I Always Have a Quotation for Everything—It Saves Original Thinking

Creator: Dorothy L. Sayers, prominent English mystery writer, playwright, and poet

Context: Sayers published the crime novel “Have His Carcase” in 1932. The quotation was spoken by Lord Peter Wimsey while he was conversing with Harriet Vane. Emphasis added to excerpts: 1

“There’s something in that. But I’ll have to get a decent frock if there is such a thing in Wilvercombe.”

“Well, get a wine-coloured one, then. I’ve always wanted to see you in wine-colour. It suits people with honey-coloured skin. (What an ugly word ‘skin’ is.) ‘Blossoms of the honey-sweet and honey-coloured nenuphar’—I always have a quotation for everything—it saves original thinking.”

Wimsey was quoting from the poem “The Sphinx” by Oscar Wilde which included the following lines: 2

Or did huge Apis from his car leap down and lay before your feet

Big blossoms of the honey-sweet and honey-coloured nenuphar?

Some editions of “Have His Carcase” employed the incorrect spelling “menuphar” instead of “nenuphar” (water-lily).


  1. 1975 (Copyright 1932), Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers, Series: A Lord Peter Wimsey Novel, Quote Page 52 and 53, Avon Books: A Division of The Hearst Corporation, New York. (Verified with scans)
  2. 1909 Copyright, Complete Writings of Oscar Wilde, Poems, Poem: The Sphinx (1894), Start Page 287, Quote Page 297, The Nottingham Society, New York. (Google Books Full View) link