Quotations about   resolution

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As one who wills, and then unwills his will,
     Changing his mind with every changing whim,
     Till all his best intentions come to nil,
So I stood havering in that moorland dim,
     While through fond rifts of fancy oozed away
     The first quick zest that filled me to the brim.

[E qual è quei che disvuol ciò che volle
     e per novi pensier cangia proposta,
     sì che dal cominciar tutto si tolle,
tal mi fec’ïo ’n quella oscura costa,
     perché, pensando, consumai la ’mpresa
     che fu nel cominciar cotanto tosta.]

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 2, l. 37ff (2.37-42) (1320) [tr. Sayers (1949)]
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(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

As he who what he first resolv'd rejects,
And by some fresher reasons is induc'd
Wholly to lay aside his first intent;
So I, now in the mountain's shade arriv'd,
Refus'd th' attempt which I at first desir'd.
[tr. Rogers (1782), ll. 34-38]

Like one, who, some imagin'd peril near,
Feels his warm wishes chill'd by wint'ry fear,
     And resolution sicken at the view,
Thus I perceiv'd my sinking spirits fail,
Thus trembling, I survey'd the gloomy vale,
     As near the moment of decision drew.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 8]

          As one, who unresolves
What he hath late resolv'd, and with new thoughts
Changes his purpose, from his first intent
Remov'd; e'en such was I on that dun coast,
Wasting in thought my enterprise, at first
So eagerly embrac'd.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

As one that what he wished unwisheth now,
     And, changing purpose in a newer drift.
     Doth his first motion wholly disallow;
So wrought I then beneath that gloomy cliff,
     Who, meditating, quenched the venturous hope
     That in her first beginning rose so swift.
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

     And as one who unwills what he willed, and with new thoughts changes his purpose, so that he wholly quits the thing he commenced,
     such I made myself on that dim coast: for with thinking I wasted the enterprise, that had been so quick in its commencement.
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

Like one unwilling for the thing he wills,
Whose second thoughts have made his purpose pale,
And everything upon the threshold fail;
So did I with myself obscure that coast
With thinking much -- the enterprise gave o'er
With vehemence I had embraced before.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

And as with him unwishing what he wish'd,
     Who changes purpose as new thoughts arise,
     So that his first intentions pass away;
It was with me when on that coast obscure;
     For as thought grew, the enterprise was lost,
     Which at the first so quickly I desir'd.
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

And as he is, who unwills what he willed,
     And by new thoughts doth his intention change,
     So that from his design he quite withdraws,
Such I became, upon that dark hillside,
     Because, in thinking, I consumed the emprise,
     Which was so very prompt in the beginning.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

And as is he who ceases to will that he willed, and by reason of new thoughts changes purpose, so that he withdraws himself wholly from his beginning, so became I on that dark hillside; so that in my thought I made an end of the enterprise which in its commencement had been so hasty.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

Like unto one who wills not that he would,
     And shifts his purpose with thought's changing tide,
     So that he dare not make commencement good,
Thus acted I on that hill's darkened side;
     In idle thought I wasted the emprise.
     To which so swiftly I first had hied.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

And as is he who unwills what he willed, and because of new thoughts changes his design, so that he quite withdraws from beginning, such I became on that dark hillside: wherefore in my thought I abandoned the enterprise which had been so hasty in the beginning.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

And as one who wisheth not that which he wished, and for new fancies changeth his resolve, so that he turns him wholly from his undertaking; even in such state was I on that dark slope; for, while I pondered, I brought to naught the enterprise, that was at first so readily embraced.
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]

And as one is who what he wished unwishes,
     And for new thoughts exchanges his set purpose,
     So that he quite departs from his beginnings,
Such I became upon that gloomy hillside;
     Because in thought the enterprise I wasted
     Which had at the beginning been so eager.
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

And as one who unwills what he willed and with new thoughts changes his purpose so that he quite withdraws from what he has begun, such I became on that dark slope; for by thinking of it I brought to naught the enterprise that was so hasty in its beginning.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

And like one who unwills what he willed first
     And new thoughts change the intention that he had,
     So that his resolution is reversed,
So on that dim slope did my purpose fade
     For I with thinking had dulled down the zest
     That at the outset sprang so prompt and glad.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

As one who unwills what he wills, will stay
     strong purposes with feeble second thoughts
     until he spells all his first zeal away --
so I hung back and balked on that dim coast
     till thinking had worn out my enterprise,
     so stout at starting and so early lost.
[tr. Ciardi (1954)]

And like one who unwills what he has willed and with new thoughts changes his resolve, so that he quite gives up the thing he had begun, such did I become on that dark slope, for by thinking on it I rendered null the undertaking that had been so suddenly embarked upon.
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

As one who unwills what he willed, will change
     his purposes with some new second thought,
     completely quitting what he first had started,
so I did, standing there on that dark slope,
     thinking, ending the beginning of that venture
     I was so quick to take up at the start.
[tr. Musa (1971)]

     And just as he who unwills what he wills
and shifts what he intends to seek new ends
so that he's drawn from what he had begun,
     so was I in the midst of that dark land,
because, with all my thinking, I annulled
the task I had so quickly undertaken.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

And just like somebody who shilly-shallies,
And thinks again about what he has decided,
So that he gives up everything he has started,
I found I was on that obscure hillside:
By thinking about it I spoiled the undertaking
I had been so quick to enter in the first place.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

And then, like one who unchooses his own choice
     And thinking again undoes what he has started,
     So I became: a nullifying unease
Overcame my soul on that dark slope and voided
     The undertaking I had so quickly embraced.
[tr. Pinsky (1994), ll. 31-35]

     And like one who unwills what he just now willed and with new thoughts changes his intent, so that he draws back entirely from beginning:
     so did I become on that dark slope, for, thinking, I gave up the undertaking that I had been so quick to begin.
[tr. Durling (1996)]

And I rendered myself, on that dark shore, like one who un-wishes what he wished, and changes his purpose, in new thinking, so that he leaves off what he began, completely, since in thought I consumed action, that had been so ready to begin.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

     And so -- as though unwanting every want,
so altering all at every altering thought
now drawing back from everything begun --
     I stood there on the darkened slope, fretting
away from thought to thought the bold intent
that seemed so very urgent at the outset.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

     And as one who unwills what he has willed,
changing his intent on second thought
so that he quite gives over what he has begun,
     such a man was I on that dark slope.
With too much thinking I had undone
the enterprise so quick in its inception.
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

Like someone half regretting what once seemed knowledge,
     intention shifted around by fresh ideas,
     Starting to throw all old ones overboard,
I stood on that dark slope, pulled by feelings
     So murky they dissipated whatever I'd thought
     I knew, surrendering what once seemed real.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

Just so, obeying the unwritten rule
That one who would unsieh that which he wished,
Having thought twice about what he first sought,
Must put fish back into the pool he fished,
So they, set free, may once again be caught,
Just so did I in that now shadowy fold --
Because, by thinking, I'd consumed the thought
I started with, that I had thought so bold.
[tr. James (2013)]

 
Added on 30-Sep-22 | Last updated 30-Sep-22
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More quotes by Dante Alighieri

The other part of it is [the belief that] if we just totally opened our souls to one another, we would love one another and get along. This trivializes the fact that people have deep and legitimately-held differences. People think, mistakenly, that etiquette means you have to suppress your differences. On the contrary, etiquette is what enables you to deal with them; it gives you a set of rules. On the floor of the Congress, you don’t say, “You’re a jerk and a crook”; you say, “I’m afraid the distinguished gentleman is mistaken about so and so.” Those are the things that enable you to settle your differences, to bring them out in the open. Everything else just starts battles.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
“Polite Company: A Chat with Judith Martin About Etiquette,” interview with Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today (1 Mar 1998)
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I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
Neil Gaiman’s Journal, “My New Year Wish” (31 Dec 2011)
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Added on 28-Dec-21 | Last updated 28-Dec-21
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The great majority of men are bundles of beginnings. There is not one who has not felt the sacred fire of virtue many a time kindling up within him. He resolved to read, he resolved to give, he solved to abstain, to speak well, to think in a train, to serve God, to imitate Christ. Something he did toward realizing his purpose — but it was most unlucky time — some very unseasonable circumstances occurred and the good purpose was postponed. Who is there here who does not remember his defeats?

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (7 Dec 1829)
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Added on 13-Nov-20 | Last updated 13-Nov-20
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I have changed my definition of tragedy. I now think tragedy is not foul deeds done to a person (usually noble in some manner) but rather that tragedy is irresolvable conflict. Both sides/ideas are right.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
Starting from Scratch, Part 3 “The Work,” “Plot” (1989)
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When “Do no Evil” has been understood,
Then learn the harder, braver rule, “Do Good.”

Arthur Guiterman (1871-1943) American poet, humorist
“Of Duty” (1924)
 
Added on 9-Feb-16 | Last updated 9-Feb-16
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Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
“New Year’s Day,” Virginia City Territorial Enterprise (Jan 1864)
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Added on 31-Dec-15 | Last updated 31-Dec-15
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New Year’s is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions, and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
“New Year’s Day,” Virginia City Territorial Enterprise (Jan 1864)
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The main idea in golf as in life, I suppose, is to learn to accept what cannot be altered, and to keep on doing one’s own reasoned and resolute best whether the prospect be bleak or rosy.

Robert Tyre "Bobby" Jones, Jr. (1902-1971) American amateur golfer, lawyer
Golf Is My Game (1960)
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Added on 4-Sep-15 | Last updated 4-Sep-15
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An able man shows his Spirit by gentle words and resolute actions.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (15 Jan 1753)
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Added on 27-Apr-15 | Last updated 27-Apr-15
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There are few situations in life that cannot be honourably settled, and without loss of time, either by suicide, a bag of gold, or by thrusting a despised antagonist over the edge of a precipice upon a dark night.

Ernest Bramah (1868-1942) English author [Ernest Brammah Smith]
“The Story of Hien and the Chief Examiner,” Kai Lung’s Golden Hours (1922)
 
Added on 22-Apr-15 | Last updated 22-Apr-15
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In love, in war, in conversation, in business, confidence and resolution are the principal things.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Table Talk, “On the Qualifications Necessary to Success in Life” (1822)
 
Added on 26-Dec-14 | Last updated 26-Dec-14
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I love to see two truths at the same time. Every good comparison gives the mind this advantage.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
 
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Choose the course which you adopt with deliberation; but when you have adopted it, then persevere in it with firmness.

Bias of Priene (fl. c. 650) Greek philosopher
In Diogenes Laërtius, The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, “Bias” (c. 230) [tr. Yonge]


Alt. trans.: "Be slow in considering, but resolute in action."
 
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At thirty, man suspects himself a fool;
Knows it at forty, and reforms his plan;
At fifty, chides his infamous delay,
Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve;
In all the magnanimity of thought
Resolves, and re-resolves; then dies the same.
And why? Because he thinks himself immortal.
All men think all men mortal but themselves.

Edward Young (1683-1765) English poet
“The Complaint: or, Night-Thoughts on Life, Death, & Immortality,” Part 1 “On Death, Life, and Immortality,” l. 418ff (1742–1745)
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Be at War with your Vices, at Peace with your Neighbours, and let every New-Year find you a better Man.

Franklin - every new year - wist_info quote

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Poor Richard’s Almanack (1755)


More information on this quotation here.
 
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It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
 
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With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think to-day in words as hard as cannon-balls and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Self-Reliance,” Essays: First Series (1841)
 
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There comes a time in every normal man’s life when he must be tempted to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
Prejudices: First Series (1919)
 
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