Choephoræ, 59, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
So in the Libyan fable it is told
That once an eagle, stricken with a dart,
Said, when he saw the fashion of the shaft,
"With our own feathers, not by others' hands,
Are we now smitten."
Frag. 135 (trans. by Plumptre), reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
Of all the gods, Death only craves not gifts:
Nor sacrifice, nor yet drink-offering poured
Avails; no altars hath he, nor is soothed
By hymns of praise. From him alone of all
The powers of heaven Persuasion holds aloof.
Frag. 146 (trans. by Plumptre), reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
O Death the Healer, scorn thou not, I pray,
To come to me: of cureless ills thou art
The one physician. Pain lays not its touch
Upon a corpse.
Frag. 250 (trans. by Plumptre), reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
I think the slain care little if they sleep or rise again.
I pray the gods will give me some relief
And end this weary job. One long full year
I've been lying here, on this rooftop,
The palace of the sons of Atreus,
Resting on my arms, just like a dog.
I've come to know the night sky, every star,
The powers we see glittering in the sky,
Bringing winter and summer to us all,
As the constellations rise and sink.
A great ox stands on my tongue.
Zeus, who guided mortals to be wise,
has established his fixed law— wisdom comes through suffering.
Trouble, with its memories of pain,
drips in our hearts as we try to sleep,
so men against their will
learn to practice moderation.
Favours come to us from gods
seated on their solemn thrones—
such grace is harsh and violent.
The Oresteia, translated by Ian Johnston (2007). Google Books
Variant: […] God, whose law it is
that he who learns must suffer.
And even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despite, against our will,
comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.
Edith Hamilton, The Greek Way (1930), pp. 61 and 194. Google Books
Historical Note: This was quoted by Robert F. Kennedy in his speech announcing the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. on 4 April 1968. His version: Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart
until, in our own despair, against our will,
comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.
Better to die on your feet than live on your knees.
This is usually attributed to Emiliano Zapata, but sometimes to Aeschylus, who is credited with expressing similar sentiments in Prometheus Bound: "For it would be better to die once and for all than to suffer pain for all one's life".
In war, truth is the first casualty.
This is often attributed to U.S. Senator Hiram Johnson, but does not appear anywhere in his speeches. Arthur Ponsonby#Falsehood in Wartime (1928) quoted: "When war is declared, Truth is the first casualty", but the first recorded use seems to be by Philip Snowden in his introduction to Truth and the War, by E. D. Morel. London, July 1916: "'Truth,' it has been said, 'is the first casualty of war.'" Samuel Johnson#The Idler (1758–1760) expressed a similar idea: "Among the calamities of war may be justly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages."
Æschylus is above all things the poet of righteousness. "But in any wise, I say unto thee, revere thou the altar of righteousness": this is the crowning admonition of his doctrine, as its crowning prospect is the reconciliation or atonement of the principle of retribution with the principle of redemption, of the powers of the mystery of darkness with the coeternal forces of the spirit of wisdom, of the lord of inspiration and of light.