Quotations about:
    anger


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Violent zeal for truth has a hundred to one odds to be either petulancy, ambition, or pride.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
“Thoughts on Religion” (1726)
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Anger’s my meat; I sup upon myself,
And so shall starve with feeding.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Coriolanus, Act 2, sc. 4, l. 68ff [Volumnia] (c. 1608)
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Anger is an inoculant. It gets your immune system working against bullshit. But anger can also make you sick, if you’re exposed to it for too long. That same caustic anger that can inspire you to action, to defend yourself, to make powerful and risky choices … can eat away at you. Consume your self, vulnerabilities, flesh, heart, future if you stay under the drip for too long. The anger itself can become your reason for living, and feeding it can be your only goal. In the end, you’ll feed yourself to it to keep the flame alive, along with everyone around you. Anger is selfish, like any flame. And so, like any flame, it must be shielded, contained, husbanded while it is useful and banked or extinguished when it is not. But flames don’t want to die, and they are crafty — an ember hidden here, a hot spot unexpectedly lurking over there. Sure, you can turn the feelings off, and I had done that before. But turning off the anger doesn’t lead to dealing with the problems that caused the anger.

Elizabeth Bear
Elizabeth Bear (b. 1971) American author [pseud. for Sarah Bear Elizabeth Wishnevsky]
Ancestral Night (2019)
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          In despair
they blasphemed God, their parents, their time on earth,
     the race of Adam, and the day and the hour
     and the place and the seed and the womb that gave them birth.
But all together they drew to that grim shore
     where all must come who lose the fear of God.
     Weeping and cursing they come for evermore.

[Bestemmiavano Dio e lor parenti,
     l’umana spezie e ’l loco e ’l tempo e ’l seme
     di lor semenza e di lor nascimenti.
Poi si ritrasser tutte quante insieme,
     forte piangendo, a la riva malvagia
     ch’attende ciascun uom che Dio non teme.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 3, l. 103ff (3.103-108) (1320) [tr. Ciardi (1954), l. 100ff]
    (Source)

The damned at Charon's boat, waiting to cross the Acheron. (Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

God and their parents they alike blasphem'd,
Cursing all human kind, the time, the seed
From when they sprang, and of their birth the place.
They crouded then, with horrid yells and loud,
Close to the cursed shore of bliss devoid:
Where ev'ry Mortal waits who fears not God.
[tr. Rogers (1782), l. 87ff]

     Loud they began to curse their natal star,
Their parent-clime, their lineage, and their God;
     Then to the ferry took the downward road
     With lamentable cries of loud despair.
Then o'er the fatal flood, in horror hung
Collected, stood the Heav'abandon'd throng.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 22-23]

          God and their parents they blasphem'd,
The human kind, the place, the time, and seed
That did engender them and give them birth.
Then all together sorely wailing drew
To the curs'd strand, that every man must pass
Who fears not God.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

God they blasphemed, their parents and their kind,
     The place, the time, the seed prolifical,
     That embryo sowed them, and to life consigned.
Then wailing loud, their troop they gathered all,
     And back recoiled them to the baleful verge,
     Ordained to men from godliness who fall.
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

     They blasphemed God and their parents; the human kind; the place, the time, and origin of their seed, and of their birth.
     Then all of them together, sorely weeping, drew to the accursed shore, which awaits every man that fears not God.
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

Blasphemed their God, their parents, human kind;
The time when, the hour, the natal earth,
The seed of their begetting, and their birth.
Then all withdrew, who there together were,
Loudly lamenting, to the wicked shore,
Awaiting those who feared not God before.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

God they blasphem'd, their parents they blasphem'd,
     The human race, the place, the time, the seed
     Of their conception and nativity.
Then by one impulse driv'n they onwards rush'd
     With bitter weeping to th' accursèd shore;
     The doom of all who have not God in fear.
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

God they blasphemed and their progenitors,
     The human race, the place, the time, the seed
     Of their engendering and of their birth! ⁠
Thereafter all together they drew back,
     Bitterly weeping, to the accursed shore,
     Which waiteth every man who fears not God.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

They fell to blaspheming God and their parents, the human kind, the place, the time, and the seed of their begetting and of their birth. Then they dragged them all together, wailing loud, to the baleful bank, which awaits every man that fears not God.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

They cursed at God and at their parentage,
     The human race, the place, the time, the seed
     Of their begetting, and their earliest age.
Then all of them together on proceed.
     Wailing aloud, to the evil bank that stays
     For every one of God who takes no heed.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

They blasphemed God and their parents, the human race, the place, the time and the seed of their sowing and of their birth. Then, bitterly weeping, they drew back all of them together to the evil bank, that waits for every man who fears not God.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

They fell to blaspheming God and their parents, the human race, the place, the time, the seed of their sowing and of their births. Then in all their thronging crowds, the while they loudly wailed, they gathered them back together to the accursed shore, that awaiteth everyone that hath no fear of God.
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]

Blasphemed they God himself and their own parents.
     The human race, the place, the time, the sowing
     O' the seed they sprang from, and their own beginnings.
Then they retreated, one and all together,
     Bitterly weeping, to the brink accursèd
     Which for all men who fear not God is waiting.
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

They blasphemed God and their parents, the human kind, the place, the time, and the seed of their begetting and of their birth, then, weeping bitterly, they drew all together to the accursed shore which awaits every man that fears not God.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

They blasphemed God, blasphemed their mother's womb,
     The human kind, the place, the time, the seed
     Of their engendering, and their birth and doom;
Then weeping all together in their sad need
     Betook themselves to the accursed shore
     Which awaits each who of God takes no heed.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

God they blaspheme, blaspheme their parents' bed,
     The human race, the place, the time, the blood
     The seed that got them, and the womb that bred;
Then, huddling hugger-mugger, down they scud,
     Dismally wailing, to the accursed strand
     Which waits for every man that fears not God.
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

They cursed God, their parents, the human race, the place, the time, the seed of their begetting and of their birth. Then, weeping loudly, all drew to the evil shore that awaits every man who fears not God.
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

They were cursing God, cursing their mother and father,
     the human race, and the time, the place, the seed
     of their beginning, and their day of birth.
Then all together, weeping bitterly,
     they packed themselves along the wicked shore
     that waits for everyman who fears not God.
[tr. Musa (1971)]

They execrated God and their own parents
     and humankind, and then the place and time
     of their conception's seed and of their birth.
Then they forgathered, huddled in one throng,
     weeping aloud along that wretched shore
     which waits for all who have no fear of God.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

Then they blasphemed God and cursed their parents,
     The human race, the place and time, the seed,
     The land that it was sown in, and their birth.
And then they gatehred, all of them together,
     Weeping aloud, upon the evil shore
     Which awaits every man who does not fear God.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

          ... cursing the human race,
God and their parents. Teeth chattering in their skulls,
     They called curses on the seed, the place, the hour
     Of their own begetting and their birth. With wails
And tears they gaterhed on the evil shore
     That waits for all who don't fear God.
[tr. Pinsky (1994)]

     They cursed God and their parents, the human race and the place and the time and the seed of their sowing and of their birth.
     Then all of them together, weeping loudly, drew near the evil shore that awaits each one who does not fear God.
[tr. Durling (1996)]

They blasphemed against God, and their parents, the human species, the place, time, and seed of their conception, and of their birth. Then, all together, weeping bitterly, they neared the cursed shore that waits for every one who has no fear of God.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

They raged, blaspheming God and their own kin,
     the human race, the place and time, the seed
     from which they'd sprung, the day that they'd been born.
And then they came together all as one,
     wailing aloud along the evil margin
     that waits for all who have no fear of God.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

They blasphemed God, their parents,
     the human race, the place, the time, the seed
     of their begetting and their birth.
Then weeping bitterly, they drew together
     to the accursèd shore that waits
     for every man who fears not God.
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

They cursed at God, the human race, their parents,
     The place where they'd been born, and the time, and the seed
     That gave them life and brought about their birth.
Then they crowded, all of them loudly weeping,
     Down to the cursed, ever-barren shore
     That waits for men who live as if God were sleeping.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

They cursed their parents, God, the human race,
The time, the temperature, their place of birth,
Their mother's father's brother's stupid face,
And everything of worth or nothing worth
That they could think of. Then they squeezed up tight
Together, sobbing, on the ragged edge
That waits for all who hold God in despite.
[tr. James (2013), l. 136ff]

 
Added on 9-Dec-22 | Last updated 9-Dec-22
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Expectations are resentments waiting to happen.

Anne Lamott (b. 1954) American novelist and non-fiction writer
Crooked Little Heart, ch. 4 (1997)
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We think of forgiveness as a thing. An incident. A choice. But forgiveness is a process. A long, exhausting process. A series of choices that we have to make over, and over, and over again. Because the anger at having been wronged — the rage, the fury, the desire to lash out and cut back — doesn’t just vanish because you say to someone, “I forgive you.” Rather, forgiveness is an obligation you take on not to act punitively on your anger. To interrogate it when it arises, and accept that you have made the choice to be constructive rather than destructive. Not that you have made the choice never to be angry again.

Elizabeth Bear
Elizabeth Bear (b. 1971) American author [pseud. for Sarah Bear Elizabeth Wishnevsky]
Ancestral Night (2019)
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His nature is too noble for the world.
He would not flatter Neptune for his trident
Or Jove for ‘s power to thunder. His heart’s his mouth;
What his breast forges, that his tongue must vent,
And, being angry, does forget that ever
He heard the name of death.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Coriolanus, Act 3, sc. 1, l. 326ff [Menenius] (c. 1608)
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Speaking of the title character.
 
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When valor preys on reason,
It eats the sword it fights with.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Antony and Cleopatra, Act 3, sc. 13, ll. 240-41 [Enobarbus] (1607)
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My friends and I were all deathly afraid of our fathers, which was right and proper and even biblically ordained. Fathers were angry; it was their job.

Barbara Holland (1933-2010) American author
When All the World Was Young, ch. 1 (2005)
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The rich know anger helps the cost of living:
Hating’s more economical than giving.

[Genus, Aucte, lucri divites habent iram:
Odisse, quam donare, vilius constat.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 12, epigram 13 (12.13) [tr. Michie (1972)]
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"To Auctus." Closely parallel to 3.37, to the point where some translations are cross-applied in error. The general interpretation, from Ker, is that "picking quarrels with clients saves you giving them presents."

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Anger's a kind of gain that rich men know:
It costs them less to hate than to bestow.
[tr. Fletcher (1656)]

Rich men, my friend, by anger know to thrive.
'Tis cheaper much to quarrel, than to give.
[tr. Hay (1755)]

From ire can gainmongers elicit ore.
Fell hate is frugal: love might lavish more.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), 12.68]

Ask you, last night, why Gripus ill behaved?
A well-timed quarrel is a dinner saved.
[tr. Halhead (1793)]

The rich, Auctus, make a species of gain out of anger.
It is cheaper to get into a passion than to give.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Rich men, Auctus, regard anger as a kind of profit;
to hate is cheaper than to give!
[tr. Ker (1919)]

The rich feign wrath -- a profitable plan;
'Tis cheaper far to hate than help a man.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

Rich men, Auctus, think of anger as a sort of moneymaking:
hating comes cheaper than giving.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

The rich pick fights and cause unpleasance:
Hate is cheaper than giving presents.
[tr. Ericsson (1995)]

The rich believe it pays to get irate --
to give is costlier, Auctus, than to hate.
[tr. McLean (2014)]
 
Added on 17-Jun-22 | Last updated 17-Jun-22
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Wealthy friends, you’re quick to take offene.
It’s not good manners, but it saves expense.

[Irasci tantum felices nostis amici.
Non belle facitis, sed iuvat hoc: facite.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 3, epigram 37 (3.37) [tr. McLean (2014)]
    (Source)

The commentary by various authors indicates this is about wealthy patrons pretending to offense or other anger at their poorer clientele as an excuse for not being free with gifts. Closely parallel to 12.13.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Rich friends 'gainst poor to anger still are prone:
It is not well, but profitably done.
[tr. Hay (1755)]

My rich friends, you know nothing save how to put yourselves into a passion. It is not a nice thing for you to do, but it suits your purpose. Do it.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

To be angry is all you know, you rich friends.
You do not act prettily, but it pays to do this.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

Rich friends, 'tis your fashion to get in a passion
With humble dependents, or feign it.
Though not very nice, 'tis a saving device,
Economy bids you retain it.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921), "A Mean Trick"]

Not easy, having money, blood so blue,
Lotta gifts expected for all your crew.
Kinda tacky to get angry and just tell 'em all go screw.
But the rich gotta do
What the rich gotta do.
[tr. Ericsson (1995)]

 
Added on 10-Jun-22 | Last updated 17-Jun-22
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The first thing to do when you are upset is to notice that you are. You begin by mastering your emotions and determining not to go any further. With this superior sort of caution you can put a quick end to your anger.

[El primer paso del apasionarse es advertir que se apasiona, que es entrar con señorío del afecto, tanteando la necesidad hasta tal punto de enojo, y no más. Con esta superior refleja entre y salga en una ira.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 155 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
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(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

The first step towards getting into a passion is to announce that you are in a passion. By this means you begin the conflict with command over your temper, for one has to regulate one's passion to the exact point that is necessary and no further. This is the art of arts in falling into and getting out of a rage.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

 
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Anger is a passion, so it makes people feel alive and makes them feel they matter and are in charge of their lives. So people often need to renew their anger a long time after the cause of it has died, because it is a protection against helplessness and emptiness just like howling in the night. And it makes them feel less vulnerable for a little while.

Merle Shain (1935-1989) Canadian journalist and author
Hearts That We Broke Long Ago, ch. 5 (1983)
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It’s very important to decode your own messages, like saying “I feel angry” instead of kicking the cat, and people who learn to do this find they are misunderstood less often and, as a fringe benefit, are clawed by fewer cats.

Merle Shain (1935-1989) Canadian journalist and author
Some Men Are More Perfect than Others (1973)
 
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Because society would rather we always wore a pretty face, women have been trained to cut off anger.

Nancy Friday (1933-2017) American author and feminist
My Mother/My Self (1977)
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I am too weary to listen, too angry to hear.

Daniel Bell (1919-2011) American sociologist, writer, editor, academic
“First Love and Early Sorrows,” Partisan Review (Dec 1981)
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It’s hard for decent people to stay angry at someone who has burst into tears, which is why it is often a good idea to burst into tears if a decent person is yelling at you.

Lemony Snicket (b. 1970) American author, screenwriter, musician (pseud. for Daniel Handler)
The Carnivorous Carnival (2002)
 
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But oh! ye gracious Powers above,
Wrath and revenge from men and gods remove,
Far, far too dear to every mortal breast,
Sweet to the soul, as honey to the taste;
Gathering like vapours of a noxious kind
From fiery blood, and darkening all the mind.

[Ὡς ἔρις ἔκ τε θεῶν ἔκ τ’ ἀνθρώπων ἀπόλοιτο
καὶ χόλος, ὅς τ’ ἐφέηκε πολύφρονά περ χαλεπῆναι,
ὅς τε πολὺ γλυκίων μέλιτος καταλειβομένοιο
ἀνδρῶν ἐν στήθεσσιν ἀέξεται ἠΰτε καπνός.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad [Ἰλιάς], Book 18, l. 107ff (18.107) [Achilles] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Pope (1715-20)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

How then too soon can hastiest death supplant
My fate-curst life? Her instrument to my indignity
Being that black fiend Contention; whom would to God might die
To Gods and men; and Anger too, that kindles tyranny
In men most wise, being much more sweet than liquid honey is
To men of pow’r to satiate their watchful enmities;
[tr. Chapman (1611), l. 98ff]

May fierce contention from among the Gods
Perish, and from among the human race,
With wrath, which sets the wisest hearts on fire;
Sweeter than dropping honey to the taste,
But in the bosom of mankind, a smoke!
[tr. Cowper (1791), l. 134ff]

Would that therefore contention might be extinguished from gods and men; and anger, which is wont to impel even the very wisest to be harsh; and which, much sweeter than distilling honey, like smoke, rises in the breasts of men.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

Accurs’d of Gods and men be hateful strife
And anger, which to violence provokes
E’en temp’rate souls: though sweeter be its taste
Than dropping honey, in the heart of man
Swelling, like smoke.
[tr. Derby (1864)]

May strife perish utterly among gods and men, and wrath that stirreth even a wise man to be vexed, wrath that far sweeter than trickling honey waxeth like smoke in the breasts of men.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

Therefore, perish strife both from among gods and men, and anger, wherein even a righteous man will harden his heart -- which rises up in the soul of a man like smoke, and the taste thereof is sweeter than drops of honey.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

So may strife perish from among gods and men, and anger that setteth a man on to grow wroth, how wise soever he be, and that sweeter far than trickling honey waxeth like smoke in the breasts of men.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

Why, I wish that strife would vanish away from among gods and mortals, and gall, which makes a man grow angry for all his great mind, that gall of anger that swarms like smoke inside of a man's heart and becomes a thing sweeter to him by far than the dripping of honey. [tr. Lattimore (1951)]

Ah, let strife and rancor perish from the lives of gods and men, with anger that envenoms even the wise and is far sweeter than slow-dripping honey, clouding the hearts of men like smoke.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

If only strife could die from the lives of gods and men
and anger that drives the sanest man to flare in outrage --
bitter gall, sweeter than dripping streams of honey,
that swarms in people's chests and blinds like smoke.
[tr. Fagles (1990), l. 126ff]
 
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We may seem angry, but anger should be far from us; for in anger nothing right or judicious can be done.

[Sed tamen ira procul absit, cum qua nihil recte fieri nec considerate potest.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 1, ch. 38 (1.38) / sec. 136 (44 BC) [tr. Miller (1913)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

We must be sure, as was said, to avoid all anger; for whatsoever is guided by its influence and directions can never be done with any prudence or moderation.
[tr. Cockman (1699)]

But still, let anger be remote; for under its influence our conduct cannot be upright or deliberate.
[tr. McCartney (1798)]

But still, let all passion be avoided; for with that nothing can be done with rectitude, nothing with discretion.
[tr. Edmonds (1865)]

Anger itself we must put far away, for with it we can do nothing right or well-advised.
[tr. Gardiner (1899)]

All things considered, you should avoid anger; nothing good or courteous happens when men are angry.
[tr. Edinger (1974)]

But still anger ought be far from us, for nothing is able to be done rightly nor judiciously with anger.
[Source]

 
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Indignation is the seducer of thought. No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched.

George Jean Nathan (1892-1958) American editor and critic
“Undeveloped Notes,” The Smart Set (Aug 1922)
    (Source)

Reprinted in The World in Falseface, "Art & Criticism," #64 (1923).
 
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The difference between a conviction and a prejudice is that you can explain a conviction without getting angry.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Anonymous

No definitive source is found for this quotation. Frequently attributed to Gregory Benford, Deeper than the Darkness (1970), but it has shown up anonymously at least as early as 1951 as "filler" material in periodicals. Also sometimes attributed to Samuel Butler or Dorothy Sarnoff, but not with any citation.
 
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There is a raging tiger inside every man whom God put on this earth. Every man worthy of the respect of his children spends his life building inside himself a cage to pen that tiger in.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
America Comes of Middle Age: Columns, 1950-1962 (1963)
    (Source)
 
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Rage — Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles,
murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses,
hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls,
great fighters’ souls, but made their bodies carrion,
feasts for the dogs and birds.

[Μῆνιν ἄειδε, θεά, Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος
οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,
πολλὰς δ᾽ ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς Ἄϊδι προΐαψεν
ἡρώων, αὐτοὺς δὲ ἑλώρια τεῦχε κύνεσσιν
οἰωνοῖσί τε πᾶσι.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad [Ἰλιάς], Book 1, l. 1ff (1.1-5) (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990)]

Original Greek. Alternate translation:
The wrath of Peleus' son, the direful spring
Of all the Grecian woes, O Goddess, sing!
That wrath which hurled to Pluto's gloomy reign
The souls of mighty chiefs untimely slain,
Whose limbs, unburied on the naked shore,
Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore ....
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

Achilles sing, O Goddess! Peleus' son;
His wrath pernicious, who ten thousand woes
Caused to Achaia’s host, sent many a soul
Illustrious into Ades premature,
And Heroes gave (so stood the will of Jove)
To dogs and to all ravening fowls a prey.
[tr. Cowper (1791)]

Sing, O goddess, the destructive wrath of Achilles, son of Peleus, which brought countless woes upon the Greeks, and hurled many valiant souls of heroes down to Hades, and made themselves a prey to dogs and to all birds ....
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

Of Peleus' son, Achilles, sing, O Muse,
The vengeance, deep and deadly; wence to Greece
Unnumber'd ills arose; which many a soul
Of mighty warriors to the viewless shades
Untimely sent; they on the battle plain
Unburied lay, a prey to rav'ning dogs,
And carrion birds ....
[tr. Derby (1864)]

Sing, goddess, the wrath of Achilles Peleus' son, the ruinous wrath that brought on the Achaians woes innumerable, and hurled down into Hades many strong souls of heroes, and gave their bodies to be a prey to dogs and all winged fowls ....
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

Sing, O goddess, the rage of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs and vultures ....
[tr. Butler (1898)]

The wrath sing, goddess, of Peleus' son, Achilles, that destructive wrath which brought countless woes upon the Achaeans, and sent forth to Hades many valiant souls of heroes, and made them themselves spoil for dogs and every bird ....
[tr. Murray (1924)]

Anger be now your song, immortal one,
Achilles' anger, doomed and ruinous,
that cause the Achaeans loss on bitter loss
and crowded brave souls into the undergloom,
leaving so many dead men -- carrion
for dogs and birds ....
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

Sing now, goddess, the wrath of Achilles the scion of Peleus,
ruinous rage which brought the Achaians uncounted afflictions;
many the powerful souls it sent to the dwellings of Hades,
those of the heroes, and spoil for the dogs it made of their bodies,
plunder for all of the birds ....
[tr. Merrill (2007)]
 
Added on 5-Aug-20 | Last updated 1-Dec-21
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An easygoing vice, I hold,
Is better than an angry virtue.

[J’aime mieux un vice commode,
Qu’une fatigante vertu.]

Molière (1622-1673) French playwright, actor [stage name for Jean-Baptiste Poquelin]
Amphitryon, Act 1, sc. 4, l. 681-2 [Mercury] (1666) [tr. Wilbur (2010)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:
  • "I prefer an accommodating vice / To an obstinate virtue."
  • "I prefer a convenient vice, to a fatiguing virtune." [tr. Waller (1903)]
  • Original French.
 
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                        It is the wit,
The policy of sin, to hate those men
We have abus’d.

William Davenant (1606-1668) English poet and playwright [a.k.a. William D'Avenant]
The Just Italian, Act 3, sc. 1 [Sciolto] (1630)
    (Source)
 
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Anger is like the blade of a butcher knife — very difficult to hold on to for long without harming yourself.

Patti LaBelle (b. 1944) American singer, author, actress [stage name for Patricia Louise Holt-Edwards]
Patti’s Pearls: Lessons in Living (2001) [with Laura Randolph Lancaster]
    (Source)
 
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To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.

James Baldwin (1924-1987) American novelist, playwright, activist
In “The Negro After Watts,” Time (27 Aug 1965)
    (Source)

Article placed in the Congressional Record by Robert Byrd (24 Aug 1965).
 
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A man can’t eat anger for breakfast and sleep with it at night and not suffer damage to his soul.

Garrison Keillor (b. 1942) American entertainer, author
“Could I Have Been Any More Inept?” Salon.com (26 Oct 1999)
    (Source)
 
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Anger blows out the lamp of the mind. In the examination of a great and important question, every one should be serene, slow-pulsed and calm.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Christian Religion,” Article 3, The North American Review (1881)
    (Source)
 
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Grab the broom of anger and drive off the beast of fear.

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) American writer, folklorist, anthropologist
Dust Tracks on a Road, ch. 4 (1942)
    (Source)
 
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Anger as soon as fed is dead —
‘Tis starving makes it fat.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) American poet
Poem #1509 (c. 1881)
    (Source)
 
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The intoxication of anger, like that of the grape, shows us to others, but hides us from ourselves; and we injure our own cause, in the opinion of the world, when we too passionately and eagerly defend it.

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer
Lacon, Vol. 1, #240 (1820)
    (Source)
 
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Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.

Buddha (c.563-483 BC) Indian mystic, philosopher [b. Siddharta Gautama]
(Attributed)

Not authoritatively sourced.
 
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Anger repressed can poison a relationship as surely as the cruelest words.

Joyce Brothers (1927-2013) American psychologist, television personality, advice columnist
“When Your Husband’s Affection Cools,” Good Housekeeping (May 1972)
 
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A man who cannot get angry is like a stream that cannot overflow, that is always turbid. Sometimes indignation is as good as a thunder-storm in summer, clearing and cooling the air.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit, “Man” (1887)
    (Source)
 
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Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
(Spurious)

Frequently attributed to Twain, but not found in his writing or in any contemporary sources.
 
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Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns all clean.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) American poet, memoirist, activist [b. Marguerite Ann Johnson]
In Mary Chamberlain, ed., Writing Lives: Conversations Between Women Writers (1988)
    (Source)
 
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Learn this from me. Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.

Mitch Albom (b. 1958) American author, journalist, broadcaster, musician
The Five People You Meet in Heaven, “The Third Lesson” [Ruby] (2003)
 
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Rage is caused by a conviction, almost comic in its optimistic origins (however tragic in its effects), that a given frustration has not been written into the contract of life.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Consolations of Philosophy, ch. 3 “Consolation for Frustration” (2000)
    (Source)
 
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Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) Welsh poet and writer
“Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” (1947)
    (Source)

First published in Botteghe Oscure (Nov 1951).
 
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Even the best cooks were saucepan throwers when the soufflé collapsed.

Kerry Greenwood (b. 1954) Australian author and lawyer
The Green Mill Murder (1993)
    (Source)
 
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It is the trifles of life that are its bores, after all. Most men can meet ruin calmly, for instance, or laugh when they lie in a ditch with their own knee-joint and their hunter’s spine broken over the double post and rails: it is the mud that has choked up your horn just when you wanted to rally the pack; it’s the whip who carries you off to a division just when you’ve sat down to your turbot; it’s the ten seconds by which you miss the train; it’s the dust that gets in your eyes as you go down to Epsom; it’s the pretty little rose note that went by accident to your house instead of your club, and raised a storm from madame; it’s the dog that always will run wild into the birds; it’s the cook who always will season the white soup wrong — it is these that are the bores of life, and that try the temper of your philosophy.

Ouida (1839-1908) English novelist [pseud. of Maria Louise Ramé]
Under Two Flags, ch. 1 (1867)
    (Source)
 
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There are answers which, in turning away wrath, only send it to the other end of the room.

George Eliot (1819-1880) English novelist [pseud. of Mary Ann Evans]
Middlemarch, Book 3, ch. 24 (1871)
    (Source)

An allusion to Proverbs 15:1 "A soft answer turneth away wrath."
 
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As I walked out the door toward my freedom, I knew that if I did not leave all the anger, hatred, and bitterness behind, that I would still be in prison.

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) South African revolutionary, politician, statesman
(Attributed)

On his release from 27 years behind bars. Quoted by Hillary Clinton from a conversation she had with him.
 
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I have found throughout my life that, if all else fails, the character of a man can be recognized by nothing so surely as by a jest which he takes badly.

Georg C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799) German physicist, writer
Aphorisms, Notebook K, #46 (1793-96) [tr. Hollingdale (1990)]
    (Source)

Alternate translation: "A person reveals his character by nothing so clearly as the joke he resents."
 
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There is no lasting hope in violence, only temporary relief from hopelessness.

Kingman Brewster, Jr. (1919-1988) American educator, diplomat
(Attributed)
 
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To anger a conservative, lie to him. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) US President (1901-1909)
(Spurious)

Frequently attributed to Roosevelt but unsourced; first appears in the 2000s. See here for more discussion.
 
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There is nothing more galling to angry people than the coolness of those on whom they wish to vent their spleen.

Alexandre Dumas, père (1802-1870) French novelist and dramatist
The Black Tulip [La Tulipe Noire], ch. 28 (1850)
 
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Anger is the common substitute for logic among those who have no evidence for what they desperately want to believe.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
“The Tyrannosaurus Prescription”
 
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To avoid dissensions we should ever be on our guard, more especially with those who drive us to argue with them, with those who vex and irritate us, and who say things likely to excite us to anger. When we find ourselves in company with quarrelsome, eccentric individuals, people who openly and unblushingly say the most shocking things, difficult to put up with, we should take refuge in silence, and the wisest plan is not to reply to people whose behavior is so preposterous.

Those who insult us and treat us contumeliously are anxious for a spiteful and sarcastic reply: the silence we then affect disheartens them, and they cannot avoid showing their vexation; they do all they can to provoke us and to elicit a reply, but the best way to baffle them is to say nothing, refuse to argue with them, and to leave them to chew the cud of their hasty anger. This method of bringing down their pride disarms them, and shows them plainly that we slight and despise them.

St. Ambrose (339-397) Roman prelate, Bishop of Milan [Aurelius Ambrosius]
De Officiis Ministrorum, ch. 5
 
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My anger has meant pain to me but it has also meant survival, and before I give it up I’m going to be sure that there is something at least as powerful to replace it on the road to clarity.

Audre Lorde (1934-1992) American writer, feminist, civil rights activist
“The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism” (1981)
    (Source)
 
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When you are offended at any man’s fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger.

Epictetus (c.55-c.135) Greek (Phrygian) Stoic philosopher
(Attributed)
 
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Some old women and men grow bitter with age. The more their teeth drop out the more biting they get.

George D. Prentice (1802-1870) American newspaper editor
Prenticeana (1860)
    (Source)
 
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Bad temper is its own scourge. Few things are bitterer than to feel bitter. A man’s venom poisons himself more than his victim.

Charles Buxton (1823-1871) English brewer, philanthropist, writer, politician
Notes of Thought #560 (1873)
    (Source)
 
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Nothing makes the multitude angrier than when someone forces them to change their opinion of him.

Herman Hesse (1877-1962) German-born Swiss poet, novelist, painter
Reflections, #100 [ed. V. Michels (1974)]
 
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