I dislike modern memoirs. They are generally written by people who have either entirely lost their memories, or have never done anything worth remembering.
(Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Ernest, in The Critic as Artist, pt. 1, published in Intentions (1891).
He continued, "which, however, is, no doubt, the true explanation of their popularity, as the English public always feels perfectly at its ease when a mediocrity is talking to it." In reply, Gilbert disagreed with Ernest's view of autobiography: "In literature mere egotism is delightful.")
His memory is like wares at the auctiongoing, going, and anon it will be gone.
(Herman Melville (1819-1891), U.S. author. "Jack Gentian" (posthumous), p. 371, Billy Budd and Other Prose Pieces, The Works of Herman Melville, vol. 13, ed. Raymond M. Weaver (1924).
Spoken by "a young Croesus" about Jack Gentian.)
For my name and memory I leave it to men's charitable speeches, and to foreign nations, and the next ages.
(Francis Bacon (1561-1626), British philosopher, essayist, statesman. last will, Dec. 19, 1625. Works of Francis Bacon, vol. 3 (ed. 1765).
Appointed Lord Chancellor in 1618, Bacon was removed from office three years later for accepting a bribe from a litigant. Alexander Pope summed up his character thus: "If parts allure thee, think how Bacon shined, The wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind." (Essay on Man, epistle 4, l. 281-2).)