Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"God of our fathers, known of old, Lord of our far-flung battle-line, Beneath whose awful Hand we hold Dominion over palm and pine-- Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget--lest we forget!" - Rudyard Kipling

"If you are a man of learning, read something classic, a history of the human struggle and don't settle for mediocre verse." - Rumi, fully Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rumi NULL

"Fundamentally only two great novelties have come out of recent warfare. They are: (1) mechanical vehicles, which relieve the Soldier of equipment hitherto carried by him; (2) air supply, which relieves the vehicle of the road." - S. L. A. Marshall, Samuel Lyman Atwood Marshall

"The bayonet is not a chemical agent the mere possession of it will not make men one whit more intrepid than they are by nature. Nor will any amount of bayonet training have such an effect. All that may be said of such training is that, like the old Butts Manual, its values derive only from the physical exercise. It conditions the mind only in the degree that it hardens the muscles and improves health. The bayonet needs now to be re-evaluated by our Army solely on what it represents as an instrument for killing and protection. That should be done in accordance with the record, and without the slightest sentiment So considered, the bayonet will be as difficult to justify as the type of slingshot with which David slew Goliath." - S. L. A. Marshall, Samuel Lyman Atwood Marshall

"This, then, appears to be the solution of our trinitarian difficulty; to concentrate our thoughts and our affections on God the Son as He is revealed to us in Christ; to adore Him as the Creator, Preserver, all-wise Ruler and Redeemer of the world; to worship Him as the ever-present King and Head of His Church; and to look forward to the eternal enjoyment of His presence in heaven, as the consummation of our happiness, as all our salvation and all our desire. Almighty God, who hast given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto Thee, and dost promise that when two or three are gathered together in Thy name, Thou wilt grant their requests, fulfill now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of Thy servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of Thy truth, and in the world to come life everlasting. Amen." - John Chrysostom, fully Saint John Chrysostom

"In my opinion it is less shameful for a king to be overcome by force of arms than by bribery." - Sallust, full name Carus Valerius Sailustius Crispus NULL

"To like and dislike the same things, that is indeed true friendship [what makes a solid friendship]." - Sallust, full name Carus Valerius Sailustius Crispus NULL

"Our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty." - Samuel Adams

"It is a fact that the employing class . . . endeavor to get the greatest amount of labor for the smallest wages for which they can get employes. On the other hand, the workers have always endeavored to get the greatest amount of money for the smallest amount of work. Under these conditions it is impossible for capitalists and laborers to have common interests. To preach otherwise [is] an unpalatable truth, or to cry peace when there is none, is like the ostrich, who hides his head in the sand." - Samuel Gompers

"The 14th and 15th amendments, no matter what we thought of them, are part of the Constitution. Negroes are now equal with the white man." - Samuel Gompers

"The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"The best school of discipline is home - family life is God's own method of training the young; and homes are very much what women make them." - Samuel Smiles

"The behavior of a human being in sexual matters is often a prototype for the whole of his other modes of reaction in life." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"Who were the fools who spread the story that brute force cannot kill ideas? Nothing is easier. And once they are dead they are no more than corpses." - Simone Weil

"For twenty years it seemed to me that I had been taking part in a game, and that one day, at the stroke of midnight, I would return to the land of shadows. ...In a little while, the hands would be pointing to midnight; they would point to midnight tomorrow and the next day, and I would still be here." - Simone de Beauvoir, fully Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir

"In all your undertakings and in every way of life, whether you are living in obedience, or are not submitting your work to anyone, whether in outward or in spiritual matters, let it be your rule and practice to ask yourself: Am I really doing this in accordance with God's will?" - John Climacus, fully Saint John Climacus, aka John of the Ladder, John Scholasticus and John Sinaites

"Most impediments to scientific understanding are conceptual locks, not factual lacks. Most difficult to dislodge are those biases that escape our scrutiny because they seem so obviously, even ineluctably, just. We know ourselves best and tend to view other creatures as mirrors of our own constitution and social arrangements. (Aristotle, and nearly two millennia of successors, designated the large bee that leads the swarm as a king.)" - Stephan Jay Gould

"The parasite has somehow evolved to turn off the host's defenses, presumably by disarming the crab's immune response with some chemical trickery that fools the host into accepting the parasite as part of itself. ...The adult parasite castrates the host, not by directly eating the gonadal tissue, but by some unknown mechanism probably involving penetration of the interna's roots around and into the crab's nervous system." - Stephan Jay Gould

"Yet, just as individual selection emerged relatively unscarred after its battle with group selection from above, other evolutionists launched an attack from below. Genes, they argue, not individuals are the units of selection. They begin by recasting Butler's famous aphorism that a hen is merely the egg's way of making another egg. An animal, they argue, is only DNA's way of making more DNA. Richard Dawkins has put the case most forcefully in his recent book The Selfish Gene. ‘A body,’ he writes, ‘is the gene's way of preserving the gene unaltered.’ For Dawkins, evolution is a battle among genes, each seeking to make more copies of itself. Bodies are merely the places where genes aggregate for a time. Bodies are temporary receptacles, survival machines manipulated by genes and tossed away on the geological scrap heap once genes have replicated and slaked their insatiable thirst for more copies of themselves in bodies of the next generation. He writes:" - Stephan Jay Gould

"Zoocentrism is the primary fallacy of human sociobiology, for this view of human behavior rests on the argument that if the actions of lower animals with simple nervous systems arise as genetic products of natural selection, then human behavior should have a similar basis." - Stephan Jay Gould

"A liberal is a person who believes that water can be made to run uphill. A conservative is someone who believes everybody should pay for his water. I'm somewhere in between: I believe water should be free, but that water flows downhill." - Theodore H. White, fully Theodore Harold White

"Death is always and under all circumstances a tragedy, for if it is not, then it means that life itself has become one." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"I am among those Americans whose ancestors include men and women from many different European countries. The proportion of Americans of this type will steadily increase. I do not believe in hyphenated Americans. I do not believe in German-Americans or Irish-Americans; and I believe just as little in English-Americans. I do not approve of American citizens of German descent forming organizations to force the United States into practical alliance with Germany because their ancestors came from Germany. Just as little do I believe in American citizens of English descent forming leagues to force the United States into an alliance with England because their ancestors came from England." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"Unjust war is to be abhorred; but woe to the nation that does not make ready to hold its own in time of need against all who would harm it! And woe thrice over to the nation in which the average man loses the fighting edge, loses the power to serve as a soldier if the day of need should arise!" - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"Remember, O my soul, what Christ said to the Pharisees, Luke 16:15, 'Ye are they which justify yourselves before men, but God knoweth your hearts. For that which is highly esteemed among men, is an abomination in the sight of God.' Let this scare thee from seeking thyself. Consider, that seeking thy own glory is a dreadful and abominable thing. In that it is base treachery and cruelty to the souls of hearers, when a man seeks to please their fancy more than to gain their souls, to get people to approve him more than to get them to approve themselves to God. This is a soul-murdering way, and it is dear-bought applause that is won by the blood of souls. O my soul, beware of this. Let them call thee what they will; but seek thou God's glory and their good." - Thomas Boston

"Love he comes and Love he tarries just as fate or fancy carries; longest stays, when sorest chidden; laughs and flies, when press'd and bidden." - Thomas Campbell

"Oh! lives there, Heaven! beneath thy dread expanse, one hopeless, dark idolater of chance, content to feed with pleasures unrefin'd, the lukewarm passions of a lowly mind; who mouldering earthward, 'reft of every trust, in joyless union wedded to the dust, could all his parting energy dismiss, and call this barren world sufficient bliss?" - Thomas Campbell

"While memory watches o'er the sad review of joys that faded like the morning dew." - Thomas Campbell

"Clever men are good, but they are not the best." - Thomas Carlyle

"Piety does not mean that a man should make a sour face about things, and refuse to enjoy in moderation what his Maker has given." - Thomas Carlyle

"The beaten paths of literature lead safeliest to the goal, and the talent pleases us most which submits to shine with new gracefulness through old forms.-Nor is the noblest and most peculiar mind too noble or peculiar for working by prescribed laws." - Thomas Carlyle

"Emulation is grief arising from seeing one’s self exceeded or excelled by his concurrent, together with hope to equal or exceed him, in time to come, by his own ability. But envy is the same grief joined with pleasure conceived in the imagination of some ill fortune that may befall him." - Thomas Hobbes

"The most noble and profitable invention of all other, was that of speech, consisting of names or appellations, and their connections; whereby men register their thoughts; recall them when they are past; and also declare them one to another for mutual utility and conversation; without which, there had been amongst men, neither commonwealth, nor society, nor contract, nor peace, no more than amongst lions, bears, and wolves." - Thomas Hobbes

"We are not to renounce our senses and experience, nor (that which is the undoubted Word of God) our natural Reason. For they are the talents which he hath put into our hands to negotiate, till the coming again of our blessed savior, and therefore not to be folded up in the napkin of an implicate faith, but employed in the purchase of justice, peace, and true religion. For though there be many things in God's Word above Reason--that is to say, which cannot by natural reason be either demonstrated or confuted--yet there is nothing contrary to it." - Thomas Hobbes

"Boughs are daily rifled by the gusty thieves, and the book of Nature getteth short of leaves." - Thomas Hood

"I'm a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it." - Thomas Jefferson

"We were laboring under a dropsical fullness of circulating medium. Nearly all of it is now called in by the banks, who have the regulation of the safety-valves of our fortunes, and who condense and explode them at their will. Lands in this State cannot now be sold for a year’s rent; and unless our Legislature have wisdom enough to effect a remedy by a gradual diminution only of the medium, there will be a general revolution of property in this state." - Thomas Jefferson

"That daily the night falls; that over stresses and torments, cares and sorrows the blessing of sleep unfolds, stilling and quenching them; that every day anew this draught of refreshment and lethe is offered to our parching lips, ever after the battle this mildness laves our shaking limbs, that from it, purified from sweat and dust and blood, strengthened, renewed, rejuvenated, almost innocent once more, almost with pristine courage and zeal we may go forth again — these I hold to be the benignest, the most moving of all the great facts of life." - Thomas Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann

"The accouterments of life were so rich and varied, so elaborated, that almost no place at all was left for life itself. Each and every accessory was so costly and beautiful that it had an existence above and beyond the purpose it was meant to serve — confusing the observer and absorbing attention." - Thomas Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann

"God seeks Himself in us, and the aridity and sorrow of our heart is the sorrow of God who is not known in us, who cannot find Himself in us because we do not dare to believe or trust the incredible truth that He could live in us, and live there out of choice, out of preference." - Thomas Merton

"What a revelation it was, to discover so many ordinary people in a place together, more conscious of God than of one another: not there to show off their hats or their clothes, but to pray, or at least to fulfill a religious obligation, not a human one. For even those who might have been there for no better motive than that they were obliged to be, were at least free from any of the self-conscious and human constraint which is never absent from a Protestant church where people are definitely gathered together as people, as neighbors, and always have at least half an eye for one another, if not all of both eyes." - Thomas Merton

"Abuse of the Gospel - Too many, Lord, abuse Thy grace In this licentious day, And while they boast they see Thy face, They turn their own away. Thy book displays a gracious light That can the blind restore; But these are dazzled by the sight, And blinded still the more. The pardon such presume upon, They do not beg but steal; And when they plead it at Thy throne, Oh! where's the Spirit's seal? Was it for this, ye lawless tribe, The dear Redeemer bled? Is this the grace the saints imbibe From Christ the living head? Ah, Lord, we know Thy chosen few Are fed with heavenly fare; But these, -- the wretched husks they chew, Proclaim them what they are. The liberty our hearts implore Is not to live in sin; But still to wait at Wisdom's door, Till Mercy calls us in. " - William Cowper

"In conclusion, I have endeavored, with what success has been already determined by the voice of my own country, to give a panorama of Irish life among the people … and in doing this, I can say with solemn truth that I painted them honestly and without reference to the existence of any particular creed or party." - William Carleton

"Hatred and vengeance, my eternal portion, scarce can endure delay of execution:— wait, with impatient readiness, to seize my Soul in a moment." - William Cowper

"I have sometimes thought that his bursts of imaginative talk were fatal to his poetic gift. He squandered too much in the heat of personal communication." - Willa Cather, fully Willa Sibert Cather

"Dogs do not actually prefer bones to meat, it is just that no one ever gives them meat. - Akan Proverb" -

"When you understand what you see, you will no longer be children. You will know that life is pain, that each of us hangs always upon the cross of himself. And when you know that this is true of every man, woman and child on earth, you will be wiser." - Whittaker Chambers, born Jay Vivian Chambers, aka Jay David Whittaker Chambers

"Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow! Through the windows—through doors—burst like a ruthless force, into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation; into the school where the scholar is studying; leave not the bridegroom quiet—no happiness must he have now with his bride; nor the peaceful farmer any peace, plough his field or gathering his grain; so fierce you whirr and pound, you drums—so shrill you bugles blow." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"The hope filled language of prophecy in cutting through the royal despair and hopelessness is the language of amazement... the language of amazement is the ultimate energizer." - Walter Brueggemann

"The prophet lives in tension with the tradition. While the prophet is indeed shaped by the tradition, breaking free from the tradition to assert the new freedom of God is also characteristic of the prophet." - Walter Brueggemann