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Quotations for Curmudgeons

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There are people who have an appetite for grief; pleasure is not strong enough and they crave pain.  They have mithridatic stomachs which must be fed on poisoned bread, natures so doomed that no prosperity can sooth their ragged and dishevelled desolation.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

A cynic is a person searching for an honest man, with a stolen lantern.  ~Edgar A. Shoaff

It is not a fragrant world.  ~Raymond Chandler

I don't answer the phone.  I get the feeling whenever I do that there will be someone on the other end.  ~Fred Couples

I love mankind - it's people I can't stand.  ~Charles M. Schulz, Go Fly a Kite, Charlie Brown

Sarcasm is the sour cream of wit.  ~Author Unknown

There is no such thing as inner peace.  There is only nervousness and death.  ~Fran Lebowitz

A cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.  ~Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan, 1893

I've always been interested in people, but I've never liked them.  ~W. Somerset Maugham

[I] put the question directly to myself:  "Suppose that all your objects in life were realized; that all the changes in institutions and opinions which you are looking forward to, could be completely effected at this very instant:  would this be a great joy and happiness to you?"  And an irrepressible self-consciousness distinctly answered, "No!"  ~John Stuart Mill, Autobiography, 1909

When we are born, we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools.  ~William Shakespeare, King Lear

Oh for a lodge in some vast wilderness,
Some boundless contiguity of shade,
Where rumour of oppression and deceit,
Of unsuccessful or successful war,
Might never reach me more.
~William Cowper

Life is one long process of getting tired.  ~Samuel Butler

Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own.  ~Jonathan Swift, The Battle of the Books, 1704

Of the demonstrably wise there are but two:  those who commit suicide, and those who keep their reasoning faculties atrophied by drink.  ~Mark Twain, Note-Book, 1935

Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral?  Is it because we are not the person involved?  ~Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson, 1894

The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.  ~George Bernard Shaw

Nothing is more miserable than man,
Of all upon the earth that breathes and creeps.
~Homer, Iliad

Oh that this too too solid flesh would melt, thaw and resolve itself into a dew.  ~William Shakespeare, Hamlet

I hate to be near the sea, and to hear it raging and roaring like a wild beast in its den.  It puts me in mind of the everlasting efforts of the human mind, struggling to be free and ending just where it began.  ~William Hazlitt

The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.  ~G.K. Chesterton

Not to be born at all would be the best thing for man, never to behold the sun's scorching rays; but if one is born, then one is to press as quickly as possible to the portals of Hades, and rest there under the earth.  ~Thiognis

We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion, just as effectively as by bombs.  ~Kenneth Clark

Men hate to be misunderstood, and to be understood makes them furious.  ~Edgar Saltus

Things are not as bad as they seem.  They are worse.  ~Bill Press

I advise you to go on living solely to enrage those who are paying your annuities.  It is the only pleasure I have left.  ~Voltaire

He had the uneasy manner of a man who is not among his own kind, and who has not seen enough of the world to feel that all people are in some sense his own kind.  ~Willa Cather

We semaphore from ship to ship, but they're sinking, too.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

Nothing begins, and nothing ends, that is not paid with moan; for we are born in other's pain, and perish in our own.  ~Francis Thompson

Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.  ~Ernest Hemingway  (Thanks, Schanna)

Sometimes you wake up in the morning and wish your parents had never met.  ~Bill Fitch

He had an astringent spirit, the sort of fellow who uses dehydrated onion when the recipe calls for fresh, not because he's out but solely on principle.  ~Emme Woodhull-Bäche

We are adhering to life now with our last muscle - the heart.  ~Djuna Barnes

The dignity of man lies in his ability to face reality in all its meaninglessness.  ~Martin Esslin

[T]he army of wrongness rampant in the world might as well march over me.  ~Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1958

The world bruises us all, but some heal faster than others - and some bleed to death.  ~D.H. Mondfleur

I see it all perfectly:  there are two possibilities, one can either do this or do that.  My honest opinion and friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it, you will regret both.  ~Kierkegaard

Comfort, or revelation:  God owes us one of these, but surely not both.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

Janie's a pretty typical teenager - angry, insecure, confused.  I wish I could tell her that's all going to pass, but I don't want to lie to her.  ~Alan Ball, American Beauty, 1999

I like long walks, especially when they're taken by people who annoy me.  ~Fred Allen

You're obliged to pretend respect for people and institutions you think absurd.  You live attached in a cowardly fashion to moral and social conventions you despise, condemn, and know lack all foundation.  It is that permanent contradiction between your ideas and desires and all the dead formalities and vain pretenses of your civilization which makes you sad, troubled and unbalanced.  In that intolerable conflict you lose all joy of life and all feeling of personality, because at every moment they suppress and restrain and check the free play of your powers.  That's the poisoned and mortal wound of the civilized world.  ~Octave Mirbeau, Torture Garden

Youth is a blunder; Manhood a struggle; Old Age a regret.  ~Benjamin Disraeli, Coningsby

I would ask something more of this world, if it had something more.  ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

Happy endings are only stories that haven't finished yet.  ~Simon Kinberg, Mr. & Mrs. Smith

It must be admitted that there are some parts of the soul which we must entirely paralyze before we can live happily in this world.  ~Sébastien-Roch Nicolas de Chamfort

He seems
To have seen better days, as who has not
Who has seen yesterday?
~George Gordon, Lord Byron, Werner

My mind's terrain has become exceedingly rough.  Emotional scars are changing my internal geography faster than the mapmaker can keep pace.  Wrong turns and dead ends abound, and I'm afraid someday I'll drown in a river I didn't know was there.  ~D.H. Mondfleur

Idealism is what precedes experience; cynicism is what follows.  ~David T. Wolf

The only thing that could spoil a day was people.  People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.  ~Ernest Hemingway

That I could clamber to the frozen moon
And draw the ladder after me.
~Author Unknown

I do not believe in revealed religion - I will have nothing to do with your immortality; we are miserable enough in this life, without speculating on another.  ~Lord Byron, 1778-1824, letter to Rev. Francis Hodgson, 1811

The mad are happy, the sane ignorant; those of us stuck on the sane side of madness or the mad fringe of sanity are in a purgatorial cage.  ~Anonymous

Many of us go through life feeling as an actor might feel who does not like his part, and does not believe in the play.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

If there be a hell upon earth, it is to be found in a melancholy man's heart.  ~Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy

My heart is glass, daily shattered.  ~Jaesse Tyler

The enthusiastic, to those who are not, are always something of a trial.  ~Alban Goodier

All our lives we are putting pennies - our most golden pennies - into penny-in-the-slot machines that are almost always empty.  ~Logan Pearsall Smith

I never knew whether to pity or congratulate a man on coming to his senses.  ~William Makepeace Thackeray

Man is the cruelest animal.  At tragedies, bullfights, and crucifixions he has so far felt best on earth; and when he invented hell for himself, behold, that was his very heaven.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, 1892

Nine-tenths of the people were created so you would want to be with the other tenth.  ~Horace Walpole

Perhaps if we saw what was ahead of us, and glimpsed the crimes, follies, and misfortunes that would befall us later on, we would all stay in our mother's wombs, and then there would be nobody in the world but a great number of very fat, very irritated women.  ~Lemony Snicket

I grieve for life's bright promise, just shown and then withdrawn.  ~William Cullen Bryant

Medvedénko:  "Why do you always wear black?"
Masha:  "I am in mourning for my life."
~Anton Chekhov, The Seagull

There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.  ~Maya Angelou, PBS, 28 March 1988

A satirist is a man who discovers unpleasant things about himself and then says them about other people.  ~Peter McArthur

How I wish that somewhere there existed an island for those who are wise and of good will.  ~Albert Einstein

God made everything out of nothing.  But the nothingness shows through.  ~Paul Valéry, Mauvaises pensées et autres, 1942

Nowadays most men lead lives of noisy desperation.  ~James Thurber, Further Fables for Our Time, 1956

This world is gradually becoming a place
Where I do not care to be any more.
~John Berryman

Oftentimes, when people are miserable, they will want to make other people miserable, too.  But it never helps.  ~Lemony Snicket

The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.  ~Charles de Gaulle

All my joys to this are folly,
Naught so sweet as melancholy.
~Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, 1651

You have come into a hard world.  I know of only one easy place in it, and that is the grave.  ~Henry Ward Beecher

Paradoxical as it sounds, many intellectuals prefer life in the mud to life in clear water.  ~Martin H. Fischer

It's just life - wake up and smell the thorns.  ~From the movie Meet Joe Black

I had a lover's quarrel with the world.  ~Robert Frost, The Lesson for Today, 1942

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Last modified 2023 Oct 14 Sun 11:17 PDT

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