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Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett
A collection of passages, phrases and proverbs traced to their sources in ancient and modern literature.
Thirteen and Centennial Edition, Completely Revised.
1955 Little Brown and Company Boston Toronto
1614 pages. Hardcover Measures 9.5 x 6 x 2 inches and Weighs 3 pounds 8 ounces

Condition: Very Good. Former owner name inside/first leaf. Impressive volume - amazing condition considering age - a cherished and well kept copy. Will display beautifully.
Green/Teal boards are clean and bright. (A bit of shelf wear, as expected)


One hundred years ago there appeared the First Edition of FAMILIAR
QUOTATIONS, a small, thin volume of 258 pages set in single column with
an index which ran to a full 36 pages.
In his preface to the First Edition, John Bartlett wrote:
The object of this work is to show, to some extent, the obligations our
language owes to various authors for numerous phrases and familiar quota-
tions which have become "household words."
This Collection, originally made without any view of publication, has
been considerably enlarged by additions from an English work on a similar
plan, and is now sent forth with the hope that it may be found a con-
venient book of reference.
Though perhaps imperfect in some respects, it is believed to possess the
merit of accuracy, as the quotations have been taken from the original
Should this be favorably received, endeavors will be made to make it
more worthy of the approbation of the public in a future edition.
Cambridge, May, 1855
The first nine editions of the book were under the editorship of John
Bartlett, and the Ninth Edition, published in 1891, had grown to a volume
of 1158 pages, 862 of text, 296 of index. In his preface to the Ninth Edi-
tion, Bartlett commented that it was the close of the volume's tentative
life, a prophecy which was upset in 1914 with publication of the Tenth
Edition under the editorship of Nathan Haskell Dole. Both the Eleventh
Edition of 1937 and the Twelfth of 1948 continued to grow in size and
stature under the joint editorship of Christopher Morley and Louella D.
The present Centennial Edition is, then, the thirteenth since the book
first appeared. Our appreciation of the contributions of all those who have
4 % 4 -
helped in the past is in no sense diminished by our belief that it is appro-
priate for this anniversary edition to be the responsibility of the firm's
staff. We have borne in mind the original basis of selection which John
Bartlett, a partner of Little, Brown, determined as "familiar or worthy of
being familiar." We have learned to appreciate fully what John Bartlett
said in his preface to the Fourth Edition: "It is not easy to determine in
all cases the degree of familiarity that may belong to phrases and sen-
tences which present themselves for admission; for what is familiar to
one class of readers may be quite new to another."
In the laborious but stimulating task of revision the entire body of the
text has been examined. Many quotations, because of the passage of time,
seem to be no longer often repeated or likely to be remembered and have
been dropped. Many well-known phrases which for one reason or another
have never appeared in the book have been added.
The chronological sequence of authorship which has always made
FAMILIAR QUOTATIONS of particular interest as a book to read as well as
a book of reference has been preserved, and the debt of contemporary litera-
ture to that of other times and other tongues has been recognized by placing
the ancient authors and those who wrote in foreign languages in chrono-
logical sequence. Only quotations from the Bible and those from unknown
sources remain outside this pattern, which has been so useful in general
reference and for showing the development of the language.
Because the body of our written and spoken expression has grown along
so many avenues of knowledge, we have leaned heavily upon the advice
and assistance of a large number of men and women of special scholarship
and learning. Not only in this edition but through the years so many deep
obligations to so many advisers have accrued that it is impossible here to
make all the acknowledgments that should be made. It would be real
negligence, however, not to mention the great contributions to the book
made by Mr. Christopher Morley and Miss Louella, D. Everett in prepa-
ration of the two preceding editions. In the Centennial Edition, which we
hope will be as "favorably received" as was the First Edition, we must
express our gratitude especially to Mrs. Emily Morison Beck, who has
rendered highly competent and critical service in research and in process-
ing the manuscript. Among other generous advisers, special thanks are
due to Mr. Frank W. Cady, Professor Emeritus, of Middlebury College,
Mr. Alston Hurd Chase of Phillips Academy at Andover, Mr. J. Frank
Dobie, Mr. Joseph Henry Jackson, Mr W. Barton Leach of the Harvard
Law School, Mr. David McCord and Mrs. Janet Payne Whitney. To the
many unselfish individuals who write us almost daily with criticisms, sug-
gestions and comments, we can only offer a blanket but appreciative word
of thanks, for their interest does much toward perfecting BARTLETT.
Boston, Massachusetts
May 4, 195.5
To resist him that is set in authority
is evil.
The Instruction of Ptahhotepl
[Circa 2675 B. c.]
There it o'ertook me that I fell down
for thirst, I was parched, my throat
burned, and I said: "This is the taste
of death."
The Story of Sinuke 1
[Circa 2000 B. C.]
There is none that hath turned his
shaft, there is none that hath bent his
Then the ship perished, and of them
that were in it not one survived. And I
was cast on to an island by a wave of
the sea.
The Story of the Shipwrecked
Sailor' [Circa 1700 B. e.?]
Everywhere he feels his Heart be-
cause its vessels run to all his limbs.
The Beginning of the Secret
Book of the Physician 2 [Circa
1550 B. c.]
Go not in and out in the court of
justice, that thy name may not stink.
The Wisdom of Anii
[Circa goo B. C.]
[Floruit 2100 B. C.]
I established law and justice in the
If a man owe a debt and Adad 4
inundate his field and carry away the
From ADOLF ERMAN [1854- 193* The
Literature of the Ancient Egyptians, trans-
lated [1927] by AYLWARD M. BLACKMAN.
2In The Papyrus Ebers, translated [1931]
from the German version by CYRIL P. BRYAN.
Code of Hammurabi King of Babylon, about
2100 B.C., second edition.
4The storm god
produce, or, through lack of water,
grain have not grown in the field, in that
year he shall not make any return of
grain to the creditor, he shall alter his
contract -tablet and he shall not pay the
interest for that year.
Sect. 48
If a man destroy the eye of another
man, they shall destroy his eye.
Sect. 196
[Circa 850 B. C.]
The wrath of Peleus' son, the direful
Of all the Grecian woes, 0 goddess,
Iliad.1Book I, Line
The distant Trojans never injur'd me.
Ibid. Line 200
Words sweet as honey from his lips dis-
Ibid. Line 332
Shakes his ambrosial curls, and gives
the nod, —
The stamp of fate, and sanction of the
Ibid. Line 684
And unextinguish'd laughter shakes the
Ibid. Line 771
The man who acts the least, upbraids
the most.
Ibid. Book II, Line 311
Thick as autumnal leaves or driving
Ibid. Line 970
The glorious gifts of the gods may
not be cast aside.
Ibid.3Book III, Line 65
Chiefs, who no more in bloody fights
'The translation is that of ALEXANDER
POPE [1715] unless otherwise noted.
2The same line occurs in the translation of
theOdyssey, Book VIII, L. 366.
3Translated [1950] by CHASE AND PERRY.

Familiar Quotations, John Bartlett 1955 Little Brown Book Passages Phrases Proverbs.. In ancient and modern literature Centennial Edition


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