gustave dore purgatorio 33.136Reader, had I the space to write at will,
I should, if only briefly, sing a praise
of that sweet draught. Would I were drinking still!
But I have filled all the pages planned
for this, my second, canticle, and Art
pulls at its iron bit with iron hand.

[S’io avessi, lettor, più lungo spazio
da scrivere, i’ pur cantere’ in parte
lo dolce ber che mai non m’avria sazio;
ma perché piene son tutte le carte
ordite a questa cantica seconda,
non mi lascia più ir lo fren de l’arte.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 2 “Purgatorio,” Canto 33, l. 136ff (3.136-141) (1314) [tr. Ciardi (1961)]
    (Source)

On drinking from the Eunoë, Dante gets meta, breaking the Fourth Wall and, having self-imposed limits on the number of cantos per book and lines in each canto, he uses "Art" as an excuse to draw toward a conclusion.

On the other hand, Sayers notes that Dante "is almost unique among medieval writers" in restraining his writing: "one of the reasons for his enduring readableness."

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

If breath and vigour, by indulgent Heav'n,
To sing this bev'rage of the Gods were giv'n,
What holy rapture would exalt my Song!
To tell the unexhausted sweets that flow
From that blest Fountain o'er the Vale below.
And warm, with new desire, the votive Throng!
But now the Muse has run her fatal round,
And mark'd her Circle to the Second Bound.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 26-27]

Were further space allow’d,
Then, Reader, might I sing, though but in part,
That beverage, with whose sweetness I had ne’er
Been sated. But, since all the leaves are full,
Appointed for this second strain, mine art
With warning bridle checks me.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

Reader, had I but longer space to write,
I might describe to thee, in part, the taste
Of draught that's ever sweet, nor waste
The time; but leaves are all already full
Appointed for the second canticle,
Nor curb nor rein permit me use the will.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

If, Reader, I possessed a longer space
For writing it, I yet would sing in part
Of the sweet draught that ne'er would satiate me;
But inasmuch as full are all the leaves
Made ready for this second canticle,
The curb of art no farther lets me go.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

If I had, reader, longer space to write, I should sing, at all events in part, the sweet draught which never would have sated me; but, for that all the sheets put in frame for this second Canticle are full, the bridle of my art lets me go no further.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

Reader, if longer space to me were rated
For writing, I would strive to sing in part
That draught so sweet, which never could have sated.
But since is now completely filled the chart
Allotted for this second book, there leaves
No power to wander more the curb of Art.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

If I had, Reader, longer space for writing I would yet partly sing the sweet draught which never would have sated me. But, because all the leaves destined for this second canticle are full, the curb of my art lets me go no further.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

If, reader, I had greater space for writing, I would sing, at least in part, of the sweet draught which never would have sated me;
but forasmuch as all the pages ordained for this second canticle are filled, the curb of art no further lets me go.
[tr. Okey (1901)]

If, reader, I had more space to write I should sing but in part the sweet draught which never would have sated me; but since all the sheets prepared for this second cantica are full the curb of art does not let me go farther.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

If, Reader, for the writing were more space,
That sweet fount, whence I ne'er could drink my fill,
Would I yet sing, though in imperfect praise.
But seeing that for this second canticle
The paper planned is full to the last page,
The bridle of art must needs constrain my will.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

If for my writing, Reader, I'd more space,
I'd sing -- at least in part -- those sweets my heart
Might aye have drunk nor e'er known weariness;
But since I've filled the pages set apart
For this my second cantique, I'll pursue
No further, bridled by the curb of art.
[tr. Sayers (1955)]

If, reader, I had greater space for writing
I would yet partly sing the sweet draught
which never would have sated me.
but since all the pages ordained
for this second canticle are filled,
the curb of art lets me go no further.
[tr. Singleton (1973)]

Reader, if I had space to write more words,
I'd sing, at least in part, of that sweet draught
which never could have satisfied my thirst;
But now I have completed every page
planned for my poem's second canticle --
I am checked by the bridle of my art!
[tr. Musa (1981)]

If, reader, I had room to write more,
My poem could still not tell you everything
About the sweet drink of which I could never have had enough.
But since all the pages designed for this
Second part of the poem have been filled,
The rules of art stop me at this point.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

If, reader, I had ampler space in which
to write, I'd sing -- though incompletely -- that
sweet draught for which my thirst was limitless;
but since all of the pages pre-disposed
for this, the second canticle, are full,
the curb of art will not let me continue.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1982)]

Reader, if I had more space to write, I would speak, partially at least, about that sweet drink, which would never have sated me: but because all the pages determined for the second Canticle are full, the curb of art lets me go no further.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

If, reader, I had more space to write, I would continue to sing in part the sweet drink that could never satiate me,
but because all the pages are filled that have been laid out for this second canticle, the bridle of art permits me to go no further.
[tr. Durling (2003)]

If, reader, I'd more space in which to write,
then I should sing in part about that drink,
so sweet I’d never have my fill of it.
However, since these pages now are full,
prepared by rights to take the second song,
the reins of art won't let me pass beyond.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2007)]

If, reader, I had more ample space to write,
I should sing at least in part the sweetness
of the drink that never would have sated me,
but, since all the sheets
readied for this second canticle are full,
the curb of art lets me proceed no farther.
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

O reader, if I had the space to tell you
More, I'd sing something about that sweetest
Drink, no quantity of which could ever
End my thirst, but because the pages meant
For this canto are already filled, my art prevents me,
Affirming limits I am forced to meet.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

 
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A grimy fly can soil the entire wall and a small, dirty little act can ruin the entire proceedings.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860-1904) Russian playwright and writer
Letter (1883-03-26) to A. N. Kanaev

Widely attributed to Chekhov, with this citation, but I am unable to find a reference in various collections of Chekhov's letters.
 
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Like a trained surgeon who is careful where he cuts, parents, too, need to become skilled in the use of words. Because words are like knives. They can inflict, if not physical, many painful emotional wounds.

Haim Ginott
Haim Ginott (1922-1973) Israeli-American school teacher, child psychologist, psychotherapist [b. Haim Ginzburg]
Between Parent and Child, Introduction (2003 ed.) [with A. Ginott and H. W. Goddard]
    (Source)
 
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Mystical explanations are considered deep; the truth is, they are not even shallow.

[Die mystischen Erklärungen gelten für tief; die Wahrheit ist, dass sie noch nicht einmal oberflächlich sind.]

nietzsche mystical explanations are considered deep the truth is they are not even shallow wist.info quote

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
The Gay Science [Die fröhliche Wissenschaft], Book 3, § 126 (1882) [tr. Nauckhoff (2001)]
    (Source)

Also known as La Gaya Scienza, The Joyful Wisdom, or The Joyous Science.

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

Mystical explanations are regarded as profound; the truth is that they do not even go the length of being superficial.
[tr. Common (1911)]

Mystical explanations are considered deep. The truth is that they are not even superficial.
[tr. Kaufmann (1974)]

Mystical explanations are considered deep; the truth is they are not even shallow.
[tr. Hill (2018)]

 
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Where this will end? In the Abyss, one may prophecy; whither all Delusions are, at all moments, traveling; where this Delusion has now arrived. For if there be a Faith, from of old, it is this, as we often repeat, that no Lie can live for ever. The very Truth has to change its vesture, from time to time; and be born again. But all Lies have sentence of death written down against them, and Heaven’s Chancery itself; and, slowly or fast, advance incessantly towards their hour.

Thomas Carlyle
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
The French Revolution: A History, Part 1, Book 6, ch. 3 (1.6.3) (1837)
    (Source)

Carlyle is speaking of the delusion that the wealthy and land-owners of pre-Revolutionary France could forever oppress their tenants with taxes and rent without finally driving them to bloody revolution.

A core phrase here was latched onto by Martin Luther King, Jr., who incorporated it as standard fare in his speeches in the mid- and late 1960s.

We shall overcome, because Carlyle is right, "No lie can live forever."
[Examples: 1, 2, 3, 4]

 
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If anything does happen to me, I shall fall with a contented and prepared mind; and, indeed, death cannot be disgraceful to a brave man, nor premature to one of consular rank, nor miserable to a wise man.

[Si quid obtigerit, aequo animo paratoque moriar. nam neque turpis1mors forti viro potest accidere neque immatura consulari nec misera sapienti.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Orationes in Catilinam [Catilinarian Orations], No. 4, § 2, cl. 3 (4.2.3) (63-12-05 BC) [tr. Yonge (1856), 4.3]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

if any thing should fall out amiss, I shall be contented and ready to die: For Death can never come dishonourable to a Valiant Person, nor untimely to him that is Consular, nor unfortunate to a Wise man.
[tr. Wase (1671), 4.3]

If I am doomed to fall a sacrifice in your cause, I am resigned to my fate. To a well-prepared spirit death can never be dishonourable; to a consul never premature; to a wise man it never can be an evil.
[tr. Sydney (1795)]

If anything shall happen to me, I shall die with a mind contented and prepared. For neither can a disgraceful death happen to a brave man, nor an untimely one to a man of consular rank, nor a wretched one to a wise man.
[tr. Mongan (1879), 4.2]

If any (thing) shall have befallen, I shall die with an equal and prepared mind. For neither a base death is able to happen to a brave man, nor an immature (death) to a consular (man), nor a wretched (death) to a wise man.
[tr. Underwood (1885), 4.2]

If any (thing) shall have befallen, I shall die with an equal [a calm] and prepared mind. For neither a base death is able to happen to a brave man, nor an immature (one) to a consular (man), nor a wretched (one) to a wise (man).
[tr. Dewey (1916), 4.2]

Death cannot be dishonorable to the brave man, or premature to him who has held high office, or lamentable to the philosopher.
[Source]

 
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Imagination is a good servant, and a bad master.

Agatha Christie (1890-1976) English writer
The Mysterious Affair at Styles, ch. 5 [Poirot] (1916, pub. 1920)
    (Source)

Poirot, chiding Hastings' unfounded speculations.
 
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There is nothing I hate more than haggling. It is simply a petty and brazen business: Two parties will negotiate and argue for an hour only to walk away from what they have solemnly agreed to over five pennies’ worth of overcharge.

[Il n’est rien que je haysse comme à marchander : c’est un pur commerce de trichoterie et d’impudence. Apres une heure de debat et de barguignage, l’un et l’autre abandonne sa parolle et ses sermens pour cinq sous d’amendement.]

Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) French essayist
Essays, Book 1, ch. 14 “The Taste of Good and Bad Things Depends Mostly on the Opinion We Have of Them [Que le goust des biens et des maux despend en bonne partie de l’opinion que nous en avons]” (1572) (1.14) (1595) [tr. HyperEssays (2023)]
    (Source)

Though this chapter was written around 1572 for the 1580 edition, this text was added for the 1588 edition. The chapter as a whole was numbered ch. 14 in the 1580 and 1588 editions, moved to ch. 40 for the 1595 ed. Most modern translations use the original numbering.

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

There is nothing I hate more then driving of bargains: It is a meere commerce of dodging and impudencie. After an houres debating and paltring, both parties will goe from their wordes and oathes for the getting or saving of a shilling.
[tr. Florio (1603), ch. 40]

There is nothing I hate so much, as driving a Bargain; ’tis a meer Traffick of Couzenage and Impudence; where after an Hours cheapning and dogding, both Parties abandon their Word and Oath for Five Sols profit, or abatement.
[tr. Cotton (1686), ch. 40]

There is nothing I hate so much as driving a bargain; 'tis a mere traffic of cozenage and impudence, where, after an hour's cheapening and hesitating, both parties abandon their word and oath for five sols' abatement.
[tr. Cotton/Hazlitt (1877), ch. 40]

There is nothing that I hate so much as haggling; it is a mere interchange of cheating and impudence. Afer an hour of wrangling and chaffering, one and the other side sacrifices his word and his oaths for a charge of five sous.
[tr. Ives (1925)]

There is nothing I hate like bargaining. It is a pure interchange of trickery and shamelessness: after an hour of disputing and haggling both men go back on their word and their oath for a gain of five sous.
[tr. Frame (1943)]

There is nothing I hate more than bargaining. It is a pure exchange of trickery and effrontery: after hours of arguing and haggling both sides go back on their pledged word to gain a few pence more.
[tr. Screech (1987)]

 
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He was not a strong-minded man; but he had one quality which is almost as valuable a safeguard against temptation as strength of mind — namely, timidity.

f anstey
F. Anstey (1856-1934) English novelist and journalist (pseud. of Thomas Anstey Guthrie)
Tourmalin’s Time Cheques, Prologue (1885)
    (Source)
 
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But now in the shadows
It goes to the bourne
Of Orcus remorseless
Whence none may return.

[Qui nunc it per iter tenebricosum
Illuc unde negant redire quemquam.]

gaius valerius catullus
Catullus (c. 84 BC – c. 54 BC) Latin poet [Gaius Valerius Catullus]
Carmina # 3 “Death of the Sparrow,” ll. 11-12 [tr. Wright (1926), st. 4]
    (Source)

Referring to the fate of his beloved Lesbia's beloved sparrow.

See also Shakepeare, Hamlet, Art 3, ll. 86-88.

Death,
That undiscover'd country, from whose bourn
No traveler returns.

There is no particular evidence that Shakespeare ever read Catullus, but other ancients (e.g., Seneca) quoted these lines from this Carmina. At the same time, post-Shakespearean translators may have been themselves influenced by the Bard's lines in their translations.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Poor bird! who now that darksome bourn
Hast pass'd, whence none can e'er return.
[tr. Nott (1795), ll. 13-14]

He now that gloomy path must trace,
Whence Fate permits return to none.
[tr. Lamb (1821), st. 3]

Now he treads that gloomy track,
Whence none ever may come back.
[tr. T. Martin (1861)]

Now to that dreary bourn
Whence none can e'er return,
Poor little sparrow wings his weary flight.
[tr. Cranstoun (1867)]

Now he wendeth along the mirky pathway,
Whence, they tell us, is hopeless all returning.
[tr. Ellis (1871)]

Now he has gone to that dark place,
Whose dismal pathway none retrace.
[tr. Bliss (1872)]

Now must he wander o'er the darkling way
Thither, whence life-return the Fates denay.
[tr. Burton (1893)]

Now it fares along that path of shadows from where nothing may ever return.
[tr. Smithers (1894)]

Now, hs pretty doings o'er,
His little soul goes darkling whither all
Must go, and, going, may return no more.
[tr. Harman (1897)]

Now he goes along the dark road, thither whence they say no one returns.
[tr. Warre Cornish (1904)]

The wee thing’s gane the shadowy road
That’s never traveled back by ony:
[tr. Davies (1912)]

Now he travels the path of shadows, to that place, whence all men agree there is no return.
[tr. Stuttaford (1912)]

Now does it seek the darksome way,
Whence none return nor message bring.
[tr. Stewart (1915), st. 4]

Now he's journeying through the eternal
Darkness, to the relentless shades.
[tr. Symons-Jeune (1923), st. 4]

And now he journeys whence they say
No steps retrace the darkling way.
[tr. MacNaghten (1925)]

Now he is gone; poor creature,
lost in darkness,
to a sad place
from which no one returns.
[tr. Gregory (1931), st. 3]

Who now? It's hard to walk through tenebrous flume
down there, where it is granted not one comes back.
[tr. Zukofsky (1959)]

It now flits off on its way, goes, gloom-laden
down to where -- word is -- there is no returning.
[tr. C. Martin (1979)]

Who now goes through that gloomy journey
from whence they denied anyone returns.
[tr. Sullivan (1997)]

Now he goes down the shadowy road
from which they say no one returns.
[tr. Kline (2001)]

Now he's traveling on that dark-shroud journey whence, they tell us, none of the departed ever returns.
[tr. Green (2005)]

It now goes through the dark journey
to that place from where they deny that anyone returns.
[tr. Wikibooks (2017)]

He who now goes through the shadowy journey
thither, whence they deny that anyone returns.
[tr. Wikisource (2018)]

 
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In truth, poverty is an anomaly to rich people. It is very difficult to make out why people who want dinner do not ring the bell.

Walter Bagehot (1826-1877) British businessman, essayist, journalist
“The Waverley Novels,” National Review (1858-04)
    (Source)

A review of Sir Walter Scott's very popular and lengthy book series of that name, which includes his (today) most famous, Ivanhoe.
 
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I don’t think he had known much demonstrative love in his childhood and what a child doesn’t receive he can seldom later give.

P. D. James (1920-2014) British mystery writer [Phyllis Dorothy James White]
Time To Be in Earnest: A Fragment of Autobiography, “Diary 1997” (1999)
    (Source)

Writing of her father. Often just the last half of this quote is given ("What a child ...").
 
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It may be that everything we do is determined by some grand unified theory. If that theory has determined that we shall die by hanging, then we shall not drown. But you would have to be awfully sure that you were destined for the gallows to put to sea in a small boat during a storm. I have noticed that even people who claim that everything is predestined and that we can do nothing to change it look before they cross the road. Maybe it’s just that those who don’t look don’t survive to tell the tale.

Stephen Hawking (1942-2018) English physicist, author
“Is Everything Determined?” lecture, Sigma Club Seminar, Cambridge University (1990-04)
    (Source)

Reprinted in Black Holes and Baby Universes, and Other Essays, ch. 12 (1994). Hawking's thesis that the universe is actually deterministic, but too complex to be predictable, so acting as though free will exists is useful socially and, like fluid dynamics equations, satisfactory for most purposes.
 
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It’s a good thing when a man is different from your image of him. It shows he isn’t a type. If he were, it would be the end of him as a man. But if you can’t place him in a category, it means that at least a part of him is what a human being ought to be. He has risen above himself, he has a grain of immortality.

Boris Pasternak - grain of immortality - wist_info

Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator
Doctor Zhivago [До́ктор Жива́го], Part 2, ch. 9 “Varykino,” sec. 4 [Yuri] (1955) [tr. Hayward & Harari (1958), US ed.]
    (Source)

Alternate translations:

It’s a good thing when a man is different from your image of him. It shows he isn’t a type. If he were, it would be the end of him as a man. But if you can’t place him in a category, it means that at least a part of him is what a human being ought to be. He has a grain of immortality.
[tr. Hayward & Harari (1958), UK ed.]

It’s good when a man deceives your expectations, when he doesn’t correspond to the preconceived notion of him. To belong to a type is the end of a man, his condemnation. If he doesn’t fall under any category, if he’s not representative, half of what’s demanded of him is there. He’s free of himself, he has achieved a grain of immortality.
[tr. Pevear & Volokhonsky (2010)]

 
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ORSINA: Better counsel comes overnight.
 
[Besserer Rat kommt über Nacht.]

Gotthold Lessing (1729-1781) German playwright, philosopher, dramaturg, writer
Emilia Galotti, Act 4, sc. 3 (1772)

It is unclear if this is a traditional German saying, or was coined by Lessing. There are parallels in other languages (as well as German), but I did not find a German reference in these words that predates this play.

(Source (German))

Better counsel comes with the night.
[Source (1842)]

Morning brings better counsel.
[tr. Lewes/Taylor (1890)]

Better counsel often comes by night.
[tr. Gode-von Aesch (1959?)]

 
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Everything has been said, and we have come too late, now that men have been living and thinking for seven thousand years and more.
 
[Tout est dit, et l’on vient trop tard depuis plus de sept mille ans qu’il y a des hommes qui pensent.]

Jean de La Bruyere
Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
The Characters [Les Caractères], ch. 1 “Of Works of the Mind [Des Ouvrages de l’Esprit],” § 1 (1.1) (1688) [tr. Stewart (1970)]
    (Source)

Opening line of the book. La Bruyère's timeline is that of medieval scholars who calculated, from the Bible, that the age of the world to be only several thousand years old.

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

We are come too late, after above seven thousand years that there have been men, and men have thought, to say any thing which has not been said already.
[Bullord ed. (1696)]

After above seven thousand Years, that there have been Men, and Men have thought, we come too late to say any thing which has not been said already.
[Curll ed. (1713)]

We are come too late, by several thousand Years, to say any thing new in Morality.
[Browne ed. (1752)]

After above seven thousand years, during which there have been men who have thought, we come too late to say anything that has not been said already.
[tr. Van Laun (1885)]

 
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In the fields of observation, chance favors only the prepared mind.

[Dans les champs de l’observation, le hasard ne favorise que les espirits préparés.]

louis pasteur
Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) French chemist, pharmacist, microbiologist
Speech, as new Dean of Science, University of Lille, France (1854-12-07)
    (Source)

Often misattributed to Ansel Adams. It was, though, Adams' favorite aphorism, which he usually paraphrased as to "Chance favors the prepared mind."
 
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Whoever too precipitately yields
To anger, shall find sorrow at the last:
For wrath unbridled oft deceives mankind.

[Οργή γάρ όστις ευθέως χαρίζεται ,
Κακώς τελευτά πλείστα γάρ σφάλλει βρoτούς .]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Æolus [Αἴολος], frag. 31 (TGF) [tr. Wodhull (1809)]
    (Source)

Nauck frag. 31, Barnes frag. 62, Musgrave frag.3. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translation:

Whoever yields to anger suffers a piteous end.
[Source]

 
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Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball, the rules and realities of the game — and do it by watching first some high school or small-town teams.

jacques barzun
Jacques Barzun (1907-2012) French-American historian, educator, polymath
God’s Country and Mine, Part 2, ch. 8 (1954)
    (Source)
 
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Advanced cultures are usually sophisticated enough, or have been sophisticated enough at some point in their pasts, to realize that foxes shouldn’t be relied on to guard henhouses.

Jane Jacobs
Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) American-Canadian journalist, author, urban theorist, activist
Dark Age Ahead, ch. 6 (2004)
    (Source)

On business regulation, versus self-policing.
 
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You are always new. The last of your kisses was ever the sweetest; the last smile the brightest; the last movement the gracefullest.

John Keats (1795-1821) English poet
Letter to Fanny Brawne (1820-03)
    (Source)
 
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We recognize too that beasts have sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, often more keenly than we have. Or take strength, vigour, muscular power, swift and easy movement of the body, in all of which we excel some of them, equal some, and are surpassed by some. We are certainly in a common class with the beasts; every action of animal life is concerned with seeking bodily pleasure and avoiding pain.

[Videre autem atque audire, et olfactu, gustu, tactu corporalia sentire posse bestias, et acrius plerasque quam nos, cernimus et fatemur. Adde vires et valentiam firmitatemque membrorum, et celeritates facillimosque corporis motus, quibus omnibus quasdam earum superamus, quibusdam aequamur, a nonnullis etiam vincimur. Genus tamen ipsum rerum est nobis certe commune cum belluis: jam vero appetere voluptates corporis, et vitare molestias, ferinae vitae omnis actio est.]

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Christian church father, philosopher, saint [b. Aurelius Augustinus]
On Free Choice of the Will [De Libero Arbitrio Voluntatis], Book 1, ch. 8 / sec. 18 (1.8.18) (AD 288) [tr. Mark Pontifex (1955)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Furthermore, beasts see, hear, and can perceive corporeal things by touch, taste, and smell more keenly than we. Add to this energy, power, strength of limb, speed, and agility of bodily motion. In all of these faculties we excel some, equal others, and to some are inferior. Things of this sort we clearly share with beasts. Indeed, to seek the pleasures of the body and to avoid harm constitute the entire activity of a beast's life.
[tr. Benjamin/Hackstaff (1964), ch. 8, sec. 62]

We recognize and acknowledge that animals can see and hear, and can sense material objects by touch, taste, and smell, often better than we can. Consider also strength, health, and bodily vigor, ease and swiftness of motion. In all of these respects we are superior to some animals, equal to others, and inferior to quite a few. Yet we have these sorts of traits in common with animals, though life of the lower animals consists entirely in the pursuit of physical pleasures and the avoidance of pains.
[tr. Williams (1993)]

 
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We take all things in a minor key as we grow older. There are few majestic passages in the later acts of life’s opera. Ambition takes a less ambitious aim. Honor becomes more reasonable and conveniently adapts itself to circumstances. And love — love dies. “Irreverence for the dreams of youth” soon creeps like a killing frost upon our hearts. The tender shoots and the expanding flowers are nipped and withered, and of a vine that yearned to stretch its tendrils round the world there is left but a sapless stump.

Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927) English writer, humorist [Jerome Klapka Jerome]
Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, “On Being In Love” (1886)
    (Source)

The quoted line is from Longfellow, "The Ladder of St. Augustine."
 
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BALTHAZAR: Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
Men were deceivers ever,
One foot in sea and one on shore,
To one thing constant never.
Then sigh not so, but let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into Hey, nonny nonny.

Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Much Ado About Nothing, Act 2, sc. 3, l. 64ff (2.3.64-71) (1598)

"Hey, nonny nonny" was a nonsense refrain popular in English music during the Elizabethan era; in context here, it means stop grieving over the guy that dumped you and put that effort instead into some merry-making and song. Music historian Ross Duffin believes the form of Balthazar's tune fits a popular song of the Tudor period, "The Lusty Gallant."
 
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Every day I add to the list of things I refuse to discuss. The wiser the man, the longer the list.

[Tous les jours j’accrois la liste des choses dont je ne parle plus. Le plus philosophe est celui dont la liste est la plus longue.]

Nicolas Chamfort
Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) French writer, epigrammist (b. Nicolas-Sébastien Roch)
Products of Perfected Civilization [Produits de la Civilisation Perfectionnée], Part 2 “Characters and Anecdotes [Caractères et Anecdotes],” ch. 7 (1795) [tr. Parmée (2003)]
    (Source)

Quoting someone reacting to a request to expound on "various public and private abuses" he had received.

(Source (French)). Alternate translation:

Every day I add to the list of things which I will no longer discuss. The more of a philosopher one is, the longer one's list.
[tr. Merwin (1969)]

 
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A good education is not so much one which prepares a man to succeed in the world, as one which enables him to sustain a failure.

bernard iddings bell
Bernard Iddings Bell (1886-1958) American author, Episcopal priest, chaplain, academic, lecturer
“Know How vs. Know Why,” Life Magazine (1950-10-16)
    (Source)
 
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A toddling little girl is a centre of common feeling which makes the most dissimilar people understand each other.

George Eliot (1819-1880) English novelist [pseud. of Mary Ann Evans]
Scenes of Clerical Life, “Janet’s Repentance,” ch. 8 (1857)
    (Source)
 
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Yes, I am personally the victim of deferred dreams, of blasted hopes, but in spite of that I close today by saying I still have a dream, because, you know, you can’t give up in life. If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
“A Christmas Sermon on Peace,” Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta (1967-12-24)
    (Source)

Broadcast by CBC Radio as the final of King's Massey Lectures, "Conscience for Change." Collected in Conscience for Change, republished after his assassination as The Trumpet of Conscience (1968).
 
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I want to visit Memory Lane, I don’t want to live there.

letty pogregin
Letty Cottin Pogrebin (b. 1939) American author, journalist, lecturer, social activist
Deborah, Golda, and Me, ch. 1 (1991)
    (Source)
 
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Standing up to your government can mean standing up for your country.

Bill Moyers
Bill Moyers (b. 1934) American journalist and public commentator
Closing comments, NOW (PBS) (2003-02-28)
    (Source)

Regarding patriotism and opposition to the impending war in Iraq. Moyers quoted the comments in a speech to National Conference for Media Reform (St Louis) (2005-05-15); the phrase is often cited to that occasion.
 
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Conversation is but carving;
Carve for all, yourself is starving:
Give no more to every Guest,
Than he’s able to digest;
Give him always of the Prime;
And but little at a Time.
Carve to all but just enough:
Let them neither starve nor stuff:
And, that you may have your Due,
Let your Neighbours carve for you.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
“An Epistle to a Lady Who Desired the Author to Write Some Verses Upon Her in the Heroic Style,” ll. 123-132 (1732)
    (Source)

Often rendered with the first line ending in an exclamation point, and the second line missing.
 
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Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have someone to divide it with.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Following the Equator, ch. 48, epigraph (1897)
    (Source)
 
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Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894) American poet, essayist, scholar
“The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table,” Atlantic Monthly (1857-12)
    (Source)

Collected in The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, ch. 2 (1858).
 
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Do not, on a rainy day, ask your child what he feels like doing, because I assure you that what he feels like doing, you won’t feel like watching.

Fran Lebowitz (b. 1950) American journalist
Social Studies, “Parental Guidance” (1981)
    (Source)
 
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The body is an instrument which only gives off music when it is used as a body. Always an orchestra, and just as music traverses walls, so sensuality traverses the body and reaches up to ecstasy.

Anaïs Nin (1903-1977) Catalan-Cuban-French author, diarist
Diary (1935-04)
    (Source)
 
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I could no longer reconcile the claims of faith with the facts of life. In particular, I could no longer explain how there can be a good and all-powerful God actively involved with this world, given the state of things. For many people who inhabit this planet, life is a cesspool of misery and suffering. I came to a point where I simply could not believe that there is a good and kindly disposed Ruler who is in charge of it.

Bart Ehrman
Bart D. Ehrman (b. 1955) American Biblical scholar, author
God’s Problem, ch. 1 (2008)
    (Source)
 
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It is bad when a married pair bore each other, but far worse when only one of them bores the other.

[Es ist schlimm, wenn zwei Eheleute einander langweilen, viel schlimmer jedoch ist es, wenn nur Einer von ihnen den Andern langweilt.]

Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830-1916) Austrian writer
Aphorisms [Aphorismen], No. 283 (1880) [tr. Wister (1883)]
    (Source)

(Source (German)). Alternate translation:

It's bad enough when married people bore one another; but it's far worse when only one of them bores the other.
[tr. Scrase/Mieder (1994)]

 
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Piglet took Pooh’s arm, in case Pooh was frightened.

A. A. Milne (1882-1956) English poet and playwright [Alan Alexander Milne]
House at Pooh Corner, ch. 4 “Tiggers Don’t Climb Trees” (1928)
    (Source)
 
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Oh cat; I’d say, or pray: be-ooootiful cat! Delicious cat! Exquisite cat! Satiny cat! Cat like a soft owl, cat with paws like moths, jeweled cat, miraculous cat! Cat, cat, cat, cat.

Doris Lessing (1919-2013) British author, biographer, playwright [b. Doris May Tayler]
Particularly Cats, ch. 5 (1967)
    (Source)
 
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I lay it down as a general rule, Harriet, that if a woman doubts as to whether she should accept a man or not, she certainly ought to refuse him. If she can hesitate as to ‘Yes,’ she ought to say ‘No’ directly.

Jane Austen
Jane Austen (1775-1817) English author
Emma, Vol. 1, ch. 7 [Emma] (1816)
    (Source)
 
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Firmness in decision is often merely a form of stupidity. It indicates an inability to think the same thing out twice.

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
A Little Book in C Major, ch. 5, § 30 (1916)
    (Source)

Variant:

FIRMNESS: A form of stupidity: proof of an inability to think the same thing out twice.
[A Book of Burlesques, "The Jazz Webster" (1924)]

 
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It’s great to be great but it’s great to be human.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
“Daily Telegrams” column (1930-02-28)
    (Source)
 
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For the happiest life, rigorously plan your days, leave your nights open to chance.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 4 (1966)
    (Source)

Variant: "For the happiest life, days should be rigorously planned, nights left open to chance."
 
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The “good old times” — all times when old are good —
Are gone.

Lord Byron
George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
“The Age of Bronze,” st. 1 (1823)
    (Source)
 
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Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer, aphorist
Lacon: Or, Many Things in Few Words, Vol. 1, § 217 (1820)
    (Source)

This reference predates by several decades the (attributed) Oscar Wilde, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness" (1880s) though a variety of thematically similar quotations came about in the interim. By the 1850s "form" had been soundly fit into the common phrase.

More discussion here: Quote Origin: Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery That Mediocrity Can Pay To Greatness – Quote Investigator®.
 
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Man seems to be a rickety poor sort of a thing, any way you take him; a kind of British Museum of infirmities and inferiorities. He is always undergoing repairs. A machine that was as unreliable as he is would have no market.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Letters from the Earth, “The Damned Human Race,” sec. 5 “The Lowest Animal” (1962) [ed. DeVoto]
    (Source)
 
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It seems to be a wise provision of nature that the follies of men should be short-lived; but books interfere and immortalize them. A fool, not content with having bored all those who have lived with him, insists on tormenting generations to come; he would have his folly triumph over oblivion, which should have been as welcome to him as death; he wishes posterity to be informed of his existence, and he would have it remember for ever that he was fool.

[La nature sembloit avoir sagement pourvu à ce que les sottises des hommes fussent passagères, et les livres les immortalisent. Un sot devroit être content d’avoir ennuyé tous ceux qui ont vécu avec lui : il veut encore tourmenter les races futures, il veut que sa sottise triomphe de l’oubli, dont il auroit pu jouir comme du tombeau; il veut que la postérité soit informée qu’il a vécu, et qu’elle sache à jamais qu’il a été un sot.]

Charles-Lewis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755) French political philosopher
Persian Letters [Lettres Persanes], Letter 66, Rica to *** (1721) [tr. Davidson (1891)]
    (Source)

Commonly paraphrased as "An author is a fool who, not content with having bored those who have lived with him, insists on boring future generations."

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Nature seems wisely to have provided that the Follies of Men shou'd pass away, but Books perpetuate them. A Fool ought to be satisfy'd with having teaz'd those who liv'd at the same Time with him: but he is for going further, and is resolved to plague the Generations to come he is resolv'd to make his Impertinence triumph over Oblivion, which he might have enjoy'd as well as his Grave: he will have Posterity know that such a one liv'd, and all future Ages be inform'd that he was a Fool.
[tr. Ozell (1736 ed.), Letter 64]

Nature seems to have provided, that the follies of men should be transient, but they by writing books render them permanent. A fool ought to content himself with having wearied those who lived with him: but he is for tormenting future generations; he is desirous that his folly should triumph over oblivion, which he ought to have enjoyed as well as his grave; he is desirous that posterity should be informed that he lived, and that it should be known for ever that he was a fool.
[tr. Floyd (1762)]

Nature has wisely provided that the follies of men should be ephemeral; but, unhappily, these very follies are immortalised in books. A fool ought to have been satisfied with boring all those who have lived with him; yet he insists on torturing future races; he is determined that his folly shall triumph over the oblivion in which he ought to have been able to find as much enjoyment as he does in his last slumber; he wishes posterity to know that he has lived, and remember forever that he was a fool.
[tr. Betts (1897)]

While nature seems wisely to have provided that the stupidities of men should be transient, books immortalize them. A fool should be content with boring everyone who has lived with him, but he further undertakes to torment future generations. He wants his folly to triumph over the oblivion which he should welcome like the sleep of the tomb; he wants to inform posterity that he has lived, and to have it forever remembered that he was a fool.
[tr. Healy (1964)]

Nature in her wisdom seems to have arranged for man's follies to be short-lived, and books render them immortal. A fool ought to be satisfied with having bored all his own contemporaries, but he also seeks to torment those as yet unborn; he wants his stupidity to triumph over oblivion, which he might, like the tomb, have enjoyed; but no, he wants posterity to be notified that he has lived, and he wants her to know, for all eternity, that he was an idiot.
[tr. Mauldon (2008), Letter 64]

Nature has so arranged things that the absurdities men say are passing things, but books give them immortal life. A fool ought to have been content to have annoyed those who live near him, but instead he wants the chance to torment future generations. He wants his absurdities to triumph over the complete oblivion that he really ought to have welcomed and enjoyed like a tomb. He wants posterity to be informed that he lived, and he wants it known for all time that he was a fool.
[tr. MacKenzie (2014), Letter 64]

 
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There have been as great Souls unknown to fame as any of the most famous.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher, aphorist
Poor Richard (1734 ed.)
    (Source)

See also Gray, Reade, Ecclesiasticus.
 
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The prince who kept the world in awe,
The judge whose dictate fix’d the law;
The rich, the poor, the great, the small,
Are levell’d; Death confounds ’em all.

John Gay
John Gay (1685-1732) English poet and playwright
Fables, Part 2, Fable 16 “The Ravens, the Sexton, and the Earthworm” (1727)
    (Source)
 
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We are afraid of having and showing a small mind, and we are not afraid of having and showing a small heart.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist, philosopher, essayist, poet
Pensées [Thoughts], 1805 entry [tr. Auster (1983)]
    (Source)

I could not find an analog in other translations of the Pensées.
 
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Perhaps being old is having lighted rooms
Inside your head, and having people in them, acting.
People you know, yet can’t quite name.

philip larkin
Philip Larkin (1922-1985) English poet, novelist, librarian
“The Old Fools,” High Windows (1974)
    (Source)
 
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This man through all his new life, fresh and young,
in virtual power was one who might have proved,
in all of his behaviour, wonderful.
Yet there, on earth, the richer soil may be,
the more — untilled or sown with evil seed —
its vigour turns to wilderness and bane.

[Questi fu tal ne la sua vita nova
virtüalmente, ch’ogne abito destro
fatto averebbe in lui mirabil prova.
Ma tanto più maligno e più silvestro
si fa ’l terren col mal seme e non cólto,
quant’elli ha più di buon vigor terrestro.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 2 “Purgatorio,” Canto 30, l. 115ff (3.115-120) [Beatrice] (1314) [tr. Kirkpatrick (2007)]
    (Source)

Beatrice, speaking of Dante.

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

Such genuine worth adorn'd his early days,
That each prolific stem of heav'nly Grace
In that rich Mould a genuine footing found:
But, oh! the rankest soil but serves to feed
The plant of juice malign, and noxious weed.
If Culture's hand neglect the hapless ground.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 26]

This man
Was in the freshness of his being, such,
So gifted virtually, that in him
All better habits wond’rously had thriv’d.
The more of kindly strength is in the soil,
So much doth evil seed and lack of culture
Mar it the more, and make it run to wildness.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

This man was such, in his new being found,
Of virtuous kind, that every nobler way
In him gave proof of wonderful essay;
So much the more malignant, wild the soil
Of earth with evil seed, untilled with toil,
The more good vigour and terrestrial oil.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

Such had this man become in his new life
Potentially, that every righteous habit
Would have made admirable proof in him;
But so much more malignant and more savage
Becomes the land untilled and with bad seed,
The more good earthly vigour it possesses.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

This man was such in his new life, potentially, that every right habit would have wrought in him a wondrous result. But all the more malign and the more wild becomes the ground with bad seed and uncultivated, in proportion as it has from the soil more of good force.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

This one was such in new life's opening hour
Fitted for good, that every virtuous growth
Had made in him miraculous proof of power.
But so much more malign and tangled groweth,
With poisonous wilding seeds, the uncultured sward,
As of terrestrial strength the more it show.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

This man was such in his new life, virtually, that every right habit would have made admirable proof in him. But so much the more malign and more savage becomes the land ill-sown and untilled, as it has more of good terrestrial vigor.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

This man was such in his new life potentially, that every good talent would have made wondrous increase in him.
But so much the more rank and wild the ground becomes with evil seed and untilled, the more it hath of good strength of soil.
[tr. Okey (1901)]

This man in his early life was such potentially that every right disposition would have come to marvelous proof in him; but so much the more noxious and wild the ground becomes, with bad seed and untilled, as it has more good strength of soil.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

This man was such in natural potency,
In his new life, that all the ingrained good
Looked in him to have fruited wonderously.
But so much groweth the more rank and rude
The soil with bad seed and unhusbanded,
The more it hath from earth of hardihood.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

[...] had so endowed this man, potentially,
In his new life, that from such gifts as those
A wondrous harvest would have come to be.
But so much ranker, weedier, and more gross
Runs the untended field where wild tares seed,
As the good soil is rich and vigorous.
[tr. Sayers (1955)]

This man, potentially, was so endowed
from early youth that marvelous increase
should have come from every good he sowed.
But richest soil the soonest will grow wild
with bad seed and neglect.
[tr. Ciardi (1961)]

This man was such in his new life, virtually, that every right disposition would have made marvelous proof in him. But so much the more rank and wild becomes the land, ill-sown and untilled, as it has more of good strength of soil.
[tr. Singleton (1973)]

[...] was this man so endowed, potentially,
in early youth -- had he allowed his gifts
to bloom, he would have reaped abundantly.
But the more vigorous and rich the soil,
the wilder and weedier it grows
when left untilled, its bad seeds flourishing.
[tr. Musa (1981)]

This man, in his youthful years, had such
Possibilities, that every propitious tendency
Would have produced some marvelous result in him.
But ground sown with bad seed and not cultivated
Becomes the more malignant and overgrown
The more wholesome vigour there is in the soil.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

He
when young, was such -- potentially -- that any
propensity innate in him would have
prodigiously succeeded, had he acted.
But where the soil has finer vigor, there
precisely -- when untilled or badly seeded --
will that terrain grow wilder and more noxious.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1982)]

This man, potentially, was such in his vita nuova, his new life, that every true skill would have grown miraculously in him. But the more good qualities the earth’s soil has, the more wild and coarse it becomes with evil seed, and lack of cultivation.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

He was such in his new life, potentially, that every good habit would have produced a marvelous result in him.
But all the more malignant and wild becomes the soil with bad seed and without cultivation, the more it has in it of good earthly vigor.
[tr. Durling (2003)]

This man in his new life potentially was such
that each good disposition in him
would have come to marvelous conclusion,
but the richer and more vigorous the soil,
when planted ill and left to go to seed,
the wilder and more noxious it becomes.
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

And one such was this man's new life on earth,
So all good inclinations, all predictions,
Should wonderfully be proved in the life he lives.
Yet land improperly sown, and never tilled,
But blessed with soil of enormous power and strength,
Will turn itself more terribly rank and foul.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

 
Added on 22-Mar-24 | Last updated 22-Mar-24
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The scalded dog feares cold water.

George Herbert (1593-1633) Welsh priest, orator, poet.
Jacula Prudentum, or Outlandish Proverbs, Sentences, &c. (compiler), # 13 (1640 ed.)
    (Source)

See Twain.
 
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By day the bat is cousin to the mouse.
He likes the attic of an aging house.
His fingers make a hat about his head.
His pulse beat is so slow we think him dead.
He loops in crazy figures half the night
Among the trees that face the corner light.
But when he brushes up against a screen,
We are afraid of what our eyes have seen:
For something is amiss or out of place
When mice with wings can wear a human face.

theodore roethke
Theodore Roethke (1908-1963) American poet
“The Bat” (1938)
    (Source)
 
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rubaiyat 135.3-4Go, sit in the shade of the rose, for every rose
That springs from the earth, again to earth soon goes away!

Omar Khayyám (1048-1123) Persian poet, mathematician, philosopher, astronomer [عمر خیام]
Rubáiyát [رباعیات], Bod. # 135, ll. 3-4 [tr. M. K. (1888)]
    (Source)

Alternate translations:

And look -- a thousand Blossoms with the Day
Woke -- and a thousand scatter'd into Clay
[tr. FitzGerald, 1st ed. (1859), # 8]

Morning a thousand Roses brings, you say;
Yes, but where leaves the Rose of yesterday?
[tr. FitzGerald, 2nd Ed (1868), # 9]

Each Morn a thousand Roses brings, you say:
Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday?
[tr. FitzGerald, 3rd ed. (1872), # 9; same in later editions]

Sit in the shade of the rose, for many times this rose from earth has come, and unto earth has gone.
[tr. McCarthy (1879), # 463]

Sit we beneath this rose, which many a time
Has sunk to earth, and sprung from earth again.
[tr. Whinfield (1883), # 414]

Sit in the shade of the rose, for, by the wind, many roses
have been scattered to earth and have become dust.
[tr. Heron-Allen (1898), # 135]

Sit we 'neath this rose shade, for many a rose
Wind strewn in earth has turned to earth again!
[tr. Thompson (1906), # 522]

Sit in her fragrant bower, for oft the wind
Hath strewn and turn'd to dust such flowers as these.
[tr. Talbot (1908), # 135]

Rest in the shadow of the rose, for many of its leaves will the rose
Shed on the earth while we lie under the earth.
[tr. Rosen (1928), # 270]

Stay, Dearest One! beneath the rosy shade,
The roses bloom for Thee but soon would blight.
[tr. Tirtha (1941), # 3.7]

Sit in the rose's shadow, for oftentimes this rose shall spill upon the dust, when we are dust.
[tr. Bowen (1976), # 5a]

The Rosetree spills her petals in the dust,
And nothing of her fragrant harvest saves;
And yet this Rose, a plaything of the breeze,
Will bloom each year when we are in our graves.
[tr. Bowen (1976), # 5b]

 
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