| The circumstance which gives authors an advantage above all these great masters, is this, that they can multiply their originals; or rather, can make copies of their works, to what number they please, which shall be as valuable as the originals themselves.|
AddisonThe Spectator. No. 166.
| Write to the mind and heart, and let the ear|
Glean after what it can.
BaileyFestus. Sc. Home.
| Indeed, unless a man can link his written thoughts with the everlasting wants of men, so that they shall draw from them as from wells, there is no more immortality to the thoughts and feelings of the soul than to the muscles and the bones.|
Henry Ward BeecherStar Papers. Oxford. Bodleian Library.
| There is probably no hell for authors in the next worldthey suffer so much from critics and publishers in this.|
BoveeSummaries of Thought. Authors.
| A man of moderate Understanding, thinks he writes divinely: A man of good Understanding, thinks he writes reasonably.|
La BruyèreThe Characters or Manners of the Present Age. Ch. I.
| A man starts upon a sudden, takes Pen, Ink, and Paper, and without ever having had a thought of it before, resolves within himself he will write a Book; he has no Talent at Writing, but he wants fifty Guineas.|
La BruyèreThe Characters or Manners of the Present Age. Ch. XV.
| And so I penned|
It down, until at last it came to be,
For length and breadth, the bigness which you see.
BunyanPilgrims Progress. Apology for his Book.
| Writers, especially when they act in a body and with one direction, have great influence on the public mind.|
BurkeReflections on the Revolution in France.
| The book that he has made renders its author this service in return, that so long as the book survives, its author remains immortal and cannot die.|
Richard de BuryPhilobiblon. Ch. I. 21. E. C. Thomas trans.
|And force them, though it was in spite|
Of Nature and their stars, to write.
ButlerHudibras. Pt. I. Canto I. L. 647.
|But words are things, and a small drop of ink,|
Falling, like dew, upon a thought produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions think.
ByronDon Juan. Canto III. St. 88.
|But every fool describes, in these bright days,|
His wondrous journey to some foreign court,
And spawns his quarto, and demands your praise,
Death to his publisher, to him tis sport.
ByronDon Juan. Canto V. St. 52.
|And hold up to the sun my little taper.|
ByronDon Juan. Canto XII. St. 21.
|Dear authors! suit your topics to your strength,|
And ponder well your subject, and its length;
Nor lift your load, before youre quite aware
What weight your shoulders will, or will not, bear.
ByronHints from Horace. L. 59.
|La pluma es lengua del alma.|
The pen is the tongue of the mind.
CervantesDon Quixote. V. 16.
|Apt Alliterations artful aid.|
ChurchillThe Prophecy of Famine. L. 86.
| That writer does the most, who gives his reader the most knowledge, and takes from him the least time.|
C. C. ColtonLacon. Preface.
|Habits of close attention, thinking heads,|
Become more rare as dissipation spreads,
Till authors hear at length one general cry
Tickle and entertain us, or we die!
CowperRetirement. L. 707.
|None but an author knows an authors cares,|
Or Fancys fondness for the child she bears.
CowperThe Progress of Error. L. 518.
| So that the jest is clearly to be seen,|
Not in the wordsbut in the gap between;
Manner is all in all, whateer is writ,
The substitute for genius, sense, and wit.
CowperTable Talk. L. 540.
|Oh! rather give me commentators plain,|
Who with no deep researches vex the brain;
Who from the dark and doubtful love to run,
And hold their glimmering tapers to the sun.
CrabbeThe Parish Register. Pt. I. Introduction.
|Aucun fiel na jamais empoisonné ma plume.|
No gall has ever poisoned my pen.
CrébillonDiscours de Réception.
|Smelling of the lamp.|
| Gracious heavens! he cries out, leaping up and catching hold of his hair, whats this? Print!|
DickensChristmas Stories. Somebodys Luggage. Ch. III.
|And choose an author as you choose a friend.|
Wentworth DillonEssay on Translated Verse. L. 96.
|The men, who labour and digest things most,|
Will be much apter to despond than boast;
For if your author be profoundly good,
Twill cost you dear before hes understood.
Wentworth DillonEssay on Translated Verse. L. 163.
|When I want to read a book I write one.|
Attributed to Benj. Disraeli in a review of Lothair in Blackwoods Magazine.
| The author who speaks about his own books is almost as bad as a mother who talks about her own children.|
Benj. DisraeliSpeech. Nov. 19, 1870.
|The unhappy man, who once has traild a pen,|
Lives not to please himself, but other men;
Is always drudging, wastes his life and blood,
Yet only eats and drinks what you think good.
DrydenPrologue to Lees Cæsar Borgia.
| All writing comes by the grace of God, and all doing and having.|
EmersonEssays. Of Experience.
| For no man can write anything who does not think that what he writes is, for the time, the history of the world.|
EmersonEssays. Of Nature.
|The lover of letters loves power too.|
EmersonSociety and Solitude. Clubs.
| The writer, like a priest, must be exempted from secular labor. His work needs a frolic health; he must be at the top of his condition.|
EmersonPoetry and Imagination. Creation.
|Like his that lights a candle to the sun.|
FletcherLetter to Sir Walter Aston.
|Les sots font le texte, et les hommes desprit les commentaires.|
Fools make the text, and men of wit the commentaries.
Abbé GalianiOf Politics.
|Envys a sharper spur than pay:|
No author ever spard a brother;
Wits are gamecocks to one another.
GayThe Elephant and the Bookseller. L. 74.
| The most original modern authors are not so because they advance what is new, but simply because they know how to put what they have to say, as if it had never been said before.|
| One writer, for instance, excels at a plan, or a title-page, another works away the body of the book, and a third is a dab at an index.|
GoldsmithThe Bee. No. 1. Oct. 6, 1759.
| The Republic of Letters is a very common expression among the Europeans.|
GoldsmithCitizen of the World. 20.
| Their name, their years, spelt by the unlettered Muse.|
| His [Burkes] imperial fancy has laid all nature under tribute, and has collected riches from every scene of the creation and every walk of art.|
Robert HallApology for the Freedom of the Press. Sec. IV.
| Whatever an author puts between the two covers of his book is public property; whatever of himself he does not put there is his private property, as much as if he had never written a word.|
Gail HamiltonCountry Living and Country Thinking. Preface.
| Sumite materiam vestris, qui scribitis, æquam Viribus.|
Ye who write, choose a subject suited to your abilities.
HoraceArs Poetica. 38.
|Tantum series juncturaque pollet.|
Of so much force are system and connection.
HoraceArs Poetica. 242.
|Scribendi recte sapere est et principium et fons.|
Knowledge is the foundation and source of good writing.
HoraceArs Poetica. 309.
|Nonumque prematur in annum.|
Let it (what you have written) be kept back until the ninth year.
HoraceArs Poetica. 388.
|But every little busy scribbler now|
Swells with the praises which he gives himself;
And, taking sanctuary in the crowd,
Brags of his impudence, and scorns to mend.
HoraceOf the Art of Poetry. 475. Wentworth Dillons trans.
|Deferar in vicum vendentem thus et odores,|
Et piper, et quicquid chartis amicitur ineptis.
I (i.e. my writings) shall be consigned to that part of the town where they sell incense, and scents, and pepper, and whatever is wrapped up in worthless paper.
HoraceEpistles. Bk. II. I. 269.
|Piger scribendi ferre laborem;|
Scribendi recte, nam ut multum nil moror.
Too indolent to bear the toil of writing; I mean of writing well; I say nothing about quantity.
HoraceSatires. I. 4. 12.
| Sæpe stilum vertas, iterum quæ digna legi sint Scripturus.|
Often turn the stile [correct with care], if you expect to write anything worthy of being read twice.
HoraceSatires. I. 10. 72.
| Written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond.|
Jeremiah. XVII. 1.
| He [Milton] was a Phidias that could cut a Colossus out of a rock, but could not cut heads out of cherry stones.|
Samuel Johnson, according to Hannah More. (1781).
|Each change of many-coloured life he drew,|
Exhausted worlds and then imagined new:
Existence saw him spurn her bounded reign,
And panting Time toild after him in vain.
Samuel JohnsonPrologue on the Opening of the Drury Lane Theatre.
| The chief glory of every people arises from its authors.|
Samuel JohnsonPreface to Dictionary.
| There are two things which I am confident I can do very well; one is an introduction to any literary work, stating what it is to contain, and how it should be executed in the most perfect manner.|
Samuel JohnsonBoswells Life of Johnson. (1755).
| A man may write at any time if he set himself doggedly to it.|
Samuel JohnsonBoswells Life of Johnson. (1773).
| No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.|
Samuel JohnsonBoswells Life of Johnson. (1776).
| Tenet insanabile multo|
Scribendi cacoëthes, et ægro in corde senescit.
An incurable itch for scribbling takes possession of many, and grows inveterate in their insane breasts.
JuvenalSatires. VII. 51.
|Damn the age; I will write for Antiquity.|
Charles LambBon Mots by Charles Lamb and Douglas Jerrold. Ed. by Walter Jerrold.
| To write much, and to write rapidly, are empty boasts. The world desires to know what you have done, and not how you did it.|
George Henry LewesThe Spanish Drama. Ch. III.
| If you once understand an authors character, the comprehension of his writings becomes easy.|
LongfellowHyperion. Bk. I. Ch. V.
| Perhaps the greatest lesson which the lives of literary men teach us is told in a single word: Wait!|
LongfellowHyperion. Bk. I. Ch. VIII.
|Whatever hath been written shall remain,|
Nor be erased nor written oer again;
The unwritten only still belongs to thee:
Take heed, and ponder well what that shall be.
LongfellowMorituri Salutamus. L. 168.
|Look, then, into thine heart and write!|
LongfellowVoices of the Night. Prelude. St. 19.
|It may be glorious to write|
Thoughts that shall glad the two or three
High souls, like those far stars that come in sight
Once in a century.
LowellAn Incident in a Railroad Car.
| He that commeth in print because he woulde be knowen, is like the foole that commeth into the Market because he woulde be seen.|
LylyEuphues. The Anatomy of Wit. To the Gentlemen Readers.
| He who writes prose builds his temple to Fame in rubble; he who writes verses builds it in granite.|
Bulwer-LyttonCaxtoniana. Essay XXVII. The Spirit of Conservatism.
| No author ever drew a character, consistent to human nature, but what he was forced to ascribe to it many inconsistencies.|
Bulwer-LyttonWhat Will He Do With It? Bk. IV. Ch. XIV. Heading.
| You do not publish your own verses, Lælius; you criticise mine. Pray cease to criticise mine, or else publish your own.|
MartialEpigrams. Bk. I. Ep. 91.
|Jack writes severe lampoons on me, tis said|
But he writes nothing, who is never read.
MartialEpigrams. Bk. III. Ep. 9.
| He who writes distichs, wishes, I suppose, to please by brevity. But, tell me, of what avail is their brevity, when there is a whole book full of them?|
MartialEpigrams. Bk. VIII. Ep. 29.
| The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr.|
MohammedTribute to Reason.
|To write upon all is an authors sole chance|
For attaining, at last, the least knowledge of any.
MooreHumorous and Satirical Poems. Literary Advertisement.
| Præbet mihi littera linguam:|
Et, si non liceat scribere, mutus ero.
This letter gives me a tongue; and were I not allowed to write, I should be dumb.
OvidEpistolæ Ex Ponto. II. 6. 3.
|Scripta ferunt annos; scriptis Agamemnona nosti,|
Et quisquis contra vel simul arma tulit.
Writings survive the years; it is by writings that you know Agamemnon, and those who fought for or against him.
OvidEpistolæ Ex Ponto. IV. 8. 51.
|Tis hard to say if greater want of skill|
Appear in writing or in judging ill;
But, of the two less dangrous is th offence
To tire our patience than mislead our sense.
PopeEssay on Criticism. L. 1.
|Authors are partial to their wit, tis true,|
But are not critics to their judgment too?
PopeEssay on Criticism. L. 17.
|True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,|
As those move easiest who have learnd to dance.
PopeEssay on Criticism. L. 362. Epistles of Horace. II. 178.
|In every work regard the writers end,|
Since none can compass more than they intend.
PopeEssay on Criticism. Pt. II. L. 55.
|Why did I write? what sin to me unknown|
Dipt me in ink, my parents, or my own?
As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame,
I lispd in numbers, for the numbers came.
PopePrologue to Satires. L. 125.
|It is the rust we value, not the gold;|
Authors, like coins, grow dear as they grow old.
PopeSecond Book of Horace. Ep. I. L. 35.
|Een copious Dryden wanted, or forgot,|
The last and greatest artthe art to blot.
PopeSecond Book of Horace. Ep. I. L. 280.
|Whether the darkend room to muse invite,|
Or whitend wall provoke the skewr to write;
In durance, exile, Bedlam, or the Mint,
Like Lee or Budgel I will rhyme and print.
PopeSecond Book of Horace. Satire I. L. 97.
|Let him be kept from paper, pen, and ink;|
So may he cease to write, and learn to think.
PriorTo a Person who Wrote Ill. On Same Person.
|Tis not how well an author says,|
But tis how much, that gathers praise.
PriorEpistle to Fleetwood Shepherd.
|As though I lived to write, and wrote to live.|
Saml RogersItaly. A Character. L. 16.
| Ils ont les textes pour eux, mais jen suis faché pour les textes.|
They have the texts on their side, but I pity the texts.
Royer-Collard, against the opinions of the Jansenists of Port-Royal on Grace. So much the worse for the texts. Phrase attributed to Voltaire.
| Devise, wit; write, pen; for I am for whole volumes in folio.|
Loves Labours Lost. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 190.
|Write till your ink be dry, and with your tears|
Moist it again, and frame some feeling line
That may discover such integrity.
Two Gentlemen of Verona. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 74.
|Of all those arts in which the wise excel,|
Natures chief masterpiece is writing well.
John Sheffield (Duke of Buckinghamshire)Essay on Poetry.
|Look in thy heart and write.|
Sir Philip SidneyWm. Grays Life of Sir Philip Sidney.
| The great and good do not die even in this world. Embalmed in books, their spirits walk abroad. The book is a living voice. It is an intellect to which one still listens.|
Saml SmilesCharacter. Ch. X.
| Ah, ye knights of the pen! May honour be your shield, and truth tip your lances! Be gentle to all gentle people. Be modest to women. Be tender to children. And as for the Ogre Humbug, out sword, and have at him!|
ThackerayRoundabout Papers. Ogres.
| What the devil does the plot signify, except to bring in fine things?|
George VilliersThe Rehearsal.
| In every author let us distinguish the man from his works.|
VoltaireA Philosophical Dictionary. Poets.
|But youre our particular author, youre our patriot and our friend,|
Youre the poet of the cuss-word an the swear.
Edgar WallaceTommy to his Laureate. (R. Kipling)
|So must the writer, whose productions should|
Take with the vulgar, be of vulgar mould.
Edmund WallerEpistle to Mr. Killegrew.
|Smooth verse, inspired by no unlettered Muse.|
WordsworthExcursion. V. 262 (Knights ed.).
|This dull product of a scoffers pen.|
WordsworthExcursion. Bk. II.
|Some write, confind by physic; some, by debt;|
Some, for tis Sunday; some, because tis wet;
* * * * * *
Another writes because his father writ,
And proves himself a bastard by his wit.
YoungEpistles to Mr. Pope. Ep. I. L. 75.
| An author! tis a venerable name!|
How few deserve it, and what numbers claim!
Unblessd with sense above their peers refined,
Who shall stand up dictators to mankind?
Nay, who dare shine, if not in virtues cause?
That sole proprietor of just applause.
YoungEpistles to Mr. Pope. Ep. II. From Oxford. L. 15.
|For who can write so fast as men run mad?|
YoungLove of Fame. Satire I. L. 286.
|Some future strain, in which the muse shall tell|
How science dwindles, and how volumes swell.
How commentators each dark passage shun,
And hold their farthing candle to the sun.
YoungLove of Fame. Satire VII. L. 95.
| And then, exulting in their taper, cry, Behold the Sun; and, Indian-like, adore.|
YoungNight Thoughts. Night II.