Random Quote #36 topic: bierce-devil, The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce

FLY-SPECK, n. The prototype of punctuation. It is observed by
Garvinus that the systems of punctuation in use by the various
literary nations depended originally upon the social habits and
general diet of the flies infesting the several countries. These
creatures, which have always been distinguished for a neighborly and
companionable familiarity with authors, liberally or niggardly
embellish the manuscripts in process of growth under the pen,
according to their bodily habit, bringing out the sense of the work by
a species of interpretation superior to, and independent of, the
writer's powers. The "old masters" of literature -- that is to say,
the early writers whose work is so esteemed by later scribes and
critics in the same language -- never punctuated at all, but worked
right along free-handed, without that abruption of the thought which
comes from the use of points. (We observe the same thing in children
to-day, whose usage in this particular is a striking and beautiful
instance of the law that the infancy of individuals reproduces the
methods and stages of development characterizing the infancy of
races.) In the work of these primitive scribes all the punctuation is
found, by the modern investigator with his optical instruments and
chemical tests, to have been inserted by the writers' ingenious and
serviceable collaborator, the common house-fly -- _Musca maledicta_.
In transcribing these ancient MSS, for the purpose of either making
the work their own or preserving what they naturally regard as divine
revelations, later writers reverently and accurately copy whatever
marks they find upon the papyrus or parchment, to the unspeakable
enhancement of the lucidity of the thought and value of the work.
Writers contemporary with the copyists naturally avail themselves of
the obvious advantages of these marks in their own work, and with such
assistance as the flies of their own household may be willing to
grant, frequently rival and sometimes surpass the older compositions,
in respect at least of punctuation, which is no small glory. Fully to
understand the important services that flies perform to literature it
is only necessary to lay a page of some popular novelist alongside a
saucer of cream-and-molasses in a sunny room and observe "how the wit
brightens and the style refines" in accurate proportion to the
duration of exposure.


Select Next Random Quote Topic:
  apocrypha bible-old bible-new confucius hebraic koran lao-tse nietzsche wittgenstein english-esperanto handy-poetical vulgar-tongue voltaire-dict foolish-dict zola-dictionary rubai-khayyam art ascii-art astrology atheism bierce-devil black-humor bofh-excuses buffy calvin chalkboard computers cookie debian definitions disclaimer drugs education ethnic evilplan fgump food fortunes friends futurama goedel haywards-definitions hitchhiker hphobia humorists humorix-misc humorix-stories joel-on-software kernelcookies kernelnewbies kids knghtbrd law lehenbauer limerick linux linuxcookie literature love magic medicine men-women misandry miscellaneous misogyny news osfortune osho paradoxum people perl pets platitudes politics privates prog-style quotes-20010929 racism religion riddles rj science sex shlomif smac songs-poems sports startrek starwars subversion tao translate-me vulgarity wisdom work xfiles xian-koans zippy ads-1 answers-1 bulletins-1 complaints-1 cruise-1 danquayle-1 employees-1 eugeneormandy-1 excuses-1 famous-1 forest-1 fortunes-1 insurance-1 kidlove-1 kidquotes-1 kidscience-1 language-1 libraries-1 murraywalker-1 news-1 patients-1 predictions-1 ranger-1 restaurants-1 resume-1 river-1 samuelgoldwyn-1 spoonerisms-1 tourism-1 warnings-1 words-1 yogiberra-1 bushism bushjoke reagan obama junauza liz-taylor

There is a simple script that displays a random message from a database of quotes (as in well-know fortunes game). This version is bundled with quotations from The Bible, The Talmud, The Koran, poetry, prose, famous people and books, humorous items.

generated in 0.006474 seconds