My readers who may at first be

My readers, who may at first be apt to consider Quotation as downright pedantry, will be surprised when I assure them, that next to the simple imitation of sounds and gestures, Quotation is the most natural and most frequent habitude of human nature. For, Quotation must not be confined to passages adduced out of authors. He who cites the opinion, or remark, or saying of another, whether it has been written or spoken, is certainly one who quotes; and this we shall find to be universally practiced. ~James Boswell, “The Hypochondriack,” No.XXI, The London Magazine: Or, Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer, June 1779TPVgb

Quotation is more universal and ancient than

Quotation is more universal and more ancient than one would perhaps believe. ~James Boswell, “The Hypochondriack,” No.XXI, The London Magazine: Or, Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer, June 1779TPVgb

A common place book is what a provident poet

A Common-place-Book is what a provident Poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial Reason, that great Wits have short Memories; and whereas, on the other Hand, Poets being LYARS by Profession, ought to have good Memories; to reconcile these, a Book of this sort is in the Nature of a Supplemental Memory; or a Record of what occurs remarkable in every Day’s Reading or Conversation: There you enter not only your own Original Thoughts, (which, a hundred to one, are few and insignificant) but such of other Men as you think fit to make your own by entering them there. For take this for a Rule, when an Author is in your Books, you have the same Demand upon him for his Wit, as a Merchant has for your Money, when you are in his. ~Jonathan Swift, “A Letter of Advice to a Young Poet: Together With a Proposal for the Encouragement of Poetry in this Kingdom,” 1721TPVgb

Most of the classical citations you shall

Most of the classical citations you shall hear or read in the current journals or speeches were not drawn from the originals, but from previous quotations in English books… ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Quotation and Originality,” Letters and Social Aims, 1876TPVgb

The man who writes a single line

The man who writes a single line,
And hears it often quoted,
Will in his life time surely shine,
And be hereafter noted.
~Frederic Swartwout Cozzens, “Phrases and Filberts,” Sayings, Wise and OtherwiseTPVgb

It is perfectly delightful to take advantage

It is perfectly delightful to take advantage of the conscientious labors of those who go through and through volume after volume, divide with infinite patience the gold from the dross, and present us with the pure and shining coin. Such men may be likened to bees who save us numberless journeys by giving us the fruit of their own. ~Robert G. Ingersoll, introduction to Modern Thinkers by Van Buren Denslow, 1884TPVgb, QE2

Such do not always understand the authors

Such do not always understand the authors whose names adorn their barren pages, and which are taken, too, from the third or the thirtieth hand. Those who trust to such false quoters will often learn how contrary this transmission is to the sense and application of the original. Every transplantation has altered the fruit of the tree; every new channel, the quality of the stream in its remove from the spring-head. ~Isaac D’Israeli, “Quotation,” A Second Series of Curiosities of Literature, Volume I, second edition, 1824TPVgb

There is a homely directness about these

There is a homely directness about these rustic apothegms which makes them far more palatable than the strained and sophisticated epigrams of the characters of Oscar Wilde’s plays, who are ever striving strenuously to dazzle us with verbal pyrotechnics. ~Brander Matthews, “American Aphorisms,” Harper’s Magazine, November 1915, Vol. CXXXITPVgb:6o4XAQAAIAAJ; professor of dramatic literature, Columbia University

The attribution of a speaker is in

The attribution of a speaker is in fact a part of the quotation. Some statements simply are better if a certain famous person said them. ~Gary Saul Morson, “Bakhtin, The Genres of Quotation, and The Aphoristic Consciousness,” The Slavic and East European Journal, Vol. 50, No. 1, 2006TPVinet, UWP

A knowledge of general literature is one

A knowledge of general literature is one of the evidences of an enlightened mind; and to give an apt quotation at a fitting time, proves that the mind is stored with sentential lore that can always be used to great advantage by its possessor. ~James Ellis, quoted in Day’s Collacon: An Encyclop

The ancients who in these matters were

The ancients, who in these matters were not perhaps such blockheads as some may conceive, considered poetical quotation as one of the requisite ornaments of oratory. ~Isaac D’Israeli, “Quotation,” A Second Series of Curiosities of Literature, Volume I, second edition, 1824TPVgb

A good thought is indeed a great

A good thought is indeed a great boon, for which God is to be first thanked; next he who is the first to utter it, and then, in a lesser, but still in a considerable degree, the friend who is the first to quote it to us. Whoever adopts and circulates a just thought, participates in the merit that originated it. ~Christian Nestell Bovee, “Thought,” Institutions and Summaries of Thought, 1862TPVgb

At all events the next best thing

At all events, the next best thing to being witty one’s self, is to be able to quote another’s wit. ~Christian Nestell Bovee, “Quoters and Quoting,” Institutions and Summaries of Thought, 1862TPVgb

Who knows but that all the men

Who knows but that all the men to whom reference has been made, and a multitude of others who lived in by-gone ages borrowed their wise sayings from the talk of the firesides and the conversations of the market places; so that the origin of many proverbs now flippantly quoted in the converse of men is lost in the mists of forgotten centuries. ~Dwight Edwards Marvin, The Antiquity of Proverbs, 1922TPVgb

Whatever we think and say is wonderfully

Whatever we think and say is wonderfully better for our spirits and trust in another mouth. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Quotation and Originality,” Letters and Social Aims, 1876TPVgb

The art of quotation requires more delicacy

The art of quotation requires more delicacy in the practice than those conceive who can see nothing more in a quotation than an extract. Whenever the mind of a writer is saturated with the full inspiration of a great author, a quotation gives completeness to the whole; it seals his feelings with undisputed authority. ~Isaac D’Israeli, “Quotation,” A Second Series of Curiosities of Literature, Volume I, second edition, 1824TPVgb

Attend to me sancho i do not

Attend to me, Sancho, I do not say a proverb is amiss when aptly and seasonably applied; but to be for ever discharging them, right or wrong, hit or miss, renders conversation insipid and vulgar. ~Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote de la Mancha, translated from Spanish TPVgb, 1842 version, Part II, Chapter XLIII, p.397

When a man thinks happily he finds

When a man thinks happily, he finds no foot-track in the field he traverses. All spontaneous thought is irrespective of all else. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Quotation and Originality,” Letters and Social Aims, 1876TPVgb

The curious hunter up of rare quotations the

…the curious hunter-up of rare quotations… the young and struggling scribbler… ~William Francis Henry King, “Introduction,” Classical and Foreign Quotations, 1889TPVgb:m0jYAAAAMAAJ; QE2

This fellow pecks up wit as pigeons

This fellow pecks up wit, as pigeons peas;
And utters it again when God doth please:
He is wit’s pedler; and retails his wares…
~William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost (Boyet)TPVgb

Immortality i notice that as soon writers

Immortality. I notice that as soon as writers broach this question they begin to quote. I hate quotation. Tell me what you know. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals, May 1849

Aphorism n predigested wisdom the flabby

APHORISM, n. Predigested wisdom.
    The flabby wine-skin of his brain
    Yields to some pathologic strain,
    And voids from its unstored abysm
    The driblet of an aphorism.
    “The Mad Philosopher,” 1697
~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

Fine phrases i value more than bank notes

Fine phrases I value more than bank-notes. I have ear for no other harmony than the harmony of words. To be occasionally quoted is the only fame I care for. ~Alexander SmithTPVgb reprinted; Dreamthorp: A Book of Essays Written in the Country, “Men of Letters,” 1863

A verse may find him whom a

A verse may find him whom a sermon flies,
And turn delight into a sacrifice…
~George Herbert, “Church Porch,” The Templequoted in Notes and queries, Oxford University Press, 1851; TPVgb quoting

It is a pleasure to be able

It is a pleasure to be able to quote lines to fit any occasion… ~Abraham LincolnRecollected Words of Abraham Lincoln

The obscurest sayings of the truly great

The obscurest sayings of the truly great are often those which contain the germ of the profoundest and most useful truths. Genius rapidly traverses the living present to bury itself in the deepest mysteries of the universe; often making the grandest discoveries at a single glance. ~Joseph MazziniOf an European Literature, from the Antologia of Florence, Nos 7, 8, November and December 1829; quoted in Life and Writings of Joseph Mazzini, vol. ii, 1890; TPVgb reprinted

In such a case the writer is

In such a case the writer is apt to have recourse to epigrams. Somewhere in this world there is an epigram for every dilemma. ~Hendrik Willem van Loon, The Liberation of Mankind, 1926TPVgb

A good aphorism is too hard for

A good aphorism is too hard for the tooth of time, and is not worn away by all the centuries, although it serves as food for every epoch. Hence it is the greatest paradox in literature, the imperishable in the midst of change, the nourishment which always remains highly valued, as salt does, and never becomes stupid like salt. ~Friedrich Nietzsche, “Praise of the Aphorism,” Human All-Too-Human: A Book for Free Spirits (Part II: Miscellaneous Maxims and Opinions), 1879, translated from German by Paul V. CohnTPVgb:1jkNAQAAMAAJ reprinted version 1913; Menschliches, Allzumenschliches: Ein Buch f

You may get a large amount of

You may get a large amount of truth into a brief space. ~Attributed to Beecher in Edge-Tools of Speech by Maturin M. Ballou, 1899TPVgb:jTseAQAAMAAJ quoting

The best aphorisms are portable wisdom the

The best aphorisms are…. portable wisdom, the quintessential extracts of thought and feeling. They furnish the largest amount of intellectual stimulus and nutriment in the smallest compass. About every weak point in human nature, or vicious spot in human life, there is deposited a crystallization of warning and protective proverbs. ~William Rounseville Alger, “The Utility and the Futility of Aphorisms,” The Atlantic Monthly, February 1863TPVgb; W.R. Alger, commonly quoted as “aphorisms are portable wisdom”

It is a good thing for an

It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations. Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations is an admirable work, and I studied it intently. The quotations when engraved upon the memory give you good thoughts. They also make you anxious to read the authors and look for more. ~Winston Churchill, Roving Commission: My Early Life, 1930

Whatever is felicitously expressed risks being worse

Whatever is felicitously expressed risks being worse expressed: it is a wretched taste to be gratified with mediocrity when the excellent lies before us. We quote, to save proving what has been demonstrated, referring to where the proofs may be found. We quote, to screen ourselves from the odium of doubtful opinions, which the world would not willingly accept from ourselves; and we may quote from the curiosity which only a quotation itself can give, when in our own words it would be divested of that tint of ancient phrase, that detail of narrative, and that na

It is a rich storehouse for those

It is a rich storehouse for those who love quotations. It is as full of fine bon mots as a Christmas pudding is full of plums. ~”Fitz-Greene Halleck as a Poet,” Hours at Home: A Popular Monthly of Instruction and Recreation, February 1868, about Halleck’s poem “Fanny”TPVgb, QE2

General observations drawn from particulars are the

General observations drawn from particulars are the jewels of knowledge, comprehending great store in a little room; but they are therefore to be made with the greater care and caution, lest, if we take counterfeit for true, our loss and shame be the greater when our stock comes to a severe scrutiny. ~John Locke, “Of the Conduct of the Understanding”TPVgb reprinted The Works of John Locke, Vol III, 1823; “Infinite riches in a little room” ~Marlowe

A beautiful verse an apt remark or

A beautiful verse, an apt remark, or a well-turned phrase, appropriately quoted, is always effective and charming. ~Marie Anne de Vichy-Chamrond du Deffandquoted in The Cambrian, 1892, TPVgb quoting

Collections of gnomes adages sayings and parables

Collections of gnomes, adages, sayings, and parables have been made from times immemorial in all countries and in all languages possessing some kind of literature. ~E.H. Michelsen, A Manual of Quotations from the Ancient, Modern, and Oriental Languages, 1856TPVgb

Antiquities or remnants of history are as

Antiquities, or remnants of history, are, as was said, tanquam tabula naufragii: when industrious persons, by an exact and scrupulous diligence and observation, out of monuments, names, words, proverbs, traditions, private records and evidences, fragments of stories, passages of books that concern not story, and the like, do save and recover somewhat from the deluge of time. ~Francis Bacon, The Advancement of LearningTPVgb 1876 reprinted edited by William Aldis Wright, 2nd edition, xo0O_aFzu7YC

Others again give us the mere carcass

Others, again, give us the mere carcass of another man’s thoughts, but deprived of all their life and spirit, and this is to add murder to robbery. I have somewhere seen it observed, that we should make the same use of a book, as a bee does of a flower; she steals sweets from it, but does not injure it; and those sweets she herself improves and concocts into honey. But most plagiarists, like the drone, have neither taste to select, nor industry to acquire, nor skill to improve, but impudently pilfer the honey ready prepared from the hive. ~Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon: Or, Many Things in Few Words; Addressed to Those Who Think, 1820TPVgb 1824 edition, entry#DXLVI

But perhaps the excellence of aphorisms consists

But, perhaps, the excellence of aphorisms consists not so much in the expression of some rare or abstruse sentiment, as in the comprehension of some obvious and useful truth in a few words. ~Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, November 19, 1751TPVgb, No.175

We are as much informed of a

We are as much informed of a writer’s genius by what he selects as by what he originates. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Quotation and Originality,” Letters and Social Aims, 1876TPVgb

Quotations are the backbone of much literature

Quotations are the backbone of much of literature, and of the transmission of art and thought more generally…. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote.” The delight is our natural response to the monuments of creativity and wisdom, kept alive by quotations, a communal bond uniting us with past culture and with other lovers of words and ideas in our own time. ~Fred R. Shapiro, The Yale Book of Quotations, 2006 (Introduction)TPVgb, UWP, p.xvii

The grecians maxim would indeed be a

The Grecian’s maxim would indeed be a sweeping clause in Literature; it would reduce many a giant to a pygmy; many a speech to a sentence; and many a folio to a primer. ~C.C. Colton, “Preface,” Lacon: Or, Many Things in Few Words: Addressed To Those Who Think, 1820TPVgb 1823 edition OKUIAAAAQAAJ

Thus have i as well i could

Thus have I, as well as I could, gathered a posey of observations as they grew; and if some rue and wormwood be found among the sweeter herbs, their wholesomeness will make amends for their bitterness. ~Lord Lyttletonquoted in Encyclop

Indeed a good quotation hardly ever comes

Indeed a good quotation hardly ever comes amiss. It is a pleasing break in the thread of a speech or writing, allowing the speaker or writer to retire for an instant while another and greater makes himself heard. And this calling-up of the deathless dead implies also a community of mind with them, which the reader will not grudge the author lest he should seem to deny it to himself. ~William Francis Henry King, “Introduction,” Classical and Foreign Quotations, 1889TPVgb:m0jYAAAAMAAJ; QE2

Many are the sayings of elia scattered

Many are the sayings of Elia… scattered about in obscure periodicals and forgotten miscellanies. From the dust of some of these it is our intention occasionally to revive a tract or two that shall seem worthy of a better fate…. seeing that Messieurs the Quarterly Reviewers have chosen to embellish their last dry pages with fruitful quotations therefrom… ~Charles Lamb, “Confessions of a Drunkard,” The London Magazine, August 1822TPVgb:z489AAAAIAAJ reprinted, The Works of Charles Lamb Poetical and Dramatic Tales Essays and Criticisms by Charles Kent

Every so often a quotation sweeps through

Every so often, a quotation sweeps through the world like an epidemic. Hemingway must have cursed the day when he unearthed “for whom the bell tolls,” which began as a reflection on mortality and ended as a facetious crack about the telephone. A caution to all leader-writers and speechmakers: there is nothing so powerless as a quotation whose time has come and gone. ~From The Listener (London), quoted in Encounter, 1982TPVgb

As the highly colored birds do not

As the highly colored birds do not fly around in the dull, leaden plains of a sandy desert, but amid all the settings of nature’s leaves and blossoms, and lights and shades

A true quotation cannot be divorced from

A true quotation cannot be divorced from the character who uttered or scribbled it; it should say as much about the person quoted as about the particular subject referred to, and for this reason an anthology of quotations should be a kind of portrait gallery. ~Robert Andrews, The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations, “Introduction”TPVgb

Apothegms to thinking minds are the seeds

Apothegms to thinking minds are the seeds from which spring vast fields of new thought, that may be further cultivated, beautified, and enlarged. ~Ramsay, as quoted in A Dictionary of Thoughts: A Cyclopedia of Laconic Quotations from the Best Authors of the World, Both Ancient and Modern by Tryon Edwards, 1908TPVgb quoting

Luminous quotations also atone by their interest

Luminous quotations, also, atone, by their interest, for the dulness of an inferior book, and add to the value of a superior work by the variety which they lend to its style and treatment. ~Christian Nestell Bovee, “Quoters and Quoting,” Institutions and Summaries of Thought, 1862TPVgb

Is all literature eavesdropping and art chinese

Is all literature eavesdropping, and all art Chinese imitation? our life a custom, and our body borrowed, like a beggar’s dinner, from a hundred charities? ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Quotation and Originality,” Letters and Social Aims, 1876TPVgb

Nor must you find fault with me

Nor must you find fault with me if I often give you what I have borrowed from my various reading, in the very words of the authors themselves. ~Macrobius, translated from LatinSaturnaliorum Libri, I, praefatio; quoted in James Boswell, “The Hypochondriack,” No.XXI, June 1779; TPVgb quoting

I suppose every old scholar has had

I suppose every old scholar has had the experience of reading something in a book which was significant to him, but which he could never find again. Sure he is that he read it there; but no one else ever read it, nor can he find it again, though he buy the book and ransack every page. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

As by some might be saide of

As by some might be saide of me: that here I have but gathered a nosegay of strange floures, and have put nothing of mine unto it, but the thred to binde them. Certes, I have given unto publike opinion, that these borrowed ornaments accompany me; but I meane not they should cover or hide me… ~Michel de Montaigne, “Of Phisiognomy,” translated by John Florio; commonly modernized to “I have gathered a posy of other men’s flowers, and nothing but the thread that binds them is my own.”TPVgb 1603 version

Every book is a quotation and every

Every book is a quotation; and every house is a quotation out of all forests and mines and stone quarries; and every man is a quotation from all his ancestors. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Plato; Or, The Philosopher”TPVgb:lv8QAAAAYAAJ reprinted version 1897

The governess looked upon him mr swiveller

[T]he governess… looked upon him [Mr. Swiveller] as a literary gentleman of eccentric habits, and of a most prodigious talent in quotation. ~Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop, 1841TPVgb

A fine quotation is a diamond on

A fine quotation is a diamond on the finger of a man of wit, and a pebble in the hand of a fool. ~Joseph Roux, Meditations of a Parish Priest, 1886, translated from French by Isabel F. HapgoodTPVgb

One mans wit and all mens wisdom

One man’s wit, and all men’s wisdom. ~John Russell, definition of a proverbin conversation, cited by James Mackintosh, Life of Mackintosh, ii, 473; TPVgb quoting, The life of Lord John Russell, Volume 2, by Sir Spencer Walpole, 1889

Language would be tolerable without spicy epigrammatic

Language would be tolerable without spicy, epigrammatic sayings, and life could no doubt be carried on by means of plain language wholly bereft of ornament. But if we wish to relish language, if we wish to give it point and piquancy, and if we want to drive home a truth, to whip up the flagging attention of our listener, to point a moral or adorn a tale, we must flavour our speech with proverbs. ~John Christian, “Introduction,” Behar Proverbs, 1891TPVgb:vQoYAAAAYAAJ

I protest for about the hundredth time

I protest, for about the hundredth time, against the slipshod method of quoting a mere author’s name, without any indication of the work of that author in which the alleged quotation may be found. Let us have accurate quotations and exact references, wherever such are to be found. A quotation without a reference is like a geological specimen of unknown locality. ~Walter William Skeat, Notes and Queries, 6th ser., vol. ix., p. 499, quoted by William Francis Henry King in Classical and Foreign Quotations, 1889TPVgb, QE2

I have heard that nothing gives an

I have heard that nothing gives an Author so great Pleasure, as to find his Works respectfully quoted by other learned Authors. ~Benjamin Franklin, “Preface,” Poor Richard Improved, wording verified by Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations

Most of the noted literary men have

Most of the noted literary men have indulged in the prudent habit of selecting favorite passages for future reference. ~Charles F. Schutz, Sayings: Proverbs, Maxims, Mottoes, 1915TPVgb, QE2

Its amazing how much funny stuff there

It’s amazing how much funny stuff there is…. [A] river of rich comedic milk is flowing across the land, and as fast as I skim off the cream more cream appears…. I may be doomed to wade around forever in other people’s pith. Not that it’s such a bad life. ~Robert Byrne, The Third and Possibly the Best 637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said, 1986TPV

A wise man who knows proverbs reconciles

A wise man who knows proverbs reconciles difficulties. ~Yoruba Proverb, quoted in Curiosities in Proverbs: A Collection of Unusual Adages, Maxims, Aphorisms, Phrases and Other Popular Dicta from Many Lands by Dwight Edwards Marvin, 1916TPVgb:aIUvAAAAYAAJ

A case which commonly happens with us

A case which commonly happens with us in London, as well as our Neighbours in Paris, where if a Witty Man starts a happy thought, a Million of sordid Imitators ride it to death. ~Thomas Brown, Laconics: Or, New Maxims of State and ConversationTPVgb

A man of maxims only is like

A man of maxims only is like a Cyclops with one eye, and that in the back of his head. ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge, as quoted in Leigh Hunt’s London Journal and The Printing Machine, June 6, 1835TPVgb quoting

A good conversationalist is not one who

A good conversationalist is not one who remembers what was said, but says what someone wants to remember. ~John Mason Brownquoted in Contemporary Quotations by James Beasley Simpson, 1964

Though many a gatherer has carried his

…though many a gatherer has carried his basket through these diamond districts of the mind… ~William Rounseville Alger, “The Utility and the Futility of Aphorisms,” The Atlantic Monthly, February 1863TPVgb; W.R. Alger, commonly quoted as “Proverbs are mental gems gathered in the diamond districts of the mind.”

The hunter for aphorisms on human nature

The hunter for aphorisms on human nature has to fish in muddy water, and he is even condemned to find much of his own mind. ~Francis H. Bradley, Aphorisms, 1930