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10th April 2004, the wee hours | Comments (12)

I was browsing through our dictionary of quotations tonight, and noted down a few that caught my eye.

Muhammad Ali
(Announcing his retirement)
I want to get out with my greatness intact.
W.H. Auden
Among those whom I like, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh.
Alan Ayckbourn
Do you realise, Mrs Foster, the hours I’ve put into that woman? When I met her, you know, she was nothing. Nothing at all. With my own hands I have built her up. Encouraging her to join the public library and make use of her non-fiction tickets.
David Bailey
Women love scallywags, but some marry them and then try to make them wear a blazer.
Robert Benchley
My only solution for the problem of habitual accidents … is to stay in bed all day. Even then, there is always he chance that you will fall out.
Lord Charles Beresford
Very sorry can’t come. Lie follows by post.
Aneurin Bevan
(Speech at Blackpool)
This island is made mainly of coal and surrounded by fish. Only an organising genius could produce a shortage of coal and fish at the same time.
Humphrey Bogart
I was born when you kissed me. I died when you left me. I lived a few weeks while you loved me.
Victor Borge
Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.
Lord Bowen, 1835–1894
The rain, it raineth on the just
And also on the unjust fella:
But chiefly on the just, because
The unjust steals the just’s umbrella.
Comte de Bussy-Rabutin, 1618–1693
Absence is to love what wind is to fire;
It extinguishes the small, it kindles the great.
Samuel Butler
The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.
I reckon being ill is one of the greatest pleasure of life, provided one is not too ill and is not obliged to work till one is better.
It was very good of God to let Carlyle and Mrs Carlyle marry one another and so make only two people miserable instead of four.
Al Capp
On abstract art
A product of the untalented, sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered.
Wynn Catlin
Diplomacy; the art of saying ‘nice doggie’ till you can find a rock.
Catullus, c.84–c.54 BC
For there is nothing sillier than a silly laugh.
Raymond Chandler
She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket.
Alcohol is like love: the first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you just take the girl’s clothes off.
G.K. Chesterton
The word ‘good; has many meaning. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.
Maurice Chevalier
Many a man has fallen in love with a girl in a light so dim he would not have chosen a suit by it.
Cyrus Ching
I learned long ago never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.
Sir Winston Churchill, 1874–1965
We are all worms, but I do believe that I am a glow-worm.
I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.
Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.
We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.
(Of the Dunkirk evacuation)
Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Commonwealth and its Empire lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour.
When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite.
Admiral Lord Collingwood, 1748–1810
(Before the Battle of Trafalgar)
Now, gentlemen, let us do something today which the world make talk of hereafter.
Caleb Charles Colton, 1780–1832
If you cannot inspire a woman with love of you, fill her above the brim with love of herself; all that runs over will be yours.
Vine Deloria Jr.
When asked by an anthropologist what the Indians called America before the white man came, an Indian said simply Ours.
Peter Drucker
There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.
Ralph Waldo Emmerson, 1803–1882
The beautiful rests on the foundations of the necessary.
We ascribe beauty to that which is simple; which has no superfluous parts; which exactly answers its ends.
Clifton Fadiman
Cheese — milk’s leap toward immortality.
William Feather
If you’re naturally kind, you attract a lot of people you don’t like.
W.C. Fields
We frequently hear of people dying from too much drinking. That this happens is a matter of record. But the blame is always placed on whisky. Why this should be I never could understand. You can die from drinking too much of anything — coffee, water, milk, soft drinks and all such stuff as that. And so as long as the presence of death lurks with anyone who goes through the simple act of swallowing. I will make mine whisky.
I always keep a supply of stimulant handy in case I see a snake — which I also keep handy.
It was a woman who drove me to drink — and, you know, I never even thanked her.
(When caught reading the Bible)
I’m looking for loop-holes.
Anatole France
Never lend books — nobody ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are those which people have lent me.
Philip Guedalla
The Lord Chief Justice of England recently said that the greater part of his judicial time was spent investigating collisions between propelled vehicles, each on its own side of the road, each sounding its horn and each stationary.
Margaret Halsey
The English never smash a face. They merely refrain from asking it to dinner.
A.E. Housman
Nature, not content with denying him the ability to think, has endowed him with the ability to write.
Rupert Hughes
Her face was her chaperone.
Samuel Johnson, 1709–1784
Oats: A grain which in England is generally given to the horses, but in Scotland supports the people.
Ring Lardner
They gave each other a smile with a future in it.
Are you lost daddy I arsked tenderly.
Shut up he explained.
Stephen Leacock
The British are terribly lazy about fighting. They like to get it over and done with and then set up a game of cricket.
The best definition of humour I know is: humour may be defined as a kindly contemplation of the incongruities of life, and the artistic expression thereof. I think this is the best I know because I wrote it myself.
There are no handles to a horse, but the 1910 model has a string to each side of its face for turning its head when there is anything you wish to see.
He flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions.
Chico Marx
(When discovered by his wife with a chorus girl)
I wasn’t kissing her, I was just whispering into her mouth.
Groucho Marx
Either he’s dead, or my watch has stopped.
Please accept my resignation. I don’t want to belong to a club that will accept me as a member.
George Meredith
A witty woman is a treasure; a witty beauty is a power.
Edna St Vincent Millay
Where you used to, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling into at night. I miss you like hell.
Spike Milligan
Contraceptives should be used on every conceivable occasion.
A.A. Milne
One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.
Christopher Morley
No man is lonely while eating spaghetti — is requires so much attention.
George Jean Nathan
I drink to make other people interesting.
Dorothy Parker
If all the girls attending the Yale Prom were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be at all surprised.
F.J. Raymond
Next to being shot at and missed, nothing is quite as satisfying as an income tax refund.
Ronald Regan
Middle age is when you’re faced with two temptations, and you chose the one that will get you home by nine o’clock.
1st Duchess of Marlborough, 1660–1744
The Duke returned from the wars today and did pleasure me in his top-boots.
Peter Shaffer
All my wife has ever taken from the Mediterranean — from that whole vast intuitive culture — are four bottles of Chianti to make into lamps.
Herb Shriner
Our doctor would never really operate unless is was necessary. He was just that way. If he didn’t need the money, he wouldn’t lay a hand on you.
A.W. Smith
Where there is on Englishman there is a garden. Where there are two Englishmen there will be a club. But this does not mean any falling off in the number of gardens. There will be three. The club will have one too.
Logan Pearsall Smith
I cannot forgive my friends for dying: I do not find there vanishing acts of theirs at all amusing.
Dr. Benjamin Spock
There are only two things a child will share willingly — communicable diseases and his mother’s age.
Mark Twain
In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.
When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.
Paul Veléry
God created man and, finding him not sufficiently alone, gave him a companion to make him feel his solitude more keenly.
Bill Vaughan
One trouble with growing older is that it gets progressively tougher to find a famous historical figure who didn’t amount to much when he was your age.
Artemus Ward, 1834–1867
It is a pity that Chawcer, who had geneyus was so unedicated. He’s the wuss speller I know of.
Evelyn Waugh
Other nations use ‘force’ we Britons alone use ‘Might’.
Mae West
Give a man a free hand and he’ll try to put it all over you.
Oscar Wilde, 1854–1900
I have nothing to declare except my genius.
Work is the curse of the drinking classes.
To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.
None of us are perfect. I myself am peculiarly susceptible to draughts.
P.G. Wodehouse
Why don’t you get a haircut; you look like a chrysanthemum.
He spoke with a certain what-is-it in his voice, and I could tell that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled.

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Comments (12)

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  1. Stuart:

    The lovely Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, was reputed in some quarters to have actually said that the Duke did pleasure her "three times in his top-boots", which is even more rambunctious. My hat goes off to her.

    Posted 19 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  2. Margaret:

    I, too, have a newfound respect for this Duchess. As well, I would like to share this fascinating link relating to this topic: It's the last words of a bunch of famous people.

    Posted 3 hours, 23 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  3. Jack:

    Some great stuff there. I've always regarded quotations as a garnish to essays; I've never actually tried reading an entire book of them.

    Posted 6 hours, 7 minutes after the fact
  4. Ms. Jen:

    "Why don’t you get a haircut; you look like a chrysanthemum."

    Actually I was 14 and it looked like an artichoke, on purpose.

    smiles, jen ;o)

    Posted 6 hours, 11 minutes after the fact
  5. Dunstan:

    Stuart, you know far too much about far too many odd things ;o)

    Posted 8 hours, 55 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Stuart
  6. Dunstan:

    That's a great link, thanks Margaret!

    Posted 9 hours, 9 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Margaret
  7. David House:

    "Quotation: the art of incorrectly reproducing the words of another".

    Can't remember where it came from, but it made me laugh at the time :)

    Posted 12 hours, 47 minutes after the fact
  8. Lee:

    I've been a big fan of words for a number of years now, odd considering how bad my English was at school, I still have to work hard at my spelling and my grammar especially. But then, so have many famous authors.

    In this day and age of multimedia entertainment, people often forget the simple power of the written word.

    Posted 13 hours, 5 minutes after the fact
  9. Geof:

    That comment by Ching has often been reformatted as a joke about engineers: "Arguing with an engineer is like wrestling with a pig: you both get dirty, and after a while, you realize that the pig enjoys it."

    Posted 18 hours, 22 minutes after the fact
  10. Maki:

    A book of quotations . . . can never be complete. - Robert Hamilton. :P

    Posted 4 days, 13 hours after the fact
  11. MaThIbUs:

    If you decide to make noise, make sure it's better than the silence.

    Posted 3 weeks after the fact
  12. Craig:

    I was just browsing the site some months after the post...

    One of my favorite quotes:

    "I think it would be a good idea."

    -- Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization

    Posted 1 year, 4 months after the fact

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