Non è un si bello in tante altre persone,
Natura il fece, e poi roppa la stampa.
There never was such beauty in another man. Nature made him, and then broke the mould.
Ludovico Ariosto, Orlando Furioso (1516), Canto X, Stanza 84. L'on peut dire sans hyperbole, que la nature, que la après l'avoir fait en cassa la moule, Angelo Constantini, La Vie de Scaramouche, line 107. (Ed. 1690)
Let each man think himself an act of God.
His mind a thought, his life a breath of God.
Manhood begins when we have in any way made truce with Necessity; begins even when we have surrendered to Necessity, as the most part only do; but begins joyfully and hopefully only when we have reconciled ourselves to Necessity; and thus, in reality, triumphed over it, and felt that in Necessity we are free.
Thomas Carlyle, "Burns," Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (1899, reprinted 1969), vol. 1 (vol. 29 of The Works of Thomas Carlyle, ed. H. D. Traill), p. 295. Book review in the Edinburgh Review, no. 96, 1828
Men do not stumble over mountains, but over molehills
Attributed to Confucius in: United States. Congress. House. Committee on Agriculture (1973) Hearings Before the Committee on Agriculture, House of Representatives, Ninety-second Congress. p. 21
So man, the moth, is not afraid, it seems,
To span Omnipotence, and measure might
That knows no measure, by the scanty rule
And standard of his own, that is to-day,
And is not ere to-morrow's sun go down.
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
John Donne (1572–1631) Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII (1624)
Man is about to be an automaton; he is identifiable only in the computer. As a person of worth and creativity, as a being with an infinite potential, he retreats and battles the forces that make him inhuman.
The dissent we witness is a reaffirmation of faith in man; it is protest against living under rules and prejudices and attitudes that produce the extremes of wealth and poverty and that make us dedicated to the destruction of people through arms, bombs, and gases, and that prepare us to think alike and be submissive objects for the regime of the computer.
John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel (1681), Part I, line 645
I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.
William Faulkner, address upon receiving the Nobel Prize for literature, Stockholm, Sweden (December 10, 1950); reprinted in Faulkner's Essays, Speeches & Public Letters (1951), p. 120
At all times man approached his surroundings with wide open senses and a fertile intelligence, at all times he made incredible discoveries, at all times we can learn from his ideas.
We are coming we, the young men,
Strong of heart and millions strong;
We shall work where you have trifled,
Cleanse the temple, right the wrong,
Till the land our fathers visioned
Shall be spread before our ken,
We are through with politicians;
Give us Men! Give us Men!
Racial and national contentions are not restricted to any particular people or land; we find them in every country.The politician is too near to these... to see them in their proper light; even the historian is not far enough away from them to see them in their right perspective. ...For the anthropologist there are only two well-marked phases in human history. The first phase is that of Natural subsistence—an infinitely long and monotonous chapter, stretching over a million of years or more. The second is the phase of Artificial subsistence—a short chapter covering a period of 10,000 or 12,000 years at the utmost... In the first or long phase mankind was broken into small and scattered groups which gained as best they could a sparse, uncertain, and coarse sustenance from the natural produce of shore and stream, moorland and woodland. In the second or short phase man conquered nature; by means of cultivation and domestication he forced from the soil a sure and abundant supply of food, thus rendering possible the existence of our modern massed populations. ...In that immense first phase of our history an elaborate mental machinery had been evolved for binding small groups of mankind into social units. ...The mental adaptations which modern man has inherited from the immensity of his past we may briefly describe as part of Nature's tribal machinery. ...in our modern racial strifes and national agitations we see man's inherited tribal instincts at war with his present-day conditions of life. We have broken up, or are attempting to break up, Nature's ancient tribal machinery and at the present time are striving to replace her designs by others evolved in the minds of modern statesmen and politicians. ...We cannot understand the nature of our modern racial and national problems until we perceive that in these days we are endeavouring to build a new world out of the wreckage of an old.
Sir Arthur Keith, Nationality and Race from an Anthropologist's Point of View Robert Boyle Lecture (Nov 17, 1919)
There is a great deal of human nature in man.
Charles Kingsley, At Last (1880–1885, reprinted 1969), chapter 2 (The Works of Charles Kingsley, vol. 14), p. 49. Kingsley attributes this to "the wise Yankee". This may refer to Artemus Ward , "Thrilling Scenes from Dixie", Artemus Ward: His Book (1862, reprinted 1964), p. 202: "There's considerable human nater in a man".
No one has any right to be angry with me, if I think fit to enumerate man among the quadrapeds. Man is neither a stone nor a plant, but an animal, for such is his way of living and moving; nor is he a worm, for then he would have only one foot; nor an insect, for then he would have antennae; nor a fish, for he has no fins; nor a bird, for he has no wings. Therefore, he is a quadraped, had a mouth like that of other quadrapeds, and finally four feet, on two of which he goes, and uses the other two for prehensive purposes.
As a natural historian according to the principles of science, up to the present time I have been not been able to discover any character by which man can be distinguished from the ape; for there are somewhere apes which are less hairy than man, erect in position, going just like him on two feet, and recalling the human species by the use they make of their hands and feet, to such an extent, that the less educated travellers have given them out as a kind of man.
Carl Linnaeus, Fauna Suecica (1746) as quoted by Jeffrey H. Schwartz, Sudden Origins: Fossils, Genes, and the Emergence of Species (1999)
I demand of you, and of the whole world, that you show me a generic character—one that is according to generally accepted principles of classification, by which to distinguish between Man and Ape. I myself most assuredly know of none. ...But, if I had called man an ape, or vice versa, I should have fallen under the ban of all the ecclesiastics. It may be that as a naturalist I ought to have done so.
No particular man is necessary to the state. We may depend on it that, if we provide the country with popular institutions, those institutions will provide it with great men.
Thomas Babington Macaulay, speech on parliamentary reform (March 2, 1831); in The Complete Writings of Lord Macaulay (1900), vol. 17, p. 14
In a museum in London there is an exhibit called "The Value of Man": a long coffinlike box with lots of compartments where they've put starch—phosphorus—flour—bottles of water and alcohol—and big pieces of gelatin. I am a man like that.
Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898), French symbolist poet and critic. Letter dated 17th May 1867
We all are blind until we see
That in the human plan
Nothing is worth the making if
It does not make the man.
Why build these cities glorious
If man unbuilded goes?
In vain we build the world, unless
The builder also grows.
Most men – not just the men in Brentwood – are scared of powerful women with brains. There’s something in a man that makes him want to have power over a woman – whether it’s in the bedroom or because they earn more money. It boosts their egos.
But in our Sanazarro 'tis not so,
He being pure and tried gold; and any stamp
Of grace, to make him current to the world,
The duke is pleased to give him, will add honour
To the great bestower; for he, though allow'd
Companion to his master, still preserves
His majesty in full lustre.
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of mankind is man.
Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man (1733-34), Epistle II, line 1. In Pope's first ed. of Moral Essays it read "The only science of mankind is man." For the last phrase see Grote, History of Greece, Volume IX, p. 573. Ascribed to Socrates; also to Xenophon, Memor., I, 1
Chaos of thought and passion, all confused;
Still by himself abused and disabused;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurled;
The glory, jest and riddle of the world!
No notion of primitive man's concept of the external world, his analysis of himself, of the nature of the godhead, etc., is possible unless it be recognized that, as among us, there exist, roughly speaking, two general types of temperament: the man of action and the thinker. ...the man of action predominates overwhelmingly. But this predomination carries with it a far greater significance among primitive people than among us for the very simple reason that the population in any specific group is so small. ...neither the man of action nor the thinker has much understanding of and still less sympathy for the other... The man of action, broadly characterized, is oriented toward the object, interested primarily in practical results, and indifferent to the claims and stirrings of his inner self. ...The thinker ...although he, too, is definitely desirous of practical results ...is nevertheless impelled by his whole nature to spend considerable time in analyzing his subjective states and attaches great importance both to their influence upon his actions and to the explanations ...The former is satisfied that the world exists and that things happen. Explanations are of secondary importance. ...He prefers an explanation in which the purely mechanical relation ...is specifically stressed. His mental rhythm ...is characterized by a demand for endless repetition ...or, at best, of events all of which are of the same general level. Change for him means essentially some abrupt transformation. Monotony holds no terrors for him. ...his mentality is written over the vast majority of myths and magical incantations. ...Now the rhythm of the thinker is quite different. ...He insists on a description couched either in terms of a gradual progress and evolution from one to many and from simple to complex, or on the postulation of a cause and effect relation.
Every actual animal is somewhat dull and somewhat mad. He will at times miss his signals and stare vacantly when he might well act, while at other times he will run off into convulsions and raise a dust in his own brain to no purpose. These imperfections are so human that we should hardly recognise ourselves if we could shake them off altogether. Not to retain any dulness would mean to possess untiring attention and universal interests, thus realising the boast about deeming nothing human alien to us; while to be absolutely without folly would involve perfect self-knowledge and self-control. The intelligent man known to history flourishes within a dullard and holds a lunatic in leash. He is encased in a protective shell of ignorance and insensibility which keeps him from being exhausted and confused by this too complicated world; but that integument blinds him at the same time to many of his nearest and highest interests. He is amused by the antics of the brute dreaming within his breast; he gloats on his passionate reveries, an amusement which sometimes costs him very dear. Thus the best human intelligence is still decidedly barbarous; it fights in heavy armour and keeps a fool at court.
What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And, yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me: no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling, you seem to say so.
This is the state of man: to-day he puts forth
The tender leaves of hope; to-morrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honours thick upon him:
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,
And, when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
His greatness is a-ripening, nips his root,
And then he falls, as I do.
This was the noblest Roman of them all.
All the conspirators, save only he,
Did that they did in envy of Caesar;
He only, in a general honest thought
And common good to all, made one of them.
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mix'd in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, "This was a man!"
Nietzsche … he was a confirmed Life Force worshipper. It was he who raked up the Superman, who is as old as Prometheus; and the 20th century will run after this newest of the old crazes when it gets tired of the world, the flesh, and your humble servant.
Man's wretched state,
That floures so fresh at morne, and fades at evening late.
Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (1589-96), Book III, Canto IX, Stanza 39
A man's body and his mind, with the utmost reverence to both I speak it, are exactly like a jerkin and a jerkin's lining;—rumple the one,—you rumple the other.
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1760-1767), Book III, Chapter IV
For, indeed, while we were still weak, Christ died for ungodly men at the appointed time. For hardly would anyone die for a righteous man; though perhaps for a good man someone may dare to die. But God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Ah God, for a man with heart, head, hand,
Like some of the simple great gone
Forever and ever by,
One still strong man in a blatant land,
Whatever they call him, what care I,
Aristocrat, democrat, autocrat—one
Who can rule and dare not lie.
Mankind which began in a cave and behind a windbreak will end in the disease-soaked ruins of a slum.
H. G. Wells, The Fate of Man (1939, reprinted 1970), chapter 26, p. 247
It must have required enormous effort for man to overcome his natural tendency to live like the animals in a continual present. Moreover, the development of rational thought actually seems to have impeded man's appreciation for the significance of time. ...Belief that the ultimate reality is timeless is deeply rooted in human thinking, and the origin of rational investigation of the world was the search for permanent factors that lie behind the ever-changing pattern of events.
Ah! how unjust to nature, and himself,
Is thoughtless, thankless, inconsistent man.
Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night II, line 112
Because both man and woman have roles indispensable for life, without them the world cannot endure even a day. Their capabilities are about the same, but men are generally stronger than women. If a strong man fights a woman he will always win.
Man only,—rash, refined, presumptuous Man—
Starts from his rank, and mars Creation's plan!
Born the free heir of nature's wide domain,
To art's strict limits bounds his narrow'd reign;
Resigns his native rights for meaner things,
For Faith and Fetters, Laws and Priests and Kings.
Poetry of the Anti-Jacobin, The Progress of Man, line 55
Ye children of man! whose life is a span
Protracted with sorrow from day to day,
Naked and featherless, feeble and querulous,
Sickly, calamitous creatures of clay.
Man is all symmetrie,
Full of proportions, one limbe to another,
And all to all the world besides:
Each part may call the farthest, brother:
For head with foot hath privite amitie,
And both with moons and tides.
God give us men. A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands!
Men whom the lust of office does not kill,
Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy,
Men who possess opinions and a will,
Men who love honor, men who cannot lie.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
* * * * * *
Yours is the Earth and every thing that's in it,
And—which is more—you'll be a man, my son!
What a chimera, then, is man! what a novelty, what a monster, what a chaos, what a subject of contradiction, what a prodigy! A judge of all things, feeble worm of the earth, depositary of the truth, cloaca of uncertainty and error, the glory and the shame of the universe!
Give us a man of God's own mould
Born to marshall his fellow-men;
One whose fame is not bought and sold
At the stroke of a politician's pen.
Give us the man of thousands ten,
Fit to do as well as to plan;
Give us a rallying-cry, and then
Abraham Lincoln, give us a Man.
Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)Edit
Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
The older I grow — and I now stand upon the brink of eternity — the more comes back to me that sentence in the Catechism which I learned when a child, and the fuller and deeper its meaning becomes, "What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever."
In that vast march, the van forgets the rear; the individual is lost; and yet the multitude is many individuals. He faints and falls and dies; man is forgotten; but still mankind move on, still worlds revolve, and the will of God is done in earth and heaven.
Let us not undervalue the dignity of human nature. Man. although fallen, still retains some traces of his primeval glory and excellence — broken columns of a celestial temple, magnificent, even in its ruins.
But if, indeed, there be a nobler life in us than in these strangely moving atoms; if, indeed, there is an eternal difference between the fire which inhabits them, and that which animates us,— it must be shown, by each of us in his appointed place, not merely in the patience, but in the activity of our hope, not merely by our desire, but our labor, for the time when the dust of the generations of men shall be confirmed for foun: dations of the gates of the city of God.
The Divine government of the world is like a stream that rolls under us; men are only as bubbles that rise on its surface; some are brighter and larger, and sparkle longer in the sun than others; but all must break; whilst the mighty current rolls on in its wonted majesty!
Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989)Edit
Who is wise? He that learns from every One. Who is powerful? He that governs his Passions. Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.
Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanack" (July 1755), The Complete Poor Richard Almanacks (1970), facsimile ed., vol. 2, p. 270
Men are men before they are lawyers, or physicians, or merchants, or manufacturers; and if you make them capable and sensible men, they will make themselves capable and sensible lawyers or physicians.
John Stuart Mill, inaugural address to the University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Scotland, February 1, 1867. Dissertations and Discussions, vol. 4, p. 335 (1868)
Man, created to God's image and likeness (Gen. 1:26–27), is not just flesh and blood. The sexual instinct is not all that he has. Man is also, and pre-eminently, intelligent and free; and thanks to these powers he is, and must remain, superior to the rest of creation; they give him mastery over his physical, psychological and affective appetites.
Pope Paul VI, encyclical on priestly celibacy (Sacerdotalis Caelibatus), paragraph 53, June 24, 1967. Catholic Mind (October 1967), p. 56–57.
A great man left a watchword that we can well repeat: "There is no indispensable man".
Franklin D. Roosevelt, governor of New York, campaign address before the Republican-for-Roosevelt League, New York City, November 3, 1932. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1928–1932, p. 860 (1938). The man whom Roosevelt quotes is probably Macaulay
It is said that Napoleon lost the battle of Waterloo because he forgot his infantry—he staked too much upon the more spectacular but less substantial cavalry. The present administration in Washington provides a close parallel. It has either forgotten or it does not want to remember the infantry of our economic army. These unhappy times call for the building of plans that rest upon the forgotten, the unorganized but the indispensable units of economic power, for plans like those of 1917 that build from the bottom up and not from the top down, that put their faith once more in the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, governor of New York, radio address, Albany, New York, April 7, 1932. The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1928–1932, p. 624–25 (1938)
When I die, my epitaph or whatever you call those signs on gravestones is going to read: "I joked about every prominent man of my time, but I never met a man I dident like". I am so proud of that I can hardly wait to die so it can be carved. And when you come to my grave you will find me sitting there, proudly reading it.
Will Rogers, reported in Paula McSpadden Love, The Will Rogers Book (1972), p. 166–67. "One of his most famous and most quoted remarks. First printed in the Boston Globe, June 16, 1930, after he had attended Tremont Temple Baptist Church, where Dr. James W. Brougher was minister. He asked Will to say a few words after the sermon. The papers were quick to pick up the remark, and it stayed with him the rest of his life. He also said it on various other occasions" (p. 167). The author was a niece of Will Rogers's and curator of the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore, Oklahoma
The awareness that we are all human beings together has become lost in war and through politics.
Albert Schweitzer, radio appeal for peace, Oslo, Norway, April 30, 1958. Schweitzer, Peace or Atomic War?, p. 44 (1972). This was the third of three appeals broadcast April 28, 29, and 30, 1958
Every man will be a poet if he can; otherwise a philosopher or man of science. This proves the superiority of the poet.
Henry David Thoreau, journal entry, April 11, 1852. The Heart of Thoreau's Journals, ed. Odell Shepard, p. 126 (1927)