- WIST is my personal collection of quotations, curated for thought, amusement, turn of phrase, historical significance, or sometimes just (often-unintentional) irony.
WIST currently holds 19,765 quotations by 3,077 authors. Please feel free to browse and borrow.
Author CloudAristotle • Asimov, Isaac • Bacon, Francis • Bible • Bierce, Ambrose • Billings, Josh • Butcher, Jim • Chesterfield (Lord) • Chesterton, Gilbert Keith • Churchill, Winston • Cicero, Marcus Tullius • Einstein, Albert • Eisenhower, Dwight David • Emerson, Ralph Waldo • Franklin, Benjamin • Fuller, Thomas (1654) • Gaiman, Neil • Galbraith, John Kenneth • Gandhi, Mohandas • Hazlitt, William • Heinlein, Robert A. • Hoffer, Eric • Homer • Huxley, Aldous • Ingersoll, Robert Green • Jefferson, Thomas • Johnson, Samuel • Kennedy, John F. • King, Martin Luther • La Rochefoucauld, Francois • Lewis, C.S. • Lincoln, Abraham • Martial • Mencken, H.L. • Orwell, George • Pratchett, Terry • Roosevelt, Eleanor • Roosevelt, Theodore • Russell, Bertrand • Shakespeare, William • Shaw, George Bernard • Sophocles • Tolkien, J.R.R. • Twain, Mark • Wilde, Oscar
- Only the 45 most quoted authors are shown above. Full author list.
Most Quoted Authors
Topic Cloudaction age America beauty belief change character courage death democracy education ego error evil faith fear freedom future God government happiness history human nature humanity integrity liberty life love morality perspective politics power pride progress reality religion science society success truth virtue war wealth wisdom writing
- I've been adding topics since 2014, so not all quotes have been given one. Full topic list.
- “Wealth and Poverty,” speech, National… (10,352)
- Agamemnon, ll. 175-183 [tr. Johnston (2007)] (6,708)
- “The Lesson for Today,” A Witness Tree (1942) (6,277)
- “The Triumph of Stupidity” (10 May 1933) (5,678)
- Nobel prize acceptance speech (10 Dec 1962) (4,970)
- “Tips for Teens,” Social Studies (1981) (4,876)
- Letter to Clara Rilke (1 Jan 1907) (4,651)
- “On The Conduct of Life” (1822) (4,637)
- “A Cult of Ignorance,” Newsweek (21 Jan 1980) (4,292)
- Republic, Book 1, 347c (4,278)
- The Problems of Philosophy, ch. 2 “The Existence of Matter” (1912) on
- Discourse on Method [Discours de la méthode], Part 2 (1637) [tr. Cottingham, Stoothoff (1985)] on
- The Imitation of Christ, Book 3, ch. 12, sec. 2 (c. 1418) on
- Heauton Timoroumenos [The Self-Tormentor], Act 4, sc. 5, l. 48 (l. 796) on
- “Reflections on Monogamy,” Prejudices (1919-27) on
- Letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy (13 Nov 1789) on
- The Iliad [Ἰλιάς], Book 9, l. 63ff (9.63-64) [Nestor] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Pope (1715-20)] on
- Inaugural Address (20 Jan 1961) [with Ted Sorensen] on
- Speech, Republican National Convention (7 Jun 1916) on
- “In Our Youth Our Hearts Were Touched With Fire,” Memorial Day address, Keene, New Hampshire (30 May 1884) on
The best you can do is grant my demand,
Your second-best course to refuse it off-hand;
I welcome assent and denial excuse —
But, Cinna, you neither consent nor refuse.
[Primum est ut praestes, si quid te, Cinna, rogabo;
illud deinde sequens, ut cito, Cinna, neges.
Diligo praestantem; no odi, Cinna, negantem:
sed tu nec praestas nec cito, Cinna, negas.]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 7, epigram 43 (7.43) [tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]
Source (Latin). Alternate translations:
The kindest thing of all is to comply;
The next kind thing is quickly to deny:
I love performance; nor denial hate:
Your "Shall I, Shall I?" is the cursed state.
[tr. Hay (1755)]
To grant must doubtless be the primal boon:
The next, my Cinna, to deny me soon.
I love the former, nor the latter hate:
But thou not grantest, and deniest late.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 5, ep. 53]
The greatest favour that you can do me, Cinna, if I ask anything of you, is to give it me; the next, Cinna, to refuse it at once. I love one who gives, Cinna; I do not hate one who refuses; but you, Cinna, neither give nor refuse.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]
Cinna, grant me my request:
(I warmly hope you'll choose to!)
Or do what I think second best,
In haste refuse to.
Patrons I esteem, nor hate
The man I can't bamboozle:
But you give naught, yet make me wait
A slow refusal.
[tr. Nixon (1911)]
The first thing is that you should hand it over if I ask anything of you, Cinna; the next thing after that, Cinna, is that you should refuse quickly. I like a man who hands over; I do not hate, Cinna, a man who refuses; but you neither hand over, nor do you, Cinna, quickly refuse.
[tr. Ker (1919)]
'Tis best to grant me, Cinna, what I crave;
And next best, Cinna, is refusal straight.
Givers I like: refusal I can brave;
But you don't give -- you only hesitate!
[tr. Duff (1929)]
Added on 16-Jul-21 | Last updated 14-Jan-22
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