Someone who can write aphorisms should not

Someone who can write aphorisms should not fritter away his time writing essays. ~Karl Kraus, translated from German by Harry ZohnTPVgb, quoted in Half-Truths and One-And-A-Half Truths:
Selected Aphorisms

That part of a work one author

That part of a work of one author found in another is not of itself piracy, or sufficient to support an action; a man may adopt part of the work of another; he may so make use of another’s labors for the promotion of science and the benefit of the public. ~Lord Ellenborough, quoted in Bouvier’s Law Dictionary by John Bouvier, 8th edition, 3rd revision by Francis Rawle, Vol III, 1914TPVgb

When i hear or read a good

[W]hen I hear or read a good line I can hardly wait to tell it to somebody else… ~Robert Byrne, The Third and Possibly the Best 637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said, 1986TPV

It is the little writer rather than

It is the little writer rather than the great writer who seems never to quote, and the reason is that he is never really doing anything else. ~Havelock Ellis, The Dance of Life, 1923

I feel a reassuring oneness with other

I feel a reassuring oneness with other people when I find that even my most intimate, anguished, socially inadmissible emotions and desires are known to others…. Kindred souls

Proverbs often contradict one another as any

Proverbs often contradict one another, as any reader soon discovers. The sagacity that advises us to look before we leap promptly warns us that if we hesitate we are lost; that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but out of sight, out of mind. ~Leo Calvin Rosten

Maria edgeworth grumbled against vandals who ruined

Maria Edgeworth grumbled against vandals who ruined immortal works by quoting the life out of them. “How far our literature may in future suffer from these blighting swarms, will best be conceived by a glance at what they have already withered and blasted of the favourite productions of our most popular poets.” Shakespeare, Milton, and Dryden, scissored, patched, and frayed. ~Willis Goth Regier, Quotology, 2010 (quoting Edgeworth from “Thoughts on Bores,” Tales and Novels)TPV, UWP, p.19

A learned historian declared to me of

A learned historian declared to me of a contemporary, that the latter had appropriated his researches; he might, indeed, and he had a right to refer to the same originals; but if his predecessor had opened the sources for him, gratitude is not a silent virtue. ~Isaac D’Israeli, “Quotation,” A Second Series of Curiosities of Literature, Volume I, second edition, 1824TPVgb

How many of us have been first

How many of us have been first attracted to reason, first learned to think, to draw conclusions, to extract a moral from the follies of life, by some dazzling aphorism from Rochefoucauld or La Bruyere. ~Edward Lytton BulwerTPVgb

Learning is often spoken of as if

Learning is often spoken of as if we are watching the open pages of all the books which we have ever read, and then, when occasion arises, we select the right page to read aloud to the universe. ~Alfred North Whitehead, address delivered to the Training College Association of England, quoted in Bulletin of The American Association of University Professors, November 1923, Volume IX, Number 7TPVgb

The multiplicity of facts and writings is

The multiplicity of facts and writings is become so great that every thing must soon be reduced to extracts and dictionaries. ~Voltairequoted in Sylva; Or, The Wood: Being a Collection of Anecdotes, Dissertations, Characters, Apophthegms, Original Letters, Bon Mots, and Other Little Things, by A Society of the Learned, 1786

You could compile i should think the

You could compile, I should think, the worst book in the world entirely out of selecting passages from the best writers in the world. ~G.K. Chesterton, “On Writing Badly”TPVgb, quoted in On Lying In Bed And Other Essays By G.K. Chesterton, by Alberto Manguel

This little book is not put forth

This little book is not put forth to supply an imperative demand, but rather with the hope of creating one. So far as is known to the writer, no such compilation is in existence, but the custom of using appropriate quotations on dinner menus, cards, invitations, etc., is growing, and of the many who desire to use such citations, not all know just where to find them. ~Katharine B. Wood, “Preface,” Quotations for Occasions, 1896TPVgb:C-0sAAAAYAAJ; QE2

A vast meaning is unfolded in each

A vast meaning is unfolded in each line, with such power that a sentence only a line long would suffice for a whole life’s training. ~Rufinus (translated from Latin), about The Sentences of Sextus

To the editor author and public speaker

To the editor, the author, and the public speaker, it is believed that a great convenience will hereby be afforded; for nothing adorns a composition or a speech more than appropriate quotations

What is an epigram a dwarfish whole

What is an Epigram? A dwarfish Whole,
Its Body brevity, and wit its Soul.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Epigrams”TPVgb reprinted but “it’s” 9k4JAAAAQAAJ, earliest reprint I could find, 1812

And as hearbes and trees are bettered

And as hearbes and trees are bettered and fortified by being transplanted, so formes of speach are embellished and graced by variation…. As in our ordinary language, we shall sometimes meete with excellent phrases, and quaint metaphors, whose blithnesse fadeth through age, and colour is tarnish by to common using them…. ~Michel de Montaigne, “Upon some Verses of Virgill,” translated by John FlorioTPVgb 1603 version

They have written volumes out of which

They have written volumes out of which a couplet of verse, a period in prose, may cling to the rock of ages, as a shell that survives a deluge. ~Edward Bulwer LyttonTPVgb:DocnAQAAMAAJ

Whatever we may say against collections which

Whatever we may say against collections, which present authors in a disjointed form, they nevertheless bring about many excellent results. We are not always so composed, so full of wisdom, that we are able to take in at once the whole scope of a work according to its merits. Do we not mark in a book passages which seem to have a direct reference to ourselves? Young people especially, who have failed in acquiring a complete cultivation of mind, are roused in a praiseworthy way by brilliant passages… ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, translated from Germanquoted in Beautiful thoughts from German and Spanish authors, by Craufurd Tait Ramage, 1884

A man groundly learned already may take

A man, groundly learned already, may take much profit himself in using by epitome to draw other men’s works, for his own memory sake, into short room. ~Roger AschamDictionary of the English language, Volume 1, by Samuel Johnson, 1799, TPVgb quoting

And in spite of his practical ability

And in spite of his practical ability, some of his experience had petrified into maxims and quotations. ~George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), Daniel Deronda (Book II, Meeting Streams), 1876TPVgb reprinted 1884 version

They are the abridgments of wisdom sumner

They are the abridgments of wisdom. ~Sumner Ellis, Hints on Preaching: A Cloud of Witnesses, 1879TPVgb; also “Proverbs are the abridgments of wisdom” is attributed to Joseph Joubert

Collect as precious pearls the words of

Collect as precious pearls the words of the wise and virtuous. ~El Amir Abdelkaderquoted in Excellent quotations for home and school by Julia B. Hoitt, 1890

Nor do apophthegms only serve for ornament

Nor do apophthegms only serve for ornament and delight, but also for action and civil use, as being the edge-tools of speech which cut and penetrate the knots of business and affairs: for occasions have their revolutions, and what has once been advantageously used may be so again, either as an old thing or a new one. ~Francis Bacon, Advancement of Learning, translated from Latin (“secures aut mucrones verborum”)TPVgb

In places this book is a little

In places this book is a little over-written, because Mr Blunden is no more able to resist a quotation than some people are to refuse a drink.~George Orwell, review of Cricket Country by Edmund Blunden, April 20, 1944, in Manchester Evening NewsTPVgb reprinted

At any rate nothing was more characteristic

At any rate, nothing was more characteristic of him [Walter Benjamin] in the thirties than the little notebooks with black covers which he always carried with him and in which he tirelessly entered in the form of quotations what daily living and reading netted him in the way of “pearls” and “coral.” On occasion he read from them aloud, showed them around like items from a choice and precious collection. ~Hannah ArendtTPVgb

As a good housewife out of divers

As a good housewife out of divers fleeces weaves one piece of cloth, a bee gathers wax and honey out of many flowers, and makes a new bundle of all… I have laboriously collected this Cento out of divers writers, and… I have wronged no authors, but given every man his own…. I can say of myself, Whom have I injured? The matter is theirs most part, and yet mine… ~Robert Burton, The Anatomy of MelancholyTPVgb

Unless created as freestanding works quotations resemble

Unless created as freestanding works, quotations resemble “found” art. They are analogous, say, to a piece of driftwood identified as formally interesting enough to be displayed in an art museum or to a weapon moved from an anthropological to an artistic display…. The presenter of found art, whether material or verbal, has become a sort of artist. He has not made the object, but he has made it as art. ~Gary Saul Morson, The Words of Others: From Quotations to Culture, 2011TPVgb, UWP, p.94

Why lift aphorisms from a novel at

Why lift aphorisms from a novel at all? [Geoffrey] Bennington speculates that one’s chief motivation for taking such a course, at least in the domain of the eighteenth-century novel,… has been (and he quotes Derrida) to “monumentalize inscriptions now made lapidary: ‘the rest’ in peace.” In other words, the anthologizer sets out to rescue the essence, the “surplus” of a novelistic text and to create a monument to it. In this connection Bennington appropriates a notion from Freudian psychoanalysis to make his point. He sees the drive to anthologize as a “manifestation of repressed anality; the precious metal of the maxim is easily enough identified with the faeces, a ‘reste’ detached from the body. The ‘orderliness’ of the anthology can also be linked to Freud’s description of anal eroticism.Bennington alludes here to the kind of anthology that seeks to extract sententious propositions from a novel and then to reclassify them into “eternal” rubrics: “Man,” “Love,” “Life,” and the like. ~Mark Bell, Aphorism in the Francophone Novel of the Twentieth Century, 1997TPVgb, QE2

Proverbs embrace the wide sphere of human

Proverbs embrace the wide sphere of human existence, they take all the colours of life, they are often exquisite strokes of genius, they delight by their airy sarcasm or their caustic satire, the luxuriance of their humour, the playfulness of their turn, and even by the elegance of their imagery, and the tenderness of their sentiment. They give a deep insight into domestic life, and open for us the heart of man, in all the various states which he may occupy

Gnomic wisdom however is notoriously polychrome and

Gnomic wisdom, however, is notoriously polychrome, and proverbs depend for their truth entirely on the occasion they are applied to. Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it… ~George Santayana, “Chapter VIII: Prerational Morality,” The Life of Reason: Volume Five, Reason in Science, 1906TPVgb reprinted

It has been said that death ends

It has been said that death ends all things. This is a mistake. It does not end the volume of practical quotations, and it will not until the sequence of the alphabet is so materially changed as to place D where Z now stands. ~Harper’s Bazar: Faceti

These fruit thoughts of a students learned leisure

These fruit-thoughts of a student’s learned leisure, may aptly become the seed-thoughts for many vacant and desultory hours of other men. Our American mind, although so often strained to the top of its bent, refuses a total relaxation. “Studious of change, and pleased with novelty,” it carries somewhat of its spontaneous activity even into its vacations, and finds, as Sir William Jones said of himself, sufficient repose in a change of occupation. For such periods of remitted toil our book is designed, engaging the mind with suggestions rather than taxing it with problems. ~James Elmes, Classic Quotations: A Thought-Book of the Wise Spirits of All Ages and All Countries, Fit for All Men and All Hours, 1863TPVgb:evpDAAAAYAAJ

This is one of the results that

This is one of the results of that adventurous spirit which is now stalking forth and raging for its own innovations. We have not only rejected AUTHORITY, but have also cast away EXPERIENCE; and often the unburthened vessel is driving to all points of the compass, and the passengers no longer know whither they are going. The wisdom of the wise, and the experience of ages, may be preserved by QUOTATION. ~Isaac D’Israeli, “Quotation,” A Second Series of Curiosities of Literature, Volume I, second edition, 1824TPVgb

Euphonic and harmonious expressions forcible just profound

Euphonic and harmonious expressions, forcible and just expressions, profound and comprehensive expressions, and especially apt and witty expressions, each have their specific influence upon different minds, and their common influence upon all minds…. It is therefore high time our most valuable aphorisms and paragraphs were put in order for frequent perusal, and for handy reference, as the circumstances of life call up subjects. ~Charles Simmons, “Aphorisms Introductory,” Laconic Manual and Brief Remarker, 1852TPVgb, QE2

Besides it happens how i cannot tell

Besides, it happens (how, I cannot tell) that an idea launched like a javelin in proverbial form strikes with sharper point on the hearer’s mind and leaves implanted barbs for meditation… ~Desiderius Erasmus, AdagesTPVgb reprinted

Take my advice dear reader dont talk

Take my advice, dear reader, don’t talk epigrams even if you have the gift. I know, to those have, the temptation is almost irresistible. But resist it. Epigram and truth are rarely commensurate. Truth has to be somewhat chiselled, as it were, before it will quite fit into an epigram. ~Joseph Farrell, “About Conversation,” The Lectures of a Certain Professor, 1877TPVgb

They never get ahead an inch because

They never get ahead an inch, because they are always hugging some coward maxim, which they can only interpret literally…. Of what use is it “to be sawing about a set of maxims to which there is a complete set of antagonist maxims”? Proverbs, it has been well said, should be sold in pairs, a single one being but a half-truth. ~William Mathews, “Decision,” Getting On In The World; Or, Hints on Success in Life, 1873TPVgb

The proverbs of a nation furnish the

The proverbs of a nation furnish the index to its spirit and the results of its civilization. ~Timothy Titcomb (J.G. Holland), “An Exordial Essay,” Gold-foil: Hammered from Popular Proverbs, 1859TPVgb

The only way to read a book

The only way to read a book of aphorisms without being bored is to open it at random and, having found something that interests you, close the book and meditate. ~Prince Charles-Joseph de Ligne, 1796quoted in The Spectator Vol 23, TPVgb quoting; M

Misquotation is in fact the pride and

Misquotation is, in fact, the pride and privilege of the learned. A widely-read man never quotes accurately, for the rather obvious reason that he has read too widely. ~Hesketh PearsonCommon Misquotations, introduction, 1934

Many useful and valuable books lie buried

Many useful and valuable books lie buried in shops and libraries, unknown and unexamined, unless some lucky compiler opens them by chance, and finds an easy spoil of wit and learning. ~Samuel Johnson, 1760TPVgb reprinted, The works of Samuel Johnson, vol.5, 1823

Books are the beehives of thought laconics

Books are the beehives of thought; laconics, the honey taken from them. ~James Ellis, quoted in Edge-Tools of Speech by Maturin M. Ballou, 1899TPVgb:jTseAQAAMAAJ quoting

Some for renown on scraps of learning

Some for renown on scraps of learning dote,
And think they grow immortal as they quote.
To patch-work learned quotations are allied;
Both strive to make our poverty our pride.
~Edward Young, Love of Famequoted in Cyclopaedia of English literature, vol.2, by Robert Carruthers, 1853

What remains therefore but that our last

What remains therefore, but that our last Recourse must be had to large Indexes, and little Compendiums; Quotations must be plentifully gathered, and bookt in Alphabet; To this End, tho’ Authors need be little consulted, yet Criticks, and Commentators, and Lexicons carefully must. But above all, those judicious Collectors of bright Parts, and Flowers, and Observanda’s, are to be nicely dwelt on; by some called the Sieves and Boulters of Learning; tho’ it is left undetermined, whether they dealt in Pearls or Meal; and consequently, whether we are more to value that which passed thro’, or what staid behind. ~Jonathan Swift, “A Digression In Praise of Digressions,” A Tale of a Tub: Written for the Universal Improvement of Mankind. To Which is Added, An Account of a Battel Between the Antient and Modern Books in St. James’s Library, 1704TPVgb

Books of quotation are not only importance

Books of quotation are not only of importance to the reader for what they contain of matured thought, but also for what they suggest. Our brains receive the spark and become luminous, like inflammable material by the contact of flint and steel. ~Maturin M. Ballou, Edge-Tools of Speech, 1886TPVgb

The lips of the wise are as

The lips of the wise are as the doors of a cabinet; no sooner are they opened, but treasures are poured out before thee. Like unto trees of gold arranged in beds of silver, are wise sentences uttered in due season. ~The Economy of Human Life, Translated from an Indian Manuscript, Written by an Ancient BraminTPVgb

The profoundest thought or passion sleeps as

The profoundest thought or passion sleeps as in a mine, until an equal mind and heart finds and publishes it. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Quotation and Originality,” Letters and Social Aims, 1876TPVgb

The wise men of old have sent

The wise men of old have sent most of their morality down the stream of time in the light skiff of apothegm or epigram; and the proverbs of nations, which embody the commonsense of nations, have the brisk concussion of the most sparkling wit. ~Edwin P. Whipple, lecture delivered before the Boston Mercantile Library Association, December 1845quoted in Literature and Life: Lectures, 1851; TPVgb

The aphorism is cultivated only by those

The aphorism is cultivated only by those who have known fear in the midst of words, that fear of collapsing with all the words. ~E.M. Cioran, “Atrophy of Utterance,” All Gall Is Divided: Gnomes and Apothegms, translated from French by Richard HowardTPVgb:LlLzGOEH7B4C

We prefer to think that the absence

We prefer to think that the absence of inverted commas guarantees the originality of a thought, whereas it may be merely that the utterer has forgotten its source. ~Clifton Fadiman, The American Treasury, 1455-1955, 1955TPVgb, p.xxviii

Whoever reads only to transcribe or quote

Whoever reads only to transcribe or quote shining remarks without entering into the genius and spirit of the author, will be apt to be misled out of a regular way of thinking, and the product of all this will be found to be a manifest incoherent piece of patchwork. ~Attributed to Swift in A Dictionary of Thoughts, Being a Cyclopedia of Laconic Quotations from the Best Authors, Both Ancient and Modern by Tryon Edwards, 1891TPVgb quoted