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Thornton Wilder quotes (showing 1-30 of 143)

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
Thornton Wilder
“The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.”
Thornton Wilder
“The knowledge that she would never be loved in return acted upon her ideas as a tide acts upon cliffs.”
Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey
“We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars . . . everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you’d be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being.

-stage manager, in the play OUR TOWN”
Thornton Wilder, Our Town
“Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it -- every, every minute?”
Thornton Wilder
“EMILY: "Does anyone ever realize life while they live it...every, every minute?"

STAGE MANAGER: "No. Saints and poets maybe...they do some.”
Thornton Wilder, Our Town
“Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?”
Thornton Wilder, Our Town
“Now he discovered that secret from which one never quite recovers, that even in the most perfect love one person loves less profoundly than the other. There may be two equally good, equally gifted, equally beautiful, but theremay never be two that love one another equally well.”
Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey
tags: love
“Only it seems to me that once in your life before you die you ought to see a country where they don't talk in English and don't even want to.”
Thornton Wilder, Our Town
“There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”
Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey
“I didn't marry you because you were perfect. I didn't even marry you because I loved you. I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn't a house that protected them; and it wasn't our love that protected them--it was that promise.”
Thornton Wilder, The Skin of Our Teeth
“Being employed is like being loved: you know that somebody's thinking about you the whole time.”
Thornton Wilder, The Matchmaker
“Good-by, Good-by, world. Good-by, Grover's Corners... Mama and Papa. Good-by to clocks ticking... and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths...and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you.”
Thornton Wilder, Our Town
“But soon we shall die and all memory of those five will have left the earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”
Thornton Wilder
“Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you.”
Thornton Wilder, Our Town
“People are meant to go through life two by two. ’Tain’t natural to be lonesome.”
Thornton Wilder, Our Town
“My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it is on your plate.”
Thornton Wilder
“Money is like manure; it's not worth a thing unless it's spread around encouraging young things to grow.”
Thornton Wilder, The Matchmaker
“Some say that we shall never know, and that to the gods we are like the flies that the boys kill on a summer's day, and some say, to the contrary, that the very sparrows do not lose a feather that has not been brushed away by the finger of God.”
Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey
“I want you to try and remember what it was like to have been very young.
And particularly the days when you were first in love; when you were like a person sleepwalking, and you didn’t quite see the street you were in, and didn’t quite hear everything that was said to you.
You’re just a little bit crazy. Will you remember that, please?”
Thornton Wilder, Our Town
“We ourselves shall be loved for awhile and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses
of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”
Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey
“The test of an adventure is that when you're in the middle of it, you say to yourself "Oh now I've got myself into an awful mess; I wish I were sitting quietly at home. And the sign that something's wrong with you is when you sit quietly at home wishing you were out having lots of adventure.”
Thornton Wilder
“[Dona Maria] saw that the people of this world moved about in an armor of egotism, drunk with self-gazing, athirst for compliments, hearing little of what was said to them, unmoved by the accidents that befell their closest friends, in dread of all appeals that might interrupt their long communion with their own desires.”
Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey
“If you write to impress it will always be bad, but if you write to express it will be good”
Thornton Wilder
“Never support two weaknesses at the same time. It's your combination sinners - your lecherous liars and your miserly drunkards - who dishonor the vices and bring them into bad repute.”
Thornton Wilder
“Seek the lofty by reading, hearing and seeing great work at some moment every day. ”
Thornton Wilder
“You swore you loved me, and laughed and warned me that you would not love me forever.
I did not hear you. You were speaking in a language I did not understand. Never, never, I can conceive of a love which is able to foresee its own termination. Love is its own eternity. Love is in every moment of its being: all time. It is the only glimpse we are permitted of what eternity is. So I did not hear you. The words were nonsense.”
Thornton Wilder, The Ides of March
“Many who have spent a lifetime can tell us less of love than the child that lost a dog yesterday.”
Thornton Wilder
“That’s what it was like to be alive. To move about in a cloud of ignorance; to go up and down trampling on the feelings of those...of those about you. To spend and waste time as though you had a million years. To be always at the mercy of one self-centered passion, or another. Now you know- that’s the happy existence you wanted to go back to. Ignorance and blindness.

-Simon Stimson, OUR TOWN”
Thornton Wilder
“Either we live by accident and die by accident, or we live by plan and die by plan.”
Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey

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