November '00 Epigrams of the Day

Heaven is largely a matter of digestion, and come to think of it digestion is mostly a matter of mind.

There are only two classes of men who live in history: those who crowd a thing to its extreme limit, and those who then arise and cry, "Hold!"

As for myself I'd rather be a good honest wild ass of the desert with long, fuzzy ears, than a poor, imitation bird-of-paradise, stuffed by one hundred and seventeen geniuses.

The men who act their thought, and think little of their act, are the ones who score.

Art is largely a matter of hair-cut. - Ali Baba

Don't tell what you would do if you were someone else - just show what you can do yourself.

Government: A kind of legalized pillage.

Democracy: 1) A form of government by popular ignorance. 2) The dwarf's paradise. 3) Any political system where male votes are substitutes for brains. (This word comes from the Abracadabra: "demo," lungs; "crazy," to rule; hence, to rule by caloric.)

Haggis: The quintessence of all that has been said by all the Presidents, Governors, and Mayors in the United States since Eighteen Hundred Eighty-eight.

Sorcerer: 1) Any one who can make the people of the United States believe they rule. 2) A juggler (hence the founder of any religious, political or philosophical system).

Oblivion: 1) The memory of Eternity. 2) A place where the human race and politicians are as one; where immortals are afflicted with aphasia; where God enjoys a long siesta; where we lose the bores and all those good folks who want to tell us the sad story of their lives.

Stupidity: 1) The Utopia of the wise; the Lethe forbidden to the lips of genius. 2) The driving power of a Mass in motion, 3) An incurable state of somnambulism with which mankind is blessed, and under the spell of which it performs the most fantastic actions, such as marriage, balloting, warring, preaching, selling, buying, baptizing. 4) The leit-motif of the Vaudeville called Progressiveness.

Practical Politics: A glad hand, and a swift kick in the pants.

Obstinacy: 1) To stick to your favorite lie or truth because you know you are wrong in either case. 2) The ego's peacock-plumes.

Principle: 1) Bait. 2) A formula for doing a thing that, unformulated, would land the doer in jail. (Must not be confused with the word principal. Both words are used correctly in the following sentence: One may live one's life without principle, but not without principal. Or, again, Principle is sometimes principal; but principal has no principle. Or, The principal was never paid on principle.)

Resignation: 1) A truce with ourselves in order to give us time to bury our living. 2) Pride walling itself up. 3) To keep shop without a show-window. 4) To go to sleep in the lap of the inevitable. 5) A covered walk to the interior of ourselves; a subway to some other form of trespass; a peephole into the enemy's fortress. 6) To play possum when one hears the football of Fate on the stairs.

Charity: 1) A thing that begins at home, and usually stays there. 2) Bracing up Ralph Waldo Emerson's reputation by attributing literary mousetraps which he should have made, but didn't. (See Cheese.)

Reformer: 1) One who causes the rich to band themselves against the poor. 2) One who educates the people to appreciate the things they need.

Editor: 1) A person employed on a newspaper, whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed. 2) A delicate instrument for observing the development and flowering of the deadly mediocre and encouraging its growth. 3) A seraphic embryo; a smooth bore; a bit of sandpaper applied to all forms of originality by the publisher-proprietor; an emictory.

Produce great pumpkins - the pies follow. (Fra-in-Charge's note: This epigram is a honest-to-goodness Roycroft joke based on a real epigram that graces the front door of the Roycroft Inn, "Produce great people - the rest follows.")

To be a shining light you need not cultivate a Red Nose!

The men who act their thought, and think little of their act, are the ones who score.

Reserve your best thoughts for the elect few.

The Roycroft Orb To return to the Epigram Guide Webpage.