I Wish I’d Said That.

Dr. Boli’s Occasional Journal of Quotations.

The Active Rich

Where Bernard Shaw denounces the Idle Rich, an American Socialist might well denounce the Active Rich, who work without the compulsion of necessity, who encumber positions that might be filled by competent persons in need of earning their livelihood, who do not understand the duties of idleness.

Ernest Augustus Boyd, H. L. Mencken.

Look to the Present to Understand the Past

Man changes only on the surface. We often run to doubtful and distant documents for explanations of events in the ancient world, when it would suffice to look around us to understand them.

—Gaston Boissier, La Conjuration de Catalina.

Sisinnius the Bishop Bathes Twice a Day

When someone asked Sisinnius why he, a bishop, bathed twice a day, he replied, “Because it’s not convenient to bathe three times.”

—Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History, 6.22.

Will Rogers on Morality Clauses

Will Rogers

I hear they’re going to put what they call a morality clause in contracts. They’ve appointed a committee to see about it. Don’t suppose they’ll take any action until the committee finds out what morality means. And if any of them guys asks me to sign a contract with that kind of a gewgaw in it, I’m going to tell him, “Well, you sign it yourself first.”

——Will Rogers, quoted in Photoplay, 1922.

Ignorance of the Past

Not to know what was done ere we were born,
Is to live Children still.

——Edward Sherburne, “On Ælian his Various History, Translated into English by Mr Thomas Stanley.”

Be Understood First; Be Correct Second

S. Augustinus

What good is purity of speech if it does not lead to understanding in the hearer? There is no use at all in speaking if the people we are speaking for do not understand us. Whoever teaches, therefore, will avoid all words that do not teach. And if instead of them he can find words that are both pure and intelligible, he will pick those first. If, however, he cannot, either because there are no such words, or because they do not at the time occur to him, he will use words that are not quite pure, as long as the meaning of his thought is conveyed and understood in its integrity.

——Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, Book IV, Chapter 10.

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