Quotations Weblog

Archives for 1998

Quotes of the Week: Walt Whitman

May 31st, 1998 by Laura Moncur in Biography

Here we go again in the education of Laura Moncur. Walt Whitman was yet another name stored in my memory without a face or any other information, save that he was a poet and probably said many profound things. Little did I know this was the man who coined the phrase “Pioneers! O Pioneers!” A contemporary of Abraham Lincoln, he was a medical assistant in the Civil War and a emotionally patriotic man.

Some of this week’s quotes are longer than normal, but it is entirely necessary to preserve the meaning. Dive into the poetry of Walt Whitman and learn with me.

Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

“The poet judges not as a judge judges but as the sun falling around a helpless thing.”
“A child said What is grass? fetching it to one with full hands
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he.
I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of the hopeful green stuff woven.
of I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt,
Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners,
that we may see and remark, and say Whose?
And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.”
Song of Myself, 1855
“Nothing endures but personal qualities.”
“Come lovely and soothing death,
Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving,
In the day, in the night, to all, to each,
Sooner or later, delicate death.”
When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d, 1865-1866
“Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons. It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”
Song of the Open Road
“I celebrate myself, and sing myself.”
Song of Myself, 1855
“I dream’d in a dream I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth,
I dream’d that was the new city of Friends.”
I Dream’d in a Dream
“Full of life now, compact, visible,
I, forty year old the eighty-third year of the States,
To one a century hence or any number of centuries hence,
To you yet unborn these, seeking you.”
Full of life now

Featured Books
The following books and tapes are available through Amazon.com:

For more information about Walt Whitman, try these links:
  • The Poetry of Walt Whitman – A biography and lots of links, including one to Whitmanland (I don’t even want to know). Provided by Globalink.

  • Walt Whitman and the Development of Leaves of Grass – A fairly bland site. There is a biography and information about the hypertext version of Leaves of Grass, but mostly, it was included because they have a picture of Walt Whitman.
  • The Walt Whitman Home Page – Sponsored by the Library of Congress, this site provides actual scanned images of Walt Whitman’s notebooks. Each document takes forever to download, so I wouldn’t recommend it as a method of reading his works. This is more a look into the hand of the man.
  • Leaves of Grass – Complete transcription of Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman provided by Columbia University.
  • Quotes of the Week: Memorial Day

    May 24th, 1998 by Laura Moncur in Holidays, Quotations

    This is one of the two holidays in the United States that worships the dead (Halloween being the other). I think about my culture with disdain regarding these holidays because most of the population wouldn’t agree with the notion that Americans worship the dead. I live in a society that considers ancestor worship a barbaric and pagan rite, yet is obsessed with genealogy. I live in a society that preaches against making offerings to the dead, yet lays flowers on the graves of their loved ones. I live in a society that condemns the worship of the dead, yet holds elaborate and costly funerals and burials. I am ashamed of the duality of my culture. I believe that Memorial Day is an honorable and beautiful holiday and ancestor worship is an honorable and beautiful duty.

    Memorial Day is a fairly recent occurrence (it started after the Civil War to commemorate the fallen heros), but ancestor worship is a practice that has been around since the dawn of man. Many consider it the first religion. So when you place the mums and lilies on the graves of your departed, feel a connection not only to them, but to the ages of humans who have experienced your loss as deeply as you do, from eons past.

    Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

    “Hail to you gods, on that day of the great reckoning. Behold me, I have come to you, without sin, without guilt, without evil, without a witness against me, without one whom I have wronged. I am one pure of mouth, pure of hands.”
    The Book of the Dead, The Address to the Gods, 1700-1000 B.C.

    “Some families can trace their ancestors back three hundred years, but can’t tell you where their children were last night.”

    “While you are not able to serve men, how can you serve spirits [of the dead]?…While you do not know life, how can you know about death?”
    Confucius, The Confucian Analects, bk. 11:11

    “To forget one’s ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root.”
    Chinese proverb

    “When we lose one we love, our bitterest tears are called forth by the memory of hours when we loved not enough.”
    Maurice Maeterlinck, Wisdom and Destiny, 1898

    “We simply rob ourselves when we make presents to the dead.”
    Publilius Syrus, Moral Sayings, First Century B.C.

    “Heap not on this mound / Roses that she loved so well; / Why bewilder her with roses, / That she cannot see or smell?”
    Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Epitaph,” Second April, 1921

    “As men, we are all equal in the presence of death.”
    Publilius Syrus, Moral Sayings, First Century B.C.

    “Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life.”
    Bertolt Brecht, The Mother, 1932

    “Memorial Service – Farewell party for someone who has already left.”
    Robert Byrne

    “After I’m dead I’d rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one.”
    Cato the Elder (234-149 B.C.)

    Featured Books
    The following books and tapes are available through Amazon.com:

    For more information about Memorial Day, try these links:

  • History of Memorial Day – Describes the history of Memorial Day from its inception in Waterloo, New York, to present time.
  • Yahoo’s Memorial Day Links – Lots of links regarding this holiday.
  • Ancestor Worship and Christian Faith – Provided by John Edmiston. Prepare to be talked out of your ancestor worship with Biblical scriptures. Unfortunately, it doesn’t address the Western practice of Memorial Day.
  • Quotes of the Week: Malcolm X

    May 17th, 1998 by Laura Moncur in Biography

    A couple of years ago, Spike Lee released his movie about Malcolm X. There was a lot of hype surrounding that movie, and not much said about the man it concerned. There were many news clips showing a man with a strong voice talking angrily into a microphone. There was a lot of talk about his leanings toward violence and the detrimental effect his speeches had on the equal rights movement.

    I really don’t know what to think about Malcolm X. The media has portrayed him as a violent man, yet all the quotations that I could find from him were things I agree with completely. If I were to judge this man, solely on the quotations that I was able to find for him (striking completely his strong and angry voice from my memory), I would laud him. Here is a selection of quotations from Malcolm X.

    Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

    “Power never takes a back step – only in the face of more power.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

    “A jungle is only a place that’s heavily vegetated – the soil is so rich and the climate is so good that everything grows, and it doesn’t grow in season – it grows all the time.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “If you’re born in America with a black skin, you’re born in prison.”
    Interview, June 1963

    “Sitting at the table doesn’t make you a diner, unless you eat some of what’s on that plate. Being here in America doesn’t make you an American. Being born here in America doesn’t make you an American.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “You show me a capitalist, I’ll show you a bloodsucker.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “We are not fighting for integration, nor are we fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as human beings. We are fighting for…human rights.”
    Speech, Black Revolution, New York, 1964

    “It’s easy to become a satellite today without even being aware of it. This country can seduce God. Yes, it has that seductive power of dollarism.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “Uncle Sam has no conscience. They don’t know what morals are. They don’t try and eliminate an evil because it’s evil, or because it’s illegal, or because it’s immoral; they eliminate it only when it threatens their existence.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “The day that the black man takes an uncompromising step and realizes that he’s within his rights, when his own freedom is being jeopardized, to use any means necessary to bring about his freedom or put a halt to that injustice, I don’t think he’ll be by himself.”
    Oxford Union Society debate, December 3, 1964

    “If being a communist or being a capitalist or being a socialist is a crime, first you have to study which of those systems is the most criminal. And then you’ll be slow to say which one should be in jail.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    [On the assassination of President John F. Kennedy:] “It was, as I saw it, a case of ‘the chickens coming home to roost.’ I said that the hate in white men had not stopped with the killing of defenseless black people, but that hate, allowed to spread unchecked, had finally struck down this country’s Chief Magistrate.”
    Autobiography (as told to Alex Haley), Chapter 16, 1964

    “A segregated school system produces children who, when they graduate, graduate with crippled minds.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “Time is on the side of the oppressed today, it’s against the oppressor. Truth is on the side of the oppressed today, it’s against the oppressor. You don’t need anything else.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    “Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.”
    Malcolm X Speaks, 1965

    Featured Books
    The following books and tapes are available through Amazon.com:
    • The Autobiography of Malcolm X Paperback by Alex Haley – Read about the life of Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little, later changed his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) written by the man who wrote Roots.
    • Soul on Ice Paperback by Eldridge Cleaver – This book is a collection of the memoirs of Black Panther activist, Eldridge Cleaver, another man of the era that drastically affected the civil rights movement.
    • The Autobiography of Malcolm X Audio Cassette by Alex Haley – Listen to the life of Malcolm while driving in your car, and you will gather the wisdom that is still useful today, regardless of your skin color.
    • The Death and Life of Malcolm X Paperback by Peter Louis Goldman – Another biography of the life of Malcolm X from a senior editor of Newsweek. This book includes information regarding his assasination and the accomplices.

    For more information about Malcolm X, try these links:

  • The Malcolm X Page – A loving site devoted to Malcolm X. Contains tons of links, pictures and info. Check out all the quotes available at this site.
  • Malcolm X – A pretty site with lots of pictures and a Malcolm X background. Lots to see here, but still, just links back to the same Playboy Interview.
  • Quotes of the Week: Winston Churchill

    May 10th, 1998 by Laura Moncur in Biography

    On May 13, 1940, Winston Churchill said, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” I wasn’t the first profound thing said by this man, and it certainly wasn’t the last. In my mind, I group Winston Churchill with Franklin D. Roosevelt. That is semi-logical, considering they were both world leaders at the same time, both fighting on the same side of a war that was raging before I was present on earth. Unfortunately for me, the connection goes deeper with me to the point that they are almost the same man in my mind.

    Quick quiz: Who said, “All we have to fear is fear itself.”? You’re right, it was Roosevelt, but Churchill is everyone’s second guess. Enjoy the following quotations from Winston Churchill and learn a little more about this man. Then, all of us will be able to see him as an individual and be able to distinguish him from the other major players of World War II. (Not that I confused him with Hitler or Mussolini, mind you.)

    Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

    “I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”
    Speech made to House of Commons on May 13, 1940, three days after becoming Prime Minister.

    “Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”

    “Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.”

    “A love of tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril; but the new view must come, the world must roll forward.”
    Speech in the House of Commons, November 29, 1944

    “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

    “When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.”

    “We shall show mercy, but we shall not ask for it.”
    Speech in the House of Commons, July 14, 1940

    “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’”
    Speech delivered to the House of Commons on June 18, 1940 following the collapse of France

    “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

    “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”

    “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
    Speech given at the Lord Mayor’s Luncheon, Mansion House, London, November 10, 1942.

    “The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.”

    “To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.”

    “We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire…Give us the tools and we will finish the job.”
    BBC radio broadcast, Feb 9, 1941

    “Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.”

    “The power of man has grown in every sphere, except over himself.”

    “It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.”

    “There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result.”

    “Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed.”

    “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”

    “For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else.”
    Speech at the Lord Mayor’s banquet, London, November 9, 1954

    “The price of greatness is responsibility.”

    “It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.”
    My Early Life – 1930

    Featured Books
    The following books and tapes are available through Amazon.com:
    • Churchill in His Own Voice Audio Cassette – These are not actual recordings of Winston Churchill’s speeches (minor disappointment for me here), but rather Churchill’s memoirs read by Sir Lawrence Olivier. If I had to choose, I would still choose Churchill himself, but the acclaimed Olivier is good enough for me. Learn about Churchill’s life (also includes famous speeches by Hitler, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Truman).
    • The Wit and Wisdom of Winston Churchill Paperback by James C. Humes, Richard Milhous Nixon – You thought I had a lot of quotations on this page, but you were wrong. Here is a book with over 1000 quotations and anecdotes from Winston Churchill. If you liked this week’s edition, you love this book.
    • Triumph and Tragedy (The Second World War) Hardcover by Winston Leonard Spencer, Sir, Churchill, Winston S. Churchill – This is volume one of a three volume set chronicling World War II. The historical view of the world in which Churchill lived.
    • Never Give in : The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill Hardcover by Stephen Mansfield, George Grant – A biography of Winston Churchill. Find out the details of his life, because every life has a story. (oops! That’s for A&E to tell you.)

    For more information about Winston Churchill, try these links:
    • The London School – Winston Churchill - Lots of Info Here. This site contains links to other sites, writings about and by Winston Churchill and a videography (list of videos about and including him).

  • The Rise to Power of Winston Churchill – Historical data for you. This is a very detailed description of pre-World War II Churchill.
  • The Winston Churchill Page – Definitive, but Downloads Slowly. Contains a FAQ (frequently asked questions) file, photos, more links and quotations (called Bon Mots on this page). Ironically, the most complete site is maintained by a group in the United States.
  • Quotes of the Week: Soren Kierkegaard

    May 3rd, 1998 by Laura Moncur in Biography

    I knew his name because it was the kind of tidbit of information that smart people knew. It was a lot like playing piano or understanding Calculus. Smart people mention Kierkegaard, Sartre and Voltaire. I wanted to be a smart person, so I learned how to pronounce his name correctly, connected it with the concept of existentialism, and went on my merry way, knowing nothing of the man.

    Then something happened when I became obsessed with Ayn Rand. I decided that her philosophy of life was the only one that worked for me. All of a sudden, all other philosophies became a source of ridicule and disdain to me. I turned my nose up to Kierkegaard and Sartre (but not Voltaire, who could hate him?). Yet, I still knew less of the man than when I began the journey.

    Now, my mind has opened a crack (not the skull, just the mind set). I am now able to learn about the man whose name I dropped like a handkerchief and dropped like a lead weight. Explore the following links and books and make your own decision.

    Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

    “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

    “Most people are subjective toward themselves and objective toward all others, frightfully objective sometimes–but the task is precisely to be objective toward oneself and subjective toward all others.”
    Works of Love

    “People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”

    “The man who can really stand alone in the world, only taking counsel from his conscience–that man is a hero.”
    The Journals, 1850

    “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”

    “Life has its own hidden forces which you can only discover by living.”

    “I have no single connection with a single other person: I am the most solitary of persons, the (understood in a worldly sense) most powerless.”
    The Journals, 1850

    “Prayer does not change God, but changes him who prays.”

    “This is all that I’ve known for certain, that God is love. Even if I have been mistaken on this or that point: God is nevertheless love.”
    The Journals, 1850

    Featured Books
    The following books and tapes are available through Amazon.com:
    • Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard Paperback
    • Papers and Journals : A Selection by Soren Kierkegaard Paperback – Many great quotes came from his journals. This book provides a selection of some of his more interesting journal entries.
    • Concept of Irony by Soren Kierkegaard Paperback
    • Short Life of Kierkegaard Paperback by J.A. Lowrie, Walter Lowrie – A biography of Soren Kierkegaard. The original publication date of this book was 1942, and they are still printing it today.

    For more information about Soren Kierkegaard, try these links:
    • The Kierkegaarden – A site which includes a collection of quotations, links to other sites and a detailed biography.

  • D. Anthony Storm’s Site on Kierkegaard – Another site dedicated to Kierkegaard. Check out the Gallery (includes portraits of him, his family, his tomb, etc.). It takes a little while to download, but is very professionally displayed.
  • Kierkegaard – A simple site which includes background information on Existentialism.

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