WORDS OF WISDOM - Anne and Paul
The Old Library, Trinity College, Dublin

The Old Library, Trinity College, Dublin

WORDS OF WISDOM


"Every man . . . ought to be content with the possession of his own opinion in private, without perplexing his neighbour or disturbing the public."

Jonathan Swift  (1667 - 1745)

'Thoughts on Religion', almost 300 years before Twitter


" . . . whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together."

Jonathan Swift  (1667 - 1745)

'Gulliver's Travels', pub 1726


"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality"

Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1931 - )


... Here, where once were pleasant fields,

and no one in a hurry,

Behold the harvest Mammon yields ​

of speed and greed and worry.


John Betjeman (1968, referring to 'the martyrdom of London')


When a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost…

All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

H L Mencken, Baltimore Sun, 1920 (before Donald Trump was even born).


"For every complex problem there is a simple solution – and it’s wrong".

H L Mencken (1880 - 1956)


Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried.

Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)


"I don't trust someone who is nice to me but rude to the waiter, because they would treat me the same way if I were in that position".

Muhammad Ali (1942 - 2016)


" I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men. They are far superior and always have been. Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she will give you a baby. If you give her a house, she will give you a home. If you give her groceries, she will give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she will give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit!"

William Golding

British novelist, playwright and poet (1911 - 1993)

(Well meant, but still maintaining the stereotype of mother and home-maker!)


“The best of life is life lived quietly, where nothing happens but our calm journey through the day"

John McGahern(1934 - 2006)

Irish novelist  ☘️


"One wonders in these places why anyone is left in Dublin or London or Paris, when it would be better, one would think, to live in a tent or hut with this magnificent sea and sky, and to breathe this wonderful air which is like wine in one's teeth."

J M Synge (1871 - 1909)

 Irish playwright,

after visiting the Dingle Peninsula in August 1905


I think that I shall never see

a billboard lovely as a tree.

In fact unless the billboards fall

I’ll never see a tree at all.

Ogden Nash (1902 - 1971)


People who reach the top of the tree are only those who haven't got the qualifications to detain them at the bottom.

Peter Ustinov (1921-2004)


“Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them ... well, I have others.”

Groucho Marx (1890 - 1977) 


Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.

Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)


The true definition of madness is repeating the same action, over and over, hoping for a different result.

Albert Einstein(1879 - 1955)



Weak people revenge

Strong people forgive

Intelligent people ignore

Albert Einstein(1879 - 1955)


"One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws… an unjust law is no law at all."

Martin Luther King (1929-68)



"The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit ."

Nelson Henderson




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