Favourite Quotes

Andrew Marvell

Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less,
Withdraws into its happiness:
The mind, that ocean where each kind
Does straight its own resemblance find;
Yet it creates, transcending these,
Far other worlds, and other seas;
Annihilating all that’s made
To a green thought in a green shade.

The Garden

John Keats

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

Ode on a Grecian Urn

…the excellence of every Art is its intensity, capable of making all disagreeables evaporate, from their being in close relationship with Beauty and Truth…

Letter to George and Tom Keats of 27 December 1817 (32, 71).

… my judgement is as active while I am actually writing as my imagination. In fact all my faculties are strongly excited, & in their full play…

Letter (89)

Nicola Griffith

Men are afraid women will laugh at them; women are afraid men will kill them.

Hild (ref. Margaret Atwood)

Mary Wollstonecraft

I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves.

A Vindication of The Rights of Woman

Alan Paton

There is only one way in which one can endure man’s inhumanity to man and that is to try, in one’s own life, to exemplify man’s humanity to man.

p 46 of “The Challenge of Fear” Saturday Review 9 Sep 67, pp 19-21 & 46

Margaret Atwood

But remember that forgiveness too is a power. To beg for it is a power, and to withhold or bestow it is a power, perhaps the greatest.

The Handmaid’s Tale, Offred


We become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions.

It is easy to perform a good action, but not easy to acquire a settled habit of performing such actions.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.

Erich Fromm

There is only one solution to [the human condition]: for one to face the truth, to acknowledge his fundamental aloneness and solitude in a universe indifferent to his fate, to recognize that there is no power transcending him which can solve his problem for him. Man must accept the responsibility for himself and the fact that only by using his powers can he give meaning to his life. If he faces the truth without panic he will recognize that: there is no meaning to life except the meaning man gives his life by the unfolding of his powers, by living productively; and that only constant vigilance, activity, and effort can keep us from failing in the one task that matters—the full development of our powers within the limitations set by the laws of our existence. Only if he recognizes the human situation, the dichotomies inherent in his existence and his capacity to unfold his powers, will he be able to succeed in his task: to be himself and for himself and to achieve happiness by the full realization of those faculties which are peculiarly his—of reason, love, and productive work.

Man for Himself


The unexamined life is not worth living.

Plato, Dialogues, Apology

John Patrick Shanley

Responsible, thinking people do not lead a yes-or-no existence. Responsible, thinking people do not have to reduce complicated subjects down to “for” or “against.” … having a spiritual life is not about making up your mind once and for all. True spirituality is present, it’s alive and observant. Doubt is not paralysis. Certainty is.

“Meanwhile: I am, therefore I doubt”, Boston Globe, reprinted in Int’l Herald Tribune

Stephen Fry

I believe poetry is a primal impulse within us all. I believe we are all capable of it and futhermore that a small, often ignored corner of us positively yearns to try it. I believe our poetic impulse is blocked by the false belief that poetry might on the one hand be academic and technical and on the other formless and random. It seems to many that while there is a clear road to learning music, gardening or watercolours, poetry lies in inaccessible marshland: no pathways, no signposts, just the skeletons of long-dead poets poking through the bog and the unedifying sight of living ones floundering about in apparent confusion and mutual enmity. Behind it all, the dread memory of classrooms swollen into resentful silence while the English teacher invites us to ‘respond’ to a poem… For me the private act of writing poetry is songwriting, confessional, diary-keeping, speculation, problem-solving, storytelling, therapy, anger management, craftsmanship, relaxation, concentration and spiritual adventure all in one inexpensive package. … (However,) … Talent is inborn but technique is learned.

The Ode Less Travelled

Albert Einstein

Not everything that can be counted, counts. And not everything that counts can be counted.

Albert Einstein

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