It is no tragedy to do ungrateful people favors, but it is unbearable to be indebted to a scoundrel.

François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French moralist


Absence diminishes mediocre passions and increases great ones, as the wind blows out candles and fans flames.

François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French moralist


True love is like ghosts; whcih everybody talks about but few have seen.

François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French moralist


It is more shameful to distrust one's friends than to be deceived by them.

François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French moralist


There are bad people who would be less dangerous if they were quite devoid of goodness.
François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French moralist


Old people like to give bad advice, as solace for no longer being able to provide bad examples.

François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French moralist


Men are oftener treacherous out of weakness than out of any formed design.

François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French moralist Maxims, #120


Almost all our faults are more pardonable than the methods we resort to hide them.

François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French moralist Maxims, #3 (1665)


I've never had much enthusiasm for pornography. Watching people have congress is a bit like watching people eat, in that eating is both necessary and satisfying, but when watching someone else do it, you just want to tell them to chew with their mouth closed.

Matt Labash (contemp.) American journalist The Weekly Standard, "How to be a Porn Star" (18 Sep. 2002)


. . . she had enough experience now to make her plans around pessimism rather than hope.
Mercedes Lackey

Worrying over fairness can sometimes impede justice, and that in itself is not fair.

Mercedes Lackey


Weekend planning is a prime time to apply the Deathbed Priority Test: On your deathbed, will you wish you'd spent more prime weekend hours grocery shopping or walking in the woods with your kids?
Louise Lague


Mad, bad, and dangerous to know.
Lady Caroline Lamb of Lord Byron

I have cut another $20,000 from the project. Instead of using ISDN PRIs, Cisco routers and the PM3, we will now use empty soup cans and string to communicate. At a later time I propose we upgrade to long flexible tubing so that we may shout our requests to each other. We will hire a temp from a staffing agency to act as a ‘repeater’. When the distance exceeds a usable signal, she/he will write down our requests and re-yell them to the recipient.

Matt Lammers


There are good men everywhere. I only wish they had louder voices.

Louis L'Amour (1908-1988) American writer


All married couples should learn the art of battle as they should learn the art of making love. Good battle is objective and honest - never vicious or cruel. Good battle is healthy and constructive, and brings to a marriage the principles of equal partnership.

Ann Landers


The man whose first question, after what he considers to be a right course of action has presented itself, is "What will people say?" is not the man to do anything at all.

Sir W. Arbuthnot Lane (1856-1938) Scottish orthopedic surgeon and writer


True love is when you can look into another person’s soul and not fear what is found there.

Erik Laarson


Accomplishing the impossible only means the boss will add it to your regular duties.

Doug Larson


Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.

Doug Larson


The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.

Doug Larson


Affirmative action is the attempt to deal with malignant racism by instituting benign racism.

Elliott Larson


I found out that it’s not good to talk about my troubles. Eighty percent of the people who hear them don’t care and the other twenty percent are glad you’re having trouble.

Tommy Lasorda


They can’t censor the gleam in my eye.

Charles Laughton


The Constitution does not grant rights, it recognizes them.

Jason Laumark


Say not you know another entirely, till you have divided an inheritance with him.

Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741-1801) Swedish poet, mystic, philosopher


The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision.

Lynn Lavner (contemp.) American Lesbian comedian, pianist, singer


I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It's amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor.

D. H. Lawrence


The secret of dealing successfully with a child is not to be its parent.
Mell Lazarus

You get fifteen Democrats in a room, and you get twenty opinions.

Patrick Leahy (b. 1940) US Senator (D-VT) (May 1990)


Life is made up of small pleasures. Happiness is made up of those tiny successes — the big ones come too infrequently. If you don't have all of those zillions of tiny successes, the big ones don't mean anything.

Norman Lear (b. 1922) American television writer-producer


People don't ask for facts in making up their minds. They would rather have one good soul-satisfying emotion than a dozen facts.

Robert Keith Leavitt (b. 1895) American writer


All civil liberties have been created by small intellectual aristocracies, and never by people in the mass. The power of crowds is only to destroy.

Gustave LeBon (1841-1931) German psychologist


If your sexual fantasies were truly of interest to others, they would no longer be fantasies.

Fran Lebowitz (b. 1950) American journalist


I prefer dead writers because you don't run into them at parties.
Fran Lebowitz (b. 1950) American journalist


Cheese that is required by law to append the word food to its title does not go well with red wine or fruit.
Fran Lebowitz (b. 1950) American journalist Metropolitan Life (1978)


Each snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty.

Stanislaw Jerszy Lec (1909-1966) Polish aphorist, poet, satirist


"They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions," said Atticus, "but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."

Harper Lee (b. 1926) American writer To Kill a Mockingbird


“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.”

Harper Lee (b. 1926) American writer To Kill a Mockingbird


They called me mad, and I called them mad, and damn them, they outvoted me.
Nathaniel Lee (1653-1692), objecting to being confined in Bedlam

It is well that war is so terrible, or we should get too fond of it.

Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) American general


Murder is a crime. Describing murder is not. Sex is not a crime. Describing sex is.

Gershon Legman (1917-1999) American writer


The story - from Rumplestiltskin to War and Peace - is one of the basic tools invented by the human mind, for the purpose of gaining understanding. There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.
Ursula K. LeGuin


His gentleness was uncompromising: because he would not compete for dominance, he was indomitable.
Ursula LeGuin, The Dispossessed

No one who is not willing to go as far as I am willing to go has any right to stop me.
Ursula LeGuin, The Dispossessed

Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat.

John F. Lehman, Jr. (contemp.) U.S. Secretary of the Navy (1981-87), writer


That's the way things come clear. All of a sudden. And then you realize how obvious they've been all along.

Madeleine L'Engle (b. 1918) American writer "The Arm of the Starfish" (1965)


Truth is eternal, knowledge is changeable. It is disastrous to confuse them.

Madeleine L'Engle (b. 1918) American writer


It's a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand.

Madeleine L'Engle (b. 1918) American writer "The Summer of the Great-Grandmother"


I hear some women are using marijuana now to ease the pain of PMS. Now there’ s a drug deal you don’t want to see go bad...

Jay Leno (b. ) American comedian


My most important piece of advice to all you would-be writers: when you write, try to leave out all the parts readers skip.

Elmore Leonard


The difference between pornography and erotica is lighting.

Gloria Leonard (b. 1940) American porn actress, publisher


It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) Italian artist, engineer, scientist


Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been, and there you long to return.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) Italian artist, engineer, scientist


That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you've understood all your life, but in a new way.
Doris Lessing The Four-Gated City


If a fish is the movement of water embodied, given shape, then a cat is a diagram and pattern of subtle air.
Doris Lessing "Particularly Cats"


Most politicians are totally wusses with the ethical consideration of my cat begging for treats.

Kelley Leverich (contemp.) Belief-L (31-Jan-2000)


An explanation of cause is not a justification by reason.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar


Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar


Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You, too? Thought I was the only one.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar


Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies, The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar


We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar


Most of all, perhaps, we need intimate knowledge of the past. Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present, to remind us that the basic assumptions have been quite different in different periods, and that much which seems certain to the uneducated is merely temporary fashion.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar "Learning in War-Time"


Your bid--for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity--will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it. And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high. Nothing will shake a man--or at any rate a man like me--out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar A Grief Observed


What do people mean when they say, "I am not afraid of God because I know He is good"? Have they never been to a dentist?

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar A Grief Observed (1961)


Well, let's go on disagreeing but don't let us *judge*. What doesn't suit us may suit possible converts of a different type. My model here is the behaviour of the congregation at a 'Russian Orthodox' service, where some sit, … some stand, some kneel, some walk about, and *no one takes the slightest notice of what anyone else is doing.* That is good sense, good manners, and good Christianity. 'Mind one's own business' is a good rule in religion as in other things.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar Letters of C.S. Lewis (13 Mar. 1956)


We should never ask of anything "Is it real?," for everything is real.   The proper question is "A real *what?*," e.g., a real snake or real _delirium tremens_?

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar Letters to Malcolm, ch. 15


If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar Mere Christianity, Bk. III, ch. 10


Every event which might claim to be a miracle is, in the last resort, something presented to our senses. … And our senses are not infallible. If anything extraordinary seems to have happened, we can always say that we have been the victims of an illusion. If we hold a philosophy which excludes the supernatural, this is what we always shall say. What we learn from experience depends on the kind of philosophy we bring to experience.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar Miracles, ch. 1


When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar Of Other Worlds (1952)


We are so little reconciled to time that we are even astonished at it. "How he's grown!" we exclaim, "How time flies!" as though the universal form of our experience were again and again a novelty. It is as strange as if a fish were repeatedly surprised at the wetness of water. And that would be strange indeed; unless of course the fish were destined to become, one day, a land animal.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar Reflections on the Psalms, ch. 12


Telling us to obey instinct is like telling us to obey 'people.' People say different things: so do instincts. Our instincts are at war.... Each instinct, if you listen to it, will claim to be gratified at the expense of the rest .…

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar The Abolition of Man


Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket -- safe, dark, motionless, airless -- it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar The Four Loves


"Milton was right," said my Teacher. "The choice of every lost soul can be expressed in the words 'Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.' There is always something they insist on keeping, even at the price of misery. There is always something they prefer to joy — that is, to reality. We see it easily enough in a spoiled child that would sooner miss its play and its supper than say it was sorry and be friends.”

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar The Great Divorce, ch. 9


There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "*Thy* will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar The Great Divorce, ch. 9


There is something awfully nice about reading a book again, with all the half-unconscious memories it brings back.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves (16 Nov. 1915)


An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons -- marriage, or meat, or beer, or cinema; but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar Mere Christianity


“You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “ And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor in earth.”

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar


Experience; that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my god, you do learn.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar


I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the *inside*.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar The Problem of Pain, ch. 8


Do not let us mistake necessary evils for good.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar The Weight of Glory, "Membership" (1945)


No man knows how bad he is until he has tried to be good. There is a silly idea about that good people don’t know what temptation means.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar The Screwtape Letters (1941)


To love involves trusting the beloved beyond the evidence, even against much evidence. No man is our friend who believes in our good intentions only when they are proved. No man is our friend who will not be very slow to accept evidence against them. Such confidence, between one man and another, is in fact almost universally praised as a moral beauty, not blamed as a logical error.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar The World's Last Night, "On Obstinacy in Belief" (1955)


You can't accept one individual's opinion, particularly if it's a female and you know -- God willing, I hope, for her sake, it's not the case -- but when they get a period, it's really difficult for them to function as normal human beings.

Jerry Lewis (b. 1926) American comic actor, philanthropist Responding to a harsh review from a female critic (1986)


There are two insults which no human will endure: the assertion that he hasn't a sense of humor, and doubly impertinent that he has never known trouble.

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) American novelist, playwright


People these days are reluctant to read the canonical texts, but they love fiction. Not all fiction, mind you, for they are sick of exemplary themes and far prefer the obscene and fantastic. How low contemporary morals have sunk! Anyone concerned about public morality will want to retrieve the situation.

Li Yü (937-978) Chinese emperor, poet, artist The Carnal Prayer Mat (c. AD 1657)


A person reveals his character by nothing so clearly as the joke he resents.

Georg C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799) German physicist, writer


Never undertake anything for which you wouldn't have the courage to ask the blessing of heaven.

Georg C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799) German physicist, writer


To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation.

Georg C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799) German physicist, writer


Some men come by the name of genius in the same way as an insect comes by the name of centipede -- not because it has a hundred feet, but because most people can’t count above fourteen.

Georg C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799) German physicist, writer


Obviously crime pays, or there'd be no crime.

G. Gordon Liddy (b. 1930) American political operative, commentator, actor


The passage of time makes these men seem unhuman. We need to remember that they weren't dropped on the planet by leather-winged minions of Moloch. They were people. Hitler brushed his teeth; Hitler took a leak and may have whistled while he did so. He may have clipped his toenails while listening to light opera on the Gramophone. Being evil is not a full-time job.

James Lileks (contemp.) American journalist, columnist The Bleat (28 Feb. 2003)


All because some guy didn't tie down his cargo. Will the offender ever know what he did? Not in this life. I’m not saying you should go to hell because you didn’t secure the sofa cushions when you moved a friend, but there ought to be a Stern Words Room in heaven where some burly angels scowl at you and rub brass knuckles, and when you look up at the clock on the wall you note that the time is measured in centuries.

James Lileks (contemp.) American journalist, columnist The Bleat (10 Oct. 2002)


Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.

Lin Yu-t'ang (1895-1976) Chinese writer


If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live.

Lin Yu-t'ang (1895-1976) Chinese writer


Gentlemen, why don't you laugh? With the fearful strain that is upon me night and day, if I did not laugh, I should die.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) US President (1861-65)


How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. You can call a tail a leg if you want to, but that doesn’t make it a leg.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) US President (1861-65)


I care not for a man's religion whose dog or cat are not the better for it.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) US President (1861-65)


I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) US President (1861-65)


If I care to listen to every criticism, let alone act on them, then this shop may as well be closed for all other businesses. I have learned to do my best, and if the end result is good then I do not care for any criticism, but if the end result is not good, then even the praise of ten angels would not make the difference.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) US President (1861-65)


Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) US President (1861-65)


The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) US President (1861-65)


As a nation we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except Negroes." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except Negroes and foreigners and Catholics." When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) US President (1861-65) Letter (1855)


Sir, I am not at all concerned about that for I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right; but, it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I, and this nation, should be on the Lord's side.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) US President (1861-65)

when asked if he thought the Lord was on their side in the Civil War (1862)


There are two rules for success. . . 1) Never tell everything you know.
Roger H. Lincoln


It takes as much courage to have tried and failed as it does to have tried and succeeded.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906-2001) American writer, pilot


I guess if you were ever charged with necrophilia, that would be the perfect defence: I didn’t know they were dead. I thought I was having sex with a civil servant.
Paul Lindsay, Code name: Gentkill


The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author


He has honor if he holds himself to an ideal of conduct though it is inconvenient, unprofitable, or dangerous to do so.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author A Preface to Morals


There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it.

Mary Wilson Little (fl. c. 1900) American writer

The real enemy is self absorption. Few have come to appreciate as much as I the benefits of making fun of other people. It is impossible to adequately express how much this has helped me to stop focusing so much on myself.

Christopher Locke


If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?

Vince Lombardi (1913-1970) American football coach


Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser.

Vince Lombardi (1913-1970) American football coach


Charity is not a bone to the dog. Charity is a bone shared with the dog when you are just as hungry as he is.

Jack London


If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet


We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet


A torn jacket is soon mended; but hard words bruise the heart of a child.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet


Believe me, every heart has its secret sorrow which the world knows not, and oftentimes we call a man cold, when he is only sad.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet Hyperion: A Romance (1839)


I'm furious about the Women's Liberationists. They keep getting up on soapboxes and proclaiming that women are brighter than men. That's true, but it should be kept very quiet or it ruins the whole racket.

Anita Loos (1893-1981) American screenwriter, dramatist, author London Observer (30 Dec. 1973)


Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.

Sophia Loren (b. 1934) Italian actress


Sex appeal is 50 per cent what you’ve got and 50 per cent what people think you’ve got.

Sophia Loren (b. 1934) Italian actress


It's good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it's good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure you haven't lost the things money can't buy.

George Lorimer (1868-1937) American magazine editor


The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.
H. P. Lovecraft The Call of Cthulhu


Whatever you may be sure of, be sure of this, that you are dreadfully like other people.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) American diplomat, essayist, poet


Many worthy people, and many good books, with no doubt the best intentions, ... have represented a life of sin as a life of pleasure; they have pictured virtue as self-sacrifice, austerity as religion. Even in everyday life we meet with worthy people who seem to think that whatever is pleasant must be wrong, that the true spirit of religion is crabbed, sour, and gloomy; that the bright, sunny, radiant nature which surrounds us is an evil and not a blessing, — a temptation devised by the Spirit of Evil and not one of the greatest delights showered on us in such profusion by the Author of all Good.

Sir John Lubbock (1834-1913) British politician, science writer The Use of Life (1894)


[C]ommunication [can be] more difficult than we may think. We are all serving life sentences of solitary confinement within our bodies; like prisoners, we have, as it were, to tap in awkward code to our fellow men in their neighboring cells.

F. L. Lucas (1894-1967) British literary writer, editor, poet


Many years ago Rudyard Kipling gave an address at McGill University in Montreal. He said one striking thing which deserves to be remembered. Warning the students against an over-concern for money, or position, or glory, he said: “Some day you will meet a man who cares for none of these things. Then you will know how poor you are.”

Halford E. Luccock


Censorship, like charity, should begin at home; but unlike charity, it should end there.
Clare Booth Luce


A woman of mystique is fully aware of her flaws and weaknesses, yet she is strong enough to admit them and not be embarrassed by them.

Jean Lush

If you are not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don’t want to go there.

Martin Luther (1483-1546) German religious reformer


I am a confirmed believer in blessings in disguise. I prefer them undisguised when I myself happen to be the person blessed; in fact I can hardly recognize a blessing in disguise except when it is bestowed upon someone else.

Robert Lynd (1892-1970) American sociologist Middletown


The only gracious way to accept an insult is to ignore it; if you can't ignore it, top it; if you can't top it, laugh at it; if you can't laugh at it, it's probably deserved.

J. Russell Lynes (1910-1991) American educator, critic, writer