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circumstances, the best time he could, which is one definition of heroism…."
-- Peter Straub, Shadowland
"...Zeda Earl was deeply impressed, because no matter where they were or what they were doing, they always got dressed up to do it."
--Edward Swift, Splendora
"Sleep; and if life was bitter to thee, pardon,/If sweet, give thanks; thou hast no more to live;/And to give thanks is good, and to forgive."
-- Algernon Charles Swinburne, Ave atque Vale
"Verse hurts -- horribly: people have died of verse-making, and thought their mistresses killed them -- or their reviewers."
-- Algernon Charles Swinburne, Lesbia Brandon
"This is the Octopus Tree. You know, every year I come here it has fewer leaves. Now children, some flowers smell and some don't"
-- teacher to her class (overheard)
"I don't think we can ignore the Modern Movement. But I wouldn't have minded at all if it hadn't happened. I think the world would be a much nicer place."
-- Quinlan Terry, British architect
"Give me research. After all, the truth of anything at all doesn't lie in someone's account of it. It lies in all the small facts of the time. An advertisement in a paper. The sale of a house. The price of a ring."
-- "Josephine Tey" (Elizabeth Mackintosh), The Daughter of Time
"Ants are so much like human beings as to be an embarrassment. They farm fungi, raise aphids as livestock, launch armies into war, use chemical sprays to alarm and confuse enemies, capture slaves, engage in child labor, exchange information ceaselessly."
-- Lewis Thomas
"Here lies the body of/Lady O'Looney/Great niece of Burke./ Commonly called sublime. She was bland, passionate/and deeply religious, also she painted in water colors and sent several pictures to the Exhibition./She was first cousin/to Lady Jones, and/
of such is the Kingdom of Heaven "
-- tombstone. Pewsey, Wiltshire, England
"Change is the handmaiden Nature requires to do her miracles with. A land that has four well-defined seasons cannot lack beauty or pall with monotony. Each season brings a world of enjoyment and interest in the watching of the unfolding of its gradual harmonious development. Culmination graces, and just as one begins to tire of it, it passes away and a radical change comes with new witcheries and new glories in its train. I think that to one in sympathy with Nature, each season in the series seems the loveliest."
-- Mark Twain, Roughing It
"Last night Chuang Chou dreamed he was a butterfly; spirits soaring, he was a butterfly (is it that in showing what he was suited his own fancy?), and did not know about Chou. When all of a sudden he awoke, he was Chou with all his wits about him. He does not know whether he is Chou who dreams he is a butterfly or a butterfly who dreams he is Chou"
-- Chuang-Tzu, 4th Century Chinese philosopher
"Then Julian left his successors, none aware of the future. If the gods exist, they are kind. Despite oracles and flashes of lightning, they tell us nothing. If they did, we could not bear it."
-- Gore Vidal, Julian
"Change is the nature of life, and its hope."
-- Gore Vidal, Washington, D.C.
"That realm is never long in quiet, where the ruler is a soldier."
-- John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi
"I have by me for my comfort, two strange white flowers now brown and brittle, to witness that even when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man."
-- H. G. Wells, The Time Machine
"Personality must be accepted for what it is. You mustn't mind that a poet is a drunk; rather that drunks are not always poets."
-- Oscar Wilde
"To give an accurate description of what has never occurred is not merely the proper occupation of the historian, but the inalienable privilege of any man of parts and culture."
-- Oscar Wilde, The Critic As Artist
"Who cares whether Mr. Ruskin's views on Turner are sound or not? What does it matter? That mighty and majestic prose of his, so fervid and so fiery-coloured in its noble eloquence, so rich in its elaborate symphonic music, so sure and certain, at its best, in subtle choice of word and epithet, is at least as great a work of art as any of those wonderful sunsets that bleach or rot on their corrupted canvases in England's Gallery; greater indeed, one is apt to think at times, not merely because its equal beauty is more enduring, but on account of the fuller variety of its appeal, soul speaking to soul in those long-cadenced lines …."
-- Oscar Wilde, The Critic As Artist
"To be really medieaval one should have no body. to be really modern one should have no soul. To be really Greek one should have no clothes."
-- Oscar Wilde
"One prefers, of course, on all occasions to be stainless and above reproach, but, failing that, the next best thing is to have got rid of the body."
-- P. G. Wodehouse, Joy in the Morning
"[O]f two descriptions, either of passions, manners, or characters, each of them equally well executed, the one in prose and the other in verse, the verse will be read a hundred times where the prose is read once."
-- William Wordsworth, Preface to Lyrical Ballads
"The Sinister Spirit sneered: 'It had to be!'/And again the Spirit of Pity whispered, 'Why?'"
-- William Butler Yeats, And There Was a Great Calm (On the Signing of the Armistice, Nov. 11, 1918)
More quotes to come…