- This page is about the sociological concept. For the film, see Fame (film).
Fame is the state of being well-known and spoken of.
- Ah! who can tell how hard it is to climb
The steep where Fame's proud temple shines afar!
- James Beattie, The Minstrel (1771), Stanza 1.
- A celebrity is a person who is known for his well-knownness.
- Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America (1961), Chapter 3, p. 57.
- Fame, (fame) what you get is no tomorrow
Fame, (fame) what you need you have to borrow
- Is it any wonder I reject you first?
Fame, fame, fame, fame
Is it any wonder you are too cool to fool
- David Bowie, in "Fame", on Young Americans (1975).
- I think fame itself is not a rewarding thing. The most you can say is that it gets you a seat in restaurants.
- What is the end of Fame? 'tis but to fill
A certain portion of uncertain paper:
Some liken it to climbing up a hill,
Whose summit, like all hills, is lost in vapour:
For this men write, speak, preach, and heroes kill,
And bards burn what they call their "midnight taper,"
To have, when the original is dust,
A name, a wretched picture, and worse bust.
- Je ne dois qu'à moi seul toute ma renommée.
- I owe my fame only to myself.
- Pierre Corneille, "L'Excuse à Ariste" (1637).
- Being a star has made it possible for me to get insulted in places where the average Negro could never hope to go and get insulted.
- Sammy Davis, Jr., Yes I Can (1965), Part 3, Chapter 23.
- How dreary — to be — Somebody!
How public — like a Frog —
To tell one's name — the livelong June —
To an admiring Bog!
- Emily Dickinson, "I'm Nobody! Who are you?" (1891). In some editions "June" has been altered to "day".
- All this fame and money, which have so thrilled me when they came to others, leave me cold when they come to me. I am not an ascetic, but I don't know what to do with them, and my daily life has never been so trying, and there is no one to fill it emotionally.
- E. M. Forster, Selected Letters: Letter 251, to Florence Barger, 23 December 1924.
- He doth raise his country's fame with his own
And in the mouths of nations yet unborn
His praises will be sung; Death comes to all,
But great achievements build a monument
Which shall endure until the sun grows cold.
- Georg Fabricius, in praise of Georg Agricola in De Metallicis Rebus (1566); as translated by Herbert Clark Hoover and Lou Henry Hoover in the introduction to their 1912 translation of Agricola's De Re Metallica (1556); also quoted in prose form as "Death comes to all, but great achievements build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold".
- Fame sometimes hath created something of nothing.
- Thomas Fuller, The Holy State and the Profane State, Of Fame (1642).
- If that thy fame with ev'ry toy be pos'd,
'Tis a thin web, which poysonous fancies make;
But the great souldier's honour was compos'd
Of thicker stuf, which would endure a shake.
Wisdom picks friends; civility plays the rest;
A toy shunn'd cleanly passeth with the best.
- George Herbert, The Temple (1633), The Church Porch, Stanza 38.
- Nothing is so common-place as to wish to be remarkable. Fame usually comes to those who are thinking about something else, – very rarely to those who say to themselves, "Go to, now, let us be a celebrated individual!"
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table (1858), Chapter XII.
- There is a proud undying thought in man,
That bids his soul still upward look
To fame's proud cliff!
- Sam Houston, "There is a proud undying thought in man", lines 1–3, in Donald Day and Harry H. Ullom, eds., The Autobiography of Sam Houston (1954), p. 56.
- I think that there is this idea that what you should go after is fame. That is a hugely mistaken idea because fame means absolutely nothing. This whole culture of wanting to become famous is on a hiding to nothing, a sign of a society that's lost its way and will only judge people as being valid if they're famous, which of course is all bull----. As Tom Stoppard said, the only thing that fame means is that more people know you than you know."
- Nolo virum facili redimit qui sanguine famam;
Hunc volo laudari qui sine morte potest.
- I do not like the man who squanders life for fame; give me the man who living makes a name.
- Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), I. 9. 5.
- Si post fata venit gloria non propero.
- If fame comes after death, I am in no hurry for it.
- Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), V. 10. 12.
- Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise
(That last infirmity of noble mind)
To scorn delights, and live laborious days.
- John Milton, Lycidas, l. 64 (1637).
- Fame and tranquility can never be bedfellows.
- I always like to say to people who want to be rich and famous, try being rich first. See if that doesn't cover most of it.
- The courage to stand alone as if others didn't exist and think only of what you're doing. Not to get scared if people ignore you. You have to wait for years, have to die. Then after you're dead, if you're lucky, you become somebody.
- Cesare Pavese, The house on the hill.
- Posthumous fame, book fame, nerd fame is not like the good kind of fame. It might last for centuries and let antique egg heads torture the young from the grave, but it just doesn't pay the bills.
- Laura Penny, More Money Than Brains, Chapter Seven, If You're So Smart, Why Ain't You Rich?, p. 206 (2010).
- Scarce any Tale was sooner heard than told;
And all who told it, added something new,
And all who heard it, made Enlargements too,
In ev'ry Ear it spread, on ev'ry Tongue it grew.
- Alexander Pope, The Temple of Fame (1711), lines 469–72.
- Nor Fame I slight, nor her favors call;
She comes unlooked for, if she comes at all.
- Alexander Pope, The Temple of Fame (1711), line 513.
- Unblemish'd let me live or die unknown;
Oh, grant an honest fame, or grant me none!
- Alexander Pope, The Temple of Fame (1711), line 523.
- What's fame? a fancy'd life in others' breath.
A thing beyond us, e'en before our death.
- Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man (1733-34), Epistle IV, line 237.
- If parts allure thee, think how Bacon shin'd,
The wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind:
Or, ravish'd with the whistling of a name,
See Cromwell, damn'd to everlasting fame.
- Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man (1733-34), Epistle IV, line 281.
- Honor ... means that a man is not exceptional; fame, that he is. Fame is something which must be won; honor, only something which must not be lost.
- Variant translation: Fame is something which must be won; honor is something which must not be lost.
- Arthur Schopenhauer, Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life.
- Fame's a weed, but repute is a slow-growing oak, and all we can do during our lifetimes is hop around like squirrels and plant acorns.
- Erant quibus appetentior famæ videretur, quando etiam sapientibus cupido gloriæ novissima exuitur
- Some might consider him as too fond of fame, for the desire of glory clings even to the best of men longer than any other passion.
- Tacitus, Historia, iv. 6; said of Helvidius Priscus.
- Sweet were the days when I was all unknown,
But when my name was lifted up, the storm
Brake on the mountain and I cared not for it.
Right well know I that Fame is half-disfame.
- The Fame that follows death is nothing to us;
And what is Fame in life but half-disfame,
And counterchanged with darkness?
- In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.
- Andy Warhol, catalogue of an exhibition of his art in Stockholm, Sweden (1968).
- There's not a thing on earth that I can name,
So foolish, and so false, as common fame.
- John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, Did e'er this Saucy World.
- In our overcrowded modern world a hit record, a best-selling book, a successful film, can reach more people in a week than Shakespeare or Beethoven reached in a whole lifetime. And so fame has become the most romantic, the most desirable of all commodities, the dream for which a modern Faust might sell his soul to the Devil. Once attained, fame is never as easy to hold on to as some people believe. The people who achieve fame by some accident of fashion are usually forgotten within a week; the ones who remain on top have to work to stay there. But few people understand this. The result is that anyone who achieves sudden notoriety arouses envy and hostility. The greater the success, the greater the reaction.
- Colin Wilson, The Geller Phenomenon, p. 28 (1976).
- With fame, in just proportion, envy grows.
- Edward Young, Epistle to Mr. Pope (1730), Epistle I, line 27.
- Men should press forward, in fame's glorious chase;
Nobles look backward, and so lose the race.
- Edward Young, Love of Fame (1725-28), Satire I, line 129.
- Wouldst thou be famed? have those high acts in view,
Brave men would act though scandal would ensue.
- Edward Young, Love of Fame (1725-28), Satire VII, line 175.
- Fame is the shade of immortality,
And in itself a shadow. Soon as caught,
Contemn'd; it shrinks to nothing in the grasp.
- Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night VII, line 363.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 256-59.
- A niche in the temple of Fame.
- Owes its origin to the establishment of the Pantheon (1791) as a receptacle for distinguished men.
- Were not this desire of fame very strong, the difficulty of obtaining it, and the danger of losing it when obtained, would be sufficient to deter a man from so vain a pursuit.
- Joseph Addison, The Spectator, No. 255.
- And what after all is everlasting fame? Altogether vanity.
- Antoninus, Med. 4. 33.
- Nothing can cover his high fame but Heaven:
No pyramids set off his memories
But the eternal substance of his greatness;
To which I leave him.
- Beaumont and Fletcher, The False One, Act II, scene 1, line 169.
- The best-concerted schemes men lay for fame,
Die fast away: only themselves die faster.
The far-fam'd sculptor, and the laurell'd bard,
Those bold insurancers of deathless fame,
Supply their little feeble aids in vain.
- Robert Blair, The Grave, line 185.
- Herostratus lives that burnt the temple of Diana; he is almost lost that built it.
- Sir Thomas Browne, Hydriotaphia, Chapter V.
- I awoke one morning and found myself famous.
- Lord Byron, in Moore's Life of Byron.
- Folly loves the martyrdom of fame.
- Lord Byron, Monody on the Death of Sheridan, line 68.
- O Fame!—if I e'er took delight in thy praises,
'Twas less for the sake of thy high-sounding phrases,
Than to see the bright eyes of the dear one discover
She thought that I was not unworthy to love her.
- Lord Byron, Stanzas Written on the Road Between Florence and Pisa.
- Fame, we may understand, is no sure test of merit, but only a probability of such: it is an accident, not a property of a man.
- Thomas Carlyle, Essay, Goethe.
- Scarcely two hundred years back can Fame recollect articulately at all; and there she but maunders and mumbles.
- Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, Chapter XVII.
- Men the most infamous are fond of fame,
And those who fear not guilt, yet start at shame.
- Charles Churchill, The Author, line 233.
- The aspiring youth that fired the Ephesian dome
Outlives, in fame, the pious fool that rais'd it.
- Colley Cibber, Richard III (Altered) (1700), Act III, scene 1.
- Je ne dois qu'à moi seul toute ma renommée.
- To myself alone do I owe my fame.
- Pierre Corneille, L'Excuse à Ariste.
- Non é il mondam romore altro che un fiato
Di vento, che vien quinci ed or vien quindi,
E muta nome, perchè muta lato.
- The splendors that belong unto the fame of earth are but a wind, that in the same direction lasts not long.
- Dante Alighieri, Purgatoria, XI. 100.
- La vostra nominanza é color d'erba,
Che viene e va; e quei la discolora
Per cui ell' esce della terra acerba.
- All your renown is like the summer flower that blooms and dies; because the sunny glow which brings it forth, soon slays with parching power.
- Dante Alighieri, Purgatoria, XI. 115.
- What shall I do to be forever known,
And make the age to come my own?
- Abraham Cowley, The Motto, line 1.
- Who fears not to do ill yet fears the name,
And free from conscience, is a slave to fame.
- Sir John Denham, Cooper's Hill, line 129.
- The Duke of Wellington brought to the post of first minister immortal fame; a quality of success which would almost seem to include all others.
- Fame then was cheap, and the first courier sped;
And they have kept it since, by being dead.
- John Dryden, The Conquest of Granada, Epilogue.
- 'Tis a petty kind of fame
At best, that comes of making violins;
And saves no masses, either. Thou wilt go
To purgatory none the less.
- George Eliot, Stradivarius, line 85.
- Fame is the echo of actions, resounding them to the world, save that the echo repeats only the last part, but fame relates all, and often more than all.
- Thomas Fuller, The Holy State and the Prophane State (1642), Of Fame.
- From kings to cobblers 'tis the same;
Bad servants wound their masters' fame.
- John Gay, Fables (1727), The Squire and his Cur, Part II.
- Der rasche Kampf verewigt einen Mann,
Er falle gleich, so preiset ihn das Lied.
- Rash combat oft immortalizes man.
If he should fall, he is renowned in song.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Iphigenia auf Tauris, V. 6. 43.
- Rash combat oft immortalizes man.
- The temple of fame stands upon the grave: the flame that burns upon its altars is kindled from the ashes of dead men.
- William Hazlitt, Lectures on the English Poets, Lecture VIII.
- Thou hast a charmed cup, O Fame!
A draught that mantles high,
And seems to lift this earthly frame
Away! to me—a woman—bring
Sweet water from affection's spring.
- Felicia Hemans, Woman and Fame.
- Short is my date, but deathless my renown.
- Homer, The Iliad, Book IX, line 535. Pope's translation.
- The rest were vulgar deaths unknown to fame.
- Homer, The Iliad, Book XI, line 394. Pope's translation.
- The life, which others pay, let us bestow,
And give to fame what we to nature owe.
- Homer, The Iliad, Book XII, line 393. Pope's translation.
- Earth sounds my wisdom, and high heaven my fame.
- Homer, The Odyssey, Book IX, line 20. Pope's translation.
- But sure the eye of time beholds no name,
So blest as thine in all the rolls of fame.
- Homer, The Odyssey, Book XI, line 591. Pope's translation.
- Where's Cæsar gone now, in command high and able?
Or Xerxes the splendid, complete in his table?
Or Tully, with powers of eloquence ample?
Or Aristotle, of genius the highest example?
- Jacopone, De Contemptu Mundi. Translation by Abraham Coles.
- Fame has no necessary conjunction with praise: it may exist without the breath of a word: it is a recognition of excellence which must be felt but need not be spoken. Even the envious must feel it: feel it, and hate it in silence.
- Mrs. Jameson, Memoirs and Essays, Washington Allston.
- Reputation being essentially contemporaneous, is always at the mercy of the Envious and the Ignorant. But Fame, whose very birth is posthumous, and which is only known to exist by the echo of its footsteps through congenial minds, can neither be increased nor diminished by any degree of wilfulness.
- Mrs. Jameson, Memoirs and Essays, Washington Allston.
- Miserum est aliorum incumbere famæ.
- It is a wretched thing to live on the fame of others.
- Juvenal, Satires, VIII. 76.
- "Let us now praise famous men"—
Men of little showing—
For their work continueth,
And their work continueth,
Greater than their knowing.
- Rudyard Kipling, words prefixed to Stalky & Co. First line from Ecclesiasticus. XLIV. 1.
- Fame comes only when deserved, and then is as inevitable as destiny, for it is destiny.
- Building nests in Fame's great temple,
As in spouts the swallows build.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nuremberg, Stanza 16.
- His fame was great in all the land.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Tales of a Wayside Inn, The Student's Tale, Emma and Eginhard, line 50.
- Though the desire of fame be the last weakness
Wise men put off.
- Philip Massinger, The Very Woman, Act V, scene 4.
- Read but o'er the Stories
Of men most fam'd for courage or for counsaile
And you shall find that the desire of glory
Was the last frailty wise men put of;
Be they presidents.
- Sir John Van Olden Barnevelt. Reprinted by A. H. Bullen.
- Fame lulls the fever of the soul, and makes
Us feel that we have grasp'd an immortality.
- Joaquin Miller, Ina, scene 4, line 273.
- Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise,
(That last infirmity of noble mind)
To scorn delights, and live laborious days;
But the fair guerdon when we hope to find,
And think to burst out into sudden blaze,
Comes the blind Fury with th' abhorred shears,
And slits the thin-spun life.
- John Milton, Lycidas, line 70.
- Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil.
- John Milton, Lycidas, line 78.
- Fame, if not double fac'd, is double mouth'd,
And with contrary blast proclaims most deeds;
On both his wings, one black, the other white,
Bears greatest names in his wild aery flight.
- "Des humeurs desraisonnables des hommes, il semble que les philosophes mesmes se desfacent plus tard et plus envy de cette cy que de nulle autre: c'est la plus revesche et opiniastre; quia etiam bene proficientes animos tentare non cessat."
- Of the unreasoning humours of mankind it seems that (fame) is the one of which the philosophers themselves have disengaged themselves from last and with the most reluctance: it is the most intractable and obstinate; for [as St. Augustine says] it persists in tempting even minds nobly inclined."
- Michel de Montaigne, Essays, Book I, Chapter XLI. Quoting the Latin from St. Augustine, De Civit. Dei. 5. 14.
- I'll make thee glorious by my pen
And famous by my sword.
- Marquis of Montrose, My Dear and Only Love.
- Ingenio stimulos subdere fama solet.
- The love of fame usually spurs on the mind.
- Ovid, Tristium. V. 1. 76.
- At pulchrum est digito monstrari et dicier hic est.
- It is pleasing to be pointed at with the finger and to have it said, "There goes the man."
- Persius, Satires, I. 28.
- To the quick brow Fame grudges her best wreath
While the quick heart to enjoy it throbs beneath:
On the dead forehead's sculptured marble shown,
Lo, her choice crown—its flowers are also stone.
- John James Piatt, The Guerdon.
- Who grasp'd at earthly fame,
Grasped wind: nay, worse, a serpent grasped that through
His hand slid smoothly, and was gone; but left
A sting behind which wrought him endless pain.
- Robert Pollok, The Course of Time (1827), Book III, line 533.
- All crowd, who foremost shall be damn'd to fame.
- Alexander Pope, Dunciad, Book III, line 158. Essay on Man, IV. 284.
- Let humble Allen, with an awkward shame,
Do good by stealth, and blush to find it Fame.
- Alexander Pope, Epilogue to Satire. Dialogue I, line 135.
- Above all Greek, above all Roman fame.
- Alexander Pope, Epistles of Horace, Epistle I, Book II, line 26.
- And what is Fame? the Meanest have their Day,
The Greatest can but blaze, and pass away.
- Alexander Pope, First Book of Horace, Epistle VI, line 46.
- Omnia post obitum fingit majora vetustas:
Majus ab exsequiis nomen in ora venit.
- Time magnifies everything after death; a man's fame is increased as it passes from mouth to mouth after his burial.
- Sextus Propertius, Elegiæ, III. 1. 23.
- Your fame shall (spite of proverbs) make it plain
To write in water 's not to write in vain.
- Anon. in preface to Sir William Sanderson, Art of Painting in Water Colours (1658).
- May see thee now, though late, redeem thy name,
And glorify what else is damn'd to fame.
- Richard Savage, Character of the Rev. James Foster, line 43.
- I'll make thee famous by my pen,
And glorious by my sword.
- Walter Scott, A Legend of Montrose (1819), Chapter XV.
- Better to leave undone, than by our deed
Acquire too high a fame, when him we serve's away.
- Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives,
Live register'd upon our brazen tombs.
- Death makes no conquest of this conqueror:
For now he lives in fame, though not in life.
- He lives in fame, that died in virtue's cause.
- Fame is the perfume of heroic deeds.
- Sloth views the towers of fame with envious eyes,
Desirous still, still impotent to rise.
- William Shenstone, Moral Pieces, The Judgment of Hercules, line 436.
- No true and permanent Fame can be founded except in labors which promote the happiness of mankind.
- Charles Sumner, Fame and Glory, An Address before the Literary Societies of Amherst College (Aug. 11, 1847).
- Censure is the tax a man pays to the public for being eminent.
- Jonathan Swift, Thoughts on Various Subjects.
- Etiam sapientibus cupido gloriæ novissima exuitur.
- The love of fame is the last weakness which even the wise resign.
- Tacitus, Annales (AD 117), IV.
- Modestiæ fama neque summis mortalibus spernenda est.
- Modest fame is not to be despised by the highest characters.
- Tacitus, Annales (AD 117), XV. 2.
- The whole earth is a sepulchre for famous men.
- Thucydides, 2, 43.
- Fama est obscurior annis.
- Ingrediturque solo, et caput inter nubila condit.
- In tenui labor, at tenuis non gloria.
- The object of the labor was small, but not the fame.
- Virgil, Georgics (c. 29 BC), IV. 6.
- Tel brille au second rang, qui s'eclipse au premier.
- He shines in the second rank, who is eclipsed in the first.
- Voltaire, Henriade, I.
- C'est un poids bien pesant qu'un nom trop tôt fameux.
- What a heavy burden is a name that has become too famous.
- Voltaire, Henriade, III.
- What rage for fame attends both great and small!
Better be d—n'd than mentioned not at all.
- John Wolcot (Peter Pindar), To the Royal Academicians. Lyric Odes for the Year 1783. Ode IX.
Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)
Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
- No true and permanent fame can be founded, except in labors which promote the happiness of mankind.
- Charles Sumner, p. 242.
- The highest greatness, surviving time and stone, is that which proceeds from the soul of man. Monarchs and cabinets, generals and admirals, with the pomp of court and the circumstance of war, in the lapse of time disappear from sight; but the pioneers of truth, though poor and lowly, especially those whose example elevates human nature, and teaches the rights of man, so that "a government of the people, by the people, for the people, may not perish from the earth;" such a harbinger can never be forgotten, and their renown spreads co-extensive with the cause they served so well.
- Charles Sumner, p. 242.
- Live for something! Do good and leave behind you a monument of virtue that the storm of time can never destroy. Write your name in kindness, love, and mercy on the hearts of the thousands you come in contact with, year by year, and you will never be forgotten. Your name, your deeds, will be as legible on the hearts you leave behind, as the stars on the brow of evening. Good deeds will shine as the stars of heaven.
- Thomas Chalmers, p. 243.
- I have learned to prize the quiet, lightning deed, not the applauding thunder at its heels that men call fame.
- Alex Smith, p. 243.
- How idle a boast, after all, is the immortality of a name! Time is ever silently turning over his pages; we are too much engrossed by the story of the present to think of the character and anecdotes that gave interest to the past; and each age is a volume thrown aside and forgotten.
- Washington Irving, p. 243.