"You don't understand," he said.
"Believe me, Jimmie I do." Ned was suddenly gentle, there were even tears in his eyes. It would have taken the most cynically dispassionate observer to discern any hint of complacency in his tone when he added, "Life is cruel and we do terrible things to each other."
Barbara Pym, The Sweet Dove Died


In a world where the kings are employers
Where the amateur prevails and delicacy fails to pay
In a world where the princes are lawyers
What can anyone expect except to recollect
...liasons?
Steven Sondheim, "Liasons," A Little Night Music


The minute we need a thing, we begin paying for it whether we buy it or not.
Laura Ingalls Wilder


are you rockin the spot?
yes I be
showin others they do not?
yes I be
havin them towed from the lot?
yes I be
that’s my job as a supa emcee
De La Soul, "Wonce Again Long Island," Stakes Is High


"My dear, I can't wait. I've already booked my tumbril."
Rodney Ackland, Absolute Hell


My advice to you as a young actor at the beginning of an illustrious career is that not everybody can be your friend so you choose your enemies. And when you see them you walk up to them and say, 'You are my enemy.' And do you know how you will know your enemy? Anyone who gets in the way of your work.
Bette Davis


Strength doesn't lie in numbers
Strength doesn't lie in wealth
Strength lies in nights of peaceful slumbers
When you wake up--wake up!
The Sound of Music


Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others.
Groucho Marx


Twenty minutes' sleep. Just a nice doze. In that time I had muffed a job and lost eight thousand dollars. Well, why not? In twenty minutes you can sink a battleship, down three or four planes, hold a double execution. You can die, get married, get fired and find a new job, have a tooth pulled, have your tonsils out. In twenty minutes you can even get up in the morning. You can get a glass of water at a night club--maybe.
Raymond Chandler, Farewell My Lovely


Nessun maggior dolore
Che ricordarsi del tempo felice
Nella miseria
Dante, Divine Comedy


OSCAR: Felix, go to bed.
FELIX: Somehow it doesn't seem so bad now. I mean I think I can live with this thing.
OSCAR: Live with it tomorrow. Go to bed tonight.
The Odd Couple


Darling, it's late, and I'm very, very tired of youth and love and self-sacrifice.
Old Acquaintance


My cooking: Was I a great experimenter, a pioneer? Whose rich command of unorthodox mixtures will be the stuff of legend in the new millennium? Or was my food just ghastly?
"The Vicar of Dibley"


There's someone else I've got to be
George Michael, "Freedom '90" yeah I quoted George Michael so sue me


But there was nothing to do about it that seemed worth the changes I would have to make, even for a few minutes, in the way I was.
M.F.K. Fisher, The Gastronomical Me


Even Dickon did not go near the close-grown corner in those days, but waited until by the quiet working of some mysterious spell he seemed to have conveyed to the soul of the little pair that in the garden there was nothing which was not quite like themselves--nothing which did not understand the wonderfulness of what was happening to them--the immense, tender, terrible, heart-breaking beauty and solemnity of Eggs.
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden


Another chance to disapprove,
Another brilliant zinger,
Another reason not to move,
Another vodka stinger.
Steven Sondheim, "Ladies Who Lunch," Company


I think the American people are disposed often to be generous rather than just.
Frederick Douglass, annual meeting of the MA Anti-Slavery Society, Boston, April 1865


Herz, mein Herz, sei nicht beklommen,
und ertrage dein Geschick,
neuer Frühling gibt zurück,
was der Winter dir genommen.

Und wie viel ist dir geblieben,
und wie schön ist noch die Welt!
Und, mein Herz, was dir gefällt,
alles, alles darfst du lieben!
Heinrich Heine, Buch der Lieder


The time to make up your mind about people is never.
The Philadelphia Story


Think you, 'mid all this mighty sum
Of things forever speaking,
That nothing of itself will come,
But we must still be seeking?
William Wordsworth, "Expostulation and Reply"


If you're looking for your big breakout single--ooo, you might want to put a bid on this one tonight, ladies and gentlemen, because we are talking to Phil Collins' people, right.
But then again...aren't we all?
Hedwig and the Angry Inch


People thought he was modest. He wasn’t. He believed deeply in his own superiority, but only deeply. On the surface, in his immediate responses, in his daily life, Johnny worried and judged and brought himself to task.
Cathleen Schine, The Love Letter


Flaws terrify parents.
Sara Paretsky, Tunnel Vision


I flew down to Washington and collected my things and had a big fight with Mark in which he accused me of the thing men think is the most insulting thing they can accuse you of--wanting to be married--and he took me to the airport and my duffel bag burst in the middle of the National Airport parking lot and all the whisks and frying pans and cookbooks fell out on the ground and then we had another big fight over whether it was his Julia Child or mine that I was taking back to New York (it was his) and that was that.
Nora Ephron, Heartburn


"Can you sleep on your stomach with such big buttons on your pajamas?"
Groucho to "Pagliacci," A Night at the Opera


We buttered everything from broccoli to brownies, and would have buttered butter itself if it were not for the problems of traction presented by the butter-butter interface.
Barbara Ehrenreich


In the last fifteen years he hadn't deliberately hurt a single human being. It struck him now that nothing more damning could be said about anyone.
P.D. James, The Black Tower


I was going to suggest you get outside of the musty place where you can count the dust particles falling around you and get out into the world and see what everybody else is doing.
Gene Simmons to Terry Gross


Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear
Thomas Gray, "Elegy on a Country Churchyard"


The kids keep telling me I should try this new "Method Acting," but I'm too old, I'm too tired, and I'm too talented to care.
Spencer Tracy


Little happens: life seems to have pushed a steamroller up against the door and nailed the windows and stuffed something down the chimney. It is now dancing up and down outside the glass shouting "Live dangerously!" I turn round and show it my bum.
Philip Larkin, Letters


Little by little the look of the country changes because of the men we admire.
Hud


This moment was safe, though, this could not be touched. Here we sat together . . . This was secure, this funny fragment of time he would never remember, never think about again. He would not hold it sacred . . . For them it was just after lunch, quarter-past-three on a haphazard afternoon, like any hour, like any day. They did not want to hold it close, imprisoned and secure, as I did. They were not afraid.
Daphne duMaurier, Rebecca


"No, Countess. The world has changed. The garbage has changed."
Jean Giraudoux, The Madwoman of Chaillot


She sang . . . and sometimes [she whispered to him] beneath the rustle of leaves turned over. "Georgie, I'm cleverer than anybody ever was, and I shall die in the night," she said once.
E.F. Benson, Queen Lucia


Harriet had long ago discovered that one could not like people any the better, merely because they were ill, or dead--still less because one had once liked them very much. Some happy souls could go through life without making this discovery, and they were the men and women who were called "sincere."
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night


"And so you shall, you old-fashioned boy."
Tallulah Bankhead to Chico Marx's "God, I'd like to fuck you"


If you're listening, God
Please don’t make it hard to know
If we should believe in the things that we see
"Home," The Wiz


Whatever you can do or dream, you can begin. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
J.W. Goethe, more or less


I've just made my curtsy to King George and Queen Mary. Now I happen to love curtsying. I was brought up British, don't forget. And also I like to extend my extremities.
Diana Vreeland, DV


Drink and dance and laugh and lie,
Love, the reeling midnight through,
For tomorrow we shall die!
(But, alas, we never do.)
Dorothy Parker, "The Flaw in Paganism"


Now, when I see a woman, I'm no longer so quick to classify her as one of the elect or one of the damned . . . In their most mundane tasks, I grant them that mystery I used to deny them.
Eric Rohmer, L'Amour l'apres-midi


And now we see that there are some people who always have a Save Something sticker on their car. Save Me--a man might say, who wakes up in the watches of the night and thinks of death.
Barbara Pym, A Very Private Eye


She thought: I must learn to be my own person, however late, however much it hurts. I have to do it.
P.D. James, A Taste for Death


That’s just the tip of the iceberg
Look, it's too long for a song
But perfect for a book
LL Cool J, "Father"


I want to be filthy low--vile--call it anything you please--but God I want to live my own life.
Mae West


Never be daunted in private.
M.F.K. Fisher (via Hemingway), An Alphabet for Gourmets


I thort your kindness was love but it ain't cause I seen him.
The Tramp


Susan identified herself in her voice. She was as close as she ever got to being whoever she was when she was talking.
Carrie Fisher, Postcards From the Edge


Wondering if this could ever make her suffer, she thought of Windsor Terrace. I am not there. She began to go round, in little circles, things that at least her senses had loved--her bed, with the lamp turned on on winter mornings, the rug in Thomas's study... Only in a house where one has learnt to be lonely does one have this solicitude for things. One’s relation to them, the daily seeing or touching, begins to become love, and to lay one open to pain.
Elizabeth Bowen, The Death of the Heart


I write when I feel strongly, and want to tell people . . . I have no enthusiasm for obscurity. Except, of course, for luminous and wonder-generating obscurity.
Philip Larkin


The world is still beautiful, she told herself, and I am still in it. Everything else can be put right, in time.
Barbara Neely, Blanche on the Lam


I do not not know what I desire
When summer nights are dark and still,
When the wind's many-voiced quire
Sleeps among the muffled branches.
I long and know not what i will:
And not a sound of life or laughter stanches
Time's black and silent flow.
I do not know what I desire,
I do not know.
Aldous Huxley, Crome Yellow


sometimes I drift when I drive
Geto Boys, "Mind’s Playin Tricks"


"All her life each day I know," answered Ram Dass. "Her going out I know, and her coming in; her sadness and her poor joys; her coldness and her hunger."
Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess


We're a big rough rich wild people and crime is the price we pay for it, and organized crime is the price we pay for organization.
Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye


And all this mourning has veiled the truth. It's not so much lest we forget, as lest we remember. Because you should realize that so far as the Cenotaph and the Last Post and all that stuff is concerned, there's no better way of forgetting something than by commemorating it.
Alan Bennett, The History Boys


I haven't lived this long not to know tacky when I see it!
Armistead Maupin, Further Tales of the City


Poor Lizzie has ceased articulating.
Ronald Firbank, The Flower Beneath the Foot