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- For the Red Hot Chili Peppers bass player, see Flea (musician)
Fleas are wingless insects of the order Siphonaptera with mouthparts adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood. Fleas are external parasites, living by hematophagy off the blood of mammals (including bats and humans) and birds.
- To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be who have tried it.
- Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851), Ch. 104 : The Fossil Whale.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 277.
- Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.
And the great fleas themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on;
While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on.
- Augustus De Morgan, A Budget of Paradoxes, p. 377. Compare Swift, below.
- "I cannot raise my worth too high;
Of what vast consequence am I!"
"Not of the importance you suppose,"
Replies a Flea upon his nose;
"Be humble, learn thyself to scan;
Know, pride was never made for man."
- John Gay, The Man and the Flea.
- A blockhead, bit by fleas, put out the light,
And chuckling cried, "Now you can't see to bite."
- In Greek Anthology.
- It was many and many a year ago,
In a District styled E. C.,
That a monster dwelt whom I came to know
By the name of Cannibal Flea,
And the brute was possessed with no other thought
Than to live — and to live on me.
- Thomas Hood, Jr., The Cannibal Flea. Parody on Poe's Annabel Lee.
- I do honour the very flea of his dog.
- Ben Jonson, Every Man in his Humour, Act IV. Sc.4.
- Then mimick'd my voice with satyrical sneer,
And sent me away with a Flea in my ear.
- Mochus, Idyll LX; Eunica; Beaumont and Fletcher, Love's Cure, Act III, scene 3.
- Panurge auoyt la pulee en l'oreille.
- Panurge had a flea in his ear.
- François Rabelais, Pantagruel (1532), Chapter XXXI. Simon Forman, Notes to Marriage of Wit and Wisdom.
- So, naturalists observe, a flea
Has smaller fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller still to bite 'em,
And so proceed ad infinitum.
Thus every poet in his kind
Is bit by him that comes behind.
- Jonathan Swift, Poetry, A Rhapsody. Compare De Morgan, above.