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Quotations for Curmudgeons


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Quotations of and about sarcasm, cynicism, misanthropy, pessimism, misery, ennui, grumps, crankiness, apathy, melancholy, negativity, complaining, hermits, antisocial malcontents, and other curmudgeonesque themes... [Enjoy! —terri♥g]


There are people who have an appetite for grief; pleasure is not strong enough and they crave pain. They have mithridatic stomachs which must be fed on poisoned bread, natures so doomed that no prosperity can sooth their ragged and dishevelled desolation. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


It is not a fragrant world. ~Raymond Chandler


I don't answer the phone. I get the feeling whenever I do that there will be someone on the other end. ~Fred Couples


I love mankind — it's people I can't stand. ~Charles M. Schulz, Go Fly a Kite, Charlie Brown


Sarcasm is the sour cream of wit. ~Author Unknown


There is no such thing as inner peace. There is only nervousness and death. ~Fran Lebowitz


A cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. ~Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan, 1893


I've always been interested in people, but I've never liked them. ~W. Somerset Maugham


[I] put the question directly to myself: "Suppose that all your objects in life were realized; that all the changes in institutions and opinions which you are looking forward to, could be completely effected at this very instant: would this be a great joy and happiness to you?" And an irrepressible self-consciousness distinctly answered, "No!" ~John Stuart Mill, Autobiography, 1909


When we are born, we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools. ~William Shakespeare, King Lear


Oh for a lodge in some vast wilderness,
Some boundless contiguity of shade,
Where rumour of oppression and deceit,
Of unsuccessful or successful war,
Might never reach me more.
~William Cowper


Life is one long process of getting tired. ~Samuel Butler


Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own. ~Jonathan Swift, The Battle of the Books, 1704


Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? Is it because we are not the person involved? ~Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson, 1894


The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. ~George Bernard Shaw


Nothing is more miserable than man,
Of all upon the earth that breathes and creeps.
~Homer, Iliad


I hate to be near the sea, and to hear it raging and roaring like a wild beast in its den. It puts me in mind of the everlasting efforts of the human mind, struggling to be free and ending just where it began. ~William Hazlitt


The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people. ~G.K. Chesterton


We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion, just as effectively as by bombs. ~Kenneth Clark


Men hate to be misunderstood, and to be understood makes them furious. ~Edgar Saltus


Things are not as bad as they seem. They are worse. ~Bill Press


I advise you to go on living solely to enrage those who are paying your annuities. It is the only pleasure I have left. ~Voltaire


He had the uneasy manner of a man who is not among his own kind, and who has not seen enough of the world to feel that all people are in some sense his own kind. ~Willa Cather


We semaphore from ship to ship, but they're sinking, too. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966


Nothing begins, and nothing ends,
That is not paid with moan;
For we are born in others' pain,
And perish in our own.
~Francis Thompson


Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know. ~Ernest Hemingway (Thanks, Schanna)


Sometimes you wake up in the morning and wish your parents had never met. ~Bill Fitch


 
 
The dignity of man lies in his ability to face reality in all its meaninglessness. ~Martin Esslin


[T]he army of wrongness rampant in the world might as well march over me. ~Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1958


I see it all perfectly: there are two possibilities, one can either do this or do that. My honest opinion and friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it, you will regret both. ~Søren Kierkegaard


Comfort, or revelation: God owes us one of these, but surely not both. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960


Janie's a pretty typical teenager — angry, insecure, confused. I wish I could tell her that's all going to pass, but I don't want to lie to her. ~Alan Ball, American Beauty, 1999


I like long walks, especially when they're taken by people who annoy me. ~Fred Allen


My pessimism extends to the point of even suspecting the sincerity of the pessimists. ~Jean Rostand


You're obliged to pretend respect for people and institutions you think absurd. You live attached in a cowardly fashion to moral and social conventions you despise, condemn, and know lack all foundation. It is that permanent contradiction between your ideas and desires and all the dead formalities and vain pretenses of your civilization which makes you sad, troubled and unbalanced. In that intolerable conflict you lose all joy of life and all feeling of personality, because at every moment they suppress and restrain and check the free play of your powers. That's the poisoned and mortal wound of the civilized world. ~Octave Mirbeau, Torture Garden


Youth is a blunder; Manhood a struggle; Old Age a regret. ~Benjamin Disraeli, Coningsby


Fate stalks us with depressing monotony from womb to tomb, and, when we are least expecting it, deals us a series of crushing blows from behind. ~Hesketh Pearson, The Whispering Gallery


I would ask something more of this world, if it had something more. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


Happy endings are only stories that haven't finished yet. ~Simon Kinberg, Mr. & Mrs. Smith


It must be admitted that there are some parts of the soul which we must entirely paralyze before we can live happily in this world. ~Nicolas Chamfort


He seems
To have seen better days, as who has not
Who has seen yesterday?
~George Gordon Byron


Idealism is what precedes experience; cynicism is what follows. ~David T. Wolf


The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself. ~Ernest Hemingway


That I could clamber to the frozen moon
And draw the ladder after me.
~Author Unknown


I do not believe in revealed religion — I will have nothing to do with your immortality; we are miserable enough in this life, without speculating on another. ~Lord Byron, 1778-1824, letter to Rev. Francis Hodgson, 1811


The mad are happy, the sane ignorant; those of us stuck on the sane side of madness or the mad fringe of sanity are in a purgatorial cage. ~Anonymous


Many of us go through life feeling as an actor might feel who does not like his part, and does not believe in the play. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960


Go by, go by, with all your din,
      Your dust, your greed, your guile,
      Your pomp, your gold; you cannot win
      From her one smile....
Outlawed? Then hills and glens and streams
      Are outlawed, too.
      Proud world, from our immortal dreams,
      We banish you.
~Alfred Noyes, "The Outlaw," The Century Magazine, January 1912


If there be a hell upon earth, it is to be found in a melancholy man's heart. ~Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy


The enthusiastic, to those who are not, are always something of a trial. ~Alban Goodier


All our lives we are putting pennies — our most golden pennies — into penny-in-the-slot machines that are almost always empty. ~Logan Pearsall Smith


I never knew whether to pity or congratulate a man on coming to his senses. ~William Makepeace Thackeray


Ever get the feeling that sometime early in your life there must have been a briefing that you missed? ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Nine-tenths of the people were created so you would want to be with the other tenth. ~Horace Walpole


Perhaps if we saw what was ahead of us, and glimpsed the crimes, follies, and misfortunes that would befall us later on, we would all stay in our mother's wombs, and then there would be nobody in the world but a great number of very fat, very irritated women. ~Lemony Snicket


I grieve for life's bright promise, just shown and then withdrawn. ~William Cullen Bryant


Semyón Semyónovich Medvedénko: "Why do you always wear black?"
Máshenka: "I'm in mourning for my life...."
~Anton Chekhov, The Seagull


There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing. ~Maya Angelou, PBS, 28 March 1988


A satirist is a man who discovers unpleasant things about himself and then says them about other people. ~Peter McArthur


God made everything out of nothing. But the nothingness shows through. ~Paul Valéry, Mauvaises pensées et autres, 1942


Nowadays most men lead lives of noisy desperation. ~James Thurber, Further Fables for Our Time, 1956


This world is gradually becoming a place
Where I do not care to be any more.
~John Berryman


Oftentimes, when people are miserable, they will want to make other people miserable, too. But it never helps. ~Lemony Snicket


The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs. ~Charles de Gaulle


All my joys to this are folly,
Naught so sweet as melancholy.
~Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, 1651


You have come into a hard world. I know of only one easy place in it, and that is the grave. ~Henry Ward Beecher


Paradoxical as it sounds, many intellectuals prefer life in the mud to life in clear water. ~Martin H. Fischer


It's just life — wake up and smell the thorns. ~From the movie Meet Joe Black


I had a lover's quarrel with the world. ~Robert Frost, The Lesson for Today, 1942



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