And if I turn back, refusing the road in its bitter end, where then shall I go among Elves or Men? Would you have me come to Gondor with this Thing, the Thing that drove your brother mad with desire? What spell would it work in Minas Tirith? Shall there be two cities of Minas Morgul, grinning at each other across a dead land filled with rottenness?’
‘I would not have it so,’ said Faramir.
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 2: The Two Towers, Book 4, ch. 6 “The Forbidden Pool” [Frodo and Faramir] (1954)
Note not all quotations have been tagged, so Search may find additional quotes on this topic.
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Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns …
driven time and again off course, once he had plundered
the hallowed heights of Troy.
Many cities of men he saw and learned their minds,
many pains he suffered, heartsick on the open sea,
fighting to save his life and bring his comrades home.
[Ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, Μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ
πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσε·
πολλῶν δ’ ἀνθρώπων ἴδεν ἄστεα καὶ νόον ἔγνω,
πολλὰ δ’ ὅ γ’ ἐν πόντῳ πάθεν ἄλγεα ὃν κατὰ θυμόν,
ἀρνύμενος ἥν τε ψυχὴν καὶ νόστον ἑταίρων.]
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 1, l. 1ff (1.1-5) (c. 700 BC) [tr. Fagles (1996)]
Original Greek. Alternate translations:
The man, O Muse, inform, that many a way
Wound with his wisdom to his wished stay;
That wander’d wondrous far, when he the town
Of sacred Troy had sack’d and shiver’d down;
The cities of a world of nations,
With all their manners, minds, and fashions,
He saw and knew; at sea felt many woes,
Much care sustain’d, to save from overthrows
Himself and friends in their retreat for home;
But so their fates he could not overcome.
[tr. Chapman (1616)]
Tell me, O Muse, th’ adventures of the man
That having sack’d the sacred town of Troy,
Wander’d so long at sea; what course he ran
By winds and tempests driven from his way:
That saw the cities, and the fashions knew
Of many men, but suffer’d grievous pain
To save his own life, and bring home his crew.
[tr. Hobbes (1675)]
The man for wisdom's various arts renown'd,
Long exercised in woes, O Muse! resound;
Who, when his arms had wrought the destined fall
Of sacred Troy, and razed her heaven-built wall,
Wandering from clime to clime, observant stray'd,
Their manners noted, and their states survey'd,
On stormy seas unnumber'd toils he bore,
Safe with his friends to gain his natal shore.
[tr. Pope (1725)]
Muse make the man thy theme, for shrewdness famed
And genius versatile, who far and wide
A Wand’rer, after Ilium overthrown,
Discover’d various cities, and the mind
And manners learn’d of men, in lands remote.
He num’rous woes on Ocean toss’d, endured,
Anxious to save himself, and to conduct
His followers to their home.
[tr. Cowper (1792)]
Sing me, O Muse, that hero wandering
Who of men's minds did much experience reap,
And knew the citied realms of many a king,
Even from the hour he smote the Trojan keep.
Also a weight of sorrows in the deep
Brooding he bore, in earnest hope to save,
'Mid hard emprise and labour all too steep,
Himself and comrades from a watery grave --
Whom yet he rescued not with zeal nor yearnings brave.
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 1]
Tell me, O Muse, declare to me that man
Tost too and fro by fate, who, when his arms
Had laid Troy's holy city in the dust,
Far wand'ring roam'd on many a tribe of men
To bend his gaze, their minds and thoughts to learn.
Grief upon grief encounter'd he, when, borne
On ocean-waves, his life he carried off
A prize from perils rescued, and would fain
Have homeward led his brethren in arms.
[tr. Musgrave (1869)]
Tell me, oh Muse, of the many-sided man,
Who wandered far and wide full sore bestead,
When had razed the mighty town of Troy:
And of many a race of human-kind he saw
The cities; and he learned their mind and ways:
And on the deep fully many a woe he bore
In his own bosom, while he strove to save
His proper life, and his comrades' home-return.
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869)]
Tell me, Muse, of that man, so ready at need, who wandered far and wide, after he had sacked the sacred citadel of Troy, and many were the men whose towns he saw and whose mind he learnt, yea, and many the woes he suffered in his heart upon the deep, striving to win his own life and the return of his company. Nay, but even so he saved not his company, though he desired it sore.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]
Tell me, O Muse, of the Shifty, the man who wandered afar,
After the Holy burg, Troy-town, he had wasted with war:
He saw the towns of menfolk, and the mind of men did he learn;
As he warded his life in the world, and his fellow-farers' return,
Many a grief of heart on the deep-sea flood he bore,
Nor yet might he save his fellows, for all that he longed for it sore.
[tr. Morris (1887)]
Speak to me, Muse, of the adventurous man who wandered long after he sacked the sacred citadel of Troy. Many the men whose towns he saw, whose ways he proved; and many a pang he bore in his breast at sea while struggling for his life and his men's safe return.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]
Tell me, oh Muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit, and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted; moreover he suffered much by sea while trying to save his own life and bring his men safely home.
[tr. Butler (1898)]
Tell me, O Muse, of that many-sided hero who traveled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit, and many were the people with whose customs and thinking he was acquainted; many things he suffered at sea while seeking to save his own life and to achieve the safe homecoming of his companions.
[tr. Butler (1898), rev. Power/Nagy]
That man, tell me O Muse the song of that man, that versatile man, who in very many ways veered from his path and wandered off far and wide, after he had destroyed the sacred citadel of Troy. Many different cities of many different people did he see, getting to know different ways of thinking. Many were the pains he suffered in his heart while crossing the sea struggling to merit the saving of his own life and his own homecoming as well as the homecoming of his comrades.
[tr. Butler (1898), rev. Kim/McCray/Nagy/Power (2018)]
Tell me, O Muse, of the man of many devices, who wandered full many ways after he had sacked the sacred citadel of Troy. Many were the men whose cities he saw and whose mind he learned, aye, and many the woes he suffered in his heart upon the sea, seeking to win his own life and the return of his comrades.
[tr. Murray (1919)]
O Divine Poesy,
Goddess-daughter of Zeus,
Sustain for me
This song of the various-minded man,
Who after he had plundered
The innermost citadel of hallowed Troy
Was made to stray grievously
About the coasts of men,
The sport of their customs good or bad,
While his heart
Through all the seafaring
Ached in an agony to redeem himself
And bring his company safe home.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]
Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story
of that man skilled in all ways of contending,
the wandering, harried for years on end after he plundered the stronghold
on the proud height of Troy.
He saw the townlands
and learned the minds of many distant men,
and weathered many bitter nights and days
in his deep heart at sea, while he fought only
to save his life, to bring his shipmates home.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]
Tell me, Muse, of the man of many ways, who was driven
far journeys after he had sacked Troy's sacred citadel.
Many were they whose cities he saw, whose minds he learned of,
many the pains he suffered in his spirit on the wide sea,
struggling for his own life and the homecoming of his companions.
[tr. Lattimore (1965)]
Muse, tell me of the man of many wiles,
the man who wandered many paths of exile
after he sacked Troy's sacred citadel.
He saw the cities -- mapped the minds -- of many;
and on the sea, his spirit suffered every
adversity -- to keep his life intact;
to bring his comrades back.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1990)]
Speak, Memory -- Of the cunning hero,
The wanderer, blown off course time and again
After he plundered Troy's sacred heights. Speak
Of all the cities he saw , the minds he grasped,
The suffering deep in his heart at sea
As he struggled to survive and bring his men home.
[tr. Lombardo (2000)]
Tell me, Muse, of the man versatile and resourceful, who wandered many a sea-mile afer he ransacked Troy's holy city. Many the men whose towns he observed, whose minds he discovered, many the pains in his heart he suffered, traversing the seaway, fighting for his own life and a way back home for his comrades.
[tr. Merrill (2002)]
Tell me, Muse, the story of that resourceful man who was driven to wander far and wide after he had sacked the holy citadel of Troy. He saw the cities of many people and he learnt their ways. He suffered great anguish on the high seas in his struggles to preserve his life and bring his comrades home.
[tr. DCH Rieu (2002)]
Tell me, Muse, of the man of many turns, who was driven
far and wide after he had sacked the sacred city of Troy.
Many were the men whose cities he saw, and learnt their minds,
many the sufferings on the open sea he endured in his heart,
struggling for his own life and his companions' homecoming.
[tr. Verity (2016)]
Tell me about a complicated man.
Muse, tell me how he wandered and was lost
when he had wrecked the holy town of Troy,
and where he went, and who he met, the pain
he suffered in the storms at sea, and how
he worked to save his life and bring his men
[tr. Wilson (2017)]
The man, Muse -- tell me about that resourceful man, who wandered
far and wide, when he'd sacked Troy's sacred citadel:
many men's townships he saw, and learned their ways of thinking,
many the griefs he suffered at heart on the open sea,
battling for his own life and his comrades' homecoming.
[tr. Green (2018)]
Muse, speak to me now of that resourceful man
who wandered far and wide after ravaging
the sacred citadel of Troy. He came to see
many people’s cities, where he learned their customs,
while on the sea his spirit suffered many torments,
as he fought to save his life and lead his comrades home.
[tr. Johnston (2019)]
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To the wrong that needs resistance
To the right that needs assistance
To the future in the distance
Conveyed in a letter from Catt to Aletta Jacobs, after the death of Jacobs' husband.
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Go we seek that we shall not find.
Le Morte d’Arthur, Book 16, ch. 2 (1485)
Ector to Lancelot (or vice versa) in Ector's dream. Often paraphrased/modernized to "We shall now seek that which we shall not find."
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It is not yours to finish the task, but neither are you free to set it aside.
Mishnah, Pirkei Avot 2:15-16
- It is not incumbent upon you to finish the task, but neither are you free to absolve yourself from it.
- It is not up to you to finish the task, but you are not free to avoid it.
- We need not finish the task but neither can we desist from it.
- Although I am not free to avoid doing the work, it is not always necessary that I finish the task.
- You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.
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“I will take the Ring,” he said, “though I do not know the way.”
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 1: The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, ch. 2 “The Council of Elrond” [Frodo] (1954)
Accepting the quest to take the One Ring to Mordor and its destruction.
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