Quotations about   timing

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After any disturbance (such as two world wars coinciding with a period of growing economic and monetary incomprehensibility) we find our old concepts inadequate and look for new ones. But it unfortunately happens that the troubled times which produce an appetite for new ideas are the least propitious for clear thinking.

Rebecca West (1892-1983) British author, journalist, literary critic, travel writer [pseud. for Cicily Isabel Fairfield]
In The Sunday Telegraph, London (1981)
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Added on 8-Mar-21 | Last updated 8-Mar-21
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Believe me, it is not length of time spent in prayer that brings a soul benefit: when we spend our time in good works, it is a great help to us and a better and quicker preparation for the enkindling of our love than many hours of meditation.

Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) Spanish mystic, poet, philosopher, saint
Foundations, ch. 5 “On Prayer” [tr. Peers]
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Alternative translations:

And let souls believe me that it is not the length of time spent in prayer that benefits one; when the time is spent as well in good works, it is a help in preparing the soul for the enkindling of love. The soul may thereby be better prepared in a very short time than through many hours of reflection.
[tr. Kavanaugh / Rodriguez]

And, believe me, it is not the length of time which makes a soul advance in prayer, but when being called to other works by obedience and charity, they do these duties well, then (as I have said) the soul advances so much, that in a very short time she is better prepared for enkindling within her the love of God, than (wanting in those works) she would be by spending many hours in meditation.
[tr. Dalton]

But believe me, what helps a soul to advance is not the spending long hours in prayer, but it is a great help to be employed also in active works, so that the soul is better disposed to enkindle its love in a very short space of time than by spending many hours in meditation.
[tr. Mason]
Added on 5-Mar-21 | Last updated 5-Mar-21
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Treason is merely a question of dates.

Charles Maurice, Prince de Talleyrand-Périgord (1754-1838) French statesman
Comment to Tsar Alexander (1815)
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Variant: "Treason is merely a matter of dates."

Both versions of the line are quoted in different biographies of Talleyrand, apparently derived from a passage in his Memoirs (ed. Albert de Broglie, tr. De Beaufort (1891)). He relates while at the Congress of Vienna (1814-15), Tsar Alexander referred to Saxony as "Those who betrayed the cause of Europe" for joining with Napoleon, to which Talleyrand replied (mindful that Alexander had at times been allied with Napoleon), "Sire, that is a question of dates."

In the movie Die Hard 2 (1990), the quote is misattributed to Cardinal Richelieu in Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers (1844). Variants on the line actually have been used in movie editions of Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo (but not in the actual book).
Added on 1-Dec-20 | Last updated 1-Dec-20
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The art of leadership is a serious matter. One must not lag behind a movement, because to do so is to become isolated from the masses. But one must not rush ahead, for to rush ahead is to lose contact with the masses. He who wishes to lead a movement and at the same time keep touch with the vast masses, must conduct a fight on two fronts, against those who lag behind and against those who rush ahead.

Josef Stalin (1879-1953) Georgian revolutionary and Soviet dictator
Leninism, Vol. 2 (1926) [tr. Paul (1933)]
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Often elided, "He who wishes to lead a movement must conduct a fight on two fronts, against those who lag behind and against those who rush ahead."
Added on 1-Sep-20 | Last updated 1-Sep-20
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Life never gives us what we want at the moment that we consider appropriate. Adventures do occur, but not punctually.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
A Passage to India, ch. 3 (1924)
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Added on 1-Aug-18 | Last updated 1-Aug-18
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The time is always right to do what’s right.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“The Future of Integration” Finney Chapel, Oberlin College (22 Oct 1964)

King gave several speeches over the years with this title.
Added on 16-Feb-18 | Last updated 16-Feb-18
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Few men of action have been able to make a graceful exit at the appropriate time.

Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990) British journalist, author, media personality, satirist
“Twilight of Greatness,” The Most of Malcolm Muggeridge (1966)
Added on 30-Oct-17 | Last updated 30-Oct-17
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I am under no illusion that our present strategy of using means short of total war to achieve our ends and oppose communism is a guarantee that a world war will not be thrust upon us. But a policy of patience and determination without provoking a world war, while we improve our military power, is one which we believe we must continue to follow. … Under present circumstances, we have recommended against enlarging the war from Korea to also include Red China. The course of action often described as a limited war with Red China would increase the risk we are taking by engaging too much of our power in an area that is not the critical strategic prize. Red China is not the powerful nation seeking to dominate the world. Frankly, in the opinion of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, this strategy would involve us in the wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong enemy.

Omar Bradley (1893-1981) American general
Testimony, Senate Committees on Armed Services and Foreign Relations (15 May 1951)
Added on 21-Jan-16 | Last updated 21-Jan-16
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I have often thought, says Sir Roger, it happens very well that Christmas should fall in the Middle of winter.

Addison - Christmas - wist_info quote

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
The Spectator (Jan 1712)
Added on 24-Dec-15 | Last updated 24-Dec-15
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Economists are very good at saying that something cannot go on forever, but not so good at saying when it will stop.

Herb Stein (1916-1999) American economist
(Attributed)
Added on 27-Mar-15 | Last updated 27-Mar-15
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Rain, rain. The good rain, like a bad preacher, does not know when to leave off.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (23 Apr 1834)
Added on 28-Nov-12 | Last updated 19-Feb-22
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Therefore it is fitting for the women to be married at about the age of eighteen and the men at thirty-seven or a little before — for that will give long enough for the union to take place with their bodily vigor at its prime, and for it to arrive with a convenient coincidence of dates at the time when procreation ceases. Moreover the succession of the children to the estates, if their birth duly occurs soon after the parents marry, will take place when they are beginning their prime, and when the parents’ period of vigor has now come to a close, towards the age of seventy.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Politics [Πολιτικά], Book 7, ch. 16 / 1335a.27 [tr. Rackham (1932)]
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Alt. trans.:

And so it is best to unite women of about eighteen years of age and men of thirty-seven or less; for by such an arrangement the union will be during their greatest physical perfection, and will, as the years pass reach the limit of child-begetting at the right time. Again, the succession of children will be secured, as the younger generation will be having children at the beginning of their prime, supposing some to be born at once, as we may expect, and as the right age has passed away from the older generation as they approach the limit of seventy years.
[tr. Bolland (1877)]

Women should marry when they are about eighteen years of age, and men at seven and thirty; then they are in the prime of life, and the decline in the powers of both will coincide. Further, the children, if their birth takes place soon, as may reasonably be expected, will succeed in the beginning of their prime, when the fathers are already in the decline of life, and have nearly reached their term of three-score years and ten.
[tr. Jowett (1885)]

For which reason the proper time for a woman to marry is eighteen, for a man thirty-seven, a little more or less; for when they marry at that time their bodies are in perfection, and they will also cease to have children at a proper time; and moreover with respect to the succession of the children, if they have them at the time which may reasonably be expected, they will be just arriving into perfection when their parents are sinking down under the load of seventy years.
[tr. Ellis (1912)]

Hence it is fitting for women to unite in marriage around the age of eighteen, and for men at thirty-seven or a little before. At such an age, union will occur when their bodies are in their prime, and will arrive at its conclusion conveniently for both of them with respect to the cessation of procreation. Further, the succession of the offspring -- if birth occurs shortly after marriage, as can reasonably be expected -- will be for them at the beginning of their prime, while for the fathers it will be when their age has already run its course toward the seventieth year.
[tr. Lord (1984)]
Added on 17-Jan-11 | Last updated 12-Feb-21
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