(see also ANIMALS—SPECIFIC TYPES)
(see also CLOTHING and GARMENT and SCOTLAND & THE SCOTS)
(see also FAMILY and FATHERS & FATHERHOOD and MOTHERS & MOTHERHOOD and PARENTS & PARENTHOOD and RELATIVES and SIBLINGS)
(see also BENEVOLENCE and CHARITY and CONSIDERATE and EMPATHY and GENEROSITY and GIFTS and GIVING and GOODNESS and SYMPATHY and UNKINDNESS)
QUOTE NOTE: If you click no other hyperlink in this online database of quotations, I strongly urge you to see what Adams had to say about the power of a kind word in this 1995 edition of his DNRC (for Dogbert’s New Ruling Class) newsletter.
QUOTE NOTE: Aung San Suu Kyi (whose name is pronounced Ahn Sahn SOO Chee), added: “We prefer the word ‘compassion.’ That is warmer and more tender then ‘mercy.’”
Borysenko added: “Service is indeed the gift that keeps on giving.”
Cather added: “When it has left a place where we have always found it, it is like shipwreck; we drop from security into something malevolent and bottomless.”
QUOTE NOTE: After Dahl made this remark, interviewer Sibley quickly queried, “Or brains even?” Just as quickly, Dahl answered: “Oh, gosh, yes, brains are one of the least. You can be a lovely person without brains, absolutely lovely. Kindness—that simple word. To be kind—it covers everything in my mind. If you’re kind that’s it.”
QUOTE NOTE: This lovely thought appeared in Drummond’s discussion of 1 Corinthians, where he presented the nine essential virtues all through the prism of love:
“Patience is love suffering; kindness is love in action; humility is love vaunting not itself; generosity is love envying not; courtesy is love acting properly; unselfishness is love seeking not her own; good temper is love not easily provoked; guilelessness is love thinking no evil; sincerity is love rejoicing not in iniquity, but in the truth.”
Dorothea continued: “I cannot be indifferent to the troubles of a man who advised me in my trouble, and attended me in my illness.”
ERROR ALERT: Almost all internet sites and many reputable quotation anthologies mistakenly present the quotation as if it ended “less difficult for each other.”
QUOTE NOTE: The words come from the narrator, who quickly adds about ignorant kindness: “But to be angry with it as if it were direct cruelty would be an ignorant unkindness.”
AUTHOR NOTE: Sarah Fielding (1710–1768) was the younger sister of the English novelist Henry Fielding (1707–1754).
ERROR ALERT: The revised and enlarged 10th edition of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations (1919) mistakenly ended the quatrain with the phrase in our own, and the error continues to show up on many internet quotation sites.
Just prior to this thought, the narrator had written about Scobie: “The truth, he thought, has never been of any real value to any human being—it is a symbol for mathematicians and philosophers to pursue.”
QUOTATION CAUTION: Benham notes that this quotation has been attributed to Marcus Aurelius, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and others, but he finds “some authority in favor of Stephen Grellett” (an American of French birth), even though it has not been found in his works. In the Yale Book of Quotations (2006), Fred Shapiro traced the simple expression “I will not pass this way again” to 1858, where it was quoted anonymously.
In that same work the spiritual leader also said: “Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion.”
QUOTE NOTE; Johnson’s letter was written shortly after the death of Boswell’s father. The two men had a longstanding troubled relationship, leading Johnson to write that the father was kind to his son, even though he may not have felt great fondness for him. In the letter, Johnson continued with this straightforward message: “If by negligence or imprudence you had extinguished his fondness, he could not at will rekindle it. Nothing then remained between you but mutual forgiveness of each other’s faults, and mutual desire of each other’s happiness.”
ERROR ALERT: On almost all internet sites and in most books, Johnson’s observation is mistakenly presented as: “Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.”
Hallie, an American aide worker in Nicaragua, preceded the thought by writing: “The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”
Ai continued: “We who are so rich, so full of strength, we end up with that small change. We have nothing else to give.”
QUOTE NOTE: Randall described President Lincoln as “regularly and consciously” tactful in his dealing with people. And about the quality, he wrote: “Tact is not one thing only. It is a number of qualities working together: insight into the nature of men, sympathy, self control, a knack of inducing self control in others, avoidance of human blundering, readiness to give the immediate situation an understanding mind and a second thought.”
QUOTE NOTE: In early translations of the famous treatise, the word humane was often used instead of kind. Here’s an example from an 1892 English translation by William H. Payne: “O men, be humane; it is your foremost duty. Be humane to all classes and to all ages, to everything not foreign to mankind. What wisdom is there for you outside of humanity?”
ERROR ALERT: Almost all quotation anthologies mistakenly have the quote as if it began this way: “Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness.”
Schweitzer added: “The kindness a man pours out into the world affects the hearts and the minds of men.”
QUOTE NOTE: This is the origin of the expression milk of human kindness to describe compassion, mercy, and sympathy for one’s fellow human beings. The ambitious and scheming Lady Macbeth fears her husband has too much of it to catch the nearest way, which means to kill Duncan, the King of Scotland, and replace him as monarch. Macbeth, a general in the king’s army, proves her wrong, however, and assumes the throne after murdering the king.
ERROR ALERT: These words are often attributed to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and John Ruskin, but they have never been found in their writings. In The Sunny Side, an 1875 book of religious songs, Charles William Wendte and Henry Southwick Perkins provided the exact words and the sheet music, attributing them to D. Hayden Sloyde. To see both, go here.
QUOTE NOTE: This ancient observation almost certainly evolved into the modern proverb: “Kindness begets kindness.”
Jones preceded the thought by saying: “Sexy doesn’t impress me. Smart impresses me; strength of character impresses me. But most of all, I’m impressed by kindness.”
(see also AFFECTION and FOREPLAY and INTIMACY and LOVE and [Making] LOVE and PASSION and ROMANCE and SEX)
In the book, Ackerman also wrote: “We shelter under a warm net of kisses. We drink from the well of each other’s mouth.”
QUOTE NOTE: In 1999, I selected this clever line as the title for my book on the literary device of chiasmus. Adams was not the original author of the sentiment, though. That credit goes to the talented E. Y. “Yip” Harburg (see his entry below).
QUOTE NOTE: Bergman was almost certainly inspired by a similar observation offered decades earlier by the American humorist Oliver Herford (see below)
ERROR ALERT: Many internet sites mistakenly present the following version of the thought: “You cannot analyze a kiss any more than you can dissect the fragrance of flowers.”
QUOTE NOTE: Billings observation was originally written in his characteristic phonetic style: “Yu kant analize a kiss enny more than yu kan the breath ov a flower.” To see the entire original piece, go to Josh Billings on Kissing.
QUOTE NOTE: Yes, the passage ends with wounds and not words, which is what the reader expects from the complete flow of the sentence. The narrator is describing a tender scene in which David and Leila, who had recently become lovers, are touching knees as they ride on horseback alongside each other. I’ve read the passage a hundred times, and my natural reaction is always one of surprise when I see the word wounds at the end.
QUOTE NOTE: The passage comes from a poem that appeared in a volume of poetry Garland published privately in 1939 and distributed to a number of friends. For the complete poem, and others in the volume, go to: Garland Poems.
Greer preceded the observation by writing: “The first kiss ideally signals rapture, exchange of hearts, and imminent marriage. Otherwise it is a kiss that lies. All very crude and nonsensical, and yet it is the staple myth of hundreds of comics called Sweethearts, Romantic Secrets, and so forth.”
QUOTE NOTE: This is the original version of the sentiment—a lovely example of chiasmus, by the way—and one made even more popular by comedian Joey Adams in the late 1960s (see the Adams entry above).
QUOTE NOTE: The first line of the poem has also been translated: “Oh what lies lurk in kisses!”
AUTHOR NOTE: Long before Cher and Madonna, a French woman with a single name was the world’s most famous female entertainer. Mistinguett (pronounced miss-tin-GET) was a French singer and dancer who rose from poverty to become the highest-paid female entertainer of her time. More on her may be found at: Mistinguett.
ERROR ALERT: On most internet collections of quotations, the word desires is mistakenly presented as the singular desire.
Morrow preceded the observation by writing: “Kissing is, among other things, a subtle and civilized medium of expression. It is a preliminary and surrogate for sex, an enticement that is also provisional. Kissing is a promise that preserves the right of refusal. A kiss is mute, and highly articulate. It involves a brief fusion of two heads, the head being the residence of mind and soul. The mouth is simultaneously the front office of language and of hunger.”
Many thanks to Garson O’Toole, aka The Quote Investigator, for his research on this quotation. For more go here.
QUOTE NOTE: This is the first appearance of a saying that went on to become an American catchphrase (it does not appear in the novel on which the film is based). Mrs. McKlennar is a crusty widow who is fond of making references to her deceased husband, Barney. At a community celebration, Mrs. McKlennar is given a huge bear hug by the swarthy Adam Hartmann (played by Ward Bond), and then suddenly kissed. Hartman, who had been playfully flirting with the widow in earlier scenes, kisses her on the lips for a full six seconds—an astonishingly long screen kiss in that era—and concludes his romantic overture by asserting, “I’ll bet Barney never kissed you like that.” Without missing a beat, the widow replies: “Barney McKlennar was a real man. When he kissed you, you stayed kissed.”
QUOTE NOTE: These were the opening lines of the essay, one of the most entertaining pieces ever written on the subject. Robbins went on write: “Kissing . . . didn’t imitate nature so much as it restructured it. Kissing molded the face into a brand-new shape, the pucker shape, and then, like some renegade scientist grafting plops of sea urchin onto halves of ripe pink plums, it found a way to fuse the puckers, to meld them and animate them, so that one pucker rubbing against another generates heat, moisture, and a luminous neuro-muscular friction. Thomas Edison, switch off your dim bulb and slink away.” Robbins continues in this way for three pages. I can’t recall a more enjoyable expositions on the subject of kissing. To see the entire essay, go to KISSING.
This may be history’s most famous passage on the subject of kisses, delivered by Cyrano in a famous exchange with the beloved Roxane. Cyrano continued: “A moment of the infinite, which makes/A sound like to the humming of bees’ wings;/A greeting like the sweet breath of a flower;/A way to feel the heart beat for a space,/And taste the soul a moment on the lips.”
QUOTE NOTE: The foregoing passage is from the very first English translation of Rostand’s classic play, an 1898 rendition that was “Done into English Verse” by Howard Thayer Kingsbury. The play was originally written in blank verse, a form Kingsbury attempted to reproduce (although he may have taken a few liberties). Later translations were often presented in prose form, as in the following two examples (notice that nothing close to the remarkable secret told to the mouth metaphor appears in either one of them):
A kiss! When all is said, what is a kiss? An oath of allegiance taken in closer proximity, a promise more precise, a seal on a confession, a rose-red dot upon the letter i in loving; a secret which elects the mouth for ear; an instant of eternity murmuring like a bee; a balmy communion with a flavor or flowers; a fashion of inhaling each other’s heart, and of tasting, on the brink of the lips, each other’s soul. [a 1937 translation by Gertrude Hall].
And what is a kiss, specifically? A pledge properly sealed, a promise seasoned to taste, a vow stamped with the immediacy of a lip, a rosy circle drawn around the verb “to love.” A kiss is a message too intimate for the ear, infinity captured in the bee’s brief visit to a flower, secular communication with an aftertaste of heaven, the pulse rising from the heart to utter its name on a lover's lip: “Forever.” [a 1975 translation by Christopher Fry].
(see also CHARLATANS and FOOLS & FOOLISHNESS and ROGUES and SCOUNDRELS and VILLAINS)
(see also MEDITATION and RELIGION and PRAYER and SUBMISSION and WORSHIP)
Angelou continued: “And let faith be the bridge/You build to overcome evil/And welcome good.”
Hillesum continued: “Sometimes, in moments of deep gratitude, kneeling down becomes an overwhelming urge, head deeply bowed, hands before my face.”
(see also EDUCATION and ERUDITION and KNOWLEDGE and KNOWLEDGE & IGNORANCE and KNOWLEDGE & WISDOM and LEARNING and WISDOM)
(see also EDUCATION and ERUDITION and KNOWING & NOT KNOWING and KNOWLEDGE & IGNORANCE and KNOWLEDGE & WISDOM and LEARNING and WISDOM)
QUOTE NOTE: Addison offered this thought after reading a letter in which Alexander the Great had written to Aristotle: “For my own part, I declare to you, I would rather excel others in knowledge than in power.”
QUOTE NOTE: This passage is regarded as the origin of the popular modern expression knowledge is power. In Dialogues et Fragments Philosophiques (1876), the French writer Ernest Renan wrote: “‘Knowledge is power’ is the finest idea ever put into words.”
Bloor added: “Approach it from an unexpected route, glimpse it from an unusual vantage point, and at first it may not be recognizable.”
QUOTE NOTE: In one of his Dune novels, Frank Herbert put this observation into the mouth of one of his characters (see the Herbert entry below).
ERROR ALERT: This quotation is often inaccurately reported. The errors are slight (A single hour a day and some interesting subject), but they are errors nonetheless.
QUOTE NOTE: For another plant of slow growth metaphor, see George Washington at FRIENDSHIP
QUOTE NOTE: For similar metaphors, see the Henry Miller and Ralph W. Sockman entries below.
Gibran preceded the thought by writing: “I feel now that I want to know all things under the sun—and the moon too. For all things are beautiful in themselves, and are more beautiful when known to man.”
QUOTE NOTE: Herbert borrowed the adventure at the edge of uncertainty expression from Jacob Bronowski, who employed it a few years earlier in his 1973 classic The Ascent of Man (see the Bronowski entry above).
QUOTE NOTE: Huxley is playing of the famous Alexander Pope line about learning (see his entry in LEARNING), which has often been mistakenly presented as a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
Inge added: “And even the paradise of fools is not an unpleasant abode while it is habitable.”
Keller continued: “To know the thoughts and deeds that have marked man's progress is to feel the great heart-throbs of humanity through the centuries; and if one does not feel in these pulsations a heavenward striving, one must indeed be deaf to the harmonies of life.”
QUOTE NOTE: The Theodosius Dobzhansky entry above is very similar, but Miller appears to be the original author of the sentiment.
Safire continued: “What we don't need to know for achievement, we need to know for our pleasure. Knowing how things work is the basis for appreciation, and is thus a source of civilized delight.”
In the observation just prior to this one, Lord Halifax offered another well known observation on the subject: “The knowledge that is got without pains is kept without pleasure.”
QUOTE NOTE: This quotation was brought to the attention of a popular audience when Rachel Carson included it in her 1965 book A Sense of Wonder. Ever since, most books and anthologies have repeated the quotation in this exact way. It is an impressive observation as presented, but I believe you will be even more impressed when you see the full passage in which it appears: “The field of knowledge which even the best of us can master is like an island surrounded by a limitless ocean of mystery. And the larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.” For two similar metaphors, see the Theodosius Dobzhanski and Henry Miller entries above.
Sowell went on to add: “Ideas, as the raw material from which knowledge is produced, exist in superabundance, but that makes the production of knowledge more difficult rather than easier.”
Wesley had introduced the thought by warning: “Beware you be not swallowed up in books!”
The narrator preceded the thought by observing: “This is what knowledge really is. It is finding out something for oneself with pain, with joy, with exultancy, with labor, and with all the little ticking, breathing moments of our lives, until it is ours as that only is ours which is rooted in the structure of our lives.”
(see also EDUCATION and ERUDITION and KNOWLEDGE and KNOWLEDGE & WISDOM and LEARNING and WISDOM)
QUOTE NOTE: For a remarkably similar metaphor, see the Henry Miller entry below. Also see the Ralph W. Sockman entry in KNOWLEDGE.
The epigraph continued: “Knowledge, through patient and frugal centuries, enlarges discovery and makes record of it; Ignorance wanting its day’s dinner, lights a fire with the record, and gives a flavor to its one roast with the burned souls of many generations.” To see the full epigraph, go to “Power of Ignorance”
QUOTE NOTE: The Theodosius Dobzhansky entry above is very similar, but Miller appears to be the original author of the sentiment.
QUOTE NOTE: The passage is also commonly presented this way: “The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.”
(see also EDUCATION and ERUDITION and KNOWLEDGE and KNOWLEDGE & IGNORANCE and LEARNING and WISDOM)
A bit earlier in the same work, Cowper offered this other comparison of knowledge and wisdom: “Knowledge dwells/in heads replete with thoughts of other men,/Wisdom in minds attentive to their own.”