alt.quotations FAQ

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Sir Hans

Mar 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/29/96
Archive-name: quotations/part1
Version: 2.0.3
Original-author: (Jonathan Monsarrat)
Maintainers: (Sir Hans) and (Jason
Last-change: 1995.02.22 by (Sir Hans)
Changes-posted-to: alt.quotations,alt.answers,news.answers

The alt.quotations FAQ
by Sir Hans and Jason Newquist

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
_Just So Stories_ (1902) ``The Elephant's Child''

0. Metastuff, credits and some other standard FAQfare
0.1 What's this?
0.2 Who are the creators of this FAQ?
0.3 Who's to thank for those additional bits and corrections?
0.4 Where can I get the latest version?
0.5 What will happen with the FAQ in the future?

1. Getting started
1.1 What is a quotation?
1.2 What is a great quotation?
1.3 What is not a quotation?
1.4 What are the standards for good quotation citation?

2. alt.quotations newsgroup
2.1 What is it?
2.2 What is netiquette?
2.3 What is appropriate to post to a.q?
2.4 How do I compose a good subject header for my post?
2.5 What is an ObQuote?

3. FTP sites
3.1 What are FTP sites?
3.2 Where are they, and what is on them?
3.3 How can I contribute to these sites?
3.4 What is the Bibliophiles project?

4. loQtus: the WWW Quotations Page at UC Davis
4.1 What is it?
4.2 What is the WWW (World Wide Web)?
4.3 How do I access loQtus?
4.4 What is available on loQtus?
4.5 How can I contribute to loQtus?

5. Textual resources
5.1 What are DoQs (Dictionaries of Quotations)?
5.2 What DoQs exist?
5.3 Are there other resources?

6. Programs [section under construction]
6.1 What programs are available for the Macintosh?
6.2 What programs are available for IBM-compatibles?

7. Frequently Asked Quotations
7.1 Who said ``...''?

0. Metastuff, credits and some other standard FAQfare

----0.1 What's this?

Whence and what art thou, execrable shape?
John Milton (1608-1674)
_Paradise Lost_ (1667) bk. 2, l. 681

The alt.quotations FAQ. It gives answers to frequently asked
questions (that's what FAQ stands for), sums up some frequently asked
(and posted) quotations, and is a small guide to quotations and related
subjects in general--or at least it tries to be all this. If you are
new to this group and want to post here, or merely wish to peruse it
for any length of time, you should definitely read through this FAQ
carefully. If you have a question about a quotation, look carefully
through section 8 to see whether the answer may not be there.

----0.2 Who are the creators of this FAQ?

Little Lamb who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
William Blake (1757-1827)
_Songs of innocence_ (1789) ``The Lamb''

Sir Hans ( and Jason Newquist
( Jason did the ``techie'' bits: sections 3,
4, and 5. Sir Hans admits to having written the rest, though all the
good bits in section 8 have been written by intelligent, nice, and
omniscient people, most of whom are mentioned in the next answer.
Also, the old alt.quotation FAQ was a little bit more than just an
inspiration for this one.

----0.3 Who's to thank for those additional bits and corrections?

A joyful and pleasant thing it is to be thankful.
Book of Common Prayer (1662)
Psalm 147, v. 16

In no particular order:

Jonathan Monsarrat and Michael Moncur (creators of the original FAQ)
Alfred M. Kriman
Col. G. L. Sicherman
William C. Waterhouse
Dwayne Day
Douglas Zongker
Jeff Shepherd
Lars Jorgen Aas
Patrick Faricy
Michael Binder

If you think you should be mentioned, but aren't, tell us so.

----0.4 Where can I get the latest version?

This strange disease of modern life,
With its sick hurry.
Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)
``The Scholar-Gipsy'' (1853) l. 201

The FAQ will posted every month to alt.quotations, alt.answers
and news.answers, and should appear on Jason Newquist's WWW
Quotation Page loQtus

(see section 5).

----0.5 What will happen with the FAQ in the future?

I have been over into the future, and it works.
Lincoln Steffens (1866-1936)
in _Letters_ (1938) vol. 1, p. 463

I hope to have info on a possible replacement for Jason's now
defunct Quotations Listserver. Furthermore, some extra reviews will be
added shortly.

The FAQ is quite large; it will probably be split up, as some
``canonical'' lists of quotations by perennial favorites like Yogi
Berra and Groucho Marx that are requested rather often and very rarely
surprise, except perchance by gross inaccuracy or malevolent stupidity,
will be added as well.

1. Getting started

----1.1 What is a quotation?

Quotation, n. The act of repeating erroneously the
words of another. The words erroneously repeated.
Ambrose Bierce (1842-?1914)
_The Devil's Dictionary_ (1911)

According to Tony Augarde in his preface to _The Oxford Dictionary
of Modern Quotations_ a quotation is ``a saying or piece of writing
that strikes people as so true that they quote it (or allude to it) in
speech or writing'', to which I would add ``or add it to their personal
collection''--at least this is the case with many readers of
alt.quotations. Quotations are either famous in their own right or
utterances by (generally speaking) someone famous. Quotations can be
maxims, aphorisms, striking fragments of poetry, humorous or impressive
prose and remarks, coinages of new phrases or ideas, remarks at
historical events, putdowns of others, famous last words or anything
else which is worth repeating on its own, possibly with some comment on
when, where, and on who.

----1.2 What is a great quotation?

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.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900)
_Miscellaneous Maxims and Opinions_ (1879) no. 168

A great quotation is one that makes you want to chime in with Oscar
Wilde and say ``I wish I had said that.''[1] [SH]

A great quotation is one that highlights a point about the human
condition or of reality with style and in such a way as to present it
in a new light. This tentative definition of mine obliterates any
chance that two people will agree on what is a great quotation, but
that's realistic. It's all up to you. If you can read a particular
quotation over and over again, each time deriving pleasure and
knowledge from the words--chances are, that's a great quotation. Great
quotations should be shared. Post them, write them in .sigs, get them
out there. It is my opinion that there are precious few great
quotations and that they should be shared whenever possible. [JN]

----1.3 What is not a quotation?

Fun is a good thing but only when it spoils nothing
George Santayana (1863-1952)
_The Sense of Beauty_ (1896) ``The Comic''

Basically, anything not covered by 1.1, but specifically ``Laws''
(as in variation on Murphy's Law, the Peter Principle[2]--those have
attained ``quotation'' status, due to their well-knownness and the
fact that they're attributable (and more or less original) are not
appreciated, as are other humorous variations on real quotations.
Jokes and fulldeckisms belong in rec.humor. Fragments from movies and
television series are often not appropriate, only being able to be
appreciated by fans of the series (but check out 2.3). Of course as
always there are exceptions--_Casablanca_ has now a few firmly entombed
entries in _Oxford_, for example, but this is--and should, in _my_
arrogant opinion, remain--an exception.

----1.4 What are the standards for good quotation citation?

I distrust all systematisers, and avoid them. The will
to a system shows a lack of honesty.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900)
_G\"otzen-D\"ammerung [The Twilight of the Idols]_ (1888)
``Maxims and Missiles'' no. 26

A quotation really must have an author, unless it's a very well
known ``anonymous'' statement, such as the one describing television
programs as ``chewing gum for the eyes.''[3] If you know birth and
death years of the author, give those as well, and if the author is
only a person of minor fame, telling us who she or he is would be nice.

There is always great interest in as complete sources, so if you
know the book, play, or whatever else your quotations come from, give
them as well.

If you quote from the Koran or the Bible or another large,
well-known ``anonymous'' work, you can give the title of the work as
the ``author'', and give the book, chapter, verse, etc. in the
reference line.

We here at the Institute for Experimental Quotology have developed
a special format to keep one's quotations in. The advantages are
manifold and will become apparent upon inspection. Unfortunately
there are also one or two minor disadvantages, such as the fact that
you practically have to be either a rocket scientist or me to
understand it. Anyhow, adherence to this standard _would_ be nice and
appreciated. If you do have comments, ideas or whatever to improve it,
or to radically reorganize it, do not hesitate to e-mail me (Sir Hans)

The system:

``@A: '' author and birth/death information. Giving the last name of
the author first will allow for easy sorting. When you are sure the
quotation is exact, append an asterisk (``*'') to this line.

``@Q: '' the quotation come directly after this. If verse is quoted,
indicate empty lines with a ``.''

``@T: '' if the original quotation is from a foreign language, and you
happen to know the original as well, the original appears after
``@Q: '', and the translation in this field. If you don't know the
original, put the translation in the ``@Q: '' field.

``@D: '' this is the field to give particulars with regard to the
quotation that do not actually comment on the quotation itself,
including date, and whether it is an ``attributed'' remark.

``@R: '' the reference for the quotation; i.e. not ``Letter to John
Smith'' or ``Speech at the MIT'' (these should go into the ``@D:''
field) but a work where the quotation can be found. Titles of works
are given in Italic type (here represented by starting and ending with
an underscore ``_''). Titles of pieces appearing as part of a
published volume appear inside double inverted commas (``''). An
``in'' means that the line is quoted in that work. A default ``@R:''
line looks like this:

@R: _Name of Publication_ (date) ``name of piece'' place in publication

Standard abbreviations used are:

bk. book
ch. chapter
l. line
n. note
no. number
p. page
para. paragraph
pt. part
sc. scene
sect. section
st. stanza
subsect. subsection
v. verse
vol. volume

The book, part, chapter etc. numbers can always appear in arabic.
What's the use of old-fashioned roman numerals?

``@%: '' possibly needed comment on the quotation, e.g. explaining what
the quotation is about, or giving some useful info (``She died minutes

``@K: '' keywords; you shouldn't place the complete set of nouns here,
but something descriptive of the idea behind the quotation, or the
subject. There are also extended keywords: a sort of higher level
keyword to allow subjects to be grouped together, like literature or
famous people. A possible keyword line would look like this:

@K: literature:poetry; people:Milton, John

The keyword line is often neglected by people who do not want to spend
their days being bored to death.

On indentation: for prose, start the first line on the same line as
``@Q:'' in the ninth column, and any subsequent lines in the fifth
column. Left-align poetry, and start in the ninth column; an exception
could be made in cases where the poem depends on its shape--though this
would usually take us outside the quotation range and into the
copyright-infringment range, size-wise speaking. If you have thought
of a way to quote from Mary Ellen Solt's ``semiotic poems'' in ASCII, I
don't want to hear from you. You're probably scary.

Some examples:

@A: Acheson, Dean (1893-1971) *
@Q: Great Britain has lost an Empire and has not yet found a role.
@D: [1962.12.05] Speech at the Military Academy, West Point
@R: in _Vital Speeches_ 1 January 1963, p. 163

Note the format on the ``@D: '' line: it allows for easy sorting on
date. The asterisk behind the name indicates exactness.

@A: Anne, Princess (1950-)
@Q: It's a very boring time. I am not particularly maternal--it's
an occupational hazard of being a wife.
@D: [1981] TV interview
@%: On pregnancy.
@K: pregnancy

Here the use of the ``@%: '' field becomes apparent. The keyword may
seem redundant, but the as-yet-hypothetical archive will be the better
for it, allowing easy retrieval of quotations on a subject. This
quotation is from somewhere on the net, and I am therefore less than
sure of the exactness, hence no asterisk.

@A: Li Yeh (fl. 8th cent.) *
@Q: It is good to get drunk once in a while.
What else is there to do?
@R: ``A Greeting to Lu Hung-Chien'' in Kenneth Rexroth and Ling Chung
(ed. and tr.) _The Orchid Boat, Women Poets of China_ (1972)

A rather different ``@R:'' line here. That's what you get when you
quote from obscure people.

2. alt.quotations newsgroup

----2.1 What is it?

News is what a chap who doesn't care much about
anything wants to read. And it's only news until he's read
it. After that it's dead.
Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966)
_Scoop_ (1938) bk. 1, ch. 5

alt.quotations is a newsgroup for everything related to quotations;
it is read, and contributed to by people from all over the world. If
you have questions regarding the author of a quotation, or want to
share your favorites, have a question about the meaning or background
of a quotation, or simply want to read some quotations posted by
various contributors, this is the place to be. You can also discuss
software and books on quotations here, or anything else, as long as it
somehow has to do with quotations.

----2.2 What is netiquette?

Good manners are the settled medium of social, as
specie is of commercial, life; returns are equally expected
for both.
Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773)
_Letters to his Son_ (1774) 25 December 1753

If you are new to the net, it is recommended that you spend some
time reading the documents from the group news.announce.newusers.
These will explain everything you need to know. In short, netiquette
is the usenet equivalent of good manners, and like in real life, people
who do not conform to them are not likely to be appriciated much by the
community. Remember that you are far more likely to receive an answer
to a request if it is in written in proper English, well formatted and
if you don't ask people to reply by e-mail (bear in mind that your
fellow readers may well be interested in seeing the quotations as

----2.3 What is appropriate to post to a.q?

The inappropriate cannot be beautiful.
Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959)
_The Future of Architecture_ (1953)

Anything mentioned in 2.1. One-liners, ``laws'', funny limericks
about people from Nantucket and so on belong in rec.humor (see also
1.3). If you have a request for quotes from a television series or
movies, you are probably better off asking in groups on that subject.
A good list of movie quotes, maintained by Lars Jorgen Aas can be found
on the following two FTP sites: in pub/cathouse/movies/database in pub/culture/tv+film/lists

If you want to have the lyrics for a particular pop/rock/whatever-
these-youngsters-listen-to-today-song, your best bet is to check out
the following FTP site: in pub/music/lyrics
There are quite a few different lyrics there. Alternatively, ask
on on one of the many other music groups--there's
bound to be one on your favorite kind of music.

----2.4 How do I compose a good subject header for my post?

Our inventions mirror our secret wishes.
Lawrence Durrell (1912-1990)
_Mountolive_ (1959) 7

Stay to the point, indicate if you are requesting something, and if
you follow-up to something, check whether the header is still relevant.
If it isn't you should edit the header so that it has your subject, but
keep the old one there in square brackets.
Many people type the kind of post in caps, followed by a colon and then
a brief explanation. For example:

REQUEST: Shakespeare
ANNOUNCE: quotations web page
QUOTES: Tom Stoppard

more colorfully...

**IDENTIFY**: mystery quote on bananas

You get the idea. Bad subjects include ``quotations'' or ``help'', as
this doesn't tell the public much of anything. If you are specific,
odds are you will garner more responses then just a general cry in the
dark bleakness of cyberspace.

----2.5 What is an ObQuote?

Noblesse oblige. [Nobility has its obligations.]
Gaston Pierre Marc, Duc de L\'evis (1764-1830)
_Maximes et Reflexions_ (1812 ed.)
``Morale: Maximes et PrDeptes'' no. 73

Whenever you feel the need to post to alt.quotations, and your
posting does not already include a quote added by you in the course of
posting or answering, it is considered good manners to supply a quote
anyway--this is, after all, alt.quotations. This quote is known, and
usually announced accordingly, as an ``obligatory quote''--an
ObQuote for short. In alt.quotations, your wittiness is judged by the
relevancy of your ObQuotes.

3. FTP sites

----3.1 What are FTP sites?

The night sky over the planet Krikkit is the least
interesting sight in the entire Universe.
Douglas Adams (1952-)
_Life, the Universe, and Everything_ (1982)

FTP is ``file transfer protocol''. It is a very commonly used way
of moving information from one computer on the internet to another. An
``FTP site'' is a computer that accomodates file transfer protocol. In
one way of thinking, there are two kinds of FTP sites. The less useful
of the two requires that you have an account set up with the facility
which manages the site. The more useful allows anyone to gain access
to a region of the computer. These are referred to by the term
``anonymous FTP sites'' and, in internet parlance, things which a user
can gain access to on these sites are said to be ``available via
anonymous FTP''.
How does one gain access? I could go into rigorous detail, but
that will take too much space. I refer you to one of the several on-
line guides to the internet which explain these matters in depth.

----3.2 Where are they?

I can't say I've ever been lost, but I was bewildered
once for three days.
Daniel Boone (1734-1820)

The largest place I know is at:

If you want a wide array of stuff, that's the place. FTP over there,
login as ``anonymous'' and include your e-mail address as your
password. Go into the ``pub'' directory and thence to
``alt.quotations''. You will need to know how to decompress the files,
so I heartily recommend taking the time to read the on-line info
discussed in question 3.1. Another place is known warmly as the
``Yoyo''. The address is:

There you can find Tim MacKenzie's fortunes and other items. Go into
pub/quotes once there. See also 2.3 for the location of the movie
quotes list.
We know of no other FTP sites.

----3.3 How can I contribute to these sites?

It is more blessed to give than to receive.
``Acts of the Apostles'' ch. 20, v. 35

You need to contact the persons in charge of the sites. Normally,
they readily accept items. Here are the e-mail addresses of the
current persons in charge:

FTP at Brown: Jonathan Monsarrat
FTP at Yoyo: Tim MacKenzie

----3.4 What is the Bibliophiles project?

He had been eight years upon a project for extracting
sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put in vials
hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw
inclement summers.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)
_Gulliver's Travels_ (1726) ``A Voyage to Laputa, etc.'' ch. 5

It is a project based at Brown designed to get a large number of
quotations in a uniform format so that programs can be written to take
advantage of, manipulate, and add to them. There is a bit of a
division over exactly what format is best, but the one in this FAQ will
probably eclipse the current, more limited, one used at Brown. The
idea is to gather a group of people together who will process
quotations by hand, making them readable in the new format. This is a
time-intensive project, to be sure, and requires lots of effort. You
can help relieve the bibliophiles of this effort by posting quotations,
when possible, in the suggested format given above. If you'd like to
volunteer to be a bibliophile, contact Jason.

4. loQtus: the WWW Quotations Page at UC Davis

----4.1 What is it?

I wrote my name at the top of the page. I wrote down
the number of the question ``1''. After much reflection I
put a bracket round it thus ``(1)''. But thereafter I
could not think of anything connected with it that was
either relevant or true.
Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
_My Early Life_ (1930) ch. 2

loQtus is the ``latticed on-line Quotations user service''. It is
a hub for all things quotable on the World Wide Web. loQtus is located
in the Center for Advanced Information Technology at the university of
California, Davis. It is comprised of several web pages. Its' URL is:

----4.2 What is the WWW (World Wide Web)?

Man did not weave the web of life;
he is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
Seattle (c.1786-1866)

Remember back in the FTP section when I referred you to some
on-line or published paper documents which explain the internet? Well,
get them back out. If you want a comprehensive explanation of the WWW,
I suggest that you look there! If you don't know what it is, you
should find out about it, because you can access everything that is
available via FTP, gopher, telnet through the WWW--as well as special
``pages'' that are WWW-readable only. loQtus is accessible only
through the WWW.

Suffice it to say that the WWW is able to arrange text in different
fonts and sizes, display graphics and animations, and play sounds
(depending of course on your computer set-up).

----4.3 How do I access loQtus?

Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch'entrate! [Abandon all
hope, you who enter!]
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)
_La Divina Commedia [The Divine Comedy]_ (1310-1321)
``Inferno'' canto 3, l. 1

You need a machine that is directly on the internet, or a slip or
TCP/IP connection with a machine that is directly on the internet.
With such a set-up, you should be able to use the popular Mosaic ``web
browsing'' software. You need Mosaic (or something similar like the
fine Macintosh program MacWeb) to access the WWW on these machines.
Winweb and Cello are two alternative programs for the PC. Both are
much easier to set up than Mosaic.
If you have an account on a Unix machine, you may be able to run a
program called ``lynx'' which offers a text-only version of the WWW.
For more information, see your local information technology people, or
just try to type ``lynx'' at your unix prompt.

----4.4 What is available on loQtus?

As I was walking among the fires of Hell, delighted
with the enjoyments of Genius; which to Angels look like
torment and insanity. I collected some of their Proverbs.
William Blake (1757-1827)
_The Marriage of Heaven and Hell_ (1790-1793)

loQtus has a host of archives (almost 2 megabytes worth) of pure,
undiluted quotations. These clearly make up the centerpiece of
loQtus. loQtus also features a list of quotations resources on the
internet, including links to all the sites mentioned in this document.
loQtus is an archival site for ``back issues'' of popular daily and
weekly quotations which appear on the Quotations Listserver and on
alt.quotations. A more detailed list is in progress and will appear in
the next version of this FAQ.

----4.5 How can I contribute to loQtus?

It is rather to be chosen than great riches, unless I
have omitted something from the quotation.
Robert Benchley (1889-1945)

``We're just a phone call away.'' Well, an e-mail message. loQtus
is maintained by Jason Newquist ( e-mail me
with any ideas that you have. If you collect quotations, please
contact me! I am very interested in any sorts of collections that you
might have (especially if sorted by author or subject, but anything

5. Textual resources

----5.1 What are DoQs (Dictionaries of Quotations)?

It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books
of quotations.
Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
_My Early Life_ (1930) ch. 9

Dictionaries of quotations. There are several types: some are
intended mainly to allow the user to find out the who, what, and where
regarding well-known quotations (these are normally arranged by
author), some are there to help the speaker or writer to find ``pithy
sayings'' to support her or him (often subject-based), and others are
meant more to be read through and enjoyed by the reader (you'll be
lucky if you can detect any order at all). In practice these
distinctions are not that sharp--even the major DoQs for referential
use have their share of the more obscure and interesting, and some of
the latter type are actually useful if you want to find a source for
something. Some DoQs are subject-based as well, and whether you're
interested in love, war, or music, you'll be able to find one about it.
If you're seriously interested In quotations you will definitely want
to have at least either _Bartlett's Familiar Quotations_ or _The Oxford
Dictionary of Quotations_; see below for details.

----5.2 What DoQs exist?

Il buono, il bruto, il cattivo. [The good, the bad,
and the ugly.]
Age Scarpelli,
Luciano Vincenzoni (1926-),
and Sergio Leone (1921-)
Title of film (1966)

This is a bibliography of the DoQs in our possession. Entries
marked with [Michael] have been written by the former FAQ maintainer
Michael Moncur, with some merely ornamental editing by me (Sir Hans).
[SH] should be obvious. If you have a favorite DoQ, or any at all, and
can add to this list, please send e-mail to (Sir Hans)
or (Jason Newquist). See below for more
specific instructions.

[JS] Jeff Shepherd (
[MM] Michael Moncur (
[PF] Patrick Faricy (
[RS] Roger Scowen (
[SH] Sir Hans

21st Century Dictionary of Quotations
Published: 1993
Publisher: Laurel Books
Editor: ``The Princeton Language Institute''
Scope: Subject-based quotations
Number of quotations: 6000
ISBN: 0-440-21447-5
Well. If there's any DoQ which can lay a claim on being a worthy
contender in the ``Big Two'' class, this is it. Not. This DoQ must
surely rank as one of the most shockingly bad yet produced. For
starters, there are no sources at all, misquotations abound, and once
more it is demonstrated that ``experts comprising of linguists,
lexicographers, writers, teachers, and businesspeople'' can have the
utmost trouble discerning Samuel Butler and Samuel Butler or Thomas
Fuller and Thomas Fuller, besides having looked a little too
extensively in _The International Thesaurus of Quotations_. Also worth
a mention is the debilitating ``unique conceptual index to facilitate
access to related ideas.'' If this is truly the level of ``21st
century reference'' I think I'll go and kill myself come December 31,
Sigh. Not recommended. [SH]

The 637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said
Published: 1982
Publisher: Fawcett Crest / Ballantine (Random House)
Editor: Robert Byrne
Scope: Chosen by author.
Robert Byrne has compiled a volume of quotations which he finds to
possess ``insight, surprise, wit, pith, or punch.'' No attempt is made
to be comprehensive. The quotations are arranged in ``sequential''
order, meaning that they vaguely relate to the ones around them. It
does include an index by author and subject, though. This book, and
its sequels, are my personal favorite collections. [MM]

The Other 637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said
Published: 1984
Publisher: Ballantine (Random House)
Editor: Robert Byrne
Scope: Chosen by author
Sequel to the above work. Same concept, new quotations. [MM]

The Third-and Possibly the Best-637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said
Published: 1986
Publisher: Ballantine (Random House)
Editor: Robert Byrne
Scope: Chosen by author
Yet another 637. [MM]

The Fourth-and by far the Most Recent-637 Best Things Anybody Ever
Published: 1990
Publisher: Atheneum/Macmillan Publishing Company
Editor: Robert Byrne
Scope: Chosen by author
The cover says that Robert Byrne ``Just can't seem to stop'', which
seems true. It's been three years, though--Let's hope there's a fifth
volume coming. All four of these are of equal value in my opinion.

Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (16th edition)
Published: 1992 (1st edition 1855)
Publisher: Little, Brown
Editor: Justin Kaplan
Scope: All quotations, choice based on familiarity.
Number of quotations: 20000
ISBN: 0-316-08277-5
This is the first of the ``Big Two''. It has a few thousand more
quotations, and is more fun to leaf through than _Oxford_, probably
because the authors are organized on year of birth, making the whole
slightly more coherent and giving an interesting insight when comparing
authors. The disadvantage of this approach is of course that it
becomes slightly more difficult to locate a certain person (can you
remember off-hand when Antigonus or Archibald MacLeish was born?)
Unfortunately, often only translations are given from foreign
quotations, and the references could have been more exact, just giving
``Last words'' is not very helpful. The index is very good, and about
600 pages (twice as large as the one in _Oxford_). Anyway, it's fun,
looks gorgeous, has the most quotations of any DoQ I know of, and you
can spend a lot of money on it (the last has not been universally
recognized as an advantage). [SH]

Bloomsbury Dictionary of Quotations (2nd edition)
Published: 1991 (1st edition 1987)
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Editor: John Daintith et al.
Scope: Quotations, based on interestingness
Number of quotations: 10500
ISBN: 0-7475-0997-2
Well, well, well... Don't you all just love _The Little, Brown
Book of Anecdotes_? So do the Bloomsbury people apparently, for quite
a few of the quotations in this DoQ have been ripped from that work.
Otherwise there are good descriptions of the quotees, okay indexes and
some original quotes, though some are rather stupid, and seem to be
included merely to have more and different authors than anybody else.

The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations (1st edition)
Published: 1993
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Editor: Robert Andrews
Scope: Subject-based quotations
Number of quotations: 18000
ISBN: 0-231-07194-9
Well. If there's any DoQ which can lay a claim on being a worthy
contender in the ``Big Two'' class, this is it. This DoQ claims to
have more than 11,000 quotations which ``have never before appeared in
a general quotation book'', which makes this one less of use for those
of us who wish to find the sources of particular quotations, but for
others, especially freaks who already have all the other DoQs and want
to see some new ones (go read a good book, dammit!), this makes it an
interesting purchase--if they're absolutely loaded, coz it ain't cheap.

Concise Dictionary of Quotations
Published: 1992
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Editor: Anne Stibs and John Daintith
Scope: Subject-base and author-based quotations
Number of quotations: 6000
ISBN: 0-7475-1330-9
A nice diverse selection of quotations, with a bit more originality
than ordinarily found in second rank works. Okay index, and good
description of authors, but some quotations appear twice, both under
the name of the author and under a subject... cheap, cheap, cheap (I
don't know if they've been included in the total count twice, but am
rather inclined to think so.) [SH]

A Curmudgeon's Garden of Love
Published: 1989
Publisher: NAL Books
Editor: Jon Winokur
Scope: Cynical, mostly humorous, on love.
Number of quotations: 500 (?--it's a _very rough estimate)
Much like _The Portable Curmudgeon_, but a bit more specialized.
No sources or anything, and some semi-humorous interviews and assorted
pieces. People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of
thing they like.[4] Oh, it's rather expensive too (I picked it up for
about $2, but the cover price is $16.95) [SH]

A Dictionary of Contemporary Quotations
Published: 1982
Publisher: David & Charles
Editor: Jonathon Green
Scope: Post WW2, based on interestingness
Number of quotations: 7000
ISBN: 0-7153-8417-1
As Mr Green tells us in ``A note on sources'', he didn't think it
worth his while to spend too much time finding original citations, and
in many occasions none is present at all. The quotes themselves are
reasonably interesting, and there is much here you won't find somewhere
else. The only index is one of names. Oddly, Mr Green decided it
would be useful to place birth and death years of people in the index
only, and to give their occupation or claim to fame with each quotation
itself (incidentally, the giving of the latter is definitely a Good
Thing). Another disadvantage is the fact that it looks horrendously
ugly. Overal quality: not too high, but if you can pick it up cheap,
you won't go too far wrong. [SH]

The Dictionary of Humorous Quotations
Published: 1949. Was still in print in 1989.
Publisher: Doubleday (1949), Dorsett Press (1989)
Editor: Evan Esar
Scope: Humorous quotations, chosen by author.
This is one of the many quotation dictionaries that are basically
the collected ``favorite quotes'' of the author. It is arranged by
author, and includes a subject index. [MM]

A Dictionary of Musical Quotations
Published: 1985
Publisher: Routledge
Editors: Ian Crofton and Donald Fraser
Scope: Music
Number of quotations: 3000
ISBN: 0-415-03136-2
If you like classical music and are interested in quotations, you
will not go wrong too far with this one. Lovers of other styles of
music are in for a disappointment--there are some entries on the
Beatles and reggae and such like, but that's about it, while on the
other hand some rather obscure classical composers do have their own
entry. [SH]

Good Advice by Safire and Safire
Published: 1982
Publisher: Times Books, division of Quadrangle/The New York Times
Book Co. Inc.
Editors: ?
Scope: Quotations of ``good advice''
Number of quotations: 2000
ISBN: 0-8129-1013-3
The Safire brothers have compiled a wonderful collection of quotes
alphabetized according to topic. The quotes are culled from ancient
and modern sources and provide diverse opinions on meaningful ways of
living. Unfortunately, only the author is listed, not dates or further
sources of the quotation. [PF]

The International Thesaurus of Quotations (1st edition)
Published: 1970
Publisher: Harper & Row
Editor: Rhoda Thomas Tripp
Scope: Subject-based quotations
Number of quotations: 16000
ISBN: 0-06-091382-7
If your aim is to find quotations on subjects, this it the one to
get. Very good indexes for authors, quotes, and keywords, surprisingly
good references for each quote (something one doesn't expect in a DoQ of
this type), though again no originals of foreign quotations. Reasonably
cheap and recommended. [NOTE: There is a second edition of this one,
but I do not have it; from what I have seen it is a sound and solid
sequel, with a more modern range of subjects.] [SH]

Isaac Asimov's Book of Science and Nature Quotations
Published: 1988
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Editor: Isaac Asimov and Jason A. Shulman
Scope: Science and nature (are you surprised?)
Number of quotations: 2000
ISBN: 1-555-84111-2
No sources, no proper index, some incredibly debilitating
platitudes, many errors. I can't handle it. In short: No. [SH]

Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle
Published: 1992
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Editor: Anne Stibbs
Scope: By and about women
Number of quotations: 3000
ISBN: 0-7475-1173-X
Like the _Concise Dictionary of Quotations_ by Bloomsbury,
quotations are organized by keywords and by author, the first all more
or less directly related to women, and from people of both sexes, the
second all from (and on those) women and on more diverse subjects. If
you're interested in the subject (and who isn't?) this isn't too bad.

The New International Dictionary of Quotations (1st edition)
Published: 1986
Publisher: Signet
Editor: Hugh Rawson and Margaret Miner
Scope: ``a bias . . . towards the tried and true''
Number of quotations: 3700
ISBN: 0-451-16673-6
Subject based. Weakish sources. Weaker index. Some nice
``backtracking'' of a few quotations, though this has mainly been
borrowed from other DoQs. Nothing special really.
[NOTE: A second edition has recently come out, but I haven't as yet
taken a good look at it.] [SH]

The New Penguin Dictionary of Quotations
Published: 1992 (original 1960)
Publisher: Penguin
Editors: J. M. Cohen and M. J. Cohen
Scope: All, chosen on familiarity
Number of quotations: 14000
A sort of would-be _Oxford_ this, but not quite as good. Almost
all of the references lack a date, which is common among the lesser
DoQs, but for something on this level of pretentiousness it is a weak
point. The index is good enough. Unfortunately, ``to save space lines
of verse are run on and the divisions between lines are indicated by
oblique strokes.'' This looks ugly. Bit of a bland one, overall, but
you should be able to find it quite a bit cheaper than others of this
size. [SH]

The New Quotable Woman
Published: 1993 (a revised editon of _The Quotable Woman: From Eve to
1799_ and _The Quotable Woman 1800-1981_)
Publisher: Penguin Group
Editor: Elaine Partnow
Scope: By women
Number of quotations: 15000
Quotes are arranged by author, and authors by year of birth. Good
sources, and the information on the authors is about as complete as
you'd want it to be. The keyword index is weak, because small and
somewhat confusing. There are several other indexes as well, including
a very useful one telling us the authors' nationality and/or ethnicity
(pretty cool to find two quotes by a ``!Kung tribeswoman''!)
Some of the quotes are pretty boring, probably because the editor has
tried to include as many people as possible--including those who don't
really have to say something remarkable--like the above-mentioned !Kung
tribeswoman. Still, there's plenty of good stuff as well, and the
price is quite reasonable. It's better than _Like a Fish Needs a
Bicicle_ as well.

The New York Public Library Book of 20th-Century American Quotations
Published: 1992 (First Printing: July, 1992)
Publisher: The Stonesong Press, Inc. (Distributor: Warner Books)
Editor: Stephen Donadio
Scope: Quotations, American, Twentieth-Century
Number of quotations: 8-10,000 (The cover flap says ``almost 10,000''
while the introduction says ``more than 8,000'')
ISBN: 0-446-51639-2
This compilation is organized by forty major topics (from Age to
Work) with half of those topics divided into subtopics. Within the
(sub)topics the quotations are listed alphabetically by author's last
name in chronological order. The attribution includes either a primary
or secondary source. There is both an author and a subject index.
The index lists the page the quote can be found on and whether it
can be found in the left or right column. This is great if you are
wandering through quotes, but somewhat tedious if you want to find the
right quote immediately. Numbering each quote (as in _Bartlett's_)
would have been better, but this is intended more as a browsing book
than a reference book. There are entire documents/speeches quoted as
well (such as consitutional amendments in the twentieth century, King's
``I Have a Dream'', Kennedy's inaugural address, and more).
I like this book, though the title weighs as much as the book
itself. It has a narrow scope which can be either a strength or a
weakness. I enjoy the quotations being grouped by topic. [JS]

The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations
Published: 1991
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Editor: Tony Augarde
Scope: Quotations from people alive after 1900, chosen on basis of
Number of quotations: 5000
ISBN: 0-19-283086-4
The right stuff! Here at last we find proper references for
everything--no annoying ``Letter to Mrs Wotsit'' as source, but also a
work in which the quote is to be found. An excellent index, originals
of non-English quotations but no Oscar Wilde (why did he have to go and
die in 1900? Boo.) It is very much more a work of reference than one
to read through though. [SH]

The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (4th edition)
Published: 1992 (original 1941)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Editor: Oxford University Press
Scope: All quotations, chosen based on familiarity.
Number of quotations: 17000
This is the other of the ``Big Two'' quotation books. Any fan of
quotations should have it available. Like all quotation books, it is
by no means comprehensive, but it attempts to be, and is at least
diverse. Not a book to be read cover to cover, but a good reference
for looking up particular quotes. Quotes are arranged by author. Also
includes a _large_ (approximately 300 pages) and comprehensive subject
index. [But see _Bartlett's_ -SH] [MM, ed. by SH]
Qua research this one is the best, as far as I know. There are
very complete sources for everything, so that we are not just told that
Ms X said something in a speech, but we also get to know where we can
look it up for ourselves, should we be thus inclined. Something new in
the 4th edition (and lacking in, e.g. _Bartlett's_) is a one-line
description of almost all persons quoted. Get it or regret it. [SH]

The Pan Dictionary of Famous Quotations (revised edition)
(first published as _The Modern Dictionary of Quotations_ (1962))
Published: 1989
Publisher: Grange Books
Editor: Robin Hyman
Scope: All, chosen on familiarity
Number of quotations: 6000
ISBN: 1-85627-363-6
First of all, ``technical'' details concerning this dictionary are
a bit vague, and I have also seen the complete text of it under a
different name (an NTC reference work or something like that) possibly
the rights for this are very cheap, something which would not surprise
me, given the lack of quality (amusingly, of the 4 quotes given on the
backside of my edition, one is misquote, and another is attributed
incorrectly. Also, there we are told that the _index_ contains over
25,000 entries. Who are they trying to fool?) It seems to be rather
outdated as well, despite the claim that it's a ``revised edition''.
If you want a nice DoQ, there are many better choices. If you don't,
then why are you reading this? Go away. [SH]

A comment:

I think your judgement is rather harsh. It is not the best DoQ, but
it is not the worst. Authors are given birth and death dates,
translations often have the original (but no Russian for Tolstoy), the
source is given for the quotations, and the aim of the index has been
``to refresh memories by providing finger-posts to half-remembered
quotations.'' My copy has no quotes on the back, just some extracts
from reviews, and the publisher's blurb for the book. Perhaps you have
a reprint put out by a publisher seeking the maximum income for the
least expenses. [Yes--SH] If so, ``revisions'' will be largely
invisible [They're non-existent, really--SH] . . . I have a copy in my
office, and it is good enough to answer many of the queries in
alt.quotations. If you want just one DoQ, then no; but if you see a
copy cheap, why not buy it as another DoQ? [If you like 'em, yes,
otherwise it would be largely superfluous if you already had something
decent--SH] [RS]

The Portable Curmudgeon
Published: 1987
Publisher: NAL Penguin Inc. (US), New American Library of Canada
Ltd (CA)
Editor: Jon Winokur
Scope: Cynical, mostly humorous.
These are ``outrageously irreverent'' quotations from people the
author considers Curmudgeons (Cynical, irascible, cantankerous). It is
organized by subject, with additional sections devoted to
frequently-contributing curmudgeons (W.C. Fields, Dorothy Parker, Fran
Lebowitz, and Groucho Marx to name a few). No index. A book intended
to be read cover-to-cover. [MM]

Respectfully Quoted
Published: 1993
Publisher: Barnes & Nobles
Editor: Suzy Platt
Scope: Mainly political
Number of quotations: 2100
ISBN: 0-88029-768-9
This DoQ contains quotes that have been inquired upon at one time
or another by Members of Congress and their staff, and have been very
solidly researched (mostly) by Congressional Research Service of the
Library of Congress. For this reason, it claims to be more useful than
other DoQs; in my opinion this is only the case if you're a Member of
Congress yourself--many quotes are rather specific. It also contains
somewhat longer pieces (it's the only DoQ with the complete
``Desiderata'' (see below) that I know of), and not infrequently even
longer explanations of the history of certain quotations. If you're
really, really serious about your quotations, you should have this
one. [SH]

This list is by no means comprehensive, but we'd like it to be. If
you have any books of quotations (any subject or theme), please send me
the following information so that it can be added to this list:

* Full Title
* Publication date (original printing and most recent, if possible)
* Publisher (and distributor)
* Editor(s) or Author(s)
* Scope (theme: i.e. Humorous, Military, Feminist, etc.)
* Number of quotations
* Library of Congress and/or ISBN numbers if available
* A brief review

If you disagree with one of the reviews, or simply think you can do
better, you may want to write a short piece yourself and mail it to me,
and I will add it as well (after all, even _we_ are not entirely

----5.3 Are there other resources?

The resources of civilization against its enemies are
not yet exhausted.
William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898)
Speech at Leeds, 7 October 1881
in H. W. Lucy (ed.) _Speeches of . . . Gladstone_ (1885) p. 57

Forbes Magazine: Every issue contains a great list of quotes organized
according to a pertinent topic on the last page of the magazine under
``Thoughts on the Business of Life''.


----6.1 What programs are available for the Macintosh?

Maxims are the condensed good sense of nations.
Sir James Mackintosh (1765-1832)

----6.2 What programs are available for IBM-compatibles?

Software suppliers are trying to make their software
packages more ``user-friendly''. . . . Their best approach,
so far, has been to take all the old brochures, and stamp
the words, ``user-friendly'' on the cover.
Bill Gates (1955-)

7. Frequently Asked Quotations

----7.1 Who said ``...''?

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 Pearson (1887-1964)
_Common Misquotations_ (1934) introduction

Lord Acton (1834-1902)
+--+ +---+ +---------+

(John Emerich Edward Dahlberg, 1st Baron Acton)

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, 3 April 1887
in Louise Creighton _Life and Letters of Mandell Creighton_ (1904)
vol. 1, ch. 13

Do note:--

Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess
William Pitt, Earl of Chatham (1708-1778)
_Hansard_ (House of Lords) 9 January 1770, col. 665

W. H. Auden (1907-1973)
++ ++ +---+ +---------+

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West.
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever; I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
_Twelve Songs_ (1936) no. 9

This one's become very popular on alt.quotations recently,
something we have to blame the movie _Four Weddings and a Funeral_ for,
in which it is recited. The poem is called ``Funeral Blues'' in the

Gelett Burgess (1866-1951)
+----+ +-----+ +---------+

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one!
_The Burgess Nonsense Book_ (1914) ``The Purple Cow''

Ah, yes! I wrote the ``Purple Cow''--
I'm sorry now I wrote it!
But I can tell you anyhow,
I'll kill you if you quote it!
_The Burgess Nonsense Book_ (1914) ``Confessional''

Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
+----+ +---+ +---------+

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to
do nothing.

This has not been found in his works; there is no known source for this
and it has been suggested (in _Bartlett's_) that ``it might be a
twentieth-century paraphrase'' of

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall,
one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
_Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents_ (1770)

which sounds like a good guess to me.

Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
+-+ +-----+ +-------+ +---------+

After a heated argument on some trivial matter Nancy [Astor] . . .
shouted, ``If I were your wife I would put poison in your coffee!''
Whereupon Winston with equal heat and sincerity answered, ``And if I
were your husband I would drink it.''
Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan _Glitter and Gold_ (1952) ch. 7

Jeff Shepherd remarked that this reference was to be found in _The
Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations_, and it was--under Nancy Astor!
From another source I have heard that this conversation was supposed to
have taken place at around 1912, at Blenheim Palace, so one would
expect an earlier source if this really took place.
The other, even more popular, bit of Churchill lore we've seen here
quite a lot of times is the following exchange:

[Braddock:] Mr Churchill, you are drunk.
[Churchill:] And you madam, are ugly. But I shall be sober tomorrow.
in W. Manchester _The Last Lion_
To Elizabeth Margaret (``Bessie'') Braddock, MP, according to some.

I'm not sure if Braddock is mentioned in the rendering of this anecdote
in _The Last Lion_. Both of these stories are described as false by
George Thayer in a review of a book about Churchill in _The Washington
Post_ 27 April 1971, p. B6. Thayer spent a year as a research
assistant to Randolph Churchill on the biography of Sir Winston

Arthur C. Clarke (1917-)
+----+ ++ +----+ +-----+

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is
possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something
is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
_Profiles of the Future_ (1962; rev. 1973)
``Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination''
Clarke's First Law

On which he commented:

Perhaps the adjective ``elderly'' requires definition. In physics,
mathematics, and astronautics it means over thirty; in the other
disciplines, senile decay is sometimes postponed to the forties. There
are, of course, glorious exceptions; but as every researcher just out
of college knows, scientists of over fifty are good for nothing but
board meetings, and should at all costs be kept out of the laboratory!
_Profiles of the Future_ (1962; rev. 1973)
``Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination''

But the only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to
venture a little way past them into the impossible.
_Profiles of the Future_ (1962; rev. 1973)
``Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination''
Clarke's Second Law

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
_Profiles of the Future_ (1962; rev. 1973)
``Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination''
Clarke's Third Law

The third one especially has been the unlucky victim of many ``funny''
alterations. Which we've all seen before in alt.quotations many times.

Clarke adds: As three laws were good enough for Newton, I have modestly
decided to stop there.

A post with the ``first law'' invariably gets followed up with one
mentioning this:

When, however, the lay public rallies round an idea that is
denounced by distinguished but elderly scientists and supports that
idea with great fervor and emotion--the distinguished but elderly
scientists are then, after all, probably right.
Isaac Asimov (1920-1992)
_Fantasy & Science Fiction_ 1977 [magazine]
In answer to Clarke's First Law

John Donne (c.1571-1631)
+--+ +---+ +-----------+

No man is an Island, entire of it self; every man is a piece of the
Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a
manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes
me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know
for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
_Devotions upon Emergent Occasions_ (1624) ``Meditation XVII''

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
+---+ +---+ +-----+ +---------+

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by
little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a
great soul has simply nothing to do.
_Essays: First Series_ (1841) ``Self-Reliance''

_Immortality_. I notice that as soon as writers broach this
question they begin to quote. I hate quotation. Tell me what you
_Journals_ May 1849

See also ``Success'', _post_.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
+----+ +------+ +-+ +----+

But when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important
matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of
our ruts. We had put down our passage money--booked a sailing to
Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until
one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always
ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation),
there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless
ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits
oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues
from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen
incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have
dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one
of Goethe's couplets:
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

This, starting with ``Until one is . . .'', and in a mutilated form, is
often attributed to Goethe here on the net. Michael Binder (whose
email address I've lost) has found the origin in William Murray _The
Scottish Himalayan Expedition_ (1951).

Then indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting o'er lost days.
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute;
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

These lines occur in the 1835 translation of _Faust_ pt. 1 (1808) by
John Anster. They're spoken by the Manager in the ``Prelude at the
Theatre'', and appear to be a somewhat free translation of the

John Gillespie Magee, Jr. (1922-1941)
+--+ +-------+ +----+ +-+ +---------+

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds,--and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of--Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air...
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew--
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
``High Flight'' (1941)

Ogden Nash (1902-1971)
+---+ +--+ +---------+

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Indeed, unless the billboards fall,
I'll never see a tree at all.
Ogden Nash (1902-1971)
_Happy Days_ (1933) ``Song of the Open Road''

This poem, by the way, is based on the poem that starts with

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)
_Trees and Other Poems_ (1814) ``Trees''

Martin Niem\"oller (1892-1984)
+----+ +---------+ +---------+

When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore, I was not
concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a
Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked
the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and
I was not concerned. Then, Hitler attacked me and the Protestant
church--and there was nobody left to be concerned.
in _Congressional Record_ 14 October 1968, p. 31636

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
+-----+ +---------+ +---------+

The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul, producing holy witness,
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!
_The Merchant of Venice_ (1596-1598) act 1, sc. 3, l. [99]

Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions,
senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the
same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If
you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if
you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not
revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.
_The Merchant of Venice_ (1596-1598) act 3, sc. 1, l. 63

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
+----+ +-----+ +--+ +---------+

You see things; and you say ``Why?'' But I dream things that never
were; and I say ``Why not?''
_Back to Methuselah_ (1921) pt. 1, act 1

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
+---+ +----+ +-----+ +---------+

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read.
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
``My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!''
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
``Ozymandias'' (1819)

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
+---+ +---+ +---------+

On his ``last words'': The oft-quoted

Ah, well, then, I suppose that I shall have to die beyond my means.
in R.H. Sherard _Life of Oscar Wilde_ (1906) p. 421
When a huge fee for an operation was mentioned

as it appears in _TODoMQ_ is not regarded as very accurate by Wilde
scholar Richard Ellman; his report in _Oscar Wilde_ (1988) runs thus:

To Willie's widow, Lily, and her new husband, Teixeira de Mattos,
Wilde said, ``I am dying beyond my means. I will never outlive the
century. The English people would not stand for it. I am responsible
for the failure of the Exhibition: the English went away when they saw
me there so well-dressed and happy. The English know this too, and
they will not stand me any more.'' . . . To Alice Rothenstein Oscar
remarked, ``I can't even afford to die.''

Ellman's sources are _St James's Gazette_ 6 My 1905; [Raymonds and]
Rickets _Oscar Wilde: Recollections_ (1932) 59; A. [Douglas] _St
James's Gazette_ 3 March 1905; Housman _Echo de Paris_ 32; M. Ross
_Friend of Friends_

All this took place around October 1900, at least a full month before
Wilde's death. Another frequently (mis-)quoted line is

My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the
other of us has to go.
in Frank Harris _Oscar Wilde: His Life and Confessions_ (1930) p. 572
To Claire de Pratz, 29 October 1900

Which was in fact said a month before his death on 30 November 1900.
So, no Famous Last Words for Oscar. In fact, about the last quotable
thing that Wilde said (excepting the case that your idea of
``quotable'' includes stuff like ``Aaaaaaghaaaaaaaaaaaarhrghhgl''), is
as far as I know

``You ought to be a doctor,'' he said to Turner, ``as you always
want people to do what they don't want to.''
28 November 1900

Two days before his death, when he was already rather ill. It's not
very dramatic though.

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
+-----+ +----+ +---+ +---------+

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
``He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven'' (1899)

A small step
+ +---+ +--+

That's one small step for [a] man; one giant leap for mankind.
Neil Armstrong (1930-)
First words spoken by a man walking on the moon, 20 July 1969

He didn't realize he had screwed up the line until after he got to
Earth, according to the book _Chariots for Apollo_ by Charles R.
Pellegrino and Joshua Stoff (not the NASA Technical Memorandum on the
same subject and with an identical title). It was when presented with
a plaque by the builders of the LM that he pointed out their mistake in
failing to include the ``a'' at which point he was told that the word
was not in the tapes. He insisted (at that time) that he had said it.

The first words said upon _landing_ on the moon were ``Contact light.
Okay, engine stop. ACA out of detent. Modes control both auto,
descent engine command override, off. Engine arm off. 413 is in.''
Then from Mission Control: ``We copy you down, Eagle.'' Eagle:
``Houston, Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed.'' Source: Dave
Dooling ``L+25: A Quarter Century After the Apollo Landing'' in _IEEE
Spectrum_ July 1994, p. 25. The words from the Eagle were also spoken
by Armstrong.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste
++ +------+ +--+ +-+ +---+ +-+ +---+

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there
may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good
terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and
listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their
story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the
spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and
bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than
yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep
interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession
in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business
affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you
to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and
everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not
feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all
aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take
kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of
youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born
of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle
with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees
and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is
clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And
whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken
dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be
Max Ehrman (1872-1945)
``Desiderata'' (1927)

From _Respectfully Quoted_ (see below): ``There has been confusion
about the authorship of this poem. In 1956, the rector of St Paul's
Church in Baltimore, Maryland, used the poem in a collection of
mimeographed inspirational material for his congregation. Someone
printing it later said it was found in Old St Paul's Church, Baltimore,
dated 1692. The year 1692 is the founding date of the church and has
nothing to do with the poem, which was written in 1927. It was widely
distributed with the 1692 date. . . . --Fred D. Cavinder,
``Desiderata'', _TWA Ambassador_, August 1973, pp. 14-15''

It's better to burn out than to fade away
+--+ +----+ ++ +--+ +-+ +--+ ++ +--+ +--+

My my, hey hey
Rock and roll is here to stay
It's better to burn out
Than to fade away
My my, hey hey
Neil Young (1945-)
_Rust Never Sleeps_ (1979 album)
``My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)''

This is the oldest source I have heard of for this standard version.
These words are also uttered in the movie _Highlander_, and they were
quoted by Kurt Cobain in his suicide letter. As someone on a.q once
pointed out, a much older similar line is

It is better to wear out than to rust out.
Richard Cumberland (1631-1718)
in G. Horne _The Duty of Contending for the Faith_ (1786) p. 21, n.

which may or may not be the original from which it is derived. An even
older, similar looking line that more or less expresses the opposite is

It is better to marry than to burn.
``I Corinthians'' ch. 7, v. 9

May the road
+-+ +-+ +--+

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be ever at your back
May the Good Lord keep you in the hollow of His hand.
May your heart be as warm as your hearthstone.
And when you come to die
may the wail of the poor
be the only sorrow
you'll leave behind.
May God bless you always.
``An Irish Wish''
in Ralph L. Woods _A Third Treasury of the Familiar_ (1970) p. 644

Another version--which is the version most often mentioned in
alt.quotations--runs thus:--

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And the rains fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Every once in a while, somebody wants to know about the full text of
this ``Irish blessing''. The origin of the fascination remains a
mystery to me.


He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved
much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of
intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his
niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he
found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued
soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty or failed to
express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them
the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory is a
Bessie A. Stanley (b.1879)
in _Notes and Queries_ July 1976

This quotation was tracked down for certain by Anthony W. Shipps in
_Notes and Queries_ for July, 1976. It was written in 1905 by Bessie
A. Stanley and was the first-prize winner in a contest sponsored by
the magazine _Modern Women_. Shipps notes that _It is still quoted
from time to time in American magazines and newspapers, but it is now
often attributed to Emerson. Shipps says that ``The versions printed
in the two local newspapers in 1905 do not agree, and in the many later
appearances in print which I have seen, the wording has varied
somewhat. However, the essayist's son, Judge Arthur J. Stanley, Jr.,
of Leavenworth, writes me that the correct text is the one given in the
eleventh edition (1937) of _Bartlett's Familiar Quotations_.'' That's
the one that is here also, folks, thanks to William C. Waterhouse (who
wrote practically all of this).

Three kinds of lies
+---+ +---+ ++ +--+

On the remark ``There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies,
and statistics.'':

The following information comes from Ralph Keyes _Nice Guys Finish
Seventh_ (HarperCollins, 1992) pp. 49-50.
``In his autobiography, Mark Twain attributed the remark . . . to
Disraeli. . . . [It] has also been attributed to Henry Labouch\`ere,
Abraham Hewitt, and others. No one other than Twain is known to have
credited Disraeli with making the comment. British statistician John
Bibby once appealed to his colleagues for a reliable source of the
saying. The best anyone could come up with was this 1896 comment by a
member of the Royal Statistical Society: ``We may quote to one another
with a chuckle the words of the Wise Statesman, lies, damned lies,
statistics...'' After consulting a Disraeli biographer, Bibby
concluded that he probably wasn't this Wise Statesman. Bibby is still
trying to determine who was.''
In the notes, Keyes gives the Twain source as _Mark Twain's Own
Autobiography_, Madison, WI 1924, 1990, p.185.
The 1896 source is _Journal of the Royal Statistical Society_
59:38-118, on page 87.
Bibby's work was privately published in Edinburgh (1983, 1986)
under the title _Quotes, Damned Quotes, and..._

_Respectfully Quoted_ mentions an attribution to Holloway H. Frost
next to some of the those mentioned above, and has the following
amusing piece on the quotation:--

The quotation, or a variation, seems to be known internationally.
When a Russian citizen was interviewed, following the death of
Chernenko, he began by saying, ``As one of your writers said, `There
are three kinds of lie: a small lie, a big lie and politics.''' --
_Time_, March 23, 1985, p. 21.

The shoulders of giants
+-+ +-------+ ++ +----+

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of
Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
Letter to Robert Hooke, 5 February 1676
in H. W. Turnbull (ed.) _Correspondence of Isaac Newton_
vol. 1 (1959) p. 416

Earlier uses are well known:--

A dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant may see farther than a
giant himself.
Robert Burton (1577-1640)
_The Anatomy of Melancholy_ (1621-1651)
``Democritus to the Reader''

A dwarf on a giant's shoulders sees farther of the two.
George Herbert (1593-1633)
_Jacula Prudentum_ (1651)

It was proverbial by then. _Oxford_ gives something earlier yet:--

Bernard of Chartres used to say that we are like dwarfs on the
shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a
greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness on sight on our part,
or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised
up by their giant size.
Bernard of Chartres (d. c.1130)
John of Salisbury _Metalogicon_ (1159) bk. 3, ch. 4



@A: Whistler, James (1834-1903) *
@Q: [Oscar Wilde:] I wish I had said that.
[Whistler:] You will, Oscar, you will.
@R: in L. C. Ingleby _Oscar Wilde_ p. 67


@A: Murphy, Edward A. (1918-) *
@Q: I was project manager at Edwards Airforce Base during Colonel J.
P. Stapp's experimental crash research testing on the track at North
Base. The law's namesake was Captain Ed Murphy--a development engineer
from Wright aircraft lab. Frustration with a strap transducer which
was malfunctioning due to an error by a lab technician in the wiring of
the strain gauge bridges caused Murphy to remark: ``If there's _any_
way to do it wrong, he will!'' I assigned Murphy's Law to the
statement and the associated variations.
@R: George E. Nichols in _The Listener_ 16 February 1984

@A: Peter, Laurence J. (1919-1990) and Hull, Raymond (1919-) *
@Q: My analysis . . . led me to formulate _The Peter Principle_: In a
Hierarchy Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence.
@R: _The Peter Principle_ (1969) ch. 1


@A: anonymous *
@Q: So much chewing gum for the eyes.
@R: in James Beasley Simpson _Best Quotes of '50, '55, '56 _ (1957) p. 233
@%: A small boy's definition of certain television programmes. Commonly
attributed in a different form to Frank Lloyd Wright and others.


@A: Lincoln, Abraham (1809-1865) *
@Q: People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing
they like.
@R: in G. W. E. Russell _Collections and Recollections_ (1898) ch. 30
@%: Judgement on a book.

Vor Allem kein Gedanke! Nichts ist kompromittierender als ein Gedanke!
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche _Der Fall Wagner_ (1888)

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