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Quotations about People


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The total history of almost anyone would shock almost everyone. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960


Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world. ~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


What is a human being but a private soul hiding behind a public mask, asking for a little understanding. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


You never know till you try to reach them how accessible men are; but you must approach each man by the right door. ~Henry Ward Beecher


I love sinners dearly, and good people nearly as well. ~Simeon Carter (1824–1911), Poems and Aphorisms: A Woodman's Musings, 1893


I'm the strayest dog you'll ever meet. ~Daniel, @blindedpoet, tweet, 2011


I don't know that there are haunted houses. I know that there are dark staircases and haunted people. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Sometimes a man sheds tears as large as crab-apples; but in another minute he will smile a smile containing a vast amount of sunshine to the square inch. ~Puck, 1884  [a little altered —tg]


Some people are so much sunshine to the square inch. ~Author unknown  [see Puck —tg]


A hundred men together are the hundredth part of a man. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


I stalked her
in the grocery store: her crown
of snowy braids held in place by a great silver clip,
her erect bearing, radiating tenderness...
beaming peace like the North Star.
I wanted to ask, "What aisle did you find
your serenity in, do you know
how to be married for fifty years or how to live alone,
excuse me for interrupting, but you seem to possess
some knowledge that makes the earth turn and burn on its axis—"
But we don't request such things from strangers
nowadays. So I said, "I love your hair."
~Alison Luterman, "I Confess"  [Gosh, I have wanted to say something like this so many times to ladies, and men too, at the store. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


[H]is sweet and generous sympathies, his refined taste for the excellent in letters, his grateful perception of the true good of being, his ideal spirit, dwells latently in every bosom. And all may brighten and radiate it, till life's cold pathway is warm with the sunshine of the soul. ~Henry T. Tuckerman, "Characteristics of Lamb," in American Quarterly Review, March 1836  [Referring to Charles Lamb (1775–1834) —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


And he is gone into the multitude as solitary as Jesus. In dismissing him I seem to have discharged an arrow into the heart of society. Wherever that young enthusiast goes he will astonish & disconcert men by dividing for them the cloud that covers the profound gulf that is in man. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1838  [of Jones Very —tg]


Some men seem more desirous of making an impression upon a fool than upon a wise man. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882


A man or woman... who loves poetry and great pictures and statues, who is familiar with Shakespeare, who has a sense of humor and a love of nature, knows a deal about the joy of living and is full of resources. ~Silas X. Floyd (1869–1923), "The Best Books for Children,"Floyd's Flowers: or, Duty and Beauty for Colored Children, 1905


No man is so idle that he cannot rouse himself just enough to get in the way of a busy person. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Georg Christoph Lichtenberg proves to be of a fitful temperament: on one page the hypochondriac, on the next the optimist, now as practical as Franklin, now as whimsical as Lamb, here dwelling devoutly on the sombre music of the Psalms, there as gravely speculating what the mean reading of the barometer may be in Paradise; sceptical, superstitious, cynical and sentimental by turns. ~Norman Alliston, The Reflections of Lichtenberg, 1908


When fortune smiles on you, neighbors will imitate both your vices and your virtues. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882


To use a geographical metaphor, Poe's life was bounded on the north by sorrow, on the east by poverty, on the south by aspiration and on the west by calumny; his genius was unbounded. There are literary hyenas still prowling about his grave. But his pensive brow wears the garland of immortality. His soul was music and his very life-blood was purest art. His ear caught the cadences of that higher harmony which poets hear above the world's turmoil. In spite of detraction he is safely enshrined in memory while poetry shall live. Young poets will always have tears and roses for his grave. ~Chauncey C. Starkweather, "Special Introduction," Essays of American Essayists, 1900


Paradoxical as it sounds, many intellectuals prefer life in the mud to life in clear water. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)


There are natures so dogmatically stubborn that, if worlds were smashing together, and could be saved by their yielding a point, they would let them smash. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897


You can't talk sense to people who oppose it on principle. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Sir John Colborne, whose mind appeared to me cast in the antique mould of chivalrous honour, and whom I never heard mentioned but with respect and veneration... ~Anna Brownell Jameson (1794–1860), Preface, Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada, 1838


In the mythical age, before the dawn of civilization had illumined the world, men stood shoulder to shoulder, and wielded their clubs in common defence;—this was termed "clubbing together." Nowadays, people club together in a different sense; not for mutual protection, but for mutual enjoyment and the interchange of ideas and sympathies, characteristic of the various cliques into which they are formed. We have conservatives and reformers, united services and universities, artistic and literary coteries, yachting clubs, sports, pastimes, drama, science, law societies, city clubs, &c. ~Echoes from the Clubs: A Record of Political Topics & Social Amenities, 1867  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Fools rush in where people are crowded. ~Student at Brookside School, Long Island, 1966, completing the first part of the proverb as given by Candid Camera, CBS


Greatness is a birthmark. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897


The great statesman is rarely recognized until events have made him indispensable. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor


In the manner of the very young, she chattered on about herself... This was not exactly narcissism. She was at the age in which her own personality fascinated her so much that it eclipsed everything else. Her own capacity for creativity. Her own brand of intelligence. ~Abby Geni, The Lightkeepers, 2016


"Old fogies" are behind the times; fanatics, ahead of the times; and a greater part of the remainder of mankind is "waiting for something to turn up." ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882


A man of letters, but a man of the world, he had so cultivated his mind as both, that he was feared as the one, and liked as the other. As a man of letters he despised the world; as a man of the world he despised letters. As the representative of both, he revered himself. ~Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, Kenelm Chillingly: His Adventures and Opinions, 1873


Those humble, quiet, behind-the-scenes people are the reason anything ever gets done. ~Terri Guillemets


But Annie was simply herself, bright and exhilarating as the October sunshine, but as pure and strong. She was ready for jest and repartee. She showed almost a childish delight in every odd and pretty thing that met her eye, but never for a moment permitted her companion to lose respect for her. ~Edward Payson Roe, Opening a Chestnut Burr, 1874


Janet is a dear soul and very nice-looking; tall, but not over-tall; stoutish, yet with a certain restraint of outline suggestive of a thrifty soul who is not going to be over-lavish even in the matter of avoirdupois. She has a knot of soft, crimpy, brown hair with a thread of gray in it, a sunny face with rosy cheeks, and big, kind eyes as blue as forget-me-nots. Moreover, she is one of those delightful, old-fashioned cooks who don't care a bit if they ruin your digestion as long as they can give you feasts of fat things. ~L. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island, 1915


She smelled Roy before she saw him. She liked to imagine that it was the perfume of his good heart. ~Abby Geni, The Wildlands, 2018


A nation, like a tree, does not thrive well till it is engraffed with a foreign stock. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1823


There is in him a sort of quiet rotation of seasons, with each of them passing overland and then going underground and re-emerging in a kind of rhythm, refreshed and full of renewed vigor. ~Marlene Dietrich, of Ernest Hemingway


When we look on the characters of man and woman, we cannot but perceive that neither is perfect by itself, but that each needs the other for its perfection.... Hence the one must be softened by tender emotions, and the other strengthened by firmness. ~Frederick A. Rauch, Psychology; or, A View of the Human Soul: Including Anthropology, Being the Substance of a Course of Lectures, Delivered to the Junior Class Marshall College, Penn., 1840


The present ideal is the worship of the gents who sing like canaries and the women who bellow like lions. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)


So I wanted him to get in Mr. Graves, the Vicar. Such a nice man, and so kind to children. I always tell Godfrey he may not be the salt of the earth, but he's certainly its sugar. ~Ronald A. Knox, Other Eyes Than Ours, 1926


There is in Euripides some kind of learning that is always at the boiling point. ~Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides, 2006


Some people never say "Amen" to anything. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897


Give me a barefooted peasant-girl from Cataluña, or a poor chiquilla from the darkest calle of Madrid, for real passion, sentiment and devotion! And you'll find more truth and love in her ignorance than in all your Saxon subtlety and humbug. Oh, I know your type, the Burne-Jones, Gabriel-Rossetti woman, always trying to find a background for her profile; always trying to discover new poses for her body, and new vices for her soul. ~Anita Vivanti Chartres (1866–1942), The Hunt for Happiness, 1896 


This is Scott Fitzgerald: very romantic writer—big with English majors, college girls, nymphomaniacs... ~Woody Allen, Sleeper, 1973


If it has anything to do with honesty, compassion, appreciating the silence of a winter morning, remembering to listen when the leaves fall and believing in magic, then my parents were, and still are, hippies. ~Cecily Schmidt, "Common Threads," in Wild Child: Girlhoods in the Counterculture edited by Chelsea Cain, 1999


A sweetheart, a hundred and fifty books, a couple of friends, and a prospect of about one statute mile in diameter — that was his whole world. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated by Norman Alliston, 1908


He is great who speaks great, greater who thinks great, and greatest who lives great. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897


Bysshe was serious, thoughtful, enthusiastic; melancholy even, with a poet's sadness: he loved to discourse gravely of matters of importance and deep concernment... ~Thomas Jefferson Hogg, The Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1858


As a youth, on dusky winter afternoons I escaped with irresponsible zeal into the glow of Mr. Lowell's learned lamplight, the particular incidence of which, in the small, still lecture-room, and the illumination of his head and hands, I recall with extreme vividness. He talked communicatively of style. It made a romance of the hour — it made even a picture of the scene. He was American enough in Europe, in America he was abundantly European. He was so steeped in history and literature that to some yearning young persons he made the taste of knowledge sweeter, almost, than it was ever to be again. He had lived in long intimacy with Dante and Calderon; he embodied, to envious aspirants, the happy intellectual fortune — independent years of acquisition without haste and without rest, a robust love of study which went sociably arm in arm with a robust love of life. This love of life was so strong in him that he could lose himself in little diversions as well as in big books. He was fond of everything human and natural, everything that had color and character, and no gayety, no sense of comedy, was ever more easily kindled by contact. When he was not surrounded by great pleasures he could find his account in small ones, and no situation could be dull for a man in whom all reflection, all reaction, was witty. ~Henry James, "James Russell Lowell," in The Atlantic Monthly, January 1892  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


...her innocences falling from her soul like a bunch of primroses untied... ~Anita Vivanti Chartres (1866–1942), The Hunt for Happiness, 1896  [a.k.a. Annie Vivanti —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


There is something in every person's character that cannot be broken — the bony structure of his character. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated by Franz H. Mautner and Henry Hatfield, 1959


"That old berk," muttered Aberforth, taking another swig of mead. "Thought the sun shone out of my brother's every orifice, he did." ~J.K. Rowling, "The Missing Mirror," Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 2007


But the truth is, that no man is much regarded by the rest of the world, except where the interest of others is involved in his fortune. The common employments or pleasures of life, love or opposition, loss or gain, keep almost every mind in perpetual agitation. If any man would consider how little he dwells upon the condition of others, he would learn how little the attention of others is attracted by himself. When we see multitudes passing before us, of whom perhaps not one appears to deserve our notice or excite our sympathy, we should remember, that we likewise are lost in the same throng; that the eye which happens to glance upon us is turned in a moment upon another; and that the utmost which we can reasonably hope or fear, is to fill a vacant hour with prattle, and be forgotten. ~Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, 1751 September 24th


People never notice anything. ~J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, 1951


But if Statues, Obelisks, Piramids, or divine honours were ever merited by Men, of Cities or Nations. James Otis, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock deserved these from the Town of Boston and the United States. — Such Adulations, however, are monopolized by profligate Libellers, by cringing Flatterers, by unprincipled Ambition, by sordid Avarice, by griping Usurers, by scheming speculators, by plundering Bankers, by blind Enthusiasts, by Superstitious Bigots, by Puppies and Butterflies, and by every Thing but Honour and Virtue. ~John Adams, 1817


He brooded upon the subject night and day, and gradually there grew and developed in his soul, like a hideous serpent, a deadly and appalling scheme worthy the conception of Satan himself. ~Leon Lewis (1833–1920), Found Guilty; or, The Hidden Crime, 1878


Holly: "Do you think she's talented, deeply and importantly talented?"
Paul: "No. Amusingly and superficially talented, yes. But deeply and importantly, no."
~From the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1961, screenplay by George Axelrod, based on the novella by Truman Capote


When I'm out and about, people are annoying idiots. When I'm home alone, all mankind is loving and good. ~Terri Guillemets, "Humanity on the streets," 2006


A great many persons groan and grow weary under the burden of their own nothingness. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882


[N]o man is a dullard... every man is a philosopher. ~Joseph Kita, "What I Know," Wisdom of Our Fathers, 1999


I'm Black. God knew my people would go through struggles so he gave us a lifetime supply of cool to compensate. ~Scrubs, "His Story III," 2006, written by Angela Nissel  [S5, E19, Dr. Turk —tg]


People are who they are — give or take 15%. ~Modern Family, "Fifteen Percent," written by Steven Levitan, spoken by the character Mitchell Pritchett, original airdate 2010 January 20th


[O]ur final thought of James Russell Lowell is that what he consistently lived for remains of him. There is nothing ineffectual in his name and fame — they stand for delightful things. He is one of the happy figures of literature. He had his trammels and his sorrows, but he drank deep of the full, sweet cup, and he will long count as an erect fighting figure on the side of optimism and beauty. He was strong without narrowness; he was wise without bitterness and bright without folly. That appears for the most part the clearest ideal of those who handle the English form... ~Henry James, "James Russell Lowell," in The Atlantic Monthly, January 1892


Groups of people are like a massive Rock, Paper, Scissors war. ~Daniel, @blindedpoet, tweet, 2011


Desgenais... was firm and serious, although a smile hovered about his lips. He was a man of heart, but as dry as a pumice-stone. ~Alfred de Musset, The Confession of a Child of the Century/La Confession d'un enfant du siècle, 1836, translated from French by Kendall Warren


...the cherub, alas, proved to be pasted on tough gingerbread which was too hard for many to bite into. ~Vladimir Nabokov, The Gift, 1963, translated from Russian by Michael Scammell


He had tragic bones and a lifelong lease on a dark cloud. ~Terri Guillemets


Handsome faces and corrupt hearts act a large portion of the drama of human life. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882


Why are there men and women that while they are nigh me the sun-light expands my blood?
Why when they leave me do my pennants of joy sink flat and lank?
~Walt Whitman



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