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Many Yale alumni are remembered for their careers or their contributions to society. A few are recalled as well for the way they summed things up. Here is how some of them put it:
I give these books for the founding of a College in this colony.
The heart is like a viper, hissing and spitting poison at God.
[22 September 1776]
I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.
Go to your room.
[24 November 1923]
Gentlemen, you are now going out to play football against Harvard. Never again in your life will you do anything so important.
A poem should not mean, but be.
Winning isn’t worthwhile unless one has something finer and nobler behind it.
If two New Hampshire men aren’t a match for the Devil, we might as well give the country back to the Indians.
I don’t remember that I ever was President.
God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s de-lovely.
Although war is evil, it is occasionally the lesser of two evils.
Ninety-nine percent of the people in the world are fools, and the rest of us are in great danger of contagion.
Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.
When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.
[2 July 1963]
Every day, in every way, things are getting worse and worse.
I know it when I see it.
Who are those guys?
[23 April 1970]
I am appalled and ashamed that things should have come to such a pass that I am skeptical of the ability of black revolutionaries to achieve a fair trial anywhere in the United States.
[21 June 1970]
The first requirement of a statesman is that he be dull. This is not always easy to achieve.
Miami is more American than America.
[9 August 1974]
Our long national nightmare is over. Our constitution works.
It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.
[18 August 1988]
We are a nation of communities … a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.
This is a circus! A national disgrace! … a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves.
[26 January 1998]
I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.
[6 November 2000]
They misunderestimated me.