Champagne To Our Real Friends, and Real Pain To Our Sham Friends

The Royal Toastmaster? Supporters of U.S. President George Washington? Francis Bacon? Randall Munroe? An Anonymous Wit?

Dear Quote investigator: A brilliant toast uses antimetabole and a pun. Here are two versions:

  • Champagne to our real friends, and real pain to our sham friends.
  • Pain to our sham friends, and Champagne to our real friends.

Would you please explore the provenance of this expression?

Dear Quote investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared in a 1793 collection titled “The Royal Toastmaster: Containing Many Thousands of the Best Toasts Old and New” published in London. The following four examples occurred on the same page. The term “laurel water” referred to a concoction that could be used as a poison. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

  • May avarice lose his purse, and benevolence find it.
  • May reason be the pilot when passion blows the gale.
  • Laurel water to the secret enemies of our glorious constitution.
  • Champaign to our real friends, and real pain to our sham ones.

QI believes that it was unlikely that the compiler of “The Royal Toastmaster” crafted the statement under examination; hence, it was probably already in circulation in 1793. The compilation was a third edition, so the toast may have appeared in the first or second edition which QI has not yet seen.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Champagne To Our Real Friends, and Real Pain To Our Sham Friends

Notes:

  1. 1793, The Royal Toastmaster: Containing Many Thousands of the Best Toasts Old and New, Third Edition Improved, Quote Page 26, Printed for J. Roach, London. (Google Books Full View) link

Don’t Bring the Negative to My Door

Maya Angelou? Odetta Holmes? Velma Gibson Watts? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote investigator: The prominent memoirist and poet Maya Angelou overcame great obstacles in her life, and she encouraged others to maintain a positive energetic perspective. She has been credited with this saying:

Don’t bring negative to my door.

Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote investigator: In 1999 “Maya Angelou: The Poetry of Living” edited by Margaret Courtney-Clarke appeared. The book included laudatory testimony about Angelou from dozens of people. The singer and a civil rights activist Odetta Holmes stated the following. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

We have been brought up to think negatively. Our parents only told us when things went wrong. But Maya always says, “Don’t bring the negative to my door.” She projects attention to the positive and helps us know what to work toward. She reminds us to look for the beauty in things.
— ODETTA

The statement ascribed to Angelou employed the phrase “the negative” instead of “negative”. The accuracy of Odetta’s report depends on her memory and veracity. Interestingly, she may have heard the saying directly from Angelou.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Don’t Bring the Negative to My Door

Notes:

  1. 1999, Maya Angelou: The Poetry of Living, Edited by Margaret Courtney-Clarke, Chapter: Self-Respect, Quote Page 92, Clarkson Potter, New York. (Verified with scans)

Awaken People’s Curiosity. It Is Enough To Open Minds; Do Not Overload Them

Anatole France? George Pólya? George B. Hartzog Jr.? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Educators are tempted to cover numerous topics and present a farrago of facts, but this superfluity discourages many learners. A small number of well-chosen topics and pertinent examples can activate curiosity. The Nobel-Prize winner Anatole France has been credited with the following astute  advice for teachers:

It is enough to open minds; do not overload them. Put there just a spark. If there is some good inflammable stuff, it will catch fire.

Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1894 prominent literary figure Anatole France published a collection of essays titled “Le Jardin d’Épicure” (“The Garden of Epicurus”) which included a section containing guidance for educators. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

Soyez des généralisateurs, soyez des philosophes et cachez si bien votre philosophie qu’on vous croie aussi simples que les esprits auxquels vous parlez. Exposez sans jargon, dans la langue vulgaire et commune à tous, un petit nombre de faits qui frappent l’imagination et contentent l’intelligence. Que votre parole soit naïve, grande et généreuse. Ne vous flattez pas d’enseigner un grand nombre de choses. Excitez seulement la curiosité. Contents d’ouvrir les esprits, ne les surchargez point. Mettez-y l’étincelle. D’eux-mêmes, ils s’éprendront par l’endroit où ils sont inflammables.

Here is one possible translation into English performed by Alfred Allinson in 1908: 2

Deal in broad generalities, be philosophical, but hide your philosophy so skilfully that you appear as artless as the minds you address. Avoiding technical jargon, expound in the vulgar tongue all share alike a small number of great facts that strike the imagination and satisfy the intelligence. Let your language be simple, noble, magnanimous. Never pride yourselves on teaching a great number of things. Rest content to rouse curiosity. Be satisfied with opening your scholars’ minds, and do not overload them. Without any interference of yours, they will catch fire at the point where they are inflammable.

The instance provided by the questioner and other modern instances attributed to Anatole France may be viewed as alternative translations of the original French text of varying fidelity.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Awaken People’s Curiosity. It Is Enough To Open Minds; Do Not Overload Them

Notes:

  1. 1895 (First published in 1894), Le Jardin d’Épicure by Anatole France, Dixième Édition (Tenth Edition), Quote Page 199 and 200, Publisher: Calmann-Lévy, Paris, France. (Google Books Full View) link
  2. 1908, The Garden of Epicurus by Anatole France, Translation by Alfred Allinson, Edited by Frederic Chapman, Chapter: Careers for Woman, Start Page 167, Quote Page 171, John Lane Company, New York. (Verified with scans; Internet Archive) link

The Fool Tries to Convince Me with His Reasons; the Wise Man Persuades Me with My Own

Aristotle? Robert T. Oliver? John Patrick Ryan? Loren Reid? Gerald M. Phillips? Julia T. Wood? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: The most effective way to persuade other people is to downplay your own motivations and appeal to their motivations. The following adage expresses this notion:

The fool tells me his reasons; the wise man persuades me with my own.

Aristotle sometimes receives credit for this saying, but I have been unable to find a proper citation. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: Currently, there is no substantive evidence that Aristotle employed this expression. The earliest close match located by QI occurred in 1942 within a textbook about public speaking and argumentation titled “The Psychology of Persuasive Speech” by Robert T. Oliver. The first chapter referred to the target audience of the book. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

The question he brings to the study of persuasion is not, “How can I reach a right conclusion?” but, “How can a given audience be influenced to accept my conclusion?” This point of view deserves the sharpest emphasis it can receive, for it is the catalytic which precipitates the principles set forth in this book.

An old proverb of uncertain origin states the essence of this point of view in one sentence: “The fool tries to convince me with his reasons; the wise man persuades me with my own.”

Oliver used the descriptor “old proverb”; hence, he disclaimed authorship and presented an anonymous ascription. Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading The Fool Tries to Convince Me with His Reasons; the Wise Man Persuades Me with My Own

Notes:

  1. 1942, The Psychology of Persuasive Speech by Robert T. Oliver (Bucknell University), Chapter 1: The Problems of Persuasion, Quote Page 9, Longmans, Green and Company, New York. (Verified with hardcopy)

When One Door Closes Another Opens, But Often We Look So Long Upon the Closed Door That We Do Not See the Open Door

Helen Keller? Alexander Graham Bell? Johann P. F. Richter? Miguel de Cervantes? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: A venerable adage emphasizes the desirability of retaining a positive outlook and flexibility. Plans always encounter difficulties, and a successful person must be able to adapt. Here are two instances of a proverb that employs doorways figuratively:

  • When one door shuts, another opens.
  • When one door closes, another opens.

An addendum to this saying highlights the danger of inaction. Here are two versions:

  • We should not look so intently and so sorrowfully upon the closed door that we do not see the newly open door.
  • We should not look so long and regretfully upon the closed door that we miss the door that has opened.

Sayings in this family have been ascribed to blind social activist Helen Keller, telephone pioneer Alexander Graham Bell, German Romantic writer Johann Paul Friedrich Richter, and eminent Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes. Would you please examine this topic?

Quote Investigator: The “Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs” has an entry for the six-word adage listing the following two early citations. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

When one door shuts, another opens

1586 D. ROWLAND tr. Lazarillo D3V This proverbe was fulfild, when one doore is shut the other openeth.

1620 T. SHELTON tr. Cervantes’ Don Quixote iii. vii. Where one door is shut another is opened.

The first citation refers to an English translation of an influential picaresque Spanish novella titled “La vida de Lazarillo de Tormes y de sus fortunas y adversidades” with an anonymous author published by 1554. The second citation refers to an English translation of the famous comic novel “Don Quixote de la Mancha” by Miguel de Cervantes dated 1605 for the first part and 1615 for the second part in Spanish.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading When One Door Closes Another Opens, But Often We Look So Long Upon the Closed Door That We Do Not See the Open Door

Notes:

  1. 2015, Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, (Sixth edition), Edited by Jennifer Speake, Entry: “When ONE door shuts, another opens”, Publisher: Oxford University Press. (Accessed via Oxford Reference Online)

What Is Defeat? Nothing But Education—Nothing But the First Step To Something Better

Wendell Phillips? George W. Phillips? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Wendell Phillips was a prominent orator and abolitionist who lived in the 1800s. He believed that suffering a defeat should not be dreaded because it provided a form of education. Also, it would often lead to something better. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1859 Wendell Phillips delivered a speech advocating the abolition of slavery. He mentioned the recent raid led by John Brown on the federal armory at Harpers Ferry. Brown hoped to trigger an insurrection against slavery, but he was captured and executed. Phillips viewed Brown’s defeat as a temporary setback for a noble cause. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

It is the lesson of the age. The first cropping out of it is in such a man as John Brown. He did not measure his means. He was not thrifty as to his method; he did not calculate closely enough, and he was defeated. What is defeat? Nothing but education—nothing but the first step to something better.

Below are additional selected citations and commentary.

Continue reading What Is Defeat? Nothing But Education—Nothing But the First Step To Something Better

Notes:

  1. The Lesson of the Hour: Lecture of Wendell Phillips, Delivered at Brooklyn, N.Y., Tuesday Evening, November 1, 1859, Quote Page 18, Pamphlet with 24 pages; publisher not listed. (Digitized by Internet Archive at archive.org; original from Library of Congress) link

The Question Is Not Where Civilization Began, But When Will It

Mohandas Gandhi? Dorothy Uris? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: Archaeologists and historians have expended enormous efforts in tracing the origins of civilization. A trenchant humorist has said that scholars should not be trying to ascertain where civilization began; instead, they should be trying to guess when it will begin. Did Mahatma Gandhi say something like this? Would you please explore this quip?

Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared in “The Baltimore Sun” of Maryland in 1925. A column titled “Sunbeams” contained five miscellaneous statements, and this was the first. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

The question is not where civilization began, but when will it.

The article had no byline, so the ascription of the statements was anonymous. Many years later a thematically related saying was attributed to Mahatma Gandhi without solid evidence.

Below are additional selected citations and commentary.

Continue reading The Question Is Not Where Civilization Began, But When Will It

Notes:

  1. 1925 December 14, The Baltimore Sun, Sunbeams, Quote Page 8, Column 3, Baltimore, Maryland. (Newspapers_com)

When a Distinguished But Elderly Scientist States that Something Is Possible, He Is Almost Certainly Right . . .

Arthur C. Clarke? Isaac Asimov? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The famous science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke believed that proclamations of impossibility were too readily dispensed by blinkered elderly scientists. Would you please help me to find a citation for Clarke’s First Law?

Quote Investigator: In 1962 Arthur C. Clarke published a forward-looking book filled with predictions titled “Profiles of the Future”. The second chapter discussed the failure of imagination that lead to some deeply flawed prognostications. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

Too great a burden of knowledge can clog the wheels of imagination; I have tried to embody this fact of observation in Clarke’s Law, which may be formulated as follows:

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

Clarke further suggested that in the domains of physics, mathematics, and astronautics elderly meant over the age of thirty. In other areas of science the label of elderly may postponed into the forties. Clarke also admitted that there were glorious exceptions to his rather harsh ageism.

Continue reading When a Distinguished But Elderly Scientist States that Something Is Possible, He Is Almost Certainly Right . . .

Notes:

  1. 1972 (First publication 1962), Profiles of the Future by Arthur C. Clarke, Chapter 2: Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination, Quote Page 14, Bantam Books, New York. (Verified with scans)

Anyone Who Expects a Source of Power from the Transformation of These Atoms Is Talking Moonshine

Ernest Rutherford? Robert Millikan? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The experimental physicist Ernest Rutherford won a Nobel Prize for his pioneering work on radiation. Later his research group at the Cavendish Laboratory of the University of Cambridge split the nucleus of an atom in a controlled manner. Yet, he doubted that atomic physics would produce a practical source of power, and he referred to such speculations as “talking moonshine”, i.e., talking foolishly. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: “The New York Times” printed an article with a dateline of September 11, 1933 that included a quotation from Lord Ernest Rutherford who was addressing a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. The scientist’s words were carefully hedged. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

“Any one who says that with the means at present at our disposal and with our present knowledge we can utilize atomic energy is talking moonshine,” was the dictum of the famous head of the Cavendish Laboratory.

An article from the widely distributed Associated Press news service with the same dateline presented a different and more emphatic quotation: 2

Lord Rutherford discredited the theory that that immense power could be derived from the breakdown of the atom. “Energy produced by the breaking down of the atom is a very poor kind of thing,” he said before the British association for the advancement of science. “Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine.”

QI does not know which of these two quotations is accurate. It is conceivable that he made both remarks at different times during his presentation. Yet, there is a third version which is given below; hence, uncertainty about his words seems to be unavoidable.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Anyone Who Expects a Source of Power from the Transformation of These Atoms Is Talking Moonshine

Notes:

  1. 1933 September 12, New York Times, Rutherford Cools Atom Energy Hope by Waldemar Kaempffert (Special Cable to The New York Times; Dateline September 11), Quote Page 1, Column 6, New York. (ProQuest)
  2. 1933 September 11, The Lincoln Evening Journal (Lincoln Journal Star), Little Energy From Atom (Associated Press), Quote Page 2, Column 2, Lincoln, Nebraska. (Newspapers_com)

The Mark of the Immature Man Is That He Wants To Die Nobly for a Cause, While the Mark of the Mature Man Is That He Wants To Live Humbly for One

J. D. Salinger? Wilhelm Stekel? Otto Ludwig? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: “The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger is a popular work embodying adolescent angst and confusion. During one scene a teacher of the protagonist Holden Caulfield gives him a remarkable quotation ascribed to a psychoanalyst named Wilhelm Stekel. Has anyone attempted to trace this quotation?

Quote Investigator: The provenance of the quotation remained mysterious for decades. In 2013 retired Professor of English Peter G. Beidler published “The Sources of the Stekel Quotation in Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye” in “ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews”. 1 Beidler found a match for the quotation written in German by the dramatist and novelist Otto Ludwig. Many years after the statement was crafted, the Austrian psychologist Wilhelm Stekel quoted the words while crediting Ludwig. Salinger’s novel contained a rephrased instance of Ludwig’s statement credited to Stekel.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading The Mark of the Immature Man Is That He Wants To Die Nobly for a Cause, While the Mark of the Mature Man Is That He Wants To Live Humbly for One

Notes:

  1. 2013, ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews, Volume 26, Issue 2: Twentieth-Century American Literature, Article: The Sources of the Stekel Quotation in Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Author: Peter G. Beidler, Start Page 71, End Page 75, Publisher: Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group. (Accessed online at tandfonline.com) link