Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

Ambrose Gwinett

American Editorialist, Journalist, Short Story Writer, Fabulist and Satirist

Author Quotes

Success, n. The one unpardonable sin against one's fellows.

The intellectual part of his nature was already effaced; he had power only to feel, and feeling was torment. He was conscious of motion. Encompassed in a luminous cloud, of which he was now merely the fiery heart, without material substance, he swung through unthinkable arcs of oscillation, like a vast pendulum.

The two definitions immediately foregoing are condensed from the works of one thousand eminent scientists, who have illuminated the subject with a great white light, to the inexpressible advancement of human knowledge.

This is only a record of broken and apparently unrelated memories, some of them as distinct and sequent as brilliant beads upon a thread, others remote and strange, having the character of crimson dreams with interspaces blank and black -- witch-fires glowing still and red in a great desolation.

Truthful, adj. Dumb and illiterate.

What is a democrat? One who believes that the republicans have ruined the country. What is a republican? One who believes that the democrats would ruin the country.

Witch, n. (1) An ugly and repulsive old woman, in a wicked league with the devil. (2) A beautiful and attractive young woman, in wickedness a league beyond the devil.

Zoology, n. The science and history of the animal kingdom, including its king, the house fly (musca maledicta.) The father of zoology was aristotle, as is universally conceded, but the name of its mother has not come down to us.

Sweater, n. Garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.

The man in the water saw the eye of the man on the bridge gazing into his own through the sights of the rifle. He observed that it was a gray eye and remembered having read that gray eyes were keenest, and that all famous marksmen had them. Nevertheless,

The virtues chose Modesty to be their queen. "I did not know that I was a virtue," she said. "Why did you not choose Innocence?" "Because of her ignorance," they replied. "She knows nothing but that she is a virtue."

This may be called the syllogism arithmetical, in which, by combining logic and mathematics, we obtain a double certainty and are twice blessed.

Twice, adv. Once too often.

What this country needs, what every country needs, occasionally is a good hard bloody war to revive the vice of patriotism on which its existence as a nation depends.

Witticism. A sharp and clever remark, usually quoted and seldom noted; what the Philistine is pleased to call a ''joke.''

Syllogism, n. A logical formula consisting of a major and a minor assumption and an inconsequent. (see logic.)

The man was Halpin Frayser. He lived in St. Helena, but where he lives now is uncertain, for he is dead.

The wine of Arpad Haraszthy has a bouquet all its own. It tickles and titillates the palate. It gurgles as it slips down the alimentary canal. It warms the cockles of the heart, and it burns the sensitive lining of the stomach.

To apologize is to lay the foundation for a future offense.

Tzetze, (or tsetse) fly, n. An african insect (glossina morsitans) whose bite is commonly regarded as nature's most efficacious remedy for insomnia, though some patients prefer that of the american novelist (mendax interminabilis.)

When among the graves of thy fellows, walk with circumspection; thine own is open at thy feet.

Woman absent is woman dead.

Take not God's name in vain; select a time when it will have effect.

The money-getter who pleads his love of work has a lame defense, for love of work at money-getting is a lower taste than love of money.

The world has suffered more from the ravages of ill-advised marriages than from virginity.

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Ambrose Gwinett
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American Editorialist, Journalist, Short Story Writer, Fabulist and Satirist