Hoyt & Roberts, comps. Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations. 1922.


Give me a lever long enough
And a prop strong enough,
I can single handed move the world.

Odin, thou whirlwind, what a threat is this
Thou threatenest what transcends thy might, even thine,
For of all powers the mightiest far art thou,
Lord over men on earth, and Gods in Heaven;
Yet even from thee thyself hath been withheld
One thing—to undo what thou thyself hast ruled.
Matthew Arnold—Balder Dead. The Funeral.

He hath no power that hath not power to use.
Bailey—Festus. Sc. A Visit.

Then, everlasting Love, restrain thy will;
’Tis god-like to have power, but not to kill.
Beaumont and Fletcher—The Chances. Act II. Sc. 2. Song.

The balance of power.
Burke—Speech. (1741). Sir Robt. Walpole—Speech. (1741). John Wesley—Journal, Sept. 20, 1790, ascribes it to “the King of Sweden.” A German Diet, or the Ballance of Europe. Title of a Folio of 1653.

Dim with the mist of years, gray flits the shade of power.
Byron—Childe Harold. Canto II. St. 2.

Men are never very wise and select in the exercise of a new power.
Wm. Ellery Channing—The Present Age. An Address. (1841).

Iron hand in a velvet glove.
Attributed to Charles V. Used also by Napoleon. See Carlyle—Latter Day Pamphlets, No. II.

To know the pains of power, we must go to those who have it; to know its pleasures, we must go to those who are seeking it: the pains of power are real, its pleasures imaginary.
C. C. Colton—Lacon. P. 255.

Qui peut ce qui lui plaît, commande alors qu’il prie.
Whoever can do as he pleases, commands when he entreats.
Corneille—Sertorius. IV. 2.

So mightiest powers by deepest calms are fed,
And sleep, how oft, in things that gentlest be!
Barry Cornwall—Songs. The Sea in Calm. L. 13.

For what can power give more than food and drink,
To live at ease, and not be bound to think?
Dryden—Medal. L. 235.

Du bist noch nicht der Mann den Teufel festzuhalten.
Neither art thou the man to catch the fiend and hold him!
Goethe—Faust. I. 3. 336.

Patience and Gentleness is Power.
Leigh Hunt—Sonnet. On a Lock of Milton’s Hair.

O what is it proud slime will not believe
Of his own worth, to hear it equal praised
Thus with the gods?
Ben Jonson—Sejanus. Act I.

Nihil est quod credere de se
Non possit, quum laudatur dis æqua potestas.
There is nothing which power cannot believe of itself, when it is praised as equal to the gods.
Juvenal—Satires. IV. 70.

Et qui nolunt occidere quemquam
Posse volunt.
Those who do not wish to kill any one, wish they had the power.
Juvenal—Satires. X. 96.

Without his rod revers’d,
And backward mutters of dissevering power.
Milton—Comus. L. 816.

Ut desint vires tamen est laudanda voluntas.
Though the power be wanting, yet the wish is praiseworthy.
Ovid—Epistolæ Ex Ponto. III. 4. 79.

A cane non magno sæpe tenetur aper.
The wild boar is often held by a small dog.
Ovid—Remedia Amoris. 422.

Nunquam est fidelis cum potente societas.
A partnership with men in power is never safe.
Phædrus—Fables. I. 5. 1.

Unlimited power corrupts the possessor.
Pitt—Speaking of the case of John Wilkes. (1770).

And deal damnation round the land.
Pope—The Universal Prayer. St. 7.

The powers that be are ordained of God.
Romans. XIII. 1.

Kann ich Armeen aus der Erde stampfen?
Wächst mir ein Kornfeld in der flachen Hand?
Can I summon armies from the earth?
Or grow a cornfield on my open palm?
Schiller—Die Jungfrau von Orleans. I. 3.

Ich fühle eine Armee in meiner Faust.
I feel an army in my fist.
Schiller—Die Rauber. II. 3.

Quod non potest vult posse, qui nimium potest.
He who is too powerful, is still aiming at that degree of power which is unattainable.
Seneca—Hippolytus. 215.

Minimum decet libere cui multum licet.
He who has great power should use it lightly.
Seneca—Troades. 336.

No pent-up Utica contracts your powers,
But the whole boundless continent is yours.
Jonathan Sewall—Epilogue to Addison’s Cato. Written for the performance at the Bow Street Theatre, Portsmouth, N. H.

The awful shadow of some unseen Power
Floats, tho’ unseen, amongst us.
Shelley—Hymn to Intellectual Beauty.

Power, like a desolating pestilence,
Pollutes whate’er it touches; and obedience,
Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,
Makes slaves of men, and of the human frame
A mechanized automaton.
Shelley—Queen Mab. Pt. III.

Male imperando summum imperium amittitur.
The highest power may be lost by misrule.

Suspectum semper invisumque dominantibus qui proximus destinaretur.
Rulers always hate and suspect the next in succession.
Tacitus—Annales. I. 21.

Imperium flagitio acquisitum nemo unquam bonis artibus exercuit.
Power acquired by guilt was never used for a good purpose.
Tacitus—Annales. I. 30.

Imperium cupientibus nihil medium inter summa et præcipitia.
In the struggle between those seeking power there is no middle course.
Tacitus—Annales. II. 74.

Potentiam cautis quam acribus consiliis tutius haberi.
Power is more safely retained by cautious than by severe councils.
Tacitus—Annales. XI. 29.

Cupido dominandi cunctis affectibus flagrantior est.
Lust of power is the most flagrant of all the passions.
Tacitus—Annales. XV. 53.

I thought that my invincible power would hold the world captive, leaving me in a freedom undisturbed. Thus night and day I worked at the chain with huge fires and cruel hard strokes. When at last the work was done and the links were complete and unbreakable, I found that it held me in its grip.
Rabindranath Tagore—Gitanjali. 31.

He never sold the truth to serve the hour,
Nor paltered with Eternal God for power.
Tennyson—Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington.

Et errat longe, mea quidem sententia,
Qui imperium credat esse gravius, aut stabilius,
Vi quod fit, quam illud quod amicitia adjungitur.
And he makes a great mistake, in my opinion at least, who supposes that authority is firmer or better established when it is founded by force than that which is welded by affection.
Terence—Adelph. Act I. 1. L. 40.

Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.
If I can not influence the gods, I shall move all hell.
Vergil—Æneid. VII. 312.

An untoward event. (Threatening to disturb the balance of power.)
Wellington. On the destruction of the Turkish Navy at the battle of Navarino, Oct. 20, 1827.

A power is passing from the earth.
Wordsworth. Lines on the Expected Dissolution of Mr. Fox.