Quotations Weblog

Who is Frank Outlaw?

April 8th, 2008 by Laura Moncur in Quotations

The following quotation is often attributed to Frank Outlaw:

I’ve also seen it attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, but I cannot find the quote in Bartletts or any other of my quotation books under either name. It was discussed on WikiAnswers here:

This quote is widely attributed to “Frank Outlaw” on the Web, but no actual other corroborating confirmation actually confirms that this is the correct source.

Popular quotation books – including Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations (17th ed., 2002), Roget’s International Thesaurus of Quotations (1970) and The Harper Book of Quotations (3rd ed., 1993) – DO NOT include this quote or any reference to Frank Outlaw.

In July 2003, a woman named “Elizabeth C.,” claimed to have written it in 1998 and sending to members of an e-mail group of people living with lupus.

According to legend, her words were: “these few lines have since taken on a life of their own via the Internet. I was honored when someone asked if they could post it on their work bulletin board. From there it ended up as a desktop theme. It has traveled everywhere.”

Matt Mullenweg, of WordPress fame, talked about this quote and one of his readers commented:

Dawn // February 1, 2007 at 4:15 am

And yet sadly no one has attributed this to its true origin…

The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character;
So watch the thought and its ways with care,
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all beings…

As the shadow follows the body,
As we think, so we become.

  • From the Dhammapada
    Sayings of the Buddha

I have added the Budda quote, but until I’m able to find the other in print somewhere, it will continue to be attributed to Unknown. Who is Frank Outlaw? As far as I can tell, he is an imagined author of a quote that may or may not be his.

Here are a few thoughts to keep your mind about this:

And here is one that really IS from Emerson:

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