Cities are relatively large and permanent human settlements. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.
- When several villages are united in a single complete community, large enough to be nearly or quite self-sufficing, the state comes into existence, originating in the bare needs of life, and continuing in existence for the sake of a good life.
- Aristotle, Politics, book 1, chapter 2; reported in Aristotle’s Politics and Poetics (translation by Benjamin Jowett and Thomas Twining, 1952), p. 5.
- I live not in myself, but I become
Portion of that around me; and to me
High mountains are a feeling, but the hum
Of human cities torture.
- A city has to be a place where you can get everything – and do anything, or nothing.
- Herbert Eugene Caen, A city is like San Francisco, not a faceless 'burb. The San Francisco Chronicle, published Sunday, October 31, 2010, sfgate.com.
- If you are a Christian, no earthly city is yours. Of our City ‘the Builder and Maker is God.’ Though we may gain possession of the whole world, we are withal but strangers and sojourners in it all. We are enrolled in heaven: our citizenship is there! Let us not, after the manner of little children, despise things that are great, and admire those which are little! Not our city’s greatness, but virtue of soul is our ornament and defence. If you suppose dignity to belong to a city, think how many persons must partake in this dignity, who are whoremongers, effeminate, depraved and full of ten thousand evil things, and at last despise such honour! But that City above is not of this kind; for it is impossible that he can be a partaker of it, who has not exhibited every virtue.
- God made the country, and man made the town.
- William Cowper, The Task (1785), Book I, line 749.
- The city is very different from the country, girl. It is a kind of shared consciousness that begins its work on you as soon as you enter it, if not well before, a consciousness that begins to separate you from the country possibly even before you decide to journey toward it. It encircles you with forces much greater than the walls and gates which imitate tinier villages or towns. People who come to it come seeking the future, not realizing all that will finally affect them in it is their own, only more or less aware, involvement with the past. The way we do things here—really, that’s all there is to be learned in our precincts. But in the paving of every wide, clear avenue, in the turnings of every dark, overhung alley, in the ornaments on every cornice, in the salt-stained stones of each neighborhood cistern, there are traces of the way things once were done—which is the key to why they are done as they are today.
- To anyone growing up in any large city, the immediate neighborhood becomes the world. The street on which one lives provides a kid with local identification somewhat similar to being branded by national origin. Streets have a status. They grow, get old and change in character. In large coastal cities, immigration has an effect on the profile of a street altering it as each new group enters, stays a while, assimilates and then moves away. Streets seem to have a discernible life. Some start out ostentatiously and gradually descend into slums while others begin as poor the disreputable neighborhoods and rise to ostentation through what city planners call gentrification.
- Will Eisner, A Contract With God, XIX, December 2004
- When the Stranger says: “What is the meaning of this city?
- Do you huddle close together because you love each other?”
- What will you answer? “We all dwell together
- To make money from each other”? or “This is a community”?
- T. S. Eliot, The Rock
- My troops are bound to me as a cow is bound to its calf; but like a son who, hating his mother, leaves his city, my princely sister holy Inana has run away from me back to brick-built Kulaba. If she loves her city and hates me, why does she bind the city to me? If she hates the city and yet loves me, why does she bind me to the city?
- Round about [there will be] eighteen thousand [cubits]; and the name of the city from [that] day on will be Jehovah Himself Is There.
- Often an entire city has suffered because of an evil man.
- Hesiod Works and Days (c. 700 BC) variant translation: Oft hath even a whole city reaped the evil fruit of a bad man.
- line 240.
- The axis of the earth sticks out visibly through the centre of each and every town or city.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table (1858), VI.
- The American city should be a collection of communities where every member has a right to belong. It should be a place where every man feels safe on his streets and in the house of his friends. It should be a place where each individual’s dignity and self-respect is strengthened by the respect and affection of his neighbors. It should be a place where each of us can find the satisfaction and warmth which comes from being a member of the community of man. This is what man sought at the dawn of civilization. It is what we seek today.
- Lyndon B. Johnson, special message to the Congress on the nation's cities (March 2, 1965); reported in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965, book 1, p. 240.
- What's Rome to me, what business have I there?
- I who can neither lie, nor falsely swear?
- Nor praise my patron's undeserving rhymes,
- Nor yet comply with him, nor with his times?
- Go through that city, and behold
What intellect can yield,
How it brings forth an hundred-fold
From time’s enduring field.
Those walls are filled with wealth, the spoil
Of industry and thought,
The mighty harvest which man’s toil
Out of the past has wrought.
- Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap book, 1835 (1834), 'Manchester'
- How wonderful the common street,
Its tumult and its throng,
The hurrying of the thousand feet
That bear life's cares along.
How strongly is the present felt,
With such a scene beside;
All sounds in one vast murmur melt
The thunder of the tide.
- Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1836 (1835) 'Scenes in London: Piccadilly'
- Any price is worth paying to get away from the thought-destroying din and soul-killing routine of the city!
- Fritz Leiber, Diary in the Snow (1947) in the collection Night’s Black Agents
- I am a child of the city. I was born in one, but that alone is not enough to make a man want, even need, to live and die in one, not even the city of his birth is London, as mine is. Millions are born in cities and flee them, London included; others go on living in them and become more and more unhappy. I think I can understand what moves those who cannot endure city life, but that is largely because the things they cannot abide are the very things that made cities so attractive to me in the first place.
- Bernard Levin, Enthusiasms (1983), ch. 4, p. 75.
- The zoo animal in a cage exhibits all these abnormalities that we know so well from our human companions. Clearly, then, the city is not a concrete jungle, it is a human zoo.
- Desmond Morris (2009), The Human Zoo, p. vii
- [Solon] being asked, namely, what city was best to live in, “That city,” he replied, “in which those who are not wronged, no less than those who are wronged, exert themselves to punish the wrongdoers.”
- Plutarch, Plutarch's Lives, translated by Bernadotte Perrin (1914), life of Solon, section 18, vol. 1, p. 455.
- Petite ville, grand renom.
- Small town, great renown.
- François Rabelais, Pantagruel (1532), Book V, Chapter XXXV. Of Chinon, Rabelais's native town.
- We cannot afford merely to sit down and deplore the evils of city life as inevitable, when cities are constantly growing, both absolutely and relatively. We must set ourselves vigorously about the task of improving them; and this task is now well begun.
- Theodore Roosevelt, "The City in Modern Life", Literary Essays (vol. 12 of The Works of Theodore Roosevelt, national ed., 1926), p. 226. Book review in The Atlantic Monthly (April 1895).
- Les villes sont le gouffre de l'espèce humaine.
- Without suburbs a city has no centre either.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 121-22.
- Smyrna, Rhodos, Colophon, Salamis, Chios, Argos, Athenæ,
Hæ septem certant de stirpe insignis Homeri.
- Smyrna, Rhodes, Colophon, Salamis, Chios, Argos, Athens—these seven cities contend as to being the birthplace of the illustrious Homer. (The second line sometimes runs "Orbis de patria certat, Homere, tua.")
- Anonymous translation from Greek. Same in Antipater of Sidon.
- A rose-red city half as old as Time.
- John W. Burgon, Petra. See Libbey and Hoskins, Jordan Valley and Petia.
- The first requisite to happiness is that a man be born in a famous city.
- In the busy haunts of men.
- Felicia Hemans, Tale of the Secret Tribunal, Part I, line 2.
- Seven cities warr'd for Homer being dead,
Who living had no roofe to shroud his head.
- Thomas Heywood, Hierarchie of the Blessed Angells.
- Far from gay cities, and the ways of men.
- Homer, The Odyssey, Book 14, line 410. Pope's translation.
- Non cuivis homini contingit adire Corinthum.
- Every man cannot go to Corinth.
- Horace, Epistles, I. 17. 36.
- Even cities have their graves!
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Amalfi, Stanza 6.
- Friends and loves we have none, nor wealth, nor blest abode
But the hope, the burning hope, and the road, the lonely road.
Not for us are content, and quiet, and peace of mind,
For we go seeking cities that we shall never find.
- John Masefield, The Seekers.
- Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
- Matthew. V. 14.
- Towered cities please us then,
And the busy hum of men.
- John Milton, L'Allegro, line 117.
- Nisi Dominus frustra.
- Unless the Lord keep the city the watchman waketh in vain (lit., unless the Lord in vain).
- Motto of City of Edinburgh, adapted from Psalms. CVII. 1. Vulgate.
- Fields and trees are not willing to teach me anything; but this can be effected by men residing in the city.
- Plato, Works, Volume III. The Phædrus.
- I dwelt in a city enchanted,
And lonely indeed was my lot;
* * * * *
Though the latitude's rather uncertain,
And the longitude also is vague,
The persons I pity who know not the City
The beautiful City of Prague.
- W. J. Prowse, The City of Prague ("Little Village on Thames.").
- Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion,… the city of the great King.
- Psalms. XLVIII. 2.
- Great Homer's birthplace seven rival cities claim,
Too mighty such monopoly of Fame.
- Thomas Seward, on Shakespeare's Monument at Stratford-upon-Avon.
- Urbem lateritiam accepit, mamoream relinquit.
- He [Cæsar Augustus] found a city built of brick; he left it built of marble.
- Suetonius, (adapted), Cæsar Augustus, 28.
- The city of dreadful night.
- James Thomson, Current Literature for 1889, p. 492.
- Divina natura dedit agros, ars humana ædificavit urbes.
- Divine Nature gave the fields, human art built the cities.
- Marcus Terentius Varro, De Re Rustica, III. 1.
- This poor little one-horse town.
- Mark Twain, The Undertaker's Story.