Ambrose Gwinett Bierce Quotes on Time (13 Quotes)


    TORTOISE, n. A creature thoughtfully created to supply occasion for the following lines by the illustrious Ambat Delaso: TO MY PET TORTOISE. My friend, you are not graceful --not at all Your gait's between a stagger and a sprawl. Nor are you beautiful your head's a snake's To look at, and I do not doubt it aches. As to your feet, they'd make an angel weep.'Tis true you take them in whene'er you sleep. No, you're not pretty, but you have, I own, A certain firmness --mostly you're sic backbone. Firmness and strength (you have a giant's thews) Are virtues that the great know how to use --I wish that they did not yet, on the whole, You lack --excuse my mentioning it --Soul. So, to be candid, unreserved and true, I'd rather you were I than I were you. Perhaps, however, in a time to be, When Man's extinct, a better world may see Your progeny in power and control, Due to the genesis and growth of Soul. So I salute you as a reptile grand Predestined to regenerate the land. Father of Possibilities, O deign To accept the homage of a dying reign; In the far region of the unforeknown I dream a tortoise upon every throne. I see an Emperor his head withdraw Into his carapace for fear of Law; A King who carries something else than fat, Howe'er acceptably he carries thatA President not strenuously bent On punishment of audible dissent --Who never shot (it were a vain attack) An armed or unarmed tortoise in the backSubject and citizens that feel no need To make the March of Mind a wild stampedeAll progress slow, contemplative, sedate, And Take your time the word, in Church and State. O Tortoise, 'tis a happy, happy dream, My glorious testudinous regimeI wish in Eden you'd brought this about By slouching in and chasing Adam out.

    Early one June morning in 1872 I murdered my father - an act which made a deep impression on me at the time


    BRANDY, n. A cordial composed of one part thunder-and-lightning, one part remorse, two parts bloody murder, one part death-hell-and-the- grave and four parts clarified Satan. Dose, a headful all the time. Brandy is said by Dr. Johnson to be the drink of heroes. Only a hero will venture to drink it.

    TOPE, v. To tipple, booze, swill, soak, guzzle, lush, bib, or swig. In the individual, toping is regarded with disesteem, but toping nations are in the forefront of civilization and power. When pitted against the hard-drinking Christians the absemious Mahometans go down like grass before the scythe. In India one hundred thousand beef- eating and brandy-and-soda guzzling Britons hold in subjection two hundred and fifty million vegetarian abstainers of the same Aryan race. With what an easy grace the whisky-loving American pushed the temperate Spaniard out of his possessions From the time when the Berserkers ravaged all the coasts of western Europe and lay drunk in every conquered port it has been the same way everywhere the nations that drink too much are observed to fight rather well and not too righteously. Wherefore the estimable old ladies who abolished the canteen from the American army may justly boast of having materially augmented the nation's military power.


    ESOTERIC, adj. Very particularly abstruse and consummately occult. The ancient philosophies were of two kinds, --exoteric, those that the philosophers themselves could partly understand, and esoteric, those that nobody could understand. It is the latter that have most profoundly affected modern thought and found greatest acceptance in our time.

    INDECISION, n. The chief element of success for whereas, saith Sir Thomas Brewbold, there is but one way to do nothing and divers way to do something, whereof, to a surety, only one is the right way, it followeth that he who from indecision standeth still hath not so many chances of going astray as he who pusheth forwards --a most clear and satisfactory exposition on the matter. Your prompt decision to attack, said Genera Grant on a certain occasion to General Gordon Granger, was admirable you had but five minutes to make up your mind in. Yes, sir, answered the victorious subordinate, it is a great thing to be know exactly what to do in an emergency. When in doubt whether to attack or retreat I never hesitate a moment --I toss us a copper. Do you mean to say that's what you did this time; Yes, General but for Heaven's sake don't reprimand me I disobeyed the coin.

    FAIRY, n. A creature, variously fashioned and endowed, that formerly inhabited the meadows and forests. It was nocturnal in its habits, and somewhat addicted to dancing and the theft of children. The fairies are now believed by naturalist to be extinct, though a clergyman of the Church of England saw three near Colchester as lately as 1855, while passing through a park after dining with the lord of the manor. The sight greatly staggered him, and he was so affected that his account of it was incoherent. In the year 1807 a troop of fairies visited a wood near Aix and carried off the daughter of a peasant, who had been seen to enter it with a bundle of clothing. The son of a wealthy bourgeois disappeared about the same time, but afterward returned. He had seen the abduction been in pursuit of the fairies. Justinian Gaux, a writer of the fourteenth century, avers that so great is the fairies' power of transformation that he saw one change itself into two opposing armies and fight a battle with great slaughter, and that the next day, after it had resumed its original shape and gone away, there were seven hundred bodies of the slain which the villagers had to bury. He does not say if any of the wounded recovered. In the time of Henry III, of England, a law was made which prescribed the death penalty for Kyllynge, wowndynge, or mamynge a fairy, and it was universally respected.

    GHOUL, n. A demon addicted to the reprehensible habit of devouring the dead. The existence of ghouls has been disputed by that class of controversialists who are more concerned to deprive the world of comforting beliefs than to give it anything good in their place. In 1640 Father Secchi saw one in a cemetery near Florence and frightened it away with the sign of the cross. He describes it as gifted with many heads an an uncommon allowance of limbs, and he saw it in more than one place at a time. The good man was coming away from dinner at the time and explains that if he had not been heavy with eating he would have seized the demon at all hazards. Atholston relates that a ghoul was caught by some sturdy peasants in a churchyard at Sudbury and ducked in a horsepond. (He appears to think that so distinguished a criminal should have been ducked in a tank of rosewater.) The water turned at once to blood and so contynues unto ys daye. The pond has since been bled with a ditch. As late as the beginning of the fourteenth century a ghoul was cornered in the crypt of the cathedral at Amiens and the whole population surrounded the place. Twenty armed men with a priest at their head, bearing a crucifix, entered and captured the ghoul, which, thinking to escape by the stratagem, had transformed itself to the semblance of a well known citizen, but was nevertheless hanged, drawn and quartered in the midst of hideous popular orgies. The citizen whose shape the demon had assumed was so affected by the sinister occurrence that he never again showed himself in Amiens and his fate remains a mystery.

    HELPMATE, n. A wife, or bitter half.Now, why is yer wife called a helpmate, Pat Says the priest. Since the time 'o yer wooin' She's niver sic assisted in what ye were at -- For it's naught ye are ever doin'.That's true of yer Riverence sic, Patrick replies, And no sign of contrition envicesBut, bedad, it's a fact which the word implies, For she helps to mate the expinses sic --Marley Wottel

    MUMMY, n. An ancient Egyptian, formerly in universal use among modern civilized nations as medicine, and now engaged in supplying art with an excellent pigment. He is handy, too, in museums in gratifying the vulgar curiosity that serves to distinguish man from the lower animals. By means of the Mummy, mankind, it is said, Attests to the gods its respect for the dead. We plunder his tomb, be he sinner or saint, Distil him for physic and grind him for paint, Exhibit for money his poor, shrunken frame, And with levity flock to the scene of the shame. O, tell me, ye gods, for the use of my rhyme For respecting the dead what's the limit of time --Scopas Brune.

    DEPUTY, n. A male relative of an office-holder, or of his bondsman. The deputy is commonly a beautiful young man, with a red necktie and an intricate system of cobwebs extending from his nose to his desk. When accidentally struck by the janitor's broom, he gives off a cloud of dust.Chief Deputy, the Master cried,To-day the books are to be tried By experts and accountants who Have been commissioned to go through Our office here, to see if we Have stolen injudiciously. Please have the proper entries made, The proper balances displayed, Conforming to the whole amount Of cash on hand --which they will count. I've long admired your punctual way -- Here at the break and close of day, Confronting in your chair the crowd Of business men, whose voices loud And gestures violent you quell By some mysterious, calm spell -- Some magic lurking in your look That brings the noisiest to book And spreads a holy and profound Tranquillity o'er all around. So orderly all's done that they Who came to draw remain to pay. But now the time demands, at last, That you employ your genius vast In energies more active. Rise And shake the lightnings from your eyes Inspire your underlings, and fling Your spirit into everything The Master's hand here dealt a whack Upon the Deputy's bent back, When straightway to the floor there fell A shrunken globe, a rattling shell A blackened, withered, eyeless head The man had been a twelvemonth dead. --Jamrach Holobom

    FOOL, n. A person who pervades the domain of intellectual speculation and diffuses himself through the channels of moral activity. He is omnific, omniform, omnipercipient, omniscience, omnipotent. He it was who invented letters, printing, the railroad, the steamboat, the telegraph, the platitude and the circle of the sciences. He created patriotism and taught the nations war --founded theology, philosophy, law, medicine and Chicago. He established monarchical and republican government. He is from everlasting to everlasting --such as creation's dawn beheld he fooleth now. In the morning of time he sang upon primitive hills, and in the noonday of existence headed the procession of being. His grandmotherly hand was warmly tucked-in the set sun of civilization, and in the twilight he prepares Man's evening meal of milk-and-morality and turns down the covers of the universal grave. And after the rest of us shall have retired for the night of eternal oblivion he will sit up to write a history of human civilization.


    More Ambrose Gwinett Bierce Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Man - Christianity - Nature - Law & Regulation - God - Time - World - Mind - Death & Dying - Books - Name - Kings & Queens - Life - Night - Sons - Woman - Power - Business & Commerce - Soul - View All Ambrose Gwinett Bierce Quotations

    Related Authors


    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Authors (by First Name)

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M
N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z

Other Inspiring Sections

Login to your account below

Fill the forms bellow to register

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.