Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; The proper study of mankind is man. Placed on this isthmus of a middle state, A being darkly wise, and rudely great: With too much knowledge for the sceptic side, With too much weakness for the stoic's pride, He hangs between; in doubt to act or rest, In doubt to deem himself a god, or beast; In doubt his mind or body to prefer, Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err; Alike in ignorance, his reason such, Whether he thinks too little, or too much.Alexander Pope: 1733 An Essay on Man, epistle 2, l.1-12.
He prayeth well, who loveth well Both man and bird and beast. He prayeth best, who loveth best All things both great and small.Samuel Taylor Coleridge: 1798 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', pt.7.
Is there anyone among the great men who has not imitated? Nothing is made with nothing.Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres: 1821 Quoted in Henri Delaborde Ingres, sa vie, ses travaux, sa doctrine (1870).
Half close your eyelids, loosen your hair, And dream about the great and their pride; They have spoken against you everywhere, But weigh this song with the great and their pride; I made it out of a mouthful of air, Their children's children shall say they have lied.W(illiam) B(utler) Yeats: 1898 'HeThinks ofThose who have Spoken Evil of His Beloved', complete poem. Collected in TheWind Among the Reeds (1899).
Beyond the limits of a vulgar fate, Beneath the good how farbut far above the great.thomas gray: 1757 The Progress of Poesy, l.122-3.
Pray God our greatness may not fail Through craven fears of being great.Tennyson: 1882 'Hands All Round',1.31-2.
The great and almost onlycomfort about being a woman is that one can always pretend to be more stupid than one is and no one is surprised.Dame Freya Madeleine Stark: 1934 TheValley of theAssassins.
It is of the L mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. Theyare new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.Bible (Old Testament): ORD'SLamentations 3:22-3.
Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.Bible (Old Testament): Job 32:9.
I have become increasingly convinced that great men have strong elements of comicality in them.2001Churchill.