Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"Friendship cannot live with ceremony, nor without civility." - Charles Montagu Halifax, 1st Earl of Halifax, Lord Halifax

"Death observes no ceremony." - John Wise

"Politics resemble religion; attempting to divest either of ceremony is the most certain mode of bringing either into contempt." - Oliver Goldsmith

"Chopping wood is meditation. Carrying water is meditation. Be mindful 24 hours a day, not just during the one hour you may allot for formal meditation or reading scripture and reciting prayers. Each act must be carried out in mindfulness. Each act is a rite, a ceremony. Raising your cup of tea to your mouth is a rite. does the word “rite” seem too solemn? I use the word in order to jolt you into the realization of the life-and-death matter of awareness." - Thich Nhất Hanh

"Man is not for the sake of good deeds; the good deeds are for the sake of man… The goal is not that a ceremony be performed; the goal is that man be transformed; to worship the Holy in order to be holy. The purpose of the mitsvot is to sanctify man." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Unlike any other business in the United States, sports must preserve an illusion of perfect innocence. The mounting of this illusion defines the purpose and accounts for the immense wealth of American sports. It is the ceremony of innocence that the fans pay to see -- not the game or the match or the bout, but the ritual portrayal of a world in which time stops and all hope remains plausible, in which everybody present can recover the blameless expectations of a child, where the forces of light always triumph over the powers of darkness." - Lewis H. Lapham

"Everything is ceremony in the wild garden of childhood." - Pablo Neruda, pen name for Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto

"A certain degree of ceremony is a necessary outwork of manners, as well as of religion; it keeps the forward and petulant at a proper distance, and is a very small restraint to the sensible and to the well-bred part of the world." - Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

"Here lie men who loved America because their ancestors generations ago helped in her founding. And other men who loved her with equal passion because they themselves or their own fathers escaped from oppression to her blessed shores. Here lie officers and men, Negroes and Whites, rich men and poor, together. Here are Protestants, Catholics, and Jews together. Here no man prefers another because of his faith or despises him because of his color. Here there are no quotas of how many from each group are admitted or allowed. Among these men there is no discrimination. No prejudices. No hatred. Theirs is the highest and purest democracy... Whosoever of us lifts his hand in hate against a brother, or who thinks himself superior to those who happen to be in the minority, makes of this ceremony and the bloody sacrifice it commemorates, an empty, hollow mockery. To this then, as our solemn sacred duty, do we the living now dedicate ourselves: To the right of Protestants, Catholics, and Jews, of White men and Negroes alike, to enjoy the democracy for which all of them have here paid the price... We here solemnly swear this shall not be in vain. Out of this and from the suffering and sorrow of those who mourn this, will come, we promise, the birth of a new freedom for the sons of men everywhere." - Roland B. Gittelsohn, fully Roland Bertram Gittelsohn

"This is the grimmest, and surely the holiest task we have faced since D–day. Here before us lie the bodies of comrades and friends. Men who until yesterday or last week laughed with us, joked with us, trained with us. Men who were on the same ships with us, and went over the side with us as we prepared to hit the beaches of this island.It is not easy to do so,” He continued. Some of us have buried our closest friends here. We saw these men killed before our very eyes. Any one of us might have died in their place. Indeed some of us are alive and breathing at this very monent only because men who lie here beneath us had the courage and strength to give their lives for ours. To speak in memory of men such as these is not easy . . . No, our poor power of speech can add nothing to what these men and the other dead of our Division who are not here have already done. All we can even hope to do is follow their example. To show the same selfless courage in peace as they did in war. To swear by the grace of God and the stubborn strength and power of human will, their sons and ours will never suffer these pains again. These men have done their job well. They have paid the ghastly price of freedom. . . . “We dedicate ourselves, first, to live together in peace the way they fought and are buried in this war. Here lie men who loved America because their ancestors generations ago helped in her founding and other men who loved her with equal passion because they themselves or their own fathers escaped from oppression to her blessed shores. Here lie officers and men, Negroes and whites, rich men and poor--- together . . . . Theirs is the highest and purest democracy. Any man among us, the living, who fails to understand that will thereby betray those who lie here dead. Whoever of us lifts his hand in hate against a brother . . . . makes of this ceremony and of the bloody sacrifice it commemorates an empty, hollow mockery. To one thing more do we consecrate ourselves in memory of those who sleep beneath these crosses and stars. We shall not foolishly suppose, as did the last generation of America’s fighting men, that victory on the battlefield will automatically guarantee the triumph of Democracy at home. This war with all its frightful heartache and suffering, is but the beginning of our generations struggle for democracy . . . . Thus do we memorialize those who, have ceased living with us, now live within us. Thus do we consecrate ourselves, the living, to carry on the struggle they began. Too much pain and heartache have fertilized the earth on which we stand. We here solemnly swear: This shall not be in vain! Out of this, and from the suffering and sorrow of those who mourn this, will come—we promise – the birth of a new freedom for the sons of men everywhere." - Roland B. Gittelsohn, fully Roland Bertram Gittelsohn

"It is safer to accept any chance that offers itself, and extemporize a procedure to fit it, than to get a good plan matured, and wait for a chance of using it." - Thomas Hardy

"This whole psychiatry is nothing else but a kind of microcosm of communism [...]. It would be better left to people their personal problems. For the question arises whether the problems are not the only thing in the world that people may have on the property?" - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"It would be very singular that all nature, all the planets, should obey eternal laws, and that there should be a little animal five feet high, who, in contempt of these laws, could act as he pleased, solely according to his caprice." - Voltaire, pen name of François-Marie Arouet NULL

"The white man has not lost his soul. But he is so small-minded that he has confused his soul with God." - Vine Deloria, fully Vine Victor Deloria, Jr.

"Without taste genius is only a sublime kind of folly. That sure touch which the lyre gives back the right note and nothing more, is even a rarer gift than the creative faculty itself." - François-René de Chateaubriand, fully François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand

"As by your high imperial majesty I had in charge at my depart for France, as procurator to your excellence, to marry Princess Margaret for your grace, so, in the famous ancient city Tours, in presence of the Kings of France and Sicil, the Dukes of Orleans, Calabar, Bretagne, and Alencon, seven earls, twelve barons, and twenty reverend bishops, I have performed my mask and was espoused. Henry VI, Act I, Scene 1" -

"But he [Depression] just gives me that dark smile, settles into my favorite chair, puts his feet on my table and lights a cigar, filling the place with his awful smoke. Loneliness watches and sighs, then climbs into my bed and pulls the covers over himself, fully dressed, shoes and all. He's going to make me sleep with him again tonight, I just know it." - Elizabeth Gilbert

"This is what we are like. Collectively as a species, this is our emotional landscape. I met an old lady once, almost 100 years old, and she told me, There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And Who's in charge? Everything else is somehow manageable. But these two questions of love and control undo us all, trip us up and cause war, grief, and suffering." - Elizabeth Gilbert

"Grandmas defy description. They really do. They occupy such a unique place in the life of a child. They can shed the yoke of responsibility, relax, and enjoy their grandchildren in a way that was not possible when they were raising their own children. And they can glow in the realization that here is their seed of life that will harvest generations to come." - Erma Bombeck, fully Erma Louise Bombeck, born Erma Fiste