History never repeats itself, but the Kaleidoscopic combinations of the pictured present often seem to be constructed of the broken fragments of antique legends.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
The Gilded Age: A Tale of To-Day, ch. 47 (1874) [with Charles Dudley Warner]
    (Source)

Probably the source of the Twain misquote "History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes" (which does not appear prior to 1970).

More discussion of this quotation: History Does Not Repeat Itself, But It Rhymes – Quote Investigator
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Civilization will cease without civility.

Helen Hayes (1900-1993) American actress
Loving Life (1987) [with Marion Glasserow Gladney]
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Tarvek thought about lying, but the first rule of lying was in knowing when you had a shot at getting away with it.

Phil Foglio (b. 1956) American writer, cartoonist
Agatha H. and the Siege of Mechanicsburg (2020) [with Kaja Foglio]
    (Source)
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A person who knows nothing about literature may be an ignoramus, but many people don’t mind being that.

Northrop Frye (1912-1991) Canadian literary critic and literary theorist
The Educated Imagination, Talk 1 “The Motive for Metaphor” (1963)
    (Source)
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Let friendly relations be a school of erudition, and conversation, refined teaching.
Make your friends your teachers and blend the usefulness of learning with the pleasure of conversation.

[Sea el amigable trato escuela de erudición, y la conversación, enseñança culta; un hazer de los amigos maestros, penetrando el útil del aprender con el gusto del conversar.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 11 (1647) § 11 [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)

Alternate translation: "Let friendly intercourse be a school of knowledge, and culture be taught through conversation; thus you make your friends your teachers and mingle the pleasures of conversation with the advantages of instruction." [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
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If I let myself believe anything on insufficient evidence, there may be no great harm done by the mere belief; it may be true after all, or I may never have occasion to exhibit it in outward acts. But I cannot help doing this great wrong towards Man, that I make myself credulous. The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things, though that is great enough; but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them; for then it must sink back into savagery.

William Kingdon Clifford (1845-1879) English mathematician and philosopher
“The Ethics of Belief,” Part 1 “The Duty of Inquiry,” Lecture, London (11 Apr 1876)
    (Source)
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Administrivia: Doing some long-awaited tidying

There should certainly be a quotation somewhere along the lines of “Creating something new is fun and sexy and draws lots of applause. Keeping that thing maintained and operating is … not.” Every Congresscritter wants to build a new bridge or highway. Nobody wants to be the one to push for actually keeping those things well-maintained after the fact.

Bridge building is really cool. Bridge maintenance … doesn’t quite pull the same headlines (until it suddenly does).

Anyway …

I’ve finished my first-ever (hoo-boy) top-to-bottom author review, wherein I …

  1. Checked on whether any author without a death date was still alive, and updated same as needed.  I have quote (thus authors) going back (mumblety) decades, and in edge cases some of those have never been brought up to date.  A few of these were, ahem, mighty embarrassing.
  2. Made sure that any author with at least two quotations got an image associated with them. My preferences are color>B&W, but “when they were establishing their fame” > “more contemporary but kind of past their prime”. Also, images looking at the viewer are preferred. These folk are talking to you.

So many authors.

(Which is always a reminder of how many of the folk quoted here are Old White Guys. I am quite aware of that, believe me.)

So, all 3,023 authors have been vetted. Something long overdue, and that I need to repeat every few years.

Onward and upward!


Added on 24-Nov-21; last updated 24-Nov-21
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And, oh! whate’er Heaven destined to betide,
Let neither flattery soothe, nor pity hide.
Prepared I stand: he was but born to try
The lot of man; to suffer, and to die.

[πέρι γάρ μιν ὀιζυρὸν τέκε μήτηρ.
μηδέ τί μ᾽ αἰδόμενος μειλίσσεο μηδ᾽ ἐλεαίρων,
ἀλλ᾽ εὖ μοι κατάλεξον ὃπως ἤντησας ὀπωπῆς.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 3, l. 96ff (c. 700 BC) [tr. Pope (1725), l. 114ff]
    (Source)

Telemachus seeking to learn from Nestor of the fate of his father, Odysseus. Telemachus later repeats these words in seeking news of his father from Menelaus (4.326). (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

[T]he unhappy wanderer,
To too much sorrow whom his mother bore.
You then by all your bounties I implore,
[...] that in nought applied
To my respect or pity you will glose,
But uncloth’d truth to my desires disclose
[tr. Chapman (1616)]

[B]orn to calamity.
Let no respect, or pity mitigate
Your story, howsoever sad it be.
Nothing but naked truth to me relate.
[tr. Hobbes (1675), l. 85ff]

For my father at his birth
Was, sure, predestin’d to no common woes.
Neither through pity, or o’erstrain’d respect
Flatter me, but explicit all relate
Which thou hast witness’d.
[tr. Cowper (1792), l. 120ff]

How hath his mother to exceeding teen
borne him! Let no kind thought thy tidings screen;
Paint not the tale through pity.
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 12]

For sure a woeful wight his mother bore him!
Extenuate naught for shame or pity's sake,
But tell me all, as thou hast chanced to see!
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869), l. 95ff]

His mother bare him to exceeding sorrow. And speak me no soft words in ruth or pity, but tell me plainly what sight thou didst get of him.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]

This man, his mother bore him to most exceeding woe --
But have no respect of my sorrow nor be soft and soothing now,
But tell all out unto me, in what wise the man thou hast seen.
[tr. Morris (1887), l. 95ff]

To exceeding grief his mother bore him. Use no mild word, no yield to pity, from regard for me, but tell me fully all you chanced to see.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]

He was a man born to trouble. Do not soften things out of any pity for me, but tell me in all plainness exactly what you saw.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

For beyond all men did his mother bear him to sorrow. And do thou nowise out of ruth or pity for me speak soothing words, but tell me truly how thou didst come to behold him.
[tr. Murray (1919)]

Even from his mother's womb, calamity had marked him for her own. Do not in pity convey to me smooth things, things gentler than the truth: blurt out, rather, all that met your sight.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]

For if ever a man was born for misery, it was he. Do not soften your account out of pity or concern for my feelings, but faithfully describe the scene that met your eyes.
[tr. Rieu (1946)]

The man was born for trouble. Spare me no part for kindness' sake; be harsh; but put the scene before me as you saw it.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]

His mother bore this man to be wretched. Do not soften it because you pity me and are sorry for me, but fairly tell me all that your eyes have witnessed.
[tr. Lattimore (1965)]

She who gave birth to him gave birth to grief. You need not sweeten anything for me. Forget discretion, set aside your pity: tell me completely -- all you chanced to see.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1990)]

More than all other men, that man was born for pain.
Don't soften a thing, from pity, respect for me --
tell me, clearly, all your eyes have witnessed.
[tr. Fagles (1996)]

He was born to sorrow.
More than any man on earth. And do not,
Out of pity, spare me the truth, but tell me
Whatever you have seen, whatever you know.
[tr. Lombardo (2000), l. 104ff]

For his mother indeed bore him to be woeful. Spare me nothing, extenuate nothing, nor show any pity; tell me all to the end, however it came to your notice.
[tr. Merrill (2002)]

For if ever a man was born to suffer it was he. Do not soften your account out of pity or concern for my feelings, but faithfully describe the scene that met your eyes.
[tr. D C H Rieu (2002)]

More than any other man his mother bore him for wretchedness. Do not let respect or pity for me soften your words, but tell me exactly how you chanced to see him.
[tr. Verity (2016)]

He was surely born to suffer in extraordinary ways. Please do not try to sweeten bitter news from pity; tell me truly if you saw him, and how he was.
[tr. Wilson (2017)]

To unmatched sorrow his mother bore him! And don't, from concern or pity, speak false comfort to me, but tell me exactly what you may have witnessed!
[tr. Green (2018)]

For his mother bore him
to go through trouble more than other men.
Do not pity me or, from compassion,
just offer me kind words of consolation,
but tell me truly how you chanced to see him.
[tr. Johnston (2019), l. 119ff]

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Sex is interesting, but it’s not totally important. I mean, it’s not even as important (physically) as excretion. A man can go seventy years without a piece of ass, but he can die in a week without a bowel movement.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
Notes of a Dirty Old Man (1969)
    (Source)
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Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear,
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Julius Caesar, Act 2, sc. 2, l. 34ff [Caesar] (1599)
    (Source)

The initial phrase has seemingly morphed in the retelling, though still being cited to Shakespeare: "A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once." This is the form most often seen, but is not Shakespeare.

In A Farewell to Arms (1929), Hemingway gives another paraphrase: "The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave but one."
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There is always a certain glamour about the idea of a nation rising up to crush an evil simply because it is wrong. Unfortunately, this can seldom be realized in real life; for the very existence of the evil usually argues a moral weakness in the very place where extraordinary moral strength is called for.

W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963) American writer, historian, social reformer [William Edward Burghardt Du Bois]
The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade to the United States of America, ch. 12, sec. 93 (1896)
    (Source)
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The key to any progress is to ask the question Why? All the time. Why is that child poor? Why was there a war? Why was he killed? Why is he in power? And of course questions can get you into a lot of trouble, because society is trained by those who run it to accept what goes on. Without questions we won’t make any progress at all.

Tony Benn
Tony Benn (1925-2014) British politician, writer, diarist
Interview in Raoul Martinez, Creating Freedom: The Lottery of Birth (2013)
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So many times I’ve made myself stupid with the fear of being outsmarted.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
“Vectors: 56 Aphorisms and Ten-second Essays,” Michigan Quarterly Review, #17 (Spring 1999)
    (Source)
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I feel more alive when I’m writing than I do at any other time — except when I’m making love. Two things when you forget time, when nothing exists except the moment — the moment of the writing, the moment of love. That perfect concentration is bliss.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American poet, novelist, memoirist [pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton]
Interview (1983)
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If pressed to pick a political system, I think that some country or other ought to try jury duty as a way of picking its politicians: if your name gets picked, and you can’t come up with a good enough excuse, you’ll have to give up four or five years of your life to helping run the country, which avoids the main problem of politics as I see it, which is that the kind of people you have to choose between and vote for are the kind of people who actually think that they ought to be running things. If you have a country and want to try this as a political system, let me know how it works out.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
“Politics, Portugal and No Gumbo-Limbo Trees,” blog entry (17 Nov 2004)
    (Source)
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The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

John Gilmore
John Gilmore (b. 1955) Computer scientist, developer, civil liberties activist
Quoted in Phillip Elmer-Dewitt, “First Nation in Cyberspace,” Time (6 Dec 1993)
    (Source)

Sometimes misquoted with "a defect" instead of "damage". Gilmore was speaking of Usenet specifically, though he acknowledges that the principle can be observed on the (now broader) Internet.

More discussion about this quotation: The Net Interprets Censorship As Damage and Routes Around It – Quote Investigator.
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The genius of a good leader is to leave behind him a situation which common sense, without the grace of genius, can deal with successfully.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author
“Roosevelt Has Gone,” “Today and Tomorrow” column (14 Apr 1945)
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I had discovered what one man could do to another. I am not talking about one man killing another with a gun, or dropping a bomb on him or blowing him up or torpedoing him. I am thinking of the vileness beyond all words that went on, year after year, in the totalitarian states. It is bad enough to say that so many Jews were exterminated in this way and that, so many people liquidated — lovely, elegant word — but there were things done during that period from which I still have to avert my mind lest I should be physically sick. They were not done by the headhunters of New Guinea, or by some primitive tribe in the Amazon. They were done, skilfully, coldly, by educated men, doctors, lawyers, by men with a tradition of civilization behind them, to beings of their own kind. I must say that anyone who moved through those years without understanding that man produces evil as a bee produces honey must have been blind or wrong in the head.

William Golding
William Golding (1911-1983) British novelist, playwright, poet
Lord of the Flies as Fable,” Lecture, UCLA (1962)
    (Source)

Reprinted in The Hot Gates (1965).
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Drink, the social glue of the human race. Probably in the beginning we could explain ourselves to our close family members with grunts, muttered syllables, gestures, slaps, and punches. Then when the neighbors started dropping in to help harvest, stomp, stir, and drink the bounty of the land, after we’d softened our natural suspicious hostility with a few stiff ones, we had to think up some more nuanced communications, like words. From there it was a short step to grammar, civil law, religion, history, and “The Whiffenpoof Song.”

Barbara Holland (1933-2010) American author
The Joy of Drinking (2007)
    (Source)
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Captious, yet kind; pleasant but testy too;
I cannot bear to part, or live with you.

[Difficillis facillis, iucundus acerbus es idem:
Nec tecum possum vivere nec sine te.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 12, epigram 47 (12.47) [tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Sometimes given as 12.46. Ker notes the second line is borrowed from Ovid, Amores, 3.9. Alternate translations:

In all thy humours whether grave or mellow,
Thou'rt such a touchy, testy, pleasant fellow;
Hast so much wit and mirth, and spleen about thee
There is no living with the, or without thee.
[Addison, The Spectator #68 (18 May 1711)]

Such stiffness, ease; such sweets and sours about thee!
I cannot live, or with thee, or without thee.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 12, #126]

Difficult and easy, churlish and pleasing; you are all of these, and yet one person;
there is no living with thee, nor without thee.
[tr. Amos (1858), ch. 3 #85]

Thou'rt merry, sad; easy, and hard to please;
Nor with nor from thee can I live at ease.
[tr. Wright (<1859)]

You are at once morose and agreeable, pleasing and repulsive.
I can neither live with you, nor without you.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Difficult and easy-going, pleasant and churlish, you are at the same time:
I can neither live with you nor without you.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

Difficult or easy, pleasant or bitter, you are the same you:
I cannot live with you -- or without you.
[Source]

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It can be difficult to be an introvert in church, especially if you happen to be the pastor. Liking to be alone can be interpreted as a judgment on other people’s company. Liking to be quiet can be construed as aloofness. There is so much emphasis on community in most congregations that anyone who does not participate risks being labeled a loner.

Barbara Brown Taylor (b. 1951) American minister, academic, author
An Altar in the World, ch. 7 (2009)
    (Source)
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It is an error to suppose that no man understands his own character. Most persons know even their failings very well, only they persist in giving them names different from those usually assigned by the rest of the world; and they compensate for this mistake by naming, at first sight, with singular accuracy, those very same failings in others.

Arthur Helps (1813-1875) English writer and bureaucrat
Thoughts in the Cloister and the Crowd (1835)
    (Source)
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The guest who deliberately wounds his Host strikes a Manacled Man.

No picture available
Minna Antrim (1861-1950) American epigrammatist, writer
Don’ts for Bachelors and Old Maids (1908)
    (Source)
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Wretchedness is caused by emotional disturbances, and the happy life by calmness, and disturbance takes two forms — anxiety and fear in expecting evils, ecstatic joy and lustful thoughts in misunderstanding good things, all of which are at variance with with wisdom and reason. Accordingly, if a man possesses self-control and consistency, and is without fear, distress, excitability, or lust, is he not happy? But this is the nature of the wise man always, so he is happy always.

[Atque cum perturbationes animi miseriam, sedationes autem vitam efficiant beatam, duplexque ratio perturbationis sit, quod aegritudo et metus in malis opinatis, in bonorum autem errore laetitia gestiens libidoque versetur, quae omnia cum consilio et ratione pugnent, his tu tam gravibus concitationibus tamque ipsis inter se dissentientibus atque distractis quem vacuum solutum liberum videris, hunc dubitabis beatum dicere? atqui sapiens semper ita adfectus est; semper igitur sapiens beatus est.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Tusculan Disputations [Tusculanae Disputationes], Book 5, ch. 15 / sec. 43 (45 BC) [tr. Davie (2017)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Now since the Disturbances of the Soul render the Life miserable, but the composure of them happy; and there is a double rank of Passions; in that, Discontent and Fear are terminated on Evils conceiv'd; but excessive Mirth and Lust arise from the misapprehension of good things, since all are inconsistent with Advice and Reason, if you shall see any one clear, emancipated, free from these emotions so vehement, so discordant one with the other, and so distracting, can you make any question of calling him Happy? But the Wise man is always so dispos'd, therefore the Wise man is always Happy.
[tr. Wase (1643)]

But as the perturbations of the mind make life miserable, and tranquility renders it happy: and as these perturbations are of two sorts; grief and fear, proceeding from imagined evils, immoderate joy and lust, from the mistake of what is good; and all these are in opposition to reason and counsel; when you see a man at ease, quite free and disengaged from such troublesome commotions, which are so much at variance with one another, can you hesitate to pronounce such a one a happy man? Now the wise man is always in such a disposition: therefore the wise man is always happy.
[tr. Main (1824)]

But when the perturbations render life unhappy, while their repose makes it happy -- and since the mode of perturbation is twofold -- sorrow and fear having birth from reputed evils -- the delirium of joy and desire, from the delusion of good, -- when all these are repugnant to counsel and reason, and you see a man void, exempt, free from these excitements, so vehement, so discordant, so distracted by mutual conflicts, -- will you hesitate to pronounce him happy? But the wise man is always thus, and therefore always happy.
[tr. Otis (1839)]

But as the perturbations of the mind make life miserable, and tranquillity renders it happy; and as these perturbations are of two sorts, grief and fear, proceeding from imagined evils, and as immoderate joy and lust arise from a mistake about what is good, and as all these feelings are in opposition to reason and counsel; when you see a man at ease, quite free and disengaged from such troublesome commotions, which are so much at variance with one another can you hesitate to pronounce such an one a happy man? Now the wise man is always in such a disposition, therefore the wise man is always happy.
[tr. Yonge (1853)]

Now since perturbations of mind create misery, while quietness of mind makes life happy, and since there are two kinds of perturbations, grief and fear having their scope in imagined evils, inordinate joy and desire in mistaken notions of the good, all being repugnant to wise counsel and reason, will you hesitate to call him happy whom you see relieved, released, free from these excitements so oppressive, and so at variance and divided among themselves? Indeed one thus disposed is always happy. Therefore the wise man is always happy.
[tr. Peabody (1886)]

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Women are good listeners, but it’s a waste of time telling your troubles to a man unless there is something specific you want him to do.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 3 (1963)
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For the fascist, schools and universities are there to indoctrinate national or racial pride, conveying for example (where nationalism is racialized) the glorious achievements of the dominant race.

Jason Stanley (b. 1969) American philosopher, epistemologist, academic
How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, ch. 4 (2018)
    (Source)
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It is never quite safe to think we have done with life. When we imagine we have finished our story fate has a trick of turning the page and showing us yet another chapter.

Lucy Maud Montgomery
Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942) Canadian author
Rainbow Valley, ch. 13 (1919)
    (Source)
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Of course, when stood next to the choice of American political parties (“So, would you like Right Wing, or Supersized Right Wing with Extra Fries?”) my English fuzzy middle-of-the-roadness probably translates easily as bomb-throwing Trotskyist, but when I get to chat to proper lefties like Ken MacLeod or China Mieville I feel myself retreating rapidly back into the woffly Guardian-reading why-can’t-people-just-be-nice-to-each-otherhood of the politically out of his depth.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
“Walking Down the Street Naked, Possibly with a Mullet,” blog entry (15 Jun 2003)
    (Source)

When asked whether (and denying) he is a Communist.
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I have ferreted out the alarm clock, plugged it in, and set it, musing on the word “alarm” and why the world must be wakened daily to cries of panic and danger.

Barbara Holland (1933-2010) American author
Bingo Night at the Fire Hall (1997)
    (Source)
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O prince, in early youth divinely wise,
Born, the Ulysses of thy age to rise
If to the son the father’s worth descends,
O’er the wide wave success thy ways attends
To tread the walks of death he stood prepared;
And what he greatly thought, he nobly dared.

[Τηλέμαχ᾽, οὐδ᾽ ὄπιθεν κακὸς ἔσσεαι οὐδ᾽ ἀνοήμων,
εἰ δή τοι σοῦ πατρὸς ἐνέστακται μένος ἠύ,
οἷος κεῖνος ἔην τελέσαι ἔργον τε ἔπος τε:
οὔ τοι ἔπειθ᾽ ἁλίη ὁδὸς ἔσσεται οὐδ᾽ ἀτέλεστος.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 2, l. 271ff (c. 700 BC) [tr. Pope (1725)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Those Wooers well might know, Telemachus,
Thou wilt not ever weak and childish be,
If to thee be instill’d the faculty
Of mind and body that thy father grac’d;
And if, like him, there be in thee enchac’d
Virtue to give words works, and works their end.
This voyage, that to them thou didst commend,
Shall not so quickly, as they idly ween,
Be vain, or giv’n up, for their opposite spleen.
[tr. Chapman (1616)]

If in you you retain the spirit brave
Your father had, to make his word his deed,
Then also the assurance I shall have,
To tell you in your voyage you shall speed.
[tr. Hobbes (1675), l. 257ff]

Telemachus! thou shalt hereafter prove
Nor base, nor poor in talents. If, in truth,
Thou have received from heav’n thy father’s force
Instill’d into thee, and resemblest him
In promptness both of action and of speech,
Thy voyage shall not useless be, or vain.
[tr. Cowper (1792), l. 355ff]

Not base and foolish after all is done
Shalt thou be counted, if the brave old blood
hath from the sire descended to the son.
If thou like him both word and deed make good,
Then were thy journey all in vain withstood.
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 37]

Tel'mac'! no craven wilt thou be nor dullard;
If but one drop of they sire's good blood be in thee,
Such as he was in feats of deed or word:
So will not be thy journey vain nor bootless!
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869)]

Telemachus, even hereafter thou shalt not be craven or witless, if indeed thou hast a drop of thy father’s blood and a portion of his spirit; such an one was he to fulfil both word and work. Nor, if this be so, shall thy voyage be vain or unfulfilled.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]

Telemachus, now shalt thou be no foolish faintheart thing.
If of they father's good-heart in thee hath sprung the seed,
Such a man for the word well-spoken, and fulfilment of the deed,
Not in vain shall be thy faring, nor thy going forth be undone.
[tr. Morris (1887)]

Telemachus, henceforth you shall not be a base man nor a foolish, if in you stirs the brave soul of your father, and you like him can give effect to deed and word. Then shall this voyage not be vain and ineffective.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]

Telemachus, if you are made of the same stuff as your father you will be neither fool nor coward henceforward, for Ulysses never broke his word nor left his work half done. If, then, you take after him, your voyage will not be fruitless.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Telemachus, neither hereafter shalt thou be a base man or a witless, if aught of thy father's goodly spirit has been instilled into thee, such a man was he to fulfil both deed and word. So then shall this journey of thine be neither vain nor unfulfilled.
[tr. Murray (1919)]

Telemachus, let not your courage and resource fail you now. In your father deed and word notably marched together to their deliberate end. If your body holds a trace of his temper it will suffice to make this effort of yours neither bootless nor aimless.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]

Today has proved you, Telemachus, neither a coward nor a fool, nor destined to be such, if we are right in thinking that your father’s manly vigour has descended to his son -- and what a man he was in action and debate! No fear, then, that this journey of yours will end in farce or failure.
[tr. Rieu (1946)]

You'll never be fainthearted or a fool,
Telémakhos, if you have your father's spirit;
he finished what he cared to say,
and what he took in hand he brought to pass.
The sea routes will yield their distances
to his true son, Penélopê's true son.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]

Telemachos, you are to be no thoughtless man, no coward,
if truly the strong force of your father is instilled in you;
such a man he was for accomplishing word and action.
Your journey then will be no vain thing nor go unaccomplished.
[tr. Lattimore (1965)]

Telemachus,
you'll lack neither courage nor sense from this day on,
not if your father's spirit courses through your veins --
now there was a man, I'd say, in words and action both!
So how can your journey end in shipwreck or defeat?
[tr. Fagles (1996)]

You won't turn out to be a fool or a coward,
Telemachus, not if any of Odysseus' spirit
Has been instilled in you. Now there was a man
Who made sure of his words and deeds! Don't worry,
You'll make this journey, and it won't be in vain.
[tr. Lombardo (2000), l. 293ff]

Telemachus, you will not in future prove cowardly or foolish if you have truly inherited your father's strong vigor -- and what a man he was for carrying out his word and deed -- and so your journey will surely not be unfulfilled or in vain.
[tr. Verity (2016)]

Telemachus, you will be brave and thoughtful, if your won father's forcefulness runs through you. How capable he was, in word and deed! Your journey will succeed, if you are his.
[tr. Wilson (2017)]

Telemachus,
in future days you will not be worthless
or a stupid man, if you have in you now
something of your father’s noble spirit.
He’s the sort of man who, in word and deed,
saw things to their conclusion. So for you
this trip will not be in vain or pointless.
[tr. Johnston (2019), l. 364ff]

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More quotes by Homer

I don’t hate people, I just feel better when they aren’t around.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
Barfly (1987)
    (Source)

From the movie screenplay by Bukowski.

This is the way the phrase is usually quoted, but it's actually a series of lines when Henry (a character standing in for Bukowski himself) first meets Wanda.

WANDA: I can't stand people. I hate them.
HENRY: Yeah?
WANDA: You hate them?
HENRY: No, but I seem to feel better when they're not around.

Bukowski is actually in the scene as the barfly closest to Wanda before Henry moves next to her. Video clip.
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I see that Time’s the king of men,
For he’s their parent, and he is their grave,
And gives them what he will, not what they crave.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Pericles, Act 2, sc. 3, l. 49ff (1607)
    (Source)
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Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardor, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) English novelist, essayist and critic
“Vulgarity in Literature” (1930)
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But to every man of vision the clear Voice speaks; there is no great leadership where there is not a mystic. Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance.

Bruce Barton
Bruce Barton (1886-1967) American author, advertising executive, politician
The Man and the Book Nobody Knows, ch. 1 “The Executive” (1924)
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[The first principle of British democracy is] our prime duty to each other and to what our conscience tells us to be right. If this leads individuals into conflict with the law, those individuals must be ready to take the consequences non-violently. In our democracy no man should tell another man to break the law, nor should any man break the law to by-pass Parliament. But a person who is punished for breaking an unjust law may if he is sincere and his cause wins public sympathy, create a public demand to have that unjust law changed through Parliament. This is the first and most fundamental principle of British democracy. It has a deep moral significance. Our religious and political liberties rest upon it.

Tony Benn
Tony Benn (1925-2014) British politician, writer, diarist
Speech in Bristol (4 Aug 1972)
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In a word, our moral dispositions are formed as a result of the corresponding activities. Hence it is incumbent on us to control the character of our activities, since on the quality of these depends the quality of our dispositions. It is therefore not of small moment whether we are trained from childhood in one set of habits or another; on the contrary it is of very great, or rather of supreme, importance.

[καὶ ἑνὶ δὴ λόγῳ ἐκ τῶν ὁμοίων ἐνεργειῶν αἱ ἕξεις γίνονται. διὸ δεῖ τὰς ἐνεργείας ποιὰς ἀποδιδόναι: κατὰ γὰρ τὰς τούτων διαφορὰς ἀκολουθοῦσιν αἱ ἕξεις. οὐ μικρὸν οὖν διαφέρει τὸ οὕτως ἢ οὕτως εὐθὺς ἐκ νέων ἐθίζεσθαι, ἀλλὰ πάμπολυ, μᾶλλον δὲ τὸ πᾶν.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics [Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια], Book 2, ch. 1 (1103b.20ff) (c. 325 BC) [tr. Rackham (1934), sec. 7-8]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Or, in one word, the habits are produced from the acts of working like to them: and so what we have to do is to give a certain character to these particular acts, because the habits formed correspond to the differences of these. So then, whether we are accustomed this way or that straight from childhood, makes not a small but an important difference, or rather I would say it makes all the difference.
[tr. Chase (1847)]

And indeed, in a word, all habits are formed by acts of like nature to themselves. And hence it becomes our duty to see that our acts are of a right character. For, as our acts vary, our habits will follow in their course. It makes no little difference, then, to what kind of habituation we are subjected from our youth up; but it is, on the contrary, a matter that is important to us, or rather all-important.
[tr. Williams (1869), sec. 24]

In a word moral states are the results of activities corresponding to the moral states themselves. It is our duty therefore to give a certain character to the activities, as the moral states depend upon the differences of the activities. Accordingly, the difference between one training of the habits and another from early days is not a light matter, but is serious or rather all-important.
[tr. Welldon (1892)]

In a word, acts of any kind produce habits or characters of the same kind. Hence we ought to make sure that our acts be of a certain kind; for the resulting character varies as they vary. It makes no small difference, therefore, whether a man be trained from his youth up in this way or in that, but a great difference, or rather all the difference.
[tr. Peters (1893)]

Thus, in one word, states of character arise out of like activities. This is why the activities we exhibit must be of a certain kind; it is because the states of character correspond to the differences between these. It makes no small difference, then, whether we form habits of one kind or of another from our very youth; it makes a very great difference, or rather all the difference.
[tr. Ross (1908)]

In a word, then, states come about from activities that are similar to them. That is why the activities must exhibit a certain quality, since the states follow along in accord with the differences between these. So it makes no small difference whether people are habituated in one way or in another way straight from childhood; on the contrary, it makes a huge one -- or rather, all the difference.
[tr. Reeve (1948)]

In short, it is by similar activities that habits are developed in men; and in view of this, the activities in which men are engaged should be of [the right] quality, for the kinds of habits which develop follow the corresponding differences in these activities. So in acquiring habit it makes no small difference whether we are acting in one way or on the contrary way right from our early youth; it makes a great difference, or rather all the difference.
[tr. Apostle (1975)]

In a word, then, like activities produce like dispositions. Hence we must give our activities a certain quality, because it is their characteristics that determine the resulting dispositions. So it is a matter of no little importance what sort of habits we form from the earliest age -- it makes a vast difference, or rather all the difference in the world.
[tr. Thomson/Tredennick (1976)]

In a word, then, like states arise from like activities. This is why we must give a certain character to our activities, since it is on the differences between them that the resulting states depend. So it is not unimportant how we are habituated from our early days; indeed it makes a huge difference -- or rather all the difference.
[tr. Crisp (2000)]

And so, in a word, the characteristics come into being as a result of the activities akin to them. Hence we must make our activities be of a certain quality, for the characteristics correspond to the differences among the activities. It makes no small difference, then, whether one is habituated to this or that way straight from childhood but a very great difference -- or rather the whole difference.
[tr. Bartlett/Collins (2011)]

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The world is not what anyone wished for, but it’s what everyone wished for.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
“Vectors: 56 Aphorisms and Ten-second Essays,” Michigan Quarterly Review, #11 (Spring 1999)
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At some point I believe one has to stop holding back for fear of alienating some imaginary reader or real relative or friend, and come out with personal truth. If we are to understand the human condition, and if we are to accept ourselves with all the complexity, self-doubt, extravagance of feeling, guilt, joy, the slow freeing of the self to its full capacity for action and creation, both as human being and as artist, we have to know all we can abou each other, and we have to be willing to go naked.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American poet, novelist, memoirist [pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton]
Journal of a Solitary, “January 5th” (1973)
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Politics is mostly non-rational; the world is suffering from some kind of mental disorder which must be diagnosed before it can be cured.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“As I Please” column, Tribune (29 Nov 1946)
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Civility does not here mean the mere outward gentleness of speech cultivated for the occasion, but an inborn gentleness and desire to do the opponent good.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Autobiography : The Story of My Experiments with Truth>, ch. 24 (1927)
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A secret lab is considered by many to be the physical manifestation of a spark’s mind. Thus they tend to be rather individualistic. Some are spotlessly clean; some are filled with dangerous trash. Some are ruthlessly efficient; some are filled with suicidal deathtraps. Needless to say, sparks are usually vocally dismissive of the labs of others, while surreptitiously making notes about things they’d wished they’d thought of themselves.

Phil Foglio (b. 1956) American writer, cartoonist
Agatha H. and the Siege of Mechanicsburg (2020) [with Kaja Foglio]
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Popular art is normally decried as vulgar by the cultivated people of its time; then it loses favour with its original audience as a new generation grows up; then it begins to merge into the softer lighting of “quaint” and cultivated people become interested in it, and finally it begins to take on the archaic dignity of the primitive.

Northrop Frye (1912-1991) Canadian literary critic and literary theorist
Anatomy of Criticism, “Mythical Phase: Symbol as Archetype” (1957)
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There be some that will grant you precedence in good luck or good temper but none in good sense, least of all a prince; for good sense is a royal prerogative, any claim to that is a case of lèse-majesté.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 7 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)

Alternate translation:

Most people do not mind being surpassed in good fortune, character, or temperament, but no one, especially not a sovereign, likes to be surpassed in intelligence. For this is the king of attributes, and any crime against it is lèse-majesté.
[tr. Maurer (1992)]
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Every time we let ourselves believe for unworthy reasons, we weaken our powers of self-control, of doubting, of judicially and fairly weighing evidence. We all suffer severely enough from the maintenance and support of false beliefs and the fatally wrong actions which they lead to, and the evil born when one such belief is entertained is great and wide. But a greater and wider evil arises when the credulous character is maintained and supported, when a habit of believing for unworthy reasons is fostered and made permanent.

William Kingdon Clifford (1845-1879) English mathematician and philosopher
“The Ethics of Belief,” Part 1 “The Duty of Inquiry,” Lecture, London (11 Apr 1876)
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Only a child sees things with perfect clarity, because it hasn’t developed all those filters which prevent us from seeing things that we don’t expect to see.

Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English writer
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (1987)
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“Darkness” is shorthand for anything that scares me — that I want no part of — either because I am sure that I do not have the resources to survive it or because I do not want to find out. The absence of God is in there, along with the fear of dementia and the loss of those nearest and dearest to me. So is the melting of polar ice caps, the suffering of children, and the nagging question of what it will feel like to die. If I had my way, I would eliminate everything from chronic back pain to the fear of the devil from my life and the lives of those I love — if I could just find the right night-lights to leave on.

At least I think I would. The problem is this: when, despite all my best efforts, the lights have gone off in my life (literally or figuratively, take your pick), plunging me into the kind of darkness that turns my knees to water, nonetheless I have not died. The monsters have not dragged me out of bed and taken me back to their lair. The witches have not turned me into a bat. Instead, I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really only one logical conclusion. I need darkness as much as I need light.

Barbara Brown Taylor (b. 1951) American minister, academic, author
Learning to Walk in the Dark, Introduction (2014)
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Better be known as a Rampant Iconoclast than as a sonorous Echo.

No picture available
Minna Antrim (1861-1950) American epigrammatist, writer
Don’ts for Bachelors and Old Maids (1908)
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Coincidence means only a connection that’s not seen. Roots meet underground.

Charlotte Armstrong
Charlotte Armstrong (1905-1969) American author [pseud. for Charlotte Armstrong Lewi, a.k.a. Jo Valentine]
The Dream Walker (1955)
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Many of our moral and political policies are designed to preempt what we know to be the worst features of human nature. The checks and balances in a democracy, for instance, were invented in explicit recognition of the fact that human leaders will always be tempted to arrogate power to themselves. Likewise, our sensitivity to racism comes from an awareness that groups of humans, left to their own devices, are apt to discriminate and oppress other groups, often in ugly ways. History also tells us that a desire to enforce dogma and suppress heretics is a recurring human weakness, one that has led to recurring waves of gruesome oppression and violence. A recognition that there is a bit of Torquemada in everyone should make us wary of any attempt to enforce a consensus or demonize those who challenge it.

Steven Pinker (b. 1954) Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, author
Introduction to John Brockman (ed.), What is Your Dangerous Idea? (2007)
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It must be remembered also that he who can talk with himself has no need of another’s conversation.

[Etinim, qui secum loqui poterit, sermonem alterius non requiret.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Tusculan Disputations [Tusculanae Disputationes], Book 5, ch. 40 / sec. 117 (45 BC) [tr. Peabody (1886)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

For he that can speak with himself; will not much need the Discourse of another.
[tr. Wase (1643)]

Whoever can converse with himself doth not need the conversation of another.
[tr. Main (1824)]

For the man who can speak with himself, does not require the discourse of another.
[tr. Otis (1839)]

Whoever can converse with himself doth not need the conversation of another.
[tr. Yonge (1853)]

One who can converse with himself will not miss the conversation of someone else.
[tr. Douglas (1990)]

He who can talk to himself, will have no need of another’s conversation.
[tr. @sentantiq (2012)]

A man who is able to hold conversation with himself will not need another with whom to converse.
[tr. Davie (2017)]

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Neurotic: someone who can go from the bottom to the top, and back again, without ever once touching the middle.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Complete Neurotic’s Notebook (1981)
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The strategic aim of these hierarchical constructions of history is to displace truth, and the invention of a glorious past includes the erasure of inconvenient realities.

Jason Stanley (b. 1969) American philosopher, epistemologist, academic
How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, ch. 1 (2018)
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I’d write a story once in a while, but I wouldn’t pester editors with it. I’d write of people and places like I knew, and I’d make my characters talk everyday English; and I’d let the sun rise and set in the usual quiet way without much fuss over the fact. If I had to have villains at all, I’d give them a chance, Anne — I’d give them a chance. There are some terrible bad men in the world, I suppose, but you’d have to go a long piece to find them — though Mrs. Lynde believes we’re all bad. But most of us have got a little decency somewhere in us.

Lucy Maud Montgomery
Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942) Canadian author
Anne of the Island, ch. 12 [Mr. Harrison] (1915)
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Few match their fathers. Any tongue can tell
The more are worse: yea, almost none their sires excel.

[παῦροι γάρ τοι παῖδες ὁμοῖοι πατρὶ πέλονται,
οἱ πλέονες κακίους, παῦροι δέ τε πατρὸς ἀρείους.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 2, l. 276ff [Athena to Telemachus] (c. 700 BC) [tr. Worsley (1861), st. 37]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

For few, that rightly bred on both sides stand,
Are like their parents, many that are worse,
And most few better. Those then that the nurse
Or mother call true-born yet are not so,
Like worthy sires much less are like to grow.
[tr. Chapman (1616)]

Few sons exceed or reach their father’s might,
But commonly inferior they are.
[tr. Hobbes (1675), l. 257ff]

Few sons attain the praise
Of their great sires, and most their sires disgrace.
[tr. Pope (1725)]

Few sons their fathers equal; most appear
Degenerate; but we find, though rare, sometimes
A son superior even to his Sire.
[tr. Cowper (1792)]

Few be the children equal to their father:
The most be worse: and few be better men.
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869)]

For few children, truly, are like their father; lo, the more part are worse, yet a few are better than the sire.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]

Though not oft is the son meseemeth e'en such an one as his sire.
Worser they be for the more part, and a few may be better forsooth.
[tr. Morris (1887)]

Few sons are like their fathers; most are worse, few better than the father.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]

Sons are seldom as good men as their fathers; they are generally worse, not better.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Few sons indeed are like their fathers; most are worse, few better than their fathers.
[tr. Murray (1919)]

Few are the sons who attain their fathers' stature: and very few surpass them. Most fall short in merit.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]

Few sons, indeed, are like their fathers. Generally they are worse; but just a few are better.
[tr. Rieu (1946)]

The son is rare who measures with his father,
and one in a thousand is a better man.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]

For few are the children who turn out to be equals of their fathers,
and the greater number are worse; few are better than their father is.
[tr. Lattimore (1965)]

Few sons are the equals of their fathers;
most fall short, all too few surpass them.
[tr. Fagles (1996)]

You know, few sons turn out to be like their fathers;
Most turn out worse, a few better.
[tr. Lombardo (2000), ll. 300-301]

It is a truth that few sons are the equal of their fathers; most are inferior to their father, and few surpass them.
[tr. Verity (2016), l. 276]

And it is rare for sons to be like fathers;
only a few are better, most are worse.
[tr. Wilson (2017)]

It’s true few men
are like their fathers. Most of them are worse.
Only very few of them are better.
[tr. Johnston (2019), l. 373ff]

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sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think,
I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside
remembering all the times you’ve felt that way

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
“Gamblers All” (1990)
    (Source)

Originally titled "8 Count and Up".
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