- WIST is my personal collection of quotations, curated for thought, amusement, turn of phrase, historical significance, or sometimes just (often-unintentional) irony.
WIST currently holds 19,776 quotations by 3,081 authors. Please feel free to browse and borrow.
Author CloudAristotle • Asimov, Isaac • Bacon, Francis • Bible • Bierce, Ambrose • Billings, Josh • Butcher, Jim • Chesterfield (Lord) • Chesterton, Gilbert Keith • Churchill, Winston • Cicero, Marcus Tullius • Einstein, Albert • Eisenhower, Dwight David • Emerson, Ralph Waldo • Franklin, Benjamin • Fuller, Thomas (1654) • Gaiman, Neil • Galbraith, John Kenneth • Gandhi, Mohandas • Hazlitt, William • Heinlein, Robert A. • Hoffer, Eric • Homer • Huxley, Aldous • Ingersoll, Robert Green • Jefferson, Thomas • Johnson, Samuel • Kennedy, John F. • King, Martin Luther • La Rochefoucauld, Francois • Lewis, C.S. • Lincoln, Abraham • Martial • Mencken, H.L. • Orwell, George • Pratchett, Terry • Roosevelt, Eleanor • Roosevelt, Theodore • Russell, Bertrand • Shakespeare, William • Shaw, George Bernard • Sophocles • Tolkien, J.R.R. • Twain, Mark • Wilde, Oscar
- Only the 45 most quoted authors are shown above. Full author list.
Most Quoted Authors
Topic Cloudaction age America author beauty belief change character courage death democracy education ego error evil faith fear freedom future God government happiness history human nature humanity integrity liberty life love morality perspective politics power progress reality religion science society success truth virtue war wealth wisdom writing
- I've been adding topics since 2014, so not all quotes have been given one. Full topic list.
- “Wealth and Poverty,” speech, National… (10,367)
- Agamemnon, ll. 175-183 [tr. Johnston (2007)] (6,712)
- “The Lesson for Today,” A Witness Tree (1942) (6,278)
- “The Triumph of Stupidity” (10 May 1933) (5,685)
- Nobel prize acceptance speech (10 Dec 1962) (4,970)
- “Tips for Teens,” Social Studies (1981) (4,878)
- Letter to Clara Rilke (1 Jan 1907) (4,655)
- “On The Conduct of Life” (1822) (4,637)
- Republic, Book 1, 347c (4,303)
- “A Cult of Ignorance,” Newsweek (21 Jan 1980) (4,301)
- The Problems of Philosophy, ch. 2 “The Existence of Matter” (1912) on
- Discourse on Method [Discours de la méthode], Part 2 (1637) [tr. Cottingham, Stoothoff (1985)] on
- The Imitation of Christ, Book 3, ch. 12, sec. 2 (c. 1418) on
- Heauton Timoroumenos [The Self-Tormentor], Act 4, sc. 5, l. 48 (l. 796) on
- “Reflections on Monogamy,” Prejudices (1919-27) on
- Letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy (13 Nov 1789) on
- The Iliad [Ἰλιάς], Book 9, l. 63ff (9.63-64) [Nestor] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Pope (1715-20)] on
- Inaugural Address (20 Jan 1961) [with Ted Sorensen] on
- Speech, Republican National Convention (7 Jun 1916) on
- “In Our Youth Our Hearts Were Touched With Fire,” Memorial Day address, Keene, New Hampshire (30 May 1884) on
Quotations about abandonment
Note that not all quotations have been tagged, so the Search function may find additional quotations on this topic.
You’re running away — from me? Oh, I pray you
by these tears, by the faith in your right hand —
what else have I left myself in all my pain? —
by our wedding vows, the marriage we began,
if I deserve some decency from you now,
if anything mine has ever won your heart,
pity a great house about to fall, I pray you,
if prayers have any place — reject this scheme of yours!
[Mene fugis? Per ego has lacrimas dextramque tuam te
(Quando aliud mihi jam miserae nihil ipsa reliqui)
Per connubia nostra, per inceptos Hymenaeos;
Si bene quid de te merui, fuit aut tibi quidquam
Dulce meum, miserere domus labentis, et istam,
Oro, si quis adhuc precibus locus, exue mentem.]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 4, l. 314ff (3.314-319) [Dido] (29-19 BC) [tr. Fagles (2006), l. 390ff]
Dido begging Aeneas not to desert her. (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:
See whom you fly! am I the foe you shun?
Now, by those holy vows, so late begun,
By this right hand, (since I have nothing more
To challenge, but the faith you gave before;)
I beg you by these tears too truly shed,
By the new pleasures of our nuptial bed;
If ever Dido, when you most were kind,
Were pleasing in your eyes, or touch'd your mind;
By these my pray'rs, if pray'rs may yet have place,
Pity the fortunes of a falling race.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]
Wilt thou fly from me? By these tears, by that right hand, (since I have left nothing else to myself now, a wretch forlorn,) by our nuptial rights, by our conjugal loves begun; if I have deserved any thanks at they hand, or if ever you saw any charms in me, take pity, I implore thee, on a falling race, and, if yet there is any room for prayers, lay aside your resolution.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]
From me you fly! Ah! let me crave,
By these poor tears, that hand you gave --
Since, parting with my woman's pride,
My madness leaves me nought beside --
By that our wedlock, by the rite
Which, but begun, could yet unite,
If e'er my kindness held you bound,
If e'er in me your joy you found,
Look on this falling house, and still,
If prayer can touch you, change your will.
[tr. Conington (1866)]
Fly'st thou from me?
Ah, by these tears, and by this hand of thine
(Since to me, wretched, nothing else is left).
By our marriage tie, our nuptial rites begun.
If any favor I deserved of thee,
Or if in anything I have been sweet
And dear to thee, pity this falling house!
I do beseech thee, if there yet be room
For entreaty, change, ah, change that fixed intent!
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 406ff]
Fliest thou from me? me who by these tears and thine own hand beseech thee, since naught else, alas! have I kept mine own—by our union and the marriage rites preparing; if I have done thee any grace, or aught of mine hath once been sweet in thy sight,—pity our sinking house, and if there yet be room for prayers, put off this purpose of thine.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]
Yea, me thou fleest. O by these tears, by that right hand of thine,
Since I myself have left myself unhappy nought but this,
And by our bridal of that day and early wedding bliss,
If ever I were worthy thanks, if sweet in aught I were,
Pity a falling house! If yet be left a space for prayer,
O then I pray thee put away this mind of evil things!
[tr. Morris (1900)]
"Me dost thou fly? O, by these tears, thy hand
Late pledged, since madness leaves me naught beside,
By lovers' vows and wedlock's sacred band,
Scarce knit and now too soon to be untied;
If aught were pleasing in a new-won bride,
If sweet the memory of our marriage day,
O by these prayers -- if place for prayer abide --
In mercy put that cruel mind away.
Pity a falling house, now hastening to decay.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 40, l. 352ff]
Is it from me
thou takest flight? O, by these flowing tears,
by thine own plighted word (for nothing more
my weakness left to miserable me),
by our poor marriage of imperfect vow,
if aught to me thou owest, if aught in me
ever have pleased thee -- O, be merciful
to my low-fallen fortunes! I implore,
if place be left for prayer, thy purpose change!
[tr. Williams (1910)]
From me dost thou flee? By these tears and thy right hand, I pray thee -- since naught else, alas! have I left myself -- by our marriage, by the wedlock begun, if ever I deserved well of thee, or if aught of mine has been sweet in thy sight, pity a falling house, and if yet there be any room for prayers, put away this purpose of thine.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]
I am the one you flee from: true? I beg you
By my own tears, and your right hand -- (I have nothing
Else left my wretchedness) -- by the beginnings
Of marriage, wedlock, what we had, if ever
I served you well, if anything of mine
Was ever sweet to you, I beg you, pity
A falling house; if there is room for pleading
As late as this, I plead, put off that purpose.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]
Am I your reason for going? By these tears, by the hand you gave me --
They are all I have left, today, in my misery -- I implore you,
And by our union of hearts, by our marriage hardly begun,
If I have ever helped you at all, if anything
About me pleased you, be sad for our broken home, forgo
Your purpose, I beg you, unless it's too late for prayers of mine!
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]
Do you flee me? By tears, by your right hand --
This sorry self is left with nothing else --
by wedding, by the marriage we began,
if I did anything deserving of you
or anything of mine was sweet to you,
take pity on a fallen house, put off
your plan, I pray -- if there is still place for prayers.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 422ff]
Do you go to get away from me? I beg you,
By these tears, by your own right hand, since I
Have left my wretched self nothing but that --
Yes, by the marriage that we entered on,
If ever I did well and you were grateful
Or found some sweetness in a gift from me,
Have pity now on a declining house!
Put this plan by, I beg you, if a prayer
Is not yet out of place.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 429ff]
Is it me you are running away from? I beg you, by these tears, by the pledge you gave me with your own right hand -- I hav enothing else left me now in my misery -- I beg you by our union, by the marriage we have begun -- if I have deserved any kindness from you, if you have ever loved anything about me, pity my house that is falling around me, and I implore you, if it is not too late for prayers, give up this plan of yours.
[tr. West (1990)]
Is it me you are fleeing?
By these tears, I beg you, by your right hand,
Which is all I have left, by your wedding vows,
Still so fresh -- if I have ever done anything
To deserve your thanks, if there is anything in me
That you found sweet, pity a house destined to fall,
And if there is still room for prayers, I beg you,
Please change your mind.
[tr. Lombardo (2005)]
Is it me you run from? Byu my tears and your promise (nothing else is left me in my grief), by our wedding, by the marriage we've begun, if I deserve anything from you, if you found me at all pleasing, pity my poor home, I beg, if there's still time to beg.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]
Added on 27-Jul-22 | Last updated 27-Jul-22
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If you want to know who your friends are, get yourself a jail sentence.
Notes of a Dirty Old Man (1969)
Added on 31-Jan-20 | Last updated 31-Jan-20
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Take me or leave me; or, as in the usual order of things, both.
Added on 24-Oct-16 | Last updated 24-Oct-16
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Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes: work never begun.
Time Flies: A Reading Diary, “January 5” (1886)
Added on 5-Jun-15 | Last updated 4-Dec-20
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In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished — a word that for them has no sense — but abandoned; and this abandonment, whether to the flames or to the public (and which is the result of weariness or an obligation to deliver) is a kind of an accident to them, like the breaking off of a reflection, which fatigue, irritation, or something similar has made worthless.
[Aux yeux de ces amateurs d’inquiétude et de perfection, un ouvrage n’est jamais achevé, – mot qui pour eux n’a aucun sens, – mais abandonné ; et cet abandon, qui le livre aux flammes ou au public (et qu’il soit l’effet de la lassitude ou de l’obligation de livrer) est une sorte d’accident, comparable à la rupture d’une réflexion, que la fatigue, le fâcheux ou quelque sensation viennent rendre nulle.]
“Au sujet du ‘Cimetière marin,'” La Nouvelle Revue Française (Mar 1933)
Often rendered as: "A poem is never finished, only abandoned."
Alt. trans.: "In the eyes of those who anxiously seek perfection, a work is never truly completed -- a word that for them has no sense -- but abandoned; and this abandonment, of the book to the fire or to the public, whether due to weariness or to a need to deliver it for publication, is a sort of accident, comparable to the letting-go of an idea that has become so tiring or annoying that one has lost all interest in it." [tr. Maggio]
In the same vein, in "Recollections," Valery wrote: "A work is never completed except by some accident such as weariness, satisfaction, the need to deliver, or death: for, in relation to who or what is making it, it can only be one stage in a series of inner transformations."
Also attributed to W. H. Auden, Oscar Wilde, and Jean Cocteau, For more discussion of the origin of this phrase, see here.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 25-Mar-19
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