World

I expect to pass through this world but once. If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do any fellow human being let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I will not pass this way again. ~ Quaker saying, usually attributed to Stephen Grellet

The World is a common name for the whole of human civilization, specifically human experience, history, or the human condition in general, worldwide, i.e. anywhere on Earth. In a philosophical context it may refer to: (1) the whole of the physical Universe, or (2) an ontological world (see world disclosure). In a theological context, world usually refers to the material or the profane sphere, as opposed to the celestial, spiritual, transcendent or sacred. The "end of the world" refers to scenarios of the final end of human history, often in religious contexts.

QuotesEdit

  • The wrecks of matter, and the crush of worlds.
  • Earth took her shining station as a star,
    In Heaven's dark hall, high up the crowd of worlds.
  • Let the world slide.
    • Beaumont and Fletcher, Wit Without Money (c. 1614; publisher 1639), Act V, scene 2. Taming of the Shrew. Introduction, scene 1, line 5. Also Sc. 2, line 146. ("Slip" in folio).
  • This is the best world, that we live in,
    To lend and to spend and to give in:
    But to borrow, or beg, or to get a man's own,
    It is the worst world that ever was known.
    • From A Collection of Epigrams (1737).
  • 'Tis pleasant, through the loopholes of retreat,
    To peep at such a world; to see the stir
    Of the Great Babel, and not feel the crowd.
  • Shall I speak truly what I now see below?
    The World is all a carkass, smoak and vanity,
    The shadow of a shadow, a play
    And in one word, just Nothing.
    • Owen Feltham, Resolves (Ed. 1696), p. 316. From the Latin said to have been left by Lipsius to be put on his grave.
  • Il mondo è un bel libro, ma poco serve a chi non lo sa leggere.
    • The world is a beautiful book, but of little use to him who cannot read it.
    • Carlo Goldoni, Pamela (c. 1750), I. 14.
  • Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
    Where wealth accumulates, and men decay;
    Princes and Lords may flourish, or may fade—
    A breath can make them, as a breath has made—
    But a bold peasantry, their country's pride,
    When once destroy'd can never be supplied.
  • Creation's heir, the world, the world is mine!
  • I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.
    • Attributed to Stephen Grellet , variants of this have been been widely circulated as a Quaker saying since at least 1869, and attributed Grellet since at least 1893. W. Gurney Benham in Benham's Book of Quotations, Proverbs, and Household Words (1907) states that though sometimes attributed to others, "there seems to be some authority in favor of Stephen Grellet being the author, but the passage does not appear in any of his printed works." It appears to have been published as an anonymous proverb at least as early as 1859, when it appeared in Household Words : A Weekly Journal.
  • In a world that is in chaos politically, socially and environmentally, how can the human race sustain another 100 years?
    • Stephen Hawking, Posed this open question on the Internet. The Guardian, Britain. Quoted in Watching the World, Awake! magazine, June 2007.
  • I never have sought the world; the world was not to seek me.
  • Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot
    Which men call Earth.
  • Hanging in a golden chain
    This pendent world, in bigness as a star
    Of smallest magnitude close by the moon.
  • A boundless continent,
    Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of night
    Starless expos'd.
  • Then stayed the fervid wheels, and in his hand
    He took the golden compasses, prepared
    In God's eternal store, to circumscribe
    This universe and all created things:
    One foot he centred, and the other turned
    Round through the vast profundity obscure,
    And said, "Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds,
    This be thy just circumference, O World."
    • John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667; 1674), Book VII, line 224. God is like a skillful Geometrician. Sir Thomas Browne—Religio Medici, Part I. Sect, XVI. Nature geometrizeth and observeth order in all things. Sir Thomas Browne—Garden of Cyrus, Chapter III. The same idea appears in Comber—Companion to the Temple. (Folio 1684). God acts the part of a Geometrician…. His government of the World is no less mathematically exact than His creation of it. (Quoting Plato.) John Norris—Practical Discourses, II, p. 228. (Ed. 1693). "God Geometrizes" is quoted as a traditional sentence used by Plato, in Plutarch—Symposium. By a carpenter mankind was created and made, and by a carpenter mete it was that man should be repaired. Erasmus—Paraphrase of St. Mark. Folio 42.
  • The world was all before them, where to choose
    Their place of rest, and Providence their guide.
  • This wide and universal theatre
    Presents more woful pageants than the scene
    Wherein we play in.
  • How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable
    Seem to me all the uses of this world!
  • For some must watch, while some must sleep;
    So runs the world away.
  • The world contained in a seed, determined by its program.
    • Dejan Stojanovic in Circling: 1978-1987, “Blooming” (Sequence: “A Conversations with Atoms”) (1993).
  • The world is always open, waiting to be discovered.
    • Dejan Stojanovic in Circling: 1978-1987, “The Open Door” (Sequence: “A Grain”).
  • In the end, the world returns to a grain.
    • Dejan Stojanovic in Circling: 1978-1987, “A Grain” (Sequence: “A Grain”).
  • When magic through nerves and reason passes, imagination, force, and passion will thunder. The portrait of the world is changed.
    • Dejan Stojanovic in Circling: 1978-1987, ”Alexander the Great” (Sequence: “A Warden with No Keys”).
  • I wanted to write the most beautiful poem but that is impossible; the world has written its own.
    • Dejan Stojanovic in The Sun Watches the Sun, “The Most Beautiful Poem” (Sequence: “Sky-Motion”) (1999).
  • The world is God’s salvation.
    • Dejan Stojanovic in The Sun Watches the Sun, “Infinity and End” (Sequence: “Skywalking”).
  • The world is a fairy tale; we are its guardians.
    • Dejan Stojanovic in The Sun Watches the Sun, “A Fairy Tale and the End” (Sequence: Forgotten Place”).
  • Arrival in the world is really a departure and that, which we call departure, is only a return.
    • Dejan Stojanovic in The Sun Watches the Sun, “Reprise” (Sequence: Forgotten Place”).
  • This dwarf still observes the world from his own self-imposed height.
    • Dejan Stojanovic in The Sun Watches the Sun, “The Dwarf” (Sequence: “A Game”).
  • The world is a navy in an empty ocean.
    • Dejan Stojanovic in The Creator, “The Light-Bearer” (Sequence: “The Light-Bearer”) (2000).
  • While the world sleeps, darkness and silence are awake.
    • Dejan Stojanovic in The Creator, “A Sleepday” (Sequence: “The Whisper of Eternity”).
  • The holy world glows like a lightening bug.
    • Dejan Stojanovic in The Creator, “The Fruit Bearer” (Sequence: “Forest of the Universe”).
  • The world cannot be translated; it can only be dreamed of and touched.
    • Dejan Stojanovic in The Creator, “World II” (Sequence: “The Dream Chamber”).
  • My feelings are too loud for words and too shy for the world.
  • Total knowledge is annihilation of the desire to see, to touch, to feel the world sensed only through senses and immune to the knowledge without feeling.
  • If an ancient man saw planes two thousand years ago, he would've thought they were birds or angels from another world.
  • There can be only one permanent revolution — a moral one; the regeneration of the inner man.
    How is this revolution to take place? Nobody knows how it will take place in humanity, but every man feels it clearly in himself. And yet in our world everybody thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself.
    • Leo Tolstoy "Three Methods Of Reform" in Pamphlets : Translated from the Russian (1900) as translated by Aylmer Maude, p. 29.
  • Man of the World (for such wouldst thou be called)—
    And art thou proud of that inglorious style?
    • Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night VIII, line 8.
  • They most the world enjoy who least admire.
    • Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night VIII, line 1,173.
  • Let not the cooings of the world allure thee:
    Which of her lovers ever found her true?
    • Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night VIII, line 1,279.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical QuotationsEdit

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 911-17.
  • This restless world
    Is full of chances, which by habit's power
    To learn to bear is easier than to shun.
  • Wandering between two worlds, one dead,
    The other powerless to be born,
    With nowhere yet to rest my head,
    Like these, on earth I wait forlorn.
  • Securus judicat orbis terrarum.
    • The verdict of the world is conclusive.
    • Augustine of Hippo, Contra Epist. Parmen, III. 24.
  • This world's a bubble.
    • Ascribed to Francis Bacon by Thomas Farnaby (1629). Appeared in his Book of Epigrams; and by Joshua Sylvester, Panthea. Appendix. (1630). See also Wottonianæ, p. 513. Attributed to Bishop Usher. See Miscellanes, H. W. Gent (1708).
  • Dieu est le poète, les hommes ne sont que les acteurs. Ces grandes pièces qui se jouent sur la terre ont été composées dans le ciel.
    • God is the author, men are only the players. These grand pieces which are played upon earth have been composed in heaven.
    • Honore de Balzac, Socrate Chrétien.
  • Fly away, pretty moth, to the shade
    Of the leaf where you slumbered all day;
    Be content with the moon and the stars, pretty moth,
    And make use of your wings while you may.
    * * * * * *
    But tho' dreams of delight may have dazzled you quite,
    They at last found it dangerous play;
    Many things in this world that look bright, pretty moth,
    Only dazzle to lead us astray.
  • The world is like a board with holes in it, and the square men have got into the round holes, and the round into the square.
  • Renounce the devil and all his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world.
    • Book of Common Prayer, Public Baptism of Infants.
  • The pomps and vanity of this wicked world.
    • Book of Common Prayer, Catechism.
  • He sees that this great roundabout,
    The world, with all its motley rout,
    Church, army, physic, law,
    Its customs and its businesses,
    Is no concern at all of his,
    And says—what says he?—Caw.
  • 'Tis a very good world we live in
    To spend, and to lend, and to give in;
    But to beg, or to borrow, or ask for our own;
    'Tis the very worst world that ever was known.
    • J. Bromfield. As given in The Mirror, under The Gatherer (Sept. 12, 1840). Quoted by Washington Irving in Tales of a Traveller. Prefixed to Part II. Another similar version attributed to Earl of Rochester.
  • The severe schools shall never laugh me out of the philosophy of Hermes, that this visible world is but a picture of the invisible, wherein as in a portrait, things are not truly, but in equivocal shapes, and as they counterfeit some real substance in that invisible fabric.
  • In this bad, twisted, topsy-turvy world,
    Where all the heaviest wrongs get uppermost.
  • O world as God has made it! All is beauty.
  • The wide world is all before us—
    But a world without a friend.
  • I have not loved the world, nor the world me;
    I have not flatter'd its rank breath, nor bow'd
    To its idolatries a patient knee.
  • Well, well, the world must turn upon its axis,
    And all mankind turn with it, heads or tails,
    And live and die, make love and pay our taxes,
    And as the veering winds shift, shift our sails.
  • Such is the world. Understand it, despise it, love it; cheerfully hold on thy way through it, with thy eye on highest loadstars!
  • The true Sovereign of the world, who moulds the world like soft wax, according to his pleasure, is he who lovingly sees into the world.
  • Socrates, quidem, cum rogaretur cujatem se esse diceret, "Mundanum," inquit; totius enim mundi se incolam et civem arbitrabatur.
    • Socrates, indeed, when he was asked of what country he called himself, said, "Of the world;" for he considered himself an inhabitant and a citizen of the whole world.
    • Cicero, Tusculanarum Disputationum, Book V. 37. 108.
  • And for the few that only lend their ear,
    That few is all the world.
  • Vien dietro a me, e lascia dir le genti.
    • Come, follow me, and leave the world to its babblings.
    • Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio (early 14th century), V. 13.
  • Quel est-il en effet? C'est un verre qui luit,
    Qu'un souffle peut detruire, et qu'un souffle a produit.
    • What is it [the world], in fact? A glass which shines, which a breath can destroy, and which a breath has produced.
    • De Caux, L'Horloge de Sable (1745). In D'Israeli's Curiosities of Literature, Imitations and Similarities.
  • The world is a wheel, and it will all come round right.
  • Since every man who lives is born to die,
    And none can boast sincere felicity,
    With equal mind, what happens let us bear,
    Nor joy nor grieve too much for things beyond our care.
    Like pilgrims, to th' appointed place we tend;
    The world's an inn, and death the journey's end.
    • John Dryden, Palamon and Arcite, Book III, line 2,159.
  • The world's a stage where God's omnipotence,
    His justice, knowledge, love and providence,
    Do act the parts.
  • I take the world to be but as a stage,
    Where net-maskt men doo play their personage.
    • Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas, Divine Weekes and Workes. Dialogue Between Heraclitus and Democritus. "The world is a stage; each plays his part, and receives his portion." Found in Winschooten's Seeman (1681). Bohn's Collection, 1857. Juvenal, Satires, III. 100. (Natio comœda est.).
  • But they will maintain the state of the world;
    And all their desire is in the work of their craft.
    • Ecclesiasticus, XXXVIII. 34.
  • Pythagoras said that this world was like a stage,
    Whereon many play their parts; the lookers-on the sage
    Philosophers are, saith he, whose part is to learn
    The manners of all nations, and the good from the bad to discern.
  • Good-bye, proud world! I'm going home;
    Thou art not my friend; I am not thine.
  • Map me no maps, sir; my head is a map, a map of the whole world.
  • Long ago a man of the world was defined as a man who in every serious crisis is invariably wrong.
    • Fortnightly Review, Armageddon—and After (Nov., 1914), p. 736.
  • Mais dons ce monde, il n'y a rien d'assure que le mort et les impots.
    • But in this world nothing is sure but death and taxes.
    • Benjamin Franklin, letter to M. Leroy (1789).
  • Eppur si muove. (Epur.).
    • But it does move.
    • Galileo, before the Inquisition (1632). Questioned by Karl von Geble; also by Prof. Heis, who says it appeared first in the Dictionnaire Historique. Caen. (1789). Guisar says it was printed in the Lehrbuch der Geschichte, Wurtzburg. (1774). Conceded to be apocryphal. Earliest appearance in Abbé Irailh, Querelle's Litteraires.
  • Earth is but the frozen echo of the silent voice of God.
  • Let the world slide, let the world go;
    A fig for care and a fig for woe!
    If I can't pay, why I can owe,
    And death makes equal the high and low.
  • The world's a theatre, the earth a stage,
    Which God and nature do with actors fill.
    • John Heywood, Dramatic Works, Volume I. The Author to His Book. Prefix to Apology for Actors.
  • Nor is this lower world but a huge inn,
    And men the rambling passengers.
    • James Howell, The Vote. Poem prefixed to his Familiar Letters.
  • There are two worlds; the world that we can measure with line and rule, and the world that we feel with our hearts and imaginations.
    • Leigh Hunt, Men, Women, and Books, Fiction and Matter of Fact.
  • The nations are as a drop of a bucket.
    • Isaiah. XL. 15.
  • World without end.
    • Isaiah. XLV. 17.
  • The visible world is but man turned inside out that he may be revealed to himself.
    • Henry James (the Elder). From J. A. Kellog, Digest of the Philosophy of Henry James.
  • It takes all sorts of people to make a world.
  • This world, where much is to be done and little to be known.
    • Samuel Johnson, Prayers and Meditations, Against Inquisitive and Perplexing Thoughts.
  • If there is one beast in all the loathsome fauna of civilization I hate and despise, it is a man of the world.
  • Upon the battle ground of heaven and hell
    I palsied stand.
  • The world goes up and the world goes down,
    And the sunshine follows the rain;
    And yesterday's sneer and yesterday's frown
    Can never come over again,
    Sweet wife.
    No, never come over again.
  • For to admire an' for to see,
    For to be'old this world so wide—
    It never done no good to me,
    But I can't drop it if I tried!
  • If all the world must see the world
    As the world the world hath seen,
    Then it were better for the world
    That the world had never been.
  • It is an ugly world. Offend
    Good people, how they wrangle,
    The manners that they never mend,
    The characters they mangle.
    They eat, and drink, and scheme, and plod,
    And go to church on Sunday—
    And many are afraid of God—
    And more of Mrs. Grundy.
  • O what a glory doth this world put on
    For him who, with a fervent heart, goes forth
    Under the bright and glorious sky, and looks
    On duties well performed, and days well spent!
  • Glorious indeed is the world of God around us, but more glorious the world of God within us. There lies the Land of Song; there lies the poet's native land.
  • One day with life and heart,
    Is more than time enough to find a world.
  • Flammantia mœnia mundi.
    • The flaming ramparts of the world.
    • Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, I. 73.
  • When the world dissolves,
    And every creature shall be purified,
    All places shall be hell that are not heaven.
  • The world in all doth but two nations bear,
    The good, the bad, and these mixed everywhere.
  • This world is full of beauty, as other worlds above,
    And if we did our duty, it might be as full of love.
  • The world's a stage on which all parts are played.
  • Le monde n'est qu'une bransloire perenne.
  • Is it not a noble farce wherein kings, republics, and emperors have for so many ages played their parts, and to which the vast universe serves for a theatre?
  • Or may I think when toss'd in trouble,
    This world at best is but a bubble.
  • This world is all a fleeting show,
    For man's illusion given;
    The smiles of joy, the tears of woe,
    Deceitful shine, deceitful flow,—
    There's nothing true but Heaven.
  • This outer world is but the pictured scroll
    Of worlds within the soul;
    A colored chart, a blazoned missal-book,
    Whereon who rightly look
    May spell the splendors with their mortal eyes,
    And steer to Paradise.
  • Think, in this battered Caravanserai,
    Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day,
    How Sultán after Sultán with his Pomp
    Abode his destined Hour, and went his way.
  • Love to his soul gave eyes; he knew things are not as they seem.
    The dream is his real life: the world around him is the dream.
  • Quod fere totus mundus exerceat histrionem.
    • Almost the whole world are players.
    • Petronius Arbiter, adapted from Fragments. No. 10. (Ed. 1790). Over the door of Shakespeare's theatre, The Globe, Bankside, London, was a figure of Hercules; under this figure was the above quotation. It probably suggested "All the world's a stage".
  • They who grasp the world,
    The Kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
    Must pay with deepest misery of spirit,
    Atoning unto God for a brief brightness.
  • Alexander wept when he heard from Anaxarchus that there was an infinite number of worlds, and his friends asking him if any accident had befallen him he returned this answer: "Do you not think it is a matter worthy of lamentation that where there is such a vast multitude of them we have not yet conquered one?"
    • Plutarch, On the Tranquillity of the Mind. One world is not sufficient; he [Alexander the Great] fumes unhappy in the narrow bounds of this earth. Quoted from Juvenal—Satires. X.
  • But as the world, harmoniously confused,
    Where order in variety we see;
    And where, tho' all things differ, all agree.
  • My soul, what's lighter than a feather? Wind.
    Than wind? The fire. And what than fire? The mind.
    What's lighter than the mind? A thought. Than thought?
    This bubble world. What than this bubble? Nought.
  • All nations and kindreds and people and tongues.
    • Revelation, VII. 9.
  • Es liebt die Welt, das Stralende zu schwärzen
    Und das Erhabne in den Staub zu ziehn.
    • The world delights to tarnish shining names,
      And to trample the sublime in the dust.
    • Friedrich Schiller, Das Mädchen von Orleans.
  • Denn nur vom Nutzen wird die Welt regiert.
    • For the world is ruled by interest alone.
    • Friedrich Schiller, Wallenstein's Tod, I. 6. 37.
  • Non sum uni angulo natus; patria mea totus hic est mundus.
    • I am not born for one corner; the whole world is my native land.
    • Seneca, Epistles, 28.
  • You'll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race.
  • The world's great age begins anew,
    The golden years return,
    The earth doth like a snake renew
    Her winter weeds outworn.
  • Making a perpetual mansion of this poor baiting place.
  • If you choose to represent the various parts in life by holes upon a table, of different shapes,—some circular, some triangular, some square, some oblong,—and the persons acting these parts by bits of wood of similar shapes, we shall generally find that the triangular person has got into the square hole, the oblong into the triangular, and a square person has squeezed himself into the round hole. The officer and the office, the doer and the thing done, seldom fit so exactly that we can say they were almost made for each other.
  • O Earth! all bathed with blood and tears, yet never
    Hast thou ceased putting forth thy fruit and flowers.
  • This world surely is wide enough to hold both thee and me.
    • Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1760-1767), Book II, Chapter XII.
  • There was all the world and his wife.
    • Jonathan Swift, Polite Conversation (c. 1738), Dialogue III. Anstey—New Bath Guide, p. 130. (1767).
  • In this playhouse of infinite forms I have had my play, and here have I caught sight of him that is formless.
  • A mad world, my masters.
    • John Taylor, Western Voyage. First line. Middleton. Title of a play. (1608). Nicholas Breton. Title of a pamphlet. (1603). Mundus furiosus. (a mad world.) Inscription of a book by Jansenius—Gallo-Belgicus. (1596).
  • The world is a looking glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it and it will in turn look sourly upon you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind companion.
  • Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
    I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist.
  • Anchorite, who didst dwell
    With all the world for cell!
  • For, if the worlds
    In worlds enclosed should on his senses burst * * *
    He would abhorrent turn.
  • Heed not the folk who sing or say
    In sonnet sad or sermon chill,
    "Alas, alack, and well-a-day!
    This round world's but a bitter pill."
    We too are sad and careful; still
    We'd rather be alive than not.
    • [[Graham R. Tomson], Ballade of the Optimist.
  • Tout est pour le mieux dans le meilleur des mondes.
    • Everything is for the best in this best of possible worlds.
    • Voltaire, Candid, I. (A hit against Leibnitz' Optimistic Doctrines).
  • Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view,
    That stand upon the threshold of the new.
  • The world is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel.
  • If we suppose a sufficient righteousness and intelligence in men to produce presently, from the tremendous lessons of history, an effective will for a world peace—that is to say, an effective will for a world law under a world government—for in no other fashion is a secure world peace conceivable—in what manner may we expect things to move towards this end?… It is an educational task, and its very essence is to bring to the minds of all men everywhere, as a necessary basis for world cooperation, a new telling and interpretation, a common interpretation, of history.
  • What is this world? A net to snare the soule.
  • I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
  • Was ist ihm nun die Welt? ein weiter leerer Raum,
    Fortunen's Spielraum, frei ihr Rad herum zu rollen.
    • What is the world to him now? a vast and vacant space, for fortune's wheel to roll about at will.
    • Christoph Martin Wieland, Oberon, VIII. 20.
  • I have my beauty,—you your Art—
    Nay, do not start:
    One world was not enough for two
    Like me and you.
  • When the fretful stir
    Unprofitable, and the fever of the world
    Have hung upon the beatings of my heart.
  • The world is too much with us; late and soon,
    Getting and spending we lay waste our powers;
    Little we see in Nature that is ours.
  • The world's a bubble—and the life of man
    Less than a span.
    In his conception wretched, and from the womb
    So to the tomb.
    Nurst from the cradle, and brought up to years
    With cares and fears.
    Who then to frail mortality shall trust,
    But limns in water, and but writes in dust.

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Last modified on 28 November 2013, at 17:23