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7.1 Quotations: Who said "..."? p3


This article is from the Quotations FAQ, by Sir Hans dok@fwi.uva.nl Jason Newquist jrnewquist@ucdavis.edu with numerous contributions by others.

7.1 Quotations: Who said "..."? p3

John Donne (c.1571-1631)
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No man is an Island, entire of it self; every man is a piece of the
Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a
manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes
me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know
for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
"Devotions upon Emergent Occasions" (1624) ``Meditation XVII''

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
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A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by
little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a
great soul has simply nothing to do.
"Essays: First Series" (1841) ``Self-Reliance''

"Immortality". I notice that as soon as writers broach this
question they begin to quote. I hate quotation. Tell me what you
"Journals" May 1849

See also ``Success'', "post".

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
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But when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important
matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of
our ruts. We had put down our passage money--booked a sailing to
Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until
one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always
ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation),
there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless
ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits
oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues
from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen
incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have
dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one
of Goethe's couplets:
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

This, starting with ``Until one is . . .'', and in a mutilated form, is
often attributed to Goethe here on the net. Michael Binder (whose
email address I've lost) has found the origin in William Murray "The
Scottish Himalayan Expedition" (1951).

Then indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting o'er lost days.
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute;
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

These lines occur in the 1835 translation of "Faust" pt. 1 (1808) by
John Anster. They're spoken by the Manager in the ``Prelude at the
Theatre'', and appear to be a somewhat free translation of the

John Gillespie Magee, Jr. (1922-1941)
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Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds,--and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of--Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air...
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew--
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
``High Flight'' (1941)


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