Fire is a phenomenon of the heat and light energy released during a chemical reaction, in particular a combustion reaction. Depending on the substances involved, and any impurities within, the color and intensity of the flames of fire will vary. It is one of the four classical elements in ancient Greek philosophy and science. This page is for quotes referring to fire in literal or metaphorical ways.
- Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.
- Jorge Luis Borges, in "A New Refutation of Time" (1946).
- "Regions Caesar never knew
Thy posterity shall sway;
Where his eagles never flew,
None invincible as they."
Such the bard's prophetic words,
Pregnant with celestial fire,
Bending as he swept the chords
Of his sweet but awful lyre.
- William Cowper in "Boadicea" (1782).
- It is stern work, it is perilous work, to thrust your hand in the sun
And pull out a spark of immortal flame to warm the hearts of men:
But Prometheus, torn by the claws and beaks whose task is never done,
Would be tortured another eternity to go stealing fire again.
- Joyce Kilmer in "The Proud Poet" in Main Street and Other Poems (1917).
- Time is the school in which we learn,
Time is the fire in which we burn.
- When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.
- Shunryu Suzuki, quoted in Enter the Heart of the Fire : A collection of Mystical Poems (1981) by Mary E. Giles and Kathryn Hohlwein
- A thing happens once that has never happened before. Seeing it, a man looks upon reality. He cannot tell others what he has seen. Others wish to know, however, so they question him saying, 'What is it like, this thing you have seen?' So he tries to tell them. Perhaps he has seen the very first fire in the world. He tells them, 'It is red, like a poppy, but through it dance other colors. It has no form, like water, flowing everywhere. It is warm, like the sun of summer, only warmer. It exists for a time upon a piece of wood, and then the wood is gone, as though it were eaten, leaving behind that which is black and can be sifted like sand. When the wood is gone, it too is gone.' Therefore, the hearers must think reality is like a poppy, like water, like the sun, like that which eats and excretes. They think it is like to anything that they are told it is like by the man who has known it. But they have not looked upon fire. They cannot really know it. They can only know of it. But fire comes again into the world, many times. More men look upon fire. After a time, fire is as common as grass and clouds and the air they breathe. They see that, while it is like a poppy, it is not a poppy, while it is like water, it is not water, while it is like the sun, it is not the sun, and while it is like that which eats and passes wastes, it is not that which eats and passes wastes, but something different from each of these apart or all of these together. So they look upon this new thing and they make a new word to call it. They call it 'fire.'
If they come upon one who still has not seen it and they speak to him of fire, he does not know what they mean. So they, in turn, fall back upon telling him what fire is like. 'As they do so, they know from their own experience that what they are telling him is not the truth, but only a part of it. They know that this man will never know reality from their words, though all the words in the world are theirs to use. He must look upon the fire, smell of it, warm his hands by it, stare into its heart, or remain forever ignorant. Therefore, 'fire' does not matter, 'earth' and 'air' and 'water' do not matter. 'I' do not matter. No word matters. But man forgets reality and remembers words.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 272-73.
- Yet in oure asshen olde is fyr yreke.
- Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, The Reves Prologue, line 3,881.
- Words pregnant with celestial fire.
- William Cowper, Boadicea, 33.
- E'en from the tomb the voice of nature cries,
E'en in our ashes live their wonted fires.
- Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire.
- Thomas Gray, Elegy, 46.
- A crooked log makes a straight fire.
- George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum (1651).
- Well may he smell fire, whose gown burns.
- George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum (1651).
- Tua res agitur, paries cum proximus ardet.
- Your own property is concerned when your neighbor's house is on fire.
- Horace, Epistles, I, 18, 84.
- The burnt child dreads the fire.
- Ben Jonson, The Devil Is an Ass (performed 1616; published 1631), Act I, scene 2.
- How great a matter a little fire kindleth!
- James, III. 5.
- Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, play the man! We shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.
- Hugh Latimer, The Martyrdom, p. 523.
- There can no great smoke arise, but there must be some fire.
- John Lyly, Euphues and his Emphœbus, p. 153 (Arber's Reprint).
- All the fatt's in the fire.
- John Marston, What You Will, 1607.
- They lepe lyke a flounder out of a fryenge panne into the fyre.
- Thomas More, Dial, Book II, Chapter I. Folio LXIII. b.
- Dare pondus idonea fumo.
- Fit to give weight to smoke.
- Persius, Satires, V, 20.
- Out of the frying pan into the fire.
- Idea in Plato, De Repub., VIII, p. 569. B. Theodoret, Therap., III, 773.
- Flamma fumo est proxima.
- Flame is very near to smoke.
- Plautus, Curculio, Act I, 1, 53.
- Divert her eyes with pictures in the fire.
- Alexander Pope, Epistle to Mrs. Teresa Blount, on her leaving the Town after the Coronation.
- Heap coals of fire upon his head.
- Proverbs, XXV. 22.
- Parva sæpe scintilla contempta magnum excitavit incendium.
- A spark neglected has often raised a conflagration.
- Quintus Curtius Rufus, De Rebus Gestis Alexandria Magni, VI, 3, 11.
- A little fire is quickly trodden out;
Which, being sufter'd, rivers cannot quench.
- The fire i' the flint
Shows not till it be struck.
- Fire that's closest kept burns most of all.
- In ashes of despaire, though burnt, shall make thee live.
- Sir Philip Sidney, Arcadia.
- O joy! that in our embers
Is something that doth live.
- William Wordsworth, Ode, IV, 53. (Knight's ed).