Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Oscar Hammerstein II, fully Oscar Greeley Clendenning Hamerstein II

American Lyricist, Musical Comedy Author, Theatrical Producer of Musicals famous for collaborations with Richard Rogers and other composers, Winner of 8 Tony Awards and 2 Academy Awards for "Best Original Song"

"Why you are born and why you are living depend entirely on what you are getting out of this world and what you are giving to it. I cannot prove that this is a balance of mathematical perfection, but my own observation of life leads me to the conclusion that there is a very real relationship, both quantitatively and qualitatively, between what you contribute and what you get out of this world."

"All the sounds of the earth are like music."

"I know the world is filled with troubles and many injustices. But reality is as beautiful as it is ugly. It think it is just as important to sing about beautiful mornings as it is to talk about slums. I just couldn't write anything without hope in it."

"A bell's not a bell 'til you ring it - A song's not a song 'til you sing it - Love in your heart wasn't put there to stay - Love isn't love 'til you give it away!"

"Do you love me because I’m beautiful, or am I beautiful because you love me?"

"I'm not going to run, I'm going to stand here and watch. Every blow will cut into my heart, and tell me who and what you are."

"There is a very real relationship, both quantitatively and qualitatively, between what you contribute and what you get out of this world."

"If you really believe in the brotherhood of man, and you want to come into its fold, you've got to let everyone else in, too."

"Peace is not the product of a victory or a command. It has no finishing line, no final deadline, no fixed definition of achievement. Peace is a never-ending process, the work of many decisions."

"You gotta have a dream. If you don't have a dream, how you gonna make a dream come true?"

"When you walk through a storm Keep your chin up high And don't be afraid of the dark. At he end of the storm Is a golden sky And the sweet silver song of a lark. Walk on through the wind, Walk on through the rain, Tho' your dreams be tossed and blown.Walk on, walk on With hope in your heart And you'll never walk alone, You'll never walk alone."

"If you become a teacher, by your pupils you'll be taught."

"Be brave, young lovers, and follow your star."

"You've got to be taught to hate and fear."

""Oklahoma" has no particular message except that it has a flavor which infects the people who see it. It's gaiety, Oklahoma is youth and irresponsible and not very intellectual, haughtiness in life."

"A lady known as Paris, Romantic and Charming has left her old companions and faded from view. Lonely men with lonely eyes are seeking her in vain her streets are where they were, but there's no sign of her. She has left the Seine the last time I saw Paris, her heart was warm and gay, I heard the laughter of her heart in every street caf‚. The last time I saw Paris, her trees were dressed for spring, and lovers walked beneath those trees and birds found songs to sing. I dodged the same old taxicabs that I had dodged for years. The chorus of their squeaky horns was music to my ears. The last time I saw Paris, her heart was warm and gay, no matter how they change her, I'll remember her that way. I'll think of happy hours, and people who shared them old women, selling flowers, in markets at dawn. Children who applauded, Punch and Judy in the park and those who danced at night and kept our Paris bright 'til the town went dark."

"Do I love you because you're beautiful, or are you beautiful because I love you? Am I making believe I see in you, a woman too perfect to be really true? Do I want you because you're wonderful, or are you wonderful because I want you? Are you the sweet invention of a lover's dream, or are you really as beautiful as you seem?"

"Fish got to swim and birds got to fly I got to love one man till I die, Can't help lovin' dat man of mine."

"I hand him a lyric and get out of his way."

"I have an idea that the more liberal democratic tendency to borrow and owe money -- is healthier for us. I don't think many great big corporations have a balanced budget. They all owe money, they all go ahead and progress with borrowed money. The United States can borrow money, because we have the greatest security in the world the greatest wealth, we haven't ever come near to being bankrupt and when this -- this money is borrowed and we haven't balanced the budget I have a feeling that the people in the lower income bracket get the most out of it. But I'm no economist -- this is merely a guess."

"I think "The King And I" is best symbolized by the number in it, "Getting to know you, getting to know all about you" as the nurse from the governess from Wales talking to the little Siamese kids whom she'd grown to love and who'd grown to love her. And there is no There again, all race and color had faded in their getting to know and love each other. Also, "The King And I" was a struggle within the man who was trying to be a liberal and had been born a conservative, had been born with a conviction that the absolute power of a king should not be questioned. And yet, something had given him an interest in Western Democracy and this governess who had come here was the champion of that and really in a way destroyed him by deepening his doubt about his power."

"I think it is just as important to sing about beautiful mornings as it is to talk about slums. I just couldn?t write anything without hope in it."

"I think when a writer writes anything, about anything at all, he gives himself away, and what he has to say, comes out."

"I was jay-walking, ran across eighth avenue and fifty-seventh street. When I was half-way across the street I heard a voice calling to me and it was a policeman, and I thought well, here it is, I'm wrong he's right. I can't defend myself I have to take a bawling-out. When I reached the curb, he came over to me, he was a young cop and he didn't bawl me out at all. He said "Aren't you Oscar Hammerstein?" I said "yes." He said, "Well, I want to tell you how much my family, my wife and I and my kids enjoy all your songs. We have a record an album record of Carrousel and we've worn it thin, we can hardly hear it anymore, it's scratchy but we love it and I want to thank you." And I thanked him for telling me so and I felt very good and I started to go and he said" Just one thing. Do you mind if I ask you a question?" and I said "no." "He said are you religious?" and I said, well I don't belong to any church and then he patted me on the back and he said "Ah, you're religious alright." And I went on feeling as if I'd been caught, and feeling that I was religious. He had discovered from the words of my songs that I had faith, faith in mankind, faith that there was something more powerful than mankind behind it all. And faith that in the long run good triumphs over evil. If that's religion -- I'm religious, and it is my definition of religion."

"I'd like to say that I've never nor has Richard Rogers sat down and said now what've we got to say in the next one and picked a story. We've always chosen a story that we found attractive, and then we've gone ahead and written it. And I think, when a writer writes anything about anything at all, he gives himself away and what he has to say comes out incidental to his motive for writing and entertaining and arresting musical shows."

"If you don't have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?"

"Sentiment has never been unpopular except with a few sick persons who are made sicker by the sight of a child, a glimpse of a wedding, or the thought of a happy home."

"The dearest things I know are what you are."

"The discovery that after you're successful, whether you be a doctor or a lawyer or a librettist, there is a conspiracy that goes on in which you join, a conspiracy of the world to render you less effective by bestowing honors on you and taking you away from the job of curing people, or of pleading cases, or writing libretti and making you putting you on committees. If you're a doctor, you're suddenly running a hospital instead of tending to the sick directly. You're better off if you remain a doctor. I'm a fine one to talk because since I wrote "Allegro", I think I'm on more committees than I was then, and I get drawn into these things and can't help myself."

"The last time I saw Paris, her heart was warm and gay."

"The number of people who will not go to a show they do not want to see is unlimited."

"The sophisticate is a man who thinks he can swim better than he can and sometimes drowns himself. He thinks he can drive better than he really can and sometimes causes great smash-ups. So, in my book there's nothing wrong with sentiment because the things we're sentimental about are the fundamental things in life, the birth of a child, the death of a child or of anybody, falling in love. I couldn't be anything but sentimental about these basic things. I think to be anything but sentimental is being a "poseur"."

"There is nothin' like a dame."

"What is a sophisticate? He is a man who thinks he can swim better than he can and sometimes he drowns."