Democracy is the theory that two thieves will steal less than one, and three less than two, and four less than three, and so on ad infinitum.

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
A Little Book in C Major, ch. 5, § 25 (1916)
    (Source)

Variant:

DEMOCRACY. The theory that two thieves will steal less than one, and three less than two, and four less than three, and so on ad infinitum.
A Book of Burlesques, "The Jazz Webster" (1924)
 
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You can’t have a picnic lunch unless the party carrying the basket comes.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
“Daily Telegrams” column (1932-01-21)
    (Source)
 
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A little embarrassment prevents a lot of goodness.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 8 (1963)
    (Source)
 
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Then he was faithful too, as well as amorous;
So that no sort of female could complain,
Although they’re now and then a little clamourous,
He never put the pretty souls in pain;
His heart was one of those which most enamour us,
Wax to receive, and marble to retain:
He was a lover of the good old school,
Who still become more constant as they cool.

Lord Byron
George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
“Beppo,” st. 34 (1818)
    (Source)
 
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We are women: in some things, we hesitate.
But in others, no one can surpass our courage.

[γυναῖκές ἐσμεν: τὰ μὲν ὄκνῳ νικώμεθα,
τὰ δ᾽ οὐκ ἂν ἡμῶν θράσος ὑπερβάλοιτό τις.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Auge [Αὐγῃ], frag. 276 (c. 408 BC) [tr. @sentantiq (2014)]
    (Source)

Nauck (TGF) frag. 276, Barnes frag. 18, Musgrave frag. 4. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Frail women as we are, too oft our fears
Subdue us, but at other times our courage
By none can be exceeded.
[tr. Wodhall (1809)]

We are women, sometimes defeated by fear,
sometimes unsurpassed in courage.
[Source]

 
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Just as eating contrary to the inclination is injurious to the health, study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.

Leonardo da Vinci, artist
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) Italian artist, engineer, scientist, polymath
MS. 2038, Bib. Nat. 34 r. [tr. McCurdy (1908)]
    (Source)
 
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There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
“There Was a Little Girl,” st. 1 (c. 1850)
    (Source)

Often printed with "She was very, very good" for the penultimate line, and sometimes with "And when she was bad" (e.g.).

His son, Ernest, says that Longfellow composed the rhyme while walking back and forth with his infant second daughter (Alice Mary, b. 1850). There is some dispute about this, as well as his authorship of the other stanzas of the poem.

 
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Usbek, it seems to me that we always judge things by secretly relating them to our own concerns. I am not surprised that black men envision the devil as being a brilliant white color, and that they picture their gods as being black as coal — nor that certain peoples picture Venus as having breasts that hang down to her thighs — nor that all idolaters have always pictured their gods in human form, ascribing to them all their own predilections. It has been well said that if triangles had a god, they would imagine him as having three sides.

[Il me semble, Usbek, que nous ne jugeons jamais des choses que par un retour secret que nous faisons sur nous-mêmes. Je ne suis pas surpris que les nègres peignent le diable d’une blancheur éblouissante et leurs dieux noirs comme du charbon ; que la Vénus de certains peuples ait des mamelles qui lui pendent jusqu’aux cuisses ; et qu’enfin tous les idolâtres aient représenté leurs dieux avec une figure humaine, et leur aient fait part de toutes leurs inclinations. On a dit fort bien que, si les triangles faisoient un dieu, ils lui donneroient trois côtés.]

Charles-Lewis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755) French political philosopher
Persian Letters [Lettres Persanes], Letter 59, Rica to Usbek (1721) [tr. MacKenzie (2014)]
    (Source)

The triangles reference is often attributed directly to Montesquieu, though it's referenced here as having another origin. It is sometimes cited as a Jewish or Yiddish proverb.

Some early editions leave out the triangle metaphor altogether, thinking it alludes to the Trinity.

See also Voltaire.

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

It is my Opinion, Usbek, that we never judge of Things but with a private View to our selves. I am not surprised that the Negroes shou'd paint the Devil of the most glaring Whiteness, and their Gods as black as a Coal; that the Venus of some Nations shou'd have Breasts hanging down to her very Thighs; and lastly, that all Idolaters have represented their Gods with a Human Figure, and given them all their own Inclinations. It has been said with good Reason that if the Triangles were to make a God they wou'd give him three Sides.
[tr. Ozell (1736), No. 57]

It appears to me, Usbek, that we never judge of things but with a private view to ourselves. I do not wonder that the Negroes paint the devil in the most glaring whiteness, and their gods as black as a coal; that the Venus of some nations should be represented with breasts pendent to her thighs; nor indeed that all idolaters have made their gods of human figures, and have ascribed to them all their own passions.
[tr. Floyd (1762)]

It seems to me, Usbek, that our opinions are always influenced by a secret application to ourselves. I am not surprised that Negroes paint the devil with a complexion of dazzling whiteness, and their gods as black as coal; that the Venus of certain races has breasts that hang down to her thighs; and finally, that all idolaters have represented their gods in the likeness of men, and have ascribed to them all their own passions. It has been very well said, that if triangles were to make to themselves gods, they would give them three sides.
[tr. Davidson (1891)]

It seems to me, Usbek, that our judgment of things is always controlled by the secret influence they have had on our own actions. I am not surprised that the negroes paint the devil with a face of dazzling whiteness, and their gods as black as coal; that the Venus of certain tribes has breasts that hang down to her thighs; and, in fine, that all nations have represented their gods in the human form, and have supposed them to be imbued with their own passions. It has been very well said that if triangles were to make a god for themselves, they would give him three sides.
[tr. Betts (1897)]

It seems to me, Usbek, that we judge things only by applying them secretly to ourselves. I am not surprised that Negroes paint the devil in dazzling white and their gods in carbon black; or that the Venus of certain peoples has breasts that hang to her thighs; or, finally, that all idolaters have represented their gods in human shape and assign to them all their own attributes. It is well said that if triangles were to create a god, they would describe him with three sides.
[tr. Healy (1964)]

It seems to me, Usbek, that we never judge anything without secretly considering it in relation to our own self. I am not surprised that black men depict the devil as brilliantly white, and their own gods as coal-black, that the Venus of certain peoples has breasts that hang down to her thighs, and, in short, that all idolaters have depicted their gods with human faces, and have endowed them with their own propensities. It has been quite correctly observed that if triangles were to make themselves a god, they would give him three sides.
[tr. Mauldon (2008), No. 57]

 
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From a cross Neighbour, and a sullen Wife,
A pointless Needle, and a broken Knife;
From Suretyship, and from an empty Purse,
A Smoaky Chimney and a jolting Horse;
From a dull Razor, and an aking Head,
From a bad Conscience and a buggy Bed;
A Blow upon the Elbow and the Knee,
From each of these, Good L—d deliver me.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher, aphorist
Poor Richard (1734 ed.)
    (Source)
 
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On a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone will drop to zero.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Fight Club, ch. 2 (1997)
    (Source)

The phrase also shows up later in the book, in ch. 24: "On a long enough time line, everyone's survival rate drops to zero."

In the 1999 movie adaptation (screenplay by Jim Uhls), the Narrator's line is "On a long enough time line the survival rate for everyone drops to zero."
 
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CHORUS: O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention!
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!

Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Henry V, Act 1, Prologue (1599)
    (Source)
 
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Perhaps people with my point of view are in a minority today. But the fact of being in a minority does not, in itself, trouble me, nor do I see anything un-American about being in a minority position. Quite the contrary. The minority views of one day are frequently the majority views of another, and in the possibility of this being so rests all our potentiality for progress.

Jane Jacobs
Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) American-Canadian journalist, author, urban theorist, activist
“No Virtue in Meek Conformity” (1952)
    (Source)

Foreword to her response to a State Department Loyalty Security Board interrogatory (1952-03-25). Reprinted in Vital Little Plans (2016).
 
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BENJY: The kiss. There are all sorts of kisses, lad, from the sticky confection to the kiss of death. Of them all, the kiss of an actress is the most unnerving. How can we tell if she means it or if she’s just practicing?

Ruth Gordon
Ruth Gordon (1896-1985) American actress, screenwriter, playwright
The Leading Lady, Act 2 (1948)
    (Source)
 
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There are two kinds of clocks. There is the clock that is always wrong, and that knows it is wrong, and glories in it; and there is the clock that is always right — except when you rely upon it, and then it is more wrong than you would think a clock could be in a civilized country.

Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927) English writer, humorist [Jerome Klapka Jerome]
“Clocks,” Diary of a Pilgrimage, and Six Other Essays (1891)
    (Source)
 
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HERMIONE: Since what I am to say must be but that
Which contradicts my accusation, and
The testimony on my part no other
But what comes from myself, it shall scarce boot me
To say “Not guilty.” Mine integrity,
Being counted falsehood, shall, as I express it,
Be so received. But thus: if powers divine
Behold our human actions, as they do,
I doubt not then but innocence shall make
False accusation blush and tyranny
Tremble at patience.

Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Winter’s Tale, Act 3, sc. 2, l. 23ff (3.2.23-33) (1611)
    (Source)
 
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In order to not find life unbearable, you must accept two things: the ravages of time, and the injustices of man.
 
[Il y a deux choses auxquelles il faut se faire, sous peine de trouver la vie insupportable. Ce sont les injures du tems et les injustices des hommes.]

Nicolas Chamfort
Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) French writer, epigrammist (b. Nicolas-Sébastien Roch)
Products of Perfected Civilization [Produits de la Civilisation Perfectionée], Part 1 “Maxims and Thoughts [Maximes et Pensées],” ch. 2, ¶ 115 (1795) [tr. Parmée (2003), ¶ 95]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

There are two things to which we must become inured on pain of finding life intolerable: the outrages of time and man's injustice.
[tr. Mathers (1926)]

There are two things that one must get used to or one will find life unendurable: the damages of time and the injustices of men.
[tr. Merwin (1969)]

There are two things that a man must reconcile himself to, or he will find life unbearable: they are the injuries of time and the injuries of men.
[tr. Siniscalchi (1994)]

 
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A book is never finished, it is abandoned.

Gene Fowler
Gene Fowler (1890-1960) American journalist, author, and dramatist. [b. Eugene Devlan]
Quoted in H. Allen Smith, The Life and Legend of Gene Fowler, ch. 27 (1977)
    (Source)

Fowler was speaking about publisher deadlines. Others have used similar phrases regarding the creative process as a whole. See Valéry and Abram.
 
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And if some god should offer me the privilege of returning to babyhood again, cradle, wailing, and all, I would absolutely refuse. I would have no desire, once my course were run, to be haled back from the race’s end to the starting-line.
 
[Et si quis deus mihi largiatur ut ex hac aetate repuerascam et in cunis vagiam, valde recusem, nec vero velim quasi decurso spatio ad carceres a calce revocari.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Senectute [Cato Maior; On Old Age], ch. 23 / sec. 83 (23.83) (44 BC) [tr. Copley (1967)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

And if some god wolde give me puissaunce that I whiche am an olde man myght retourne ayen in to childhode and that I shulde braye and krye in my swathyng cloth and in my cradelle like a childe, I wolde it not but I wolde even refuse it.
[tr. Worcester/Worcester/Scrope (1481)]

I will say more, if God would grant me now in this age to return again to my infancy and to be as young as a child that lieth crying in his cradle, I would refuse and forsake the offer with all my might; neither would I when I have already in a manner run the whole race and own the goal, be again revoked from the end marks to the lists, or place where I took my course at the first setting out. For who would be contented, when he hath gotten the best game, to be forced to race again for the same?
[tr. Newton (1569)]

And if any god would grant me to be now a child in my cradle againe, and to be young, I would refuse it. Neither would I, having runne my full course, be called back again.
[tr. Austin (1648)]

Should some God tell me, that I should be born,
And cry again, his offer I should scorn;
Asham'd when I have ended well my race,
To be led back, to my first starting place.
[tr. Denham (1669)]

And should any of the Gods give me the Liberty of beginning again the Circle of my Years, I should desire to be excused, and be unwilling to begin the Race again, when I am just arrived at the Goal.
[tr. Hemming (1716)]

Or should any heavenly Power grant me the Privilege of turning back, if I pleased, from this Age to Infancy, and to set out again from my Cradle, I would absolutely refuse it; for as I have now got well nigh to the End of my Race, I should be extremely unwilling to be called back, and obliged to start again.
[tr. Logan (1744)]

The sincere truth is, if some divinity would confer upon me a new grant of my life, and replace me once more in the cradle, I would utterly, and without the least hesitation, reject the offer; having well-nigh finished my race, I have no inclination to return to the goal.
[tr. Melmoth (1773)]

But if any god should grant me that I should become a boy again and wail in the cradle, I would strenuously decline it; nor indeed would I wish, as if I had run my course, to be called back from the goal to the starting-post.
[Cornish Bros. ed. (1847)]

For if any god should grant me, that from this period of life I should become a child again and cry in the cradle, I should earnestly refuse it: nor in truth should I like, after having run, as it were, my course, to be called back to the starting-place from the goal.
[tr. Edmonds (1874)]

Indeed, were any god to grant that from my present age I might go back to boyhood, or become a crying child in the cradle, I should steadfastly refuse; nor would I be willing, as from a finished race, to be summoned back from the goal to the starting-point.
[tr. Peabody (1884)]

Nay, if some god should grant me to renew my childhood from my present age and once more to be crying in my cradle, I would firmly refuse; nor should I in truth be willing, after having, as it were, run the full course, to be recalled from the winning-crease to the barriers.
[tr. Shuckburgh (1895)]

Nay, if some God should offer to me now
Once more to be a boy, and shed sad tears
Within my cradle, I'd refuse the gift.
Nor do I wish, my course being fully run,
To leave the winning for the starting post.
[tr. Allison (1916)]

Nay, if some god should give me leave to return to infancy from my old age, to weep once more in my cradle, I should vehemently protest; for, truly, after I have run my race I have no wish to be recalled, as it were, from the goal to the starting-place.
[tr. Falconer (1923)]

Indeed if some god granted me the power to cancel my advanced years and return to boyhood, and wail once more in the cradle, I should firmly refuse. Now that my race is run, I have no desire to be called back from the finish to the starting point!
[tr. Grant (1960; 1971 ed.)]

If I knew that some god had arranged for me to be transformed into an infant bawling in its cradle, I would make a dreadful fuss; once my race was run and I was coming down the final stretch, I would have no desire to be sent all the way back to the starting gate.
[tr. Cobbold (2012)]

And by the same token, if any miracle wouild grant me the chance to be a boy again and to cry in the nursery, I would certainly refuse. There is no way I want to be recalled, as it were, from the finish line to the starting blocks now that I have run the whole race.
[tr. Gerberding (2014)]

And if some god allowed me to get back again
To the cradle, as one of those crying toddlers,
From my ancient age, I’d refuse there and then.
Having run most of my course, I couldn’t face
To be recalled from the finish to the starting place.
[tr. Bozzi (2015)]

Truly, if some god graciously granted that I could put aside my years and start over, crying in my cradle again, I would vehemently refuse. Since I have almost finished my race, why would I want to be called back to the starting line?
[tr. Freeman (2016)]

Even if some god should permit that I would return to the time of my birth from this age, I would sternly refuse -- for, truly, I do not wish to restart as if to retrace a race run from the finish line to the starting post.
[tr. @sentantiq (2018), sec. 84]

 
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Sometimes in a vision, I see a world of happy human beings, all vigorous, all intelligent, none of them oppressing, none of them oppressed. A world of human beings aware that their common interests outweigh those in which they compete, striving toward those really splendid possibilities that the human intellect and the human imagination make possible such a world as I was speaking of can exist if everyone chooses that it should. And if it does exist, if it does come to exist, we shall have a world very much more glorious, very much more splendid, more happy, more full of imagination and happy emotions, than any world that the world has ever known before.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
Interview by Woodrow Wyatt, BBC TV (1959)

Collected in Bertrand Russell's BBC Interviews (1959) [UK] and Bertrand Russell Speaks His Mind (1960) [US]. Reprinted (abridged) in The Humanist (1982-11/12), and in Russell Society News, #37 (1983-02).
 
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ANNAS: Your help in this matter won’t go unrewarded.

CAIAPHAS: We’ll pay you in silver — cash on the nail.
We just need to know where the soldiers can find him.

ANNAS: With no crowd around him.

CAIAPHAS:Then we can’t fail.

JUDAS: I don’t need your blood money!

CAIAPHAS: Oh, that doesn’t matter, our expenses are good.

JUDAS: I don’t want your blood money!

ANNAS: But you might as well take it. We think that you should.

CAIAPHAS: Think of the things you could do with that money,
Choose any charity — give to the poor.
We’ve noted your motives — we’ve noted your feelings.
This isn’t blood money — it’s a fee, nothing —
Fee, nothing — fee, nothing more.

Tim Rice (b. 1944) British lyricist and author
Jesus Christ Superstar, “Blood Money” (1970) [music by Andrew Lloyd Webber]
    (Source)

(Source (audio))

The movie version reverses the order of "need" and "want your blood money." It also turns the last lines into a brief interchange between Caiaphas and Annas:

CAIAPHAS: This isn't isn't blood money -- it's ...
ANNAS: A fee.
CAIAPHAS: A fee, nothing more.

 
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And now you’ll be telling stories
of my coming back
and they won’t be false, and they won’t be true,
but they’ll be real.

Mary Oliver (1935-2019) American poet
“The First Time Percy Came Back,” A Thousand Mornings (2012)
    (Source)
 
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Children hold us hostage; they represent our commitment to the future.

Barbara Grizzuti Harrison
Barbara Grizzuti Harrison (1934-2002) American journalist, essayist, memoirist
Italian Days, ch. 1 (1989)
    (Source)
 
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It is a piece of idle sentimentality that truth, merely as truth, has any inherent power denied to error, of prevailing against the dungeon and the stake. Men are not more zealous for truth than they often are for error, and a sufficient application of legal or even of social penalties will generally succeed in stopping the propagation of either. The real advantage which truth has, consists in this, that when an opinion is true, it may be extinguished once, twice, or many times, but in the course of ages there will generally be found persons to rediscover it, until some one of its reappearances falls on a time when from favourable circumstances it escapes persecution until it has made such head as to withstand all subsequent attempts to suppress it.

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) English philosopher and economist
On Liberty, ch. 2 (1859)
    (Source)
 
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Think wrongly, if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.

Gotthold Lessing (1729-1781) German playwright, philosopher, dramaturg, writer
(Attributed)

I cannot find an original source, but as early as 1847 this phrase (or this English translation) was connected with him, and the quote is mentioned in his biography Gotthold Ephraim Lessing: His Life and His Works (1878), by Helen Zimmern, who translated a number of his pieces.

Frequently misattributed to the modern English author Doris Lessing, perhaps because it is so misattributed on Wikiquote. There it is cited to an interview by Amanda Craig, "Grand dame of letters who's not going quietly," The Times of London (2003-11-23). The reference there is behind a paywall, so it's unclear if Lessing actually says it in the interview, or it is erroneously referenced by the author.

The quotation is also attributed to the Egyptian philosopher Hypatia.
 
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Whoso pretends that Love is no great god,
The lord and master of all deities,
Is either dull of soul, or, dead to beauty,
Knows not the greatest god that governs men.
 
[Ἔρωτα δ᾿ ὅστις μὴ θεὸν κρίνει μέγαν
καὶ τῶν ἁπάντων δαιμόνων ὑπέρτατον,
ἢ σκαιός ἐστιν ἢ καλῶν ἄπειρος ὢν
οὐκ οἶδε τὸν μέγιστον ἀνθρώποις θεόν.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Auge [Αὐγῃ], frag. 269 (c. 408 BC) [tr. Symonds (1880)]
    (Source)

The second line ("καὶ ... ὑπέρτατον" = "the highest of all deities") was apparently inserted by Stobaeus.

Nauck (TGF) frag. 269, Barnes frag. 15, Musgrave frag. 3. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

He who esteems not Love a mighty God,
And to all other Deities superior,
Devoid of reason, or to beauty blind,
Knows not the ruler of this nether world.
[tr. Wodhall (1809)]

Anyone who does not count Love a great god,
and the highest of all the divine powers,
is either obtuse or, lacking experience in his benefits,
is unacquainted with human beings’ greatest god.
[tr. Collard / Cropp (2008); Funke (2013)]

Whoever does not judge Love to be a great god, and highest of all the divine powers, is either a fool or, lacking experience of his good things, is not acquainted with mankind's greatest god.
[tr. Wright (2017)]

Whoever does not think Eros a great god
is either silly or ignorant of blessings.
[Source]

 
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Not to be able to bear with all bad-tempered people with whom the world is crowded, shows that a man has not a good temper himself: small change is as necessary in business as golden coin.

[Ne pouvoir supporter tous les mauvais caractères dont le monde est plein n’est pas un fort bon caractère: il faut dans le commerce des pièces d’or et de la monnaie.]

Jean de La Bruyere
Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
The Characters [Les Caractères], ch. 5 “Of Society and Conversation [De la Société et de la Conversation],” § 37 (5.37) (1688) [tr. Van Laun (1885)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

We must bear with some peoples bad Characters, as we do with bad Money, for the benefit of Commerce.
[Bullord ed. (1696)]

Not to be able to bear with all the bad Characters the World is full of, is no good Character: Copper Mony, for the sake of Commerce, is necessary as well as Gold and Silver.
[Curll ed. (1713)]

We must bear with some Peoples ill Tempers, as we do with Copper Money, for the benefit of Commerce.
[Browne ed. (1752)]

To be unable to endure all the unpleasant characters of whom the world is full is not an admirable characteristic: we need, in our dealings, both gold coins and small change.
[tr. Stewart (1970)]

 
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An elegant Sufficiency, Content,
Retirement, rural Quiet, Friendship, Books,
Ease and alternate Labor, useful Life,
Progressive Virtue, and approving Heaven!

James Thomson
James Thomson (1700-1748) Scottish poet and playwright
The Seasons, “Spring” (1728)
    (Source)

"The matchless joys of virtuous love" in a loving country family.
 
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DAWN, n. The time when men of reason go to bed. Certain old men prefer to rise at about that time, taking a cold bath and a long walk, with an empty stomach, and otherwise mortifying the flesh. They then point with pride to these practices as the cause of their sturdy health and ripe years; the truth being that they are hearty and old, not because of their habits, but in spite of them. The reason we find only robust persons doing this thing is that it has killed all the others who have tried it.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) American writer and journalist
“Dawn,” The Cynic’s Word Book (1906)
    (Source)

Included in The Devil's Dictionary (1911). Originally published in the "Devil's Dictionary" column in the San Francisco Wasp (1881-12-02).
 
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Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water-bugs, tadpoles, frogs, mud-turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb, brooks to wade in, water-lilies, woodchucks, bats, bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hay-fields, pine-cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education.

Luther Burbank
Luther Burbank (1849-1926) American horticulturist
The Training of the Human Plant, ch. 10 “Character” (1907)
    (Source)
 
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The other threat to the security of our tradition, I believe, lies at home. It is the current fear of radical ideas and of people who propound them. I do not agree with extremists of either the left or the right, but I think they should be allowed to speak and to publish, both because they themselves have, and ought to have, rights, and once their rights are gone, the rights of the rest of us are hardly safe.

Jane Jacobs
Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) American-Canadian journalist, author, urban theorist, activist
“No Virtue in Meek Conformity” (1952)
    (Source)

Foreword to her response to a State Department Loyalty Security Board interrogatory (1952-03-25). Reprinted in Vital Little Plans (2016).
 
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LUCY: When young at the Bar you first taught me to score,
And bid me be free of my Lips, and no more;
I was kiss’d by the Parson, the Squire, and the Sot,
When the Guest was departed, the Kiss was forgot.
But his Kiss was so sweet, and so closely he prest,
That I languish’d and pin’d till I granted the rest.

John Gay
John Gay (1685-1732) English poet and playwright
The Beggar’s Opera, Act 3, sc. 1, Air 40 (1728)
    (Source)
 
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You can see how infinitely laborious and fruitless it would be to try to refute every objection they offer, when they have resolved never to think before they speak provided that somehow or other they contradict our arguments.

[Quorum dicta contraria si totiens uelimus refellere, quotiens obnixa fronte statuerint non cogitare quid dicant, dum quocumque modo nostris disputationibus contradicant, quam sit infinitum et aerumnosum et infructuosum uides.]

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Christian church father, philosopher, saint [b. Aurelius Augustinus]
City of God [De Civitate Dei], Book 2, ch. 1 (2.1) (AD 412-416) [tr. Bettenson (1972)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

If we should bind ourselves to give an answer to every contradiction that their impudence will thrust forth (how falsely they care not, for they do but make a show of opposition into our assertions), you see what a trouble it would be, how endless, and how fruitless.
[tr. Healey (1610)]

Now, if we were to propose to confute their objections as often as they with brazen face chose to disregard our arguments, and so often as they could by any means contradict our statements, you see how endless, and fruitless, and painful a task we should be undertaking.
[tr. Dods (1871)]

You can easily see what an endless, wearisome, and fruitless task it would be, if I were to refute all the unconsidered objections of people who pig-headedly contradict everything I say.
[tr. Zema/Walsh (1950)]

If we were bound to refute their objections every time they make their bull-headed resolve not to consider the meaning of their words as long as they deny our arguments, no matter how, you see how endless and wearisome and unprofitable it would be.
[tr. McCracken (Loeb) (1957)]

If we resolved to refute their contrary arguments as often as they resolve obstinately to contradict our reasoning in whatever way they can, without considering the truth of what they say, you see what an infinite and toilsome and fruitless task we should have.
[tr. Dyson (1998)]

So you see how endlessly futile and fruitless it would be if we wanted to refute their objections every time they obstinately resolved not to think through what they say but merely to speak, just so long as they contradict our arguments in any way they can.
[tr. Babcock (2012)]

 
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Yes, it is always the best policy to speak the truth — unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar.

Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927) English writer, humorist [Jerome Klapka Jerome]
Idler Magazine, “The Idler’s Club” column (1892-02)
    (Source)
 
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CAMILLO:My gracious lord,
I may be negligent, foolish, and fearful.
In every one of these no man is free,
But that his negligence, his folly, fear,
Among the infinite doings of the world,
Sometime puts forth. In your affairs, my lord,
If ever I were willful-negligent,
It was my folly; if industriously
I played the fool, it was my negligence,
Not weighing well the end; if ever fearful
To do a thing where I the issue doubted,
Whereof the execution did cry out
Against the non-performance, ’twas a fear
Which oft infects the wisest. These, my lord,
Are such allowed infirmities that honesty
Is never free of.

Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Winter’s Tale, Act 1, sc. 2, l. 310ff (1.2.310-325) (1611)
    (Source)
 
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It is the head that governs men. A kind heart is of no use in a chess game.

[On gouverne les hommes avec la tête. On ne joue pas aux échecs avec un bon cœur.]

Nicolas Chamfort
Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) French writer, epigrammist (b. Nicolas-Sébastien Roch)
Products of Perfected Civilization [Produits de la Civilisation Perfectionée], Part 1 “Maxims and Thoughts [Maximes et Pensées],” ch. 8, ¶ 522 (1795) [tr. Merwin (1969)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

People are governed with the head; kindness of heart is little use in chess.
[tr. Mathers (1926)]

Men are governed using the head. A kind heart is useless in a chess game.
[tr. Dusinberre (1992)]

A person governs men with his head. One does not play chess with goodness of heart.
[tr. Siniscalchi (1994), ¶ 521]

 
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Generally speaking, men are influenced by books which clarify their own thought, which express their own notions well, or which suggest to them ideas which their minds are already predisposed to accept.

Carl L. Becker (1873-1945) American historian
The Declaration of Independence, ch. 2 “Natural Rights Philosophy” (1922)
    (Source)
 
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Why do we get older? Why do our bodies wear out? Why can’t we just go on and on and on, accumulating a potentially infinite number of Frequent Flier mileage points? These are the kinds of questions that philosophers have been asking ever since they realized that being a philosopher did not involve any heavy lifting.
And yet the answer is really very simple: Our bodies are mechanical devices, and like all mechanical devices, they break down. Some devices, such as battery-operated toys costing $39.95, break down almost instantly upon exposure to the Earth’s atmosphere. Other devices, such as stereo systems owned by your next-door neighbor’s 13-year-old son who likes to listen to bands with names like “Nerve Damage” at a volume capable of disintegrating limestone, will continue to function perfectly for many years, even if you hit them with an ax. But the fundamental law of physics is that sooner or later every mechanism ceases to function for one reason or another, and it is never covered under the warranty.

Dave Barry (b. 1947) American humorist
Dave Barry Turns 40, ch. 2 “Your Disintegrating Body” (1990)
    (Source)
 
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But the power
of a man’s will is often powerless:
laughter and tears follow so close upon
the passions that provoke them that the more
sincere the man, the less they obey his will.
 
[Ma non può tutto la virtù che vuole;
ché riso e pianto son tanto seguaci
a la passion di che ciascun si spicca,
che men seguon voler ne’ più veraci.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 2 “Purgatorio,” Canto 21, l. 105ff (21.105-108) (1314) [tr. Musa (1981)]
    (Source)

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

As each alternate Passion leaves a trace
On the still-varying muscles of the face,
Fictitious oft; but, by the candid mind,
Conceal'd with pain, the dawn of dubious joy
My features wore.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 20]

But the power which wills,
Bears not supreme control: laughter and tears
Follow so closely on the passion prompts them,
They wait not for the motions of the will
In natures most sincere.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

But will is not with power entire endued.
Laughter and tears pursue so much the trace
The passion dictates that imprints them there,
Nor follow will in natures most sincere.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

But yet the power that wills cannot do all things;
For tears and laughter are such pursuivants
Unto the passion from which each springs forth,
In the most truthful least the will they follow.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

But virtue cannot all it would; for laughter and tears follow so much the passion from which each springs, that they least obey will in the most truthful men.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

But all it wishes, will cannot forbear:
For smiles and tears to diverse passion wed,
Upon that passion follow so instinct.
In open natures, will is quite outsped.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

But the power that wills cannot do everything; for smiles and tears are such followers on the emotion from which each springs, that in the most truthful they least follow the will.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

But the virtue which wills is not all powerful;
for laughter and tears follow so closely the passion from which each springs, that they least obey the will in the most truthful.
[tr. Okey (1901)]

But the power to will cannot do all, for laughter and tears are so close followers on the passions from which they spring that they least follow the will in the most truthful.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

But all is not done by the will's decree;
For on the passion wherefrom each is bred
Laughter and tears follow so close that least
In the most truthful is the will obeyed.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

But will with us is not made one with power;
Tears, laughter, tread so hard upon the heel
Of their evoking passions, that in those
Who're most sincere they least obey the will.
[tr. Sayers (1955)]

But man's will
is not supreme in every circumstance:
for tears and laughter come so close behind
the passions they arise from, that they least
obey the will of the most honest mind.
[tr. Ciardi (1961)]

But the power that wills cannot do everything; for smiles and tears are such close followers on the emotion from which each springs, that in the most truthful they least follow the will.
[tr. Singleton (1973)]

But virtue cannot do everything that it will;
For laughter and tears follow so closely on
The passions from which they respectively proceed,
That they follow the will least in the most truthful.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

And yet the power of the will cannot do all,
for tears and smiles are both so faithful to
the feelings that have prompted them that true
feeling escapes the will that would subdue.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1982)]

But the power of the will cannot do everything,
for laughter and weeping follow so closely on the passion from which each springs that they follow the will least in those who are most truthful.
[tr. Durling (2003)]

But the virtue that wills is not all-powerful, since laughter and tears follow the passion, from which they spring, so closely, that, in the most truthful, they obey the will least.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

But will power can't do everything it wills.
For tears and laughter follow on so close
to those emotions from which each act springs
that these least follow will in those most true.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2007)]

But the power that wills cannot do all it wills,
for laughter and tears so closely follow feelings
from which they spring, they least can be controlled
in those who are most truthful.
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

But will alone won't stop a human being,
Since laughter and tears are deeply interwoven,
Following hard on emotions which spring them forth,
And when they're truthful have little to do with the will.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

 
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Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.

Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) American writer, professor of literature
(Attributed)

Widely attributed to Campbell, but I cannot find a source in Campbell's works. Citations, when given, are usually to to The Masks of God, vol. 4: Creative Mythology (1968), but repeated searches of the book do not find this text.
 
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I’ve come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:

1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.

2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.

3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English writer
The Salmon of Doubt (2002)
    (Source)
 
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A bitter-tongued parent cannot teach respect for facts. Truth for its own sake can be a deadly weapon in family relations. Truth without compassion can destroy love. Some parents try too hard to prove exactly how, where and why they have been right. This approach will bring bitterness and disappointment. When attitudes are hostile, facts are unconvincing.

Haim Ginott
Haim Ginott (1922-1973) Israeli-American school teacher, child psychologist, psychotherapist [b. Haim Ginzburg]
Between Parent and Teenager, ch. 2 “Rebellion and Response” (1969)
    (Source)

Sometimes mis-cited to the earlier Between Parent and Child (1965).
 
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No man lives without jostling and being jostled; in all ways he has to elbow himself through the world, giving and receiving offense.

Thomas Carlyle
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
“Sir Walter Scott,” London and Westminster Review No. 12 and 55, Art. 2 (1838-01)
    (Source)

A review of Scott's Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Baronet, Vols. 1-6 (1837). Reprinted in Carlyle, Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (1827-1855).
 
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Still you say, the young man has the hope of long life — a hope which the old cannot have. That hope is sheer wishful thinking, for what is more irrational than to count the uncertain as certain, the false as true? But the old man has nothing to look forward to at all. Even so, he is in better sort than the young, for he has obtained what the young only hope for: the young want to live a long life; the old have lived it.

[At sperat adulescens diu se victurum, quod sperare idem senex non potest. Insipienter sperat; quid enim stultius quam incerta pro certis habere, falsa pro veris? At senex ne quod speret quidem habet. At est eo meliore condicione quam adulescens, quoniam id quod ille sperat hic consecutus est: ille volt diu vivere, hic diu vixit.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Senectute [Cato Maior; On Old Age], ch. 19 / sec. 68 (19.68) (44 BC) [tr. Copley (1967)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

But ye may saye that the man adolescent & yong hopith that he shall lyve longe & aftir that a man is olde he may not have such an hope. Therfor I answere you that the yong man hopith foliously if by cause of his yong age he wenith to live long, for he is not certayn therof nor knowith not the trouthe. Now ther is nothyng more foly thene is for to have & holde the doubtuose thyngys as certayn & the fals as true & if ye oppose agenst olde age that the olde man hath nothyng in hym whereby he may hope to lyve more, I answere you, Scipion & Lelius, that by this thyng is bettir the condicion & the astate of the olde man than of the yong man, for the yong man will lyve long & the olde man hath lyved long.
[tr. Worcester/Worcester/Scrope (1481)]

But a young man hopeth to live long, which an old man may not look to do. He truly feedeth himself with a vain and a foolish, hope. For what merer folly can there be, than to accompt and repute things which be doubtful and uncertain, for infallible and certain, and things that are false, for true? An old man hath nothing to hope for; but he is therefore in far better state and case than is a young man, for he hath already enjoyed and obtained that, which the young man doth but hope for. The one desireth to live long, the other hath already lived long.
[tr. Newton (1569)]

But the young man hopes to live long, which the old man cannot. He hopes foolishly; for what is greater folly, then to account uncertain things for certain, false for true? The old man hath nothing to hope for more; therefore he is in better state then the former, seeing that what the other wisheth for, he hath obtained already; the young man would live long, the old man hath lived long.
[tr. Austin (1648), ch. 21]

But vigorous Youth may his gay thoughts erect
To many years, which Age must not expect,
But when he sees his airy hopes deceiv'd,
With grief he saies, who this would have believ'd?
We happier are then they, who but desir'd
To possess that, which we long since acquir'd.
[tr. Denham (1669)]

But Youth, you'll say perhaps, may live in Hopes of Length of Days, when we are deprived even of all Hope. A childish Hope this indeed! To hold Uncertainties for Certainties, and Falsity for Truth! Old Age, you say, has not even Hope for its Relief; but, even in that Respect, is it not far preferable to Youth, in being actually possessed of what the other only hopes for? Long Life is sure on the one side, and only wished for on the other.
[tr. Hemming (1716)]

But the young Man is in Hopes of Living long, which the Old cannot. I must tell him he hopes foolishly; for, can there be a greater Instance of Folly than to make sure of Uncertainties; or embrace Falsities for Truth? The Old Man has nothing more to hope for; then he is in a better State than the Young one, since what this hopes for, the other has already attain'd: The one is in Hopes of Living long, the other has done it.
[tr. J. D. (1744)]

It may however be said, perhaps, that Youth has Room at least to hope they have Length of Life before them, which in Old Men would be vain. But foolish is that Hope: For what can be more absurd, than to build on utter Uncertainties, and account on that for sure, which probably may never happen? And to what is alleged, that the Old Man has no Room lest for Hope, I say, Just so much the happier is his Condition, than that of the Young; because he has already attained, and is sure of what the other only wishes and hopes for: The one wishes to live long, the other is at the End of that Wish, he has got it; for he has lived long already.
[tr. Logan (1744)]

It will be replied, perhaps, that "youth may at least entertain the hope of enjoying many additional years; whereas an old man cannot rationally encourage so pleasing an expectation." But is it not a mark of extreme weakness to rely upon precarious contingencies, and to consider an event as absolutely to take place, which is altogether doubtful and uncertain? But admitting that the young may indulge this expectation with the highest reason, still the advantage evidently lies on the side of the old; as the latter is already in possession of that length of life which the former can only hope to attain.
[tr. Melmoth (1773)]

But a young man hopes that he shall live long; which same thing an old man cannot hope. He hopes absurdly. For what is sillier than to hold uncertainties for certainties, the false for true? An old man has not even what he may hope; but he is by that in a better condition than the young man, since that which the former hopes for, the latter has attained. The former wishes to live long; the latter has lived long.
[Cornish Bros. ed. (1847)]

Yet a young man hopes that he will live a long time, which expectation an old man cannot entertain. His hope is but a foolish one: for what can be more foolish than to regard uncertainties as certainties, delusions as truths? An old man indeed has nothing to hope for; yet he is in so much the happier state than a young one; since he has already attained what the other is only hoping for. The one is wishing to live long, the other has lived long.
[tr. Edmonds (1874)]

But, it is said, the young man hopes to live long, while the old man can have no such hope. The hope, at any rate, is unwise; for what is more foolish than to take things uncertain for certain, false for true? Is it urged that the old man has absolutely nothing to hope? For that very reason he is in a better condition than the young man, because what the youth hopes he has already obtained. The one wishes to live long; the other has lived long.
[tr. Peabody (1884)]

Yes, you will say; but a young man expects to live long; an old man cannot expect to do so. Well, he is a fool to expect it. For what can be more foolish than to regard the uncertain as certain, the false as true? "An old man has nothing even to hope." Ah, but it is just there that he is in a better position than a young man, since what the latter only hopes he has obtained. The one wishes to live long; the other has lived long.
[tr. Shuckburgh (1895)]

But you will say the young
Have hope of life, which is to us denied.
A foolish hope. For what more foolish is
Than where no surety is to think things sure,
Where all is doubtful to believe them fixed?
Granted the old man cannot even hope:
'Tis all the better since he has attained
To what the young man only hopes to gain:
The one desires long life, the other's lived.
[tr. Allison (1916)]

But, you may say, the young man hopes that he will live for a long time and this hope the old man cannot have. Such a hope is not wise, for what is more unwise than to mistake uncertainty for certainty, falsehood for truth? They say, also, that the old man has nothing even to hope for. Yet he is in better case than the young man, since what the latter merely hopes for, the former has already attained; the one wishes to live long, the other has lived long.
[tr. Falconer (1923)]

There is a crucial difference between a young man and an old one: the one hopes for a long life yet to come, and the other knows that his time is nearly up. But a hope is only a hope: what is more foolish than to confuse what is uncertain with what is certain, and what is false with what is true? The young man who lives in a state of great expectations is much worse off than the old man who looks forward to nothing. One can only dream of what the other has accomplished: one wants to live a long time, but the other already has.
[tr. Cobbold (2012)]

But, you say, that is not the point. The point is that a young person can reasonably hope to live a long time and an old one cannot. What an unwise hope. I mean, what is more follish than to value uncertainty above certainty? Look at life this way, what the young person only hopes for (and the hope is uncertain, as we have seen), the old person already has. The one hopes to live a long time, the other has already done so.
[tr. Gerberding (2014)]

But they say a young man hopes in a long lease
Of life while an old man awaits its surcease.
Taking certain for uncertain is a wish,
Like taking false for true, completely foolish.
But, they add, even at the end of the rope
An old man is in a better shape than a young man
For he has already fulfilled his life’s hope.
One wants the long life the other had in full measure,
ut dear gods what is “long” in man’s nature?
[tr. Bozzi (2015)]

But you may argue that young people can hope to live a long time, whereas old people cannot. Such hope is not wise, for what is more foolish than to mistake something certain for what is uncertain, or something false for what is true? You might also say8 that an old man has nothing at all to hope for. But he in fact possesses something better than a young person. For what youth longs for, old age has attained. A young person hopes to have a long life, but an old man has already had one.
[tr. Freeman (2016)]

But the young person hopes to live for a long time, a very hope which the old person cannot hold. They hope unwisely for what is more foolish than to take uncertainty for certainty and falsehood for truth. They claim also that the old person has nothing to hope for. But the elderly are in a better place than the young because the young merely hope for what the elderly have obtained and the one wishes to live long, while the other has already done so.
[tr. @sentantiq (2021)]

 
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My daddy always told me to just do the best you knew how and tell the truth. He said there was nothin to set a man’s mind at ease like wakin up in the morning and not havin to decide who you were.

Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) American novelist, playwright, screenwriter
No Country for Old Men (2007)
    (Source)
 
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Graft your pears, Daphnis, now; your children’s children will enjoy the fruit.

[Insere, Daphni, piros: carpent tua poma nepotes.]

Virgil the Poet
Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
Eclogues [Eclogae, Bucolics, Pastorals], No. 9 “Lycidas and Moeris,” l. 50 (9.50) (42-38 BC) [tr. Rieu (1949)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Daphnis set pears, thy race shall fruit injoy.
[tr. Ogilby (1649)]

Under this influence, graft the tender Shoot;
Thy Childrens Children shall enjoy the Fruit.
[tr. Dryden (1709), ll. 68-69]

Plant, Daphnis, for the rising race thy pears.
[tr. Wrangham (1830), l. 59]

Daphnis, plant thy pear-trees. Posterity shall pluck the fruit of thy plantations.
[tr. Davidson (1854)]

Sow, Daphnis, pears, whereof thy sons shall eat.
[tr. Calverley (c. 1871)]

Engraft your peartrees, Daphnis; your children's children shall enjoy their fruits.
[tr. Wilkins (1873)]

Graft, Daphnis, graft thy trees, nor fear
Thy sons shall all the produce share.
[tr. King (1882), ll. 897-898]

You may graft new rows
Of pears; your progeny will shake the boughs.
[tr. Palmer (1883)]

Now, the pears;
so shall your children's children pluck their fruit.
[tr. Greenough (1895)]

Daphnis, plant your pear-trees. Posterity will pluck the fruit due to your care.
[tr. Bryce (1897)]

Engraft thy pear-trees, Daphnis; thy children's children shall pluck their fruit.
[tr. Mackail (1899)]

Now, Daphnis, graft
Thy pear trees, that thy children's children may
Eat of their fruit.
[tr. Mackail/Cardew (1908)]

Go, Daphnis, graft thy pears!
Sons of thy sons shall gather them in joy.
[tr. Williams (1915)]

Graft you pears, Daphnis; your children’s children shall gather the fruits you have sown.
[tr. Fairclough (Loeb) (1916)]

Daphnis, engraft thy pears, for thee, thy sons,
And their seed after them.
[tr. Royds (1922)]

Daphnis, graft you pears; your children's children
Shall pluck them in peace.
[tr. Johnson (1960)]

Daphnis, graft your pears now: your sons’ sons will enjoy them.
[tr. Day Lewis (1963)]

Daphnis, plant your pear trees ... years from now
The children of your children will gather the pears ...
[tr. Ferry (1999)]

Graft
your pears, Daphnis: your grandchildren will gather their fruit.
[tr. Kline (2001)]
 
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The time is passed when you could have a happy minority living upon the misery of the great mass. That time is passed. People won’t acquiesce in it, and you will have to learn to put up with the knowledge that your neighbor is also happy, if you want to be happy yourself. I think, if people are wisely educated, they will have a more expansive nature and will find no difficulty in allowing the happiness of others as a necessary condition of their own.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
Interview by Woodrow Wyatt, BBC TV (1959)

Collected in Bertrand Russell's BBC Interviews (1959) [UK] and Bertrand Russell Speaks His Mind (1960) [US].
 
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What Nature wants, commodious Gold bestows,
‘Tis thus we eat the bread another sows:
But how unequal it bestows, observe,
‘Tis thus we riot, while who sow it, starve.
What Nature wants (a phrase I much distrust)
Extends to Luxury, extends to Lust;
And if we count among the Needs of life
Another’s Toil, why not another’s Wife?
Useful, we grant, it serves what life requires,
But dreadful too, the dark Assassin hires:
Trade it may help, Society extend;
But lures the Pyrate, and corrupts the Friend:
It raises Armies in a nation’s aid,
But bribes a Senate, and the Land’s betray’d.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Epistle to Allen, Lord Bathurst: Of the Use of Riches” (1733), Moral Essays, Epistle 3 (1735)
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To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Mary Oliver (1935-2019) American poet
“In Blackwater Woods,” American Primitive (1983)
    (Source)

Originally published in Yankee Magazine.
 
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One single grateful thought towards heaven, is the most perfect prayer!

[Ein einziger dankbarer Gedanke gen Himmel ist das vollkommenste Gebet!]

Gotthold Lessing (1729-1781) German playwright, philosopher, dramaturg, writer
Minna von Barnhelm, Act 2, sc. 7 [Minna] (1763) [tr. Holroyd/Bell (1888)]
    (Source)

(Source (German)). Alternate translation:

A single grateful thought toward heaven is the most perfect prayer.
[Source (1884)]

 
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Elizabeth, feeling all the more than common awkwardness and anxiety of his situation, now forced herself to speak; and immediately, though not very fluently, gave him to understand that her sentiments had undergone so material a change, since the period to which he alluded, as to make her receive with gratitude and pleasure his present assurances. The happiness which this reply produced, was such as he had probably never felt before; and he expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do.

Jane Austen
Jane Austen (1775-1817) English novelist
Pride and Prejudice, ch. 58 (1813)
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There is nothing as easy as denouncing. It don’t take much to see that something is wrong, but it does take some eyesight to see what will put it right again.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
“Weekly Article” column (1935-07-28)
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According to Oscar Wilde, all that experience teaches us is that history repeats itself, and that the sin we do once and with loathing we will do many times and with pleasure. But the neurotic knows that the sin he does once and with loathing he will do many times and with loathing.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 8 (1963)
    (Source)

See Wilde.
 
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All that [experience] really demonstrated was that our future would be the same as our past, and that the sin we had done once, and with loathing, we would do many times, and with joy.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 4 (1891)
    (Source)

The passage also occurs in ch. 3 of the original Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (1890-06) version.

As extracted into Oscariana and epigram form (e.g.), it is given in the present tense:

All that it really demonstrates is that our future will be the same as our past, and that the sin we have done once, and with loathing, we shall do many times, and with joy.

 
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For most men (till by losing rendered sager)
Will back their own opinions by a wager.

Lord Byron
George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
“Beppo,” st. 27 (1818)
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An elegant writer has observed, that wit may do very well for a mistress, but that he should prefer reason for a wife. He that deserts the latter, and gives himself up entirely to the guidance of the former, will certainly fall into many pitfalls and quagmires, like him, who walks by flashes of lightning, rather than by the steady beams of the sun.

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer, aphorist
Lacon: Or, Many Things in Few Words, Vol. 1, § 71 (1820)
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