Stephen Leacock Quotes
“The writing of solid, instructive stuff fortified by facts and figures is easy enough. There is no trouble in writing a scientific treatise on the folk-lore of Central China, or a statistical enquiry into the declining population of Prince Edward Island. But to write something out of one's own mind, worth reading for its own sake, is an arduous contrivance only to be achieved in fortunate moments, few and far in between. Personally, I would sooner have written Alice in Wonderland than the whole Encyclopedia Britannica.”
“ما أعجب الحياة !!
يقول الطفل : عندما أشب فأصبح غلاماً.
ويقول الغلام : عندما أترعرع فأصبح شاباً .
ويقول الشاب : عندما أتزوج . فإذا تزوج قال عندما أصبح رجلاً متفرغاً .. فإذا جاءته الشيخوخة تطلع إلى المرحلة التي قطعها من عمره ,فإذا هي تلوح وكأن ريحاً باردة اكتسحتها اكتساحاً ,. إننا نعلم بعد فوات الأوان أن قيمة الحياة في أن نحياها .,نحيا كل يوم منها وكل ساعة”
“But after all-- I say this as a kind of afterthought in conclusion-- why bother with success at all? I have observed that the successful people get very little real enjoyment out of life. In fact the contrary is true. If I had to choose-- with an eye to having a really pleasant life-- between success and ruin, I should prefer ruin every time. I have several friends who are completely ruined-- some two or three times-- in a large way of course; and I find that if I want to get a really good dinner, where the champagne is just as it ought to be, and where hospitality is unhindered by mean thoughts of expense, I can get it best at the house of a ruined man.”
“Suppose a would-be writer can't begin? I really believe there are many excellent writers who have never written because they never could begin. This is especially the case of people of great sensitiveness, or of people of advanced education. Professors suffer most of all from this inhibition. Many of them carry their unwritten books to the grave. They overestimate the magnitude of the task, they overestimate the greatness of the final result. A child in a prep school will write the History of Greece and fetch it home finished after school. "He wrote a fine History of Greece the other day," says his fond father. Thirty years later the child, grown to be a professor, dreams of writing the History of Greece -- the whole of it from the first Ionic invasion of the Aegean to the downfall of Alexandria. But he dreams. He never starts. He can't. It's too big. Anybody who has lived around a college knows the pathos of those unwritten books.”
“It just shows the difference between people. There was Myra who treated lovers like dogs and would slap them across the face with a banana skin to show her utter independence. And there was Miss Cleghorn, who was sallow, and who bought a forty cent Ancient History to improve herself: and yet if she'd hit any man in Mariposa with a banana skin, he'd have had her arrested for assault.”
“Once, as he passed out from the doors of the Greater Testimony, the rector heard some one say: "The Church would be all right if that old mugwump was out of the pulpit." It went to his heart like a barbed thorn, and stayed there.
You know, perhaps, how a remark of that sort can stay and rankle, and make you wish you could hear it again to make sure of it, because perhaps you didn't hear it aright, and it was a mistake after all. Perhaps no one said it, anyway. You ought to have written it down at the time. I have seen the Dean take down the encyclopaedia in the rectory, and move his finger slowly down the pages of the letter M, looking for mugwump. But it wasn't there. I have known him, in his little study upstairs, turn over the pages of the "Animals of Palestine," looking for a mugwump. But there was none there. It must have been unknown in the greater days of Judea.”
“The only time when you and I really entered into literature, entered the kingdom of letters, was when each of us sat as a child absorbed in the magic pages of a book: in some snug corner of a quiet room or sheltered in some lost recess of the seashore with the muffled sound of the wind and sea to concentrate our thought — that is reading, that is literature.”
“All the books and instructions insist that the selection of the soil is the most important part of gardening. No doubt it is. But, if a man has already selected his own backyard before he opens the book, what remedy is there? All the books lay stress on the need of "a deep, friable loam full of nitrogen." This I have never seen. My own plot of land I found on examination to contain nothing but earth. I could see no trace of nitrogen. I do not deny the existence of loam. There may be such a thing. But I am admitting now in all humility of mind that I don't know what loam is.”
“We always speak of Canada as a new country. In one sense, of course, this is true. The settlement of Europeans on Canadian soil dates back only three hundred years. Civilization in Canada is but a thing of yesterday, and its written history, when placed beside the long millenniums of the recorded annals of European and Eastern peoples, seems but a little span. But there is another sense in which the Dominion of Canada, or at least part of it, is perhaps the oldest country in the world. According to the Nebular Theory the whole of our planet was once a fiery molten mass gradually cooling and hardening itself into the globe we know. On its surface moved and swayed a liquid sea glowing with such a terrific heat that we can form no real idea of its intensity. As the mass cooled, vast layers of vapour, great beds of cloud, miles and miles in thickness, were formed and hung over the face of the globe, obscuring from its darkened surface the piercing beams of the sun. Slowly the earth cooled, until great masses of solid matter, rock as we call it, still penetrated with intense heat, rose to the surface of the boiling sea. Forces of inconceivable magnitude moved through the mass. The outer surface of the globe as it cooled ripped and shrivelled like a withering orange. Great ridges, the mountain chains of to-day, were furrowed on its skin. Here in the darkness of the prehistoric night there arose as the oldest part of the surface of the earth the great rock bed that lies in a huge crescent round the shores of Hudson Bay, from Labrador to the unknown wilderness of the barren lands of the Coppermine”
- Date of birth: December 30, 1869
- Died: March 28, 1944
- Born: in Swanmore, The United Kingdom.
- Description: Stephen P. H. Butler Leacock, FRSC, was a Canadian teacher, political scientist, writer, and humorist. Between the years 1915 and 1925, he was the best-known English-speaking humorist in the world. He is known for his light humour along with criticisms of people's follies. The Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour was named in his honour.