Emma could not resist.
"Ah! ma'am, but there may be a difficulty. Pardon me, but you will be limited as to the number,—only three at once."
No, that's not one of my favorite quotes. It's just that I fear I myself will have trouble being 'limited as to the number.'
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The other difficulty is how long many of my favorite quotes are. Sorry about that. Also, I couldn't come up with a good way to include the entire last canto of Dante's Paradiso, so I left it off. As far as I'm concerned, it's one of the top ten most beautiful pieces of art in existence. Anthony Esolen's translation is my favorite.
Difficulties aside, here are ten of the book quotes I love best.
"There is a room in the Department of Mysteries," interrupted Dumbledore, "that is kept locked at all times. It contains a force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than forces of nature. It is also, perhaps, the most mysterious of the many subjects for study that reside there. It is the power held within that room that you possess in such quantities and which Voldemort has not at all. That power took you to save Sirius tonight. That power also saved you from possession by Voldemort, because he could not bear to reside in a body so full of the force he detests. In the end, it mattered not that you could not close your mind. It was your heart that saved you."
—Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling
"And his knowledge remained woefully incomplete, Harry! That which Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to comprehend. Of house-elves and children's tales, of love, loyalty, and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth he has never grasped."
—Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling
"The beauty of the female is the root of joy to the female as well as to the male, and it is no accident that the goddess of love is older and stronger than the god. To desire the desiring of her own beauty is the vanity of Lilith, but to desire the enjoying of her own beauty is the obedience of Eve; and for both it is in the lover that the beloved tastes her own delightfulness."
—That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis
"I stand in Minas Anor, the tower of the sun, and behold! The shadow has departed! I will be a shieldmaiden no longer, nor vie with the great riders, nor take delight only in the songs of slaying. I will be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren."
—The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
"You forget," said Mr. Meredith, with a flash of his dark eyes, "that an infinite power must be infinitely little as well as infinitely great. We are neither, therefore there are things too little as well as too great for us to apprehend. To the infinitely little an ant is of as much importance as a mastodon."
—Rilla of Ingleside, L.M. Montgomery
"We can drag our patients along by continual tempting, because we design them only for the table, and the more their will is interfered with, the better. He cannot 'tempt' to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never in more danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys..."
—The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis
"Mr. McCabe thinks me a slave because I am not allowed to believe in determinism. I think Mr. McCabe a slave because he is not allowed to believe in fairies."
—Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton
"Nothing is so hard on the world as the world. Nothing is more inhuman than humanity itself to human habits, affections, or weaknesses, when they happen to be unpopular for particular reasons at a particular moment; and they are likely to be more ruthlessly treated by a craze than by a creed."
—The Resurrection of Rome, G.K. Chesterton
"Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs,
and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away."
—Song of Songs
"Where can I go from Thy Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Thy presence?
If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Thy hand will lead me,
And Thy right hand will lay hold of me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
Even the darkness is not dark to Thee,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to Thee."
What are some of your favorite quotes?