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Quotes literal and figurative about stones.


  • Under every stone lurks a politician.
    • Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae ("Festival Time") (410 BC), line 530
  • With aching hands and bleeding feet
       We dig and heap, lay stone on stone;
    We bear the burden and the heat
       Of the long day and wish 't were done.
    Not till the hours of light return
    All we have built do we discern.
  • Virtue is like a rich stone, best plain set.
  • Stony seaboard, far and foreign,
    Stony hills poured over space,
    Stony outcrop of the Burren,
    Stones in every fertile place,
    Little fields with boulders dotted,
    Grey-stone shoulders saffron-spotted,
    Stone-walled cabins thatched with reeds,
    Where a Stone Age people breeds
    The last of Europe's stone age race.
    • John Betjeman, "Ireland with Emily", in New Bats in Old Belfries (1945)
  • Sculptured in stone on the poet's pages.
  • The stone that the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone.
  • How does it feel
    To be on your own
    With no direction home
    Like a complete unknown
    Like a rolling stone?
    • Bob Dylan, "Like a Rolling Stone", in Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
  • The hand that rounded Peter's dome,
    And groined the aisles of Christian Rome,
    Wrought in sad sincerity;
    Himself from God he could not free;
    He builded better than he knew:
    The conscious stone to beauty grew.
  • Should I have left any stone unturned.
    • Euripides, Heraclidae (c. 428 BC)
    • Variant: Leave no stone unturned.
  • I see him there
    Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
    In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
  • Life is mostly froth and bubble;
       Two things stand like stone,
    Kindness in another's trouble,
       Courage in your own.
    • Adam Lindsay Gordon, "Finis Exoptatus (A metaphysical Song)" (24 November 1866), Fytte 8 of Ye Wearie Wayfarer: Hys Ballad in Eight Fyttes, as published in Sea Spray and Smoke Drift (1867)
    • Variant: Many quoters, including Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1919), have "in our own" instead of "in your own."
  • There is many a rich stone laid up in the bowels of the earth, many a fair pearl laid up in the bosom of the sea, that never was seen, nor ever shall be.
    • Joseph Hall, Contemplations, Book VI, Contemplation I: "The Veil of Moses" (17th century)
  • Oh! que no suis-je de pierre comme toi!
    • Oh, why am I not of stone, like you?
    • Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831), book 9, chapter 4
  • Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
  • [Kicking a large stone] I refute it thus.
    • Samuel Johnson, 6 August 1763, response to James Boswell's statement that they could not refute George Berkeley's theory of the nonexistence of matter. James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791), Vol 1, p. 134
  • With useless endeavour
    Forever, forever,
    Is Sisyphus rolling
    His stone up the mountain!
  • Stone walls do not a prison make,
    Nor iron bars a cage;
    Minds innocent and quiet take
    That for an hermitage.
  • Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me,
    Otherwise kill me.
    • Louis MacNeice, "Prayer Before Birth", in Springboard: Poems, 1941-1944 (1944)
  • With chiseled touch
    The stone unhewn and cold
    Becomes a living mould,
    The more the marble wastes,
    The more the statue grows.
    • Michelangelo, sonnet addressed to Vittoria Colonna, tr. Mrs. Henry Roscoe (Maria Fletcher Roscoe), Vittoria Colonna: Her Life and Poems (1868), p. 169
  • In one hand he is carrying a stone, while he shows the bread with the other.
    • Plautus, Aulularia (c. 2nd-3rd century BC), Act II, sc. 2, l. 18
  • You could not liberate a stone if there were no law of gravity—for where will the stone go, once it is quarried?
  • I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert.
  • Too long a sacrifice
    Can make a stone of the heart.


  • A rolling stone gathers no moss.
    • Early versions include:
      • Saxum volutum non obducitur musco
        • A rolling stone does not gather moss.
        • Publius Syrus (var. Publilius), Sententiae (c. 42 BC), Maxim 524
      • Musco lapis volutus haud obducitur.
        • A rolling stone is not covered with moss.
        • Desiderius Erasmus, Adagia (1500–1536), III, iv
      • The rollyng ſtone neuer gathereth moſſse.
        • The rolling stone never gathers moss.
        • John Heywood, Proverbs (1546), Part 1, Ch. 11

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