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“Just once more” is the Devil’s best argument.

helen rowland
Helen Rowland (1875-1950) American journalist and humorist
Reflections of a Bachelor Girl (1909)
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Added on 17-Jun-24 | Last updated 17-Jun-24
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More quotes by Rowland, Helen

LUCY: When young at the Bar you first taught me to score,
And bid me be free of my Lips, and no more;
I was kiss’d by the Parson, the Squire, and the Sot,
When the Guest was departed, the Kiss was forgot.
But his Kiss was so sweet, and so closely he prest,
That I languish’d and pin’d till I granted the rest.

John Gay
John Gay (1685-1732) English poet and playwright
The Beggar’s Opera, Act 3, sc. 1, Air 40 (1728)
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Added on 22-Jan-24 | Last updated 22-Jan-24
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More quotes by Gay, John

PENTHEUS: Do you hold your rites
during the day or night?
DIONYSUS: Mostly by night.
The darkness is well suited to devotion.
PENTHEUS: Better suited to lechery and seducing women.
DIONYSUS: You can find debauchery by daylight too.

[Πενθεύς: τὰ δ᾽ ἱερὰ νύκτωρ ἢ μεθ᾽ ἡμέραν τελεῖς;
Διόνυσος: νύκτωρ τὰ πολλά: σεμνότητ᾽ ἔχει σκότος.
Πενθεύς: τοῦτ᾽ ἐς γυναῖκας δόλιόν ἐστι καὶ σαθρόν.
Διόνυσος: κἀν ἡμέρᾳ τό γ᾽ αἰσχρὸν ἐξεύροι τις ἄν.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bacchæ [Βάκχαι], l. 485ff (405 BC) [tr. Arrowsmith (1960)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

PENTHEUS: By night or day these sacred rites perform'st thou ?
BACCHUS: Mostly by nighty for venerable is darkness.
PENTHEUS: To women this is treacherous and unsafe.
BACCHUS: E'en in the broadest day may shame be found.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

PENTHEUS: Do you perform the rites by night or by day?
DIONYSUS: Mostly by night; darkness conveys awe.
PENTHEUS: This is treacherous towards women, and unsound.
DIONYSUS: Even during the day someone may devise what is shameful.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]

PENTHEUS: Performest thou these rites by night or day?
DIONYSUS: Most part by night -- night hath more solemn awe.
PENTHEUS: A crafty rotten plot to catch our women.
DIONYSUS: Even in the day bad men can do bad deeds.
[tr. Milman (1865)]

PENTHEUS: Dost thou perform thy rites by day; or night?
DIONYSUS: Chiefly by night; darkness gives dignity.
PENTHEUS: Craft rather and seduction it denotes.
DIONYSUS: Base acts are oft made manifest by day.
[tr. Rogers (1872), l. 462ff]

PENTHEUS: Is it by night or day thou performest these devotions?
DIONYSUS: By night mostly; darkness lends solemnity.
PENTHEUS: Calculated to entrap and corrupt women.
DIONYSUS: Day too for that matter may discover shame.
[tr. Coleridge (1891)]

PENTHEUS: By night or day dost thou perform his rites? ⁠
DIONYSUS: Chiefly by night: gloom lends solemnity.
PENTHEUS: Ay -- and for women snares of lewdness too.
DIONYSUS: In the day too may lewdness be devised.
[tr. Way (1898)]

PENTHEUS: How is thy worship held, by night or day?
DIONYSUS: Most oft by night; 'tis a majestic thing,
The darkness.
PENTHEUS: Ha! with women worshipping?
'Tis craft and rottenness!
DIONYSUS: By day no less,
Whoso will seek may find unholiness.
[tr. Murray (1902)]

PENTHEUS: Do you celebrate your sacred acts at night or by day?
DIONYSUS: At night for the most party. Darkness possesses solemnity.
PENTHEUS: Darkness for women is deceitful and corrupt!
DIONYSUS: Even in daytime one could discover disgraceful behavior.
[tr. Kirk (1970)]

PENTHEUS: Do you celebrate your mysteries by night or by day?
DIONYSUS: Chiefly by night. Darkness induces religious awe.
PENTHEUS: For women darkness is treacherous and impure.
DIONYSUS: Impurity can be practiced by daylight too.
[tr. Vellacott (1973)]

PENTHEUS: These sacred practices of your god, the worship,
The rites of great devotion, do they
Hold at night, or in the day.
DIONYSUS: [...] We hold our rites mostly at night
Because it is cooler. And the lamps
Lend atmosphere and feeling to the heart in worship.
[...]
PENTHEUS: And I say night hours are dangerous
Lascivious hours, lechery ....
DIONYSUS: You'll find debauchery in daylight, too.
[tr. Soyinka (1973)]

PENTHEUS: The rites -- at night or by day you perform them?
DIONYSUS: At night, mostly; there’s majesty in darkness.
PENTHEUS: And for women there’s trickery and smut.
DIONYSUS: Even by day one may discover shame.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]

PENTHEUS: Do you perform your mysteries
during the day or by night?
DIONYSUS: Mostly at night.
The dark is more conducive to worship.
PENTHEUS: You mean to lechery and bringing out the filth in women.
DIONYSUS: Those who look for filth, can find it at the height of noon.
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]

PENTHEUS: Do you worship in daylight or at night?
DIONYSUS: Mostly at night. Darkness is most sacred.
PENTHEUS: That is treacherous and unwholesome for women.
DIONYSUS: Some find shame even in daylight.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]

PENTHEUS: Do you celebrate these sacred rites at night or in the day?
THE STRANGER: At night mostly, since darkness induces devotion.
PENTHEUS: No, darkness is devious and corrupts women.
THE STRANGER: Even in the day someone could devise shameful deeds.
[tr. Esposito (1998)]

PENTHEUS: You practice this cult by night or by day?
DIONYSUS: Mostly at night. Darkness lends solemnity.
PENTHEUS: Darkness is just a filthy trap for women.
DIONYSUS: Some people can dig up dirt in daytime, too.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]

PENTHEUS: Do you perform the rites by day? -- or night?
DIONYSUS: Mostly at night -- because the darkness has its holiness.
PENTHEUS: It's treacherous, for women, and corrupts them.
DIONYSUS: What's shameful can be found even by light of day.
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000), l. 571ff]

PENTHEUS: Do you practice your rites at night or by day?
DIONYSUS: Mostly at night: darkness lends solemnity.
PENTHEUS: This is an immoral trick aimed at women.
DIONYSUS: Someone could engage in shameful deeds even by day.
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]

PENTHEUS: And you perform these practices at night?
DIONYSUS: Man's true nature's seen in darkness not in light.
PENTHEUS: While darkness shrouds a woman's true duplicity.
DIONYSUS: Duplicity's not found in night exclusively.
[tr. Teevan (2002)]

PENTHEUS: Tell me, when do you hold your worship? By clear day, or dark night?
DIONYSUS: Mostly by night -- it is a majestic time.
PENTHEUS: Indeed! A majestic time to take advantage of women. Shameful!
DIONYSUS: There are enough shameful things done by day. And enough shameful thoughts in your head, I am sure!
[tr. Rao/Wolf (2004)]

PENTHEUS: These ... holy orgies of yours… do you perform them during the day or in the night?
DIONYSUS: Most of them during the night. Darkness adds a certain modesty.
PENTHEUS: That’s quite a dubious thing for the women… and rather lecherous, I’d say.
DIONYSUS: Shame, of course can be seen during the day, too, if it exists and if one were to look for it.
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]

PENTHEUS: Do you conduct the mysteries in the night or by day?
DIONYSUS: Us'ally by night, for darkness holds reverence.
PENTHEUS: Is this thing deceitful or unwholesome towards women?
DIONYSUS: One might also uncover shameful things i' the day.
[tr. Valerie (2005)]

PENTHEUS: When you dance these rites,
is it at night or during daylight hours?
DIONYSUS: Mainly at night. Shadows confer solemnity.
PENTHEUS: And deceive the women. It's all corrupt!
DIONYSUS: One can do shameful things in daylight, too.
[tr. Johnston (2008), l. 604ff]

PENTHEUS: These mysteries. Do you practise them by day, or night?
DIONYSUS: Mostly by night. Dark is better for devotion.
PENTHEUS: Better for lechery and the taking of women.
DIONYSUS: That happens in daylight too.
[tr. Robertson (2014)]

PENTHEUS: And are these rites conducted by day or by night?
DIONYSUS: Night, for the most part. It’s so much more ... spiritual. Good for devotion.
PENTHEUS: The night’s a trap for women’s virtue.
DIONYSUS: And the day isn’t? You don’t get out much, do you?
[tr. Pauly (2019)]

PENTHEUS: Do you perform your rituals by day or night?
DIONYSUS: By night. We believe that darkness is holy.
PENTHEUS: It's a cunning time to force filth upon women.
DIONYSUS: Vice thrives in daylight, too.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]

PENTHEUS: Do you perform the sacred rites [hiera] by night or by day?
DIONYSUS: Mostly by night; darkness conveys awe.
PENTHEUS: This is treacherous towards women, and unsound.
DIONYSUS: Even during the day you can find what is shameful.
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]

 
Added on 28-Mar-23 | Last updated 11-Jul-23
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More quotes by Euripides

Gustave Dore – Divine Comedy, Inferno, Canto 5 “The Souls of Paolo and Francesca” (1857)
Gustave Dore – Divine Comedy, Inferno, Canto 5 “The Souls of Paolo and Francesca” (1857)

One day together, for pastime, we read
Of Lancelot, and how Love held him in thrall.
We were alone, and without any dread.
Sometimes 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] (1309) [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, to pass the time, we read of
Lancelot, who loved illicitly.
Just the two of us; we had not thought of what, as yet, was not.
From time to time that reading urged our eyes to meet.
and made our faces flush and pale,
but one point in the story changed our lives;
for when we read of how the longed-for smile
was kissed by such a noble knight,
the one who for eternity is by my side all trembling
kissed my trembling mouth.
The man who wrote this was a Galeotto; so was the book.
That day the rest of it remained unscanned.
[tr. Carson (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)]

One day, to amuse ourselves, we were reading
The tales of love-struck Lancelot; we were all alone,
And naively unaware of what could happen.
More than once, while reading, we looked up
And saw the other looking back. We'd blush, then pale,
Then look down again. Until a moment did us in.
We were reading about the longed-for kiss
The great lover gives his Guinevere, when that one
From whom I'll now never be parted,
Trembling, kissed my lips.
That author and his book played the part
Of Gallehault. We read no more that day.
[tr. Bang (2012)]

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 1-Oct-23
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More quotes by Dante Alighieri

If I may be his guide, you’ll lose him yet;
I’ll subtly lead him my way, if you’ll let
Me do so; shall we have a bet?

[Was wettet Ihr? den sollt Ihr noch verlieren!
Wenn Ihr mir die Erlaubnis gebt,
Ihn meine Straße sacht zu führen.]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
Faust: a Tragedy [eine Tragödie], Part 1, sc. 3 “Prologue in Heaven,” l. 320ff [Mephistopheles] (1808-1829) [tr. Luke (1987)]
    (Source)

Mephisto to the Lord, on tempting His servant, Faust.

Some translations (and this site) include the Declaration, Prelude on the Stage, and Prologue in Heaven as individual scenes; others do not, leading to their Part 1 scenes being numbered three lower.

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

What will you wager? Him you yet shall lose,
     If you will give me your permission
     To lead him gently on the path I choose.
[tr. Priest (1808)]

What will you bet? -- now I am sure of winning --
Only, observe you give me full permission
To lead him softly on my path.
[tr. Shelley (1815)]

What will you wager? you shall lose him yet, if you give me leave to guide him quietly my own way.
[tr. Hayward (1831)]

What wilt thou wager? Him thou yet shall lose,
If leave to me thou wilt but give,
Gently to lead him as I choose!
[tr. Swanwick (1850)]

What will you bet? You'll surely lose your wager!
If you will give me leave henceforth,
To lead him softly on, like an old stager.
[tr. Brooks (1868)]

What will you bet? There's still a chance to gain him,
If unto me full leave you give,
Gently upon my road to train him!
[tr. Taylor (1870)]

What wager you? you yet shall lose that soul!
Only give me full license, and you’ll see
How I shall lead him softly to my goal.
[tr. Blackie (1880)]

What will you wager? Give me but permission
To lead him gently on my way,
I'll win him from you to perdition.
[tr. Latham (1908)]

What will you bet? You'll lose him yet to me,
If you will graciously connive
That I may lead him carefully.
[tr. Kaufmann (1961)]

What will you bet? You'll lose him in the end, if you'll just give me your permission to lead him gently down my street.
[tr. Salm (1962)]

You'll lose him yet! I offer bet and tally,
Provided that your Honor gives
Me leave to lead him gently up my alley!
[tr. Arndt (1976)]

Would you care to bet on that? You'll lose, I tell you,
If you'll give me leave to lead the fellow
Gently down my broad, my primrose path.
[tr. Greenberg (1992)]

What would you wager? Will you challenge me
To win him from you? Give me your permission
To lead him down my path to his perdition?
[tr. Williams (1999)]

What do you wager? I might win him yet!
If you give me your permission first,
I’ll lead him gently on the road I set.
[tr. Kline (2003)]

 
Added on 16-Aug-22 | Last updated 25-Oct-22
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I felt it myself. The glitter of nuclear weapons. It is irresistible if you come to them as a scientist. To feel it’s there in your hands, to release this energy that fuels the stars, to let it do your bidding. To perform these miracles, to lift a million tons of rock into the sky. It is something that gives people an illusion of illimitable power, and it is, in some ways, responsible for all our troubles — this, what you might call technical arrogance, that overcomes people when they see what they can do with their minds.

Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson (1923-2020) English-American theoretical physicist, mathematician, futurist
In Jon Else, dir., The Day After Trinity: J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Atomic Bomb, Part 2 (1981)
    (Source)

Film written by David Peoples, Janet Peoples, and Jon Else.
 
Added on 21-Jun-22 | Last updated 21-Jun-22
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Frodo drew the Ring out of his pocket again and looked at it. It now appeared plain and smooth, without mark or device that he could see. The gold looked very fair and pure, and Frodo thought how rich and beautiful was its colour, how perfect was its roundness. It was an admirable thing and altogether precious.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 1: The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, ch. 2 “The Shadow of the Past” (1954)
    (Source)
 
Added on 22-Mar-22 | Last updated 22-Mar-22
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No evil dooms us hopelessly except the evil we love, and desire to continue in, and make no effort to escape from.

George Eliot (1819-1880) English novelist [pseud. of Mary Ann Evans]
Daniel Deronda, Book 5, ch. 8 (1876)
    (Source)
 
Added on 26-Jul-21 | Last updated 26-Jul-21
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We are all at a wonderful ball where the champagne sparkles in every glass and soft laughter falls upon the summer air. We know, by the rules, that at some moment the Black Horsemen will come shattering through the great terrace doors, wreaking vengeance and scattering the survivors. Those who leave early are saved, but the ball is so splendid no one wants to leave while there is still time, so that everyone keeps asking, “What time is it? What time is it?” but none of the clocks have any hands.

George Goodman (1930-2014) American author, economics broadcast commentator [pseud. Adam Smith]
Supermoney, Part 3, ch. 2 (1972)
    (Source)

An explanation he gave to a "mass-circulation magazine" about the stock bubble in 1968. He later incorporated a variation of the story in a republication of his 1968 The Money Game:

We are all at a wonderful party, and by the rules of the game we know that at some point in time the Black Horsemen will burst through the great terrace doors to cut down the revelers; those who leave early may be saved, but the music and wines are so seductive that we do not want to leave, but we do ask, "What time is it? What time is it?" Only none of the clocks have any hands.
 
Added on 27-Apr-21 | Last updated 27-Apr-21
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There is always someone ready to be lured to ruin by hope of gain.

[ἀλλ᾽ ὑπ᾽ ἐλπίδων ἄνδρας τὸ κέρδος πολλάκις διώλεσεν.]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 221ff [Creon] (441 BC) [tr. Watling (1947)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

  • "But backed by hope, lucre has ruined many." [tr. Donaldson (1848)]
  • "Yet hope of gain hath lured men to their ruin oftentimes." [tr. Storr (1859)]
  • "But hope of gain full oft ere now hath been the ruin of men." [tr. Campbell (1873)]
  • "Yet by just the hope of it, money has many times corrupted men." [tr. Jebb (1891)]
  • "Yet lucre hath oft ruined men through their hopes." [tr. Jebb (1917)]
  • "Yet money talks, and the wisest have sometimes been known to count a few coins too many." [tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939)]
  • "But often we have known men to be ruined by the hope of profit." [tr. Wyckoff (1954)]
  • "But love of gain has often lured a man to his destruction." [tr. Kitto (1962)]
  • "But all too often the mere hope of money has ruined many men." [tr. Fagles (1982)]
  • "But hope -- and bribery -- often have led men to destruction." [tr. Woodruff (2001)]
  • "But profit with its hopes often destroys men." [tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002)] https://diotima-doctafemina.org/translations/greek/sophocles-antigone/#post-1273:~:text=But%20profit,with%20its%20hopes%20often%20destroys%20men.
  • "Yet there are men who the mere hope of winning has killed them." [tr. Theodoridis (2004)]
  • "And yet men have often been destroyed because they hoped to profit in some way." [tr. Johnston (2005)]
  • "But often profit has destroyed men through their hopes." [tr. Thomas (2005)]
  • "But the profit-motive has destroyed many people in their hope for gain." [tr. @sentantiq (2018)]
 
Added on 1-Apr-21 | Last updated 9-May-21
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But oh! ye gracious Powers above,
Wrath and revenge from men and gods remove,
Far, far too dear to every mortal breast,
Sweet to the soul, as honey to the taste;
Gathering like vapours of a noxious kind
From fiery blood, and darkening all the mind.

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

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

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If only strife could die from the lives of gods and men
and anger that drives the sanest man to flare in outrage --
bitter gall, sweeter than dripping streams of honey,
that swarms in people's chests and blinds like smoke.
[tr. Fagles (1990), l. 126ff]
 
Added on 10-Feb-21 | Last updated 1-Dec-21
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There is the heat of Love,
the pulsing rush of Longing, the lover’s whisper,
irresistible — magic to make the sanest man go mad.

[Ἔνθ’ ἔνι μὲν φιλότης, ἐν δ’ ἵμερος, ἐν δ’ ὀαριστὺς
πάρφασις, ἥ τ’ ἔκλεψε νόον πύκα περ φρονεόντων.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad [Ἰλιάς], Book 14, l. 216ff (14.216) (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990), l. 259ff]
    (Source)

Referring to Venus' girdle (cestus). Original Greek. Alternate translations:

In whose sphere
Were all enticements to delight, all loves, all longings were,
Kind conference, fair speech, whose pow’r the wisest doth inflame.
[tr. Chapman (1611), l. 181ff]

In this was every art, and every charm,
To win the wisest, and the coldest warm:
Fond love, the gentle vow, the gay desire,
The kind deceit, the still reviving fire,
Persuasive speech, and more persuasive sighs,
Silence that spoke, and eloquence of eyes.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

It was an ambush of sweet snares, replete
With love, desire, soft intercourse of hearts,
And music of resistless whisper’d sounds
That from the wisest steal their best resolves
[tr. Cowper (1791), l. 256ff]

In it were love, and desire, converse, seductive speech, which steals away the mind even of the very prudent.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

There Love, there young Desire,
There fond Discourse, and there Persuasion dwelt,
Which oft enthralls the mind of wisest men.
[tr. Derby (1864)]

Therein are love, and desire, and loving converse, that steals the wits even of the wise.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

Love, desire, and that sweet flattery which steals the judgement even of the most prudent.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Therein is love, therein desire, therein dalliance -- beguilement that steals the wits even of the wise.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

Allurement of the eyes, hunger of longing, and the touch of lips that steals all wisdom from the coolest men.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

There upon it is affection, upon it desire and seductive dalliance with robs even a sensible person of wisdom.
[tr. Merrill (2007)]

 
Added on 20-Jan-21 | Last updated 1-Dec-21
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No one has ever been known to decline to serve on a committee to investigate radicals on the ground that so much exposure to their doctrines would weaken his patriotism, nor on a vice commission on the ground that it would impair his morals. Anything may happen inside the censor, but what counts is that in his outward appearances after his ordeal by temptation he is more than ever a paragon of the conforming virtues. Perhaps his appetites are satisfied by an inverted indulgence, but to a clear-sighted conservative that does not really matter. The conservative is not interested in innocent thoughts. He is interested in loyal behavior.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author
Men of Destiny, ch. 8 “The Nature of the Battle Over Censorship,” sec. 2 (1927)
    (Source)
 
Added on 2-Dec-20 | Last updated 2-Dec-20
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KING : Am I the strongest or am I not?
BECKET: You are, today. But one must never drive one’s enemy to despair. It makes him strong. Gentleness is better politics. It saps virility. A good occupational force must never crush, it must corrupt.

Jean Anouilh (1910-1987) French dramatist
Becket, Act 2 (1959) [tr. Hill (1961)
    (Source)

The lines remain intact in Edward Anhalt's 1964 screenplay.
 
Added on 17-Sep-20 | Last updated 17-Sep-20
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I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) American poet and author
“Mad Girl’s Love Song” (1951)
    (Source)
 
Added on 3-Jan-19 | Last updated 3-Jan-19
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The trail of the serpent reaches into all the lucrative professions and practices of man, Each has its own wrongs. Each finds a tender and very intelligent conscience a disqualification for success. Each requires of the practitioner a certain shutting of the eyes, a certain dapperness and compliance, an acceptance of customs, a sequestration from the sentiments of generosity and love, a compromise of private opinion and lofty integrity.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Man the Reformer,” lecture, Boston (1841-01-25)
    (Source)
 
Added on 7-Nov-17 | Last updated 27-Mar-23
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Beauties in vain their pretty Eyes may roll;
Charms strike the Sight, but Merit wins the Soul.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
The Rape of the Lock, Canto 5, l. 33 (1712)
    (Source)
 
Added on 3-Oct-17 | Last updated 3-Oct-17
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The young man appeared disconcerted at the vehemence of Phryne’s discourse, and she changed the subject. One did not wantonly disconcert young men on whom one might be having designs in future.

Kerry Greenwood (b. 1954) Australian author and lawyer
Murder on the Ballarat Train (1991)
 
Added on 3-Aug-17 | Last updated 4-Aug-17
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There are several good protections against temptations, but the surest is cowardice.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Following the Equator, ch. 36, epigraph (1897)
    (Source)
 
Added on 3-Jul-17 | Last updated 3-Jul-17
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I often think of alcohol as a genie in a bottle. It promises everything but eventually imprisons you in the bottle itself.

Eric Jong
Erica Jong (b. 1942) American writer, poet
Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life, ch. 2 (2006)
    (Source)
 
Added on 14-Jun-17 | Last updated 14-Jun-17
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The amount of temptation required differentiates the honest from the dishonest.

Paul Eldridge (1888-1982) American educator, novelist, poet
Maxims for a Modern Man, #1095 (1965)
 
Added on 1-May-17 | Last updated 1-May-17
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Any sufficiently advanced lingerie is indistinguishable from a lethal weapon.

Charles "Charlie" Stross (b. 1964) British writer
The Apocalypse Codex (2012)
 
Added on 1-Mar-17 | Last updated 1-Mar-17
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The devil’s voice is sweet to hear

Stephen King (b. 1947) American author
Needful Things (1991)
 
Added on 14-Sep-16 | Last updated 14-Sep-16
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Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Maria Cosway (12 Oct 1786)
    (Source)
 
Added on 6-May-16 | Last updated 14-Jul-22
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“Vice,” said Mr. Dooley, “is a creature of such heejous mein, as Hogan says, that th’ more ye see it th’ betther ye like it.”

[“Vice,” said Mr. Dooley, “is a creature of such hideous mien, as Hogan says, that the more you see it the better you like it.”]

Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936) American humorist and journalist
“The Crusade Against Vice,” Mr. Dooley’s Opinions (1901)
    (Source)
 
Added on 29-Jan-16 | Last updated 29-Jan-16
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Would you persuade, speak of Interest, not of Reason.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher, aphorist
Poor Richard (1734 ed.)
    (Source)
 
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Man cannot live without hope. If it is not engendered by his own convictions and desires, it can easily be fired from without, and by the most meretricious and empty of promises.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) First Lady of the US (1933-45), politician, diplomat, activist
“What Has Happened to the American Dream?” Atlantic Monthly (Apr 1961)
    (Source)
 
Added on 28-Jan-15 | Last updated 28-Jan-15
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Most of the bad guys in the real world don’t know that they are bad guys. You don’t get a flashing warning sign that you’re about to damn yourself. It sneaks up on you when you aren’t looking.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Proven Guilty, ch. 41 (2006)
    (Source)
 
Added on 13-Jan-15 | Last updated 13-Jan-15
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There are a number of mechanical devices which increase sexual arousal, particularly in women. Chief among these is the Porsche 911 Cabriolet.

P. J. O'Rourke (b. 1947) American humorist, editor
Modern Manners (1989 ed.)
 
Added on 6-Nov-14 | Last updated 6-Nov-14
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Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
“Subtleties of Book Buyers,” Star Papers (1855)
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 31-Mar-16
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