Quotations about:
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One day together, for pastime, we read
     Of Lancelot, and how Love held him in thrall.
     We were alone, and without any dread.
Gustave Dore - Francesca and PaoloSometimes our eyes, at the word’s secret call,
     Met, and our cheeks a changing color wore.
     But it was one page only that did all.
When we read how that smile, so thirsted for,
     Was kissed by such a lover, he that may
     Never from me be separated more
All trembling kissed my mouth. The book I say
     Was a Galahalt to us, and he beside
     that wrote that book. We read no more that day.

[Noi leggiavamo un giorno per diletto
     di Lancialotto come amor lo strinse;
     soli eravamo e sanza alcun sospetto.
Per più fïate li occhi ci sospinse
     quella lettura, e scolorocci il viso;
     ma solo un punto fu quel che ci vinse.
Quando leggemmo il disïato riso
     esser basciato da cotanto amante,
     questi, che mai da me non fia diviso,
la bocca mi basciò tutto tremante.
     Galeotto fu ‘l libro e chi lo scrisse:
     quel giorno più non vi leggemmo avante.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 5, l. 127ff (5.127-138) [Francesca] (1320) [tr. Binyon (1943)]
    (Source)

In the Old French romance of Lancelot du Lac they were reading, Sir Gallehault (spelled variously) serves as go-between for Lancelot and Guinevere (a couple not able to express their love because of her marriage to King Arthur), and ultimately persuades the Queen to give Lancelot a first, dooming kiss. Similarly, Paolo was the intermediary to arrange the marriage of his brother, Gianciotto, and Francesca. After the marriage, reading together that racy tale of Lancelot seduced Paolo and Francesca into pursuing their carnal affair. The Italian form of Gallehault -- "Galeotto" or "Galleot" -- became Middle Ages Italian slang for a panderer or pimp, and Francesca draws on this meaning in her chat with the Pilgrim, blaming the book and its writer for her damning sins with Paolo. See also, earlier, here.

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

Together we, for pleasure, one day read
How strictly Lancelot was bound by love;
We, then alone, without suspicion were:
T'admire each other, often from the book
Our eyes were ta'en, and oft our colour chang'd;
That was the point of time which conqurer'd us,
When, reading that her captivating smile
Was by the Lover the adored kiss'd;
This, my Companion, always with me seen,
Fearful, and trembling, also kiss'd my mouth.
The Writer, Galeotto, nam;d the Book.
But from that day we never read in't more.
[tr. Rogers (1782), l. 113ff]

One day (a day I ever must deplore!)
The gentle youth, to spend a vacant hour,
To me the soft seducing story read,
Of Launcelot and fair Geneura's love,
While fascinating all the quiet grove
Fallacious Peace her snares around us spread.
Too much I found th' insidious volume charm,
And Paulo's mantling blushes rising warm;
Still as he read the guilty secret told:
Soon from the line his eyes began to stray;
Soon did my yielding looks my heart betray,
Nor needed words our wishes to unfold.
Eager to realize the story'd bless,
Trembling he snatch'd the half resented kiss,
To ill soon lesson'd by the pandar-page!
Vile pandar-page! it smooth'd the paths of shame.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 24-26]

     One day
For our delight we read of Lancelot,
     How him love thrall’d. Alone we were, and no
     Suspicion near us. Ofttimes by that reading
Our eyes were drawn together, and the hue
     Fled from our alter’d cheek. But at one point
     Alone we fell. When of that smile we read,
The wished smile, rapturously kiss’d
     By one so deep in love, then he, who ne’er
     From me shall separate, at once my lips
All trembling kiss’d. The book and writer both
     Were love’s purveyors. In its leaves that day
     We read no more.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

'Twas on a day when we for pastime read
     Of Lancelot, whom love ensnared to ruin:
     We were alone, nor knew suspicious dread.
That lesson oft, the conscious look renewing,
     Held us suspense, and turned our cheeks to white;
     But one sole moment wrought for our undoing:
When of the kiss we read, from smile so bright.
     So coveted, that such true-lover bore.
     He, from my side who ne'er may disunite,
Kissed me upon the mouth, trembling all o'er.
     The broker of our Vows, it was the lay,
     And he who wrote -- that day we read no more.
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

     One day, for pastime, wwe read of Lancelot, how love restrained him; we were alone, and without all suspicion.
     Several times that reading urged our eyes to meet, and changed the color of our faces; but one moment alone it was that overcame us.
     When we read how the fond smile was kissed by such a lover, he, who shall never be divided from me,
     kissed my mouth all trembling: the book, and he who wrote it, was a Galeotto; that day we read in it no farther.
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

We were reading one day, for our delight,
In Lancilotto, bound in love so strict.
We were alone, and neither could suspect
Suspended were our eyes, and more than once,
In reading, and the visage colorless;
One point it was lone that conquered us.
When we read first of that -- the longed-for smile
At being kissed by one who loved so well;
Galeotti was the book -- he wrote it:
That Day we read not there any farther.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

One day we read, to pass a pleasant time,
     How Lancelot was bound in chains of love;
     Alone we were and no suspicion knew.
often we sigh'd; and as we read our eyes
     Each other sought, the color fled our cheeks;
     But we were vanquish'd by one point alone.
When we had read how the smile long desir'd
     Was kiss'd by him who lov'd with such deep love,
     This one, from me no more to be apart,
Trembling all over, kiss'd me on the mouth.
     Galeotto was the writer and the book;
     In it we read no further on that day.
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

One day we reading were for our delight
     ⁠Of Launcelot, how Love did him enthrall.
     ⁠Alone we were and without any fear.
Full many a time our eyes together drew
     ⁠That reading, and drove the color from our faces;
     ⁠But one point only was it that o'ercame us.
Whenas we read of the much longed-for smile
     ⁠Being by such a noble lover kissed,
     ⁠This one, who ne'er from me shall be divided,
Kissed me upon the mouth all palpitating.
     ⁠Galeotto was the book and he who wrote it.
     ⁠That day no farther did we read therein.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

We were reading one day, for delight, of Lancelot, how Love constrained him; alone were we, and without any suspicion. Many times did that reading impel our eyes, and change the hue of our visages; but one point only was it that overcame us. When we read that the wished-for smile was kissed by such a lover, this one who never from me shall be parted kissed me on the mouth all trembling. A Gallehault was the book, and he who wrote it. That day we read no further in it.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

We read one day for pleasure, in the song
     Of Launcelot, how Love him captive made;
     We were alone without one thought of wrong.
Many and many a time our eyes delayed
     The reading, and our faces paled apart;
     One point alone it was that us betrayed.
In reading of that worshipt smile o' the heart,
     Kissed by such lover on her lips' red core.
     This one, who never more from me must part,
Kissed me upon the mouth, trembling all o'er:
     For us our Galeotto was that book;
     That day we did not read it any more.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

We were reading one day, for delight, of Lancelot, how love constrained him. We were alone and without any suspicion. Many times that reading made us lift our eyes, and took the color from our faces, but only one point was that which overcame us. When we read of the longed-for smile being kissed by such a lover, this one, who never from me shall be divided, kissed my mouth all trembling. Galahaut was the book, and he who wrote it. That day we read in it no farther.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

We read one day, to while the hour, of Lancelot, how love enthralled him: we were alone, with never a thought of harm. And oft and oft that reading brought our eyes together and drave the colour to our cheeks ; but one point, only one, it was that overcame us. When that we came to read of how the smiling lips he loved were kissed by lover such as he, he that no more shall e'er be parted from me, kissed my mouth trembling through. Our Galahad was the book and he that penned it: that day we read in it no more.
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]

One day, by way of pastime, we were reading
     Of Lancelot, how love in fetters held him:
     We were alone, and without thought of danger.
Full often did that reading bring together
     Our glances, and made colourless our visage;
     But just one point was that which overcame us:
When as we read how that the smile much longed for
     Was kissed by one so passionately loving,
     He who from me shall never be divided
Kissed me upon the mouth, all, all a-quiver: --
     A Galehalt was the book and he who wrote it: --
     Upon that day we read therein no further.
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

We read one day for pastime of Lancelot, how love constrained him. We were alone and had no misgiving. Many times that reading drew our eyes together and changed the color in our faces, but one point alone it was that mastered us; when we read that the longed-fro smile was kissed by so great a lover, he who never shall be parted from me, all trembling, kissed my mouth. A Galeotto was the book and he that wrote it; that day we read in it no farther.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

One day we read for pastime how in thrall
     Lord Lancelot lay to love, who loved the Queen;
     We were alone -- we thought no harm at all.
As we read on, our eyes met now and then,
     And to our cheeks the changing color started,
     But just one moment overcame us -- when
We read of the smile, desired of lips long-thwarted,
     Such smile, by such a lover kissed away,
     He that may never more from me be parted
Trembling all over, kissed my mouth. I say
     The book was Galleot, Galleot the complying
     Ribald who wrote; we read no more that day.
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

One day for dalliance we read the rhyme
     of Lancelot, how love had mastered him.
     We were alone with innocence and dim time.
Pause after pause that high old story drew
     our eyes together while we blushed and paled;
     but it was one soft passage overthrew
our caution and our hearts. For when we read
     how her fond smile was kissed by such a lover,
     he who is one with me alive and dead
breathed on my lips the tremor of his kiss.
     That book, and he who wrote it, was a pander.
     That day we read no further.
[tr. Ciardi (1954), l. 124ff]

One day, for pastime, we reqd of Lancelot, how love constrained him; we were alone, suspecting nothing. Several times that reading urged our eyes to meet and too the color from our faces, but one moment alone it was that overcame us. When we read how the longed-for smile was kissed by so great a lover, this one, who never shll be parted from me, kissed my mouth all trembling. A Gallehault was the book and he who wrote it; that day we read no farther in it.
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

One day we read, to pass the time away,
     of Lancelot, how he had fallen in love;
     we were alone, innocent of suspicion.
Time and again our eyes were brought together
     by the book we read; our faces flushed and paled.
     To the moment of one line alone we yielded:
it was when we read about those longed-for lips
     now being kissed by such a famous lover,
     that this one (who shall never leave my side)
then kissed my mouth, and trembled as he did.
     The book and its author was our galehot!
     That day we read no further.
[tr. Musa (1971)]

One day, to pass the time away, we read
     of Lancelot -- how love had overcome him.
     We were alone, and we suspected nothing.
And time and time again that reading led
     our eyes to meet, and made our faces pale,
     and yet one point alone defeated us.
When we had read how the desired smile
     was kissed by one who was so true a lover,
     this one, who never shall be parted from me,
while all his body trembled, kissed my mouth.
     A Gallehault indeed, that book and he
     who wrote it, too; that day we read no more.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

One day, when we were reading, for distraction,
     How Lancelot was overcome by love --
     We were alone, without any suspicion;
Several times, what we were reading forced
     Our eyes to meet, and then we changed color:
     But one page only was more than we could bear.
When we read how that smile, so much desired,
     Was kissed by such a lover, in the book,
     He, who will never be divided from me,
Kissed my mouth, he was trembling as he did so;
     The book, the writer played the part of Galahalt:
     That day we got no further with our reading.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

One day, for pleasure,
We read of Lancelot, by love constrained:
Alone, suspecting nothing, at our leisure.
Sometimes at what we read our glances joined,
Looking from the book each to the other's eyes,
And then the color in our faces drained.
But one particular moment alone it was
Defeated us: the longed-for smile, it said,
Was kissed by that most noble lover: at this,
This one, who now will never leave my side,
Kissed my mouth, trembling. A Galeotto, that book!
And so was he who wrote it; that day we read
No further.
[tr. Pinsky (1994), l. 112ff]

     We were reading one day, for pleasure, of Lancelot, how Love beset him; we were alone and without any suspicion.
     Many times that reading drove our eyes together and turned our faces pale; but one point alone was the one that overpowered us.
     When we read that the yearned-for smile was kissed by so great a lover, he, who will never be separated from me,
     kissed my mouth all trembling. Galeotto was the book and he who wrote it: that day we read there no further.
[tr. Durling (1996)]

We read, one day, to our delight, of Lancelot and how love constrained him: we were alone and without suspicion. Often those words urged our eyes to meet, and coloured our cheeks, but it was a single moment that undid us. When we read how that lover kissed the beloved smile, he who will never be separated from me, kissed my mouth all trembling. That book was a Galeotto, a pandar, and he who wrote it: that day we read no more.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

One day we read together for pure joy
     how Lancelot was taken in Love's palm.
     We were alone. We knew no suspicion.
Time after time, the words we read would lift
     our eyes and drawn all color from our faces.
     A single point, however, vanquished us.
For when at last we read the longed-for smile
     of Guinevere -- at last her lover kissed --
     he, who from me will never now depart,
touched his kiss, trembling to my open mouth.
     This book was Galehault -- pander-penned, the pimp!
     That day we read no further down those lines.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

One day, to pass the time in pleasure,
     we read of Lancelot, how love enthralled him.
     We were alone, without the least misgiving.
More than once that reading made our eyes meet
     and drained the color from our faces.
     Still, it was a single instant overcame us:
When we read how the longed-for smile
     was kissed by so renowned a lover, this man,
     who never shall be parted from me,
all trembling, kissed me on my mouth.
     A Galeotto was the book and he that wrote it.
     That day we read in it no further.
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

One day we read the story of Lancelot
     And how his love attacked and held him tight.
     We were alone and unaware of our thoughts.
More than once the story forced our eyes
     To meet, and as we looked our faces turned pale,
     But just one single moment hung and decided
Us. We read how a smile we longed for stayed
     On her lips until the greatest of lovers kissed them,
     And then this man, who cannot be taken away
From me, kissed my mouth, his body trembling.
     A famous go-between had written that tale.
     That day, our time for reading suddenly ended.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

Reading together one day for delight
Or Lancelot, caught up in Love's sweet snare,
We were alone, with no thought of what might
Occur to us, although we stopped to stare
Sometimes at what we read, and even paled.
But then the moment came we turned a page
And all our powers of resistance failed:
When we read of that great knight in a rage
To kiss the smile he so desired. Paolo,
This one so quiet now, made my mouth still --
Which, loosened by those words, had trembled so --
With his mouth. And right then we lost the will --
For Love can will will's loss, as well you know --
To read on. But let that man take a bow
Who wrote the book we called our Galahad,
The reason nothing can divide us now.
[tr. James (2013), l. 149ff]

 
Added on 31-Dec-22 | Last updated 31-Dec-22
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More quotes by Dante Alighieri

She’d stopped reading the kind of women’s magazine that talks about romance and knitting and started reading the kind of women’s magazine that talks about orgasms, but apart from making a mental note to have one if ever the occasion presented itself she dismissed them as only romance and knitting in a new form.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Good Omens, “Wednesday” (1990) [with Neil Gaiman]
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The people people have for friends
Your common sense appall,
But the people people marry
Are the queerest folk of all.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935) American sociologist, writer, reformer, feminist
“Queer People”
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We were not a latter-day Héloïse and Abelard, Pelléas and Mélisande when we married. For one thing the Héloïse and Abelards, Pelléases and Mélisandes, do not get married and stay married for forty years. A love which depends solely on the combustion of two attracting chemistries, tends to fizzle out. The famous lovers usually end up dead. A long-term marriage has to move beyond chemistry to compatibility, to friendship, to companionship. It is certainly not that passion disappears, but that it is conjoined with other ways of love.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage (1988)
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Experience is nearly always commonplace; the present is not romantic in the way the past is, and ideals and great visions have a way of becoming shoddy and squalid in practical life. Literature reverses this process.

Northrop Frye (1912-1991) Canadian literary critic and literary theorist
The Educated Imagination, Talk 3 “Giants in Time” (1963)
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The average man will bristle if you say his father was dishonest, but he will brag a little if he discovers that his great-grandfather was a pirate.

No picture available
Bernard J. "Bern" Williams (1913-2004) American columnist radio host, aphorist
(Attributed)
 
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The first symptom of true love in a young man is timidity; in a young girl it is boldness. This is surprising, and yet nothing is more simple. It is the two sexes tending to approach each other and assuming each the other’s qualities.

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) French writer
Les Misérables, Vol. 4, Book 3, ch. 6 (1862) [tr. Hapgood]
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In short, there’s simply not
A more congenial spot
For happily-ever-aftering than here
In Camelot.

Alan Jay Lerner (1918-1986) American dramatist, lyricist, composer
“Camelot” [Arthur], Camelot(1960; 1967)
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Based on T.H. White, The Once and Future King (1958).
 
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The joy of love is too short, and the sorrow thereof, and what cometh thereof, dureth over long.

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Thomas Malory (c. 1415-1471) English writer
Le Morte d’Arthur, Book 10, ch. 56 (1485)
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In time the Rockies may crumble,
Gibraltar may tumble
(They’re only made of clay),
But — our love is here to stay.

Ira Gershwin (1896-1983) American lyricist [b. Israel Gershowitz]
“Love Is Here to Stay”, The Goldwyn Follies (1938)
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There is no joy on this earth like falling in love with a woman and managing at the same time the trick of keeping just enough perspective to see her fall in love too, to see her begin to see you in a different way, to see her color change, eyes soften, her hand of itself reach for you. … And there is no pain on this earth like seeing the same woman look at another man the way she once looked at you.

Walker Percy (1916-1990) American author, philosopher
Lancelot, ch. 5 (1977)
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Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It creates the failures. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.

Anaïs Nin (1903-1977) Catalan-Cuban-French author, diarist
The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 4, 1944–47, Feb. 1947 (1971)
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There was really only one thing for her to say, those three words that all the terrible art, the worst pop songs and movies, the most seductive lies, can somehow never cheapen. I love you.

McEwan - I love you - wist_info quote

Ian McEwan (b. 1948) English novelist and screenwriter
“Only love and then oblivion,” The Guardian (15 Sep 2001)
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Romeo and Juliet died. I always liked that in a teen romance story.

James Nicoll (b. 1961) Canadian reviewer, editor
“Sex AND violence!?” rec.arts.sf.written (26 Feb 1996)
 
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In matters of the heart, nothing is true except the improbable.

Germaine de Staël (1766-1817) Swiss-French writer, woman of letters, critic, salonist [Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, Madame de Staël, Madame Necker]
Letter to Juliette Récamier (5 Oct 1810)
 
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It is folly to pretend that one ever wholly recovers from a disappointed passion. Such wounds always leave a scar. There are faces I can never look upon without emotion. There are names I can never hear spoken without almost starting.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
Hyperion, Book 2, ch. 3 (1839)
 
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If you think there are no new frontiers, watch a boy ring the front doorbell on his first date.

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Olin Miller (fl. early 20th C) American humorist
(Attributed)
 
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Look here Vita — throw over your man, and we’ll go to Hampton Court and dine on the river together and walk in the garden in the moonlight and come home late and have a bottle of wine and get tipsy, and I’ll tell you all the things I have in my head, millions, myriads — They won’t stir by day, only by dark on the river. Think of that. Throw over your man, I say, and come.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
Letter to Vita Sackville-West (1927)
 
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Do not choose for your wife any woman you would not choose for a friend if she were a man.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
 
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I wanted the hurtling moons of Barsoom. I wanted Storisende and Poictesme, and Holmes shaking me awake to tell me, “The game’s afoot!” I wanted to float down the Mississippi on a raft and elude a mob in company with the Duke of Bilgewater and the Lost Dauphin.

I wanted Prester John, and Excalibur held by a moon-white arm out of a silent lake. I wanted to sail with Ulysses and with Tros of Samothrace and eat the lotus in a land that seemed always afternoon. I wanted the feeling of romance and the sense of wonder I had known as a kid. I wanted the world to be what they had promised me it was going to be — instead of the tawdry, lousy fouled-up mess it is.

I had had one chance — for ten minutes yesterday afternoon. Helen of Troy, whatever your true name may be — And I had known it … and I had let it slip away.

Maybe one chance is all you ever get.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Glory Road, ch. 3 (1963)
 
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And do you know, it is a splendid thing to think that the woman you really love will never grow old to you. Through the wrinkles of time, through the mask of years, if you really love her, you will always see the face you loved and won. And a woman who really loves a man does not see that he grows old; he is not decrepit to her; he does not tremble; he is not old; she always sees the same gallant gentleman who won her hand and heart. I like to think of it in that way; I like to think that love is eternal. And to love in that way and then go down the hill of life together, and as you go down, hear, perhaps, the laughter of grandchildren, while the birds of joy and love sing once more in the leafless branches of the tree of age.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Liberty of Man, Woman, and Child” (1877)
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See also here.
 
Added on 4-Sep-08 | Last updated 4-Feb-16
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And then, do you know, I like to think that love is eternal; that if you really love the woman, for her sake, you will love her no matter what she may do; that if she really loves you, for your sake, the same; that love does not look at alterations, through the wrinkles of time, through the mask of years — if you really love her you will always see the face you loved and won. And I like to think of it. If a man loves a woman she does not ever grow old to him. And the woman who really loves a man does not see that he is growing older. He is not decrepit to her. He is not tremulous. He is not old. He is not bowed. She always sees the same gallant fellow that won her hand and heart. I like to think of it in that way, and as Shakespeare says: “Let Time reach with his sickle as far as ever he can; although he can reach ruddy cheeks and ripe lips, and flashing eyes, he can not quite reach love.” I like to think of it. We will go down the hill of life together, and enter the shadow one with the other, and as we go down we may hear the ripple of the laughter of our grandchildren, and the birds, and spring, and youth, and love will sing once more upon the leafless branches of the tree of age. I love to think of it in that way — absolute equals, happy, happy, and free, all our own.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“Lecture on Skulls”
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See also here.
 
Added on 7-Aug-08 | Last updated 4-Feb-16
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KEATING: We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.

Tom Schulman (b. 1951) American screenwriter, director
Dead Poet’s Society (1989)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 18-Sep-20
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In literature, as in love, we are astonished at what is chosen by others.

[En littérature comme en amour, on est surpris par les choix des autres.]

Maurois - In literature, as in love, we are astonished at what is chosen by others - wist.info quote

André Maurois (1885-1967) French author [b. Émile Salomon Wilhelm Herzog]
The Art of Living [Un Art de Vivre], ch. 6 “The Art of Working” (1939) [tr. Whitall (1940)]
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(Source (French)). Sometimes cited to the New York Times, but only because it was reprinted there in the article “Reading Matter: Some Bookish Quotes” (14 Apr 1963).
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 12-May-22
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