Quotations about   seduction

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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, Book 18, l. 107ff [Achilles] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Pope (1715-20)]
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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 10-Feb-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, Book 14, l. 216ff (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 20-Jan-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)
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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)
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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)
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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 (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Man the Reformer,” lecture, Boston (25 Jan 1841)
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Added on 7-Nov-17 | Last updated 7-Nov-17
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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)
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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)
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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.

Erica Jong (b. 1942) American writer, poet
Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life, ch. 2 (2006)
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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)

See Arthur C. Clarke.
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)
Added on 6-May-16 | Last updated 6-May-16
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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)
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Added on 29-Jan-16 | Last updated 29-Jan-16
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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)
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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)
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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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