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Quotes of the day: Mary Renault

Published Sunday, September 04, 2016 @ 4:45 AM EDT
Sep 04 2016

Mary Renault (September 4, 1905 - December 13, 1983), born Eileen Mary Challans, was an English writer best known for her historical novels set in Ancient Greece. In addition to vivid fictional portrayals of Theseus, Socrates, Plato and Alexander the Great, she wrote a non-fiction biography of Alexander. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Tell a man what he may not sing and he is still half free; even all free, if he never wanted to sing it. But tell him what he must sing, take up his time with it so that his true voice cannot sound even in secret- there, I have seen is slavery.

A man is at his youngest when he thinks he is a man, not yet realizing that his actions must show it.

All men seek esteem; the best by lifting themselves, which is hard to do, the rest by shoving others down, which is much easier.

But courage without conduct is the virtue of a robber, or a tyrant.

Change is the sum of the universe, and what is of nature ought not to be feared.

Everything is change; and you cannot step twice into the same river.

Go with your fate, but not beyond. Beyond leads to dark places.

Half the world's troubles come from men not being trained to resent a fallacy as much as an insult.

How can the people trust the harvest, unless they see it sown?

In hatred as in love, we grow like the thing we brood upon. What we loathe, we graft into our very soul.

It is a fact that you can make an audience see nearly anything, if you yourself believe in it.

It is better to believe in men too rashly, and regret, than believe too meanly.

It is better to learn war early from friends, than late from enemies.

It is bitter to lose a friend to evil, before one loses him to death.

Longing performs all things.

Never destroy without thought your enemy's pretenses; they are usually your best weapon against him.

Often beauty grows dull or common when speech breaks the mask.

One must live as if it would be forever, and as if one might die each moment. Always both at once.

The rightness of a thing isn't determined by the amount of courage it takes.

There is nothing like despair to make one throw oneself upon the gods.

There is only one kind of shock worse than the totally unexpected: the expected for which one has refused to prepare.

To crave revenge is to fall down before one's enemy and eat dust at his feet. What worse can we let him do to us? In hatred as in love, we grow like the thing we brood upon. What we loathe, we graft into our very soul.

To hate excellence is to hate the gods.

What keeps the democracy alive at all but the hatred of excellence; the desire of the base to see no head higher than their own?

When we serve the great, they are our destiny.

Categories: Mary Renault, Quotes of the day


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