and Misc. Quotes

Years ago, I spent endless hours corresponding with what we used to call pen-pals. At one point, I had more than 30 that I wrote to on a regular basis. And what works of art these letters were! Different colored pens and markers for each paragraph, gorgeous paper I chose especially for each individual person and at least one sticker somewhere (loved the scratch 'n' sniff ones). As if the rest of these tomes weren't exciting enough to receive, I always ended with a quote of some kind which I kept in an ever-expanding ringed-notebook (everyone on my list had a number and I noted which quote went to which person so as to not repeat myself, can you imagine how annoying a child I was?!). The list of quotes and poems you'll find below include many of these timeless quotes, so feel free to enliven your own writings with 'em, just don't dare to dream you'll ever reach the greatness MY letters received, the originals must be worth millions now ;-)

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The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.

from "The Book Of Tea" - Kakuzo Okakura

Adults are just obsolete children.

Dr. Seuss

fire is beautiful
and we know that if we get
too close it will kill us
but what does that matter
it is better to be happy
for a moment
and be burned up with beauty
than to live a long time
and be burned all the while

from "The Lesson Of The Moth" - Don Marquis

You cannot learn to fly by flying.
First you must learn to walk, and to run, and to climb, and to dance.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Whoever fights monsters should see to it
That in the process he does not become a monster.
If you gaze for long into an abyss,
the abyss gazes also into you.

Friedrich Nietzsche - "Beyond Good and Evil"

We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Live as to die tomorrow. Learn as to live forever.

Isadore of Seville

I like not only to be loved but also to be told that I am loved. The realm of silence is large enough beyond the grave. This is the world of light and speech. And I shall take leave to tell you that you are very dear.

George Eliot

I expect to pass this way but once; any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature. Let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

Etienne Griellet

Oh God of dust and rainbows, help us see that without dust the rainbow would not be.

Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Langston Hughes

Do not dwell in the past.
Do not dream of the future.
Concentrate the mind on the present moment.

Buddha (563-483 BC)

If you can't find the truth where you are, where else do you think you will find it?


Believe nothing because it is written in books.
Believe nothing because wise men say it is so.
Believe nothing because it is religious doctrine.
Believe it only because you yourself know it to be true.


All that is is the result of what we have thought.


The tragedy of life is not so much what men suffer but rather what they miss.

Thomas Carlyle

Books may be burned and cities sacked,
but truth, like the yearning for freedom,
lives in the hearts of humble men.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

When the earth reclaims your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Kahlil Gibran from "The Prophet"

Life is like a journey, taken on a train
With a pair of travellers at each windowpane.
I may sit beside you all the journey through,
Or I may sit elsewhere, never knowing you.
But if fate should make me sit by your side,
Let's be pleasant travellers; it's so short a ride.


A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed.

Henrik Ibsen

Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.

Rudyard Kipling

Of all sad words of tongue or pen
The saddest are these: "It might have been!"

from John Greenleaf Whittier's "Maud Muller"

Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other.
Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.

Katherine Hepburn

The world of knowledge takes a crazy turn
When teachers themselves are taught to learn.

Bertolt Brecht

To speak of morals in art is to speak of legislature in sex.
Art is the sex of the imagination.

George Jean Nathan

This world is not conclusion;
A sequel stands beyond,
Invisible as music,
But positive, as sound.

Emily Dickinson

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
Is Truth's superb surprise.
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind,
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind.

"1129" by Emily Dickinson

Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?

Edgar Allen Poe

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.
It is the source of all true art and all science.
He to whom this emotion is a stranger,
who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe,
is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.

Albert Einstein

No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.

Isaac Asimov

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows.

Helen Keller

In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man;
if you want anything done, ask a woman.

Margaret Thatcher

I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it.

Voltaire (1694-1778)

To the living we owe respect
but to the dead we owe only the truth.


The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

from "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" - Robert Frost (1875 - 1963)

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

from "The Road Not Taken" - Robert Frost

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

from "The Hollow Men" - Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888 - 1965)

Let others praise ancient times; I am glad I was born in these.

Ovid (43 B.C. - A.D. 18)

The past is history,
The future is a mystery
and now is a gift.
That's why we call it the present.


No one feels another's grief, no one understands another's joy.
People imagine they can reach one another.
In reality they only pass each other by.

Franz Schubert

If I have seen a little farther than others,
it is because I have stood on
the shoulders of giants.

Sir Isaac Newton

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
"Life is but an empty dream!"
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Henry W. Longfellow

Life is real! life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Henry W. Longfellow

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.

Henry W. Longfellow

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labour and to wait.

Henry W. Longfellow

No one is so accursed by fate,
No one so utterly desolate,
But some heart, though unknown,
Responds unto his own.

Henry W. Longfellow

The leaves of memory seemed to make
A mournful rustling in the dark.

Henry W. Longfellow

The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they while their companions slept
Were toiling upward in the night.

Henry W. Longfellow

All things come round to him who will but wait.

Henry W. Longfellow

I would rather be ashes than dust.
I would rather my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled in dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
Man's chief purpose is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.

Jack London

The hands that help are better far than the lips that pray.

Robert G. Ingersoll

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you.
This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.

Mark Twain

Don't take life too seriously; you'll never get out of it alive anyway.

Mark Twain

Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.

Mark Twain

If at first you don't succeed, try again.
Then quit; there's no use being a damn fool about it.

Mark Twain

When I was 14, I couldn't believe how ingnorant my father was.
By the time I turned 21 I was astounded at how much the old man had learned in just seven years.

Mark Twain

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain

Art is long, life is short.


To see a World in a grain of sand
And a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

William Blake

I was angry with my friend,
I told my wrath, my wrath did end;
I was angry with my foe,
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

William Blake

They are never alone that are accompanied with noble thoughts.

Sir Philip Sidney

For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be.

from "Locksley Hall" - Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 - 1892)

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.

from "Locksley Hall" - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change.

from "Locksley Hall" - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Death is the end of life; ah, why
Should life all labour be?

from "Choric Song of the Lotos-Eaters" - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

I am a part of all that I have met.

from "Ulysses" - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Here at the quiet limit of the world.

from "Tithonus" - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

We are ancients of the earth,
And in the morning of the times.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

But what am I?
An infant crying in the night:
An infant crying for the light:
And with no language but a cry.

from "In Memoriam" - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

from "In Memoriam" - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

So many worlds, so much to do,
So little done, such things to be.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

That is as well said as if I had said it myself.

Jonathan Swift

May you live all the days of your life.

Jonathan Swift

There is none so blind as they that won't see.

Jonathan Swift

A mother is a mother still,
The holiest thing alive.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

What outward form and feature are
He guesseth but in part;
But what within is good and fair
He seeth with the heart.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

That passage is what I call the sublime
dashed to pieces by cutting too close
with the fiery four-in-hand round the corner of nonsense.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

In my heart
Is the seed of the tree
Which will be me.
Nourished by understanding
Warmed by friends
Fed by loved ones
Matured by wisdom
Tempered by tears.

Leonard Nimoy
(yes, Mr. Spock on "Star Trek" has a soft side)

Time has stopped.
A minute is still a minute.
An hour is still an hour.
And yet,
The past and the future
Hang in perfect balance.
All focused on the present.
A sweet flow of excitement
Warms me.
You are near.

Leonard Nimoy

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever;
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

from "A Thing of Beauty" - John Keats (1795 - 1821)

Beauty is truth, truth beauty, -- that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

from "Ode on a Grecian Urn" - John Keats

Hear ye not the hum
Of mighty workings?

John Keats

The poetry of earth is never dead.

John Keats

The Moving Finger writes; and having writ,
Moves on; nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

from "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam of Naishapur" - Edward Fitzgerald (1809 - 1883)

We look before and after,
And pine for what is not;
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

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