Speaking of Quotes from the Early 1800s …


Let me offer two more (besides the one about Queen Caroline), which came to mind when contemplating the most recent talk of impeachment. First, credited to Napoleon:

When the enemy is making a false movement we must take good care not to interrupt him.

Second, credited to a French official of the era (though apparently not Talleyrand):

It is worse than a crime, it is a mistake.

Just some multipurpose lines that I've long liked, offered for whatever meaning you might find in them. (As with all such lines, analogies to a current situation are never perfect, and many distinctions can always be drawn; the question is whether there is still enough of a connection to inspire some insight.)

NEXT: Queen Caroline

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  1. I need to buy some sodium cyanide! I can’t live in a non-MAGA America!

  2. Also, why is everyone some upset? Countries collapse all the time and usually for the better of the people living in them. I hope America collapses so my people can found a new nation for Litvaks who want to live in peace and prosperity with each other. Poles, Litvins, Ukrainians, and Lithuanians invited. No Russians or Tartars

  3. Here is my favorite French quote, although I don’t know what century it is from:

    To make an omelette, you need to break some eggs. Just so long as it’s the other guy’s eggs. An I get to eat the omelette.

  4. Some of my favorite quotes:

    “When fighting one against a hundred, be brave. Take prisoners.”
    (Miyamoto Musashi)

    “If this country is worth saving, it’s worth saving at a profit”
    (H.L. Hunt in a Playboy interview)

    “I am the master of the world, and to that I am sufficient. But to master two spans square, that is beyond me.”
    (Caliph al-Mamun, on the subject of chess)

  5. The second pops up in some International Law texts — I think it was prompted by the extraterritorial execution of an exiled nobleman by Napoleon’s forces. The implication being that the sense of social stability required to develop the subjective sense of criminality requires a critical momentum of many people of the same time and place frequently not making mistakes together. Intra idiocy einem silent leges.

    That said, I’m not sure which is more dangerous for democracy — a mob of maurauding Jacksonians in the People’s Hall, or the reaction that’s sure to follow.

    Mr. D.

  6. Let me just leave you with a quote from some famous guy, probably Mohandas Gandhi.

    Crazy, but that’s how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe. It’s not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

  7. One of the songs in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure

    Give me one more hit c’mon
    Just one more hit c’mon
    I got enough to split it
    Do you wanna hit
    We’re never gonna quit it
    Do you wanna hit it

  8. Some recently-discovered verses by Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

    Go on and take it off
    Take it off!
    You gotta shake it off baby, for me
    C’mon and break me off
    Break me off!
    ‘Cause I get what I want and I like what I see

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