S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.


  • [Chief of the Huns; invaded the Roman empire, A.D. 447, and defeated the armies of Theodosius, who was forced to pay him tribute, which his successor Marcian refused to do, saying, “I have gold for my friends, and iron for my enemies;” was defeated at Chalons, 451, but invaded Italy; retiring, however, to Hungary, where he died about 453.]
  • Grass never grows again where my horse has once trodden.

  • The boast of the “Scourge of God.”
  • The men who clustered around Victor Hugo when his romantic dramas banished the classic style from the stage were called “barbarians.” “We accept the comparison,” replied one of them, the critic Paul de Saint-Victor. “The grass did not grow where Attila had passed: where Victor Hugo has passed, the dismal thistles and artificial flowers of the pseudo-classics spring up no more.”
  • Victor Hugo called Cromwell, the hero of his first drama, “an Attila educated by Machiavelli.”
  • Alaric, king of the Visigoths, invaded Italy in 408, and advanced to Rome: the citizens induced him to withdraw by the payment of five thousand pounds of gold and thirty thousand pounds of silver. When they complained of these terms, he said, “The closer hay is pressed, the easier it is cut.”