It haunts me, the passage of time. I think time is a merciless thing. I think life is a process of burning oneself out and time is the fire that burns you. But I think the spirit of man is a good adversary.
(Tennessee Williams (1914-1983), U.S. dramatist. New York Post (April 30, 1958).)
Forty years after a battle it is easy for a noncombatant to reason about how it ought to have been fought. It is another thing personally and under fire to have to direct the fighting while involved in the obscuring smoke of it.
(Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. Billy Budd, Sailor (posthumous), ch 21, eds. Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr. (1962).
A sham quotation.)
I'd never set foot in San Francisco. Of all the Sodoms and Gomorrahs in our modern world, it is the worst. There are not 10 righteous (and courageous) men there. It needs another quake, another whiff of fireandmore than all elsea steady trade wind of grapeshot.... That moral penal colony of the world.
(Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), U.S. author. Letter, June 25, 1907.)
You can much sooner dry you by such a fire as you can make in the woods than in anybody's kitchen, the fireplace is so much larger, and wood so much more abundant.
(Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "The Allegash and East Branch" (1864) in The Maine Woods (1864), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 3, pp. 265-266, Houghton Mifflin (1906).)
This Indian camp was a slight, patched-up affair, which had stood there several weeks, built shed-fashion, open to the fire on the west.... Altogether it was about as savage a sight as was ever witnessed, and I was carried back at once three hundred years.
(Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. "Chesuncook" (1858) in The Maine Woods (1864), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 3, pp. 148-150, Houghton Mifflin (1906).)