We are more like our contemporaries than we imagine, and less like our ancestors.
The obscurest epoch is today.
The historian imagines leaders who move nations by themselves, as the physicist imagines spherical cows of uniform density.
We call past ages unhappy with no better warrant than supposing that we would have been unhappy in them.
Every contemporary freethinker would believe in Christianity if born in medieval England, and slavery if born in ancient Rome.
All agree that memory is fugitive, but few draw the necessary conclusion about identity.
Our descendants will regard us for hanging men as we regard our ancestors for hanging dogs.
We owe modern clangor to the unremitting efforts of generations of quiet and sedentary men.
Mute inglorious Miltons, flowers born to blush unseen and waste their sweetness on the desert air, are extinct, and I miss them.