Make love your aim, not biblical inerrancy, nor purity nor obedience to holiness codes. Make love your aim, for

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels” — musicians, poets, preachers, you are being addressed.
“and though I … understand all mysteries, and all knowledge” — professors, your turn,
“and though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor” — radicals take note;
“and though I give my body to be burned” — the very stuff of heroism;
“and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (1 Cor. 13:1-3 KJV).

I doubt if any other scriptures of the world there is a more radical statement of ethics. If we fail in love, we fail in all things else.

William Sloane Coffin, Jr. (1924-2006) American minister, social activist
Credo, “Faith, Hope, Love” (2004)
    (Source)
 
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When you take the wires of the cage apart, you do not hurt the bird, but help it. You let it out of its prison. How do vou know that death does not help me when it takes the wires of my cage down? — that it does not release me, and put me into some better place, and better condition of life?

randolph sinks foster
Randolph S. Foster (1820-1903) American Methodist Episcopal bishop, preacher, educator
“Man a Spiritual Being,” Lecture 2, Chautauqua, New York (1878)
    (Source)

Collected in his Beyond the Grave: Being Three Lectures Before Chautauqua Assembly in 1878 (1879).
 
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Do not let us speak of darker days: let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days; these are great days — the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British statesman and author
Speech, Harrow School, England (1941-10-29)
    (Source)
 
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It may be that we have become so feckless as a people that we no longer care how things do work, but only what kind of quick, easy outer impression they give. If so, there is little hope for our cities or probably for much else in our society. But I do not think this is so.

Jane Jacobs
Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) American-Canadian journalist, author, urban theorist, activist
The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Introduction (1961)
    (Source)
 
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Strephon kissed me in the spring,
Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me
And never kissed at all.

Strephon’s kiss was lost in jest,
Robin’s lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin’s eyes
Haunts me night and day.

Sara Teasdale (1884-1933) American lyrical poet
“The Look,” Love Songs (1918)
    (Source)
 
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But the ambiguities of metaphorical words, about which I am next to speak, demand no ordinary care and diligence. In the first place, we must beware of taking a figurative expression literally. For the saying of the apostle applies in this case too: “The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”
 
[Sed verborum translatorum ambiguitates, de quibus deinceps loquendum est, non mediocrem curam industriamque desiderant. Nam in principio cavendum est ne figuratam locutionem ad litteram accipias. Et ad hoc enim pertinet quod ait Apostolus: Littera occidit, spiritus autem vivificat.]

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Christian church father, philosopher, saint [b. Aurelius Augustinus]
On Christian Doctrine [De Doctrina Christiana], Book 3, ch. 5 / § 9 (3.5.9) (AD 397) [tr. Shaw (1858)]
    (Source)

Quoting 2 Cor. 3:6.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

But the ambiguities of figurative words, which are now to be treated, require no little care and industry. For at the outset you must be very careful lest you take figurative expressions literally. What the apostle says pertains to this problem: "For the letter killeth, but the spirit quickeneht."
[tr. Robertson (1958)]

But the ambiguities of metaphorical words, about which I must now speak, require no ordinary care and attention. To begin with, one must take care not to interpret a figurative expression literally. What the apostle says is relevant here: "the letter kills but the spirit gives life."
[tr. Green (1995)]

 
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BEATRICE: He wears his faith but
as the fashion of his hat; it ever changes with the
next block.

Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Much Ado About Nothing, Act 1, sc. 1, l. 73ff (1.1.73-75) (1598)
    (Source)
 
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You should swallow a toad every morning, when going out into high society, so as to encounter nothing more disgusting during the day.
 
[Faudrait avaler un crapaud tous les matins, pour ne trouver plus rien de dégoûtant le reste de la journée, quand on devait la passer dans le monde.]

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. 5 (1795) [tr. Dusinberre (1992)]
    (Source)

Though usually attributed directly to Chamfort, he credits the phrase to a M. de Lassay.

Fragment 863. (Source (French)). Alternate translations:

It would be necessary to swallow a toad every morning, in order not to find anything disgusting the rest of the day, when one has to spend it in the world.
[tr. Matthews (1877)]

One must swallow a toad every morning, when one has to go out in the world, so as not to find anything more disgusting during the day.
[tr. Merwin (1969)]

Swallow a toad in the morning and you will encounter nothing more disgusting the rest of the day.
[Source]

 
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Indeed, it is a cruel truth of the history of all art and literature that most would-be poets, writers, and painters fail. The man or woman of real talent is rare, the born genius rarer still. For every book that survives the merciless judgment of time, there are nine hundred and ninety-nine rotting unread in libraries and nine thousand and ninety-nine that were never written in the first place.

michael harrington
Michael Harrington (1928-1989) American writer, political activist, political scientist [Edward Michael Harrington, Jr.]
Fragments of the Century, ch. 2 “The Death of Bohemia” (1973)
    (Source)
 
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It is erroneous to tie down individual genius to ideal models. Each person should do that, not which is best in itself, even supposing this could be known, but that which he can do best, which he will find out if left to himself. Spenser could not have written Paradise Lost, nor Milton the Faerie Queene. Those who aim at faultless regularity will only produce mediocrity, and no one ever approaches perfection except by stealth, and unknown to themselves.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“Thoughts on Taste,” Edinburgh Magazine (1819-07)
    (Source)
 
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The years swarm around me like midges, and though each tiny bite only costs me a single drop of blood, they are so thick I am nearly bled dry.

stephen l burns
Stephen L. Burns (b. 1953) American author
“Redeemer’s Riddle,” Sword and Sorceress IV (1987) [ed. Marion Zimmer Bradley]
    (Source)
 
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Life is truly known only to those who suffer, lose, endure adversity, and stumble from defeat to defeat.

Ryszard Kapuściński (1932-2007) Polish journalist, photographer, poet, author
“A Warsaw Diary,” Granta Magazine, No. 15 (1985 Spring)
    (Source)
 
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I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, a child humanized or de-humanized.

Haim Ginott
Haim Ginott (1922-1973) Israeli-American school teacher, child psychologist, psychotherapist [b. Haim Ginzburg]
Teacher and Child, Preface (1972)
    (Source)

Quoting his writing as a young teacher.
 
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No solitary miscreant, scarcely any solitary maniac, would venture on such actions and imaginations, as large communities of sane men have, in such circumstances, entertained as sound wisdom.

Thomas Carlyle
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
“Signs of the Times,” Edinburgh Review No. 98, Art. 7 (1829-06)
    (Source)
 
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A complaint that’s not looking for a solution is a disease not looking for a cure.

dennis lehane
Dennis Lehane (b. 1965) American novelist, screenwriter
Since We Fell (2017)
    (Source)

A frequent saying of the character Brian Delacroix.
 
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When, O Catiline, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? How long is that madness of yours still to mock us? When is there to be an end of that unbridled audacity of yours, swaggering about as it does now?

[Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? Quam diu etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet? Quem ad finem sese effrenata iactabit audacia?]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Orationes in Catilinam [Catilinarian Orations], No. 1, § 1, cl. 1 (1.1.1) (63-11-08 BC) [tr. Yonge (1856)]
    (Source)

Urging Catiline, leader of a conspiracy against the Roman government, to leave the city.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

How long, Catiline, will you abuse our patience? How long shall that fury of yours hector down even us too? To what bound shall your unbridled Audaciousness fly out?
[tr. Wase (1671)]

How long, Catiline, will you dare to abuse our patience? how long are we to be the sport of your frantic fury? to what extremity do you mean to carry your unbridled insolence?
[tr. Sydney (1795)]

How far at length, O Catiline! wilt thou trifle with our patience? How long still shall that frenzy of thine baffle us? To what limit shall they uncurbed effrontery boastfully display itself?
[tr. Mongan (1879)]

How far at length wilt thou abuse with our patience, O Catiline? How long also that thy fury will elude us? To what end thy unbridled audacity will boast itself?
[tr. Underwood (1885)]

How much further, Catilina, will you carry your abuse of our forbearance? How much longer will your reckless temper baffle our restraint? What bounds will you set to this display of your uncontrolled audacity?
[tr. Blakiston (1894)]

How far at length will you abuse, O Catiline, our patience? How long also will that fury of yours elude us? To what end will that unbridled audacity flaunt itself?
[tr. Dewey (1916)]

In the name of heaven, Catilina, how long do you propose to exploit our patience? Do you really suppose that your lunatic activities are going to escape our retaliation for evermore? Are there to be no limits to this audacious, uncontrollable swaggering?
[tr. Grant (1960)]

How far will you continue to abuse our patience, Catiline? For how much longer will that rage of yours make a mockery of us? To what point will your unbridled audacity show itself?
[IB Notes]

 
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Now must I go. The shade of this juniper turns chill.
Shade stunts a crop, and it’s bad for a singer’s voice. My goats,
You have pastured well, the twilight deepens — home then, home!
 
[Surgamus; solet esse gravis cantantibus umbra;
iuniperi gravis umbra; nocent et frugibus umbrae.
Ite domum saturae, venit Hesperus, ite capellae.]

Virgil the Poet
Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
Eclogues [Eclogae, Bucolics, Pastorals], No. 10 “Gallus,” l. 75ff (10.75-77), closing lines (42-38 BC) [tr. Day Lewis (1963)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Let us arise; shades oft hurt those who sing;
Juniper shades are to our fruit a foe,
The Evening comes, goe home, my fed Kids, goe.
[tr. Ogilby (1649)]

Now let us rise, for hoarseness oft invades⁠
The Singer's Voice, who sings beneath the Shades.
From Juniper, unwholesome Dews distill,
That blast the sooty Corn; the with'ring Herbage kill;
Away, my Goats, away: for you have browz'd your fill.
[tr. Dryden (1709), l. 110ff]

Rise we; shades, e'en of juniper, annoy
The minstrel choir, the ripening grain destroy:
Goats, from your pastures sated, homeward hie --
See, where bright Hesper fires the evening sky!
[tr. Wrangham (1830), l. 81ff]

Let us arise: the shade is wont to prove noxious to singers; the juniper's shade now grows noxious; the shades are hurtful even to the corn. Go home, the evening star arises, my full-fed goats, go home.
[tr. Davidson (1854)]

I rise. The shadows are the singer's bane:
Baneful the shadow of the juniper.
E'en the flocks like not shadow. Go -- the star
Of morning breaks -- go home, my full-fed sheep.
[tr. Calverley (c. 1871)]

Let us rise: shade is often dangerous to those who sit and sing; there is danger in the juniper's shade: why, shade hurts the crops too. Go home, the evening star is rising: my well-fed goats, go home.
[tr. Wilkins (1873)]

Now, enemy to vine and fruit,
The dews descend; the shadows fall
And homeward flocks and shepherds call.
[tr. King (1882), ll. 1018ff]

But let us rise, for never voice was made,
Nor verse, more tuneful by a chilling shade,
To man distasteful and the ripening field:
Such, even junipers at nightfall yield.
Now pales the latest crimson of the West:
Gather yon batten'd herd, I bring the rest;
And then wind homeward in the dying light;
Homeward my goats, for Hesperus is bright.
[tr. Palmer (1883)]

Come, let us rise: the shade is wont to be
baneful to singers; baneful is the shade
cast by the juniper, crops sicken too
in shade. Now homeward, having fed your fill --
eve's star is rising -- go, my she-goats, go.
[tr. Greenough (1895)]

Let us arise: the shade is wont to prove hurtful to singers; the juniper’s shade now grows noxious; the shades are damaging even to the crops. Go home, my full-fed goats; the evening star arises, go home.
[tr. Bryce (1897)]

Let us arise; the shade is wont to be heavy on singers: the juniper shade is heavy: shade too hurts the corn. Go home full-fed, the Evening Star comes, go, my she-goats.
[tr. Mackail (1899)]

Now let us rise; for singers it is ill
To linger in the shade—to the young corn
The junipers' deep shadow worketh harm;
The evening star shines forth -- now go, my goats,
Ye may return, full fed, towards your home.
[tr. Mackail/Cardew (1908)]

But let us go!
The darkness of the night works hurtful change
Upon a shepherd's voice; the junipers
Love not the darkness, and the ripening fields
Thrive not in shadow. Home ye mother-goats!
Run home full-fed! Behold the evening-star!
[tr. Williams (1915)]

Let us arise. The shade is oft perilous to the singer -- perilous the juniper’s shade, hurtful the shade even to the crops. Get home, my full-fed goats, get home -- the Evening Star draws on.
[tr. Fairclough (Loeb) (1916)]

Now let us go. The shade is bad for singers. This is a juniper: its shade is bad. Even crops suffer in the shade.
Home with you, goats: you have had your fill. Hesper is coming: home with you.
[tr. Rieu (1949)]

Now let us rise, the shade can be harmful to singers;
A juniper shade not only menaces mortals
But crops wilt under it. Turn, my goats, from feasting,
Come, for the Star of Evening glimmers, come home now.
[tr. Johnson (1960)]

Let's go then, friend.
This shade is bad for poetry. Our throats
are dry. Let's go home." In such a way,
I'd bring the pastoral to its natural end.
We could go together, herding the fucking goats.
[tr. Slavitt (1971)]

Now we must go; the shade's not good for singers,
The juniper shade's unwholesome; unwholesome too
For the plants that need the sunshine is the shade.
Go home, my full-fed goats, you've eaten your fill,
The Evening Star is rising; it's time to go home.
[tr. Ferry (1999)]

Let’s rise, the shade’s often harmful to singers,
the juniper’s shade is harmful, and shade hurts the harvest.
Hesperus is here, home you sated goats: go home.
[tr. Kline (2001)]

 
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WYATT: Do you think that philosophy contribute to happiness?

RUSSELL: Yes, if you happen to be interested in philosophy and good at it, but not otherwise – but so does bricklaying. Anything you’re good at contributes to happiness.

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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Why, if all the rich men in the world divided up their money amongst themselves, there wouldn’t be enough to go round!

christina stead
Christina Stead (1902-1983) Australian writer
House of All Nations, sc. 12 “The Revolution” [Jules] (1938)
    (Source)

Pooh-poohing the idea that confiscating wealth from the rich would provide enough money to the poor. The line is also included in the "Credo" at the beginning of the novel, attributed to the character, Jules Bertillon.
 
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Anyone who has raised more than one child knows full well that kids turn out the way they turn out — astonishingly, for the most part, and usually quite unlike their siblings, even their twins, raised under the same flawed rooftree.

Barbara Holland (1933-2010) American author
Endangered Pleasures, “Babies” (1995)
    (Source)
 
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Better slip with foot than tongue.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher, aphorist
Poor Richard (1734 ed.)
    (Source)
 
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All ways of expressing ourselves are good if they make us understood. Thus, if the clarity of our thoughts comes through better in a play of words, then the wordplay is good.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist, philosopher, essayist, poet
Pensées [Thoughts], 1805 (1850 ed.) [tr. Auster (1983)]
    (Source)

Analog not found in standard translations of the Pensees.
 
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As favour and riches forsake a man, we discover in him the foolishness they concealed, and which no one perceived before.
 
[À mesure que la faveur et les grands biens se retirent d’un homme, ils laissent voir en lui le ridicule qu’ils couvraient, et qui y était sans que personne s’en aperçût.]

Jean de La Bruyere
Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
The Characters [Les Caractères], ch. 6 “Of Gifts of Fortune [Des Biens de Fortune],” § 4 (6.4) (1688) [tr. Van Laun (1885)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

When Riches and Favour forsake a Man, we see presently he was a Fool, but no body could find it out in his Prosperity.
[Bullord ed. (1696)]

In proportion as Riches and Favour forsake a Man, we discover he was a Fool, which no body cou'd find out in his Prosperity.
[Curll ed. (1713)]

As Riches and Favour forsake a Man, we discover him to be a Fool, but no body could find it out in his Prosperity.
[Browne ed. (1752)]

As a man falls out of favour and his wealth declines, we discover for the first time the ridiculous aspects of his character, which were always there but which wealth and favour had concealed.
[tr. Stewart (1970)]

 
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AHASUERAS: I am content.
ESTHER: Content is not the pathway to great deeds.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) American author and poet.
“The Drama of Mizpah: Honeymoon Scene,” Poems of Progress (1909)
    (Source)
 
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Thou shalt no God but me adore:
‘Twere too expensive to have more.
No images nor idols make
For Robert Ingersoll to break.
Take not God’s name in vain; select
A time when it will have effect.
Work not on Sabbath days at all,
But go to see the teams play ball.
Honor thy parents. That creates
For life insurance lower rates.
Kill not, abet not those who kill;
Thou shalt not pay thy butcher’s bill.
Kiss not thy neighbor’s wife, unless
Thine own thy neighbor doth caress.
Don’t steal; thou’lt never thus compete
Successfully in business. Cheat.
Bear not false witness — that is low —
But “hear ’tis rumored so and so.”
Covet thou naught that thou hast not
By hook or crook, or somehow, got.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) American writer and journalist
“Decalogue,” 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).

The poem is signed "G.J." in reference to Father Gassalasca Jape, S.J., a (fake) Jesuit priest Bierce often "cited" for poetry on religious topics. In his preface to The Devil's Dictionary (1911), he includes the note:

A conspicuous, and it is hoped not unpleasant, feature of the book is its abundant illustrative quotations from eminent poets, chief of whom is that learned and ingenious cleric, Father Gassalasca Jape, S.J., whose lines bear his initials. To Father Jape's kindly encouragement and assistance the author of the prose text is greatly indebted.

Robert Ingersoll was a famous agnostic and lecturer, frequently defended by Bierce in his newspaper columns.

In the original Wasp version, the Fourth Commandment read "Work not on Sabbath days at all, / Nor dare to read the Sunday Call." Bierce crowed in the next (1881-12-09) issue that at the same time as the poem was written, a newsdealer in Watsonville, Calif., was convicted of an infraction of the "Sunday Law" in selling that paper on the day of its publication. "We could hardly have hoped that our revised Decalogue would so soon be adopted as the law of the land."

Bierce returned to the theme in "The New Decalogue" (1887).

Have but one God: thy knees were sore
If bent in prayer to three or four.
Adore no images save those
The coinage of thy country shows.
Take not the Name in vain. Direct
Thy swearing unto some effect.
Thy hand from Sunday work be held --
Work not at all unless compelled.
Honor thy parents, and perchance
Their wills thy fortunes may advance.
Kill not -- death liberates thy foe
From persecution’s constant woe.
Kiss not thy neighbor’s wife. Of course
There’s no objection to divorce.
To steal were folly, for ’tis plain
In cheating there is greater gain.
Bear not false witness. Shake your head
And say that you have “heard it said.”
Who stays to covet ne’er will catch
An opportunity to snatch.

 
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And what is shameful if those who do it don’t think it so?

[τί δ’ αἰσχρὸν ἢν μὴ τοῖσι χρωμένοις δοκῇ]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Æolus [Αἴολος], frag. 19 (TGF) [tr. Aleator (2012)]
    (Source)

This bit of moral relativism (likely coming from Macareus, the son of Aeolus, who committed incest with his sister, Canace) continues to provoke commentary, thus varied translations. Aristophanes includes a reference to this line in his The Frogs.

Nauck frag. 19, Barnes frag. 5, Musgrave frag. 1. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

But what is base, if it appear not base
To those who practice what their soul approves?
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

What is shameful, if it does not seem to be so to those who do it?
[Source]

What's wrong if they who do it think not so?
[Source (1902)]

Why shameful, if it does not seem so to those who practice it?
[Source (2018)]

 
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Most often people seek in life occasions for persisting in their opinions rather than for educating themselves.

André Gide (1869-1951) French author, Nobel laureate
“An Unprejudiced Mind,” sec. 1, Pretexts (1959) [ed. O’Brien (1964)]
    (Source)
 
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If we cut up beasts simply because they cannot prevent us and because we are backing our own side in the struggle for existence, it is only logical to cut up imbeciles, criminals, enemies, or capitalists for the same reasons.

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer, literary scholar, lay theologian [Clive Staples Lewis]
“Vivisection,” New England Anti-Vivisection Society pamphlet (1947)
    (Source)

Collected in God in the Dock, Part 2, ch. 9 (1970) [ed. Hooper].
 
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Historical sense and poetic sense should not, in the end, be contradictory, for if poetry is the little myth we make, history is the big myth we live, and in our living, constantly remake.

robert penn warrren
Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989) American poet, novelist, literary critic
Brother to Dragons, Foreword (1953)
    (Source)
 
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SanDeE*: I don’t put any pressure on you, do I?

HARRIS: Not at all … I don’t pressure you, do I?

SanDeE*: No, no, I just don’t think there should be any pressure.

HARRIS: No. Tell me if I pressure you.

SanDeE*: OK. And you too, but don’t feel like you have to.

Steve Martin (b. 1945) American comedian, actor, writer, producer, musician
L. A. Story (1991)
    (Source)
 
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Great cities are not like towns, only larger. They are not like suburbs, only denser. They differ from towns and suburbs in basic ways, and one of them is that cities are, by definition, full of strangers.

Jane Jacobs
Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) American-Canadian journalist, author, urban theorist, activist
The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Part 1, ch. 2 (1961)
    (Source)
 
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The kiss can be a comma, a question mark, or an exclamation point.

mistinguette the kiss can be a comma a question mark or an exclamation point wist.info quote

mistinguett (entertainer)
Mistinguett (1873-1956) French actress singer, dancer [b. Jeanne Florentine Bourgeois]
In Theatre Arts (1955-12)
 
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For a possession which is not diminished by being shared with others, if it is possessed and not shared, is not yet possessed as it ought to be possessed.

[Omnis enim res quae dando non deficit, dum habetur et non datur, nondum habetur quomodo habenda est.]

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Christian church father, philosopher, saint [b. Aurelius Augustinus]
On Christian Doctrine [De Doctrina Christiana], Book 1, ch. 1 / § 1 (1.1.1) (AD 397) [tr. Shaw (1858)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Everything which does not decrease on being given away is not properly owned when it is owned and not given.
[tr. Robertson (1958)]

For everything which does not give out when given away is not yet possessed in the way in which it should be possessed, while it is possessed and not given away.
[tr. Green (1995)]

For if a thing is not diminished by being shared with others, it is not rightly owned if it is only owned and not shared.
[Example]

 
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Nothing — so it seems to me — is more beautiful than the love that has weathered the storms of life. The sweet, tender blossom that flowers in the heart of the young — in hearts such as yours — that, too, is beautiful. The love of the young for the young, that is the beginning of life. But the love of the old for the old, that is the beginning of — of things longer.

Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927) English writer, humorist [Jerome Klapka Jerome]
“Passing of the Third Floor Back” [The Stranger] (1908)
    (Source)
 
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The fable of Tantalus has generally been regarded as symbolizing avarice. It’s at least equally applicable to ambition, love of fame, indeed to almost every passion.
 
[La fable de Tantale n’a presque jamais servi d’emblème qu’à l’avarice. Mais elle est, pour le moins, autant celui de l’ambition, de l’amour de la gloire, de presque toutes les passions.]

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. 1, ¶ 70 (1795) [tr. Parmée (2003), ¶ 58]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

The fable of Tantalus is hardly ever applied except to the passion of avarice; but it is at least as applicable to ambition, to the love of glory, and to nearly all the other passions.
[tr. Mathers (1926)]

The fable of Tantalus has been used almost exclusively as an emblem of avarice, but it is at least as applicable to ambition, the love of fame, and virtually all the passions.
[tr. Merwin (1969)]

The fable of Tantalus has almost never served as a precept except in the case of avarice. But it is, at all events, a precept attaching no wit less to ambition, to love of glory, to almost all passions.
[tr. Pearson (1973)]

The fable of Tantalus has nearly only ever served as an emblem of avarice. However, it is at least as much a symbol of ambition, of the love of glory, and of nearly every passion.
[tr. Siniscalchi (1994)]

 
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Reading is a joy, but not an unalloyed joy. Books do not make life easier or more simple, but harder and more interesting.

Harry Golden
Harry Golden (1902-1981) Austrian-American writer and newspaper publisher [b. Herschel Goldhirsch]
So What Else is New?, “How to read a book, and why” (1964)
    (Source)
 
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Old age is like learning a new profession. And not one of your own choosing.

jacques barzun
Jacques Barzun (1907-2012) French-American historian, educator, polymath
In Arthur Krystal, “Age of Reason,” The New Yorker (2007-10-15)
    (Source)
 
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O my dear brother, what is there to say?
In vision I already see a time —
and it is not far distant from this day —
in which the pulpit shall denounce by writ
the shameless jades that Florentines call ladies,
who go about with breasts bare to the tit.
What Moslem woman ever has required
a priestly discipline, or any other,
before she would go decently attired?
But if the chippies only could foresee
swift Heaven’s punishment, they’d have their mouths
already open to howl misery.

[O dolce frate, che vuo’ tu ch’io dica?
Tempo futuro m’è già nel cospetto,
cui non sarà quest’ora molto antica,
nel qual sarà in pergamo interdetto
a le sfacciate donne fiorentine
l’andar mostrando con le poppe il petto.
Quai barbare fuor mai, quai saracine,
cui bisognasse, per farle ir coperte,
o spiritali o altre discipline?
Ma se le svergognate fosser certe
di quel che ’l ciel veloce loro ammanna,
già per urlare avrian le bocche aperte.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 2 “Purgatorio,” Canto 23, l. 97ff (23.97-108) (1314) [tr. Ciardi (1961)]
    (Source)

Forese Donati speaking to Dante, anticipating the "future" (already-past) travails of Florence in the early 1300s, apparently brought about (in part) by the city's shameless women being scantily clad (though no such church edict survives in the record).

Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

O, Brother! shall I tell, or hide my thought?
The horrible display that Fancy views,
Which soon the pregnant moments will produce,
And Impudence and Pride's disgraceful lot.
Soon a stern Voice will teach the shameless kind
A decent covering, as they may, to find,
Their naked shoulders from the Sun to hide!
Was it amongst Barbarians ever known,
That nought but threats can bind the modest Zone,
On the young virgin and the plighted Bride?
But if these dainty Dames could read the Skies,
And spy the slumb'ring tempest soon to rise,
Those lips that whisper Love, would shriek Despair.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 19-21]

O sweet brother!
What wouldst thou have me say? A time to come
Stands full within my view, to which this hour
Shall not be counted of an ancient date,
When from the pulpit shall be loudly warn’d
Th’ unblushing dames of Florence, lest they bare
Unkerchief’d bosoms to the common gaze.
What savage women hath the world e’er seen,
What Saracens, for whom there needed scourge
Of spiritual or other discipline,
To force them walk with cov’ring on their limbs!
But did they see, the shameless ones, that Heav’n
Wafts on swift wing toward them, while I speak,
Their mouths were op’d for howling.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

Oh dear brother! what shall I say to thee?
A future time now within my view,
To which the present hour will be but new,
When interdict will issue from the chair
To Florence ladies of effrontery,
With naked bosoms, where the pays you spy.
Barbarians and Saracens were there e'er
Forced to go covered, and their right mind in,
By spiritual or other discipline?
Their future lot could but the shameless see,
What the swift Heaven is bringing on its wing,
To howl their mouths would soon be opening.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

O brother sweet, what wilt thou have me say?
A future time is in my sight already,
To which this hour will not be very old,
When from the pulpit shall be interdicted
To the unblushing womankind of Florence
To go about displaying breast and paps.
What savages were e'er, what Saracens,
Who stood in need, to make them covered go,
Of spiritual or other discipline?
But if the shameless women were assured
Of what swift Heaven prepares for them, already
Wide open would they have their mouths to howl.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

O brother dear, what wouldst have further told?
A future time already do I see,
In which the present day will not be old.
When in the Church they'll publish a decree
Against the insolent lady Florentines,
Not to expose their breasts for all to see.
When were Barbarians seen or Saracens,
To whom was needed clothing to enforce.
Or spiritual, or other disciplines?
But if the shameless ones could see the course
Which Heaven prepareth for them speedily.
Now would begin their howlings of remorse.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

O sweet brother, what wouldst thou that I say? A future time is already in my sight, to which this hour will not be very old, in which from the pulpit it shall be forbidden to the brazen-faced dames of Florence to go displaying the bosom with the paps. What Barbarian, what Saracen women were there ever who required either spiritual or other discipline to make them go covered? But if the shameless ones were aware of that which the swift heaven is preparing for them, already would they have their mouths open for howling.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

O sweet brother, what would st thou have me say? Already in my vision is a time to come to which this hour shall not be very old,
when the brazen-faced women of Florence shall be forbidden from the pulpit to go abroad showing their breasts with the paps.
What Barbary, what Saracen women ever lived, to whom either spiritual, or other discipline were necessary, to make them go covered?
But if the shameless creatures were assured of what swift heaven is preparing for them, already would they have their mouths open to howl.
[tr. Okey (1901)]

O sweet brother, what wilt thou have me say? A coming time is already before my eyes to which this hour will not be very old when from the pulpit it shall be forbidden to the brazen women of Florence to go showing the breast with the paps. What barbarous women, what Saracens, ever were there that needed, to make them go covered, spiritual disciplines or any other? But had the shameless creatures knowledge of what the swift heavens prepare for them, they would have their mouths open already for howling.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

O sweet brother, what would'st thou have me say?
A time to come already I see indeed,
Wherefrom this hour shall not be far away.
In which from pulpit shall it be forbid
To the unashamed women of Florence then
To go showing the breast with paps not hid.
What woman of Barbary, what Saracen,
did ever need, to make her go covered,
Spiritual or other regimen?
But if the unabashed ones were assured
Of what swift heaven prepares for them on high
Their mouths would open and their howls be heard.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

Brother of mine, what wilt thou have me say?
This hour shall not be very old perhaps
Ere time shall bring what I foresee to-day:
A pulpit interdict, no less, which claps
Down on our brazen jades of Florentines
Flaunting unveiled the bosom and the paps.
What female Turk or Berber e'er showed signs
Of needing to be covered up by force
Of spiritual or other disciplines?
But could these wantons know what Heaven's swift course
Prepares for them, they'd have their mouths ajar
Already, fit to bellow themselves hoarse.
[tr. Sayers (1955)]

O sweet brother, what would you have me say? Already in my vision is a future time, to which this hour shall not be very old, when the brazen-faced women of Florence shall be forbidden from the pulpit to go displaying their breasts with the papas. What Barbarian, what Saracen women were there ever, who required either spiritual or other discipline to make them go covered? But if the shameless creatures were assured of what swift heaven is preparing for them, already would they have their mouths open to howl.
[tr. Singleton (1973)]

My dear brother, how can I tell you this:
I see a future time -- it won't be long --
in which bans from the pulpit shall clamp down
on those ladies of Florence who, bold-faced,
now walk our city streets as they parade
their bosom to the tits! What barbarous girl,
what female Saracen, had to be taught
spiritual discipline, or anything,
to keep her body decently concealed?
But if these shameless creatures only knew
what the swift heavens have in store for them,
they would by now be screaming their heads off!
[tr. Musa (1981)]

O gentle brother, what do you want me to say?
Already I can see a time ahead,
Before the present hour is very old,
In which the impudent women of Florence
Will be preached against from the pulpit because
They go about showing their breasts to the nipples.
What women of Barbary, what Saracens
Ever needed, to make them go covered,
Either spiritual or other discipline?
But if the shameless creatures were assured
Of what swift heaven is getting ready for them,
They would have their mouths open already, to howl.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

O
sweet brother, what would you have had me say?
A future time’s already visible
to me -- a time not too far-off from now --
when, from the pulpit, it shall be forbidden
to those immodest ones -- Florentine women --
to go displaying bosoms with bare paps.
What ordinances -- spiritual, civil --
were ever needed by barbarian or
Saracen women to make them go covered?
But if those shameless ones had certain knowledge
of what swift Heaven’s readying for them,
then they would have mouths open now to howl.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1982)]

O sweet brother, what would you have me say? Already I foresee a time to come, to which this time will not be too distant, when, from the pulpits, the brazen women of Florence will be forbidden to go round displaying their breasts and nipples.
When was there ever a Saracen woman, or woman of Barbary, who needed disciplining spiritually or otherwise, to force her to cover herself? But the shameless creatures would already have their mouths open to howl.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

O dear brother, what can I say? A future time is already in my sight when this hour will not seem very ancient, when from the pulpit it will be forbidden to the brazen Florentine women to walk about showing their chests with their breasts.
What barbarian women, what Saracens ever needed either spiritual or other penalties to make them go covered up?
But if those shameless ones knew what the swift heavens are preparing for them, they would already have opened their mouths to howl.
[tr. Durling (2003)]

What, dearest brother, would you have me say?
A future time, already in my sight,
will come (when our time’s still not history),
when, from the pulpit, there’ll be issued bans
forbidding bare-faced Florence girls to go
with blatant breasts and both their boobs on show.
What mere barbarians or Saracens
required a priest or threat of on-spot fines
to make them cover up when they go out!
If, though, these brazen creatures only guessed
what Heaven so swiftly will bring down on them,
then they’d already howl with open mouths.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2007)]

O sweet brother, what would you have me say?
In my vision even now I see a time,
before this hour shall be very old,
when from the pulpit it shall be forbidden
for the brazen ladies of Florence
to flaunt their nipples with their breasts.
What barbarous women, what Saracens,
have ever needed spiritual instruction
or other rules, to walk about in proper dress?
But if these shameless creatures knew
what the swift heavens are preparing, even now
their mouths would be spread open in a howl.
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

O, my sweet brother, what can you ask me to say?
Looking into the future, I already see --
And the hour will not be long in coming, I believe --
When priests in our pulpits will forbid Florence's lewd
And insolent women from going about the streets,
Their breasts bare well below the nipples.
Were there ever barbarian women, or Turks,
Who needed heavy discipline -- by priests
Or by law -- to keep them decently covered? But such
Disgraceful creatures, should they realize
For sure what quick-handed Heaven has ready for them,
They'd now be ready to open their mouths and howl!
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

 
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I don’t like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and of little value. Life hasn’t revealed its beauty to them.

Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator
Doctor Zhivago [До́ктор Жива́го], Part 2, ch. 13 “Opposite the House of Sculptures,” sec. 12 [Yury] (1955) [tr. Hayward & Harari (1958), US ed.]
    (Source)

Alternate translations:

I don't like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and it isn't of much value. Life hasn't revealed its beauty to them.
[tr. Hayward & Harari (1958), UK ed., "Opposite the House of the Caryatids"]

I don't like the righteous ones, who never fell, never stumbled. Their virtue is dead and of little value. The beauty of life has not been revealed to them.
[tr. Pevear & Volokhonsky (2010), "Opposite the House with Figures"]

 
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If you reside in a state where you attain your legal majority while still in your teens, pretend that you don’t. There isn’t an adult alive who would want to be contractually bound by a decision he came to at the age of nineteen.

Fran Lebowitz (b. 1950) American journalist
“Tips for Teens,” Social Studies (1981)
    (Source)
 
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For the only reason (I came to think) for God to inspire the Bible would be so that his people would have his actual words; but if he really wanted people to have his actual words, surely he would have miraculously preserved those words, just as he had miraculously inspired them in the first place.

Bart Ehrman
Bart D. Ehrman (b. 1955) American Biblical scholar, author
Misquoting Jesus, “Conclusion” (2005)
    (Source)
 
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I postpone death by living, by suffering, by error, by risking, by giving, by losing.

Anaïs Nin (1903-1977) Catalan-Cuban-French author, diarist
Diary (1933-03)
    (Source)
 
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Nationality is a Janus, facing both ways. So far as it stands for the right of a people to govern itself, it stands for freedom. So far as it stands for the ambition to govern other people, or to destroy them, or to shape them into an alien world, it stands for domination. Throughout history it has stood for both.

Lowes Dickinson
G. Lowes Dickinson (1862-1932) British political scientist and philosopher [Goldsworthy "Goldie" Lowes Dickinson]
“The War and the Way Out: A Further Consideration,” sec. 3, Atlantic Monthly (1915-04)
    (Source)
 
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They taught me, not by precept, but by example, that nothing is more commendable, and more fair, than that a man should lay aside all else, and seek truth; not to preach what he might find; and surely not to try to make his views prevail; but, like Lessing, to find his satisfaction in the search itself.

Learned Hand (1872-1961) American jurist
“On Receiving an Honorary Degree,” speech, Harvard University (1939-06-22)
    (Source)

Collected in The Spirit of Liberty (1953).
 
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Cats are dangerous companions for writers because cat watching is a near-perfect method of writing avoidance.

dan greenburg
Dan Greenburg (1936-2023) American writer, humorist, journalist
In Bill Hayward, Cat People (1978)
    (Source)
 
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Once a man’s understanding has settled on something (either because it is an accepted belief or because it pleases him), it draws everything else also to support and agree with it. And if it encounters a larger number of more powerful countervailing examples, it either fails to notice them, or disregards them, or makes fine distinctions to dismiss and reject them, and all of this with much dangerous prejudice, to preserve the authority of its first conceptions.

[Intellectus humanus in iis quae semel placuerunt (aut quia recepta sunt et credita, aut quia delectant), alia etiam omnia trahit ad suffragationem et consensum cum illis: et licet major sit instantiarum vis et copia, quae occurrunt in contrarium; tamen eas aut non observat, aut contemnit, aut distinguendo summovet et rejicit, non sine magno et pernicioso praejudicio, quo prioribus illis syllepsibus authoritas maneat inviolata.]

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
Instauratio Magna [The Great Instauration], Part 2 “Novum Organum [The New Organon],” Book 1, Aphorism # 46 (1620) [tr. Silverthorne (2000)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

The human understanding, when any preposition has been once laid down, (either from general admission and belief, or from the pleasure it affords,) forces every thing else to add fresh support and confirmation; and although more cogent and abundant instances may exist to the contrary, yet either does not observe or despises them, or gets rid of and rejects them by some distinction, with violent and injurious prejudice, rather than sacrifice the authority of its first conclusions.
[tr. Wood (1831)]

The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects and despises, or else by some distinction sets aside and rejects; in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination the authority of its former conclusions may remain inviolate.
[tr. Spedding (1858)]

The human Intellect, in those things which have once pleased it (either because they are generally received and believed, or because they suit the taste), brings everything else to support and agree with them; and though the weight and number of contradictory instances be superior, still it either overlooks or despises them, or gets rid of them by creating distinctions, not without great and in jurious prejudice, that the authority of these previous conclusions may be maintained inviolate.
[tr. Johnson (1859)]

Once a human intellect has adopted an opinion (either as something it likes or as something generally accepted), it draws everything else in to confirm and support it. Even if there are more and stronger instances against it than there are in its favour·, the intellect either overlooks these or treats them as negligible or does some line-drawing that lets it shift them out of the way and reject them. This involves a great and pernicious prejudgment by means of which the intellect’s former conclusions remain inviolate.
[tr. Bennett (2017)]

 
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“Nearly eleven o’clock,” said Pooh happily. “You’re just in time for a little smackerel of something.”

A. A. Milne (1882-1956) English poet and playwright [Alan Alexander Milne]
House at Pooh Corner, ch. 1 (1928)
    (Source)
 
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What a wretched lot of old shriveled creatures we shall be by-and-by. Never mind, — the uglier we get in the eyes of others, the lovelier we shall be to each other; that has always been my firm faith about friendship, and now it is in a slight degree my experience.

George Eliot (1819-1880) English novelist [pseud. of Mary Ann Evans]
Letter to Sara Hennell (1852-05-27)
    (Source)
 
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Pleasing for a moment is of some consequence; for, if we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves, you know.

Maria Edgeworth
Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849) Anglo-Irish writer, novelist
Mademoiselle Panache, Part 2 [Helen] (1795)
    (Source)
 
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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)
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Added on 31-Jan-24 | Last updated 31-Jan-24
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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)]
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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]

 
Added on 30-Jan-24 | Last updated 30-Jan-24
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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)]
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