Wikiquote:Reference desk/Archive/2

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The quote "Be kind for everyone is fighting a hard battle" is attributed to Plato. Is it from one of his works?-- 23:50, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

On Kindness by Lawrence J. Danks attributes the quote "Be kind - everyone is fighting a hard battle" to John Watson, while The Complete Idiot's Guide to Handwriting Analysis by Sheila R. Lowe attributes it to Felix Klein, though both could simply have heard it elsewhere.
I found no mention of this quote in a recent review of Hoyt's New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (K. L. Roberts, 1940) and The International Thesaurus of Quotations (R. T. Tripp, 1987). I'll keep looking. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 16:16, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
I've actually seen this quote attributed to Philo, a Greek philosopher (15 BC - 50 BC), but not in any reliable source other than quote sites. I don't know if that helps, but I'll also look to see if I can find it in anything more reliable. ~ UDScott 16:23, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Also not found in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1919), The Columbia World of Quotations (1996), Simpson's Contemporary Quotations (1988), or Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989). Nothing remotely resembling this quote can be found in these either for Plato or Philo, and Felix Klein (assuming Lowe means the German mathematician) isn't quoted in any of these references. Does Danks say which "John Watson" said this, and/or when? ~ Jeff Q (talk) 23:58, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Here (under September 19 and September 15) is excellent evidence that the 'hard battle' adage isn't a quotation from Philo: a number of Philo scholars agree that they've never come across it in his works. So apparently it isn't by him, and I must say it doesn't sound at all like Plato to me. However one man on the blog linked above does identify the phrase 'Everyone is fighting a hard battle' as a commentary on the Biblical phrase 'brotherly kindness', made by Biblical scholar Ozora S Davis in 1920. Could that be the origin? Antiquary 20:52, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
To answer my own question, no it couldn't. Four years earlier A Savage Club Souvenir (privately printed, 1916), p. 69, quoted it thus: '"Be pitiful, for everyone is fighting a hard battle," said Ian Maclaren'. And two years before that: 'Dr. Watson's Christmas message to the world, "Be pitiful, every man is fighting a hard battle" is more generally needed than we realize, because it is so universally true' (George MacAdam The Harps of God (1914) p. 73). These are not two different authors, both of them are Ian Maclaren, pseudonym of John Watson (1850-1907). An undateable extract from the Windsor Magazine found on Google Book gives a further clue:
But just as a sailor is said to have a sweetheart in every port, so I must confess to a favourite quotation in any number of books. For working purposes, however, the following is hard to beat - 'Be pitiful, for every man is fighting a hard battle.' I wish I could say it was of my own coining, but it is from the British Weekly, where it appeared as my friend Ian Maclaren's Christmas Greeting.
Just to muddy the waters a little more, when this 'pitiful' version turns up on the Web it's often attributed to T H Thompson. Who he? Antiquary 15:12, 9 September 2006 (UTC)


English good enough for Jesus[edit]

Miriam A. Ferguson reportedly said a quote which sounds like "If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it is good enough for the children of Texas." Several minutes of research have found over half a dozen variants on this quote, and nothing mentions source information, except two researchers lamenting not managing to find any source. I would love to have some sort of sourcing for that quote. ~ MosheZadka (Talk) 16:13, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

There are some quotes along those lines in the book The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Modern Translations? by James R. White, which may have some sourcing to them, but one of my former roommates still has my copy and I don't expect to get it back.
"If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me" turns up on page 35 of Richard Lederer's The Bride of Anguished English : A Bonanza of Bloopers, Blunders, Botches, and Boo-Boos attributed without sourcing to an Arkansas congressman to the Joint National Committee on Language.
I found no mention of this quote in a recent review of Hoyt's New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (K. L. Roberts, 1940) and The International Thesaurus of Quotations (R. T. Tripp, 1987). I'll keep looking. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 16:30, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Also not found in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1919), The Columbia World of Quotations (1996), Simpson's Contemporary Quotations (1988), or Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989). ~ Jeff Q (talk) 00:01, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

How do I reference a quotation from Wikiquote?[edit]

I'm not sure what to reference Wikiquote as...


I used the quotation " "Once one is caught up into the material world...wise and tragic sense of life" from one of F. Scott Fitzgerald's letters to his daughter Frances Scott Fitzgerald on October 5, 1940. This quotation is from the article on F.Scott Fitzgerald quotations. I'm not sure how to reference this in my Works Cited though. Pleaese help!

Well, first of all, wikiquote is not original research: you should cite FSF's letter. If you want to give the Wikiquote page as reference, I suggest putting something like
Wikiquote article on F. Scott Fitzgerald,
This way you're referencing a known version. ~ MosheZadka (Talk) 02:40, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

what doesnt kill[edit]

do you know who makes the quote : "what doesnt kill you will make you stronger"?

That is a paraphrase of a famous statement by Friedrich Nietzsche. ~ Achilles 14:26, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

See also o que não mata, engorda ("if it doesn't kill, it makes you fat"), something apparently said in Brazil before eating something that fell to the floor. Reference: w:Five-second rule. ~ MosheZadka (Talk) 20:47, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

That which does not kill us makes us stronger. - Friedrich Nietzsche ... ask any Socjalist and Neo-Nazi they like to repeat that quite often.

Nietzsche quotation, where does it come from?[edit]

Can anyone tell me where the quotation "The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time." by Friedrich Nietzsche was published? And could someone perhaps provide the original text in German? Thanks in advance! Kim -- 13:15, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

I found no mention of this quote in a recent review of Hoyt's New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (K. L. Roberts, 1940) or The International Thesaurus of Quotations (R. T. Tripp, 1987). I'll keep looking. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 16:39, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
The Columbia World of Quotations (1996) cites this as:
The advantage of having a bad memory is that you can enjoy the same good things for the first time several times.
from Nietzsche's Human, All Too Human (1878), "9: Man Alone with Himself", aphorism 580. I found the following German version:
Schlechtes Gedächtnis. — Der Vorteil des schlechten Gedächtnisses ist, dass man die selben guten Dinge mehrere Male zum Ersten Male genießt.
at the site, under the German title Menschliches, Allzumenschliches I, "IX. Der Mensch mit sich allein". (I don't know what the "I" is for, but the rest of the title matches the English translation.) It's so nice to pin one of these down for a change! There's even a copy of Cambridge's 1996 English publication (ISBN 0521567041) in my local library, so I think I might try to get this into Wikisource (which has a redlink for it on their Nietzsche index). ~ Jeff Q (talk) 00:31, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

A man without tea in him is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.[edit]

That is supposed to be a Japanese proverb. Does anyone have the Japanese original, and some kind of source, or is this another one of those "Western world makes up some quote and attributes it to the most handy Asian nation"? Pending some sort of reference, I've moved the "proverb" to the talk page. ~ MosheZadka (Talk) 20:42, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

I found no mention of this quote in a recent review of Hoyt's New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (K. L. Roberts, 1940) or The International Thesaurus of Quotations (R. T. Tripp, 1987). I'll keep looking. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 16:39, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
The closest thing I could find so far is from British clergyman Sydney Smith:
Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist?
whose source publication Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1919) and The Columbia World of Quotations (1996) disagree on. But never mind, since it's not really what we're after. I could find anything including "tea", "truth", and "beauty" in Bartlett's, Columbia, Simpson's Contemporary Quotations (1988), or Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989). ~ Jeff Q (talk) 00:55, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
This extract from Kakuzo Okakura's 'The Book of Tea' (1906) seems to the point:
'The long isolation of Japan from the rest of the world, so conducive to introspection, has been highly favourable to the development of Teaism. Our home and habits, costume and cuisine, porcelain, lacquer, painting -- our very literature -- all have been subject to its influence. No student of Japanese culture could ever ignore its presence. It has permeated the elegance of noble boudoirs, and entered the abode of the humble. Our peasants have learned to arrange flowers, our meanest labourer to offer his salutation to the rocks and waters. In our common parlance we speak of the man "with no tea" in him, when he is insusceptible to the serio-comic interests of the personal drama. Again we stigmatise the untamed aesthete who, regardless of the mundane tragedy, runs riot in the springtide of emancipated emotions, as one "with too much tea" in him'.
Isn't that last sentence wonderful! Antiquary 21:23, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
Excellent find, Antiquary! It sounds like this was an established Japanese proverb by Okakura's time, but this now becomes our first print sighting from a reliable source. Thanks for tracking this down. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 22:16, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Fair Usage[edit]

I'm unclear what how copyright and fair usage comes into play with quotes. Let's imagine that I want to publish a greeting card with a quote on the inside. I take for granted that I could use any quote that someone has spoken, but what if it's a line from a published (non-public domain) work?

Would appreciate your thoughts. -- 19:26, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

I don't know if we have any lawyers participating on Wikiquote. I know I'd be very wary of trying to make money from someone else's quote, even if attributed. That's one of the red flags for U.S. copyright law. You might want to ask a greeting-card publisher how they do it. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 16:04, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die[edit]

I'm having trouble finding the source of the above quote in that exact form. I've found references to Isaiah 22:13, I Corinthians 15:32 and Ecclesiastes 8:15, but these all have words that are similar to but not exactly like my quote. Does anybody know the originator of this exact form of words? JackofOz 05:19, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

I'm researching this, but I can say right now it'll be hard to prove an "original" source for this phrase. The Biblical versions, which show a progressive inclusion of the "eat and drink [and be merry]" and "tomorrow you die" concepts, all started in languages other than English. By the time they made it into English, they may have been insensibly confounded by a millenium of canonical redaction (i.e., revisions to an ever-changing standard of approved inclusion and phrasing). Just for the record, the relevant passages, in the wording and order of the Authorized (King James) Version, 1611, are:
  • A man hath no better thing under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry. ~ Ecclesiastes 8:15 (Old Testament)
  • Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die. ~ Isaiah 22:13 (Old Testament)
  • Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. ~ Luke 12:19 (New Testament)
  • If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. ~ I Corinthians 15:32
Jeff Q (talk) 22:35, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps I can attempt to help with some Hebrew originals and incredibly literal word-for-word translations:
  • Isaia 22:13
    • אכול ושתו כי מחר נמות
    • Eat (second person singular musculine) and drink (second person plural) because tommorow we will die.
  • Ecclesiastes 8:17
    • הנה אשר ראיתי אני טוב אשר יפה לאכול ולשתות ולראות טובה בכל עמלו
    • Here that I saw good that is nice to eat and to drink and to see goodness in all his work.
These are the Hebrew originals which I think has actual historical evidence for being untampered with for well over a thousand years (and thus before English came about) ~ MosheZadka (Talk) 13:38, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
I've stuck to literal word for word, even when it thoroughly hurt the understanding, to make the following points clear: the first one has no mention of making merry (just to eat and drink) and the second one makes no reference to death (and no real making merry, but I guess you could translate it to "be happy about his work") ~ MosheZadka (Talk) 13:38, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
A few months late, but more information is always better, right? The exact phrasing JackofOz quotes was used in the lyrics of "Tripping Billies", a minor hit from the Dave Matthews Band of a few years ago. While this is unlikely to be the first appearance of the phrase, it may account for some of its recent increase in prominence. 121a0012 06:20, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
There's another early usage in the Histories of Herodotus, and a most curious one it is. Herodotus is here discussing the habits of the Egyptians:
In social meetings among the rich, when the banquet is ended, a servant carries round to the several guests a coffin, in which there is a wooden image of a corpse, carved and painted to resemble nature as nearly as possible, about a cubit or two cubits in length. As he shows it to each guest in turn, the servant says, "Gaze here, and drink and be merry; for when you die, such will you be." [Herodotus 2:78]
However this doesn't answer the OP's question, which was about the words 'eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die' in that exact form. The earliest usage I can find is in John Riland Antichrist; Papal, Protestant, and Infidel (1828) p. 158:
They may, therefore, delay repentance; eat, drink, and be merry; and when to-morrow they die, to-morrow they shall likewise have the usual security against the powers of death and hell.
Or if even that isn't precise enough then Daniel D Smith Lectures on Domestic Duties (1837) p. 137:
The Sensualist and Prodigal. This class mistake the object of their being.- Their language is - 'Eat, drink, and be merry, for to-morrow we die,' - or, 'Let us eat, and fill ourselves with strong drink, for to-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.'
But of course I'm not suggesting that the modern phrase is a quotation from either Riland or Smith, it's just that they might have been among the first to misquote Scripture in that particular way. Antiquary 18:46, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

The exact quote you are looking for is found in the Book of Mormon, found in the sub-book 2nd Nephi chapter 28 verses 7-8. This is the quote: "Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.

 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God."

If you want to check it out, on the website, this is the web address:

The exact phrasing, "Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die," also appears in Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle (1963). Although the Book of Mormon predates that.

Cancer treatments[edit]

What is "molecular diagnostics" and how is it used today (2005) to diagnose and treat potential cancer patients? What companies are working in this area?-- 19:14, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Wikiquote's reference desk is for researching questions about quotations, not general information. You might try Wikipedia:Reference desk/Science instead. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 20:01, 13 November 2005 (UTC)



I found no mention of this quote in a recent review of Hoyt's New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (K. L. Roberts, 1940) (perhaps not so surprising) or The International Thesaurus of Quotations (R. T. Tripp, 1987). I'll keep looking. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 16:40, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Also not found (quoting anybody) in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1919), The Columbia World of Quotations (1996), Simpson's Contemporary Quotations (1988), or Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989). ~ Jeff Q (talk) 01:01, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

"Bill Clinton was the best Republican president in recent years"[edit]

Does anyone know with whom the above quotation originated, and what was the exact wording? There are variations online, "best Republican president since Eisenhower" etc. I realize of course Clinton was registered Democrat; the point the person was presumably making was that Clinton persued a number of traditionally conservative/Republican policies despite their animosity towards him. Thanks! --anon

Not found in The Columbia World of Quotations (1996). It's frequently quoted in political blogs, of course, but as usual, virtually no one cites a source (except to claim it as their own saying). I have a lead on a Michael Moore quote from Stupid White Men (2002) which I intend to check out shortly. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 01:19, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
Bingo! I got an exact quote in a published source:
  • Yes, you'd have to agree, considering all of his above accomplishments, that Bill Clinton was one of the best Republican Presidents we've ever had.
    • Stupid White Men (2001), chapter 10, "Democrats, DOA". p. 211; ISBN 0-06-039245-2
    • after a 2-page, 19-paragraph list of traditionally conservative actions and events under Clinton's administration
This doesn't rule out an earlier version, but I suspect most blog versions post-date this quote and improvise on it. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 21:45, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
I'm sure you're right in all this, but there is an earlier British version in which Tony Blair is satirised as a crypto-Conservative. For example, one writer in 1998 said 'Blair seems to be the best Tory prime minister we could wish for'. So far as my memory goes some people have been saying that since Blair was first elected in 1997, and the same thing used to be said about James Callaghan and (I think) Harold Wilson in the seventies. In one 1977 example, the writer claimed: 'Sometimes it is said that Mr. Callaghan, especially in his views of education, is the best Conservative Prime Minister Britain can get. But this is an unfair jibe. Mr. Callaghan is Labour to the core'. That last quote comes from - a long PDF document which you'll have to scroll halfway down. Did Michael Moore adapt his joke from British political commentary, or is it just a case of similar causes producing similar effects? Antiquary 16:59, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
There was a statement going round in the late 19th century in Britain that the best government was "Tory men and Whig measures" (in other words, a Conservative Party government implementing Liberal Party policies). I suspect the origin is apocryphal. Fys. “Ta fys aym”. 23:32, 20 August 2006 (UTC) (UPDATE: I was wrong, it's from Coningsby by Benjamin Disraeli (1844). Tomorrow I will add it to Disraeli's quotes page. Fys. “Ta fys aym”. 23:37, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

"He deserves paradise who makes his companions laugh" -Koran?[edit]

I know that the quote He deserves paradise who makes his companions laugh does not appear in any translation of the Koran, or anything like it. Nevertheless, the quote is ascribed to it in a number of books (thirteen hits on "Search Inside This Book" on Amazon) and in many places online (over 500 hits on Google). There are some little variations, like "brothers" instead of "companions" or giving the author as "Mohammad, The Koran" rather than just the Koran. At most, it might be a hadith, and one would suspect a weak one, or perhaps it belongs to a character like Mullah Nasruddin, a humorous fabled figure. Anyone know where the quote actually originated, and when and where it was first attached to the Koran? The oldest book Amazon has it in is Cartoon Thinking by Dan G. Holt (1993). Oldest reference found through Google Book Search is Making Humor Work by Terry Paulson (1990). I first saw it in Humerus Vol. V, No.1 (1993), page 30. -- anon

I found no mention of this quote in a recent review of Hoyt's New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (K. L. Roberts, 1940) or The International Thesaurus of Quotations (R. T. Tripp, 1987). I'll keep looking. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 16:41, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
I couldn't find any combination of "deserves", "paradise", and "laugh" in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1919), The Columbia World of Quotations (1996), Simpson's Contemporary Quotations (1988), or Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989). But considering that only Respectfully Quoted has any quote (just 1!) from the Koran, and all 4 together have only 6 mentions of it at all, this may not be surprising. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 01:23, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
According to a searchable Koran translation from UMich, the word "paradise" is only used 3 times in the whole work, and most of the 16 uses of the word "laugh" are of the mocking or insulting variety. The former sounds a bit fishy, so I'd take this with a grain of salt. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 01:29, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
Like the OP, I can't find any source earlier than Making Humor Work (which however seems to have been first published in 1989) that links the quotation in question to the Koran, and neither can I find it in any hadith. There is a tradition according to which when 'Ibn 'Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) was asked, "Did the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) laugh?", he said, "Yes, and the faith in their hearts was like mountains"'. Could that be relevant? I also have another lead which comes from W W Cobbett & Sidney Dark (eds.) Fleet Street: An Anthology of Modern Journalism (1932) p. xx:
I am told that in the Talmud, which needless to say is not one of my bedside books, this passage occurs: 'Paradise belongs to him who makes his companions laugh,' an aphorism in which there is more than one, nay more than twenty grains of truth.
At first sight that looks very promising, since it antedates any other known usage of this quote by more than half a century, but I'm afraid I can't find one shred of evidence to back up the assertion that there is such a passage in the Talmud. Antiquary 19:45, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
Thanks everybody for their efforts so far! The thematically similar hadith is interesting, but I'd still love to know the original source of this particular quote and its mistaken attribution.

Weakest members[edit]

"The best test of a civilised society is the way in which it treats its weakest members." Is this quotation atrributable to anyone in particular or is it proverb-like?

First, let me say that many proverbs have citable sources, so we try to source them whenever we can as well.
I was surprised that I didn't find an immediate source for this popular quote. It doesn't seem to be in Wikiquote or Wikipedia already, and Google has been of little help so far. (Naturally, other quote databases are completely useless, as they rarely provide sources and often get the quotees wrong.) So far, the closest I've come is a quote we currently have attributed to Mohandas Gandhi:
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
Some people have claimed that Gandhi actually said some form of the quote you cite, but I suspect they may be misremembering it in this more generic form. Or maybe our own citation is in error. Or both. (That's why we need specific sources.) I haven't found it in Oxford (which is disappointingly light on Gandhi quotes, but maybe that's not too surprising from a former-British-Empire publication). Next step is the public library. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 08:09, 6 January 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps :
It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life-the sick, the needy and the handicapped.
-- Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, remarks at the dedication of the Hubert H. Humphrey Building, November 1, 1977.-Congressional Record, November 4, 1977, vol. 123, p. 37287.
If this is the way Queen Victoria treats her prisoners, she doesn't deserve to have any. -- Oscar Wilde
MeltBanana 21:39, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

This quote, or variations of it, has appeared in a number of sources, without any obvious connection. It is attributed to Pearl Buck, and a variation is found in the Preamble to the Swiss constitution.

    • Just a stabbing recollection here— and I'll confirm this as soon as I can if you post a contact to my talk at wikipedia, but I believe that is a direct word for word quote by historian Eric Flint, in the book "1632", 2001. The book is an alternate history, a sub-genre of speculative fiction and/or science fiction.
As it happens, I'm currently expanding the article on same on wikiPedia (essential a rough draft at the moment), but I'm only three days into the project. I'll be skimming most again for a synopsis+characters, so I can verify fairly soon. Don't know if that's helpful Vs. your proverbs, etc. but I can verify the word by word on that.
best regards24.61.229.179 06:30, 21 March 2006 (UTC) aka user:fabartus@wikiP

The International Thesaurus of Quotations (R. T. Tripp, 1987) provides a somewhat different take on this idea:

The true test of civilization is, not the census, nor the size of the cities, nor the crops — no, but the kind of man the country turns out. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Civilization", Society and Solitude, 1870

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (K. L. Roberts, 1940) didn't have anything resembling the concept, let alone the desired phrasing. I'll keep looking. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 16:59, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

I think I have a fairly definitive answer for this question, coming from The Columbia World of Quotations (1996) and Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989). There is a chronological progression of quotes on this subject from three notables:

  • A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.
    • Samuel Johnson, 1770; quoted by the Rev. Dr. Maxwell in Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell (1791) [Columbia]
      • NOTE: Project Gutenberg's copy of Life of Samuel Johnson includes, as far as I could tell, no such quote. I checked instances of "provision", "poor", "true test", and "civilization" (even "civilisation"), and also read the entire section of Maxwell's 1770 report.
  • If a test of civilization be sought, none can be so sure as the condition of that half of society over which the other half has power.
  • Yet somehow our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is in the way that it cares for its helpless members.
    • Pearl Buck, My Several Worlds (1954), p. 337 [Respectfully]

This suggests that the sentiment had its earliest (second-hand) expression from Johnson ("poor" instead of "weakest", assuming the reference is correct), a less direct but more appropriate expression (less "power" = "weaker") from Martineau, and a near exact expression from Buck. If we can trust the citations, all three are sufficiently specific to be considered sourced quotes. I'm hoping to get a copy of Boswell shortly to see if the Gutenberg version is missing anything. If anyone wants verification of the other two, I'll have to take a trip to the Library of Congress. (It may take a trip to LoC for Boswell, as they have many editions, going back at least to 1811, and some are abridgements or include "corrections".) ~ Jeff Q (talk) 02:25, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Both the 1966 reprinting of the 1953 Oxford edition (no ISBN, of course) and the 1992 Knopf/Random House edition (ISBN 0-679-41717-6) include the following paragraph in "1770: AETAT. 61" section, in which Boswell "present[s] my readers with some Collectanea [collected writings], obligingly furnished to me by the Rev. Dr. Maxwell, of Falkland, in Ireland, sometime assistant preacher at the Temple, and for many years the social friend of Johnson, who spoke of him with a very kind regard":
  • 'He [Johnson] said, "the poor in England were better provided for, than in any other country of the same extent: he did not mean little Cantons, or petty Republicks. Where a great proportion of the people (said he,) are suffered to languish in helpless misery, that country must be ill policed, and wretchedly governed: a decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.—Gentlemen of education, he observed, were pretty much the same in all countries; the condition of the lower orders, the poor especially, was the true mark of national discrimination."
    • Life of Samuel Johnson, "A.D. 1770: AETAT. 61", p. 446; 1953; London: Oxford University Press
[Italicized name and bolding of the desired quotation are mine; all other spelling and punctuation are as-is from the 1953 edition. The closing single-quote for the entire passage is omitted in the original because it is one of a long series of paragraphs quoted from Maxwell. Bear in mind that this is Boswell quoting a letter from Maxwell quoting Samuel Johnson.] For reasons I cannot fathom, this paragraph and quite a bit more of Maxwell's 1770 "collectanea" are missing from the Project Gutenberg copy of Life of Samuel Johnson. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 22:14, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
P.S. I believe I now understand why the above material is missing from Project Gutenberg's copy of Boswell's Life of Johnson. According to its bibliographic record, the Gutenberg copy is "abridged and edited, with an introduction by Charles Grosvenor Osgood". This illustrates a tricky point in copyright law. Osgood's edition is public domain, so it can be made readily available through PG. But the editions I reviewed to find the missing material were published by others after 1923, so it's quite possible they can't be scanned and OCR'd into a form for PG or Wikisource, making it harder for us to find the material on the Internet, even though the original material is clearly beyond its copyright period. Indeed, publishers have been known to introduce deliberate errors or other editorial changes in their works specifically to catch infringers. Unfortunately, that makes life a bit harder for us researchers. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 13:31, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Nothing sells like controversy[edit]

Who said: "Nothing sells like Controversy?" Randolph Hearst? -- at 19:29, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

Hmmm. It's a popular expression, and it does sound like something William Randolph Hearst might have said, but my handy copy of The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (1999) has only this famous quote:
  • You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war.
Unsurprisingly, not one of the 100+ Google hits included an attribution. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 20:35, 15 January 2006 (UTC)
I found no mention of this quote in a recent review of Hoyt's New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (K. L. Roberts, 1940) and The International Thesaurus of Quotations (R. T. Tripp, 1987). I'll keep looking. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 17:11, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
I didn't find anything like this from anyone, nor any similar quote from Hearst, in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1919), The Columbia World of Quotations (1996), Simpson's Contemporary Quotations (1988), or Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989). ~ Jeff Q (talk) 02:29, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

what is the origi of the proverb-"never give up" by winston churchill[edit]

(no text provided)

I'll give this one an initial shot at least. Here is the the relevant passage from Winston Churchill's speech at Harrow School on 29 October 1941 (from wikisource:Never Give In, Never, Never, Never):

But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period - I am addressing myself to the School - surely from this period of ten months this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

Note that the key phrase is "never give in", not "never give up". This may seem like a small matter, but when people hunt for words either in search engines or quotation dictionary indexes, it's vital to provide as exact a quote as possible, lest the few researchers we have waste their time on wild goose chases.

For this quote specifically, nothing in the speech suggests that this is a proverb. Furthermore, the phrase "never give in" contains no words that are likely to appear in quote indexes very often. Words like "surrender", "fighting", or "war", although not part of the quote, may help for quote sources that are organized by topic. (Unfortunately, "war" is such a broad topic, often with many sub- or related topics, and is so often the source of memorable quotes, that it is a hard place to start.)

I was not surprised to find no mention of this presumed proverb in a review of Hoyt's New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (K. L. Roberts, 1940) and The International Thesaurus of Quotations (R. T. Tripp, 1987). ~ Jeff Q (talk) 17:49, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

what sparks the question for moral principle[edit]

(no text provided)

One should always include some explanation of a request here to help researchers understand the question and hunt for the answers. A naked quote without explanation is almost certain to be ignored, as this one has been. If one wants people to work on finding a source, it is also helpful to provide any context in which it was heard, like a publication it was mentioned in, or possible authors, even if only rumored. The more information one provides, and the clearer the request, the more likely somebody will work on it.

In this case, I've never heard this phrase (question?), and the sole Google hit is this Wikiquote page, making me wonder if this is even a request for the source of a quote, or even a vandal posting nonsense for all one can tell. Or it could just be a general question. We don't know because the editor didn't explain anything. Personally, I'm not inclined to pursue this without some clarification. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 17:43, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

A society is only three meals away from anarchy[edit]

Need the attribution for this. Earliest reference I could find was sci-fi author Larry Niven but I'm not sure it was his. Also some references to Plato but nothing conclusive. Anyone?

Not a particularly great reference (couldn't find a script) but try "Red Dwarf": "They say that every society is only three meals away from revolution. Deprive a culture of food for three meals, and you'll have an anarchy. And it's true, isn't it? You haven't eaten for a couple of days, and you've turned into a barbarian."

The International Thesaurus of Quotations (R. T. Tripp, 1987) had some related statements:
  • A full gut supports moral precepts. ~ quoted in Burmese Proverbs, 1962, Hle Pe (ed.)
  • Spread the table and contention will cease. ~ English proverb
but nothing quite like this excellent quote. I found nothing worth mentioning in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (K. L. Roberts, 1940). I'll keep looking. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 17:57, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
I found nothing like this quote searching either for "meals" or "anarchy" (or for "society" and "revolution", which individually include far too many instances to examine quickly) in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1919), The Columbia World of Quotations (1996), Simpson's Contemporary Quotations (1988), or Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989). ~ Jeff Q (talk) 02:42, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
That conversation was in Red Dwarf, Series III (aka season 3), episode 2 - Marooned (premiered in 1989), around 15:40 (watch episode). However, the quote's authorship was brought up in a later Wikiquote post suggesting that "Any society is only three square meals away from revolution" may have been said by Dumas (1802-1870) or Trotsky (1879-1940), with possible variations of the concept by Frederick Upham Adams (1896) or ancient Roman society (753 BC-1453 AD). See also this blog post for some roumers of authorship being credited to contemporary writers. -- 05:14, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

When and where did Wilber Wright say this?[edit]

“The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors, who, in their grueling travels across trackless lands in prehistoric times, looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space, at full speed, above all obstacles, on the infinite highway of air.”

Henri Montandon

I found no mention of this quote in a review of Hoyt's New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (K. L. Roberts, 1940) or The International Thesaurus of Quotations (R. T. Tripp, 1987). I'll keep looking. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 18:00, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
I found a site that claims this comes from The Road to Kitty Hawk, by Valerie Moolman et al. (p. 17). I should be able to confirm this shortly at the library. Hopefully it will include a date and place. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 03:42, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
The exact text from Moolman is:
  • "The desire to fly," wrote Wilbur Wright, "is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who, in their grueling travels across trackless lands in prehistoric times, looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space, at full speed, above all obstacles, on the infinite highway of the air."
    • Moolman, Valerie. The Road to Kitty Hawk, chapter 1: "In Search of the 'Infinite Highway'", p. 17. 1979: Time-Life Books. ISBN 0-8094-3259-5.
Unfortunately, Time-Life doesn't seem to believe in footnotes, so she doesn't provide an exact citation. However, her bibliography includes two Wright-authored references:
  • Wright, Orville and Wilbur, "The Wright Brothers' Aeroplane", The Century Magazine (#76, pp. 641-650), September 1908
  • Wright, Orville, "How We Invented the Airplane", Harper's Magazine (#206, pp. 25-33), June 1953.
(The issue and page numbers are actually from a periodical index.) That doesn't necessarily mean that Wilbur's quote is in either of these, but it's worth checking. It may take me a while to do so, however; 1953 Harper's is in a remote library branch, and 1908 Century will require a trip to a local university or the Library of Congress. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 22:31, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
The passage in question comes from a speech Wilbur Wright delivered on 5th November 1908. As quoted in Judith A Dempsey's A Tale of Two Brothers: The Story of the Wright Brothers (2003), p. 101, it goes like this:
I sometimes think that the desire to fly after the fashion of birds is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who, in their grueling travels across trackless lands in prehistoric times, looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space, at full speed, above all obstacles, on the infinite highway of the air.
She cites as her authority Marvin W McFarland (ed.) The Papers of Wilbur and Orville Wright (1953), vol. 2, p. 934. Antiquary 15:58, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
Grrr. I had McFarland in my hands several months ago at GMU, but couldn't find the passage (lacking the page number). Thanks for digging this up, especially as it will save me the trouble of another LoC trip for the Harper's and Century checks. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 16:56, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

I bid thee goodnight for my head is heavy and my bed is calling.[edit]

Can anyone assist me in finding the origin of this quote? I heard it once many years ago, and would love to know who said it originally. I appreciate any and all assistance. Thank you.

Someone called "Ladyglen" wrote a story, posted on several fan-fiction websites, that includes a very similar quote:
I hear you, my Prince, and your plea has touched me. I promise you, I will consider your request, but I pray you’ll forgive me if I do not give you an answer this night. My head is heavy, and my bed is calling. I bid you good night. ~ "A Simple Kiss"
If you heard it many years ago, it seems likely "Ladyglen" is either borrowing the same original or is just using the phrase without recalling that they'd heard it before. (Or plagiarizing it, but there's no need to jump to conclusions, especially when we don't even have a source yet.)
I found no mention of this quote in a review of Hoyt's New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (K. L. Roberts, 1940) or The International Thesaurus of Quotations (R. T. Tripp, 1987). I'll keep looking. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 18:14, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Reviewing Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1919), The Columbia World of Quotations (1996), Simpson's Contemporary Quotations (1988), and Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989) for many combinations of "bid", "thee", "goodnight" (or "good night"), "head", "heavy", "bed", and "calling", the closest I came up with are these two quotes:
  • O bed! O bed! delicious bed! / That heaven upon earth to the weary head!
    • Thomas Hood (1799–1845), Miss Kilmansegg and Her Precious Leg: "Her Dream" [Bartlett's]
  • … But the horses / Are rested and it's time to say Good-night, / And let you get to bed again…
Looks like more research is needed. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 03:39, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Quote: I"ll sleep when . . Source please[edit]

I am searching for the original source of "I'll sleep when I am dead." I am pretty sure my friend did not make it up. Thanks --

I'm pretty sure you're right. It seems like every fourth quote about sleep compares it to death, making this one hard to find in the mass of sleep/death quotes. I found no mention of this quote in a review of Hoyt's New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (K. L. Roberts, 1940) or The International Thesaurus of Quotations (R. T. Tripp, 1987). Weird Al Yankovic wrote a 1983 song titled "I'll Be Mellow When I'm Dead" (from his self-titled album, which is similar but not quite the same. (And I'm sure he didn't come up with the basic idea, either.) I'll keep looking. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 18:36, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
Checking Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1919), The Columbia World of Quotations (1996), Simpson's Contemporary Quotations (1988), and Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989), the closest thing I found to this idea was from George Arnold (1834-1865), cited in Bartlett's:
"Learn while you’re young," he often said,
"There is much to enjoy, down here below;
Life for the living, and rest for the dead!"
Said the jolly old pedagogue, long ago.
  • "The Jolly Old Pedagogue" provides the complete text, confirming this, although I'd prefer to have a published, dated work to cite. This may serve as an early bracket for when the modern version of the quote appears. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 03:22, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
It seems that the line 'I've got plenty of time to sleep when I'm dead' appears in a 1934 play by Alice Gerstenberg called 'Within the Hour', but I'm having some trouble in confirming the date of this play from any source other than Google Books. Antiquary 22:13, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
From Benjamin Franklin, 1757, "The Way to Wealth":
"How much more than is necessary do we spend in Sleep! forgetting that The sleeping Fox catches no Poultry, and that there will be sleeping enough in the Grave, as Poor Richard says."
~rpassero, 12 February 2007

"I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" is a song on Warren Zevon's self-titled album, Warren Zevon, released in 1976.

A person using foul language[edit]

I heard a saying many years ago, it goes something like-- When you open your mouth you show ----- or, When you use that language you show---


I don't wish to offend anyone's sensibilities, but it's rather difficult to track down a quote when critical words in the quote are replaced by hyphens. Please be specific. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 22:49, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

I believe this (or something very similar) is in the Book of Proverbs in the Good News Bible (Catholic Bible). I have also seen it elsewhere, like: "When you open your mouth you show the world who you are (you are advertising yourself to the world)". Also: "What is in the heart/thoughts/mind of a man, is shown in his words/deeds, then you see the man", to say that evil/foul words/deeds show a wicked nature.

Edward Abbey quotes Voltaire?[edit]

Who said something like this quote? "Man will never be free until the last King has been hung by the entrails from the last Priest." I thought I ran across in it Edward Abbey's journals "Confessions of a Barbarian", but I can't find it. I think the story was that when he was editor of the school newspaper at University of New Mexico, he (Abbey) attributed the quote to Lousia May Alcott, but that it was really Voltaire. I can't find it anywhere, so far... --Billmorgan93 16:30, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

I checked Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1919), The Columbia World of Quotations (1996), Simpson's Contemporary Quotations (1988), and Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989) for various combinations of "free", "king", "hung", and "priest", as well as "Voltaire" and these words, and examined every Louisa May Alcott quote they had. No luck yet. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 03:07, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
Have you tried wikiquote I hear it is a quite good online quotation source. Ahem sorry. Try Denis Diderot well actually w:Jean Meslier. MeltBanana 23:22, 29 April 2006 (UTC)
Touché, MeltBanana! I'm so used to researching quotes that aren't yet in Wikiquote, I forgot to check if this might already be here! I am suitably chastised. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 23:42, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

Source for "ignorance is bliss..."[edit]

This was posed by IP on the Quotation Chalkboard page (which I'm putting up to Wikiquote:Votes for deletion):

Kalki cites Alexander Pope as the source of the famous "ignorance is bliss..." line, but I'm finding it attributed to Thomas Gray in the typical online collections of quotations.

Presumably, the user was looking for some confirmation either way. —LrdChaos 03:21, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

Both Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1919) and The Columbia World of Quotations (1996) agree that this is from Thomas Gray:
  • Yet ah! why should they know their fate,
    Since sorrow never comes too late,
    And happiness too swiftly flies?
    Thought would destroy their paradise.
    No more; where ignorance is bliss,
    'T is folly to be wise.
The closest similar quote of Alexander Pope's that I could find is:
I deduce that Pope wrote on the theme earlier, but Gray made the famously succinct statement. I'll ping Kalki to see what he thinks about this. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 09:35, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

Conflicting quotes - Woody Allen[edit]

I would like confirmation of the correctness of the following quote:

"50% of success is showing up." (Woody Allen, comedian and movie-maker)

Wikipedia states this quote exactly except for the 50% part (Wikipedia states 80%). I read it elsewhere as 50% (source unknown - I read it a while ago).

--BluePanther 05:17, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

I think it's actually 80%. It seems to get more Google hits for that one (here are the 50% and 80% searches), and says that it's "eighty", not "fifty". -- Robert 17:12, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
This is a perfect example of why we need sources. Internet quote sites are notoriously riddled with errors, as they tend to feed off of each other's mistakes. Google can only help point us in the direction of finding quotees and only infrequently provides more information. Furthermore, all Google information is suspect, as it ranks by popularity, not accuracy. (When it comes to quotations, 10 million people can be wrong.) My first pass at this one reveals only a very indirect source:
  • Eighty percent of success is showing up.
    • Woody Allen; quoted in In Search of Excellence (1982), Tom Peters and Robert Waterman (cited by Simpson's Contemporary Quotations (1988)
All this really does for us is strongly suggest it's from Woody Allen. Peters' book may have a specific citation, but I doubt it. I'll keep looking. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 17:50, 18 April 2006 (UTC)
Incidentally, I found no trace of this quote in Wikipedia's article on Woody Allen, or its talk page. It always a good idea, when citing information from a web page, to include a link to it, as Robert did for his Google and quotationspage research. If you don't know how to do this, simply edit any Wikiquote page with links and examine the syntax of the links (but don't forget to cancel instead of save!), or just ask myself or another Wikiquotian. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 17:57, 18 April 2006 (UTC)
Jeff does make a very good point; it would not be too surprising to find that many of the Google hits could actually be incorrect. Here is another work I found which also attributes the quote to Woody Allen (scroll down to page 20), but then states as a footnote:
Quoted by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, In Search of Excellence (1982, Harper & Row)—but also misquoted repeatedly by authors who did not check their sources thoroughly!
For all we know, Peters could have not checked his sources thoroughly, and his book may also be incorrect. I'll have to take a look at it to see if it is in fact cited. -- Robert 18:37, 18 April 2006 (UTC)
Robert, if you check ISoE, please see if there is a specific citation of where and when Allen said this, in the text, a footnote, or a bibliography. If we can't otherwise find the original source of the quote, this may be the best we can do. Thanks. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 19:18, 18 April 2006 (UTC)
Well, I ran to the library and checked, but found no citation anywhere in the book -- there was no footnote on the page and no mention of it in the "Notes" section. The quote was a standalone one at the beginning of a chapter, so there was no context for it either. -- Robert 21:53, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps someone with access to a run of The New York Times Magazine could check the number for 13th August 1989, where I'm told Allen confirms the remark as his. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Antiquary (talkcontribs) 21:46, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

1) Here is a link [2] to a New York Times Magazine column by William Safire, dated 14 January 2001, with the following words by Safire:

"President Bush the elder often liked to quote Woody Allen as saying, 'Ninety percent of life is just showing up.' I checked with Allen, who confirmed his authorship of the line but said the percentage he mentioned was 80. Why 80? 'The figure seems high to me today,' he replied, 'but I know it was more than 60, and the extra syllable in 70 ruins the rhythm of the quote, so I think we should let it stand at 80.'"

2) There is an online search site for archives of The New York Times [3]. Entering the date August 13, 1989 and the words "life is just showing up" results in a match for a Safire column entitled "Elision Fields." If you were willing to pay $4.95 for the article, it would yield a definitive result. I note that the search result preview brings up the phrase "Ninety percent of life," etc. - InvisibleSun 22:38, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Some libraries (like my mine) have online databases you can use to get free copies of article text for research purposes. I'm hoping to check Sunday to see if I can use this to fetch the relevant Safire text. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 02:31, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
I was mistaken about getting the article copy — all I got was was index info. Looks like I'll have to add this to my Library of Congress task list. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 23:23, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

help for a catchy slogan for a childs book report, the title of the book is junie b jones and the stupid smelly bus[edit]

can you please help me with a catchy slogan to advertise this book. thanks. ----anon

Citing wikiquote APA style?[edit]

How do I cite Abraham Lincoln's wikiquote page in APA style? I was able to find out how to cite APA for wikipedia but unable to find out how for wikiquote... Wikipedia:

Wikipedia contributors (2006). Office politics. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved March 12, 2006 from

Wikiquote, I decided on:

Wikipedia contributors. (Wikiquote, 2006). Abraham Lincoln – wikiquote. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved April 10, 2006 from Abraham_Lincoln&oldid=205639

Not sure, even after what you wrote but sounds good to me, as long as wikipedia is cited in there as well I guess. Please advise... -- 19:16, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

No official advisory has been established in regard to APA style, but a similar format could be used. By clicking the "permanent link" option in the toolbox section of the page, the url in the address bar of your browser links to the page as it exists at the point of that particular edit, ie: (You need to keep this entire address unbroken by spaces or the url will not work properly)
~ Kalki 19:58, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

seeking the author to a quote[edit]

I have often quoted the quote below. I am interested in the origin. Can anyone help?

Success is obtainable in proportion to the persistence with which the goal is pursued.

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Morris circuit (talkcontribs) 06:34, 23 April 2006 (UTC) (UTC)

The closest thing I could find so far that combines any two significant words in your quote comes from The Columbia World of Quotations (1996):
  • The fact is, you have got to take the world on your shoulders like Atlas, and “put along” with it. You will do this for an idea’s sake, and your success will be in proportion to your devotion to ideas.
    • Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862); May 20, 1860 letter to Harrison Blake, quoted in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, Volume 6, p. 362, Houghton Mifflin, 1906
~ Jeff Q (talk) 09:38, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

need verification of James Madison quote[edit]

can anyone verify that James Madison, our fourth President, ever said these words? i have heard that he has said them, but can anyone be specific and cite the source?

here is the quote:

We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not on the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of al our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.

thanks for your help,

Lou-- 22:46, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

So far, I found nothing relevant by any author in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1919), The Columbia World of Quotations (1996), Simpson's Contemporary Quotations (1988), Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989), or The Pop-Up Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (2003). ~ Jeff Q (talk) 01:46, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
There is a pretty thorough discussion of this alleged quote on the following webpage link: [4]. InvisibleSun 04:48, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

uploading images[edit]

Can someone point me to the Wikiquote place (url) where I can upload images? I know I did that before on Wikipedia but can't remember how I got there. duh, thanks Maggie 00:00, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

en:Wikiquote does not currently allow uploading of images. You can upload public-domain or properly common-licensed images to Wikimedia Commons, then use the same [[Image:imagename.jpg]] syntax to add it to a Wikiquote article. This will automatically fetch the Commons image. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 00:21, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

don't hide your light under a bushel basket[edit]

Possibly a Biblical quote, there are many variations and there are similar sayings in Oriental literature. Particularly in Buddhism, hiding your light with a black lacquer barrel, is used as an expression in Zen koans. Any such quote, referring to the human spirit or the best in humans, being hidden by ignorance or experience would be helpful.

Here are some Biblical references:
  • Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
    • Jesus, "Sermon on the Mount"; quoted in The Bible (King James Version), Matthew 5:15-16
    • Variation: No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.
That takes us back to around 30-35 CE (albeit fourth-hand), at least in Western civilization. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 23:45, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Virginia Woolf suicide note in "The Hours"[edit]

is that actually what her suicide note said? or was it written for the book/movie?

no--not the thing at the beginning of the film. the thing at the end: "to know it, to love it for waht it is..."

  • I've found a link to an article in The Guardian by Woolf biographer Hermione Lee [5], in which Lee states: "How should we treat death? Hare - perhaps too consolingly - imagines the voice of Woolf telling us, as she leaves us, that she has mastered this question, and understands what to do: 'To look life in the face and to know it for what it is; to love it for what it is, and then to put it away.'" I would conclude from this that the words are not actually Woolf's but were the creation of the screenwriter, David Hare. If I find out anything further, I'll add it here. InvisibleSun 22:30, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
    • It turns out that Woolf wrote three suicide notes: two to her husband and one to her sister Vanessa. The first to her husband was dated 18 March 1941 and was the one quoted at the beginning of the movie. The second note to him was written on the day of her death, 28 March 1941. All three notes can be found on this link: [6] None of these letters includes the words that were said at the end of the movie. InvisibleSun 22:50, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

To his coy mistress[edit]

In 'To his coy mistress' written by Andrew Marvell what does the phrase 'Thorough the iron gates of life' mean? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 16:38, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Actually, according to a Project Gutenberg copy of Andrew Marvell by Augustine Birrell (p. 47), the line is:
Through the iron gates of life!
(Emphasis mine.) I've fixed the typo in our copy of the poem. Does this perhaps make the meaning a bit clearer? ~ Jeff Q (talk) 03:06, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
Oops! User:InvisibleSun informs me that "thorough" is the original word, which apparently had a connotation of "through" in Marvell's time (perhaps in addition to its current meaning?). I've un-fixed the "correction" in our copy. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 03:50, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

(Methinks the woman) doth protesteth too loudly[edit]

This is simply driving me mad. I've googled the quote (only the words outside the parentheses because I'm not absolutely sure I have the other words right) and couldn't come up with the author of the quote. I've tried my best here at wikiquote and still nothing. I had a feeling for some reason that it was from Shakespeare's MacBeth but still no luck. I searched on a more "general" site that claims to have over 1,300 Shakespearean quotes and still nothing. You'd think that it would be easier to find the author of a relatively well known quote such as this one! Can somebody please help me? What's the source of this quote? Thanks! 02:55, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

It sounds as if you're looking for this: "The lady protests too much, methinks." This is from Hamlet, act III, scene II, line 242. - InvisibleSun 03:15, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
Your problem was that you eth-ed too much. The line you're thinking of is "Methinks the lady doth protest too much", which is actually a misquotation. Searching Wikiquote for the two words doth and protest (or Googling them while including a parameter) would have revealed, among other things:
The first indicates that the actual line is "The lady protests too much, methinks", as InvisibleSun said, and directs attention to the second (aka Hamlet). (The full text is available in Wikisource's Hamlet article.) It is Queen Gertrude commenting to son Hamlet about the Queen in a play they're watching, a Queen whose lines Hamlet has deliberately tweaked to mock his own mother's suspected participation (or at least acquiescence) in his father's murder. (Sorry if you know all this; I was just excited about being able to answer a Shakespeare question, thanks to a German-TV production of Hamlet getting trashed on Mystery Science Theater 3000. I'm such a cultural heathen. ☺) ~ Jeff Q (talk) 03:38, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

Thanks! You don't know what it means to me to finally have that one solved! But your answer seems to have brought up a further question:

I had always thought that the meaning of that quote was basically a commentary on human behaviour when trying to deny culpability. In other words, while a truly innocent person would simply say "no, I didn't do it", one who overcompensates by repeatedly denying guilt ad nauseum in an unusually neurotic manner is actually more likely to be actually guilty. However the context of the quote in Hamlet seems to possibly refer to something else. Any ideas on what Shakespeare really intended it to mean? 05:49, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

Taken out of context, the line would appear to mean that protesting too much is a sign of guilt. In this case, however, it is spoken by someone who thinks that the person protesting has nothing to feel guilty about. Gertrude, watching a play, sees a character whose behavior should remind her of herself. The character she sees is acting troubled about marrying her husband's brother soon after her husband's death. Gertrude, when she speaks of someone protesting too much, is saying that this character has no reason to feel guilty. As it turns out, Gertrude feels more guilty than she is letting on. Confronted later in her room by Hamlet, she breaks down and says "Oh Hamlet, speak no more:/Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul;/And there I see such black and grained spots,/As will not leave their tinct." So there's a certain irony here. When Gertrude says "The lady protests too much, methinks," she is saying that someone else is acting neurotically. She denies her own sense of guilt, however, not by acting neurotically but by quite the opposite: she's contemptuously dismissive. As it happens, though, this scorn hides her own sense of uneasiness. - InvisibleSun 06:56, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

Just a quick question of origin.[edit]

Hi, thanks for selecting my question, I realize you are very busy.

Have you ever heard the saying "Out of sight, out of mind"?

Who said that first? I mean, I've heard it used by different people, but who originated it?

  • Bartlett's provides several versions of the quote, the oldest being the following: "And when he is out of sight, quickly also is he out of mind." - Thomas à Kempis, Imitation of Christ [ca. 1418], Book I, ch. 23 - InvisibleSun 20:07, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Socratic Principle[edit]

I believe it was Socrates who said something along the lines of: "The surest sign of wisdom is the extent to which one recognizes one's ignorance" or "True wisdom is only attained by the acceptance of one's ignorance" or "The first step in obtaining true wisdom is to fully accept one's ultimate ignorance". In any case, I'm sure I'm mangling the wording of this quote and that's why I've come here to try to get the right wording. Therefore I have two requests:

1) First I'd like to be 100% sure this quote is attributable to Socrates...otherwise I'm really way off!

2) Assuming this was a quote by Socrates, no doubt it was originally expressed in Greek. Having no knowledge of Greek, I'd appreciate the nearest and most generally accepted English translation of this quote.

Your help would be much appreciated! 19:00, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Loomis51 from Wikipedia

In Diogenes Laertius's 'Lives of the Philosophers' Book 2, section 3, Socrates is quoted as saying 'I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance'. I suspect that's the origin of your quote. I have no Greek either, but my translation comes from the CD-ROM version of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations and is doubtless authoritative enough. On the other hand Disraeli said 'To be conscious that you are ignorant of the facts is a great step to knowledge'. Antiquary 16:57, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."[edit]

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." author?

"When small men cast long shadows, it's a sure sign the sun is setting"[edit]

A long time ago, I read this "quote" in a newspaper column, attributed to Karl Marx. It sounds like something he would have said about Louis Bonaparte, but it does not appear in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, where one would have expected it, nor have I found it anywhere else in his writings.

Today, I was reminded of the quote again (watching Dubya) and decided to track it down. Google "small men cast long shadows" found many examples of a very similar quote, "When small men cast long shadows, the sun is going down," attributed to a Venita Cravens (who I'd never heard of before, and the quote-referencers don't say anything about; I'll have to look her up). I found one reference to "It’s a sure sign the sun is setting when small men cast long shadows" attributed to "seventeenth-century English dramatist Nathaniel Lee." And many unattributed examples ("as the old saying goes" and such).

And no one's said anything about it here. Until now. Does anyone have anything definitive? --Davecampbell 17:39, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

I thought I was on a roll today but I could not find this quote. I've also found it attributed to w:Lin Yutang. The Nathaniel Lee reference is apparently:
When the sun sets, shadows, that shewed at noon
But small, appear most long and terrible;
Which is from Oedipus which he wrote with Dryden. MeltBanana 01:45, 8 July 2006 (UTC)


I am looking for a definitive source for this quote:

Doubt is the disease of this inquisitive, restless age. It is the price we pay for our advanced intelligence and civilization - the dim night of the resplendent day. But as the most beautiful light is born of darkness, so the faith that springs from conflict is often the strongest and the best. - R. Turnbull

It seems to exist more frequently online in a shorter form of:

Beautiful light is born of darkness, so the faith that springs from conflict is often the strongest and the best. - R. Turnbull

Unfortunatly, I believe the original source of most of today's online versions was my collection of quotes which has been online since the early 1990's and a version of it archived on LoQtus since ~1995.

I'm thinking that my original source was a scientist being quoted in a book about religion.. but it could have been the opposite... It's been at least 11 yrs since I first added it to my collection. -- Versageek 15:40, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

Let this be a lesson to you: always cite your sources or they may come and bite you on the arse. Google book search says Life Pictures from a Pastor's Notebook By Robert Turnbull.MeltBanana 00:21, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Renior Gabrielle Renard Print[edit]

have a print of Gabrielle Renard and Jean Renoir. I'm told it is a print from the last plates that Renoir made before he died but published after his death. The plate was signed, but the print is not. I was also told that the plates were destroyed after some prints were made. Does this sound legitimate? If so, does it have any value? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 17:57, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Wikiquote:Reference desk is for posing questions about quotes, not research on works of art. I know practically nothing about this topic, but you might try posting your question to USENET group rec.arts.fine for a start. My Google search suggests that you will have to pay someone to get an official word on this. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 22:49, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Is happiness possible in postmodernity?[edit]

Hello. I am currently in a seminar the subject of which is "happiness." The group consists of eight professors, all some variety or other of Christian. Our take on happiness consequently tilts, at least in theory, toward devotion to God. At the same time, we are children of modernity who think that not only can the physical well-being of people be improved, we assume that material needs must to some degree be satisfied if happiness is to be possible. We are also products of or at least influenced by the spirit of our age: i.e., whether we want to admit it or not, we are in some measure postmoderns for whom personal freedom--"choice"--is an assumed, almost sacred,good and for whom "doing as we are told" does not come easily. Our discussion so far suggests to me that getting a handle on happiness seems more difficult now even than it was for Aristotle or Augustine. We want at once to serve a Master and to be masters, and yet not inclined to invest the time and effort to do either. We want the good (material) life and we want to be spirits. We long to escape outselves so long as it is about me. What to make of this? Imagine this scence. Following a long journey, you find yourself at the edge of an abyss. Onlookers--hedonists and religious traditionalists alike--shout "Trust and take the plunge" but all you can do is stare into the void. And sure enough, just as Nietzsche promised, it stares back. I would be grateful for insights and comments. Thank you. --Kfjrn00 21:41, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

As mentioned above, Wikiquote:Reference desk is for researching quotes. It is not a place for philosophical discussions. Good luck with your seminar, though. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 00:45, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

origin of quotation[edit]

Can anyone tell me who said or wrote the following words, and where?

"Keep your eye clear as the bleb of the icicle, trust the feel of what rubbed treasure your hands have known."

artery —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Artery (talkcontribs) 11:23, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

I found no such quote, but considering the salacious nature of the most prominent Google hits for the expression "rubbed treasure", I can't help but feel this query was not intended seriously. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 06:47, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
Oh, I think it was meant seriously enough. It's a quotation from Seamus Heaney's poem 'North',but I'm not going to venture an explanation of the 'rubbed treasure' lines. Antiquary 15:10, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Einstein: relativity as a common experience[edit]

I have heard an Einstein's quotation about himslef wondering why people do not understand (special) relativity. I would like to know if the quotation is real or it was misattributed. I have heard the quotation transalted into italian and I do not remember all the words. Anyway I remember the main meaning of the sentece and the main part and I try to translate back into English

[During an interview or a conforence or something like that to journalist or to a non-scientific public, (I cannot remember about this detail)], Einstein wondered why people find so difficult to understand relativity and noticed that everyone experiences it very often: "When you are seatting on a dentist's seat five minutes seem 1 hour and when you are seatting on a park bench with your girl one hour seems 5 minutes"

I have tried to do some research, but I was not able to find anything abgout that. The only thing I founfd was a partial quotation on this page. Thank you. AnyFile 08:49, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

I found the following uncompelling citations from otherwise reliable sources:
  • When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute — and it's longer than any hour. That's relativity.
    • vaguely attributed as "recalled on his death 18 Apr 55" by Simpson’s Contemporary Quotations (1988)
  • When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That's relativity.
I say "uncompelling" because neither cites a recognizable publication for its source. What does "recalled on his death" mean? Who recalled it, and from where? Was the News Chronicle quoting Einstein in an interview, or just relating a commonly attributed quote, as we see has been done with this particular bon mot? Further research is probably needed. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 07:03, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
Towards the end of an article called 'Conversations with Einstein' by Ashley Montagu, published in 1985, the author writes about Einstein's sense of humour:
...Best of all he liked the story of the two men from the Bronx.
"What is relativity?" wonders the first.
"Supposing," explains the second, "an old lady sits in your lap for a minute, a minute seems like an hour. But if a beautiful girl sits in your lap for an hour, an hour seems like a minute."
"And this is relativity?" asks his companion.
"Yes," answers the other, "that's relativity."
"And from this he earns a living?"
Einstein laughed heartily at this and remarked that it was one of the best explanations that he had ever heard.
That seems to show that we're dealing with an anonymous joke, which Einstein once heard but had no other connection with. Montagu was a distinguished anthropologist who knew Einstein from 1946, and must surely count as a pretty sound primary source. Antiquary 15:48, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Quote attributed to either Pres. Jackson or Jefferson[edit]

It refers to admiring a way a man practices his faith or religion so you would want to believe what that people believes.

This quote was in the Albany GA newspaper 20 to 25 years ago I believe. I have contacted the paper since I do not have the ability to search their hard copy archives but they did not respond to me.-- 18:34, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

You present an incredibly difficult task: an unspecific quote with common words, from a unnamed daily periodical sometime in a (presumably only approximate) 5-year time period. About the only useful key here is the two names, although I worry, given the other approximate recollections, that you may not even be sure it was one of these two people. The resulting pool of possibilities seem to be thousands of quotes in from thousands of possible newspaper issues. I can't make any promises, but I'll see if I can dig anything up. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 19:06, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

"Just the facts, Ma'am": Dragnet on the Radio[edit]

So... I found a mis-quote correction. I'm *almost* positive that in nearly every radio episode of Dragnet, Friday had to stop a busy-body woman from talking smack about her tenant/sister/etc. by saying "Just the facts, Ma'am."

However, I'd have to listen to a lot of Dragnet before I could tell for sure.

Can someone verify this?

-- 23:32, 19 July 2006 (UTC)Danielle Farrar

I've requested some radio dramas, including Dragnet episodes, on tape and CD from my local libraries. I'll get back to you on this. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 17:47, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
It's proving to take some time to investigate this. Out of four metropolitan library systems, I've only been able to locate three works that include Dragnet, and two of them seem to either be lost or so popular it's taking a while to get them. I've heard 2 Dragnet radio programs from the other — "The Big Bull" and "The Big Shot" (both September 1952) — and neither including any use of the expression. But of course this is a pathetically small sample. I'll keep looking. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 09:48, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Apocryphal G.H.W. Bush Quote[edit]

Can anyone help me find a source for, or a debunking of, the following alleged quote:

"Sarah, if the American people had ever known the truth about what we Bushes have done to this nation, we would be chased down in the streets and lynched."
-- G.H.W. Bush, allegedly in an interview with reporter Sarah McClendon, December 1992

It is all over the internet, yet I haven't seen the remark in context or a proper source. Where should I start? XyKyWyKy 09:07, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

I find it impossible to believe Bush Sr. would ever make such a statement in public, let alone to a reporter (even if it were totally true, which I seriously doubt Bush believes, so why would he ever say it?). It seems like an excellent example of how skeptical we must be of anything found on the Internet. (The fact that people gleefully spread this kind of stuff around without regard to source or likelihood is a fairly good measure of the Internet's unreliability as a general source.) My initial checking hinted (rather indirectly) at a possible reference in George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography (by Webster Griffin Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin), possibly in a chapter called "The Hitler Years". That pretty much set the tone for this research. Most of what I saw sounds like pure conspiracy-theorist chatter and ultra-partisan information twisting.
I'm afraid I'm no more interested in pursuing this anti-Bush rumor-mongering than I am in reading Ann Coulter's vicious right-wing hyperbole. I would suggest checking library databases like InfoTrac OneFile to look up articles by author "McClendon, Sarah" and date (Dec 1992 or early 1993). (Check with your local library for information on how to do this.) Don't be surprised if you can't find anything. As Carl Sagan famously observed, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof", and I'm betting you won't find anything from a professional, non-partisan periodical or magazine. (If you do, let me know — I like to hear when I'm wrong.) ~ Jeff Q (talk) 10:03, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Searching a quote attributed to Kafka[edit]

Is this truly from Kafka? What is the full statement from which this phrase is excerpted? What is the source? Excerpt: " . . . it will roll in ecstasy before you."

From Bartlett's Quotations: "You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." Source: "The Great Wall of China: Reflections" (a 1917 short story by Kakfa). - InvisibleSun 23:05, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

US fascism like Mickey Mouse[edit]

"When Fascism comes to the United States it will look like Mickey Mouse." - Author Unknown.

I heard this in an art history lecture in college but do not know who it is attributed to. Does anyone know who said this?

Question originally posted elsewhere by User: at 06:29, 7 August 2006 (UTC). ~ Jeff Q (talk) 18:55, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Huey Long apparently said "When fascism comes to the United States it will be wrapped in the American flag." Is this a corruption or variant or someone attempting to ride on Long's famous quote? Fys. “Ta fys aym”. 15:52, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

all music is for dancing[edit]

Who's the author of the quote "all music was written for dancing"? Quote may not be verbatum but I think that's the gist of it. Thanks! -- 01:30, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

I imagine that many quotations could be found with some such gist, since it's a widely held view that dance is of the essence of music. At any rate here's one offering, taken from Ezra Pound's "ABC of Reading" (1934): ' The author's conviction on this day of New Year is that music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance...Bach and Mozart are never too far from physical movement'. Antiquary 21:29, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Quote from W. Churchill ?[edit]

Good morning,

I am writing a book and one of the chapter needs an introduction. I am thinking to use what I think is a quote from W CHurchill, I have been reading troughtout the articles but no luck... :

England and America, two great nations separated by a commun/same language.

Could you confirm that from him and the text is correct ?

Please advise and many thanks ahead, Regards, Pierre Fouquet

The statement that "England and America are two great nations separated by a common language" is most commonly attributed to George Bernard Shaw, who would have said it before Churchill. However the original has not been tracked down yet. See also Oscar Wilde's play "The Canterville Ghost" in which he writes "We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language." This page has some more details including a reported cite from GBS. Fys. “Ta fys aym”. 08:26, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
It may sound like an obvious point, but perhaps M. Fouquet doesn't know that unattributed English-language quotations very often become attached to Winston Churchill or to George Bernard Shaw, since both writers have a wide reputation for wit and wisdom. Such attributions are notoriously unreliable where no precise reference is given. If I were him I would take my epigraph from Oscar Wilde's novella 'The Canterville Ghost', which is quoted correctly in the link David provides. Antiquary 18:19, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

George Bush on Hydrogen Cars?[edit]

Hello! I am looking for a quote on George Bush's Hydrogen Car Initiative. Please reply ASAP if you know of one. Thank You! Chris. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 23:39, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Are you looking for a specific quote, or just anything he happened to say about the subject? For the latter, I recommend the following Google searches:
"george bush" hydrogen
bush hydrogen initiative
which appear to provide quite a few possibilities. We don't seem to have any George W. Bush quotes that include the word "hydrogen" at the moment, but perhaps you or other readers can start with the above searches to come up with them. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 23:57, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

poetry or essay[edit]

I have only two sentences and would like to have the entire poem/essay/quote and the name of the author.

our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. our depest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. -- 16:24, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

The passage in which this quote can be found is on the Marianne Williamson page. - InvisibleSun 17:46, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

"hope we are on god's side" lincoln quote[edit]

Lincoln is often quoted as having said: "Our task should not be to invoke religion and the name of God by claiming God's blessing and endorsement for all our national policies and practices—saying, in effect, that God is on our side. Rather, we should pray and worry earnestly whether we are on God's side." I've seen the quote in books, in speeches, I think John Kerry may have used it in his acceptance speech two years ago, but I can't find a source anywhere. Is it a real quote? If so, where and when did he say it and what primary sources prove it? 21:31, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Thanks to some guidance from Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989) and my local library's NetLibary account, I found the following passage in The Inner Life of Abraham Lincoln: Six Months At the White House (1867) by Francis B. Carpenter, p. 282:
No nobler reply ever fell from the lips of ruler, than that uttered by President Lincoln in response to the clergyman who ventured to say, in his presence, that he hoped "the Lord was on our side."
"I am not at all concerned about that," replied Mr. Lincoln, "for I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord's side."
This isn't precisely what you're asking for, but it may very well be the source of the quote you seek, as such quotes are inevitably mutated over time when not properly sourced. Respectfully Quoted offers the following justification for Carpenter's accuracy:
Carpenter, a portrait artist, lived in the White House for six months beginning February 1864, to paint the president and the entire Cabinet. His relations with the president became of an "intimate character," and he was permitted "the freedom of his private office at almost all hours,… privileged to see and know more of his daily life" than most people. He states that he “endeavored to embrace only those [anecdotes] which bear the marks of authenticity. Many … I myself heard the President relate; others were communicated to me by persons who either heard or took part in them" (Henry Jarvis Raymond, The Life and Public Services of Abraham Lincoln, p. 725).
I'd list this version of the quote (just the Lincoln words, not the surrounding text) and include the "God's side" version as a variation unless and until it itself is properly sourced. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 00:31, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
Searching for the phrases 'on our side' + 'on the Lord's side' + 'Abraham Lincoln' on Google Book leads me to the conclusion that the same story appears in these books: Our Martyr President, Abraham Lincoln: Voices from the Pulpit of New York and Brooklyn (1865) p. 405, William Turner Coggeshall Lincoln Memorial (1865) p. 317 and John Gilmary Shea The Lincoln Memorial (1865) p. 237. Unhappily Google Book has the full texts of none of them. On the other hand I do have a proper quotation from a still earlier source, Richard Whately Essays on Some of the Difficulties in the Writings of St. Paul ([1828] 1830) p. 33: 'It is one thing to wish to have Truth on our side, and another to wish sincerely to be on the side of Truth'. Suspiciously similar, eh? Antiquary 20:41, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
I've added the three books above to my Library of Congress research list. (If I can get my lazy self over there, I've got a full day of work to do for Wikiquote by now.) I also recalled that, for pivotal figures in American history like Lincoln, the LoC has some digitized documents in their American Memory collection. Mr. Lincoln's Virtual Library features two collections: his papers and a Civil War-era sheet music collection. Unfortunately, various searches on the former didn't turn up anything useful, likely because, in the days before large staffs and copy machines, one's "papers" consisted mostly of documents sent to one, not by one. Looks like shoe leather must be applied for this one. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 00:06, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
With a little finessing of Google Book I've got the complete text of the anecdote from Our Martyr President p. 405, as listed above:
To a minister who said he hoped the Lord was on our side, he replied that it gave him no concern whether the Lord was on our side or not, for, he added 'I know the Lord is always on the side of right,' and with deep feeling added, 'But God is my witness that it is my constant anxiety and prayer that both myself and this nation should be on the Lord's side'.
William Turner Coggeshall and John Gilmary Shea give the story in the same form. But Our Martyr President also gives what looks like a doublet of the same anecdote, on p. 321:
He obeyed conscience, not simply because he recognized its eminent authority, but because he felt it to be the voice of God in the soul of man. 'He did not care to have the Lord on his side, but did most sincerely desire to be always found on the Lord's side.'
It looks as if there may be a discussion of all this in Waldo W Braden Building the Myth (1990) p. 83, which is also listed on Google Book, but without even so much as snippet view.
Correction on edit: Braden doesn't discuss it at all. What he does do is to reprint Rev. Matthew Simpson's Funeral Address Delivered at the Burial of President Lincoln, at Springfield, Illinois, May 4, 1865, including:
To a minister who said 'he hoped the Lord was on our side,' he replied that it gave him no concern whether the Lord was on our side or not, 'for' he added 'I know the Lord is always on the side of right'; and with deep feeling added, 'but God is my witness that it is my constant anxiety and prayer that both myself and this nation should be on the Lord's side'. [Braden p. 83] Antiquary 20:46, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

I finally got to the Library of Congress and looked at Our Martyr President (1865) and Coggeshall (1865); Shea wasn't available. (It's amazing and a bit scary to examine two 140-year-old books; I was afraid to turn the pages for fear of tearing something.) Both transcribe the same oration by Rev. Simpson at Lincoln's Springfield funeral on 4 May 1865 (date given by Coggeshall, p. 302; event described in both). The title it's given depends on the source — OMP calls it "Oration at the Burial at Springfield"; I forgot to record Coggeshall's title, but I think it was just a heading like "Rev. Simpson's Sermon".) Looks like everyone has the same secondary (and secondhand) source. Just for the record, here are the exact texts of the two passages, each with a bit different punctuation than the modern Braden text:

To a minister who said “he hoped the Lord was on our side,” he replied, “that it gave him no concern whether the Lord was on our side or not,” for he added, “I know the Lord is always on the side of right,” and with deep feeling added, “But God is my witness that it is my constant anxiety and prayer that both myself and this nation should be on the Lord's side.”
~ Coggeshall, Lincoln Memorial (1865), p. 317

To a minister who said he hoped the Lord was on our side, he replied that it gave him no concern whether the Lord was on our side or not, for, he added, “I know the Lord is always on the side of right,” and with deep feeling added, “But God is my witness that it is my constant anxiety and prayer that both myself and this nation should be on the Lord's side.”
~ Our Martyr President (1865), p. 405

I'd recommend the version from Our Martyr President, which is one of our two our oldest sources at this point, and is punctuationally more logical. Coggeshall puts quotes around both the minister and Lincoln saying "he" where they should be saying "I" (in the text before "for he added"), suggesting Simpson was not actually quoting either the minister or Lincoln at that point.

I'm not sure how to reconcile this with Carpenter above. His book (which I hadn't thought to check directly at LoC) is from 1867, but it is supposedly based on his actual interaction with Lincoln (obviously before he died), whereas Simpson's secondhand report is unsourced. (It might have been from Carpenter, for all we know, or a well-known story, or something published elsewhere that both Carpenter and Simpson recalled somewhat differently.) I suspect this is how quite a bit of historical quote sourcing goes.

I guess we've beaten this one to death, but the research was fun. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 13:16, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

You can never go home again[edit]

I am writing about returning to the place of coming to age times. There is a quote, that goes like "you could never return home" or "You could never go home again". It is acknowledging that things are never the same as they were as you/ we remember them. I don't know who said it or how it really goes.

Perhaps you're thinking of "You Can't Go Home Again," which is the title of a novel (1940) by Thomas Wolfe. - InvisibleSun 18:43, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

F. Scott Fitzgerald quote[edit]

This quote is attributed to F. Scott Fitzgerald:

"He was one of those men who come in a door and make any woman with them look guilty."

Is there a source for this quote? Why is it attributed to him?


--anon —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 01:08, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

(Edited to fix my embarrassing typos.) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 23:52, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

So far, nothing spotted in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (1919), The Columbia World of Quotations (1996), Simpson's Contemporary Quotations (1988), Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989), or The Pop-Up Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (2003). Nor did I spot anything in Google Book. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 00:15, 24 September 2006 (UTC)
My fallible memory tells me it's in Fitzgerald's Notebooks, but I haven't a copy by me to confirm that. Antiquary 11:27, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

What did Pres George Bush say during his first term campaign?[edit]

I've been trying to verify something for years that I thought I heard G.W. say in a speech at what I believe was a campaign dinner during his FIRST campaign. It intrigued me then, and even more so now, in view of his current Administration policies - such as they are. So, here goes: I thought he said, something like: "... dictator(s) ... unless, of course, I'm the dictator." (then he chuckled) Is there anyone out there that remembers ever hearing him say anything like that? And, if so, does anyone remember the complete sentence quote? I'm sure it would have been something that would have been quickly squashed from 'public ears' as soon as possible, so I'm not hoping for much. On a similar note, are there public records that record any and all speeches of politicians/campaigners? .. 04:28, 23 September 2006 (UTC) --anon

This is apparently a favorite joke of George W. Bush, as we have three different, sourced uses of it here at Wikiquote:
  • "The Taming of Texas", Governing, July 1998; on being a Texas governor
  • Online NewsHour, 18 December 2000; during a meeting with U.S. Congressional leaders that morning
  • "'Dictatorship would be easier,' Bush jokes of his struggles", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 27 July 2001; just before meeting with Rep. Hastert the previous day
Only the 2000 instance includes the "so long as I'm the dictator" part, so it's not clear if he always says the whole thing. (It's somewhat redundant, anyway — one is supposed to understand from context that the speaker is putting himself in the position of desired dictator. According to the Online NewsHour transcription, Bush's audience got the joke without the clarification.)
As for recorded speeches, Congressional Quarterly should have speeches made at the U.S. Capitol. (I'm not sure if they include other material.) usually has Presidential speeches, although (at least in Dubya's term) they've been caught redacting undesirable material. (It would surprise me if this were the first President whose staff was this "helpful".) Still, it's considered a reliable source. I'm sure there are others, but those two come to mind immediately. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 11:43, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

BLUE LAWS for Sunday[edit]

In the 1940's & 1950's stores/busineses were closed on Sundays.

When did these "laws" get changed or repealed - & by what whom ? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Bill Allbrook (talkcontribs) 14:01, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Wikiquote's reference desk is for finding answers about quotes. You might want to look at Wikipedia's article on Blue law, then ask your question at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Humanities if the article doesn't answer it. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 16:12, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Sources needed[edit]

  • Can anyone help with sources for these quotes? -- R160K 19:35, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Recently this page has been made a candidate for deletion. Many of the quotes on this page are not well known, and it would be a shame if they were lost. If you are interested in a project to find the sources of these quotes, then please sign your name below. -- R160K 19:35, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
    • R160K 19:35, 9 October 2006 (UTC) I have e-mailed the managing director of 'The Homework Diary Company Ltd', and asked him if he can inform me of his sources.
Along with creating the page for The Homework Diary Company, you had posted a number of these quotes to the pages of the people being quoted. In other cases, you created pages for people who did not yet have a page. As I worked on sorting them out, I was able to source a few:

1) James Joyce: "Mistakes are the portals of discovery." The actual version of this quote is already on the page of Ulysses and is as follows: "A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals to discovery." These words are spoken by one of Joyce's characters, Stephen Daedalus.

2) Adia Stevenson: "A free society is a place where it's safe to be unpopular." This was actually said by Adlai Stevenson and is already on his page: "My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular."

3) Appius Claudius: "Every man is the architect of his own future." This quote can already be found on the page for Sallust. In the original Latin it is "Faber est suae quisque fortunae" and is translated as "Every man is the architect of his own fortune." In working on the stub you created for Appius Claudius, I found out that there were several people in Roman history known by this name. In the Wikipedia article for Appius Claudius Caecus this quote is credited to him, as it also is in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. Since it is credited to Sallust here in Wikiquote, I made a note about all of this on the Talk:Sallust page, hoping that someone can solve the discrepancy. In the mean time I changed the name of the stub to Appius Claudius Caecus.

4) Gilbert Highet: "These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves." While working on the stub you created for Gilbert Highet, I found some more of his quotes on his Wikipedia page. I transferred them to the stub page here on Wikiquote and was able to source them, including the one you provided.

5) Woody Allen: "Seventy percent of success in life is showing up." This is already in the Unsourced section of the Woody Allen page, with "eighty" instead of "seventy". I therefore deleted it as a duplicate. For a discussion of this quote, see above on this page in the section entitled "Conflicting quotes- Woody Allen."

So as you can see, some of these quotes are now sourced. The rest of them you had posted have been dealt with in various ways: on pages nominated for deletion; in the Unsourced sections of already existing pages; on stub pages that you had created (i.e., Georges Guynemer); proposed for merging with another page (Honda Motor Company); etc. - InvisibleSun 20:55, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

      • No. 3 above, Faber est suae quisque fortunae, is Appius Claudius as quoted by Sallust. I've explained this in full at Talk:Sallust and amended the entries. Antiquary 22:23, 13 October 2006 (UTC)


Are there any song or movie references to the Hamlet quote: "these words like daggers enter in mine ears" or "if words be made of breath, and breath of life, I have no life to breathe"? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 08:19, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Well, that's a pretty broad request. Just for reference, at the moment, we have the second but not the first quote actually in our The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark article. I checked IMDb's quote search and found no instance of either quote in any listed films or TV shows (at least that include quotes). This is not definitive, but is not promising, either. A rudimentary Google search for either "these words like daggers" or "I have no life to breathe", combined with the word "lyrics" (which usually grabs a huge collection of lyrics websites), uncovered no instances in songs, either. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 22:34, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
I suppose this might be an allusion to the first quote: "Words are unsheathed/There are daggers in my ears", from "Explicit" by The Parallel Project; or then again, "Your words are nothing in my ears but daggers to my heart" from "Slowly the Candles" by Tony Watts. I won't venture an opinion. Antiquary 19:00, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

"Pray as if everything depended on God, work as if everything depended on you/(man)."[edit]

Who was the first to state this? I've seen it attributed to Francis Cardinal Spellman, St. Benedict, and others. Anyone know? 05:09, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Well, Philip Schaff's History of the Christian Church includes this:
All Calvinistic preachers appeal to man's responsibility. They pray as if everything depended on God; and yet they preach and work as if everything depended on man.
There I'm quoting from the 1910 edition of the History, but I believe that passage was first published in 1893, the year Schaff died. Spellman was born in 1889, so he couldn't have originated the quote. As for other contenders, there are many attributions on the Web to St. Augustine and St. Ignatius Loyola, but they are two of the usual suspects when Christian quotations need an ascription, and I'm reluctant to believe that either of them wrote this unless I see a precise reference. In fact, I can find none. There is an earlier quote which has some similarity:
Work as if you were to live 100 years, Pray as if you were to die To-morrow.
That was written by Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard's Almanack in 1757. Perhaps Schaff wrote his version with Franklin's maxim somewhere at the back of his memory. Or then again perhaps someone can find a secure source in something earlier. Antiquary 20:50, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Pushed back to 1887 The Interpretation of scripture by w:George Salmon. [7] But then "With regard to any project, we must put ourselves in God's hands as if our success depended on Him, but with regard to choosing the means and doing the work, we must labor if everything depended on us"[8] attributed to Loyola by D. Bartoli, Histoire de Saint Ignace et de l'origine de la Compagnie de Jesus, 3rd ed., 2 v. (Brussels, 1852), 2: 254. And then see also note 21 and [9]. Oops another early one, 1854 [10] w:George Müller MeltBanana 18:39, 19 October 2006 (UTC)