Also, many (perhaps most) of these quotations were written when the words "man" or "men" or "he" or "him" routinely were used to refer both to females and males, a practice known as "the generic male". Rather than change the original wording, I rely on your intelligence to recognize when these male references are meant to include all people.
Proud word you never spoke, but you will speak
Four not exempt from pride some future day.
Resting on one white hand a warm wet cheek,
Over my open volume you will say,
"This man loved me!" then rise and trip away.
--Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864)
in The Works of Walter Savage Landor, Volume II. London: Edward
Moxon, 1853, poem No.LXIX, p.626
Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth.
The glory of action.
The splendor of achievement.
For yesterday is but a dream.
And tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness,
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore to this day!
--Kalidasa (IVth century CE)
(translated from Sanskrit)
this is probably the first quote I collected and saved, after
hearing adventurer John Goddard (1924-2013) use it in a lecture
at my High School c.1962
Knowledge may be gained from books; but the love of knowledge is
transmitted only by personal contact. No one has deserved better of the
republic than the unknown teacher.
--Henry Van Dyke (1852-1933)
Phi Beta Kappa address delivered at the College of William and Mary,
Saturday, 27 November 1926; reprinted in Journal of Chemical Education,
7(2), February 1930, p.348
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream -- and not make dreams your master;
If you can think -- and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings -- nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man, my son!
--Rudyard Kipling [Joseph Rudyard Kipling](1865-1936)
Rewards and Fairies. Garden City NY: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1911
T.V. is the place where the pursuit of happiness
has become the pursuit of trivia
Where toothpaste and cars have become sex objects
Where imagination is sucked out of children
by a cathode ray nipple
T.V. is the only wet nurse
that would create a cripple
Television, the drug of the Nation
Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation
--Michael Franti (born 1966)
"Television, the Drug of the Nation", from the Disposable Heroes
of Hiphoprisy album, Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury. 1992
portions heard over end credits of The Comic Strip Presents . . .,
TV series, "Gregory: Diary of a Nutcase", 13 May 1993
Tell me why you are crying my son,
I know you're frightened like everyone.
Is it the thunder in the distance you fear?
Will it help if I stay very near?
I am here.
And if you take my hand my son,
All will be well when the day is done.
And if you take my hand my son,
All will be well when the day is done.
Day is done, Day is done.
Day is done, Day is done.
Do you ask why I'm sighing my son?
You shall inherit what mankind has done.
In a world filled with sorrow and woe,
If you ask me why this is so,
I really don't know.
Tell me why you are smiling, my son,
Is there a secret you can tell everyone?
Do you know more than men who are wise?
Can you see what we all must disguise
Through your loving eyes?
--Peter Yarrow (born 1938)
member of the group Peter, Paul and Mary (1960s-1970s)
from the album Peter, Paul and Mommy, 1969
I have traveled the land.
I have seen the world.
I have heard it all.
The questions of my childhood,
I have answered.
The things I have dreamed of,
I have done.
But when I look
into the eyes of an Elder,
I have not done enough.
--Lincoln 'Ch'igin' Tritt (1946-2012)
Chief of the Gwich'in Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government
1993; Poster in Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center, Fairbanks, Alaska
Forms of this quote also have been attributed to Mark Twain;
Rory Cochrane; Anon.; The Butthole Surfers ("Sweet Loaf"); and
others. It was mentioned in The League of Gentlemen,
Series 3 (2001), Episode 2 ("The One-Armed Man is King").
Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time;
it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.
--Sydney Smith (1771-1845)
The follies which a man regrets most in his life, are those
which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity.
--Helen Rowland (1875-1950)
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common-sense, and discover,
when it is too late, that the only things one never regrets are
--Oscar Wilde [Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde](1854-1900)
The Picture of Dorian Gray. first published in
Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, July 1890; revised edition
London: Ward, Lock & Co., 1891, from Chapter 3, spoken by Lord Henry
Wotton; also found in Epigrams - Phrases and Philosophies for
the Use of the Young. New York: Lamb Publishing Co., 1909, p.39
Any experience is better than no experience.
--Chrissie Hynde (born 1951)
member of the rock band The Pretenders, stated as her motto in her
memoir, Reckless: My Life as a Pretender. New York: Doubleday,
2015, Chapter 12
'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all
--Alfred Lord Tennyson [Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS](1809-1892)
"In Memoriam A.H.H.", aka "The Way of the Soul", 1849
I'd rather have something to forget, than nothing to remember.
--Joey Martin [Joey Marie Martin Feek](1975-2016) and Rory Feek (born 1965)
"Nothing to Remember", from the album Can You Duet, 2015
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land,
Here at our sea-washed sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide Welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."
--Emma Lazarus (1849-1887)
written in 1883 to aid the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund for the Statue of
Liberty (which opened in New York Harbor in 1886), then unused until 1903,
when it was engraved in bronze and placed inside the statue's pedestal
A foolish hermit closed his doors and said
"I'll live a Godly life untouched by sin."
Alas! Who builds a wall about himself
Shuts out much more of God than he shuts in.
--James C. Lindberg (born late XIXth century)
in Adeline M. Jenney, Editor. Prairie Poets: An Anthology of Verse of the
South Dakota State Poetry Society, 1927-1949. Minneapolis: Lund Press, 1949
[credited as "J.C. Lindberg " in Anthony Wons. Tony's Scrap
Book, 1932-33 Edition. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1932, p.36]
Grant that I may not
criticize my neighbor
until I have walked a mile
in his moccasins.
--Native American prayer
Oh that I had the wings of a dove
to fly away and be at rest!
I should escape far away
and find a refuge in the wilderness.
--Psalm LV:1-7, New English Bible
An alternate translation of this passage was set to music by
Felix Mendelssohn [Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy](1809-1847)
in his often-recorded anthem "Hear My Prayer",
perhaps the earliest and most famous recording being the 1927 HMV recording
by Ernest Lough with the Temple Church Choir
If I am not for me, who will be?
But if I am only for myself, what am I?
If I am not me, who am I?
O great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds. and whose breath gives
life to ail the world, hear me! I am small and weak; I need your strength
and wisdom. Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever behold the
red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things you have made
and my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise so that I may
understand the things you have taught my people. Let me learn the
lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock. I seek strength, not
to be greater than my friend, but to fight my greatest enemy -- myself.
Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset, may my spirit come to you
--Red Cloud Indian School, Pine Ridge, South Dakota
There's something strange about it, but fathers seem to feel
From sons a fond affection is something to conceal.
They stoop and kiss the daughter, while near them stands the son,
Though she perhaps is happy, and he the longing one.
They pet the little woman, and pass the little man,
Who wants to tell a trouble or share a boyish plan.
And yet the purest picture of love without alloy
Is when a man encircles the shoulders of his boy.
To him you seem a hero . . . to be a hero, too,
Requires a close communion between your boy and you.
He needs a hand to steady, he needs a word to cheer
Perhaps in greater measure than all the others here.
A mother's love is holy, a mother's love is long,
But oh a dad's affection can keep a boy so strong.
Temptations lie around him, temptations that destroy,
So let your arms enircle the shoulders of your boy.
--Douglas Malloch (1877-1938)
I would be true, for there are those who trust me.
I would be pure, for there are those who care.
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer.
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.
I would be friend of all, the foe, the friendless.
I would be giving, and forget the gift.
I would be humble, for I know my weakness.
I would look up, and laugh, and love, and lift.
--Howard A. Walter [Howard Arnold Walter](1883-1918)
1906, set to music by Joseph Y. Peek in 1911
the text and/or the song is used in the YMCA Rag ceremony
He who bends to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy.
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sunrise.
-- William Blake (1757-1827)
(Note: According to The Note Book 1793, of Blake, an early version
of the fourth line is "Lives in an eternal sun rise". And one revised
version of it is "Lives in eternity's sun rise".)
The white people never cared for land or deer or bear. When
we Indians kill meat, we eat it all up. When we dig roots,
we make little holes. . . . We shake down acorns and pine nuts.
We don't chop down the trees. We only use dead wood. But the
white people plow up the ground, pull up the trees, kill everything.
The tree says, "Don't. I am sore. Don't hurt me." But they chop
it down and cut it up. The spirit of the land hates them. . . .
The Indians never hurt anything, but the white people destroy all.
They blast rocks and scatter them on the ground. The rock says,
"Dont. You are hurting me." But the white people pay no attention.
When the Indians use rocks, they take little round ones for their
cooking. . . . How can the spirit of the earth like the white man? . . .
Everywhere the white man has touched it, it is sore.
--Dorothy D. Lee (1905-1975)
Freedom and Culture. Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1959, p.163,
quoted by Theodore Roszak, The Making of a Counter Culture: Reflections
on the Technocratic Society and Its Youthful Opposition. Garden City NY:
Doubleday, 1969, p.245
A great city is that
which has the greatest men and women.
If it be a few ragged huts,
it is still the greatest city
in the whole world.
--Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
"Song of the Broad-Axe", Leaves of Grass. Brooklyn NY:
privately printed, 1855; final ("Deathbed") edition, Philadelphia:
David McKay, 1891-1892
They are bored because they experience nothing. And they experience
nothing because the wonder has gone out of them. And when the wonder
has gone out of a man, he is dead. He is henceforth only an insect.
When all comes to all, the most precious element in life is wonder.
Love is a great emotion, and power is power. But both love and power
are based on wonder. Love without wonder is a sensational affair,
and power without wonder is mere force and compulsion. The one
universal element in consciousness which is fundamental to life,
is the element of wonder.
--D.H. Lawrence [David Herbert Richards Lawrence](1885-1930)
"Hymns in a Man's Life", Evening News, 13 October 1928
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
--William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)
If a person can't be what they are,
what's the purpose of being anything at all? [Act 2]
--David Storey (born 1933)
Home, first produced at the Morosco Theatre, New York City, 17 November 1970
spoken by Jack (Ralph Richardson in the 1970 production)
Act 2 quote used by Charles Pierce to close his show, 3 December 1971
The strange child who refuses
to wear our uniform
plays on tomorrow's team.
None of us knows the rules
he goes by, even the game.
Nor he. Poor pioneer
halfway between two eras,
rocketing blind from here
to a postulated planet,
he is our emissary
ferrying into the future
love if not understanding.
--Francis Maguire (1918-2011)
16 Then said I, wisdom is better than strength; nevertheless, the poor
man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.
17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him
that ruleth among fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war.
--Ecclesiastes IX:16-18 (Vulgate, and KJV)
Verse 18 inscribed over South doorway of Doheny Memorial Library,
University of Southern California
Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace
there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and
clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in
your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the
changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full
of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many
persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical
about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is
as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the
things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden
misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a
child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is
unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you
conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the
noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams,
drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
--Max Ehrmann (1872-1945)
written in 1927, published posthumously in The Poems of Max Ehrmann.
Boston: Bruce Humphries Publishing Company, 1948
widely believed to have been written in 1692, the date of the founding of
Old St Paul's Church in Baltimore, since the church's rector (1956-1961),
the Rev. Frederick Kates (1910-1987), had included it, without reference to
author or date of creation, in a compilation of devotional materials
(NOTE: obviously, this is a parody of the Desiderata shown above.
Please resist the temptation to take it seriously!)
You are a fluke of the universe.
You have no right to be here
Whether you can hear it or not,
The universe is laughing behind your back.
Go placidly amid the noise and waste.
And remember what comfort there may be
In owning a piece thereof.
Avoid quiet and passive persons
Unless you are in need of sleep.
Rotate your tires.
Speak glowingly of those greater than yourself
And heed well their advice, even though they be turkeys.
Know what to kiss . . . and when!
Consider that two wrongs never make a right
But that three . . . do.
Wherever possible, put people on hold.
Be comforted that in the face of all aridity and disillusionment
And despite the changing fortunes of time,
There is always a big future in computer maintenance.
Remember the Pueblo.
Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle and mutilate.
If you need help, call the FBI.
Exercise caution in your daily affairs,
Especially with those persons closest to you.
That lemon on your left, for instance.
Be assured that a walk through the ocean of most souls
Would scarcely get your feet wet.
Fall not in love therefore; it will stick to your face.
Gracefully surrender the things of youth:
The birds, clean air, tuna, Taiwan
And let not the sands of time get in your lunch.
Hire people with hooks.
For a good time call 606-4311; ask for "Ken."
Take heart amid the deepening gloom
That your dog is finally getting enough cheese.
And reflect that whatever misfortune may be your lot
It could only be worse in Milwaukee.
Therefore, make peace with your god
Whatever you conceive him to be --
Hairy thunderer, or cosmic muffin.
With all its hopes, dreams, promises and urban renewal
The world continues to deteriorate.
--Tony Hendra (born 1941)
National Lampoon Radio Dinner, 1972 comedy recording
If of they mortal goods thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store
two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed the soul.
--attributed to the Gulistan of Moslih Eddin Saadi [c.1184-1291]
Mohammedan sheik and Persian poet
The day has come
when something must
about me. I am
the one to do it.
The day has come
and I am moved by
its loyalty -- it
came yesterday too
and the day before
me is me
am me --
well, I'll be . . . !
--David Watts Morgan (1867-1933)
In the noontime of my life I shall look to the sunshine,
At a moment in my life when the sky is blue,
And the blessing I shall ask will remain unchanging:
To be brave and strong and true
And to fill the world with love my whole life through.
In the evening of my life I shall look to the sunset,
At a moment in my life when the night is due,
And the question I shall ask only I can answer:
Was I brave and strong and true?
Did I fill the world with love my whole life through?
--Leslie Bricusse (born 1931)
(lyrics), "Fill the World With Love", from the musical film
Goodbye Mr Chips (1969)
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