Favorite Literary Quotes or Passages

  1. You ever read a book and you come across something that makes you think, "that's really well written"?

    I have. And that's why I started this thread. So we can share those quotes or passages with each other.

    Of course, I love the line from Hamlet in my signature.
  2. From Romeo and Juliet:

    ROMEO: Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still,
    Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will!
    Where shall we dine? O me! What fray was here?
    Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all.
    Here's much to do with hate, but more with love.
    Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate!
    O any thing, of nothing first create!
    O heavy lightness! serious vanity!
    Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
    Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire,
    sick health!
    Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!
    This love feel I, that feel no love in this.
    Dost thou not laugh?
    (Act I, scene i)

    MERCUTIO: O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
    She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes
    In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
    On the fore-finger of an alderman,
    Drawn with a team of little atomies
    Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep;
    Her wagon-spokes made of long spiders' legs,
    The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,
    The traces of the smallest spider's web,
    The collars of the moonshine's watery beams,
    Her whip of cricket's bone, the lash of film,
    Her wagoner a small grey-coated gnat,
    Not so big as a round little worm
    Prick'd from the lazy finger of a maid;
    Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut
    Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
    Time out o' mind the fairies' coachmakers.
    And in this state she gallops night by night
    Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love;
    O'er courtiers' knees, that dream on court'sies straight,
    O'er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream on fees,
    O'er ladies ' lips, who straight on kisses dream,
    Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
    Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are:
    Sometime she gallops o'er a courtier's nose,
    And then dreams he of smelling out a suit;
    And sometime comes she with a tithe-pig's tail
    Tickling a parson's nose as a' lies asleep,
    Then dreams, he of another benefice:
    Sometime she driveth o'er a soldier's neck,
    And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
    Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
    Of healths five-fathom deep; and then anon
    Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes,
    And being thus frighted swears a prayer or two
    And sleeps again. This is that very Mab
    That plats the manes of horses in the night,
    And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs,
    Which once untangled, much misfortune bodes:
    This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
    That presses them and learns them first to bear,
    Making them women of good carriage:
    This is she--
    ROMEO: Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace! Thou talk'st of nothing.
    MERCUTIO: True, I talk of dreams,
    Which are the children of an idle brain,
    Begot of nothing but vain fantasy,
    Which is as thin of substance as the air
    And more inconstant than the wind, who wooes
    Even now the frozen bosom of the north,
    And, being anger'd, puffs away from thence,
    Turning his face to the dew-dropping south.
    (Act I, scene iv)

    ROMEO: Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!
    For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.
    (Act I, scene v)

    ROMEO: [To JULIET] If I profane with my unworthiest hand
    This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
    My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
    To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.
    JULIET: Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
    Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
    For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch,
    And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss.
    ROMEO: Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?
    JULIET: Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.
    ROMEO: O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
    They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.
    JULIET: Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake.
    ROMEO: Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take.
    Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.
    JULIET: Then have my lips the sin that they have took.
    ROMEO: Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged!
    Give me my sin again.
    JULIET: You kiss by the book.
    (Act I, scene v)
  3. ROMEO: He jests at scars that never felt a wound.
    JULIET appears above at a window But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
    It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
    Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
    Who is already sick and pale with grief,
    That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
    Be not her maid, since she is envious;
    Her vestal livery is but sick and green
    And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
    It is my lady, O, it is my love!
    O, that she knew she were!
    She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?
    Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
    I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:
    Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
    Having some business, do entreat her eyes
    To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
    What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
    The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
    As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
    Would through the airy region stream so bright
    That birds would sing and think it were not night.
    See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
    O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
    That I might touch that cheek!
    (Act II, scene ii)

    JULIET: Ay me!
    ROMEO: She speaks:
    O, speak again, bright angel! for thou art
    As glorious to this night, being o'er my head
    As is a winged messenger of heaven
    Unto the white-upturned wondering eyes
    Of mortals that fall back to gaze on him
    When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds
    And sails upon the bosom of the air.
    (Act II, scene ii)

    (I love the balcony scene. I posted a little, but I don't really want to post the entire thing.)
  4. I keep some of my favorite quotes in my office. Here are a few of them:

    "We do not quit playing because we get old, we get old because we quit playing" - Oliver Wendell Holmes

    "Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy" - Anne Frank

    "Be the change you wish to see in the world" - Gandhi

    I am not sure where I heard this, but I love it -
    "The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything."
  5. Poema 20 by Pablo Neruda:

    "Es tan corto el amor, y es tan largo el olvido"

    English Translation:

    Love is so short, and so long to forget

    It is much more profound in the Spanish language. The entire poem is so beautiful (here it is in English):

    can write the saddest verses tonight

    Write, for example, “the night is crashed and blue, the stars, far away

    The wind of the night revolves in the sky and sings

    I can write the saddest verses tonight
    I wanted to, and at times she also wanted me

    In nights like this I had her in my arms
    Kissed her so many times under the infinite sky.

    She wanted me, at times I wanted her too.
    How not to love her large, steady eyes.

    I can write the saddest verses tonight
    I think I do not have her. I feel that I have lost her.

    Listen to the immense night, more immense without her.
    And the verse falls from the soul like dew from the pasture.

    How important that my love could not keep her
    The night is crashed and she is not with me.

    That is all. Far away someone sings. Far away.
    My soul is not content with what I have lost.

    As I approach her I see the search
    My heart I searching, and she is not with me.

    The same night that whitens the same trees
    We, the two then, are not the same.

    I do not want her, it is true, but how I wanted her.
    My voice sought the wind to touch her ear.

    Of another. Will be another. Like before my kisses.
    Her voice, her clear body, her infinite eyes

    Now I don’t want her, it’s true, but once I wanted her.
    Love is so short, and so long to forget.

    Because nights like this I had her in my arms.
    My soul is not content with this loss.

    This is the last hurt she causes me,
    And these are the last verses I write.

    This poem was published in 20 Poemas de Amor y una Cancion Desesperada. He is a famous Chilean Poet.
  6. For some reason the quote "the past is prologue" seems relevant to so many occasions. I think of it often.
  7. I often use the phrase there's method to my madness.

    That's from Polonius's line: Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't from Hamlet.
  8. The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe

    Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary
    Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore --
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
    As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
    " 'T is some visitor, " I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door--
    Only this and nothing more."

    Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
    And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
    Eagerly I wished the morrow -- vainly I had sought to borrow
    From my books surcease of sorrow -- sorrow for the lost Lenore--
    For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore--
    Nameless here for evermore.

    And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
    Thrilled me -- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before:
    So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating.
    " 'T is some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door--
    Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door--
    That it is and nothing more."

    Presently my soul grew stronger: hesitating then no longer,
    "Sir, " said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore:
    But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
    And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
    That I scarce was sure I heard you"-- here I opened wide the door--
    Darkness there and nothing more.

    Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there wondering fearing.
    Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before:
    But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
    And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
    This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word "Lenore!"--
    Merely this and nothing more.

    Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
    Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
    "Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice;
    Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore--
    Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore--
    'T is the wind an nothing more!"

    Open here i flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
    In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
    But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door--
    Perched upon a bust of Pallas just a bove my chamber door--
    Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

    Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
    By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
    "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
    Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore--
    Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
    Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
    Though its answer little meaning -- little relevancy bore;
    For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
    Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door--
    Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
    With such name as "Nevermore."

    But the Raven sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
    That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpoor.
    Nothing further then he uttered, not a feather then he fluttered--
    Till I scarcely more then muttered, "Other friends have flown before --
    On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before."
    Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

    Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
    "Doubtless," said I, "what it utteres is it only stock and store
    Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
    Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore --
    Till the dirges of his Hope the melancholy burden bore
    Of 'Never - nevermore.'"

    But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
    Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door,
    Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
    Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore--
    What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
    Meant in croaking, "Nevermore."

    This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
    To the fowl, whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
    This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
    On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er
    But whose velvet-violet lining with lamp-light gloating o'er
    She shall press, ah, nevermore!

    Then methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
    Swung by seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
    "Wretch," I cried, "thy God has lent thee -- by these angels he hath sent thee
    Respite -- respite the nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
    Quaff, oh, quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
    Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! -- prophet still, if bird of devil!
    Whether Tempter sent, or whatever tempest tossed thee ashore,
    Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted --
    On this home by Horror haunted -- tell me truly, I implore --
    Is there -- is there balm in Gilead? -- tell me -- tell me, I implore!"
    Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! -- prophet still, if bird of devil!
    By that Heaven that bends above us -- by that God we both adore--
    Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
    It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore --
    Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
    Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    "Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting --
    "Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
    Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
    Leave my loneliness unbroken! -- quit the bust above my door!
    Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!
    Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
    On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon that is dreaming,
    And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor,
    And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
    Shall be lifted -- nevermore!
  9. My favorite quotes; I call them little bits of wisdom.

    "A woman should be two things-- classy and fabulous." --Coco Chanel

    "True love brings up everything - you're allowing a mirror to be held up to you daily." -Jennifer Aniston

    "Expert tailoring and alternators? Those two don't even go together!" "Rich, it says AlterATIONS. Not alternators." "...OHHHHH." -Rich and I

    "I'd like to take this opportunity to make fun of... myself." -Hailey

    "R.I.P., Bambi." -Erin

    I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me. --Dave Barry

    Skiing combines outdoor fun with knocking down trees with your face. --Dave Barry

    You can only be young once, but you can always be immature. --Dave Barry

    I didn't feel pain, 'cause no one could touch me, now that I'm there in your smile --Radiohead

    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. --Friedrich Nietzsche

    Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow. --Jeff Valdez

    I'm tough, I'm ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a *****, okay. --Madonna

    Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the decision that something is more important than fear. --Thoreau

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

    "My favorite subject is me." --Hailey

    "I'm kind of a big deal." --Too many people to list

    Here's a rule I recommend: Never practice two vices at once. --Tallulah Bankhead

    It's the good girls who keep diaries; the bad girls never have the time. --Tallulah Bankhead

    If I had to live my life over again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner. --Tallulah Bankhead

    I wish I knew how to quit you. --Brokeback Mountain

    You can go a long way with a smile. You can go a lot farther with a smile and a gun. --Al Capone

    Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul. --Marilyn Monroe

    In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different. --Coco Chanel

    The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they're going to have some pretty annoying virtues. --Elizabeth Taylor

    There are more pleasant things to do than beat up people. --Muhammad Ali

    The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun. --P.K. Walther

    Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come. --Matt Groening, "Life in Hell"

    I'm not a bad guy! I work hard, and I love my kids. So why should I spend half my Sunday hearing about how I'm going to Hell? --Matt Groening

    You don't like your job, you don't strike. You go in every day and do it really half-assed. That's the American way. --Matt Groening

    Ice weasels gnaw my brain. --Meg Cabot

    "A UNICEF contribution of 13 cents will feed a starving child for a month. Man, I should move to Africa-- everything's so cheap!" --Me

    "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." --Eleanor Roosevelt

    "A beautiful girl can turn your world to dirt." --Radiohead
  10. From Dave Barry:

    • Men's magazines often feature pictures of naked women. Women's magazines also feature pictures of naked women. This is because the female body is a beautiful work of art, while the male body is lumpy and hairy and should not be seen by the light of day. Men are turned on at the sight of a naked woman's body. Most naked men elicit laughter from women.
    • I could point out that, to judge from the covers of countless women's magazines, the two topics most interesting to women are (1) Why men are all disgusting pigs, and (2) How to attract men.
    • I disapprove of the F-word, not because it's dirty, but because we use it as a substitute for thoughtful insults, and it frequently leads to violence. What we ought to do, when we anger each other, say, in traffic, is exchange phone numbers, so that later on, when we've had time to think of witty and learned insults or look them up in the library, we could call each other up:
      You: Hello? Bob?
      Bob: Yes?
      You: This is Ed. Remember? The person whose parking space you took last Thursday? Outside of Sears?
      Bob: Oh yes! Sure! How are you, Ed?
      You: Fine, thanks. Listen, Bob, the reason I'm calling is: "Madam, you may be drunk, but I am ugly, and ..." No, wait. I mean: "you may be ugly, but I am Winston Churchill and ..." No, wait. (Sound of reference book thudding onto the floor.) S-word. Excuse me. Look, Bob, I'm going to have to get back to you.
      Bob: Fine.
    • ENGLISH: This involves writing papers about long books you have read little snippets of just before class. Here is a tip on how to get good grades on your English papers: Never say anything about a book that anybody with any common sense would say. For example, suppose you are studying Moby-Dick. Anybody with any common sense would say that Moby-Dick is a big white whale, since the characters in the book refer to it as a big white whale roughly eleven thousand times. So in *your* paper, *you* say Moby-Dick is actually the Republic of Ireland. Your professor, who is sick to death of reading papers and never liked Moby-Dick anyway, will think you are enormously creative. If you can regularly come up with lunatic interpretations of simple s tories, you should major in English.
    • PHILOSOPHY: Basically, this involves sitting in a room and deciding there is no such thing as reality and then going to lunch. You should major in philosophy if you plan to take a lot of drugs.
    • Puns are little "plays on words" that a certain breed of person loves to spring on you and then look at you in a certain self-satisfied way to indicate that he thinks that you must think that he is by far the cleverest person on Earth now that Benjamin Franklin is dead, when in fact what you are thinking is that if this person ever ends up in a lifeboat, the other passengers will hurl him overboard by the end of the first day even if they have plenty of food and water.
    • It is a proven scientific fact that video games are also corrupting American youth. In a recent experiment, scientific researchers exposed a group of teenage boys to an arcade game, and found that all of them had unclean sexual thoughts. Of course, the researchers got the same result when they exposed the boys to coleslaw, an alpaca sweater, and "The MacNeil-Lehrer Report," but that is beside the point. The point is that we should all write letters to our elected officials and urge them to ban video games.
    • "So," she said, and I could tell by the way she spoke the word that it had quotation marks around it. "You're a young Southern lawyer resembling a John Grisham protagonist as much as possible without violating the copyright laws."
      "That's right," I replied. "Perhaps we can have sex."
      "Not in the first chapter," she said.
      - Dave's attempt at a John Grisham book...
    • Socially prominent people are very fond of disease, because it gives them a chance to have these really elaborate charity functions, and the newspaper headlines say, "EVENING IN PARIS BALL RAISES MONEY TO FIGHT GOUT" instead of "RICH PEOPLE AMUSE THEMSELVES."
    • I have always dressed according to certain Basic Guy Fashion Rules, including: - Both of your socks should always be the same color. - Or they should at least both be fairly dark. If, when you appear at the breakfast table, your wife laughs so hard that she spits out her toast, you should consider wearing a different tie.
  11. U2: A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle!
  12. Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose - and you allow him to make war at pleasure.
    Abraham Lincoln

    Before I came here I was confused about this subject. Having listened to your lecture I am still confused. But on a higher level.
    Enrico Fermi
  13. "Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be" Machiavelli
  14. Caitlin- Love those Romeo and Juliet quotes!

    My favorite quote is in my signature...in English it translates to something along the lines of "anything essential cannot be seen with the eyes. the truly important things in life can only be seen with the heart." it's from The Little Prince.

    I also like this one from The Catcher in the Rye: "I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff—I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all."
  15. I've always liked the first line of Gone with the Wind:

    Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.

    I like it because this is the first thing the author tells you, but rest of the book makes you forget.

    All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Tolstoy in Anna Karenina.