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Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind.

lowell books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind wist.info quote 1

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) American diplomat, essayist, poet
“Nationality in Literature,” North American Review, Article 10 (1849-07)
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Reviewing Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Kavanagh (1849).
 
Added on 29-Apr-24 | Last updated 29-Apr-24
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And now I understand
something so frightening, and wonderful —
how the mind clings to the road it knows, rushing
through crossroads, sticking
like lint to the familiar.

Mary Oliver (1935-2019) American poet
“Robert Schumann,” ll. 7-11, Dream Work (1986)
    (Source)
 
Added on 6-Dec-23 | Last updated 6-Dec-23
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For always the man in whom thought springs up over thought sets his mark farther off, for the one thought saps the force of the other.

[Ché sempre l’omo in cui pensier rampolla
sovra pensier, da sé dilunga il segno,
perché la foga l’un de l’altro insolla]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 2 “Purgatorio,” Canto 5, l. 16ff (5.16-18) (1314) [tr. Sinclair (1939)]
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Virgil telling Dante he's overthinking things, letting himself be distracted.

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

He, that permits his Fancy thus to stray.
With every lure, will rarely find his way
To that great end, to which his soul is bent:
For gath'ring fancies warp the steady light
Of Reason's beam, and leave her whelm'd in night,
For ever baffled of her first intent.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 3]

He, in whose bosom thought on thought shoots out,
Still of his aim is wide, in that the one
Sicklies and wastes to nought the other’s strength.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

He in whose bosom thought springs up to thought,
Destroys himself the figures of his loom --
The birth of one prepares the others's tomb.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

For evermore the man in whom is springing
Thought upon thought, removes from him the mark,
Because the force of one the other weakens.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

For ever the man, in whom thought wells up over thought, removes far from himself his mark, because the rush of the second slackens the first.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

Always the man in whom new thought doth grow
On previous thought, from his true course doth roam,
Because the one doth flag the other's glow.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

For always the man in whom thought on thought wells up removes from himself his aim, for the force of one weakens the other.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

For ever the man in whom thought wells up on thought, sets back his mark, because the one saps the force of the other.
[tr. Okey (1901)]

For always he in whom thought overtakes
The former thought, his goal less clearly sees.
Because the one the other must relax.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

He aims beside the mark whose fancies bubble
One on another, driving back and drumming
Each other out, so that his eye sees double.
[tr. Sayers (1955)]

For when a man lets his attention range
toward every wisp, he loses true direction,
sapping his mind's force with continual change.
[tr. Ciardi (1961)]

For always the man in whom thought wells
up on thought sets back his mark,
for one thought weakens the force of the other.
[tr. Singleton (1973)]

The man who lets his thoughts be turned aside
by one thing or another, will lose sight
of his true goal, his mind sapped of its strength.
[tr. Musa (1981)]

Because the man in whom thoughts bubble up
One after the other, goes wide of the mark,
Because one thought weakens the force of another.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

The man in whom thought thrusts ahead of thought
allows the goal he’s set to move far off --
the force of one thought saps the other’s force.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1982)]

For always the man in whom one care sprouts above the other makes his target more distant, because the impulse of the one weakens the other.
[tr. Durling (2003)]

Since the man, in whom thought rises on thought, sets himself back, because the force of the one weakens the other.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

When thought is bred too rampantly from thought,
then, of himself, a man will miss the mark.
Each mental thrust debilitates the first.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2007)]

For any man who lets one thought --
and then another -- take him over
will soon lose track of his first goal.
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

A man whose mind is distracted lets thought after thought
Keep him from getting where he wants to go:
They hammer each other down; nothing can grow.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

 
Added on 3-Nov-23 | Last updated 3-Nov-23
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Politeness, however, acts the lady’s-maid to our thoughts; and they are washed, dressed, curled, rouged, and perfumed, before they are presented to the public.

Letitia Elizabeth Landon
Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802-1838) English poet and novelist [a/k/a L.E.L.]
Romance and Reality, Vol. 2, ch. 14 (1831)
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Added on 1-Jun-22 | Last updated 13-Jun-22
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Experts in ancient Greek culture say that people back then didn’t see their thoughts as belonging to them. When ancient Greeks had a thought, it occurred to them as a god or goddess giving an order. Apollo was telling them to be brave. Athena was telling them to fall in love.

Now people hear a commercial for sour cream potato chips and rush out to buy them, but now they call this free will.

At least the ancient Greeks were being honest.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Lullaby, ch. 3 (2002)
    (Source)

Much of this is repeated in ch. 39.
 
Added on 11-Aug-20 | Last updated 11-Aug-20
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More gold has been mined from the brains of men than has ever been taken from the earth.

Napoleon Hill (1883-1970) American author, motivational writer
Think and Grow Rich (1937)
    (Source)

In some editions this is given as: "More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has ever been taken from the earth."
 
Added on 3-Jul-20 | Last updated 3-Jul-20
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We’re animals. We’re born like every other mammal and we live our whole lives around disguised animal thoughts.

Barbara Kingsolver (b. 1955) American novelist, essayist, poet
Animal Dreams (1990)
 
Added on 10-Jul-17 | Last updated 10-Jul-17
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I collected my thoughts. Someday I hope to have them all.

Steven Brust (b. 1955) American writer, systems programmer
Orca [Vlad] (1996)
 
Added on 8-Jul-16 | Last updated 8-Jul-16
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The more profound the thought, the more burdensome. What is in will out.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (1836)
 
Added on 27-Apr-16 | Last updated 27-Apr-16
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What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself. All day long, and every day, the mill of his brain is grinding, and his thoughts (which are but the mute articulation of his feelings,) not those other things, are his history. His acts and his words are merely the visible thin crust of his world, with its scarred snow summits and its vacant wastes of water — and they are so trifling a part of his bulk! a mere skin enveloping it. The mass of him is hidden — it and its volcanic fires that toss and boil, and never rest, night nor day. These are his life, and they are not written, and cannot be written. Every day would make a whole book of eighty thousand words — three hundred and sixty-five books a year. Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man — the biography of the man himself cannot be written.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1 (2010)
    (Source)
 
Added on 11-Mar-15 | Last updated 28-May-18
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A man would do well to carry a pencil in his pocket and write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought are commonly the most valuable, and should be secured because they seldom return.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
(Attributed)
 
Added on 23-Nov-11 | Last updated 16-May-16
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Govern thy Life and Thoughts, as if the whole World were to see the one, and read the other.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English physician, preacher, aphorist, writer
Introductio ad Prudentiam, # 417 (1725)
    (Source)
 
Added on 20-Jul-11 | Last updated 12-Jun-24
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Life does not consist mainly — or even largely — of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever blowing through one’s head.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Autobiography, Part 1, sec. 28 “New York, January 10, 1906” (2003)

Full text.
 
Added on 30-Jun-11 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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The secret thoughts of a man run over all things holy, prophane, clean, obscene, grave, and light, without shame, or blame.

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) English philosopher
Leviathan, Part 1, ch. 8 (1651)
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Added on 23-Sep-10 | Last updated 6-Nov-20
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Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book, as long as that document does not offend your own ideas of decency. That should be the only censorship.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Commencement Speech, Dartmouth College (14 Jun 1953)
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 9-Jul-15
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Thoughts, like fleas, jump from man to man. But they don’t bite everybody.

Stanislaw Lec (1909-1966) Polish aphorist, poet, satirist
Unkempt Thoughts [Myśli nieuczesane] (1957) [tr. Gałązka (1962)]
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 8-Mar-22
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