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[ Also see Anecdotes Aphorisms Apothegms Epitaphs Humor Jesting Maxims Paradoxes Proverbs (General) Quotations Satire Wit ]

Acon his right, Leonilla her left eye
  Doth want; yet each in form, the gods out-vie.
    Sweet boy, with thine, thy sister's sight improved:
      So shall she Venus be, thou God of Love.
        [Lat., Lumine Acon dextre,--capta est Leonilla sinistre,
          Et potis est forma vincere uterque dees:
            Blande puer, lumen quod habes concede sorori,
              Sic tu caecus Amor, sic erit illa Venus.]
      - Unattributed Author,
        an epigram said by Warton to be the "most celebrated of modern epigrams",
        in his "Essay on Pope," I, p. 299 (ed. 1772)

The diamond's virtues well might grace
  The epigram, and both excel
    In brilliancy in smallest space,
      And power to cut as well.
      - George Birdseye

The next best thing to being witty one's self, is to be able to be able to quote another's wit.
      - Christian Nestell Bovee

This picture, plac'd the busts between
  Gives Satire all its strength;
    Wisdom and Wit are little seen
      While Folly glares at length.
      - attributed to 4th Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope,
        on the portrait of Beau Nash placed between busts of Pope and Newton in Pump Room at Bath

Unlike my subject, I will make my song.
  It shall be witty, and it shan't be long.
      - 4th Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope,
        Preface to Letters (vol. 1)

What is an epigram? a dwarfish whole,
  Its body brevity, and wit its soul.
      - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Next to the originator of a good man's sentence is the first quoter of it.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I don't see how an epigram, being a bolt from the blue, with no introduction or cue, ever gets itself writ.
      - William James

A crafty innkeeper at Ravenna lately cheated me. I asked him for wine and water; he sold me pure wine.
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis)

All your female friends are either old or ugly; nay, more ugly than old women usually are. These you lead about in your train, and drag with you to feasts, porticos and theaters. Thus, Fabulla, you seem handsome, thus you seem young.
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis)

Do you ask what sort of a maid I desire or dislike, Flaccus? I dislike one too easy and one too coy. The just mean, which lies between the two extremes, is what I approve; I like neither that which tortures nor that which cloys.
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis)

Do you ask why I am unwilling to marry a rich wife? It is because I am unwilling to be taken to husband by my wife. The mistress of the house should be subordinate to her husband, for in no other way, Priscus, will the wife and husband be on an equality.
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis)

Fannius, as he was fleeing from the enemy, put himself to death. Is not this, I ask, madness--to die, for fear of dying?
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis)

He misses what is meant by epigram
  Who thinks it only frivolous flim-flam.
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis)

I commend you, Postumus, for kissing me with only half your lip; you may, however, if you please, withhold even the half of this half. Are you inclined to grant me a boon still greater, and even inexpressible? Keep this whole half entirely to yourself, Postumus.
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis)

I have not a farthing in the house; one thing only remains for me to do, Regulus, and that is to sell the presents which I have received from you; are you inclined to buy them?
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis)

If I remember right, Aelia, you had four teeth; a cough displaced two, another two more. You can now cough without anxiety all the day long. A third cough can find nothing to do in your mouth.
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis)

No amount of misfortune will satisfy the man who is not satisfied
  with reading a hundred epigrams.
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis)

You see those fish before you, a beautiful example of the sculpture of Phidias; give them water, and they will swim.
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis)

You utter all sorts of falsehoods, Pontilianus; I assent to them. You recite bad verses; I praise them. You sing; I do the same. You drink, Pontilianus; I drink also. You are rude; I pretend not to perceive it. You wish to play at chess; I allow myself to be beaten. There is one thing only which you do without me, and I hold my tongue on the subject. Yet you never make me the slightest present. "When I die," say you, "I shall remember you handsomely." I do not look for anything; but die.
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis)

You wonder that Marius' ear smells' unpleasantly. You are the cause of this, Nestor; you whisper into it.
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis)

You complain, Velox, that the epigrams which I write are long. You yourself write nothing; your attempts are shorter.
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis),
        Epigrams (bk. I, ep. 110)

Report says that you, Fidentinus, recite my compositions in public as if they were your own. If you allow them to be called mine, I will send you my verses gratis; if you wish them to be called yours, pray buy them, that they may be mine no longer.
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis),
        Epigrams (bk. I, ep. 29)

The book which you are reading aloud is mine, Fidentinus; but, while you read it so badly, it begins to be yours.
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis),
        Epigrams (bk. I, ep. 38)

You are pretty,--we know it; and young,--it is true; and rich,-- who can deny it? But when you praise yourself extravagantly, Fabulla, you appear neither rich, nor pretty, nor young.
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis),
        Epigrams (bk. I, ep. 64)

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