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Quotes

Politics is the art of the possible.

—Otto von Bismarck, 1867

There never is absolute birth nor complete death, in the strict sense, consisting in the separation of the soul from the body. What we call births are developments and growths, while what we call deaths are envelopments and diminutions.

—Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, 1714

Those who give the first shock to a state are the first overwhelmed in its ruin; the fruits of public commotion are seldom enjoyed by him who was the first mover; he only beats the water for another’s net.

 

—Michel de Montaigne, 1580

The fear of the Lord is true wisdom, and he who hath it not can in no way penetrate the true secrets of magic.

—Abraham the Jew, c. 1400

The various modes of religion which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true, by the philosophers equally false, and by the magistrate as equally useful.

—Edward Gibbon, 1776

The best of all rulers is but a shadowy presence to his subjects.

—Laozi

The sea yields action to the body, meditation to the mind, the world to the world, all parts thereof to each part, by this art of arts—navigation.

—Samuel Purchas, 1613

Some of us would be greatly astonished to learn the reasons why others respect us.

—Marquis de Vauvenargues, 1746

Casting lots causes contentions to cease, and keeps the mighty apart.

—Book of Proverbs, c. 350 BC

God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the cat. He has no real style. He just goes on trying other things.

—Pablo Picasso, 1964

Newspapers always excite curiosity. No one ever lays one down without a feeling of disappointment.

—Charles Lamb, 1833

A brilliant boxing match, quicksilver in its motions, transpiring far more rapidly than the mind can absorb, can have the power that Emily Dickinson attributed to great poetry: you know it’s great when it takes the top of your head off.

—Joyce Carol Oates, 1987

Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.

—William Jennings Bryan, 1899