Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Memorable Quotes

In the course of my reading I have come across some quotes which I have thought important enough to memorize. I will list them here in the hope that they may be of use to you, as they have been to me.

From Tolstoy:

That which gives life is the same in all things.

From Edwin Campion Vaughan, a World War I British infantry officer in the trenches of Flanders:

We may not be able to control our destiny, but we are responsible for our dignity.

From Sir Edmund Hillary. [While climbing the summit ridge of Everest, he was forced by a cornice onto a tiny ledge overhanging the south face. He glanced down between his boots to see the roofs of the Thyangboche Monastery, the highest permanent dwelling in the world, ten thousand feet below. He remarked:]

For a moment I considered the consequences of a slip, and then decided to put such unprofitable thoughts out of my mind.

From Tolstoy:

The inorganic is merely the life of that which we do not understand. For a flea, the inorganic is my fingernail. In the same way, evil is the non-understood good.

From the great German mystic, Meister Eckhart:

We must become pregnant with Nothing in order to give birth to God.

And also from Eckhart:

Your best chance of finding God is to look for Him where you left Him.

From Hamlet:

If it be not now, then 'tis to come. If 'tis not to come, then 'twill be now. And if it be not now, then surely it will come. The readiness is all.

From Lincoln:

Government should do nothing that the people can do better for themselves.

From Tolstoy:

All great art ultimately asks questions that are religious in nature.

From Dostoevsky:

Good and evil are two ends of a stick that bends back upon itself.

Tolstoy's threefold remedy for hurt:

1. Remember that you have done worse than the person who is hurting you.
2. Remember that in five or ten years, you will not even be able to recall the hurt.
3. Remember that the person who is hurting you cannot behave in any other way.

(It was many years before I understood the third point, but now, I believe it is true.)

From Churchill:

Anyone who is not a liberal before the age of thirty has no heart; anyone who is not a conservative after the age of forty has no brain.

(There is thus a ten-year period during which we may register as Independent.)

From William Blake:

We are led to believe a lie when we see with and not through the eye.

From Tolstoy:

Kindness is a necessary addition to everything.

From Gerard Manley Hopkins:

Nor mind had, no nor mouth expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed

From Tolstoy:

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.

From Thomas Jefferson:

People suffer terribly in thinking of what was expected to happen, instead of what has actually happened.

From Robert Frost:

Home is where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.

From Hemingway:

Everyone needs a clean, well-lighted place.

From Robert Bolt:

You either write it, or you talk it to death.

From William Blake:

To see a world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wildflower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour

From Tom Stoppard:

We emerge from the womb bloody and screaming, and knowing that for all the signposts in the world, there is only one direction, and time is its only measure.

From W.H. Auden:

Tears are round, the sea is deep,
Roll them overboard, and sleep.

From W.B Yeats:
(On rediscovering his creativity)

I will lie down where all the ladders start:
In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.

From Tolstoy:

Only one step lies between a five-year-old child and a man of my age. Between a newborn baby and a five-year-old child lies a huge distance. Between a fetus and a newborn baby lies an abyss; and between non-existence and a fetus lies not only an abyss, but a gulf that surpasses comprehension.

From Shakespeare:

Thou hast nor youth nor age, but as it were, an after-dinner's sleep, dreaming on both.

This thou perceiv'st which makes thy love more strong
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

From Tolstoy's diary:

Sometimes a man tells a woman more than he should. He forgets, but she never does. The worst thing is not a woman who holds a man by his balls, but she who holds him by his soul.

From War Birds: Diary of an Unknown Aviator (Actually, Mac Grider, a young World War I pilot):

Courage is doing your duty even though you're scared as hell... It takes a brave man even to experience fear.

From W. H. Auden:

You shall love your crooked neighbor with your crooked heart.

From Dylan Thomas:

Now as I was young and easy
In the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying,
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

From T. S. Eliot:

Shall I, after tea and cakes and ices
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted,
Wept and prayed, though I have seen my head,
Grown slightly bald, brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet, and here's no great matter.
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal footman hold my coat
And snicker, and in short: I was afraid.

From Tolstoy:

Speak less. We often regret having spoken too much, but we never regret remaining silent.