I improve on misquotation.
Cary Grant (1904-1986)
Famous remarks are very seldom quoted correctly.
Simeon Strunsky (1879-1948)
_No Mean City_ (1944), ch. 38.
Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.
Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?): The Devil's Dictionary
What's the use of a good quotation if you can't change it?
Though old the thought and oft expressed,
'Tis his at last who says it best.
James Russell Lowell (1819-1891),
_For an Autograph_ 
The most familiar quotations are the most likely to be misquoted...
Some have settled down to false versions that have obscured the true ones.
They have passed over from literature into speech.
Carl Van Doren
A man must serve his time to every trade
Save censure - critics all are ready made.
Take hackney'd jokes from Miller,got by rote,
With just enough of learning to misquote.
George Noel Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)
Misquotation is, in fact, the pride and privilege of
the learned. A widely-read man never quotes accurately,
for the rather obvious reason that he has read too widely.
Hesketh Pearson (1887-1964)
_Common Misquotations_ (1934) introduction
Perhaps the reader may ask, of what consequence is it whether the author's
exact language is preserved or not, provided we have his thought? The
answer is, that inaccurate quotation is a sin against truth. It may appear
in any particular instance to be a trifle, but perfection consists in small
things, and perfection is no trifle.
Robert W. Shaunon
As a Brit living in America, this isn't my favorite time of year. This
weekend I'll be expected to celebrate what, from my point of view, was
a catastrophic military defeat. Imagine living in Vietnam and having to
smile benevolently every year as millions of Vietnamese hold a huge
party to celebrate the fall of Saigon. That's how I feel about
Independence Day... I'm not asking you to politely refrain from
mentioning the War of Independence for fear of offending us...but do
you really have to let off fireworks? Couldn't you make do with a
parade of some kind?
Toby Young, _Salon_, July 3, 1999
And now arrived the 4th of July, the greatest of all American
festivals...To me the dreary coldness and want of enthusiasm in
American manners is one of their greatest defects, and I therefore
hailed the demonstrations of general feeling which this day exhibits
with real pleasure. On the 4th of July the hearts of the people seem
to awaken from a three hundred and sixty-four days' sleep; they appear
high-spirited, gay, animated, social, generous, or at least liberal in
expense; and would they refrain from spitting on that hallowed day.
Frances Trollope (1780-1863),
_Domestic Manners of the Americans_, Chap. 2 (1832)
The only people who seem not to understand the worldwide significance
of American society are our own intelligentsia. To them the Fourth of
July is at best an embarrassment, if not something to sneer at. The
flag-waving, the proud speeches and the Horatio Alger stories are just
part of a nationalist "myth," as far as the intellectuals are
concerned. They could not be more wrong. The prosperity that we -- and
they -- enjoy today is in large part a product of many, many real-life
Horatio Alger stories about ordinary people who rose from humble
circumstances to achieve success for themselves by creating a more
abundant life for millions of other Americans. ...No wonder the Fourth
of July makes the intelligentsia uncomfortable. It celebrates the
revolution that gave ordinary people freedom from the rampaging
presumptions of their "betters."
Forgive your enemies but remember their names.
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)
There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness.
Josh Billings (1818-1885) (Henry Wheeler Shaw)
It's far easier to forgive an enemy after you've gotten even with him.
Forgiveness is better than revenge, for forgiveness is the sign of
a gentle nature, but revenge is the sign of a savage nature.
Epictetus (55-135) - Phygian Stoic Philosopher
When I am dead, you can call in Lamar, turn me over, and tell him to
kiss my cold ass.
Sam Houston (1793-1863), on deathbed,
to wife Martha, when she suggested he forgive his old political
enemy, Mirabeau B. Lamar
You ought certainly to forgive them as a Christain, but never to admit
them to our sight, or allow their names to be mentioned in your
Jane Austen (1775-1817),_Pride and Prejudice_
I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would
take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet
place and kill him.
Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Mine is a most peaceable disposition. My wishes are: a humble cottage
with a thatched roof, but a good bed, good food, the freshest milk and
butter, flowers before my window, and a few fine trees before my door;
and if God wants to make my happiness complete, he will grant me the
joy of seeing some six or seven of my enemies hanging from those
trees. Before their death I shall, moved in my heart, forgive them all
the wrong they did me in their lifetime. One must, it is true, forgive
one's enemies-- but not before they have been hanged.
Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)
Many promising reconciliations have broken down because, while both
parties came prepared to forgive, neither party came prepared to be
You don't get it, do you? You don't have to beg for forgiveness; God's
already forgiven you. Your problem is far deeper -- You have to accept
John Ostrander, "Malicious" (The Spectre #25)
Spoken by "Father Craemer"
Resentment is one burden that is incompatible with your success.
Always be the first to forgive; and forgive yourself first always.
"Forgive and you shall be forgiven" sounds like a bargain. But perhaps
it is something much more. By heavenly standards, that is, for pure
intelligence, it is perhaps a tautology - forgiving and being forgiven
are two names for the same thing.
C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)
Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly On Prayer, Chapter XX
To forgive somebody is to say one way or another, "You have
done something unspeakable, and by all rights I should call it quits
between us. Both my pride and my principles demand no less. However,
although I make no guarantees that I will be able to forget what
you've done and though we may both carry the scars for life, I refuse
to let it stand between us. I still want you for my friend."
To accept forgiveness means to admit that you've done
something unspeakable that needs to be forgiven, and thus both parties
must swallow the same thing: their pride.
This seems to explain what Jesus means when he says to God,
"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgie thouse who trespass against
us." Jesus is _not_ saying that God's forgiveness is conditional upon
our forgiving others. In the first place forgiveness that's
conditional isn't really forgiveness at all, just Fair Warning, and in
the second place our unforgivingness is among those things about us
which we need to have God forgive us most. What Jesus apparently _is_
saying is that the pride which keeps us from forgiving is the same
pride which keeps us from accepting forgiveness, and will God please
help us do something about it.
When somebody you've wronged forgives you, you're spared the
dull and self-diminishing throb of a guilty conscience.
When you forgive somebody who has wronged you, you're spared
the dismal corrosion of bitterness and wounded pride.
For both parties, forgiveness means the freedom again to be at
peace inside their own skins and to be glad in each other's presence.
The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget;
the wise forgive and do not forget.
Thomas Stephen Szasz (1920- )
[The Second Sin, Personal Conduct, 1973]
"I can forgive, but I cannot forget" is only another way of saying, "I
will not forgive." Forgiveness ought to be like a canceled note - torn
in two and burned up so that it never can be shown against one.
Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)
So all I have is the knowledge that I saw! That I saw without being
afraid and without turning away, and that I didn't forgive the
unforgivable. Forgiveness is a reflex for when you can't stand what
you know. I resisted that reflex. That's my sole, solitary, lonely
Jane Smiley's "A Thousand Acres"
last words of the character Rose Lewis
A lot of Judeo-Christian ethics are about "forgiving and forgetting."
But I don't necessarily believe in forgiving at all! I feel that
forgiving is never letting go. I think that forgiving is a myth by
which you in actuality think you can still maintain control over
someone and that's a falsehood...a lot of people are spending their
adult lives trying to "forgive and forget" things that happened to them
in their childhood.
Forgiveness does not, whatever the aphorism says, entail
forgetfulness. Never mind the sheer impossibility of forgetting that
your husband has just told you he's had an affair, a strenuous version
of that childhood game in which you try, on a dare, not to think about
a three-legged green cat licking persimmon marmalade from the tip of
its tail. Never mind memory's malarial tenacity, the way that, weeks
and months and even years after you think the shock has worn off, as
you recall a trip you made to Washington to receive a writing award, it
occurs to you that in your absence they may have made love for the
first time and all your words, the ones you'd written before and the
ones you've written since, shrivel and scatter like ashes. Never
Nancy Mairs, "Here: Grace"