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Looks like my summer vacation is... over.
  • A more disgusting hero than Aeneas there is not in the range of epic. And in some astonishing manner he combines uninterestingness with disgust. He is such a poor creature that you would almost be ashamed to kick him, as he deserves, because he would begin complaining to his mother, and you wouldn't like to annoy her.
  • "What remains to you as the prize of all the blood you have spilled...?"
    "What remains?" cried Ivanhoe; "Glory, maiden, glory!..."
    "Glory?" continued Rebecca, " the rusted mail which hangs as a hatchment over the champion's dim and mouldering tomb...sufficient reward[] for...a life spent miserably that ye may make others miserable?..."
    "Thou wouldst quench the pure light of chivalry, which alone distinguishes the noble from the base."
  • The rain song in youth I heard from some bedroom
    red candle setting behind a satin screen
    Older and travelling I heard rain in a boat
    huge river, low clouds
    a goose crying in the west wind parted from the flock
    Now when I hear the rain, in a hermit's cell
    my hair has long turned grey
    Sorrow, happiness, parting, joining are all neutral
    raindrops all night long on the stone steps
    • Lyric to the Tune Yumeiren by Jiang Jie (fl. 13th century) translated by John Scott and Graham Martin
  • Poetry is one of the most durable of the products of the human mind.
    • C. Day Lewis, A Lasting Joy (1973), p. 14
  • The author's mind is utterly devoid of any trace of Confucian ethics, and conscience is to him a factor absolutely of no account. Literature is to him only skill in turning neat couples and devising in[s]criptions for tables. His heroes have no intellect, no manliness, no conscience. His heroines are utterly devoid of delicacy, piety, virtue. He draws human nature neither as it ought to be nor, we hope in charity, as it really is in China. He works the complicated story of his book without a single lofty ideal and without any moral purpose whatever. ... Virtue and vice are to this Chinese novelist, Tsao Sueh-kin, merely what the colours on his palette are to the arti[s]an painter—so much effective dirt. Juvenal, Shakespeare, Fielding, with all their occasional nastiness, have ethical sympathies: this Chinese novelist has none.
  • How comes it...that a book so utterly non-Confucian, so nihilistic as regards both Chinese religion and morals, is one of the most widely read novels of China? The explanation is very simple. Chinese read the Red-Chamber Dream because of its wickedness. This Chinese novel owes its popularity chiefly to the spice of impropriety which garnishes these passion-tickling descriptions of the harem-life of a bloated aristocracy, to the literary cleverness with which it panders to man's morbid craving after what he knows to be naughty.
  • A mysterious justice according to God going counter to justice according to men.
  • [The Houyhnhnms] have a notion, that when people are met together, a short silence does much improve conversation: this I found to be true.
  • I am at present occupied in translating Red Chamber Dream. It will be off my hands in a couple of months and probably be out next autumn. Translation is hard work, harder than writing. One starts with thinking in Chinese and it takes a lot of polishing to make it read like idiomatic English. I have to abridge it or it will not have a chance of being published. As it is, it will be a thick heavy volume of over seven hundred pages printed.
The only way in which I could perhaps repay him would be with the tears shed during the whole of a mortal lifetime if he and I were ever to be reborn as humans in the world below.
  • The more cunning a man is, the less he suspects that he will be caught in a simple thing. The more cunning a man is, the simpler the trap he must be caught in.
  • Does not the good man fulfill his duty when he practices skilfully and scrupulously the art transmitted to him? If in your youth you honor your father, you will gladly learn from him. If in your manhood you carry this knowledge farther, maybe your son will reach a higher goal.
  • So even hell has laws?
  • With fairest images of dreams infold him,
    Plunge him in seas of sweet untruth!
  • Only despise reason and knowledge, the highest strength of humanity; only permit thyself to be confirmed in delusion and sorcery-work by the spirit of lies,—and I have thee unconditionally.
  • A love-sick fool like this would puff away
    Sun, moon, and stars, with pure indifference,
    To please his mistress.
  • No dagger's here which has not streamed with blood,
    No cup which has not poured a hot, consuming flood
    Of poison into some quite healthy frame,
    No gem that has not brought some lovely maid to shame.
  • I am content to have the sun behind me.
    The cataract there storming through the cliff—
    the more I watch it, the more is my delight.
    From fall to fall it swirls, gushing forth
    in streams that soon are many, many more,
    into the air all loudly tossing spray and foam.
    But see how, rising from this turbulence,
    the rainbow forms its changing-unchanged arch,
    now clearly drawn, now evanescent,
    and casts cool, fragrant showers all about it.
    Of human striving it's a perfect symbol—
    ponder this well to understand more clearly
    that what we have as life is many-hued reflection.
  • Leap as you like, and go on leaping,
    But beware of flying freely, you are not allowed to fly!
  • The Night seems deeper now to press around me,
    But in my inmost spirit all is light.
  • He only earns his freedom and existence,
    Who daily conquers them anew.
  • The acknowledgement that the text seeks to exact from its reader is ... not only that fiction betokens a systematic reinforcement of illusion, but also that it focalizes, ironically, both the need and danger of that reinforcement. ... The profound paradox emerging from Cao Xueqin's masterpiece seems to be that the illusion of life, itself a painful avowal of the non-reality and untruth of reality, can only be grasped through the illusion of art, which is an affirmation of the truth of insubstantiality (that is, jia zhong you zhen). ... [W]hat, for the Chinese, is the all-too-familiar lesson, old as Zhuangzi's butterfly and the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, that "human life is but a dream (rensheng ru meng)"—a lesson painfully acquired by the book's author, its protagonists, and by many of its characters, driven home by experiences that yield "hot and bitter tears".
    • Anthony C. Yu, Rereading the Stone: Desire and the Making of Fiction in Dream of the Red Chamber (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), pp. 48–49
  • Thrown into incarnation, [Stone and Plant] must settle their "case" in the human world by working through a life governed by memory and emotion, illusion and enlightenment. ... Only when [Jia Baoyu] has tasted the intoxication of romance, the ambivalence of age, the bitterness of betrayal, and the ineradicable pain of mortal separation can he lay claim to the perspicacity of Buddhist vision (kanpodi [literally, to see through it]).
    • pp. 121 and 125
  • Just at the point when we were at a loss as to what to use for the further development of our story ...
    • p. 48
  • It's an absolutely magical work. ... It's about everything, so much detail, and yet the bigger picture is so inspiring. It's about that extraordinary cross connection between human feelings and the ability to see through human feelings – kan po hong chen(看破紅塵). But even though you kan po hong chen, you still have strong feelings. That's what so special about The Stone. It captures that. For me that's what I read about. Every time you read, you find more depth, more detail. ... The author communicates – for lack of a better word, what I would just call – love. It's a love for humanity. ... Love is one of the great mysteries of life. There is nothing more sacred, nothing more mysterious, nothing more powerful. I come back to that – great literature is nearly always full of love, in a very broad sense. ... You come out of the book with a warm feeling.
  • ...Bao-yu posed a special problem for the editor and/or author of the final chapters. To be consistent with the pattern of change established during the narrative—that nothing that shares in life may avoid change—Cao [Xue Qin] or Gao [E] not only bestows on Bao-yu an unseemly amount of loss and sorrow in the last chapters, but also creates in him an oddly abrupt impulse to apply himself to rigorous study in preparation for the Examinations, immediately prior to his return to the Great Void. After Bao-yu finishes seventh overall in the Examinations, Jia Zheng is overjoyed—Boa-yu has finally yielded, and in high fashion. At the last moment before he leaves this world, "his earthly obligations fulfilled," Bao-yu encounters his father and kowtows four times before him. Such achievement and piety are inconsistent with the character of Bao-yu (and stone) as developed over the first one hundred chapters. This final reconciliation of antagonisms Gao E evidently saw to be his principal task in polishing the work—or Cao Xue Qin decided finally to harmonize some clearly dissonant elements rather hastily. Bao-yu's retreat from this world, accompanied by the two immortals, also fulfills his urge for reclusiveness, witnessed throughout the text—and made possible (as I believe it likely would be if indeed Cao Xue Qin had finished the work) only by finally extricating himself completely from existence in this world. The change/stasis conflict between father and son is resolved, then, by realizing the fulfillment of both opposing forces: change, and freedom from change.
The higher they climbed in their struggle to reach the top, the harder grew their toil. When one height had been mastered, a second opens and springs up before their aching sight.
The profound paradox emerging from Cao Xueqin's masterpiece seems to be that the illusion of life, itself a painful avowal of the non-reality and untruth of reality, can only be grasped through the illusion of art, which is an affirmation of the truth of insubstantiality. ~ Anthony C. Yu
As a panorama of Chinese social life, in which almost every imaginable feature is submitted in turn to the reader, the Hung Lou Mêng is altogether without a rival. Reduced to its simplest terms, it is an original and effective love story, written for the most part in an easy, almost colloquial, style, full of humorous and pathetic episodes of everyday human life, and interspersed with short poems of high literary finish. ~ Herbert Giles
  • The Hung Lou Mêng, conveniently but erroneously known as "The Dream of the Red Chamber," is the work...touching the highest point of development reached by the Chinese novel. ... No fewer than 400 personages of more or less importance are introduced first and last into the story, the plot of which is worked out with a completeness worthy of Fielding, while the delineation of character—of so many characters—recalls the best efforts of the greatest novelists of the West. As a panorama of Chinese social life, in which almost every imaginable feature is submitted in turn to the reader, the Hung Lou Mêng is altogether without a rival. Reduced to its simplest terms, it is an original and effective love story, written for the most part in an easy, almost colloquial, style, full of humorous and pathetic episodes of everyday human life, and interspersed with short poems of high literary finish. The opening chapters, which are intended to form a link between the world of spirits and the world of mortals, belong to the supernatural; after that the story runs smoothly along upon earthly lines, always, however, overshadowed by the near presence of spiritual influences.
    • Herbert Giles, A History of Chinese Literature (1901), pp. 355–356
  • 时逢三五便团圆,满把清光护玉栏。
    • In thrice five nights her perfect O is made,
      Whose cold light bathes each marble balustrade.
      As her bright wheel starts on its starry ways,
      On earth ten thousand heads look up and gaze.
      • Chapter 1
  • 忽迎面突出插天的大玲珑山石来,四面群绕各式石块,竟把里面所有房屋悉皆遮住。且一树花木也无,只见许多异草,或有牵藤的,或有引蔓的,或垂山岭,或穿石脚,甚至垂檐绕柱,萦砌盘阶,或如翠带飘摇,或如金绳蟠屈,或实若丹砂,或花如金桂,味香气馥,非凡花之可比。
    • A miniature mountain of rock, whose many holes and fissures, worn through it by weathering or the wash of waters, bestowed on it a misleading appearance of fragile delicacy, towered up in front of him and combined with the many smaller rocks of various shapes and sizes which surrounded it to efface from their view every vestige of the building they had just been looking at.
      Not a single tree grew in this enclosure, only plants and herbs:
      some aspired as vines,
      some crept humbly on the ground;
      some grew down from the tops of rocks,
      some upwards from their feet;
      some hung from the eaves in waving trails of green,
      some clung to pillars in circling bands of gold;
      some had blood-red berries,
      some had golden flowers.
      And from every flower and every plant and every herb wafted the most exquisite and incomparable fragrances.
      • Chapter 17
  • 焦首朝朝还暮暮,煎心日日复年年。
    • My head burns through the night and through the day,
      And year by year my heart consumes away.
      • Chapter 22
  • 過去未來,莫謂智賢能打破;
    • Human Wit can ne'er unveil the Mysteries of Time,
      Nor Closest Kin defy the Stern Decrees of Fate.
      • Chapter 116
  • [Don Quixote's] reading reading of reality, like his reading of the romances of chivalry, is absolutely sincere and in deadly earnest. The question ... is why does Don Quixote read reality the way he does, in light of the code of chivalresque literature, and why does Sancho interpret reality through a different, more historical and prosaic code? The answer is that each man reads the way he does because he is who he is, or more accurately, who he has become. ... Life presents us with choices, each of us chooses one possibility instead of the others available on each occasion. Over time our choices organize themselves into a pattern typical of each of us. Our history, the aggregate of the choices we have made, comes to define our personality. We are what we have become. In literary terms, this is the phenomenon known as "character." ... Don Quixote reads reality the way he does because he needs to make the romances of chivalry true. He needs to do this because he is psychotic, and he is psychotic because he has chosen to react in certain ways and not others to the pressures life has subjected him to.
    • Carroll B. Johnson, Don Quixote: The Quest for Modern Fiction (2000), p. 96
  • 苦绛珠魂归离恨天 病神瑛泪洒相思地
    • Crimson Pearl's suffering spirit returns to the Realm of Separation
      And the convalescent Stone-in-waiting weeps at the scene of past affection
      • Chapter 98
  • I am inclined to believe that no man who has not known the pleasure of letting his toes touch the wet grass can truly know God.
    • p. 21
  • I think sometimes the universe is not big enough to hold the heart of a child.
    • pp. 24–25
  • It really does not matter at all to what college a man goes; the important thing is a good library.
    • p. 29
  • Any Chinese laundryman was better acquainted with the heroes and heroines of the Three Kingdoms than I was. I had known even in my childhood that Joshua's trumpets had blown down the walls of Jericho. When I discovered that the tears of Chi Liang's widow, on finding her husband dead as conscript labor to build the Great Wall, had melted away a good section of the Great Wall, my rage was terrible. I had been cheated of my national heritage. That was what a good Puritan Christian education could do to a Chinese boy.
  • I have dwelt in the mansion of Confucian humanism, and climbed the peaks of Mount Tao and beheld its glories, and have had glimpses of the dissolving mist of Buddhism hanging over a terrifying void, and only after doing so have I ascended the Jungfrau of Christian belief and reached the world of sunlight above the clouds.
    • p. 64
  • [Parmenides] assumed Love or Desire as a first principle in things... For he says, where he is describing the creation of the universe, "Love she created first of all the gods."
    • Aristotle, Metaphysics, Book 1, section 984b (trans. Hugh Tredennick)
  • Tripitaka said, "The disciples of this poor monk are rather ugly in their appearances, and they dare not enter the court without permission. For I fear that they might cause too great a shock to your Majesty." ... "Summon them in." ... When the king saw how hideous they were, he was immediately frightened. ... "Elder, it's a good thing that you told me about them before. If you hadn't, the sudden sight of them would have scared me to death!"
    • Chapter 29
  • Delivered from their mortal flesh and bone,
    A primal spirit of mutual love has grown.
    Their work done, they become Buddhas this day,
    Free of their former six-six senses' sway.
    • Chapter 98
  • Economics is not a zero-sum game.
  • It seems that in writing a composition, one must first have in mind a reason for writing. If there is a reason behind it, no matter what one writes about, it will turn out to be excellent writing. If there is no reason behind it, there is no way to write. Even if one can produce something, it will be as dry and unpleasant as chewing wax.
  • 解落三秋叶,
    • In the third month of autumn it blows down the leaves,
      It can open up the second month's flowers.
      On the river, waves of a thousand feet,
      Among the bamboo, ten thousand dry and slanting.
    • Li Qiao (645–714), "Wind" (《风》)
  • Here among flowers a single jug of wine,
    No close friends here, I pour alone
    And lift a cup to bright moon, ask it to join me,
    Then face my shadow and we become three.
    The moon never has known how to drink,
    All my shadow does is follow my body,
    But with moon and shadow as companions a while,
    This joy I find will surely last till spring.
    I sing, the moon just lingers on,
    I dance, and my shadow scatters wildly.
    When still sober we share friendship and pleasure,
    Then entirely drunk each goes his own way—
    Let us join in travels beyond human feelings
    And plan to meet far in the river of stars.
    • "Drinking Alone by Moonlight" (trans. Stephen Owen)
  • I would rather be dead.
    • Arthur Waley, response when offered the Chair in Chinese at Cambridge, as quoted in Orientalism and the Operatic World (2015) by Nicholas Tarling, p. 78
  • Fitted out appropriately, I step inside the venerable courts of the ancients, where, solicitously received by them, I nourish myself on that food that alone is mine and for which I was born; where I am unashamed to converse with them and to question them about the motives for their actions, and they, out of their human kindness, answer me. And for four hours at a time I feel no boredom, I forget all my troubles, I do not dread poverty, and I am not terrified by death. I absorb myself into them completely.
  • Translation it is that openeth the window, to let in the light; that breaketh the shell, that we may eat the kernel; that putteth aside the curtain, that we may look into the most holy place; that removeth the cover of the well, that we may come by the water.
  • Elegant imitation has strange powers of interesting us in certain views of nature. These we consider but transiently, till the poet, or painter, awake our attention, and send us back to life with a new curiosity, which we owe entirely to the copies which they lay before us. [The copies] have this advantage over real life, that they are susceptible of a more deliberate examination and close comparison, than the fleeting and dispersed originals will admit.
    • Robert Wood, 'To the Reader', Preface to An Essay on the Original Genius and Writings of Homer (1775), pp. xiii–xiv
A floating fern minds not the swift, strong stream—
destined to drift, it drifts no matter where.
  • Phận bèo bao quản nước sa,
    Lênh đênh đâu nữa cũng là lênh đênh.
    • A floating fern minds not the swift, strong stream—
      destined to drift, it drifts no matter where.
      • Lines 2019–2020
  • Ở đây cửa Phật là không hẹp gì.
    • The Buddha's gate is open wide to all.
    • Line 2076
  • A hundred years—in this life span on earth,
    how apt to clash, talent and destiny!
    Men's fortunes change even as nature shifts—
    the sea now rolls where mulberry fields grew.
    One watches things that make one sick at heart.
    This is the law: no gain without a loss,
    and Heaven hurts fair women for sheer spite.

Ab uno disce omnes.

From one learn all.
  • Quam illae quibus tenere cogebar Aeneae nescio cuius errores, oblitus errorum meorum, et plorare Didonem mortuam, quia se occidit ab amore, cum interea me ipsum in his a te morientem, deus, vita mea, siccis oculis ferrem miserrimus.
    • I was forced to memorise the wanderings of Aeneas—whoever he was—while forgetting my own wanderings; and to weep for the death of Dido who killed herself for love, while bearing dry-eyed my own pitiful state, in that among these studies I was becoming dead to You, O God, my life.
    • Augustine of Hippo, Confessions (400), 1.13.20 (tr. F. J. Sheed)
I was forced to memorise the wanderings of Aeneas—whoever he was—while forgetting my own wanderings; and to weep for the death of Dido who killed herself for love, while bearing dry-eyed my own pitiful state, in that among these studies I was becoming dead to You, O God, my life. ~ Augustine of Hippo
  • Nam utique meliores, quia certiores, erant primae illae litterae quibus fiebat in me et factum est et habeo illud ut et legam, si quid scriptum invenio, et scribam ipse, si quid volo, quam illae quibus tenere cogebar Aeneae nescio cuius errores, oblitus errorum meorum, et plorare Didonem mortuam, quia se occidit ab amore, cum interea me ipsum in his a te morientem, deus, vita mea, siccis oculis ferrem miserrimus.

    Quid enim miserius misero non miserante se ipsum et flente Didonis mortem, quae fiebat amando Aenean, non flente autem mortem suam, quae fiebat non amando te, deus, lumen cordis mei et panis oris intus animae meae et virtus maritans mentem meam et sinum cogitationis meae? non te amabam, et fornicabar abs te, et fornicanti sonabat undique: 'euge! euge!' amicitia enim mundi huius fornicatio est abs te et 'euge! euge!' dicitur ut pudeat, si non ita homo sit. et haec non flebam, et flebam Didonem extinctam ferroque extrema secutam, sequens ipse extrema condita tua relicto te et terra iens in terram. et si prohiberer ea legere, dolerem, quia non legerem quod dolerem. tali dementia honestiores et uberiores litterae putantur quam illae quibus legere et scribere didici.
    • [The] first lessons were the surer. I acquired the power I still have to read what I find written and to write what I want to express; whereas in the studies that came later I was forced to memorise the wanderings of Aeneas—whoever he was—while forgetting my own wanderings; and to weep for the death of Dido who killed herself for love, while bearing dry-eyed my own pitiful state, in that among these studies I was becoming dead to You, O God, my life.

      Nothing could be more pitiful than a pitiable creature who does not see to pity himself, and weeps for the death that Dido suffered through love of Aeneas and not for the death he suffers himself through not loving You, O God, Light of my heart, Bread of my soul, Power wedded to my mind and the depths of my thought. I did not love You and I went away from You in fornication: and all around me in my fornication echoed applauding cries: "Well done! Well done!" For the friendship of this world is fornication against Thee: and the world cries "Well done" so loudly that one is ashamed of unmanliness not to do it. And for this I did not grieve; but I grieved for Dido, slain as she sought by the sword an end to her woe, while I too followed after the lowest of Your creatures, forsaking You, earth going unto earth. And if I were kept from reading, I grieved at not reading the tales that caused me such grief. This sort of folly is held nobler and richer than the studies by which we learn to read and write!
    • Augustine of Hippo, Confessions (400), 1.13.20–21 (tr. F. J. Sheed)
Death is the end of Woes: die soon, O Fairy's Son.
Be bold, Be bold, and every where Be bold...
Be not too bold.
Far between sundown's finish an' midnight's broken toll,
We ducked inside the doorway, thunder crashing.
As majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds,
Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing.
Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight,
Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight,
An' for each an' ev'ry underdog soldier in the night,
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.
It was like when you make a move in chess and just as you take your finger off the piece, you see the mistake you've made, and there's this panic because you don't know yet the scale of disaster you've left yourself open to.
Ring them bells so the world will know that God is one.
  • Quot lepores in Atho, quot apes pascuntur in Hybla,
    Caerula quot bacas Palladis arbor habet,
    Litore quot conchae, tot sunt in amore dolores;
    Quae patimur, multo spicula felle madent.
    • As grazing hares on Athos, or as Hybla's bees;
      Like olives thick on Pallas' gray-green trees,
      Or conchs that dot the shore: these are love's grieving hearts,
      targets of a thousand poison darts.
      • Book II, lines 517–520 (tr. Len Krisak)
  • Exigua est virtus praestare silentia rebus:
    At contra gravis est culpa tacenda loqui.
    • Holding your tongue's a modest virtue; giving in
      To whispering sacred rites, a heinous sin.
      • Book II, lines 603–604 (tr. Len Krisak)
  • Accipitri timidas credis, furiose, columbas?
    Plenum montano credis ovile lupo?
    • Madman, do you trust doves to a kite?
      Or a full sheepfold to a wolf at night?
      • Book II, lines 363–364 (tr. James Michie)
  • Parva leves capiunt animos.
    • A frivolous mind is won by small attentions.
  • Spirat adhuc amor
    vivuntque commissi calores
    Aeoliae fidibus puellae.
    • Enchanting Sappho's lyric Muse
      In every breast must love infuse;
      Love breathes on every tender string,
      And still in melting notes we hear her sing.
    • Horace, Odes, IV, ix, 10–13 (tr. Duncombe)
  • Si mihi difficilis formam natura negavit,
    ingenio formae damna repende meae.
    sum brevis. at nomen, quod terras impleat omnes,
    est mihi: mensuram nominis ipsa fero.
    candida si non sum, placuit Cepheia Perseo
    Andromede patriae fusca colore suae.
    et variis albae iunguntur saepe columbae
    et niger a viridi turtur amatur ave.
    si nisi quae facie poterit te digna videri,
    nulla futura tua est, nulla futura tua est!
    • To me what Nature has in charms denied
      Is well by wit's more lasting flames supplied.
      Though short my stature, yet my name extends
      To heaven itself and earth's remotest ends:
      Brown as I am, an Aethiopian dame
      Inspired young Perseus with a generous flame:
      Turtles and doves of different hue unite,
      glossy jet is paired with shining white.
      If to no charms thou wilt thy heart resign
      But such as merit, such as equal thine,
      By none, alas, by none thou canst be moved;
      Phaon alone by Phaon must be loved.
    • Ovid, Heroides, Epistle XV: Sappho to Phaon, lines 31–40 (tr. Pope)
  • Hic ego cum lassos posuissem flebilis artus,
    constitit ante oculos Naias una meos;
    constitit et dixit: "quoniam non ignibus aequis
    ureris, Ambracia est terra petenda tibi.
    Phoebus ab excelso, quantum patet, adspicit aequor:
    Actiacum populi Leucadiumque vocant.
    hinc se Deucalion Pyrrhae succensus amore
    misit, et illaeso corpore pressit aquas.
    nec mora, versus amor fugit lentissima mersi
    pectora; Deucalion igne levatus erat.
    hanc legem locus ille tenet. pete protinus altam
    Leucada nec saxo desiluisse time!"
    Ut monuit, cum voce abiit. ego frigida surgo
    nec lacrimas oculi continuere mei.
    ibimus, o nymphe, monstrataque saxa petemus;
    sit procul insano victus amore timor.
    quidquid erit, melius quam nunc erit. aura, subito—
    et mea non magnum corpora pondus habent.
    tu quoque, mollis Amor, pinnas suppone cadenti,
    ne sim Leucadiae mortua crimen aquae.
    • Here as I lay, and swelled with tears the flood,
      Before my sight a watry virgin stood,
      She stood and cried, "O you that love in vain!
      Fly hence; and seek the fair Leucadian main;
      There stands a rock from whose impending steep
      Apollo's fane surveys the rolling deep;
      There injured lovers, leaping from above,
      Their flames extinguish, and forget to love.
      Deucalion once with hopeless Fury burned,
      In vain he loved, relentless Pyrrha scorned;
      But when from hence he plunged into the main,
      Deucalion scorned, and Pyrrha loved in vain.
      Haste Sapho, haste from high Leucadia throw
      Thy wretched weight, nor dread the deeps below!"
      She spoke, and vanished with the voice—I rise,
      And silent tears fall trickling from my eyes.
      I go, ye nymphs! those rocks and seas to prove;
      How much I fear, but ah! how much I love!
      I go, ye nymphs! where furious love inspires:
      Let female fears submit to female fires!
      To rocks and seas I fly from Phaon's hate,
      And hope from seas and rocks a milder fate.
      Ye gentle gales, beneath my body blow,
      And softly lay me on the waves below!
      And thou, kind love, my sinking limbs sustain,
      Spread thy soft wings, and waft me over the main,
      Nor let a lover's death the guiltless flood profane!
    • Ovid, Heroides, Epistle XV: Sappho to Phaon, lines 161–180 (tr. Pope)
  • My friends, this is not the first trouble we have known. We have suffered worse before, and this too will pass. God will see to it.
  • Your task is to endure and save yourselves for better days.
  • On them I impose no limits of time or place. I have given them an empire that will know no end.
  • Aeneas loved these scenes on Vulcan's shield,
    His mother's gift—but didn't know the stories.
    He shouldered his descendants' glorious fate.
Pleasant are the words of the song, and lovely are the tales of other times. They are like the dew of the morning on the hill of roses, when the sun is faint on its side, and the lake is settled and blue in the vale.
  • Hominum divomque voluptas,
    alma Venus.
    • Delight of Gods and men,
      Dear Venus.
    • Book I, lines 1–2 (tr. W. E. Leonard)
  • Carmina musaeo contingens cuncta lepore.
    • O'erlaying all with the muses' charm.
    • Book I, line 934 (tr. Munro)
  • Floriferis ut apes in saltibus omnia libant,
    omnia nos itidem depascimur aurea dicta.
    • As bees sip of all things in the flowery lawns, we, o glorious being, in like manner feed from out thy pages upon all the golden maxims.
    • Book III, lines 11–12 (tr. Munro)
  • Populumque potentem
    in sua victrici conversum viscera dextra.
    • How a powerful people
      turned on its own heart its conquering hand.
    • Book I, lines 2–3 (tr. Matthew Fox)
  • Invida fatorum series summisque negatum
    stare diu nimioque graves sub pondere lapsus
    nec se Roma ferens.
    • But thus the malice of our fate commands,
      And nothing great to long duration stands;
      Aspiring Rome had risen too much in height,
      And sunk beneath her own unwieldy weight.
    • Book I, line 70 (tr. by Nicholas Rowe).
    • J. D. Duff's translation: It was the chain of jealous fate, and the speedy fall which no eminence can escape; it was the grievous collapse of excessive weight, and Rome unable to support her own greatness.
Thou shalt sleep in thy clouds, careless of the voice of the morning.
'Arms of Orlando, paladin', / By this inscription meaning to deter / Whoever saw the splendid trophy shine, / As though to say: 'Hands off, all who pass by, / Unless Orlando's strength you wish to try.'
  • O sudden woe, that ev'r art successour
    To worldly bliss! sprent is with bitterness
    Th' end of our joy, of our worldly labour;
    Woe occupies the fine of our gladness.
    Hearken this counsel, for thy sickerness:
    Upon thy glade days have in thy mind
    The unware woe of harm, that comes behind.

As is her beauty, so his modesty:
he yearns much, hopes little, asks nothing.

So come, dear father, climb up onto my shoulders!
I will carry you on my back. This labor of love
will never wear me down. Whatever falls to us now,
we both will share one peril, one path to safety.
  • Mal può durar il rosignuolo in gabbia,
    più vi sta il gardelino, e più il fanello;
    la rondine in un dì vi mor di rabbia.
    • The nightingale but ill endures the cage:
      The linnet and the finch live longer there:
      But in one day the swallow dies of rage.
    • Ludovico Ariosto, Satire III, lines 37–39
No matter how deep the darkness, a light shines within.


Dante Alighieri[edit]



  • Audivi a maximis viris, qui facillime id nosse poterant, Ludovicum Areostum nobilissimum nobilissimae domus praeconem, in duobus primis grandiosis illius poematis sui versibus plusquam credi posse laborasse; neque sibi prius aminum explere potuisse, quam quum illos in omnem partem diu multumque versasset.
    • I have been informed by the greatest men, who could know it very easily, that Lewis Ariosto, that most noble commender of a very august family, took infinite pains in composing the two first verses of his greater poem; and that he could not content his own mind till he had for a long time, turned them every way.
    • Muretus, Variae Lectiones, Book XVIII, Ch. 8; translation from A General Dictionary, Historical and Critical, Vol. VII (1738), p. 97.
  • Castigatque metus et quas alit inscia curas.
    • And chides her fears and the trouble cherished she knows not why.
    • Book VI, line 660
  • Atracio lunam spumare veneno.
    • Atracian poisons made the moon to foam.
    • Book VI, line 447
  • Nec primus radios, miles Romane, corusci
    fulminis et rutilas scutis diffuderis alas.
    • Nor, soldiers of Rome, are ye the first with your shields to spread abroad the flash and glare and flaming pinions of the brand.
    • Book VI, lines 55–56
  • Phoebe, mone.
    • Phoebus, be thou my guide.
    • Book I, line 5
  • Ultima virgineis tunc flens dedit oscula vittis
    quosque fugit complexa toros.
    • Then in tears she kissed for the last time her virgin fillets, and embracing the bed she was leaving ...
    • Book VIII, lines 6–7
  • 'Omnipotens regina,' inquit, 'quam, turbidus atro
    aethere caeruleum quateret cum Iuppiter imbrem,
    ipse ego praecipiti tumidum per Enipea nimbo
    in campos et tuta tuli nec credere quivi
    ante deam.'
    • "Almighty Queen," he says, "whom when turbulent Jove was brandishing a murky tempest in the darkened sky, I bore on my own shoulders across Enipeus swollen by the storms of rain, away to the fields and safety, and could scarce believe thou wert a goddess."
    • Book I, lines 81–85
  • Inde premente noto tristes Acherusidos oras
    praeterit et festa vulgatum nocte Lyaei
    • Then 'neath the South wind's pressure she passes the grim Acherusian shores and Callichoros famed for the nightly revels of Lyaeus.
    • Book V, lines 73–75
  • Maesti omnes dubiique, ratem fidissima cuius
    dextra regat. simul Ancaeus sollersque petebat
    Nauplius. Erginum fato vocat ipsa monenti
    quercus et ad tonsas victi rediere magistri.
    • Downcast were all, and doubtful whose hand most faithfully should guide the ship; together Ancaeus and wise Nauplius made request. The oak itself at Fate's prompting summons Erginus, and the defeated helmsmen went back to their oars.
    • Book V, lines 63–66
  • Id fati certa nam lege manebat,
    siqua per hos undis umquam ratis isset apertis.
    • For that remained sure by Fate's unalterable law, should ever a ship pass between them through an open sea.
    • Book IV, lines 709–710
  • Aquilonia proles
    non externa mihi: nam rex ego divitis Hebri
    iunctaque vestra meo quondam Cleopatra cubili.
    • Aquilo's sons...are [not] alien to me; for I am king of rich Hebrus, and once was your Cleopatra joined to me in wedlock.
    • Book IV, lines 462–464
  • Intortis adsurgens arduus undis
    percussit subito deceptum fragmine pectus.
    • Rising in towering height against the whirling waves suddenly struck his baffled breast with a broken oar.
    • Book III, lines 476–477
  • Prima deum magnis canimus freta pervia natis
    fatidicamque ratem, Scythici quae Phasidis oras
    ausa sequi mediosque inter iuga concita cursus
    rumpere flammifero tandem consedit Olympo.
    • My song is of the straits first navigated by the mighty sons of gods, of the prophetic ship that dared to seek the shores of Scythian Phasis, that burst unswerving through the clashing rocks, to slink at length to rest in the starry firmament.
    • Book I, opening lines
  • Et iam puniceo regem spes vana sub ortu
    extulerat, quantis nox una diremerit undis
    Aesoniden, liberne freto iam vultus aperto
    utque prius totum sileat mare, dumque ea longe
    explorare quaeat, contra venit Arcas Echion
    dicta ferens iam Circaeis Mavortis in agris
    stare virum, daret aeripedes in proelia tauros.
    rex 'vocor en ultro' dixit seque abripit aula
    'vos mihi nunc primum in flammas invertite, tauri,
    aequora, nunc totas aperite et volvite flammas.
    exeat Haemonio messis memoranda colono.
    tuque tuum pestem in Graium da, nata, draconem
    ipsius aspectu pereant in velleris, ipsa
    terga mihi diros servent infecta cruores.'
    fatur et effusis pandi iubet aequora tauris.
    pars et Echionii subeunt immania dentis
    semina, pars diri portant grave robur aratri.
    at sua magnanimum contra Pagasaea iuventus
    stipatque ducem. tum maxima quisque
    dicta dedit saevisque procul discessit ab agris.
    fixerat ille gradus totoque ex agmine solus
    stabat ut extremis desertus ab orbibus axis,
    quem iam lassa dies Austrique ardentis harenae
    aut quem Rhipaeas exstantem rursus ad arces
    nix et caerulei Boreae ferus abstulit horror;
    subito attoniti longissima Phasidis unda
    trabes omnisque Aeetia tellus
    fulsit et ardentes stabula effudere tenebras.
    ac velut ex una siquando nube corusci
    ira Iovis torsit geminos mortalibus ignes
    aut duo cum pariter ruperunt vincula venti
    dantque fugam, sic tunc claustris evasit uterque
    taurus et immani proflavit turbine flammas
    arduus atque atro volvens incendia fluctu.
    horruit Argoae legio ratis, horruit audax
    qui modo virgineis servari cantibus Idas
    flebat et invito prospexit Colchida vultu.
    non tulit ipse moras seseque immisit Iason,
    diversos postquam ire videt, galeamque minantem
    quassat <et> errantem dextra ciet obvius ignem.
    ut tandem stetit et torvo se lumine flexit,
    prior adversi respexit Iasonis arma,
    cunctatus paulum subito furit. aequora non sic
    in scopulos irata ruunt eademque recedunt
    fracta retro. bis fulmineis se flatibus infert
    obnubitque virum, sed non incendia Colchis
    adspirare sinit clipeoque inliditur ignis
    frigidus et viso pallescit flamma veneno.
    inicit Aesonides dextram atque ardentia vincit
    cornua, dein totis propendens viribus haeret.
    ille virum atque ipsam tunc te, Medea, recusans
    concutit et tota nitentem carminis ira
    portat; iners tandem gravius mugire recedens
    incipit et fesso victus descendere cornu.
    respicit hinc socios immania vincula poscens
    Aesonides iamque ora premit trahiturque trahitque
    obnixusque genu superat cogitque trementes
    sub iuga aena toros. alium dehinc turbida Colchis
    exarmat lentumque offert timideque minantem
    iamque propinquanti noctem[que] implicat. ille fatiscens
    in caput inque umeros ipsa vi molis et irae
    proruit. invadit totusque incumbit Iason
    desuper atque suis defixum flatibus urget
    utque dedit vinclis validoque obstrinxit aratro
    suscitat ipse genu saevaque agit insuper hasta,
    non secus a medio quam si telluris hiatu
    terga recentis equi primumque invasit habenis
    murmur et in summa Lapithes apparuit Ossa.
    Ille, velut campos Libyes ac pinguia Nili
    fertilis arva secet, plena sic semina dextra
    spargere gaudet agris oneratque novalia bello.
    Martius hic primum ter vomere fusus ab ipso
    clangor et ex omni sonuerunt cornua sulco,
    bellatrix tunc gleba quati pariterque creari
    armarique phalanx totisque insurgere campis.
    cessit et ad socios paulum se rettulit heros
    opperiens ubi prima sibi daret agmina tellus.
    at vero ut summis iam rura recedere cristis
    vidit et infesta vibrantes casside terras
    advolat atque, imo tellus qua proxima collo
    necdum umeri videre diem, prior ense sequaci
    aequat humo truncos; rutilum thoraca sequenti
    aut primas a matre manus premit obvius ante.
    nec magis aut illis aut illis milibus ultra
    sufficit, ad dirae quam cum Tirynthius Hydrae
    agmina Palladios defessus respicit ignes.
    ergo iter<um> ad socias convertere Colchidos artes
    et galeae nexus ac vincula dissipat imae
    cunctaturque tamen totique occurrere bello
    ipse cupit. spes nulla datur, sic undique densant
    terrigenae iam signa duces clamorque tubaeque.
    omnes videre virum iamque omnia contra
    tela volant. tum vero amens discrimine tanto
    quam modo Tartareo galeam dedit illa veneno
    in medios torsit; conversae protinus hastae.
    qualis ubi atto<nitos> maestae Phrygas annua Matris
    ira vel exsectos lacerat Bellona comatos,
    haud secus accensas subito Medea cohortes
    implicat et miseros agit in sua proelia fratres.
    omnis ibi Aesoniden sterni putat, omnibus ira
    aequalis. stupet Aeetes ultroque furentes
    ipse viros revocare cupit, sed cuncta iacebant
    agmina nec quisquam primus ruit aut super ullus
    linquitur atque hausit subito sua funera tellus.
    • And now beneath the scarlet dawn vain hope had sent the king abroad, wondering how great a stretch of waters one night had set between him and Aeson's son, whether the sea was open and inviting to behold and all the ocean quiet as before. And while he is preparing to spy it out from afar, Echion the Arcadian meets him with a message, "that already the hero is standing in the Circean field of Mars: let the king send forth his bronze-footed bulls to battle." "Lo! of his own accord he challenges me," he cried, while hope took wings within him. "Now, bulls, now for the first time plough me the furrows into flame, now open forth and send rolling all your fiery blasts. Let the Haemonian husbandman find a notable harvest to his reaping, and do thou, my daughter, at thy sire's behest ply thy serpent against the Grecians. Let them perish in sight of the fleece itself, let its very hid keep the dread stains of blood for me to see." He speaks, and bids the plain be opened to the charging bulls. Some shoulder the monstrous seeds, the Echionian teeth, others bear the heavy wood of the awful plough. But the great-hearted leader is escorted by a throng of his own men from Pagasae; then with heartening words all withdrew far from the grim fields. Firmly he planted his feet, and out of all his company was standing there alone, as some bird deserted by its wheeling squadrons, cut off by the sands of the burning South where day grows weary, or, as it struggles toward Riphaean heights, by snow and the shuddering fury of the dark North wind; when suddenly the most distant wave of astonied Phasis and the trees of Caucasus and all Aeetes' land flashed bright as the stalls poured forth a glowing darkness. And even as on a time the lightning wrath of Jove sends forth from one cloud two fiery brands upon mankind, or as two winds together break prison and escape: so then did the two bulls issue from the barriers and snort forth a mighty whirlwind of murky flame. Shuddered the crew of Argo, shuddered bold Idas who late was lamenting that a girl's spells had saved him, and despite himself gazed at the maid of Colchis. Jason brooked no delay, but rushed upon them when he saw them parting, and waved his threatening helm, and advancing towards them summons with right hand their wandering fire. When at length the bull who first saw Jason's approaching armour stood still and with angry glance changed his course, he delays a moment, then bursts forth in sudden fury. Not so madly so the seas rush against the cliffs and fall broken back again. Twice with thunderous blasts does he charge the hero and envelop him in cloud, but the Colchian suffers not the burning heat to come nigh him, and the fire cools as it rushes upon his shield, and the flame pales when it feels the poisons. Aesonides puts forth his right hand and tempers the burning horns, then clinging presses them down with all his might. The bull struggles against the hero and against even thee then, Medea, and would fain shake him off, and standing motionless bears him, as he wrestles with all his rage, upon his horns; at length sinking down he begins to bellow with a deeper note, his horns are weary and he falls to the ground beaten. Then the son of Aeson glances towards his friends, calling for the huge bridle, and now he has closed his mouth, drags him and is dragged, and pressing his knee against him overpowers him, and forces the quivering shoulders beneath the brazen yoke. The other bull then does the anxious Colchian rob of his terrors, and brings him to Jason moving slowly and threatening but timidly, and now as he draws near she casts a cloud about him; exhausted he falls upon his head and shoulders by the sheer force of his weight and angry rage: Jason is upon him and from above plies all his strength and presses him down, his own blasts failing him. And when he has got him beneath the yoke and bound him fast in the strong plough, with his knee he makes him rise and goads him also with the ruthless spear: just as when from the midst of the yawning earth a horse came newly forth, and Lapithes leapt upon its back and checked its first neighing with a bridle, and appeared on Ossa's summit. Then, as though it were the Libyan plain or the fertile plough-lands of rich Nile that he was cleaving, he joyfully scatters the seeds by handfuls on the ground and burdens the newly-tilled land with war. Then thrice from the very ploughshare issued the trump of Mars and from every furrow blared the horns; then was the warlike soil shaken, and the phalanx took life and arms together, and sprang up over all the plain. The hero withdrew and betwook himself for a space to his companions, waiting till the earth should show him the first troop. But when he saw the furrows at last open before the summits of the crests, and the surface quivering with the helmet-peaks, eh darted upon them, and where the earth lay closest to the base of their necks, nor yet had their shoulders seen the light, quick to the work with obedient sword he levels the trunks with the ground; and as they follow, gleaming corselet or hands first rising from their mother doth he attack and lays them low ere they can strike. Yet suffices he not for the thousands who on this side and on that are springing up, any more than when the Tirynthian wearied in fight against the hydra's dreadful hosts turned to the fires of Pallas. Once more then he has recourse to the Colchian's friendly arts, and disjoins the chain and fastening at his helmet's base; yet he hesitates and would fain himself challenge the whole array; but no hope offers, so closely throng the banners of the earth-born on every side, so loud their shouts and trumpet calls. And now all caught sight of the man, and at once all weapons are flying at him. Then mad with fear in such peril he flung into their midst the helmet which Medea of late had drugged with hellish poison: straightway the spears were turned about. And just as the anger of the mournful Mother rends every year the frenzied Phrygians, or as Bellona lacerates the long-haired eunuchs, so doth Medea suddenly inflame and embroil the cohorts and drive the doomed brethren to battle with their kin. Each one thinks that it is Jason he is laying low, all alike are fired with similar rage. Aeetes stands aghast and would fain recall the madmen, but all the host was on the ground, nor was any first to fall or last to remain, but the earth of a sudden swallowed up all her dead.
    • Book VII, lines 539–643
  • Medea rushed back and stretched her hands out towards the land in helpless despair.
When you're in love,
you want to tell the world.

~ Carl Sagan ~
"With Science on Our Side",
Wash. Post (January 9, 1994)

  • Someone who's invisible has no secrets to conceal. You see, we're all invisible because the soul is invisible.
  • Nec me
    ante nisi inspectis admisit ad oscula telis.
    • Nor did he admit me to his embrace before he had scanned my weapons.
    • Book II, line 127
  • Quo non dignior has subit habenas.
    • None worthier than he has held this sway.
    • Book IV, 3, line 130 (tr. J. H. Mozley)
  • Armigeri Tritones eunt scopulosaque cete.
    • Proceed the Tritons who bear his armour and the rock-like sea-monsters.
    • Book I, line 55 (tr. J. H. Mozley)
  • Palladi litoreae celebrabat Scyros honorum.
    • Scyros was keeping festal day in honour of Pallas, guardian of the shore.
    • Book I, line 285 (tr. J. H. Mozley)
  • Cedamus; chely, jam repone cantus.
    • Let us retire; lute, lay by thy song!
    • Book IV, 3, line 119 (tr. J. H. Mozley)
  • Statius was a favourite writer with the poets of the middle ages. His bloated magnificence of description, gigantic images, and pompous diction suited their taste, and were somewhat of a piece with the romances they so much admired. They neglected the gentler and genuine graces of Virgil, which they could not relish.
  • Statius had undoubtedly invention, ability, and spirit; but his images are gigantic and outrageous, and his sentiments tortured and hyperbolical.
    • Joseph Warton, An Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope, Vol. II (1782), p. 22
  • The unhappy love to talk and bring back old sorrows.

In the fury of the moment
I can see the Master's hand
In every leaf that trembles,
in every grain of sand.

~ Bob Dylan ~
"Every Grain of Sand"
(Shot of Love, 1981

  • Gino Castaldo: [Do] you look out for new writers?
    Bob Dylan: Yeah, but I don't believe there are any, because we live in another age. The media is very invasive. What could you possibly write that you haven't seen every day in the newspapers or on television?
    Gino Castaldo: But there are emotions that have to be expressed.
    Bob Dylan: Yeah, but the media control people's emotions, anyway. When there were people around like William Blake, Shelley or Byron there probably wasn't any form of media. Just gazzettes. You could feel free to put down whatever you had in your mind...
    Gino Castaldo: Do you think the TV and the media have killed poetry?
    Bob Dylan: Oh, absolutely. Because literature is written for a public. There's nobody like Kafka who just sits down and writes something without wanting somebody to read it.
    Gino Castaldo: Every writer?
    Bob Dylan: Yeah, sure, but the media does this for everybody. You can't see things that are more horrible than what the media give you. The news shows people things that they couldn't even dream about and even ideas that people thought they could repress, but they see them and they can't even repress them anymore. So what can a writer do when every idea is already exposed in the media before he can even grasp it and develop it?
    Gino Castaldo: How do you react to all this?
    Bob Dylan: We live in a world of fantasy where Disney has won, the fantasy of Disney. It's all fantasy. That's why I think that if a writer has something to say he should say it at all costs. The world is real. Fantasy has become the real world. Whether we realize it or not.
  • Bob Dylan: The media is all-pervasive. What can a writer think of to write that you don't see every day in a newspaper or on television?
    Dave Fanning: Well, there are emotions to be expressed.
    Bob Dylan: The media is moving people's emotions anyway. When Rimbaud was writing, William Blake or Shelley or Byron or any of those people, there probably wasn't any media, just somewhere where you could feel free to put down anything that came into your mind...
    Dave Fanning: So it's safe to make the assumption that TV and the media in general have killed poetry and literature.
    Bob Dylan: Absolutely. Absolutely. Even literature is written for an audience. It's not just written, it doesn't sit down. Everybody's not Kafka, sitting down and writing something that should ever be seen by... that you don't want some analyst to see. Most people who sit down, they want people to see it. They want people to read it. They want a person's reaction. They want some type of acceptance. But the media is doing that for everybody now. And movies and TV. I mean, you can't see more horrific things than you see in the media, especially the news. I'm just talking about the news department, which is showing people absolutely everything they'd ever even dreamed about. Even thoughts they might think and suppress forever, they'd see them in the media. So you can't express them anymore. What's a writer to do if every idea is exposed in the media before he can get to it or let it evolve? What's a writer gonna write about? ... It's a science-fiction world. We're living in a science-fiction world. We're living in a world that Disney has conquered. Disney's science fiction. Theme parks, trendy streets, it's all science fiction. So I'd say that if a writer has something to say, he'll have to do it within that science-fiction world. Whether we realize it or not science fiction has become the real world.
    • Press conference (23 July 2001) covered in The Irish Times Magazine (29 September 2001)
  • Well-pleased the reader's wonder to engage,
    He brings our grandsires' habit on the stage,
    And garbs that whilom graced an uncouth age.
  • And, rapt beyond himself, admires the force
    That drives him on reluctant to the course.
  • Oft in their sleep, inspired with rage divine,
    Some bards enjoy the visions of the Nine.
  • Οὐδ᾽ ἄρ᾽ Ἀθηναίην προτέρω λάθον ὁρμηθέντες·
    αὐτίκα δ᾽ ἐσσυμένως νεφέλης ἐπιβᾶσα πόδεσσιν
    κούφης, ἥ κε φέροι μιν ἄφαρ βριαρήν περ ἐοῦσαν,
    σεύατ᾽ ἴμεν πόντονδε, φίλα φρονέουσ᾽ ἐρέτῃσιν.
    ὡς δ᾽ ὅτε τις πάτρηθεν ἀλώμενος, οἷά τε πολλὰ
    πλαζόμεθ᾽ ἄνθρωποι τετληότες, οὐδέ τις αἶα
    τηλουρός, πᾶσαι δὲ κατόψιοί εἰσι κέλευθοι,
    σφωιτέρους δ᾽ ἐνόησε δόμους, ἄμυδις δὲ κέλευθος
    ὑγρή τε τραφερή τ᾽ ἰνδάλλεται, ἄλλοτε δ᾽ ἄλλῃ
    ὀξέα πορφύρων ἐπιμαίεται ὀφθαλμοῖσιν·
    ὧς ἄρα καρπαλίμως κούρη Διὸς ἀίξασα
    θῆκεν ἐπ᾽ ἀξείνοιο πόδας Θυνηίδος ἀκτῆς.
    • Argo's departure did not escape Athene's eye. She promptly took her stand on a cloud which, though light, could bear her formidable weight, and swept down to the sea, filled with concern for the oarsmen in the ship. There comes a moment to the patient traveller (and there are many such that wander far afield) when the road ahead of him is clear and the distance so foreshortened that he has a vision of his home, he sees his way to it over land and sea, and in his fancy travels there and back so quickly that it seems to stand before his eager eyes. Such was Athene's speed as she darted down to set foot on the inhospitable coast of Thynia.
      • Lines 537–548. E. V. Rieu notes: "[This] elaborate attempt to convey to us by a simile the speed of Athene's descent from the sky, has baffled all translators, including myself."
  • Some of the Argonauts went to fetch dry wood; some collected leaves from the fields and brought them in for bedding.
  • The elm tree planted by Eleanor Bold, the judge's daughter, fell last night.
    • Peace (1975), opening line
  • Punica se quantis attollet gloria rebus!
    • To what heights will Punic glory soar?
    • Line 49 (tr. Fairclough).
  • Tamen cantabitis, Arcades, inquit,
    Montibus haec vestris, soli cantare periti
    Arcades. O mihi tum quam molliter ossa quiescant,
    Vestra meos olim si fistula dicat amores!
    • Yet ye, O Arcadians, will sing this tale to your mountains; Arcadians only know how to sing. O how softly then would my bones repose, if in other days your pipes should tell my love!
    • Book X, lines 31–34 (tr. Fairclough).
  • Posthabui tamen illorum mea seria ludo.
    Alternis igitur contendere versibus ambo
    Coepere; alternos Musae meminisse volebant.
    • My serious business gave way to their playing.
      So they began the contest, in alternate
      Verses, which the Muses wished recalled.
    • Book VII, lines 17–19 (tr. Paul Alpers).
  • O vere Phrygiae, neque enim Phryges!
    • Phrygian women—that's what you are—not Phrygian men!
    • Line 617 (tr. Fagles).
  • Projecere animas.
    • They threw their lives away.
    • Line 436 (tr. Fagles).
  • His diction being, generally speaking, so pure, so elegant, and full of graces, and the turn of his lines so perfectly melodious, that I hardly believe believe the Original Italian has greatly advantage in either: nor could any author, in my opinion, be justified for attempting Tasso anew, as long as his translation can be read.
    • Elizabeth Cooper, The Muses Library (1741), p. 343
Beatrice am I, who do bid thee go.
  • I' son Beatrice che ti faccio andare;
    vegno del loco ove tornar disio;
    amor mi mosse, che mi fa parlare.
    • Beatrice am I, who do bid thee go;
      I come from there, where I would fain return;
      Love moved me, which compelleth me to speak.
    • Canto II, lines 70–72 (tr. Longfellow)
  • Supreme ruler of gods, pity, I beg,
    The Arcadian king, and hear a father's prayer:
    If by thy will my son survives, and fate
    Spares him, and if I live to see him still,
    To meet him yet again, I pray for life;
    There is no trouble I cannot endure.
    But, Fortune, if you threaten some black day,
    Now, now let me break off my bitter life
    While all's in doubt, while hope of what's to come
    Remains uncertain, while I hold you here,
    Dear boy, my late delight, my only one—
    And may no graver message ever come
    To wound my ears.
    • Lines 578–580 (tr. Robert Fitzgerald).
  • Καὶ Θάνατον, τέκε δ᾽ Ὕπνον.
  • Homère a fait Virgile, dit-on; si cela est, c'est sans doute son plus bel ouvrage.
  • If Homer sometimes nods, Apollonius may be said to be only occasionally awake.
  • A translator, who does not thus consider the different genius of the two languages in which he is concerned, with such parallel turns of thought and expression as correspond with one another in both of them, may value himself upon being a faithful interpreter; but in works of wit and humour will never do justice to his author, or credit to himself.
  • But me, love of Parnassus doth invite,
    To Hills untracted; there is my delight.
  • Corruption lives, and is by covering fed.
  • Slight is the Theam; but not the Glory slight.
  • a Translator owes so much to the Taste of the Age in which he lives
    • Notes to Book XI

And I saw Sisyphus too, bound to his own torture,
grappling his monstrous boulder with both arms working,
heaving, hands struggling, legs driving, he kept on
thrusting the rock uphill toward the brink, but just
as it teetered, set to topple over—time and again
the immense weight of the thing would wheel it back and
the ruthless boulder would bound and tumble down to the plain again

  • Εἰ μάλα καρτερός ἐσσι, θεός που σοὶ τό γ' ἔδωκεν.
    • For know, vain man! thy valour is from God.
    • Iliad, I. 178; Agamemnon to Achilles.
'Nobody, friends'—Polyphemus bellowed back from his cave—
'Nobody's killing me now by fraud and not by force.'
  • Τί πρῶτόν τοι ἔπειτα, τί δ' ὑστάτιον καταλέξω.
    • Well then, what shall I go through first,
      what shall I save for last?
    • Odyssey, IX. 14 (tr. Robert Fagles)
  • Οὐδέ κεν ἴρηξ
    κίρκος ὁμαρτήσειεν, ἐλαφρότατος πετεηνῶν.
    • Not even a darting hawk,
      the quickest thing on wings, could keep her pace.
    • Book XIII, lines 86–87 (tr. Robert Fagles).
  • Βίας ὑποδέγμενος ἀνδρῶν.
    • And bear unmoved the wrongs of base mankind,
      The last, and hardest, conquest of the mind.
    • Book XIII, line 310 (tr. Alexander Pope).
  • Σχοίνῳ ὑπεκλίνθη, κύσε δὲ ζείδωρον ἄρουραν.
    • The bank he press'd, and gently kiss'd the ground.
    • Book V, line 463 (tr. Alexander Pope).
  • ἦ οὐχ ἅλις ὅττι γυναῖκας ἀνάλκιδας ἠπεροπεύεις.
    • Enough for thee weak women to delude.
    • Iliad, V. 349 (tr. Lord Derby).
  • ὅς οἱ πολλὰ κάμῃσι θεὸς δ ἐπὶ ἔργον ἀέξῃ
    • who has worked hard for him and whose work heaven has prospered
    • Odyssey, XIV. 65 (tr. E. V. Rieu)
  • But when Ulysses rose, in thought profound,
    His modest eyes he fixed upon the ground;
    As one unskilled or dumb, he seemed to stand,
    Nor raised his head, nor stretched his sceptred hand;
    But when he speaks, what elocution flows!
    Soft as the fleeces of descending snows,
    The copious accents fall, with easy art;
    Melting they fall, and sink into the heart:
    we hear, and, fixed in deep surprise,
    Our ears refute the censure of our eyes.
  • Perguntar de que morreu alguém é estúpido, com o tempo a causa esquece, só uma palavra fica, Morreu
    • It is foolish for anyone to ask what someone died from, in time the cause will be forgotten, only two words remain, She died
      • p. 182
  • The whole machine creaked, the metal plates and the entwined canes, and suddenly, as if it were being sucked in by a luminous vortex, it ... soared like an arrow straight up into the sky. ... Padre Bartolomeu Lourenco had grabbed one of the plummets that supported the sails, which allowed him to see the machine move away from earth at the most incredible speed. ... What's that yonder in the distance? Lisbon, of course. And the river, ah, the sea, that sea which I, Bartolomeu Lourenco de Gusmao, sailed twice from Brazil, that sea which I sailed to Holland. To how many more continents on land and in the air will you transport me, Passarola? ... If only the King could see me now ... if only the Holy Office of the Inquisition could see me now. ... Baltasar and Blimunda finally scrambled to their feet, nervously holding on to the plummets, then to the rail, dazed by the light and the wind. Suddenly they were no longer frightened. Ah, Baltasar shouted, we've made it. He embraced Blimunda and burst into tears.
    • p. 183
  • His extraordinary gifts of invention and narration, his radical intelligence, wit, humor, good sense, and goodness of heart, will shine out to anyone who values such qualities in an artist, but his age gives his art a singular edge. ... He's been farther and learned more. He has seen most of the twentieth century, and has had time to think about it, decide what matters, and learn how to say it. The energy and mastery with which he says it is a marvel. He is the only novelist of my generation who tells me what I didn't know, or rather, what I didn't know I knew: the only one I still learn from. He had the time and the courage to earn that subtle and unpretentious kind of understanding we call, inadequately, wisdom.
    • Ursula K. Le Guin, Words Are My Matter (2016), "Examples of Dignity: Thoughts on the Work of José Saramago"
  • "You learn something new every day." Actually, you learn something old every day. Just because you just learned it, doesn't mean it's new.

Nor shall my hand the golden prize withhold:
Like your proud lord, I envy not the bold.

The conscious infant so, when fear alarms,
Retires for safety to the mother's arms.
Thus Ajax guards his brother in the field,
Moves as he moves, and turns the shining shield.

Great Agamemnon views with joyful eye
The ranks grow thinner as his arrows fly:

Now deep in ocean sunk the lamp of light,
And drew behind the cloudy veil of night:
The conquering Trojans mourn his beams decayed;
The Greeks rejoicing bless the friendly shade.

Wounds, that long hence may ask their spouses' care,
And warn their children from a Trojan war.

Then tell him, loud, that all the Greeks may hear,
And learn to scorn the wretch they basely fear;
For, armed in impudence, mankind he braves,
And meditates new cheats on all his slaves;
Though, shameless as he is, to face these eyes
Is what he dares not; if he dares, he dies;
Tell him, all terms, all commerce, I decline,
Nor share his council, nor his battle join;
For once deceived, was his; but twice, were mine.

My fates long since by Thetis were disclosed,
And each alternate, life or fame, proposed:
Here if I stay, before the Trojan town,
Short is my date, but deathless my renown;
If I return, I quit immortal praise
For years on years, and long-extended days.

And cursed thee with a mind that cannot yield.

It would have made a Stoic smile to have seen me and my little family sit down to dinner. There was my majesty the prince and lord of the whole island; I had the lives of all my subjects at my absolute command...and no rebels among all my subjects. Then, to see how like a king I dined, too, all alone, attended by my servants! Poll...was the only person permitted to talk to me. My dog, who was now grown old and crazy...sat always at my right hand; and two cats, one on one side of the table and one on the other... With this attendance and in this plentiful manner I lived; neither could I be said to want anything but society.

And now I saw how easy it was for the providence of God to make even the most miserable condition of mankind worse. Now I looked back upon my desolate, solitary island as the most pleasant place in the world and all the happiness my heart could wish for was to be but there again. I stretched out my hands to it, with eager wishes: O happy desert! said I, I shall never see thee more...

A youth unshod amid the crowd appears,
Cause of thy ruin, subject of thy fears.
  • A youth unshod amid the crowd appears,
    Cause of thy ruin, subject of thy fears.
  • I remember also distinctly, (though I have not for this the authority of my journal,) that the conversation going on concerning Mr. Pope, I took notice of a report which had been sometimes propagated that he did not understand Greek. Lord Bathurst said to me, that he knew that to be false; for that part of the Iliad was translated by Mr. Pope in his house in the country; and that in the mornings when they assembled at breakfast, Mr. Pope used frequently to repeat, with great rapture, the Greek lines which he had been translating, and then to give them his version of them, and to compare them together.
    • Hugh Blair, letter to James Boswell (21 September 1779), published in The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. by James Boswell, ed. Henry Baldwin, Vol. II (1791), p. 300.
  • Indeed it is impossible for any Translator, and much less for this, to express in a Translation the Poetical Language of HOMER. By the Advantage of the Language in which he wrote, he had several Ways of rendering his Language poetical, which a Translator can never have; as the frequent Use of compounded and decompounded Words; the Use of Words which were as it were at one and the same time both Grecian and Foreign; as being confin'd in their vulgar Use to some particular Part of Greece; as likewise the Use of Words which were purely Poetick, and which were seldom or never us'd in Prose; the contracting or lengthening the Words which he used, and the frequent transposing of Syllables; and, lastly, the altering the Terminations of Words, by means of the different Dialects.
    • John Dennis, Remarks upon Mr. Pope's Translation of Homer (1717)
  • And say, has fame so dear, so dazzling charms?
    Must brutal fierceness and the trade of arms,
    Conquest, and laurels dipt in blood, be prized,
    While life is scorn'd, and all its joys despised?
    • The Lusiad (1776), Book IV, pp. 185.
  • Let the cravens who contend that the free genius and taste of divine Virgil were prisoners of Homer's inventions hold their peace. It was not thus. The arguments of Homer which nature proposed to him were corrected by Virgil as a schoolboy's theme by his professor.
    • Julius Caesar Scaliger, Poetices (1561), Book V, Ch. 3; as quoted in "Life of Julius Caesar Scaliger (1484-1558)" by Vernon Hall, Jr. — Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 40, Part 2 (October, 1950), p. 153

Nin = Adalgisa!

  • ... no tempo que a luz clara
    Foge, e as estrelas nítidas que saem
    A repouso convidam quando caem,

    Estando já deitado no áureo leito,
    Onde imaginações mais certas são,
    Revolvendo contino no conceito
    De seu ofício e sangue a obrigação,
    Os olhos lhe ocupou o sono aceito,
    Sem lhe desocupar o coração;
    Porque, tanto que lasso se adormece,
    Morfeu em várias formas lhe aparece.

    Aqui se lhe apresenta que subia
    Tão alto que tocava à prima Esfera,
    Donde diante vários mundos via,
    Nações de muita gente, estranha e fera.
    E lá bem junto donde nace o dia,
    Despois que os olhos longos estendera,
    Viu de antigos, longincos e altos montes
    Nacerem duas claras e altas fontes.

    Aves agrestes, feras e alimárias
    Pelo monte selvático habitavam;
    Mil árvores silvestres e ervas várias
    O passo e o trato às gentes atalhavam.
    Estas duras montanhas, adversárias
    De mais conversação, por si mostravam
    Que, dês que Adão pecou aos nossos anos,
    Não as romperam nunca pés humanos.

    Das águas se lhe antolha que saíam,
    Par' ele os largos passos inclinando,
    Dous homens, que mui velhos pareciam,
    De aspeito, inda que agreste, venerando.
    Das pontas dos cabelos lhe saíam
    Gotas, que o corpo todo vão banhando;
    A cor da pele, baça e denegrida;
    A barba hirsuta, intonsa, mas comprida.

    D'ambos de dous a fronte coroada
    Ramos não conhecidos e ervas tinha.
    Um deles a presença traz cansada,
    Como quem de mais longe ali caminha;
    E assi a água, com ímpeto alterada,
    Parecia que doutra parte vinha,
    Bem como Alfeu de Arcádia em Siracusa
    Vai buscar os abraços de Aretusa.

    Este, que era o mais grave na pessoa,
    Destarte pera o Rei de longe brada:
    – «Ó tu, a cujos reinos e coroa
    Grande parte do mundo está guardada,
    Nós outros, cuja fama tanto voa,
    Cuja cerviz bem nunca foi domada,
    Te avisamos que é tempo que já mandes
    A receber de nós tributos grandes.

    «Eu sou o ilustre Ganges, que na terra
    Celeste tenho o berço verdadeiro;
    Estoutro é o Indo, Rei que, nesta serra
    Que vês, seu nascimento tem primeiro.
    Custar-t'-emos contudo dura guerra;
    Mas, insistindo tu, por derradeiro,
    Com não vistas vitórias, sem receio
    A quantas gentes vês porás o freio.»

    Não disse mais o Rio ilustre e santo,
    Mas ambos desparecem num momento.
    Acorda Emanuel cum novo espanto
    E grande alteração de pensamento.

    King Manuel's dream of the rivers Ganges and Indus
    • Now, from the sky, the sacred light withdrawn,
      O'er heaven's clear azure shone the stars of dawn,
      Deep silence spread her gloomy wings around,
      And human griefs were wrapp'd in sleep profound.
      The monarch slumber'd on his golden bed,
      Yet, anxious cares possess'd his thoughtful head;
      His gen'rous soul, intent on public good,
      The glorious duties of his birth review'd.
      When, sent by Heaven, a sacred dream inspir'd
      His lab'ring mind, and with its radiance fir'd:
      High to the clouds his tow'ring head was rear'd,
      New worlds, and nations fierce, and strange, appear'd;
      The purple dawning o'er the mountains flow'd,
      The forest-boughs with yellow splendour glow'd;
      High, from the steep, two copious glassy streams
      Roll'd down, and glitter'd in the morning beams;
      Here, various monsters of the wild were seen,
      And birds of plumage azure, scarlet, green:
      Here, various herbs, and flow'rs of various bloom;
      There, black as night, the forest's horrid gloom,
      Whose shaggy brakes, by human step untrod,
      Darken'd the glaring lion's dread abode.
      Here, as the monarch fix'd his wond'ring eyes,
      Two hoary fathers from the streams arise;
      Their aspect rustic, yet, a reverend grace
      Appear'd majestic on their wrinkled face:
      Their tawny beards uncomb'd, and sweepy long,
      Adown their knees in shaggy ringlets hung;
      From every lock the crystal drops distil,
      And bathe their limbs, as in a trickling rill;
      Gay wreaths of flowers, of fruitage, and of boughs,
      (Nameless in Europe), crown'd their furrow'd brows.
      Bent o'er his staff, more silver'd o'er with years,
      Worn with a longer way, the one appears;
      Who now slow beck'ning with his wither'd hand,
      As now advanc'd before the king they stand:—

      "O thou, whom worlds to Europe yet unknown,
      Are doom'd to yield, and dignify thy crown;
      To thee our golden shores the Fates decree;
      Our necks, unbow'd before, shall bend to thee.
      Wide thro' the world resounds our wealthy fame;
      Haste, speed thy prows, that fated wealth to claim.
      From Paradise my hallow'd waters spring;
      The sacred Ganges I, my brother king
      Th' illustrious author of the Indian name:
      Yet, toil shall languish, and the fight shall flame;
      Our fairest lawns with streaming gore shall smoke,
      Ere yet our shoulders bend beneath the yoke;
      But, thou shalt conquer: all thine eyes survey,
      With all our various tribes, shall own thy sway."

      He spoke; and, melting in a silv'ry stream,
      Both disappear'd; when waking from his dream,
      The wond'ring monarch, thrill'd with awe divine,
      Weighs in his lofty thoughts the sacred sign.

    • Canto IV, st. 67–75 (as translated by William Julius Mickle).
  • Dada ao mundo por Deus que todo o mande,
    Pera do mundo a Deus dar parte grande.
  • La mayor venganza del que es sabio
    Es olvidar la causa del agravio.
    • El desprecio agradecido (1633), Act I, scene xi.

Aquilo que é inevitável torna-se fácil, se formos realistas, e humildes. (MP)

O Lord God, Almighty Father! hear the prayer of a poor, wicked, proud child! I know that my heart is full of sin, and that my body is corrupt and filthy, and that I must soon die and go down into the dust; and yet I am so foolish and so wicked as to wish to be great in this world. I wish to have a fine house to live in, and a great many servants to wait on me, and to be of great consequence, and to be made a great deal of; and yet I know, that if I had what I deserved, I should now at this moment be in hell fire. O thou that resisteth the proud, and givest grace to the humble! give me the grace of humility; make me humble and lowly in heart, content and thankful for what I have. O set my sins in order before my eyes, that I may see I have nothing to be proud of, and know that I am not worthy to be set up and made great in the world. I know that thou, O Lord! lovest humble and lowly people; and that thy blessed Son, when in this world, appeared in the form of a servant, amongst the lowest and poorest of men, and was meek and lowly in his behaviour. O Lord! send thy Holy Spirit to cleanse my heart from all proud thoughts. Teach me to know my sins and hate myself, and to humble myself before men and in thy sight. O give me a clean and a new heart, that I may rather desire to be numbered amongst the saints, and martyrs, and children of God—those holy people of whom the world was not worthy—than amongst the great and mighty men of the earth.

  • He was in love with [imagination].
    • Owen Barfield, as quoted in Christianity & Literature, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Autumn 1990), p. 314


jonathan swift

O wheels, O gears, eternal r-r-r-r-r-r-r!


Me, me, adsum, qui feci, in me convertite ferrum.

Moniti meliora sequamur.

A corja de ladrões assignalados
Fugindo vem da praia Lusitana,
Que, em crimes nunca d'antes praticados,
Tem já muito excedido a audácia humana:
Que, em caurins e calotes esforçados,
Vão demandando o Império da Banana;
Tão infame ralé, corja tão porca.
Eu sempre a cantarei digna da Forca.

Time goes, you say? Ah, no!
Alas, Time stays, we go.

Their martial rage inflame:
And one the chief's young beauty fires,
One kindles at his hero sires,
One at his deeds of fame.

dn [in progress]

And now the rising day renews the year;
A day for ever sad, for ever dear.

O happy, if he knew his happy state,
The swain, who, free from bus'ness and debate,
Receives his easy food from Nature's hand,
And just returns of cultivated land!

See there, where old unhappy Priam stands!

telum imbelle sine ictu

ch c

Nee dulcia carmina quaeras;
Ornari res ipsa negat, eontenta doceri.