Quotations about   courage

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Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.

Thomas Szasz (1920-2012) Hungarian-American psychiatrist, educator
The Untamed Tongue: A Dissenting Dictionary (1990)
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Added on 20-May-22 | Last updated 20-May-22
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Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British statesman and author
(Spurious)
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Variant: "Success is never final and failure never fatal. It’s courage that counts."

1938 Bud AdNot found in Churchill's canon. There are precursors to elements of this quotation, but the earliest version substantially like it is found in a 1938 Budweiser beer print advertisement:

Men with the spirit of youth pioneered our America ... men with vision and sturdy confidence. They found contentment in the thrill of action, knowing that success was never final and failure never fatal. It was courage that counted. Isn’t opportunity in America today greater than it was in the days of our grateful forefathers?

More discussion about this quotation:
Also attributed to Abraham Lincoln and John Wooden. Preacher Robert Schuller used Success is Never Ending, Failure is Never Final as the title of a 1990 book.
Added on 19-May-22 | Last updated 19-May-22
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Courage is the ladder on which all the other virtues mount.

Clare Booth Luce
Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987) American dramatist, diplomat, politician
“Is the New Morality Destroying America?”, speech, IBM Golden Circle Conference, Honolulu (28 May 1978)
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The speech was first published in The Human Life Review, Vol. 4 (1978). Then the quotation was extracted in "Quotable Quotes," Reader's Digest (May 1979), which is the most common citation.

More discussion about this quotation: The Big Apple: “Courage is the ladder on which all the other virtues mount”.
Added on 29-Apr-22 | Last updated 29-Apr-22
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The uncommitted life is not worth living. We either believe in something or we don’t. Commitment is willingness to stand up and be counted. It is a human must — for young and old, for black and white, for Christian, Moslem and Buddhist. It is skill plus good will. It is a thoughtful decision on the part of an individual to participate passionately in the events of his time. It is the dogged staying-power coupled with the sensible idealism that makes the word go ’round.

William G Saltonstall
William Saltonstall (1905-1989) American educator and writer
“Commitment — To What? Why?” speech, School of International Training for Homecoming (Feb 1963)
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Speech to parents hosting foreign students. The opening lines are often misattributed to Pearl S. Buck. See also Socrates.
Added on 28-Apr-22 | Last updated 28-Apr-22
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It isn’t for the moment you are struck that you need courage, but for the long uphill climb back to sanity and faith and security.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906-2001) American writer, pilot
Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead: Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 27 Sep 1932 (1973)
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Added on 22-Apr-22 | Last updated 22-Apr-22
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Cynicism is a form of cowardice, a failure of courage to hope.

Merle Shain (1935-1989) Canadian journalist and author
Hearts That We Broke Long Ago, ch. 11 (1983)
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Added on 15-Apr-22 | Last updated 15-Apr-22
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Courage is the thing. All goes if courage goes.

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
“Courage,” Rectoral Address, St. Andrew’s University, Scotland (3 May 1922)
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Added on 31-Mar-22 | Last updated 31-Mar-22
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Every man is bound to bear his own misfortunes rather than to get quit of them by wronging his neighbour.

[Suum cuique incommodum ferendum est potius quam de alterius commodis detrahendum.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 3, ch. 5 / sec. 30 (44 BC) [tr. Cockman (1699)]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translation:

Every man ought to bear his own evils, rather than wrong another, by stripping him of his comforts.
[tr. McCartney (1798)]

It is rather the duty of each to bear his own misfortune, than wrongfully to take from the comforts of others.
[tr. Edmonds (1865)]

Each man must bear his own privations rather than take what belongs to another.
[tr. Peabody (1883)]

A man should bear his own misfortune rather than trench upon the good fortune of another.
[tr. Gardiner (1899)]

It is the duty of each man to bear his own discomforts, rather than diminish the comforts of his neighbor.
[ed. Harbottle (1906)]

Each one must bear his own burden of distress rather than rob a neighbour of his rights.
[tr. Miller (1913)]

Each man should endure his own suffering rather than reduce the benefits of another person.
[tr. Edinger (1974)]

Added on 22-Mar-22 | Last updated 22-Mar-22
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In this world a man must either be an anvil or a hammer.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
Hyperion, “The Story of Brother Bernardus” (1839)
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Added on 11-Mar-22 | Last updated 11-Mar-22
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What are the choices that we must make if we are now to succeed, and not to fail? […] Two types of choices seem to me to have been crucial to tipping their outcomes towards success or failure: long-term planning, and willingness to reconsider core values. On reflection, we can also recognize the crucial role of these same two choices for the outcomes of our individual lives.

One of those choices has depended on the courage to practice long-term thinking, and to make bold, courageous, anticipatory decisions at a time when problems have become perceptible but before they have reached crisis proportions. […] The other crucial choice illuminated by the past involves the courage to make painful decisions about values. Which of the values that formerly served a society well can continue to be maintained under new changed circumstances? Which of these treasured values must instead be jettisoned and replaced with different approaches?

Jared Diamond
Jared Diamond (b. 1937) American geographer, historian, ornithologist, author
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, ch. 16 “The World as a Polder” (2005)
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Added on 24-Jan-22 | Last updated 24-Jan-22
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The only kind of courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 4 (1966)
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Added on 6-Jan-22 | Last updated 10-Mar-22
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Your task is to endure and save yourselves for better days.

[Durate, et vosmet rebus servate secundis.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 1, l. 207 (1.207) [Aeneas] (29-19 BC) [tr. West (1990)]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Endure the hardships of your present state;
Live, and reserve yourselves for better fate.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

Bear up, and live for happier days.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

     Be firm,
And keep your hearts in hope of brighter days.
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 263ff]

Keep heart, and endure till prosperous fortune come.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

Abide, endure, and keep yourselves for coming days of joy.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

Bear up; reserve you for a happier day.
[tr. Taylor (1907), l. 238]

     Have patience all!
And bide expectantly that golden day.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

Endure, and keep yourselves for days of happiness.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

Endure, and keep yourself for better days.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

Hold on, and find salvation in the hope of better things!
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]

Hold out, and save yourselves for kinder days.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971)]

     Be patient:
Save yourselves for more auspicious days.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), ll. 282-83]

Endure, and save yourselves for happier times.
[tr. Lombardo (2005)]

     Bear up.
Save your strength for better times to come.
[tr. Fagles (2006)]

     Hold on.
Save your strength for better days to come.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

Added on 5-Jan-22 | Last updated 5-Jan-22
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There is more valour needed not to take up the affair of honor than to conquer in it. When there is one fool ready for the occasion, one may excuse oneself from being the second.

[Estima por más valor el no empeñarse que el vencer. y ya que haya un necio ocasionado, escusa que con él no sean dos.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 47 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
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Alternate translation: "There is more courage in avoiding danger than in conquering it. He sees that there is already one rash fool, and avoids adding another." [tr. Maurer (1992)]
Added on 3-Jan-22 | Last updated 4-Apr-22
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The brave dies perhaps two thousand deaths if he’s intelligent. He simply doesn’t mention them.

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) American writer
A Farewell to Arms, ch. 21 [Catherine] (1929)
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Referring to a common paraphrase of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (2.2.34) "The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave but one."
Added on 27-Dec-21 | Last updated 27-Dec-21
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For one’s emotional state is always determined by the oddest and most accidental things, and it is precisely the most superficial factors that often fortify or diminish our courage.

Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist, biographer
Beware of Pity (1939)
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Added on 28-Oct-21 | Last updated 28-Oct-21
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Three Failures denote uncommon strength. A weakling has not enough grit to fail thrice.

No picture available
Minna Antrim (1861-1950) American epigrammatist, writer
At the Sign of the Golden Calf (1905)
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Added on 15-Oct-21 | Last updated 15-Oct-21
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It always demands a far greater degree of courage for an individual to oppose an organized movement than to let himself be carried along with the stream — individual courage, that is, a variety of courage that is dying out in these times of progressive organization and mechanization. During the war practically the only courage I ran across was mass courage, the courage that comes of being one of a herd, and anyone who examines this phenomenon more closely will find it to be compounded of some very strange elements: a great deal of vanity, a great deal of fear — yes, fear of staying behind, fear of being sneered at fear of independent action, and fear, above all, of taking up a stand against the mass enthusiasm of one’s fellows.

Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist, biographer
Beware of Pity (1939)
Added on 9-Sep-21 | Last updated 9-Sep-21
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You go on inside. Be bold, nothing to fear.
In every venture the bold man comes off best,
even the wanderer, bound from distant shores.

[σὺ δ᾽ ἔσω κίε, μηδέ τι θυμῷ
τάρβει: θαρσαλέος γὰρ ἀνὴρ ἐν πᾶσιν ἀμείνων
ἔργοισιν τελέθει, εἰ καί ποθεν ἄλλοθεν ἔλθοι.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 7, l. 50ff (7.50) (c. 700 BC) [tr. Fagles (1996)]
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(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Enter amongst them, nor admit a fear.
More bold a man is, he prevails the more,
Though man nor place he ever saw before.
[tr. Chapman (1616)]

Though you a stranger be, fear not, go in;
The bold than fearful always better speed.
[tr. Hobbes (1675), ll. 45-46]

Fear not, but be bold:
A decent boldness ever meets with friends,
Succeeds, and even a stranger recommends.
[tr. Pope (1725)]

But enter fearing nought, for boldest men
Speed ever best, come whencesoe’er they may.
[tr. Cowper (1792), ll. 60-61]

Now enter, and all fear forego,
Since it is always on the bold in mind,
Strange though his stock, that fortune shines most kind.
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 8]

Go in! with no faint heart: --
The bold man ever wins the best success
In all his works, e'en tho' from far he come!
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869)]

Enter then, and fear not in thine heart, for the dauntless man is the best in every adventure, even though he come from a strange land.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]

Go in and have no dread:
For the man that is stout and hardy drives all things better home,
Whatever of deeds be toward; yea, e'en if from far he come.
[tr. Morris (1887)]

But enter, and have no misgivings in your heart; for the courageous man in all affairs better attains his head, come he from where he may.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]

But do not be afraid; go straight in, for the bolder a man is the more likely he is to carry his point, even though he is a stranger.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Go thou within, and let thy heart fear nothing; for a bold man is better in all things, though he be a stranger from another land.
[tr. Murray (1919)]

Thrust in fearlessly: however foreign a man may be, in every crisis it is the high face which will carry him through.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]

Go straight in and have no qualms. For it is the bold man who every time does best, at home or abroad.
[tr. Rieu (1946)]

You must not be dismayed; go in to them. A cheerful man does best in every enterprise -- even a stranger.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]

When you go in, forget your fear: far better
to be a bold man, though a stranger here.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1990)]

Go inside and don't be afraid of anything.
Things turn out better for a man who is bold,
Especially if he's a stranger from a distant land.
[tr. Lombardo (2000)]

Go in and have no fear in your heart; in every kind of action the dauntless man always proves the better, even if he hails from some distant country.
[tr. Verity (2016)]

Do not be scared; go in. The brave succeed in all adventures, even those who come from countries far away.
[tr. Wilson (2017)]

Added on 18-Aug-21 | Last updated 1-Dec-21
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I do not deny that pain is painful — otherwise, why would bravery be desired? But I do say that it is suppressed through patience, if we possess any amount at all. If we have none, then why do we raise philosophy on high and robe ourselves in its glory?

[Non ego dolorem dolorem esse nego — cur enim fortitudo desideraretur? — sed eum opprimi dico patientia, si modo est aliqua patientia: si nulla est, quid exornamus philosophiam aut quid eius nomine gloriosi sumus?]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Tusculan Disputations [Tusculanae Disputationes], Book 2, ch. 14 / sec. 33 (45 BC) [tr. @sentantiq (2020)]
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Original Latin. Alternate translations:

I do not deny Pain to be Pain, for what need else were there of Fortitude? but I say it may be suppress'd by Patience, if there be any such Virtue as Patience; if there be none, why do we magnifie Philosophy? or why do we value our selves in being denominated from her?
[tr. Wase (1643)]

I do not deny pain to be pain, for were that the case, in what would courage consist? but I say it should be assuaged by patience, if there be such a thing as patience: if there be no such thing, then why do we speak so in praise of philosophy? or why do we glory in its name?
[tr. Main (1824)]

That pain is pain, I do not deny; for why should fortitude be desired? but I say it is kept under by patience: -- if, at least, there be any patience. If there be no such thing, why do we extol philosophy? or why do we glory in her name?
[tr. Otis (1839)]

I do not deny pain to be pain; for were that the case, in what would courage consist? but I say it should be assuaged by patience, if there be such a thing as patience: if there be no such thing, why do we speak so in praise of philosophy? or why do we glory in its name?
[tr. Yonge (1853)]

I do not deny that pain is pain; else where were the need of fortitude? But I do say that pain is subdued by patience, if patience be a real quality; and if it be not, why do we lavish praises on philosophy? Or what is there to boast of in its name?
[tr. Peabody (1886)]

I don't deny that pain is pain -- otherwise why should there be felt a need for courage? But I say that it is overcome by endurance if only there is such a thing as endurance: if there isn't, why do we sing the praises of philosophy, or why are we boastful on its behalf?
[tr. Douglas (1990)]

Added on 6-Jul-21 | Last updated 6-Jul-21
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I see only one danger about all this — that you might be led to take too many precautions. To take precautions, that, I find, is really dangerous. Courage is the only precaution a human being needs!

Alfred Adler (1870-1937) Austrian psychologist
(Attributed)
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Comment to a patient who chronically overworked herself. In Phyllis Bottome, Alfred Adler: A Biography, ch. 4 (1939). Often paraphrased, "The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions."
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When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid.
The new dawn blooms as we free it,
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it,
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

Amanda Gorman (b. 1998) American poet and activist
“The Hill We Climb” (2021)
    (Source)

Read at the Presidential Inauguration (20 Jan 2021).
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Lots of people would be as cowardly as me if they were brave enough.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
The Last Hero (2001)

See also Fuller.
Added on 16-Mar-21 | Last updated 16-Mar-21
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Oh friends, be men! Deep treasure in your hearts
An honest shame, and, fighting bravely, fear
Each to incur the censure of the rest.
Of men so minded more survive than die,
While dastards forfeit life and glory both.

[ὦ φίλοι ἀνέρες ἔστε, καὶ αἰδῶ θέσθ᾽ ἐνὶ θυμῷ,
ἀλλήλους τ᾽ αἰδεῖσθε κατὰ κρατερὰς ὑσμίνας.
αἰδομένων δ᾽ ἀνδρῶν πλέονες σόοι ἠὲ πέφανται:
φευγόντων δ᾽ οὔτ᾽ ἂρ κλέος ὄρνυται οὔτέ τις ἀλκή.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad [Ἰλιάς], Book 15, l. 561ff (15.561) [Ajax] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Cowper (1791), l. 679ff]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

Good friends, bring but yourselves to feel the noble stings of shame
For what ye suffer, and be men. Respect each other’s fame;
For which who strives in shame’s fit fear, and puts on ne’er so far,
Comes oft’ner off. Then stick engag’d; these fugitives of war
Save neither life, nor get renown, nor bear more mind than sheep.
[tr. Chapman (1611), l. 508ff]

O Greeks! respect your fame,
Respect yourselves, and learn an honest shame:
Let mutual reverence mutual warmth inspire,
And catch from breast to breast the noble fire.
On valour's side the odds of combat lie,
The brave live glorious, or lamented die;
The wretch that trembles in the field of fame,
Meets death, and worse than death, eternal shame.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

O my friends, be men, and set honour in your hearts, and have reverence for each other during the vehement conflicts. For more of those men who reverence each other are saved than slain; but of the fugitives, neither glory arises, nor any defence.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

Brave comrades, quit ye now like men;
Bear a stout heart; and in the stubborn fight
Let each to other mutual succour give;
By mutual succour more are sav’d than fall;
In timid flight nor fame nor safety lies.
[tr. Derby (1864)]

My friends, be men, and fear dishonour; quit yourselves in battle so as to win respect from one another. Men who respect each other's good opinion are less likely to be killed than those who do not, but in flight there is neither gain nor glory.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

My friends, be men, and take ye shame in your hearts, and have shame each of the other in the fierce conflict. Of men that have shame more are saved than are slain; but from them that flee springeth neither glory nor any avail.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

Friends, respect yourselves as men,
respect each other in the moil of battle!
Men with a sense of shame survive
more often than they perish. Those who run
have neither fighting power nor any honor.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

Be men, my friends! Discipline fill your hearts!
Dread what comrades say of you here in bloody combat!
When men dread that, more men come through alive --
when soldiers break and run, good-bye glory,
good-bye all defenses!
[tr. Fagles (1990), l. 651ff]

Now, dear friends, be men, keep hold of your valorous spirit,
feel shame, each on account of the rest in the violent combats;
more of the men who feel such shame live safely than perish,
while from the ones who flee no glory nor any defense springs.
[tr. Merrill (2007), l. 529ff]
Added on 3-Feb-21 | Last updated 1-Dec-21
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The men who succeed best in public life are those who take the risk of standing by their own convictions.

James A. Garfield (1831-1881) US President (1881), lawyer, lay preacher, educator
“Gustave Schleicher,” Speech, House of Representatives (17 Feb 1879)
    (Source)
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Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.

Clementine Paddleford (1898-1967) American food writer
A Flower for My Mother (1958)
    (Source)

Quoting her mother.
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Faith, in the Gospels, does not mean believing something: it is an inherent quality in the mind. It is a kind of courage; an attitude which favours adventure and is not afraid to run risks. Its opposite is not intellectual scepticism, but worry, cowardice, or despair. It can remove mountains — not literal mountains, but the obstacles which sloth and cowardice have put in our path.

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
Assessments and Anticipations, ch. 7 “Faith” (1929)
    (Source)
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What I’m suggesting is, stand for yourself, be for something and the hell with it. Because the hand-wringers and the editorialists and the sigh-and-pontificate crowd will be against you, whatever you do.

James Carville (b. 1944) American political consultant
Interview with Joan Walsh, Salon (11 Mar 2002)
    (Source)
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And as she looked about, she did behold
How over that same door was likewise writ,
Be bold, be bold, and everywhere Be bold,
That much she mused, yet could not construe it
By any riddling skill or common wit.
At last she spied at that room’s upper end
Another iron door, on which was writ,
Be not too bold.

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) English poet
The Faerie Queen, Book 3, Canto 11, st. 54 (1590-96)
    (Source)
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A great part of courage is the courage of having done the thing before.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Culture,” The Conduct of Life, ch. 4 (1860)
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Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the Gate:
“To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his Gods?

Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) English writer and politician
“Horatius,” st. 27, Lays of Ancient Rome (1842)
    (Source)
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As a woman, I find it very embarrassing to be in a meeting and realize I’m the only one in the room with balls.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
Starting from Scratch: A Different Kind of Writer’s Manual (1988)
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On working in the TV and film industry.
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Some Saian mountaineer
Struts today with my shield.
I threw it down by a bush and ran
When the fighting got hot.
Life seemed somehow more precious.
It was a beautiful shield.
I know where I can buy another
Exactly like it, just as round.

Archilochus (c. 680-645 BC) Greek lyric poet and mercenary [Ἀρχίλοχος, Archilochos, Arkhilokhus]
Fragment 79 [tr. Davenport (1964)]
    (Source)

Fragment from Plutarch, "Laws and Customs of the Lacedaemonians". Alt. trans.:
  • "Let who will boast their courage in the field, / I find but little safety from my shield. / Nature's, not honour's, law we must obey: / This made me cast my useless shield away, / And, by a prudent flight and cunning, save / A life, which valour could not, from the grave. / A better buckler I can soon regain; / But who can get another life again?" [tr. Pulleyn (18th C)]
  • "A Saian boasts about the shield which beside a bush / though good armour I unwillingly left behind. / I saved myself, so what do I care about the shield? / To hell with it! I'll get one soon just as good." ["To my shield" (D6, 5W)]
  • "I don't give a damn if some Thracian ape struts / Proud of that first-rate shield the bushes got. / Leaving it was hell, but in a tricky spot / I kept my hide intact. Good shields can be bought." [tr. Silverman]
  • "Some barbarian is waving my shield, since I was obliged to leave that perfectly good piece of equipment behind under a bush. But I got away, so what does it matter? Life seemed somehow more precious. Let the shield go; I can buy another one equally good." [tr. Lattimore (1955)]
Identified elsewhere as Fragment 6.
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The people I respect most behave as if they were immortal and as if society was eternal. Both assumptions are false: both of them must be accepted as true if we are to go on eating and working and loving, and are to keep open a few breathing-holes for the human spirit. No millennium seems likely to descend upon humanity; no better and stronger League of Nations will be instituted; no form of Christianity and no alternative to Christianity will bring peace to the world or integrity to the individual; no “change of heart” will occur. And yet we need not despair, indeed, we cannot despair; the evidence of history shows us that men have always insisted on behaving creatively under the shadow of the sword; that they have done their artistic and scientific and domestic stuff for the sake of doing it, and that we had better follow their example under the shadow of the aeroplanes.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
“What I Believe,” The Nation (16 Jul 1938)
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Be not afraid! In admitting a creator, refuse not to examine his creation; and take not the assertions of creatures like yourselves, in place of the evidence of your senses and the conviction of your understanding.

Frances "Fanny" Wright (1795-1852) Scottish-American writer, lecturer, social reformer
A Course of Popular Lectures, Lecture 3, “Of the more Important Divisions and Essential Parts of Knowledge” (1829)
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what matters most is
how well you
walk through the
fire.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
“How Is Your Heart?” (1986)
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I want
to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

Mary Oliver (1935-2019) American poet
“Starlings in Winter”
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In case signals can neither be seen nor perfectly understood, no captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of an enemy.

Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) British admiral
Memorandum before the Battle of Trafalgar (9 Oct 1805)
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Anxiety is the unwillingness to play even when you know the odds are for you. Courage is the willingness to play even when you know the odds are against you.

Thomas Szasz (1920-2012) Hungarian-American psychiatrist, educator
The Second Sin (1973)
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O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man’s company,
That fears his fellowship to die with us.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Henry V, Act 4, sc. 3 [Henry] (1599)
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Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace, there’s nothing so becomes a man,
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Henry V, Act 3, sc. 1 [Henry] (1599)
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There is no more contemptible type of human character that that of the nerveless sentimentalist and dreamer, who spends his life in a weltering sea of sensibility and emotion, but who never does a manly concrete deed.

William James (1842-1910) American psychologist and philosopher
The Principles of Psychology, Vol. 1, ch. 4 “Habit” (1890)
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This chapter originally published in Popular Science Monthly (Feb 1887).
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At twenty a man is a Peacock, at thirty a Lion, at forty a Camel, at fifty a Serpent, at sixty a Dog, at seventy an Ape, at eighty nothing.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 276 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
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It’s a funny thing, the less people have to live for, the less nerve they have to risk losing — nothing.

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) American writer, folklorist, anthropologist
Moses, Man of the Mountain, ch. 2 (1939)
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… a noble aim,
Faithfully kept, is as a noble deed,
In whose pure sight all virtue doth succeed.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) English poet
“Brave Schill! By Death Delivered, Take Thy Flight” (1809; pub. 1815)
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Sometimes misquoted "is a noble deed".
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The fortitude which has encountered no dangers, that prudence which has surmounted no difficulties, that integrity which has been attacked by no temptations, can at best be considered but as gold not yet brought to the test, of which therefore the true value cannot be assigned.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Rambler #150 (24 Aug 1751)
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Heroism, the Caucasian mountaineers say, is endurance for one moment more.

George Kennan (1845-1924) American explorer, journalist, activist, lecturer
Letter to Henry Munroe Rogers (25 Jul 1921)
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Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) US President (1825-29)
Speech, Plymouth (22 Dec 1802)

Sometimes given as "Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish."
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I must confess, my friends, the road ahead will not always be smooth. There will be still rocky places of frustration and meandering points of bewilderment. There will be inevitable setbacks here and there. There will be those moments when the buoyancy of hope will be transformed into the fatigue of despair. Our dreams will sometimes be shattered and our ethereal hopes blasted. We may again with tear-drenched eyes have to stand before the bier of some courageous civil rights worker whose life will be snuffed out by the dastardly acts of bloodthirsty mobs. Difficult and painful as it is, we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“Where Do We Go From Here?” Southern Christian Leadership Conference Presidential Address (16 Aug 1967)
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The better part of valour is discretion.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Henry IV, Part 1, Act 4, sc. 4 (1598)
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MINSTREL: [singing]
He was not in the least bit scared to be mashed into a pulp,
Or to have his eyes gouged out and his elbows broken,
To have his kneecaps split and his body burned away,
And his limbs all hacked and mangled, brave Sir Robin!
His head smashed in, and his heart cut out,
And his liver removed, and his bowels unplugged,
And his nostrils raped, and his bottom burnt off,
And his penis —

SIR ROBIN: That’s enough music for now, lads.

Monty Python (contemp.) British comedy troupe
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
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If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.

William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton (b. 1946) American politician, US President (1993-2001)
Speech to students during the 1992 US Presidential campaign
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Hasten slowly, and without losing heart,
Put your work twenty times upon the anvil.

[Hâtez-vous lentement ; et, sans perdre courage,
Vingt fois sur le métier remettez votre ouvrage.]

Boileau - twenty times upon the anvil - wist_info quote

Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux (1636-1711) French poet and critic
The Art of Poetry [L’Art Poétique], Canto 1, l. 171 (1674)
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Better hazard once than be always in fear.

Fuller - hazard once - wist_info quote

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, # 906 (1732)
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For man’s only weapon is courage that flinches not from the gates of Hell itself, and against such not even the legions of Hell can stand.

Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) American author
“Skulls in the Stars,” Weird Tales (Jan 1929)
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Pain nourishes my courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave. You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.

Moore - cant be brave - wist_info quote

Mary Tyler Moore (1936-2017) American actress, producer, and social advocate
Interview, McCall’s, Vol. 108 (1980)
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