, but the Protestant religion; and not only the Protestant religion but the Church of England.

‘Tom Jones’ (1749) bk. 3, ch. 3

Thwackum was for doing justice, and leaving mercy to heaven.

‘Tom Jones’ (1749) bk. 3, ch. 10

What is commonly called love, namely the desire of satisfying a voracious appetite with a

certain quantity of delicate white human flesh.

‘Tom Jones’ (1749) bk. 6, ch. 1

O! more than Gothic ignorance.

‘Tom Jones’ (1749) bk. 7, ch. 3

His designs were strictly honourable, as the phrase is; that is, to rob a lady of her fortune by way of marriage.

‘Tom Jones’ (1749) bk. 11, ch. 4

That monstrous animal, a husband and wife.

‘Tom Jones’ (1749) bk. 15, ch. 9

All Nature wears one universal grin.

‘Tom Thumb the Great’ (1731) act 1, sc. 1

When I’m not thanked at all, I’m thanked enough, I’ve done my duty, and I’ve done no more.

‘Tom Thumb the Great’ (1731) act 1, sc. 3

The dusky night rides down the sky, And ushers in the morn;

The hounds all join in glorious cry, The huntsman winds his horn: And a-hunting we will go.

‘A-Hunting We Will Go’

6.22 Dorothy Fields 1905-74

A fine romance with no kisses.

A fine romance, my friend, this is.

‘A Fine Romance’ (1936 song; music by Jerome Kern)

6.23 W. C. Fields (William Claude Dukenfield) 1880-1946

Never give a sucker an even break.

Title of a W. C. Fields film (1941); the catch-phrase (Fields’s own) is said to have originated in the musical comedy ‘Poppy’ (1923)

Some weasel took the cork out of my lunch.

‘You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man’ (1939 film)

It ain’t a fit night out for man or beast.

Adopted by Fields but claimed by him not to be original. Letter, 8 February 1944, in R. J. Fields (ed.) ‘W. C. Fields by Himself’ (1974) pt. 2

Hell, I never vote for anybody. I always vote against.

In Robert Lewis Taylor ‘W. C. Fields: His Follies and Fortunes’ (1950) p. 228.

See also Leo Rosten (6.87) in Volume II

6.24 Harry Julian Fink, Rita M. Fink, and Dean Riesner

Go ahead, make my day.

‘Dirty Harry’ (1971 film); spoken by Clint Eastwood

6.25 Ronald Firbank 1886-1926

‘O! help me, heaven,’ she prayed, ‘to be decorative and to do right!’

‘The Flower Beneath the Foot’ (1923) ch. 2

I remember the average curate at home as something between a eunuch and a snigger.

‘The Flower Beneath the Foot’ (1923) ch. 4

There was a pause—just long enough for an angel to pass, flying slowly.

‘Vainglory’ (1915) ch. 6

All millionaires love a baked apple.

‘Vainglory’ (1915) ch. 13

‘I know of no joy,’ she airily began, ‘greater than a cool white dress after the sweetness of confession.’

‘Valmouth’ (1919) ch. 4

6.26 L’Abbè Edgeworth De Firmont 1745-1807

Fils de Saint Louis, montez au ciel.

Son of Saint Louis, ascend to heaven.

Said to Louis XVI as he mounted the steps of the guillotine at his execution, 1793, and attributed to L’Abbè Edgeworth; no documentary proof

6.27Fred Fisher 1875-1942

See Ada Benson (2.88)

6.28H. A. L. Fisher 1856-1940

Men wiser and more learned than I have discerned in history a plot, a rhythm, a predetermined pattern. These harmonies are concealed from me. I can see only one emergency following upon another as wave follows upon wave, only one great fact with respect to which, since it is unique, there can be no generalizations, only one safe rule for the historian: that he should recognize in the development of human destinies the play of the contingent and the unforeseen.

‘A History of Europe’ (1935) p. vii

Purity of race does not exist. Europe is a continent of energetic mongrels.

‘A History of Europe’ (1935) ch. 1

6.29 John Arbuthnot Fisher (Baron Fisher) 1841-1920

The essence of war is violence. Moderation in war is imbecility.

Lecture notes 1899-1902, in R. H. Bacon ‘Life of Lord Fisher’ (1929) vol. 1, ch. 7

Sack the lot!

Letter to ‘The Times’, 2 September 1919

Never contradict Never explain Never apologize (Those are the secrets of a happy life!)

Letter to ‘The Times’, 5 September 1919.

Favouritism is the secret of efficiency.

Inscribed in the log of HMS Vernon, in W. S. Churchill ‘Great Contemporaries’ (1937) ‘Lord Fisher and his biographer’

Yours till Hell freezes.

Attributed to Fisher, but not original. F. Ponsonby ‘Reflections of Three Reigns’ (1951) p. 131: ‘Once an officer in India wrote to me and ended his letter “Yours till Hell freezes”. I used this forcible expression in a letter to Fisher, and he adopted it’

6.30 Marve Fisher

I want an old-fashioned house With an old-fashioned fence And an old-fashioned millionaire.

‘An Old-Fashioned Girl’ (1954 song; popularized by Eartha Kitt)

6.31 Albert H. Fitz

You are my honey, honeysuckle, I am the bee.

‘The Honeysuckle and the Bee’ (1901 song)

6.32 Charles Fitzgeffrey c.1575-1638

And bold and hard adventures t’ undertake, Leaving his country for his country’s sake.

‘Sir Francis Drake’ (1596) st. 213

6.33 Edward Fitzgerald 1809-83

Awake! for Morning in the bowl of night

Has flung the stone that puts the stars to flight: And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught The Sultan’s turret in a noose of light.

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859) st. 1

And look—a thousand blossoms with the day Woke—and a thousand scattered into clay.

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859) st. 8

Each morn a thousand roses brings, you say; Yes, but where leaves the rose of yesterday?

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (4th ed., 1879) st. 9

Here with a loaf of bread beneath the bough, A flask of wine, a book of verse—and Thou Beside me singing in the wilderness—

And wilderness is paradise enow.

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859) st. 11; ; ‘A book of verses underneath the bough, ;

A jug of wine, a loaf of bread—and Thou ; Beside me singing in the wilderness ;

Oh, wilderness were paradise enow!’ ; in 4th ed. (1879) st. 12

Ah, take the cash in hand and waive the rest; Oh, the brave music of a distant drum!

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859) st. 12; ; ‘Ah, take the cash and let the credit go, ;

Nor heed the rumble of a distant drum!’ ; in 4th ed. (1879) st. 13

Think, in this battered caravanserai

Whose doorways are alternate night and day, How sultan after sultan with his pomp Abode his hour or two, and went his way.

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859) st. 15; ‘Think, in this battered caravanserai ;

Whose portals are alternate night and day, ; How sultan after sultan with his pomp ; Abode his destined hour, and went his way.’ ; in 4th ed. (1879) st. 17

I sometimes think that never blows so red The rose as where some buried Caesar bled.

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859) st. 18

Ah, my belovèd, fill the cup that clears To-day of past regrets and future fears: To-morrow!—Why, to-morrow I may be Myself with yesterday’s seven thousand years.

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859) st. 20

Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend, Before we too into the dust descend;

Dust into dust, and under dust, to lie,

Sans wine, sans song, sans singer, and—sans End!

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859) st. 23

Oh, come with old Khayy m, and leave the wise To talk; one thing is certain, that life flies;

One thing is certain, and the rest is lies;

The flower that once hath blown for ever dies.

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859) st. 26; ; ‘Oh threats of Hell and hopes of Paradise! ; One thing at least is certain—This life flies; ; One thing is certain and the rest is lies; ;

The flower that once has blown for ever dies.’ ; in 4th ed. (1879) st. 63

With them the seed of wisdom did I sow,

And with mine own hand wrought to make it grow; And this was all the harvest that I reaped—

‘I came like water, and like wind I go’.

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859) st. 28

Ah, fill the cup:—what boots it to repeat How time is slipping underneath our feet:

Unborn TO-MORROW, and dead YESTERDAY, Why fret about them if TO-DAY be sweet!

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859) st. 37

The grape that can with logic absolute The two-and-seventy jarring sects confute.

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859) st. 43

For in and out, above, about, below, ’Tis nothing but a magic shadow-show, Played in a box whose candle is the sun,

Round which we phantom figures come and go.

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859) st. 46

Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who Before us passed the door of darkness through, Not one returns to tell us of the road,

Which to discover we must travel too.

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (4th ed., 1879) st. 64

’Tis all a chequer-board of nights and days Where Destiny with Men for pieces plays: Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays, And one by one back in the closet lays.

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859) st. 49;

‘But helpless pieces of the game he plays Upon this chequer-board of nights and days;

Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays, And one by one back in the closet lays.’

in 4th ed. (1879) st. 69

The ball no question makes of Ayes and Noes, But here or there as strikes the player goes; And he that tossed you down into the field, He knows about it all—he knows—he knows!

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (4th ed., 1879) st. 70

The moving finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a line, Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859) st. 51; ‘all your tears’ in 4th ed. (1879) st. 71

And that inverted bowl we call The Sky, Whereunder crawling cooped we live and die, Lift not thy hands to

It for help—for It

Rolls impotently on as Thou or I.

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859) st. 52;

‘...they call the Sky... As impotently moves as you or I.’ in 4th ed. (1879) st. 72

Drink! for you know not whence you came, nor why: Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (4th ed., 1879) st. 74

After a momentary silence spake Some vessel of a more ungainly make; ‘They sneer at me for leaning all awry;

What! did the hand then of the potter shake?’

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (4th ed., 1879) st. 86

‘Who is the potter, pray, and who the pot?’

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859) st. 60

Then said another—’Surely not in vain

My substance from the common earth was ta’en, That He who subtly wrought me into shape, Should stamp me back to common earth again.’

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859) st. 61

Indeed the idols I have loved so long

Have done my credit in this world much wrong: Have drowned my glory in a shallow cup

And sold my reputation for a song.

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (4th ed., 1879) st. 93

Alas, that spring should vanish with the rose!

That youth’s sweet-scented manuscript should close! The nightingale that in the branches sang,

Ah, whence, and whither flown again, who knows!

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859) st. 72

And when Thyself with shining foot shall pass Among the guests star-scattered on the grass,

And in thy joyous errand reach the spot Where I made one—turn down an empty glass!

‘The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám’ (1859) st. 75; ‘And when like her, O Saki, you shall pass...

And in your joyous errand reach the spot.’ in 4th ed. (1879) st. 101

Mrs Browning’s death is rather a relief to me, I must say: no more Aurora Leighs, thank God! A woman of real genius, I know; but what is the upshot of it all? She and her sex had better mind the kitchen and their children; and perhaps the poor: except in such things as little novels, they only devote themselves to what men do much better, leaving that which men do worse or not at all.

Letter to W. H. Thompson, 15 July 1861.

Taste is the feminine of genius.

Letter to J. R. Lowell, October 1877

6.34 F. Scott Fitzgerald 1896-1940

Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.

‘All the Sad Young Men’ (1926) ‘Rich Boy’, to which Ernest Hemingway replied, ‘Yes, they have more money’, in ‘Esquire’ August 1936 ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro’

The beautiful and damned.

Title of novel (1922)

No grand idea was ever born in a conference, but a lot of foolish ideas have died there.

Edmund Wilson (ed.) ‘The Crack-Up’ (1945) ‘Note-Books E’

Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.

Edmund Wilson (ed.) ‘The Crack-Up’ (1945) ‘Note-Books E’

In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning.

‘Esquire’ March 1936 ‘Handle with Care’; ‘dark night of the soul’ is a translation of the Spanish title of a work by St John of the Cross, known in English as ‘The Ascent of Mount Carmel’ (1578-80)

In his blue gardens, men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.

‘The Great Gatsby’ (1925) ch. 3

Her voice is full of money.

‘The Great Gatsby’ (1925) ch. 7

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.

‘The Great Gatsby’ (1925) ch. 9

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter...So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

‘The Great Gatsby’ (1925) ch. 9

There are no second acts in American lives.

Edmund Wilson (ed.) ‘The Last Tycoon’ (1941) ‘Hollywood, etc.’

6.35 Bud Flanagan (Chaim Reeven Weintrop) 1896-1968

Underneath the Arches,

I dream my dreams away, Underneath the Arches, On cobble-stones I lay.

‘Underneath the Arches’ (1932 song; additional words by Reg Connelly)

6.36 Michael Flanders 1922-75 and Donald Swann 1923—

Have Some Madeira, M’dear.

Title of song

Mud! Mud! Glorious mud!

Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood. So, follow me, follow,

Down to the hollow, And there let us wallow In glorious mud.

‘The Hippopotamus’ (1952)

Eating people is wrong!

‘The Reluctant Cannibal’ (1956 song); adopted as the title of a novel (1959) by Malcolm Bradbury

The English, the English, the English are best! I wouldn’t give tuppence for all of the rest!

‘Song of Patriotic Prejudice’

That monarch of the road, Observer of the Highway Code, That big six-wheeler Scarlet-painted

London Transport Diesel-engined Ninety-seven horse power Omnibus!

‘A Transport of Delight’

6.37 Thomas Flatman 1637-88

There’s an experienced rebel, Time, And in his squadrons Poverty;

There’s Age that brings along with him A terrible artillery:

And if against all these thou keep’st thy crown, Th’usurper Death will make thee lay it down.

‘Poems’ (1686) ‘The Defiance’

6.38 Gustave Flaubert 1821-80

Language is like a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity.

‘Madame Bovary’ pt. 1, ch. 12

You can calculate the worth of a man by the number of his enemies, and the importance of a work of art by the amount that it is attacked.

Letter to Louise Colet, 14 June 1853

Everything you invent is true: you can be sure of that. Poetry is a subject as precise as geometry.

Letter to Louise Colet, 14 August 1853

Les livres ne se font pas comme les enfants, mais comme les pyramides...et ça ne sert á rien! et ça reste dans le dèsert!...Les chacals pissent au bas et les bourgeois montent dessus.

Books are made not like children but like pyramids...and they’re just as useless! and they stay

in the desert!...Jackals piss at their foot and the bourgeois climb up on them.

Letter to Ernest Feydeau, November/December 1857

6.39 James Elroy Flecker 1884-1915

We who with songs beguile your pilgrimage And swear that beauty lives though lilies die, We poets of the proud old lineage

Who sing to find your hearts, we know not why,— What shall we tell you? Tales, marvellous tales Of ships and stars and isles where good men rest.

‘The Golden Journey to Samarkand’ (1913) ‘Prologue’

When the great markets by the sea shut fast All that calm Sunday that goes on and on: When even lovers find their peace at last, And earth is but a star, that once had shone.

‘The Golden Journey to Samarkand’ (1913) ‘Prologue’

For lust of knowing what should not be known, We take the Golden Road to Samarkand.

‘The Golden Journey to Samarkand’ (1913) pt. 1, ‘Epilogue’

And some to Meccah turn to pray, and I toward thy bed, Yasmin.

‘The Golden Journey to Samarkand’ (1913) ‘Yasmin’

The dragon-green, the luminous, the dark, the serpent-haunted sea.

‘The Golden Journey to Samarkand’ (1913) ‘The Gates of Damascus’

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