Quotations by Barrie, James


You must have been warned against letting the golden hours slip by. Yes, but some of them are golden only because we let them slip.

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
“Courage,” Rectorial Address, St Andrews (1922)
Added on 31-Jan-08 | Last updated 31-Jan-08
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Barrie, James

“Why can’t you fly now, mother?”
“Because I am grown up, dearest. When people grow up they forget the way.”
“Why do they forget the way?”
“Because they are no longer gay and innocent and heartless. It is only the gay and innocent and heartless who can fly.”

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
Peter & Wendy, ch. 17 (1911)
Added on 6-Sep-10 | Last updated 6-Sep-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Barrie, James

A safe but sometimes chilly way of recalling the past is to force open a crammed drawer. If you are searching for anything in particular you don’t find it, but something falls out at the back that is often more interesting.

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
Peter Pan, “To the Five — A Dedication” (1930)
Added on 4-Feb-08 | Last updated 4-Feb-08
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Barrie, James

Every time a child says, “I don’t believe in fairies,” there is a fairy somewhere that falls down dead.

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
Peter Pan, Act 1 (1928)
Added on 23-Jan-15 | Last updated 23-Jan-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Barrie, James

To die will be an awfully big adventure.

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
Peter Pan, Act III, final sentence (1905)

The following passage was in the 1911 book (ch. 8 "The Mermaid's Lagoon"); the scene was added to the 1905 edition of the play:

Peter was alone on the lagoon.
The rock was very small now; soon it would be submerged. Pale rays of light tiptoed across the waters; and by and by there was to be heard a sound at once the most musical and the most melancholy in the world: the mermaids calling to the moon.
Peter was not quite like other boys; but he was afraid at last. A tremor ran through him, like a shudder passing over the sea; but on the sea one shudder follows another till there are hundreds of them, and Peter felt just the one. Next moment he was standing erect on the rock again, with that smile on his face and a drum beating within him. It was saying, "To die will be an awfully big adventure."

Sometimes quoted as "To die would be an awfully great adventure," "To die will be a great adventure," and "To die would be a great adventure."

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Aug-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Barrie, James

The best of our fiction is by novelists who allow that it is as good as they can give, and the worst by novelists who maintain that they could do much better if only the public would let them.

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
The Contemporary Review (1891)
Added on 1-Sep-10 | Last updated 1-Sep-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Barrie, James

Life is a long lesson in humility.

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
The Little Minister (1891)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Barrie, James

If it’s heaven for climate, it’s hell for company.

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
The Little Minister, ch. 3 (1891)

A similar quote is cited to Mark Twain at about the same time. More research into this quotation can be found here.
Added on 1-Dec-10 | Last updated 19-Jul-11
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Barrie, James

The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story and writes another, and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
The Little Minister, I.1 (1891)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Barrie, James

Wise children always choose a mother who was a shocking flirt in her maiden days, and so had several offers before she accepted their fortunate papa.

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
The Little White Bird, ch. 22 (1902)
Added on 26-Aug-10 | Last updated 26-Aug-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Barrie, James

Shall we make a new rule of life from tonight: always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary?

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
The Little White Bird, ch. 4 (1902)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Aug-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Barrie, James

One’s religion is whatever he is most interested in.

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
The Twelve-Pound Look (1910)
Added on 19-Feb-08 | Last updated 19-Feb-08
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Barrie, James

KATE: One’s religion is whatever he is most interested in, and yours is — Success.

HARRY: Ambition — it is the last infirmity of noble minds.

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
The Twelve-Pound Look (1910)
Added on 24-May-17 | Last updated 24-May-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Barrie, James

ALICK. What IS charm, exactly, Maggie?

MAGGIE. Oh, it’s — it’s a sort of bloom on a woman. If you have it, you don’t need to have anything else; and if you don’t have it, it doesn’t much matter what else you have.

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
What Every Woman Knows (1918)

Usually quoted in an elided format ("Charm, it's a sort of bloom on a woman ...:).
Added on 18-Jul-16 | Last updated 18-Jul-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Barrie, James

Every man who is high up loves to think that he has done it all himself; and the wife smiles, and lets it go at that.

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
What Every Woman Knows, Act 4 (1908)
Added on 30-Apr-15 | Last updated 30-Apr-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Barrie, James

Never ascribe to an opponent motives meaner than your own.

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
Rectorial address, St Andrew’s University (3 May 1922)
Added on 15-Nov-11 | Last updated 15-Nov-11
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Barrie, James

It’s not real work unless you would rather be doing something else.

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
Rectorial address, St. Andrew

Sometimes given as, "Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Aug-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Barrie, James

God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December.

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
Rectorial address, St. Andrew
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Barrie, James