I Wish I’d Said That.

Dr. Boli’s Occasional Journal of Quotations.


By E. M. Sidney.

As some vast heart that high in health
   Beats in its mighty breast,
So, to and fro, thy living wealth
   Throbs through the boundless West.
Thy keels the broad Ohio plow,
   Or seek the Atlantic main;
Thy fabrics find the Arctic snow,
   Or reach Zahara’s plain!

Toil on, huge Cyclop as thou art,
   Though grimed with dust and smoke,
And breathing with convulsive start—
   There’s music in each stroke!
What if the stranger smirch and soil
   Upon thy forehead sees?
Better the wealth of honest toil
   Than of ignoble ease!

And yet thou’rt beautiful—a queen
   Throned on her royal seat!
All glorious in emerald sheen,
   Where thy fair waters meet.
And when the night comes softly down,
   And the moon lights the stream,
In the mild ray appears the town,
   The city of a dream!

——E. M. Sidney in From Graham’s American Monthly Magazine of Literature and Art, Vol. XXX (1847), p. 249.

Hugh Henry Brackenridge on Abolition.

In the phrenzy of the day, some weak minded powers, in Europe, begin to consider what is called the African trade as a moral wrong, and to provide for a gradual abolition of it. If they will abolish it, I approve of its being done gradually; because, numbers being embarked in this trade, it must ruin them all at once, to desist from it. On this principle, I have always thought it a defect in the criminal codes of most nations, not giving licence to the perpetrators of offences, to proceed, for a limited time, in larcenies, burglaries, &c. until they get their hands out of use to these pursuits, and in use to others. For it must be greatly inconvenient to thieves and cut-throats, who have engaged in this way of life, and run great risks in acquiring skill in their employment, to be obliged all at once to withdraw their hands, and lay aside picking locks, and apply themselves to industry in other ways, for a livelihood.

——Hugh Henry Brackenridge, Modern Chivalry.

Hegel’s German Style.

It is unlikely that Hegel would have taken in three generations of Germans and one generation of Russians if he had been trained to write in the terse English of T. H. Huxley or William James.

——Frederick Bodmer, The Loom of Language (1943), p. 165.

Cardinal Mezzofanti’s Linguistic Spectacles.

Cardinal Mezzofanti was asked how he managed to speak so many languages without confusing them.

Mezzofanti laughingly asked in his turn,

“Have you ever tried on a pair of green spectacles?”

“Yes,” replied his companion.

“Well,” said Mezzofanti, “while you wore those spectacles everything was green to your eyes. It is precisely so with me. While I am speaking any language, for instance, Russian, I put on my Russian spectacles, and for the time, they color everything Russian. I see all my ideas in that language alone. If I pass to another language, I have only to change the spectacles, and it is the same for that language also!”

——The Life of Cardinal Mezzofanti, by C. W. Russell.

Epes Winthrop Sargent on Writing Comedy.

Make every action tell both the story and the comedy and you have a comedy. Until you can do that don’t write comedy.

——“The Scenario Writer” column in Moving Picture World, 1912.

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