Shot At Without Result!
For a number of years, I have spent every morning reading from my grandfather’s 1909 set of the Harvard Classics. They were selected by Dr. Charles Eliot, who was president of Harvard University for 40 years; even though he has long since passed away, he is acclaimed today as one of America’s greatest scholars and educators.
These 50 volumes contain all the wisdom of the ages, from Plato to Emerson. I have enjoyed writing in a leather bound journal some favorite quotes from these most famous writings. All of these sayings are as true today as they were when they were penned – some of them more than 2,000 years ago.
The journalist’s dilemma: “Still it’s true that no man loves the messenger of ill.” This line is from the play Antigone, by Sophocles, 495 BC.
“Cajoling, flattering, sympathizing, even occasionally threatening, there is nothing, according to a politician’s philosophy, that can not be made or undone or repaired by words.” This was the philosophy of the great politician Cicero, Rome, 50 BC.
“If what we say of the kinship of God and men be true what remains for men to do but as Socrates did, never when asked one’s country to answer ‘I am an Athenian or Corinthian’ but ‘I am a citizen of the world.’” From the Golden Sayings of Epictetus, a Greek slave in 1st century Rome.
I have many favorite quotes from the bard, William Shakespeare, who wrote in the late 16th and early 17th centuries in England.
“An old man is twice the child.” Hamlet
“Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.” (The thing appointed arrives whatever obstacles seem to lie between.)” Macbeth
“When sorrows come, they come not in single spies, but in battalions.” Hamlet
“Let Hercules himself do what he may, the cat will mew, and dog will have his day.” Hamlet
“There thou might behold the great image of authority; a dog is obeyed if he’s in great office.” King Lear
“But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we’ll not fail.” Macbeth
One of the most enjoyable books included in the Harvard Classics is Don Quixote, by Cervantes. A great quote from this book reads: “They had arrived to that Inn, which was to Don Quixote as grateful as an arrival to heaven, wherein all earthly mishaps are concluded, and finished.”
I have also added some quotes Dr. Eliot might have included if he lived today and could update the Harvard Classics. They read:
“My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends,
It gives a lovely Light.”
Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1920.
No compilation of great quotes would be complete without a sprinkling from England’s Winston Churchill, the 20th century’s greatest leader. Here are a few gems:
“When I was younger, I made it a rule never to take strong drink before lunch. It is now my rule never to do so before breakfast.”
“It would be great reform in politics if wisdom could be made to spread as easily and a rapidly as folly.”
“Let us learn our lessons. Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy … . Always remember, however sure you are that you can easily win, that there would not be a war if the other man did not think he also had a chance.”
“Odd things, animals. All dogs look up to you. All cats look down on you. Only pigs look at you as equals.”
“There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result.”
Lastly, I will give you something to ponder from my own thoughts.
“Keep things easy, get along with life. To appreciate nature and the gifts of God is one of life’s great pleasures. Friends make up the other joy of living. Having ready cash will also keep everyone happy. A good pet can take the sting out of some of the hard trials we all go through. There is great fun in collecting old things.”
This old English toast rings true, “Old books to read, old wood to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to share, some things get more precious with age.”
Best of all is having a beautiful wife and family to share the simple wonders of the world. Lastly, the joy of helping others is not only a duty, but a great pleasure.” Neely Young, 2007.
Neely Young is editor in chief and publisher of Georgia Trend. Contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.