Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Dorothy Parker

American Poet, Short Story Writer, Critic and Satirist

"Men: They hail you as their morning star because you are the way you are. If you return the sentiment, they'll try to make you different; and once they have you, safe and sound, they want to change you all around. Your moods and ways they put a curse on; they'd make of you another person. They cannot let you go your gait; they influence and educate. They'd alter all that they admired. They make me sick, they make me tired."

"Mrs. Ewing was a short woman who accepted the obligation borne by so many short women to make up in vivacity what they lack in number of inches from the ground."

"Never complain, never explain."

"Misfortune, and recited misfortune especially, can be prolonged to the point where it ceases to excite pity and arouses only irritation."

"My love runs by like a day in June, and he makes no friends of sorrows. He'll tread his galloping rigadoon in the pathway of the morrows. He'll live his days where the sunbeams start, nor could storm or wind uproot him. My own dear love, he is all my heart, -- and I wish somebody'd shoot him."

"Money cannot buy health, but I'd settle for a diamond-studded wheelchair."

"Now I know the things I know, and I do the things I do; and if you do not like me so, to hell, my love, with you!"

"Now, look, baby, 'Union' is spelled with 5 letters. It is not a four-letter word."

"Now to me, Edith looks like something that would eat her young."

"‎Oh, anywhere, driver, anywhere - it doesn't matter. Just keep driving. It's better here in this taxi than it was walking. It's no good my trying to walk. There is always a glimpse through the crowd of someone who looks like him—someone with his swing of the shoulders, his slant of the hat. And I think it's he, I think he's come back. And my heart goes to scalding water and the buildings sway and bend above me. No, it's better to be here. But I wish the driver would go fast, so fast that people walking by would be a long gray blur, and I could see no swinging shoulders, no slanted hat."

"Oh, both my shoes are shiny new, and pristine is my hat my dress is 1922… My life is all like that."

"Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song, a medley of extemporanea, and love is a thing that can never go wrong, and I am Marie of Romania."

"Out in Hollywood, where the streets are paved with Goldwyn."

"People Who Do Things exceed my endurance; God, for a man that solicits insurance!"

"Once, when I was young and true. Someone left me sad - broke my brittle heart in two; and that is very bad. Love is for unlucky folk, love is but a curse. Once there was a heart I broke; and that, I think, is worse."

"Oh, seek, my love, your newer way; I'll not be left in sorrow. So long as I have yesterday, go take your damned tomorrow!"

"Pictures pass me in long review,-- marching columns of dead events. I was tender, and, often, true; ever a prey to coincidence. Always knew I the consequence; always saw what the end would be. We're as Nature has made us -- hence I loved them until they loved me."

"Prince or commoner, tenor or bass, painter or plumber or never-do-well, do me a favor and shut your face - Poets alone should kiss and tell."

"Résumé: razors pain you, rivers are damp, acids stain you, and drugs cause cramp. Guns aren't lawful, nooses give, gas smells awful. You might as well live."

"Q: What's the difference between an enzyme and a hormone? A: You can't hear an enzyme."

"Salary is no object: I want only enough to keep body and soul apart."

"She can sit up and beg, and she can give her paw —I don't say she will, but she can."

"She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B."

"So, you're the man who can't spell 'fuck.'"

"She was pleased to have him come and never sorry to see him go."

"Somewhere, there, is an analogy, in a small way, if you have the patience for it. But I guess it isn't a very good anecdote. I'm better at animal stories."

"Sometimes I think I'll give up trying, and just go completely Russian and sit on a stove and moan all day."

"Some men break your heart in two, some men fawn and flatter, some men never look at you; and that cleans up the matter."

"Symptom Recital: I do not like my state of mind; I'm bitter, querulous, unkind. I hate my legs, I hate my hands, I do not yearn for lovelier lands. I dread the dawn's recurrent light; I hate to go to bed at night. I snoot at simple, earnest folk. I cannot take the gentlest joke. I find no peace in paint or type. My world is but a lot of tripe. I'm disillusioned, empty-breasted. For what I think, I'd be arrested. I am not sick, I am not well. My quondam dreams are shot to hell. My soul is crushed, my spirit sore; I do not like me any more. I cavil, quarrel, grumble, grouse. I ponder on the narrow house. I shudder at the thought of men... I'm due to fall in love again."

"Take me or leave me; or, as is the usual order of things, both."

"Tell him I was too fucking busy-- or vice versa."

"That woman speaks eighteen languages, and can't say 'No' in any of them."

"Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves."

"That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment."

"The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, and let the air out of the tires."

"The days will rally, wreathing their crazy tarantelle; and you must go on breathing, but I'll be safe in hell. Like January weather, the years will bite and smart, and pull your bones together to wrap your chattering heart. The pretty stuff you're made of will crack and crease and dry. The thing you are afraid of will look from every eye. You will go faltering after the bright, imperious line, and split your throat on laughter, and burn your eyes with brine. You will be frail and musty with peering, furtive head, whilst I am young and lusty among the roaring dead."

"The House Beautiful is, for me, the play lousy."

"The ladies men admire, I've heard, Would shudder at a wicked word. Their candle gives a single light, They'd rather stay at home at night. They do not keep awake 'till three, Nor read erotic poetry. They never sanction the impure, Nor recognize an overture. They shrink from powders and from paints... So far I've had no complaints."

"The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue."

"The sun's gone dim, and the moon's gone black. For I loved him, and he didn't love back."

"The nowadays ruling that no word is unprintable has, I think, done nothing whatever for beautiful letters. The boys have gone hog-wild with liberty, yet the short flat terms used over and over, both in dialogue and narrative, add neither vigor nor clarity; the effect is not of shock but of something far more dangerous — tedium."

"The Trifler: Death's the lover that I'd be taking; wild and fickle and fierce is he. Small's his care if my heart be breaking- gay young Death would have none of me. Hear them clack of my haste to greet him! No one other my mouth had kissed. I had dressed me in silk to meet him- false young Death would not hold the tryst. Slow's the blood that was quick and stormy, smooth and cold is the bridal bed; I must wait till he whistles for me- proud young Death would not turn his head. I must wait till my breast is wilted. I must wait till my back is bowed, I must rock in the corner, jilted- death went galloping down the road. Gone's my heart with a trifling rover. Fine he was in the game he played- kissed, and promised, and threw me over, and rode away with a prettier maid."

"The plot is so tired that even this reviewer, who in infancy was let drop by a nurse with the result that she has ever since been mystified by amateur coin tricks, was able to guess the identity of the murderer from the middle of the book."

"The sweeter the apple, the blacker the core. Scratch a lover and find a foe!"

"The only ism Hollywood believes in is plagiarism."

"The Swiss are a neat and an industrious people, none of whom is under seventy-five years of age."

"Then she told herself to stop her nonsense. If you looked for things to make you feel hurt and wretched and unnecessary, you were certain to find them, more easily each time, so easily, soon, that you did not even realize you had gone out searching. Women alone often developed into experts at the practice. She must never join their dismal league."

"The two most beautiful words in the English language are 'cheque enclosed.’"

"There are times when images blow to fluff, and comparisons stiffen and shrivel."

"There must be courage; there must be no awe. There must be criticism, for humor, to my mind, is encapsulated in criticism. There must be a disciplined eye and a wild mind...There must be a magnificent disregard of your reader, for if he cannot follow you, there is nothing you can do about it."