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Quotations by author » Ambrose Bierce
American Writer, Journalist and Editor, 1842-1914
Quotes: 1201 - 1217 of 1217 Pages: First ... Previous 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 
WRATH, n. Anger of a superior quality and degree, appropriate to exalted characters and momentous occasions; as, "the wrath of God,"
"the day of wrath," etc. Amongst the ancients the wrath of kings was deemed sacred, for it could usually command the agency of some god for its fit manifestation, as could also that of a priest. The Greeks before Troy were so harried by Apollo that they jumped out of the frying-pan of the wrath of Cryses into the fire of the wrath of Achilles, though Agamemnon, the sole offender, was neither fried nor roasted. A similar noted immunity was that of David when he incurred the wrath of Yahveh by numbering his people, seventy thousand of whom paid the penalty with their lives. God is now Love, and a director of the census performs his work without apprehension of disaster.
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X in our alphabet being a needless letter has an added invincibility to the attacks of the spelling reformers, and like them, will doubtless last as long as the language. X is the sacred symbol of ten dollars, and in such words as Xmas, Xn, etc., stands for Christ, not, as is popular supposed, because it represents a cross, but because the corresponding letter in the Greek alphabet is the initial of his name
--_Xristos_. If it represented a cross it would stand for St. Andrew, who "testified" upon one of that shape. In the algebra of psychology x stands for Woman's mind. Words beginning with X are Grecian and will not be defined in this standard English dictionary.
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YANKEE, n. In Europe, an American. In the Northern States of our Union, a New Englander. In the Southern States the word is unknown.
(See DAMNYANK.)
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YEAR, n. A period of three hundred and sixty-five disappointments.
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YESTERDAY, n. The infancy of youth, the youth of manhood, the entire past of age.
But yesterday I should have thought me blest To stand high-pinnacled upon the peak Of middle life and look adown the bleak And unfamiliar foreslope to the West, Where solemn shadows all the land invest And stilly voices, half-remembered, speak Unfinished prophecy, and witch-fires freak The haunted twilight of the Dark of Rest. Yea, yesterday my soul was all aflame To stay the shadow on the dial's face At manhood's noonmark! Now, in God His name I chide aloud the little interspace Disparting me from Certitude, and fain Would know the dream and vision ne'er again. --Baruch Arnegriff
It is said that in his last illness the poet Arnegriff was attended at different times by seven doctors.
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YESTERDAY, n. The infancy of youth, the youth of manhood, the entire past of age.
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YOKE, n. An implement, madam, to whose Latin name, _jugum_, we owe one of the most illuminating words in our language --a word that defines the matrimonial situation with precision, point and poignancy. A thousand apologies for withholding it.
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You are not permitted to kill a woman who has injured you, but nothing forbids you to reflect that she is growing older every minute. You are avenged 1440 times a day.
AgeRevengeWomen
YOUTH, n. The Period of Possibility, when Archimedes finds a fulcrum, Cassandra has a following and seven cities compete for the honor of endowing a living Homer.
Youth is the true Saturnian Reign, the Golden Age on earth again, when figs are grown on thistles, and pigs betailed with whistles and, wearing silken bristles, live ever in clover, and clows fly over, delivering milk at every door, and Justice never is heard to snore, and every assassin is made a ghost and, howling, is cast into Baltimost! --Polydore Smith
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ZANY, n. A popular character in old Italian plays, who imitated with ludicrous incompetence the _buffone_, or clown, and was therefore the ape of an ape; for the clown himself imitated the serious characters of the play. The zany was progenitor to the specialist in humor, as we to-day have the unhappiness to know him. In the zany we see an example of creation; in the humorist, of transmission. Another excellent specimen of the modern zany is the curate, who apes the rector, who apes the bishop, who apes the archbishop, who apes the devil.
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ZANZIBARI, n. An inhabitant of the Sultanate of Zanzibar, off the eastern coast of Africa. The Zanzibaris, a warlike people, are best known in this country through a threatening diplomatic incident that occurred a few years ago. The American consul at the capital occupied a dwelling that faced the sea, with a sandy beach between. Greatly to the scandal of this official's family, and against repeated remonstrances of the official himself, the people of the city persisted in using the beach for bathing. One day a woman came down to the edge of the water and was stooping to remove her attire (a pair of sandals) when the consul, incensed beyond restraint, fired a charge of bird-shot into the most conspicuous part of her person. Unfortunately for the existing _entente cordiale_ between two great nations, she was the Sultana.
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ZEAL, n. A certain nervous disorder afflicting the young and inexperienced. A passion that goeth before a sprawl.
When Zeal sought Gratitude for his reward He went away exclaiming: "O my Lord!"
"What do you want?" the Lord asked, bending down.
"An ointment for my cracked and bleeding crown." --Jum Coople
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ZEAL, n. A certain nervous disorder afflicting the young and inexperienced. A passion that goeth before a sprawl.
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ZENITH, n. The point in the heavens directly overhead to a man standing or a growing cabbage. A man in bed or a cabbage in the pot is not considered as having a zenith, though from this view of the matter there was once a considerably dissent among the learned, some holding that the posture of the body was immaterial. These were called Horizontalists, their opponents, Verticalists. The Horizontalist heresy was finally extinguished by Xanobus, the philosopher-king of Abara, a zealous Verticalist. Entering an assembly of philosophers who were debating the matter, he cast a severed human head at the feet of his opponents and asked them to determine its zenith, explaining that its body was hanging by the heels outside. Observing that it was the head of their leader, the Horizontalists hastened to profess themselves converted to whatever opinion the Crown might be pleased to hold, and Horizontalism took its place among _fides defuncti_.
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ZEUS, n. The chief of Grecian gods, adored by the Romans as Jupiter and by the modern Americans as God, Gold, Mob and Dog. Some explorers who have touched upon the shores of America, and one who professes to have penetrated a considerable distance to the interior, have thought that these four names stand for as many distinct deities, but in his monumental work on Surviving Faiths, Frumpp insists that the natives are monotheists, each having no other god than himself, whom he worships under many sacred names.
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ZIGZAG, v.t. To move forward uncertainly, from side to side, as one carrying the white man's burden. (From _zed_, _z_, and _jag_, an Icelandic word of unknown meaning.)
He zedjagged so uncomen wyde Thet non coude pas on eyder syde; So, to com saufly thruh, I been Constreynet for to doodge betwene. --Munwele
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ZOOLOGY, n. The science and history of the animal kingdom, including its king, the House Fly (_Musca maledicta_). The father of Zoology was Aristotle, as is universally conceded, but the name of its mother has not come down to us. Two of the science's most illustrious expounders were Buffon and Oliver Goldsmith, from both of whom we learn (_L'Histoire generale des animaux_ and _A History of Animated Nature_) that the domestic cow sheds its horn every two years.
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Quotes: 1201 - 1217 of 1217 Pages: First ... Previous 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 
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