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"Man wants but little here below
Nor wants that little long,"
'Tis not with me exactly so;
But 'tis so in the song.
My wants are many, and, if told,
Would muster many a score;
And were each wish a mint of gold,
I still should long for more.
- John Quincy Adams, The Wants of Man
We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified.
Men's thoughts are much according to their inclination.
- Francis Bacon
Every wish is like a prayer to God.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Is like a prayer--with God.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh
I could write down twenty cases, wherein I wished God had done otherwise than He did; but which I now see, had I had my own will, would have led to extensive mischief. The life of a Christian is a life of paradoxes.
- Richard Cecil
Unattainable wishes are often "pious." This seems to indicate that only profane wishes are fulfilled.
- Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
If a man could half his wishes he would double his Troubles.
- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard
It is a fearful mistake to believe that because our wishes are not accomplished they can do no harm.
- Saint Gertrude
I respect the man who knows distinctly what he wishes. The greater part of all the mischief in the world arises from the fact that men do not sufficiently understand their own alms. They have undertaken to build a tower, and spend no more labor on the foundation than would be necessary to erect a hut.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
What one has wished for in youth, in old age one has in abundance.
[Ger., Was man in der Jugend wunscht, hat man im Alter die Fulle.]
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,
Wahrheit und Dichtung (motto to part II)
Man wants but little here below,
Nor wants that little long.
- Oliver Goldsmith, The Hermit (st. 8)
Wishes, like castles in the air, are inexpensive and not taxable.
- Thomas Chandler Haliburton (used pseudonym Sam Slick)
And the evil wish is most evil to the wisher.
- Hesiod, Works and Days (V, 264)
Little I ask; my wants are few;
I only wish a hut of stone
(A very plain brown stone will do),
That I may call my own;
And close at hand is such a one
In yonder street that fronts the sun.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Contentment
Wishes, at least, are the easy pleasures of the poor.
- Douglas William Jerrold
Fate wings, with every wish, the afflictive dart,
Each gift of nature, and each grace of art.
- Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature")
We are poor, indeed, when we have no half-wishes left us. The heart and the imagination close the shutters the instant they are gone.
- Walter Savage Landor
With all thy sober charms possest,
Whose wishes never learnt to stray.
- John Langhorne, Poems (II, p. 123)
I wish I knew the good of wishing.
- Henry Sambooke Leigh, Wishing
You pursue, I fly; you fly, I pursue; such is my humor. What you wish, Dondymus, I do not wish, what you do not wish, I do.
- Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis),
Epigrams (bk. V, ep. 83)
You have wished it so, you have wished it so, George Dandin, you have wished it so.
[Fr., Vous l'avez voulu, vous l'avez voulu, George Dandin, vous l'avez voulu.]
- Moliere (pseudonym of Jean Baptiste Poquelin),
George Dandin (act I, sc. 9)
Wert thou all that I wish thee, great, glorious and free,
First flower of the earth, and first gem of the sea.
- Thomas Moore, Remember Thee
If I live to grow old, as I find I go down,
Let this be my fate in a country town;
May I have a warm house, with a stone at my gate,
And a cleanly young girl to rub my bald pate.
May I govern my passions with an absolute sway,
Grow wiser and better as my strength wears away,
Without gout or stone, by a gentle decay.
- Walter Pope, The Old Man's Wish,
first appeared in "A Collection of Thirty-one Songs"
O, that I were where I would be,
Then would I be where I am not;
For where I am I would not be,
And where I would be I can not.
- Sir Arthur T. Quiller-Couch,
quoted in "Ship of Stars", ch. XII
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