We can say nothing but what hath been said, * * * Our poets steal from Homer * * * Our storydressers do as much; he that comes last is commonly best. BurtonAnatomy of Melancholy. Democritus to the Reader.
Who, to patch up his fameor fill his purse Still pilfers wretched plans, and makes them worse; Like gypsies, lest the stolen brat be known, Defacing first, then claiming for his own. ChurchillThe Apology. L. 232.
Because they commonly make use of treasure found in books, as of other treasure belonging to the dead and hidden underground; for they dispose of both with great secrecy, defacing the shape and image of the one as much as of the other. DavenantGondibert. Preface.
The Plagiarism of orators is the art, or an ingenious and easy mode, which some adroitly employ to change, or disguise, all sorts of speeches of their own composition, or that of other authors, for their pleasure, or their utility; in such a manner that it becomes impossible even for the author himself to recognise his own work, his own genius, and his own style, so skilfully shall the whole be disguised. Isaac DIsraeliCuriosities of Literature. Professors of Plagiarism and Obscurity.
When Shakespeare is charged with debts to his authors, Landor replies, Yet he was more original than his originals. He breathed upon dead bodies and brought them into life. EmersonLetters and Social Aims. Quotation and Originality.
It has come to be practically a sort of rule in literature, that a man, having once shown himself capable of original writing, is entitled thenceforth to steal from the writings of others at discretion. EmersonShakespeare.
Why, simpleton, do you mix your verses with mine? What have you to do, foolish man, with writings that convict you of theft? Why do you attempt to associate foxes with lions, and make owls pass for eagles? Though you had one of Ladass legs, you would not be able, blockhead, to run with the other leg of wood. MartialEpigrams. Bk. X. Ep. 100.
Je reprends mon bien où je le trouve. I recover my property wherever I find it. Molière. Cyrano de Bergerac incorporated a scene confidentially communicated to him by Molière, in his Pédant Joué. II. 4. Molière taking possession, used it in his Les Fourberies de Scapin. EmersonLetters and Social Aims, attributes the mot to Marmontel.
Les abeilles pillotent decà delà les fleurs; mais elles en font aprez le miel, qui est tout leur; ce nest plus thym, ny marjolaine: ainsi les pièces empruntées daultruy, il les transformera et confondra pour en faire un ouvrage tout sien. The bees pillage the flowers here and there but they make honey of them which is all their own; it is no longer thyme or marjolaine: so the pieces borrowed from others he will transform and mix up into a work all his own. MontaigneEssays. Bk. I. Ch. XXV.
Take the whole range of imaginative literature, and we are all wholesale borrowers. In every matter that relates to invention, to use, or beauty or form, we are borrowers. Wendell PhillipsLecture. The Lost Arts.
Next oer his books his eyes began to roll, In pleasing memory of all he stole; How here he sippd, how there he plunderd snug, And suckd all oer like an industrious bug. PopeDunciad. Bk. I. L. 127.
Nullum est jam dictum quod non dictum sit primus. Nothing is said nowadays that has not been said before. TerenceEnnuchus. Prologue. XLI. As quoted by Donatus. See WartonEssay on Pope. Note I. P. 88. Ed. 1806.
Hos ego versiculos feci, tulit alter honores Sic vos non vobis nidificatis aves: Sic vos non vobis vellera fertis oves: Sic vos non vobis mellificatis apes: Sic vos non vobis fertis aratra boves. I wrote these lines; another wears the bays: Thus you for others build your nests, O birds: Thus you for others bear your fleece, O sheep: Thus you for others honey make, O bees: Thus you for others drag the plough, O kine. VergilClaudius Donatus. Delphin ed. of Life of Vergil. 1830. P. 17.