A while back, I invited readers to submit quotations for which they wanted me to try to trace the origins, using The Yale Book of Quotations and more recent researches by me. Hundreds of people have responded via comments or e-mails. I am responding as best I can, a few per week.
Gareth Chantler asked:
“Love as if you’ll die tomorrow, dream as if you’ll live forever, dance as if nobody’s watching.” I’ve heard hundreds of variations on these dumb quotes and I’ve seen attributions from Gandhi to Mother Teresa, which all seem ridiculous. Can the YBQ bring clarity to this situation?
The Yale Book of Quotations has the following:
You’ve got to sing like you don’t need the money,
Love like you’ll never get hurt.
You’ve got to dance like nobody’s watchin’.
Susanna Clark and Richard Leigh, “Come from the Heart” (song, 1987).
Any thoughts on: “I care not who writes the laws of a people if you let me write their songs.” Snopes suggests attributing it or some variant to Plato or Napoleon, but offers no evidence.
Snopes is usually very reliable, so I’m surprised if that’s all that was said there. The YBQ has:
“If a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws of a nation.” Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, “An Account of a Conversation Concerning a Right Regulation of Government for the Good of Mankind” (1704).
“What we fear is not that we may be weak but that we may be incredibly strong.” It was said by Lennox Lewis but he read it out like he was quoting someone.
According to The YBQ,
“Our deepest fear is not that we are indispensable. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.” Appears in Marianne Williamson‘s A Return to Love (1992). This is frequently misattributed to Nelson Mandela.
Do any readers have any other quotations whose origins they would like me to attempt to trace?