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[ Also see Authorship Books Borrowing Criticism Dishonesty Imitation Journalism Literature Originality Poetry Quotations Shakespeare Thieving Writing ]

There is nothing original; all is reflected light.
      - Honore de Balzac

Borrowed thoughts, like borrowed money, only show the poverty of the borrower.
      - Lady Marguerite Blessington, Countess of Blessington

They had their lean books with the fat of others' works.
      - Robert Burton,
        Anatomy of Melancholy--Democritus to the Reader

We can say nothing but what hath been said . . . Our poets steal from Homer . . . . Our storydressers do as much; he that comes last is commonly best.
      - Robert Burton,
        Anatomy of Melancholy--Democritus to the Reader

Plagiarists are purloiners who filch the fruit that others have gathered, and then throw away the basket.
      - Paul Chatfield (a/k/a Horace Smith)

Who, to patch up his fame--or fill his purse--
  Still pilfers wretched plans, and makes them worse;
    Like gypsies, lest the stolen brat be known,
      Defacing first, then claiming for his own.
      - Charles Churchill, The Apology (l. 232)

Plagiarists are always suspicious of being stolen from.
      - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

All the poets are indebted more or less to those who have gone before them; even Homer's originality has been questioned, and Virgil owes almost as much to Theocritus, in his Pastorals, as to Homer, in his Heroics; and if our own countryman, Milton, has soared above both Homer and Virgil, it is because he has stolen some feathers from their wings.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

If we steal thoughts from the moderns, it will be cried down as plagiarism; if from the ancients, it will be cried up as erudition. But in this respect every author is a Spartan, being more ashamed of the discovery than of the depredation.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

Most plagiarists, like the drone, have neither taste to select, industry to acquire, nor skill to improve, but impudently pilfer the honey ready prepared, from the hive.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

Goethe said there would be little left of him if he were to discard what he owed to others.
      - Charlotte Cushman

Because they commonly make use of treasure found in books, as of other treasure belonging to the dead and hidden underground; for they dispose of both with great secrecy, defacing the shape and image of the one as much as of the other.
      - Sir William D'Avenant, Gondibert--Preface

Plagiarists, at least, have the merit of preservation.
      - Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield

The Plagiarism of orators is the art, or an ingenious and easy mode, which some adroitly employ to change, or disguise, all sorts of speeches or their own composition, or that of other authors, for their pleasure, or their utility; in such a manner that it becomes impossible even for the author himself to recognize his own work, his own genius, and his own style, so skillfully shall the whole be disguised.
      - Isaac D'Israeli,
        Curiosities of Literature--Professors of Plagiarism and Obscurity

Perish those who said our good things before we did.
  [Lat., Pereant qui ante nos nostra dixerent.]
      - Aelius Donatus, Commentary on Ecclesiastes
         (ch. I),
        according to St. Jerome, referring to the words of Terence

Our best thought comes from others.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thought is the property of him who can entertain it, and of him who can adequately place it.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

When Shakespeare is charges with debts to his authors, Landor replies, "Yet he was more original than his originals. He breathed upon dead bodies and brought them into life."
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson,
        Letters and Social Aims--Quotation and Originality

It has come to be practically a sort of rule in literature, that a man, having once shown himself capable of original writing, is entitled thenceforth to steal from the writings of others at discretion.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Shakespeare

He that readeth good writers and pickes out their flowres for his own nose, is lyke a foole.
      - Stephen Gosson,
        In the School of Abuse--Loyterers

Nothing is sillier than this charge of plagiarism. There is no sixth commandment in art. The poet dare help himself wherever he lists, wherever he finds material suited to his work. He may even appropriate entire columns with their carved capitals, if the temple he thus supports be a beautiful one. Goethe understood this very well, and so did Shakespeare before him.
      - Heinrich Heine

Honest thinkers are always stealing from each other.
      - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Literature is full of coincidences which some love to believe plagiarisms.
      - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Away, ye imitators, servile herd!
      - Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus)

No earnest thinker is a plagiarist pure and simple. He will never borrow from others that which he has not already, more or less, thought out for himself.
      - Charles Kingsley

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