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


Hannibal knows how to gain a victory, but not how to use it.
Barca. To Hannibal, according to Plutarch.

Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious,
O’er a’ the ills o’ life victorious.
Burns—Tam o’ Shanter.

Who thought he’d won
The field as certain as a gun.
Butler—Hudibras. Pt. I. Canto III. L. 11. Cervantes—Don Quixote. Pt. I. Bk. III. Ch. VII. Dryden—Spanish Friar. Act III. Sc. 2. (For “sure as a gun.”)

Out spoke the victor then,
As he hail’d them o’er the wave,
Ye are brothers! ye are men!
And we conquer but to save;
So peace instead of death let us bring;
But yield, proud foe, thy fleet,
With the crews, at England’s feet,
And make submission meet
To our King.
Campbell—The Battle of the Baltic.

Not one of all the purple host
Who took the flag to-day
Can tell the definition
So clear of victory,
As he, defeated, dying,
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Break agonized and clear.
Emily Dickinson—Poems. Success.

Our peace must be a peace of victors, not of the vanquished.
Gen. Foch, as reported by G. Ward Price in the London Daily Mail (1919).

Victory is a thing of the will.
A favorite maxim of Gen. Foch.

A Cadmean victory. (The conquerors suffer as much as the conquered.)
Proverb quoted by Herodotus. I. 66.

To the victors belong the spoils. (The spoils to the victors.)
As attributed to Andrew Jackson.

From what far, heavenly height of hope
Didst thou descend to light our way,
Cleaving with flash of snowy robe
Time’s dusky veil of twilight gray?
Julia Larned—The Winged Victory.

Peace must be framed on so equitable a basis, that the nations would not wish to disturb it … so that the confidence of the German people shall be put in the equity of their cause and not in the might of their armies.
Lloyd George—Speech at Glasgow. June 29, 1917.

Victrix causa Diis placuit, sed victa Catoni.
The victorious cause pleased the gods, but the victory pleased Cato.
Lucanus—Pharsalia. 1. 118.

They see nothing wrong in the rule, that to the victors belong the spoils of the enemy.
W. L. Marcy—Speech in the United States Senate. (1832).

Who overcomes
By force, hath overcome but half his foe.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. I. L. 548.

There are some defeats more triumphant than victories.
Montaigne—Of Cannibals. Ch. XXX.

Then should some cloud pass over
The brow of sire or lover,
Think ’tis the shade
By Victory made
Whose wings right o’er us hover!
Moore—Battle Song.

Before this time tomorrow I shall have gained a peerage or Westminster Abbey.
Nelson. Before the Battle of the Nile.

Westminster Abbey, or Victory.
Nelson. In the battle off Cape Vincent, giving orders for boarding the San Josef. See Southey—Life of Nelson. Vol. I. Ch. IV.

We have met the enemy and they are ours.
Oliver Hazard Perry—Letter to Gen. Harrison after the Victory on Lake Erie. Sept. 10, 1813.

Væ victis.
Woe to the vanquished!
Plautus—Pseudolus. Act V. Also credited to Livy. Became a proverbial saying when Rome was conquered by the Gauls under Brennus.

We conquered France, but felt our captive’s charms,
Her arts victorious triumph’d o’er our arms.
Pope—Horace. Bk. II. Ep. I. L. 263.

But if
We have such another victory, we are undone.
Attributed to Pyrrhus by Bacon—Apothegms. No. 193. Pyrrhus lost 3,500 men at the battle of Asculum B.C. 279. When congratulated on his victory he was reported to have made the reply quoted. Hence a “Pyrrhic Victory.”

Heil dir im Siegeskranz.
Hail! Thou as victor crowned.
B. G. Schumacher. Title and refrain of Prussian Nat. Hymn. From the original song by Heinrich Harries. (1790).

Hail to the Chief who in triumph advances.
Scott—Lady of the Lake. Canto II. St. 19.

With dying hand, above his head,
He shook the fragment of his blade,
And shouted “Victory!—
Charge, Chester, charge! on, Stanley, on!”
Were the last words of Marmion.
Scott—Marmion. Canto VI. St. 32.

La victoire me suit, et tout suit la victoire.
Victory follows me, and all things follow victory.
Scudéri—L’Amour Tyrannique.

Then with the losers let it sympathize;
For nothing can seem foul to those that win.
Henry IV. Pt. I. Act V. Sc. 1. L. 8.

To whom God will, there be the victory.
Henry VI. Pt. III. Act II. Sc. 5. L. 15.

Thus far our fortune keeps an upward course,
And we are grac’d with wreaths of victory.
Henry VI. Pt. III. Act V. Sc. 3. L. 1.

A victory is twice itself when the achiever brings home full numbers.
Much Ado About Nothing. Act I. Sc. 1. L. 8.

“But what good came of it at last?”
Quoth little Peterkin.
“Why, that I cannot tell,” said he;
“But ’twas a famous victory.”
Southey—Battle of Blenheim.

Victores victosque numquam solida fide coalescere.
Victor and vanquished never unite in substantial agreement.
Tacitus—Annales. Bk. II. 7.

Victoriam malle quam pacem.
To prefer victory to peace.
Tacitus—Annales. Bk. III. 60.

There is nothing so dreadful as a great victory—except a great defeat.
Quoted as Wellington’s. Emerson ascribes it to D’Argenson, as reported by Grimm. See Emerson—Quotation and Originality.

It must be a peace without victory…. Victory would mean peace forced upon the loser; a victor’s terms imposed upon the vanquished. It would be accepted in humiliation, under duress, at an intolerable sacrifice, and would leave a sting, a resentment, a bitter memory upon which terms of peace would rest, not permanently, but only as upon quicksand. Only a peace between equals can last: only a peace, the very principle of which is equality, and a common participation in a common benefit.
Woodrow Wilson—Address to the U.S. Senate, Jan. 22, 1917.