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Quotes

Modesty is a virtue not often found among poets, for almost every one of them thinks himself the greatest in the world.

—Miguel de Cervantes, 1615

Art transcends its limitations only by staying within them.

—Flannery O’Connor, 1964

It has always been my practice to cast a long paragraph in a single mold, to try it by my ear, to deposit it in my memory, but to suspend the action of the pen till I had given the last polish to my work.

—Edward Gibbon, c. 1790

A frenzied passion for art is a canker that devours everything else.

—Charles Baudelaire, 1852

To be a poet is to have a soul so quick to discern that no shade of quality escapes it, and so quick to feel that discernment is but a hand playing with finely ordered variety on the chords of emotion—a soul in which knowledge passes instantaneously into feeling, and feeling flashes back as a new organ of knowledge. One may have that condition by fits only.

—George Eliot, c. 1872

Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.

—Henry David Thoreau, 1852

I don’t believe in total freedom for the artist. Left on his own, free to do anything he likes, the artist ends up doing nothing at all. If there’s one thing that’s dangerous for an artist, it’s precisely this question of total freedom, waiting for inspiration and all the rest of it.

—Federico Fellini, c. 1950

Art imitates nature as well as it can, as a pupil follows his master; thus it is a sort of grandchild of God.

—Dante, c. 1315

If a king loves music, there is little wrong in the land.

—Mencius , c. 330 BC

I hate the whole race. There is no believing a word they say—your professional poets, I mean—there never existed a more worthless set than Byron and his friends for example.

—Duke of Wellington, c. 1810

This is a fault common to all singers, that among their friends they will never sing when they are asked; unasked, they will never desist.

—Horace, c. 35 BC

Art lives from constraints and dies from freedom.

—Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1480

I cannot live without books, but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object.

—Thomas Jefferson, 1815