- WIST is my personal collection of quotations, curated for thought, amusement, turn of phrase, historical significance, or sometimes just (often-unintentional) irony.
Please feel free to browse and borrow.
- 17,914 quotes and counting ...
Topic Cloudaction age America author beauty belief change character Christianity death democracy education ego error evil faith fear freedom future God government happiness history humanity integrity justice leadership liberty life love morality perspective politics power progress religion science society success truth virtue war wealth wisdom writing
- I've been adding topics/tags since 2014, so not all quotes have been given one. Full topic list.
- * Visual quotes (graphics, memes) only
- “Wealth and Poverty,” speech, National… (7,896)
- Agamemnon, ll. 175-183 [tr. Johnston (2007)] (6,024)
- “The Lesson for Today,” A Witness Tree (1942) (5,947)
- “The Triumph of Stupidity” (10 May 1933) (5,111)
- Nobel prize acceptance speech (10 Dec 1962) (4,889)
- “On The Conduct of Life” (1822) (4,281)
- “In Search of a Majority,” Speech,… (3,930)
- “Get a Knife, Get a Dog, but Get Rid of… (3,751)
- Letter to Clara Rilke (1 Jan 1907) (3,592)
- “A Cult of Ignorance,” Newsweek (21 Jan 1980) (3,468)
Most Quoted Authors
Author CloudAdams, John • Bacon, Francis • Bible • Bierce, Ambrose • Billings, Josh • Butcher, Jim • Chesterton, Gilbert Keith • Churchill, Winston • Einstein, Albert • Eisenhower, Dwight David • Emerson, Ralph Waldo • Franklin, Benjamin • Fuller, Thomas (1654) • Gaiman, Neil • Galbraith, John Kenneth • Gandhi, Mohandas • Goethe, Johann von • Hazlitt, William • Heinlein, Robert A. • Hoffer, Eric • Huxley, Aldous • Ingersoll, Robert Green • James, William • Jefferson, Thomas • Johnson, Lyndon • Johnson, Samuel • Kennedy, John F. • King, Martin Luther • La Rochefoucauld, Francois • Lewis, C.S. • Lincoln, Abraham • Mencken, H.L. • Orwell, George • Pratchett, Terry • Roosevelt, Eleanor • Roosevelt, Theodore • Russell, Bertrand • Seneca the Younger • Shakespeare, William • Shaw, George Bernard • Stevenson, Adlai • Stevenson, Robert Louis • Twain, Mark • Watterson, Bill • Wilde, Oscar
- Only the 45 most quoted authors are shown above. Full author list.
- 18-Jan-21 - "The Christian Way of Life in Human Relations," speech, General Assembly fo the National Council of Churches, St Louis (4 Dec 1957) | WIST on Letter from Birmingham Jail (16 Apr 1963).
- 8-Jan-21 - ***Dave Does the Blog on Speech to the electors of Bristol (3 Nov 1774).
- 4-Jan-21 - Doing the Numbers, 12/2020 | WIST on Republic, Book 1, 347c.
- 4-Jan-21 - Doing the Numbers, 12/2020 | WIST on “On The Conduct of Life” (1822).
- 4-Jan-21 - Doing the Numbers, 12/2020 | WIST on Nobel prize acceptance speech (10 Dec 1962).
- 4-Jan-21 - Doing the Numbers, 12/2020 | WIST on Letter to Clara Rilke (1 Jan 1907).
The head of the fish is the first part to smell.
Ἰχθὺς ἐκ τῆς κεφαλῆς ὄζειν ἄρχεται: ἐπὶ τῶν ἐπιστάτας φαύλους ἐχόντων
“The head of a fish begins to stink first.” Used of bad rulers, whose contagion poisons the rest of the people. The expression seems to derive from the language of common people.
[Piscis primum a capite foetet … Piscis a capite primum incipit putere. Dictum in malos principes, quorum contagione reliquum vulgus inficitur. Apparet ab idiotarum vulgo sumptum.]
Apostolius 9.18.12, Tilley F 304
From Erasmus, Adages, Book 4, ch. 2, #97 [tr. Drysdall], who cites Apostolius, who appears to have been the first to record the proverb. Alt. trans.:
- "Fish start to stink at the top: [this is a proverb] applied to people who have scoundrels for leaders." [tr. @sentantiq]
- "The fish always stinks from the head downwards: The freshness of a dead fish can be judged from the condition of its head. Thus, when the responsible part (as the leaders of a country, etc.) is rotten, the rest will soon follow. ἰχθὺς ἐκ τῆς κεφαλῆς ὄζειν ἄρχεται, a fish begins to stink from the head." -- Jennifer Speake, ed., Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (2015) [Source]
Added on 15-Jun-20 | Last updated 3-Nov-20