The Frenchwant to attack, the Americans want to bomb, and the British want
to have another meeting. Anonymous US diplomat commenting on the war in Bosnia. Quoted
by William Safire in
the NewYork Times, 27 Jul.
The French Revolution is merely the herald of a far greaterand much
more solemn revolution, whichwill be the last The hour
has come for founding the Republic of equalsthat
great refuge open to every man. Fran c° ois Noe« l Babeuf Conjuration des
The French are wiser than they seem, and the Spaniards seem wiser than
theyare. Francis,Viscount St Albans Bacon Essays, no.26,'Of Seeming Wise'.
n.One of the sauces which serve the French in place of
a state religion. Ambrose Gwinett Bierce The Cynic's Word Book. Retitled The Devil's
Our special task, as French Canadians, is to insert into America the spirit
of Christian France. Henri Bourassa La Langue, Gardienne de la Foi.
It is not that the French are not profound, but they all express themselves
so well that we are led to take their geese for swans. VanWyck Brooks From A Writer's Notebook.
My scrofulous French novel On grey paper with
blunt type! Robert Browning Dramatic Lyrics,'Soliloquy of the Spanish
Speak in French when you can't think of the English for a thingturn out your
toes as you walkand remember who you are! Dodgson The Red Queen's advice to Alice as she begins the
chess game. Through the
Looking-Glass, ch.2,'The Garden of Live Flowers'.
'Do you know Languages? What's the French for fiddle- de-dee?' 'Fiddle-de-dee's
not English,'Alice replied gravely. 'Who ever said it
was?'said the Red Queen. Alice thought she
saw a way out of the difficulty this time.'If you'll tell
me what language'fiddle-de-dee' is, I'll tell you the
French for it!'she exclaimed triumphantly. Butthe Red
Queendrewherself up rather stiffly, and said 'Queens never make
bargains.' 197 Dodgson Through the Looking-Glass, ch.9,'Queen Alice'.
Oh, the Germans classify, but the French arrange. Willa Sibert Cather Death Comes to the Archbishop, prologue.
To God I speak Spanish, to women Italian, to men French, and to my
horseGerman. CharlesV Attributed.
Ful weel she soong the service dyvyne, Entuned in hir nose
ful semely, And Frenssh she
spak ful faire and fetisly, After the scole of
Stratford atte Bowe, For Frenssh of
Parys was to hire unknowe. Geoffrey Chaucer Canterbury Tales,'General Prologue', l.122^6.
Imagine the Lord talking French! Aside from a few odd wordsin
Hebrew,Itook it forgrantedthat God had never spoken anything but
the most dignified English. Clarence Shepard Day Life With Father,'Father interferes'.
The French will only be united under the threat of danger. How else
can one govern a country that produces 246
different types of cheese? Charles de Gaulle Speech. Quoted in Les Mots du Ge ne ral (1962).
Bouillabaisse is only good because cooked by the French, who, if
they cared to try, could produce an excellent and
nutritious substitute out of cigar stumps and empty
matchboxes. (George) Norman Douglas Siren Land,'Rain on the Hills'.
Je suis autant Chinois que Fran c° ais. I am as much
Chinese as French. Gustave Flaubert Letter to Mme Louise Colet, 8 Aug.
Avery unique cata French Canadian Hinayana Buddhist Beat
Catholic savant. Allen Ginsberg Of Jack Kerouac. This Fabulous Century1950^1960.
During my seven years in office,I was in love with seventeen million
French women I know this declaration will inspire irony and that
English language readers will find
it very French. Vale ry Giscard d'Estaing Le Pouvoir et la vie.
You get all the French-fries the President can't get to. Al(bert,Jr) Gore On being Vice-President. In the NewYork Times, 8
Weep not for little Le onie Abducted by a
French Marquis! Though loss of
honour was a wrench Just think how it's
improved her French. Harry Graham More Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless
The language of the age is never the language of poetry, except among the
French, whose verse, where the thought or image
does not support it, differs in nothing from prose. Thomas Gray Letter to Richard West, 8 Apr. Collected in H W
Starr (ed) Correspondence of
Thomas Gray (1971).
The Frenchhad a moremartial air thanthe English.There seemed to be a
species of military instinct in all classes. No young man
appeared to have finished his education till after a bloody
campaign They were at this singular period, without the
least exaggeration, a century behind us in notions of
legal and moral responsibility. Benjamin Robert Haydon Autobiography
La langue fran c° aise n'est point fixe e et ne se fixera point. French is not a
static language and will never become static. Victor Marie Hugo Cromwell, pre face.
Greater lovethanthis,hesaid, nomanhaththat a manlay down his wife for
his friend.Go thou and do likewise. Thus, or words to
that effect, saith Zarathustra, sometime regius
professor of French letters to the university of
Oxtail. James Augustine Aloysius Joyce Ulysses.
You are ordered abroad as a soldier of the King to help our French comrades
against the invasion of a common enemy In this new
experience you may find temptations both in
wine and women.You must entirely resist both temptations,
and while treating all women with perfect
courtesy, you should avoid any intimacy.Do your duty bravely.
Fear God. Honour the King. 1st Earl Herbert Message to the soldiers of the British
Expeditionary Force, reported in The
New York is one of the capitals of the world and Los Angeles is a
constellation of plastic. San Francisco is a lady, Boston has
become Urban Renewal, Philadelphia and Baltimore and
Washington blink like dull diamonds in the smog of
Eastern Megalopolis, and New Orleans is unremarkable past
the French Quarter. Detroit is a one- trade town,
Pittsburgh has lost its golden triangle. St Louis has become
the golden arch of the corporation, and nights in
Kansas City close early. The oil depletion allowance makes
Houston and Dallas naught but checkerboards for
this sort of game. But Chicago is a great American city.
Perhaps it is the last of the great American cities. Norman Kingsley Mailer Miami and the Siege of Chicago,'The Siege of Chicago'.
A spectre is haunting Europethe spectre of communism. All the
powers of old Europe have entered into a holyalliance
to exorcise this spectre; Pope and Tsar, Metternich
and Guizot, French Radicals and German police
spies. Karl Heinrich Marx The Communist Manifesto (with Friedrich Engels, translated by
Oh some are fond of Spanish wine, and some are fond of French, And some'll swallow
tay and stuff fit only for a wench. 559 John Edward Masefield 'Captain Stratton's Fancy'.
The French are nice people. I allow them to sing and to write, and they
allow me to do whatever I like. Jules, Cardinal Mazarin Attributed by the
Duchess of Orle ans in a letter dated 25 Oct 1715.
The French are a logical people, which is one reason the English dislike
them so intensely. The other is that they own France, a
country which we have always judged to be much too good
for them. Robert Morley A Musing Morley,'France and the French'.
started off in films as a kinga French king, admittedly, but nevertheless a
king in MarieAntoinetteand stayed in that sort of
income bracket. Robert Morley Quoted in The Best
of Robert Morley (1981).
What are we learning Frenchor thepianofor,Iwould like to know, if it is not
to be sold to a man some day We have to cringe, and
manoeuvre, and grimace for a husbanda husband
who may be deaf orhavea hump if he is richa
husband that may attack you in delirium tremens to-day if
he makes a devout act of contrition for it to-morrow. William O'Brien When We Were Boys.
Our fathers have, in process of centuries, provided this realm, its colonies
and wide dependencies, with a speech as malleable
and pliant as Attic, dignified as Latin, masculine,
yet free of Teutonic guttural, capable of being precise as
French, dulcet as Italian, sonorous as Spanish, and
captaining all these excellences to its service. SirArthurThomas known as 'Q' Quiller-Couch The Oxford Book of EnglishVerse, preface.
The things people had once held against her unconventional
beautyun-American elegance, the taste for French
clothes and French foodwere suddenly no longer
liabilities but assets. Arthur M(eier),Jr Schlesinger OnJacqueline Kennedy's post-election image.
As the French say, there are three sexesmen, women, and clergymen. Rev Sydney Smith Quoted in Lady
Holland Memoir (1855), vol.1, ch.9.
Now hang it! quoth I, as I look'd towards the French
coasta man should
know something of his own country too, before
he goes abroad. Laurence Sterne ^67 Tristram.Tristram Shandy, bk.7, ch.2.
The French are polite, but it is often mere ceremonious politeness. A
Russian imbues his polite things with a heartiness that
compels belief in their sincerity. Mark pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens Twain The Innocents Abroad.
We are all American at puberty; we die French. Evelyn Arthur StJohn Waugh Diary note,18 Jul.
An unalterable and unquestioned law of the musical world required that
the German text of French operas sung by Swedish
artists should be translated into Italian for the clearer
understanding of English speaking audiences. Edith Newbold ne e Jones Wharton TheAge of Innocence, bk.1, ch.1.
Into the face
of the young manhad crept a look of furtive shame, the
shifty, hangdog look which announces that an
Englishman is about to talk French. Plum The Luck of the Bodkins, ch.1.