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AMBROSE BIERCE QUOTES

American writer (1842-1913)

Ambrose Bierce quote

Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.

AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil's Dictionary

To be comic is merely to be playful, but wit is a serious matter. To laugh at it is to confess that you do not understand.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

When publicly censured our first instinct is to make everybody a codefendant.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

Beauty, n. The power by which a woman charms a lover and terrifies a husband.

AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil's Dictionary

To those who view the voyage of life from the port of departure the bark that has accomplished any considerable distance appears already in close approach to the farther shore.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "The Death of Halpin Frayser"

"Immoral" is the judgment of the stalled ox on the gamboling lamb.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

When God makes a beautiful woman, the devil opens a new register.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

Youth is Gilead, in which is balm for every wound.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "The Moonlit Road"

When among the graves of thy fellows, walk with circumspection; thine own is open at thy feet.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

When you have made a catalogue of your friend's faults it is only fair to supply him with a duplicate, so that he may know yours.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

A rabbit's foot may bring good luck to you, but it brought none to the rabbit.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

Fear has no brains; it is an idiot.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "The Moonlit Road"

If you want to read a perfect book there is only one way: write it.

He to whom the portentous conspiracy of night and solitude and silence in the heart of a great forest is not an unknown experience needs not to be told what another world it all is - how even the most commonplace and familiar objects take on another character. The trees group themselves differently; they draw closer together, as if in fear. The very silence has another quality than the silence of the day. And it is full of half-heard whispers - whispers that startle - ghosts of sounds long dead. There are living sounds, too, such as are never heard under other conditions: notes of strange night-birds, the cries of small animals in sudden encounters with stealthy foes or in their dreams, a rustling in the dead leaves - it may be the leap of a wood-rat, it may be the footfall of a panther. What caused the breaking of that twig? - what the low, alarmed twittering in that bushful of birds? There are sounds without a name, forms without substance, translations in space of objects which have not been seen to move, movements wherein nothing is observed to change its place. Ah, children of the sunlight and the gaslight, how little you know of the world in which you live!

AMBROSE BIERCE, "A Tough Tussle"

Death is not the end; there remains the litigation over the estate.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

He who thinks with difficulty believes with alacrity. A fool is a natural proselyte, but he must be caught young, for his convictions, unlike those of the wise, harden with age.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

Snow pursued by the wind is not wholly unlike a retreating army. In the open field it ranges itself in ranks and battalions; where it can get a foothold it makes a stand; where it can take cover it does so. You may see whole platoons of snow cowering behind a bit of broken wall.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "The Night-Doings at Deadman's"

Childhood, n. The period of human life intermediate between the idiocy of infancy and the folly of youth -- two removes from the sin of manhood and three from the remorse of age.

AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil's Dictionary

Fashion, n. A despot whom the wise ridicule and obey.

AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil's Dictionary

Truth is more deceptive than falsehood, for it is more frequently presented by those from whom we do not expect it, and so has against it a numerical presumption.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

Don't board with the devil if you wish to be fat.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

Future, n. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured.

AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil's Dictionary

Along the road of life are many pleasure resorts, but think not that by tarrying in them you will take more days to the journey. The day of your arrival is already recorded.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

History, n. an account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.

AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil's Dictionary

Imagination, n. A warehouse of facts, with poet and liar in joint ownership.

AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil's Dictionary

The only distinction that democracies reward is a high degree of conformity.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

Men who expect universal peace through invention of destructive weapons of war are no wiser than one who, noting the improvement of agricultural implements, should prophesy an end to the tilling of the soil.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

Hope is an explorer who surveys the country ahead. That is why we know so much about the Hereafter and so little about the Heretofore.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

Love, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage or by removal of the patient from the influences under which he incurred the disorder. This disease is prevailent [sic] only among civilized races living under artificial conditions; barbarous nations breathing pure air and eating simple food enjoy immunity from its ravages. It is sometimes fatal, but more frequently to the physician than to the patient.

AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil's Dictionary

Man, n. An animal so lost in rapturous contemplation of what he thinks he is as to overlook what he indubitably ought to be. His chief occupation is extermination of other animals and his own species, which, however, multiplies with such insistent rapidity as to infest the whole habitable earth and Canada.

AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil's Dictionary

Marriage, n. The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two.

AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil's Dictionary

These are the prerogatives of genius: To know without having learned; to draw just conclusions from unknown premises; to discern the soul of things.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

Patience, n. A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue.

AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil's Dictionary

The creator and arbiter of beauty is the heart; to the male rattlesnake the female rattlesnake is the loveliest thing in nature.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

The gambling known as business looks with austere disfavor upon the business known as gambling.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

Peace, n. In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.

AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil's Dictionary

A cheap and easy cynicism rails at everything. The master of the art accomplishes the formidable task of discrimination.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

Youth looks forward, for nothing is behind! Age backward, for nothing is before.

AMBROSE BIERCE, "Epigrams of a Cynic"

Philosophy, n. A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.

AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil's Dictionary

Ambrose Bierce Poems - a collection of his poetry.

Ambrose Bierce Bibliography - a bibliography, including list of critical resources.


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