Ambrose Gwinett Bierce Quotes


Information about Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

Ambrose Bierce is an American author whose work includes mostly cynical pieces on war, addressing opinions such as the psychological and physical impacts of war. He disappeared in Mexico, which was in the midst of civil war.

Date of Birth: June 24, 1842


Found 1,268 quotes by Ambrose Gwinett Bierce .
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Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"Perserverance, n.: A lowly virtue whereby mediocrity achieves glorious success." Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"OUT-OF-DOORS, n. That part of one's environment upon which no government has been able to collect taxes. Chiefly useful to inspire poets." Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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Environment   

Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"PANDEMONIUM, n. Literally, the Place of All the Demons. Most of them have escaped into politics and finance, and the place is now used as a lecture hall by the Audible Reformer. When disturbed by his voice the ancient echoes clamor appropriate responses most gratifying to his pride of distinction." Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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Finance   

Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"GNOSTICS, n. A sect of philosophers who tried to engineer a fusion between the early Christians and the Platonists. The former would not go into the caucus and the combination failed, greatly to the chagrin of the fusion managers." Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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Christian   

Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"DEJEUNER, n. The breakfast of an American who has been in Paris. Variously pronounced." Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"OPPOSITION, n. In politics the party that prevents the Government from running amuck by hamstringing it. The King of Ghargaroo, who had been abroad to study the science of government, appointed one hundred of his fattest subjects as members of a parliament to make laws for the collection of revenue. Forty of these he named the Party of Opposition and had his Prime Minister carefully instruct them in their duty of opposing every royal measure. Nevertheless, the first one that was submitted passed unanimously. Greatly displeased, the King vetoed it, informing the Opposition that if they did that again they would pay for their obstinacy with their heads. The entire forty promptly disemboweled themselves.""What shall we do now?"" the King asked. ""Liberal institutions cannot be maintained without a party of Opposition.""""Splendor of the universe,"" replied the Prime Minister, ""it is true these dogs of darkness have no longer their credentials, but all is not lost. Leave the matter to this worm of the dust."" So the Minister had the bodies of his Majesty's Opposition embalmed and stuffed with straw, put back into the seats of power and nailed there. Forty votes were recorded against every bill and the nation prospered. But one day a bill imposing a tax on warts was defeated --the members of the Government party had not been nailed to their seats! This so enraged the King that the Prime Minister was put to death, the parliament was dissolved with a battery of artillery, and government of the people, by the people, for the people perished from Ghargaroo." Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"OLEAGINOUS, adj. Oily, smooth, sleek. Disraeli once described the manner of Bishop Wilberforce as "unctuous, oleaginous, saponaceous." And the good prelate was ever afterward known as Soapy Sam. For every man there is something in the vocabulary that would stick to him like a second skin. His enemies have only to find it." Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"FAIRY, n. A creature, variously fashioned and endowed, that formerly inhabited the meadows and forests. It was nocturnal in its habits, and somewhat addicted to dancing and the theft of children. The fairies are now believed by naturalist to be extinct, though a clergyman of the Church of England saw three near Colchester as lately as 1855, while passing through a park after dining with the lord of the manor. The sight greatly staggered him, and he was so affected that his account of it was incoherent. In the year 1807 a troop of fairies visited a wood near Aix and carried off the daughter of a peasant, who had been seen to enter it with a bundle of clothing. The son of a wealthy _bourgeois_ disappeared about the same time, but afterward returned. He had seen the abduction been in pursuit of the fairies. Justinian Gaux, a writer of the fourteenth century, avers that so great is the fairies' power of transformation that he saw one change itself into two opposing armies and fight a battle with great slaughter, and that the next day, after it had resumed its original shape and gone away, there were seven hundred bodies of the slain which the villagers had to bury. He does not say if any of the wounded recovered. In the time of Henry III, of England, a law was made which prescribed the death penalty for "Kyllynge, wowndynge, or mamynge" a fairy, and it was universally respected." Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"Dentist, n.: A Prestidigitator who, putting metal in one's mouth, pulls coins out of one's pockets." Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"OYSTER, n. A slimy, gobby shellfish which civilization gives men the hardihood to eat without removing its entrails! The shells are sometimes given to the poor." Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"TRINITY, n. In the multiplex theism of certain Christian churches, three entirely distinct deities consistent with only one. Subordinate deities of the polytheistic faith, such as devils and angels, are not dowered with the power of combination, and must urge individually their clames to adoration and propitiation. The Trinity is one of the most sublime mysteries of our holy religion. In rejecting it because it is incomprehensible, Unitarians betray their inadequate sense of theological fundamentals. In religion we believe only what we do not understand, except in the instance of an intelligible doctrine that contradicts an incomprehensible one. In that case we believe the former as a part of the latter." Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"HYDRA, n. A kind of animal that the ancients catalogued under many heads." Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"LAUREL, n. The _laurus_, a vegetable dedicated to Apollo, and formerly defoliated to wreathe the brows of victors and such poets as had influence at court. (_Vide supra._)" Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"HOMICIDE, n. The slaying of one human being by another. There are four kinds of homocide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy, but it makes no great difference to the person slain whether he fell by one kind or another --the classification is for advantage of the lawyers." Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"REDUNDANT, adj. Superfluous; needless; _de trop_.The Sultan said: "There's evidence abundant To prove this unbelieving dog redundant." To whom the Grand Vizier, with mien impressive, Replied: "His head, at least, appears excessive." --Habeeb SuleimanMr. Debs is a redundant citizen. --Theodore Roosevelt" Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"DEAD, adj.Done with the work of breathing; done With all the world; the mad race run Though to the end; the golden goal Attained and found to be a hole! --Squatol Johnes" Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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Race   

Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"LOOKING-GLASS, n. A vitreous plane upon which to display a fleeting show for man's disillusion given. The King of Manchuria had a magic looking-glass, whereon whoso looked saw, not his own image, but only that of the king. A certain courtier who had long enjoyed the king's favor and was thereby enriched beyond any other subject of the realm, said to the king: "Give me, I pray, thy wonderful mirror, so that when absent out of thine august presence I may yet do homage before thy visible shadow, prostrating myself night and morning in the glory of thy benign countenance, as which nothing has so divine splendor, O Noonday Sun of the Universe!" Please with the speech, the king commanded that the mirror be conveyed to the courtier's palace; but after, having gone thither without apprisal, he found it in an apartment where was naught but idle lumber. And the mirror was dimmed with dust and overlaced with cobwebs. This so angered him that he fisted it hard, shattering the glass, and was sorely hurt. Enraged all the more by this mischance, he commanded that the ungrateful courtier be thrown into prison, and that the glass be repaired and taken back to his own palace; and this was done. But when the king looked again on the mirror he saw not his image as before, but only the figure of a crowned ass, having a bloody bandage on one of its hinder hooves --as the artificers and all who had looked upon it had before discerned but feared to report. Taught wisdom and charity, the king restored his courtier to liberty, had the mirror set into the back of the throne and reigned many years with justice and humility; and one day when he fell asleep in death while on the throne, the whole court saw in the mirror the luminous figure of an angel, which remains to this day." Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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Angels   

Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"CUNNING, n. The faculty that distinguishes a weak animal or person from a strong one. It brings its possessor much mental satisfaction and great material adversity. An Italian proverb says: "The furrier gets the skins of more foxes than asses."" Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"RECTOR, n. In the Church of England, the Third Person of the parochial Trinity, the Cruate and the Vicar being the other two." Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"INADMISSIBLE, adj. Not competent to be considered. Said of certain kinds of testimony which juries are supposed to be unfit to be entrusted with, and which judges, therefore, rule out, even of proceedings before themselves alone. Hearsay evidence is inadmissible because the person quoted was unsworn and is not before the court for examination; yet most momentous actions, military, political, commercial and of every other kind, are daily undertaken on hearsay evidence. There is no religion in the world that has any other basis than hearsay evidence. Revelation is hearsay evidence; that the Scriptures are the word of God we have only the testimony of men long dead whose identity is not clearly established and who are not known to have been sworn in any sense. Under the rules of evidence as they now exist in this country, no single assertion in the Bible has in its support any evidence admissible in a court of law. It cannot be proved that the battle of Blenheim ever was fought, that there was such as person as Julius Caesar, such an empire as Assyria. But as records of courts of justice are admissible, it can easily be proved that powerful and malevolent magicians once existed and were a scourge to mankind. The evidence (including confession) upon which certain women were convicted of witchcraft and executed was without a flaw; it is still unimpeachable. The judges' decisions based on it were sound in logic and in law. Nothing in any existing court was ever more thoroughly proved than the charges of witchcraft and sorcery for which so many suffered death. If there were no witches, human testimony and human reason are alike destitute of value." Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"BATTLE, n. A method of untying with the teeth of a political knot that would not yield to the tongue." Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
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