W quotations.

Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.

W.B. Yeats.

If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar button that has rolled under the radiator.

W. Beran Wolfe

It is not enough to do your best, you must know what to do, then do your best.

W. Edwards Deming

Then there was the man who drowned crossing a stream with an average depth of six inches.

W.I.E. Gates

Wars teach us not to love our enemies, but to hate our allies.

W.L. George

The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.

W.M. Lewis

Only a mediocre person is always at his best.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874/1965).

When we all think alike no one is thinking very much.

-Variation: Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.

The principle of majority rule is the mildest form in which the force of numbers can be exercised. It is a pacific substitute for civil war in which the opposing armies are counted and the victory is awarded to the larger before any blood is shed. Except in the sacred tests of democracy and in the incantations of the orators, we hardly take the trouble to pretend that the rule of the majority is not at bottom a rule of force.

-"Why Should the Majority Rule?". Harper's Magazine (New York, 1926).

Walter Lippmann (1889/1974). U.S. journalist. 

You've achieved success in your field when you don't know whether what you're doing is work or play.

Warren Beatty

There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse; as I have found in traveling in a stage-coach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position and be bruised in a new place.

Whenever a man's friends begin to compliment him about looking young, he may be sure that they think he is growing old.

Washington Irving.

You miss 100 percent of all the shots you never take.

Some people skate to the puck. I skate to where the puck is going to be.

Wayne Gretzky (1961/).

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing

Werner von Braun

If you were born to hang,
Then you'll never drown,
So let the big cat jump.

-"let the big cat jump" means "bring it on".

West Virginia proverb.

"As flowing rivers disappear in the sea, losing their name and form, thus a wise man, freed from name and form, goes to the divine person who is beyond all." Such a theory of life and death will not please Western man, whose religion is as permeated with individualism as are his political and economic institutions. But it has satisfied the philosophical Hindu mind with astonishing continuity.

Forget mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you're going to do now and do it. Today is your lucky day.

Will Durant

Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.

Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.

Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock.

Will Rogers

Where there is great love, there are always miracles.

Willa Cather

Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.

William A. Ward

He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars. General Good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite, and flatterer.

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower

William Blake.

Intelligence and war are games, perhaps the only meaningful games left. If any player becomes too proficient, the game is threatened with termination.

-"The Hundred Year Plan," The Adding Machine. 1985.

William Burroughs (1914). U.S. author. 

The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.

William James

Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.

William Jennings Bryan

Right is right, even if everyone is against it; and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.

William Penn

For there was never yet philosopher
That could endure the toothache patiently

-Much Ado about Nothing, Act V, Scene I, Leonato.

How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

William Shakespeare.

The proper means of increasing the love we bear our native country is to reside some time in a foreign one.

William Shenstone

Taking up the subject, then, upon general grounds, I ask what is meant by the word "poet"? What is a poet? To whom does he address himself? And what language is to be expected of him? He is a man speaking to men: a man, it is true, endued with more lively sensibility, more enthusiasm and tenderness, who has a greater knowledge of human nature, and a more comprehensive soul, than are supposed to be common among mankind; a man pleased with his own passions and volitions, and who rejoices more than other men in the spirit of life that is in him; delighting to contemplate similar volitions and passions as manifested in the goings-on of the universe, and habitually he has added a disposition to be affected more than other men by absent things as if they were present; an ability of conjuring up in himself passions, which are indeed far from being the same as those produced by real events, yet (especially in those parts of the general sympathy which are pleasing and delightful) do more nearly resemble the passions produced by real events, than anything which, from the motions of their own minds merely, other men are accustomed to feel in themselves; whence, and from practice, he has acquired a greater readiness and power in expressing what he thinks and feels, and especially those thoughts and feelings which, by his own choice, or from the structure of his own mind, arise in him without immediate external excitement. ...

I have said that poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility: the emotions is contemplated till by a species of reaction the tranquility gradually disappears, and an emotion, kindred to that which was before the subject of contemplation, is gradually produced, and does itself actually exist in the mind. In this mood successful composition generally begins, and in a mood similar to this it is carried on; but the emotion, of whatever kind and in whatever degree, from various causes is qualified by various pleasures, so that in describing any passions whatsoever, which are voluntarily described, the mind will upon the whole be in a state of enjoyment. Now, if nature be thus cautious in preserving in a state of enjoyment a being thus employed, the poet ought to profit by the lesson thus held forth to his reader, those passions, if his reader's mind be sound and vigorous, should always be accompanied with an overbalance of pleasure. Now the music of harmonious metrical language, the sense of difficulty overcome, and the blind association of pleasure which has been previously received from works of rhyme or meter of the same or similar construction, an indistinct perception perpetually renewed of language closely resembling that of real life, and yet, in the circumstance of meter, differing from it so widely, all these imperceptibly make up a complex feeling of delight, which is of the most important use in tempering the painful feeling which will always be found intermingled with powerful and impassioned poetry; while, in lighter compositions, the ease and gracefulness with which the poet manages his numbers are themselves confessedly a principal source of gratification of the reader. I might perhaps include all which it is necessary to say upon this subject by affirming, what few persons will deny, that, of two descriptions of passions, manners, or characters, each of them equally well executed, the one in prose and the other in verse, the verse will be read a hundred times where the prose is read once.

-"On the Nature of Poets and Poetry" in Preface to Lyrical Ballads with Pastoral and Other Poems

William Wordsworth.

Talent! What they call talent is nothing but the capacity for doing continuous hard work in the right way.

Winslow Homer (1836/1910). American Painter, introvert.

Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.

The War was decided in the first twenty days of fighting, and all that happened afterwards consisted in battles which, however formidable and devastating, were but desperate and vain appeals against the decision of Fate.

War is a game that is played with a smile. If you can't smile, grin. If you can't grin, keep out of the way till you can.

In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.

The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.

Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.

Winston Churchill (1874/1965).


We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter's evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true.

Woodrow Wilson.

Eighty percent of success is showing up.

The difference between sex and death is that with death you can do it alone and no one is going to make fun of you.

Woody Allen. Jewish American comedian.

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