It is not impossible that these circumstances may have occasionally betrayed me into intemperances of expression which I did not intend; it is certain that I have frequently felt a struggle between sensibility and moderation; and if the former has in some instances prevailed, it must be my excuse that it has been neither often nor much.
— Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Papers no. 85
yes I said yes I will yes
— James Joyce, Ulysses
What is honor compared to a woman’s love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms… or the memory of a brother’s smile? Wind and words. Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy.
— George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of either merit or sense.
— Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
To be happy you must have taken the measure of your powers, tasted the fruits of your passion, and learned your place in the world.
— George Santayana
Perhaps death is not the hardest thing in a painter’s life… [L]ooking at the stars always make me dream, as simply as I dream over the black dots representing towns and villages on a map. Why, I ask myself, shouldn’t the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France? Just as we take the train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star.
— Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh, July 16, 1888
I keep thinking of this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The current’s too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart. That’s how I think it is with us. It’s a shame, Kath, because we’ve loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can’t stay together forever.
— Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go
Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
— Theodore Roosevelt
God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of hte other players, [i.e., everybody] to being involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won’t tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.
— Good Omens
But dying’s no easy trick. And suicide can’t be put on a list of Things to Do in between cleaning the grill pan and leveling the sofa leg with a brick. It is the decision not to do, to un-do; a kiss blown at oblivion. No matter what anyone says, suicide takes guts. It’s for heroes and martyrs, truly vainglorious men. Archie was none of these. He was a man whose significance in the Greater Scheme of Things could be figured along familiar ratios:
— Zadie Smith, White Teeth