The bluebird carries the sky on his back.
—Henry David Thoreau (1817–62) American Philosopher
What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Playwright
No one knows what they’ll do in a moment of crisis and hypothetical questions get hypothetical answers.
—Joan Baez (b.1941) American Singer, Songwriter, Musician
The torment of precautions often exceeds the dangers to be avoided. It is sometimes better to abandon one’s self to destiny.
—Napoleon I (1769–1821) Emperor of France
Make voyages. Attempt them. There’s nothing else.
—Tennessee Williams (1911–83) American Playwright
The average man will bristle if you say his father was dishonest, but he will brag a little if he discovers that his great-grandfather was a pirate.
—Bert Williams (1876–1922) American Entertainer, Actor
Necessity is not an established fact, but rather an interpretation.
—Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) German Philosopher, Scholar, Writer
An apology for the Devil: It must be remembered that we have only heard one side of the case. God has written all the books.
You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.
—Harper Lee (1926–2016) American Novelist
It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.
—Robert W. Service (1874–1958) Scottish Poet, Author
A boil is no big deal. On someone else’s neck.
Plagiarists, at least, have the merit of preservation.
—Benjamin Disraeli (1804–81) British Head of State
Few are they who have never had the chance to achieve happiness … and fewer those who have taken that chance.
—Andre Maurois (1885–1967) French Novelist, Biographer
The violence we do to ourselves in order to remain faithful to the one we love is hardly better than an act of infidelity.
—Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613–80) French Writer
Some men see things as they are and say, “Why?” I dream things that never were, and say, “Why not?”
—George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) Irish Playwright
Perspective, as its inventor remarked, is a beautiful thing. What horrors of damp huts, where human beings languish, may not become picturesque through aerial distance! What hymning of cancerous vices may we not languish over as sublimest art in the safe remoteness of a strange language and artificial phrase! Yet we keep a repugnance to rheumatism and other painful effects when presented in our personal experience.
—George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) (1819–80) English Novelist
If you’re being run out of town, get in front of the crowd and make it look like a parade.
If you do not raise your eyes you will think that you are the highest point.
—Antonio Porchia (1885–1968) Italian Poet
Try not to become a man of success, but rather to become a man of value. He is considered successful in our day who gets more out of life than he puts in. But a man of value will give more than he receives.
—Albert Einstein (1879–1955) German-born Physicist
People who look through keyholes are apt to get the idea that most things are keyhole shaped.
Without risk, faith is an impossibility.
—Soren Kierkegaard (1813–55) Danish Philosopher, Theologian
I see every thing I paint in this world, but everybody does not see alike. To the eyes of a miser a guinea is more beautiful than the sun, and a bag worn with the use of money has more beautiful proportions than a vine filled with grapes.
—William Blake (1757–1827) English Poet, Painter, Printmaker
Flowers often grow more beautifully on dung-hills than in gardens that look beautifully kept.
—Francis de Sales (1567–1622) French Catholic Saint
Travelers never think that they are the foreigners.
—Mason Cooley (1927–2002) American Aphorist
A hole is nothing at all, but you can still break your neck in it.
It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.
—G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936) English Journalist, Novelist, Essayist, Poet
Perspective is the rein and rudder of painting.
—Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) Italian Polymath, Painter, Sculptor, Inventor, Architect
Brute force crushes many plants. Yet the plants rise again. The Pyramids will not last a moment compared with the daisy. And before Buddha or Jesus spoke the nightingale sang, and long after the words of Jesus and Buddha are gone into oblivion the nightingale still will sing. Because it is neither preaching nor commanding nor urging. It is just singing. And in the beginning was not a Word, but a chirrup.
—D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930) English Novelist, Playwright, Poet, Essayist, Literary Critic
Someone said, “The dead writers are remote from us because we know so much more than they did”. Precisely, and they are that which we know.
—T. S. Eliot (1888–1965) American-born British Poet, Dramatist, Literary Critic
Immorality: the morality of those who are having a better time.
—H. L. Mencken (1880–1956) American Journalist, Literary Critic