Quote of the day

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Do you agree with Benjamin Disraeli who perceived in them "the wisdom of the wise, and the experience of ages"? Or with Dorothy Sayers who felt they "cover the absence of original thought"? Whatever your view, there is no denying the enduring popularity of these nuggets of thought.

Do you agree with Benjamin Disraeli who perceived in them "the wisdom of the wise, and the experience of ages"? Or with Dorothy Sayers who felt they "cover the absence of original thought"? Whatever your view, there is no denying the enduring popularity of these nuggets of thought.

The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, first published in 1941, has celebrated its sixth edition by asking the public to vote for its favourite aphorisms. The results are instructive. "Tread softly because you tread on my dreams" by William Butler Yeats came second. This may explain why so many people play the lottery. Robert Frost's "Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less travelled" also did well. Food for thought for the Transport Secretary, perhaps?

Perversely for this materialistic age, many favourite quotations concern political morality, including the winning quotation by Edmund Burke: "It is necessary only for the good man to do nothing for evil to triumph." This stout rejection of apathy seems as resonant today as it was in the 18th century. Which bears out Jorge Luis Borges' contention that "Life itself is a quotation".

Comments