“What time does this place get to New York?” — Barbara Stanwyck, aboard the Queen Mary, 1930s
“To be a poet at twenty is to be twenty: to be a poet at forty is to be a poet.” — Eugène Delacroix
Nullus agenti dies longus est.
No day is long for the person who is active. (Seneca)
Omnibus in rebus gravis est inceptio prima.
In all things the first undertaking is hard. (Anonymous)
Formosos saepe inveni pessimos, et turpi facie multos cognovi optimos.
I have often discovered beautiful people to be the worst, and I have discovered many fine people with unpleasant appearance. (Phaedrus)
Mendaci homini, ne verum quidem dicenti, credere solemus.
We do not usually believe an untruthful man, even when he is telling the truth. (Cicero)
In bibliothecis loquuntur defunctorum immortales animae.
Immortal spirits of the dead speak in libraries. (Pliny the Elder)
Plures amicos mensa quam mens concipit.
A person’s table attracts more friends than his mind. (Publilius Syrus)
Propositum mutat sapiens, at stultus inhaeret.
A wise man changes his proposal, but a stupid man clings to it. (Petrarch)
Nihil recte sine exemplo docetur aut discitur.
Nothing is rightly taught or learned without examples. (Columella)
Tranquillas etiam naufragus horret aquas.
The shipwrecked man is afraid even of quiet waters. (Ovid)
Homicidium, cum admittunt singuli, crimen est; virtus vocatur cum publice geritur.
When individuals commit it, murder is a crime; it is called a virtue when it is done publicly. (Cyprian)
Omne ignotum pro magnifico est.
Everything unknown is considered to be magnificent. (Tacitus)
“It is always easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.” — Alfred Adler
“Idealism increases in direct proportion to one’s distance from the problem.” — John Galsworthy
“Love is like a dream that’s too good to be true.” — Langston Hughes
“Love is like butter, it goes well with bread.” — Yiddish proverb
“Love is like linen, the more often chang’d, the sweeter.” — Phineas Fletcher
“Love is like those shabby hotels in which all the luxury is in the lobby.” — Paul-Jean Toulet
“Love is like a cigar, the longer it burns the less it becomes.” — Punch, 1855
“Love is like fire … wounds of fire are hard to bear; harder still are those of love.” — Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen
“Love is like the devil; whom it has in its clutches it surrounds with flames.” — Honoré de Balzac
“Love is like the measles; we all have to go through it.” — Jerome K. Jerome
Proverbs of the 11th century, from Egbert of Liège’s The Well-Laden Ship:
- Not every cloud you see threatens rain.
- A boy is consumed by envy, an old man by anger.
- A reasonable sufficiency is more righteous than dishonorable riches.
- One does well to distrust a stream, even one that is calm.
- Sometimes an old dog growls the truth.
- It is a hard cheese that the greedy man does not give to his dogs.
- He who cannot conceal, ought not to become a thief.
- Whose bread I eat, his songs I sing.
- All the gold that a king has does not equal this rain.
- No thief will be hanged, if he himself is the judge.
- What earned this one praise gets that one a beating.
- Smoky things appear by day, and fiery things by night.
- The living husband is incensed by praise of the dead one.
- A stupid person who is corrected, immediately hates his admonisher.
- It is not the lowliest of virtues to have placed a limit on your wealth.
- No mother-in-law is pleasing to her daughter-in-law unless she is dead.
- A frog on a throne quickly gives up the honor.
- When you trade one fish for another, one of them stinks.
- Whoever hates his work, surely hated himself first.
- To a man hanging, any delay seems too long.
And “One way or another, brothers, we will all pass from here.”
“It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles.” — Machiavelli
“I once spent all day thinking without taking food and all night thinking without going to bed, but I found that I gained nothing from it. It would have been better for me to have spent the time in learning.” — Confucius
“Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” — Oscar Wilde
“Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.” — Bernard Berenson
“Convictions are variable; to be always consistent is to be sometimes dishonest.” — Ambrose Bierce
“The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.” — Orson Welles