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Real-world quotations

Magic cards have used real-world quotations (from classics and modern literature, the bible, famous speeches and sayings) in flavor text since Alpha.[1] [2] They were considered to have an immediate impact and built-in sense of history that in-setting flavor text also strived for, yet would take on subtly novel shades of meaning when presented on a Magic card.[3] Later, R&D stopped doing them in order to devote more space to their own created worlds, characters and stories.[4] For copyright reasons, the quotations were preferably in the public domain, from a source at least 100 years old.[5]

The Dark was the last expansion set to feature real-world quotations. According to Mark Rosewater, a compromise was reached that the basic set would have literary quotes and the expert expansions wouldn't, in order to showcase their own worlds. He argued that real-world literature would take players out of the world of dueling wizards and according to some, would make them feel like they're in school.[6] Rosewater also stated that they wanted Magic to be fun, not "edutainment."[6] Since then, literary quotes were relegated to starter-level set, core sets, promotional cards and From the Vault. They were eventually slowly phased out, making their last appearance in Magic 2014. However, they were revisited in 2020 on a card from the Secret Lair Happy Little Gathering Drop featuring Bob Ross's artwork and one of his characteristic quotes.

According to research on this topic by Wizards of the Coast, the majority of people enjoy in world Magic flavor text over real world quotes.[7]

Card list[]

Year First appearance Card Quote Author Source Type
1993 Limited Edition Dragon Whelp O to be a dragon … of silkworm size or immense … Marianne Moore O to Be a Dragon Poem (1959)
1993 Limited Edition Firebreathing And topples round the dreary west
A looming bastion fringed with fire.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson In Memoriam Poem (1849)
1993 Limited Edition Frozen Shade There are some qualities—some incorporate things,
That have a double life, which thus is made
A type of twin entity which springs
From matter and light, evinced in solid and shade.
Edgar Allan Poe Silence Poem (1839)
1993 Limited Edition Hypnotic Specter …There was no trace
Of aught on that illumined face….
Samuel Coleridge Phantom Poem (1805)
1993 Limited Edition Pearled Unicorn ‘Do you know, I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too? I never saw one alive before!’
‘Well, now that we have seen each other,’ said the Unicorn, ‘if you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you.’
Lewis Carroll Through the Looking-Glass Novel (1871)
1993 Limited Edition Phantom Monster While, like a ghastly rapid river, Through the pale door,
A hideous throng rush out forever, And laugh—but smile no more.
Edgar Allan Poe The Haunted Palace Poem (1839)
1993 Limited Edition Plague Rats Should you a Rat to madness tease
Why ev'n a Rat may plague you…
Samuel Coleridge Recantation Poem (1798)
1993 Limited Edition Scathe Zombies They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
Nor spake, nor moved their eyes;
It had been strange, even in a dream,
To have seen those dead men rise.
Samuel Coleridge The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Poem (1798)
1993 Limited Edition Wall of Brambles What else, when chaos draws all forces inward to shape a single leaf. Conrad Aiken The Room Poem (1930)
1993 Limited Edition Wall of Ice And through the drifts the snowy cliffs
Did send a dismal sheen:
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken—
The ice was all between.
Samuel Coleridge The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Poem (1798)
1993 Limited Edition Will-o'-the-Wisp About, about in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch’s oils,
Burnt green, and blue and white.
Samuel Coleridge The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Poem (1798)
1993 Unlimitierte Auflage Demonic Tutor
(German FWB)
Das also war des Pudels Kern! Ein fahrender Skolast? Der Kassus macht mich lachen!
(So that is then the essence of the brute? A travelling scholar? Time to laugh yet!)
J.W. Goethe Faust Tragedy (1808)
1993 Tirage Non Limité Royal Assassin
(French FWB)
Prince amiable, dis-nous si quelque ange au berceau Contre des assassins prit soin de te défendre (...)
(Say, did an angel at thy cradle side, beloved prince! Against thy murderers defend thee with his care?)
Racine Athalie Tragedy (1691)
1993 Arabian Nights Aladdin's Ring After these words the magician drew a ring off his finger, and put it on one of Aladdin’s, saying:
‘It is a talisman against all evil, so long as you obey me.’
The Arabian Nights Folk tale (9th century)
1993 Arabian Nights Ali Baba When he reached the entrance of the cavern, he pronounced the words,
‘Open, Sesame!’
The Arabian Nights Folk tale (9th century)
1993 Arabian Nights Bird Maiden Four things that never meet do here unite
To shed my blood and to ravage my heart,
A radiant brow and tresses that beguile
And rosy cheeks and a glittering smile.
The Arabian Nights Folk tale (9th century)
1993 Arabian Nights Juzám Djinn Expect my visit when the darkness comes.
The night I think is best for hiding all.
Ouallada Darkness Poem (11th century)
1993 Arabian Nights King Suleiman We made tempestuous winds obedient to Solomon
And many of the devils
We also made obedient to him.
The Qur'an, 21:81 Religious text (7th century)
1993 Arabian Nights Piety Whoever obeys God and His Prophet,
fears God and does his duty to Him,
will surely find success.
The Qur'an, 24:52 Religious text (7th century)
1993 Arabian Nights Repentant Blacksmith For my confession they burned me with fire
And found that I was for endurance made.
The Arabian Nights Folk tale (9th century)
1994 Revised Serendib Efreet
(French FWB)
J'appris de la sorte 'que l'île de Serendib avait quatre-vingts parasanges de longueur et quatre-vingts de largeur;
qu'elle avait une montagne, qui était la plus haute de la terre.

(I learned this way that the island of Serendib is eighty parasangs in length, and as many in breadth;
that it had a mountain, which was the highest in the world.)
The Arabian Nights Folk tale (9th century)
1994 Antiquities Shapeshifter Born like a Phoenix from the Flame,
But neither Bulk nor Shape the same.
Jonathan Swift Vanbrug's House Poem (1708)
1994 Legends Boomerang O! call back yesterday, bid time return. William Shakespeare King Richard the Second History play (1595)
1994 Legends Cosmic Horror Then flashed the living lightning from her eyes,
And screams of horror rend th’ affrighted skies.
Alexander Pope The Rape of the Lock Poem (1702)
1994 Legends Darkness If I must die, I will encounter darkness as a bride,
And hug it in my arms.
William Shakespeare Measure for Measure Comedy (1603)
1994 Legends Devouring Deep Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
William Shakespeare The Tempest Comedy (1610)
1994 Legends Dream Coat Adopt the character of the twisting octopus,
which takes on the appearance of the nearby rock.
Now follow in this direction,
now turn a different hue.
Theognis Elegies 1, 215 Poem (6th century BC)
1994 Legends Durkwood Boars And the unclean spirits went out, and entered the swine: and the herd ran violently … . The Bible, Mark 5:13 Religious text (1st century)
1994 Legends Emerald Dragonfly Flittering, wheeling,
darting in to strike, and then
gone just as you blink.
Dragonfly Haiku Poem
1994 Legends Firestorm Phoenix The bird of wonder dies, the maiden phoenix,
Her ashes new-create another heir
As great in admiration as herself.
William Shakespeare King Richard the Eighth History play (1613)
1994 Legends Gaseous Form … [A]nd gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
William Shakespeare A Midsummer Night's Dream Comedy (1600)
1994 Legends Giant Strength O! it is excellent
To have a giant’s strength, but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.
William Shakespeare Measure for Measure Comedy (1603)
1994 Legends Giant Turtle The turtle lives ‘twixt plated decks
Which practically conceal its sex.
I think it clever of the turtle
In such a fix to be so fertile.
Ogden Nash The Turtle Poem (1945)
1994 Legends Greed There is no calamity greater than lavish desires.
There is no greater guilt than discontentment.
And there is no greater disaster than greed.
Lao Tzu Tao Té Ching 46 Philosophical text (6th century BC)
1994 Legends Hammerheim Tis distance lends enchantment to the view,
And robes the mountain in its azure hue.
Thomas Campbell The Pleasures of Hope Poem (1799)
1994 Legends Headless Horseman … The ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head …
he sometimes passes along the Hollow, like a midnight blast …
Washington Irving The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Short story (1820)
1994 Legends Hellfire High on a throne of royal state …
insatiate to pursue vain war with heav'n.
John Milton Paradise Lost Poem (1667)
1994 Legends Holy Day The day of spirits; my soul’s calm retreat
Which none disturb!
Henry Vaughan Silex Scintillans: The Night Poem (1650)
1994 Legends Hornet Cobra Then inch by inch out of the grass rose up the head and spread hood of Nag, the big black cobra,
and he was five feet long from tongue to tail.
Rudyard Kipling The Jungle Books
Short story (1894)
1994 Legends Horror of Horrors And a horror of outer darkness after,
And dust returneth to dust again.
Adam Lindsay Gordon The Swimmer Poem (1870)
1994 Legends Hyperion Blacksmith The smith a mighty man is he
With large and sinewy hands.
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow The Village Blacksmith Poem (1840)
1994 Legends Karakas To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
Emily Dickinson To make a prairie Poem (1755)
1994 Legends Part Water … and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. The Bible, Exodus 14:22 Religious text (6th century BC)
1994 Legends Pendelhaven This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks …
Stand like Druids of old.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Evangeline Poem (1847)
1994 Legends Pyrotechnics Hi! ni! ya! Behold the man of flint, that’s me!
Four lightnings zigzag from me, strike and return.
Navajo war chant Chant (traditional)
1994 Legends Revelation Many are in high place, and of renown: but mysteries are revealed unto the meek. The Bible, Ecclesiastics 3:19 [8] Religious text (5th century BC)
1994 Legends Rust How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use,
As though to breathe were life!
Alfred, Lord Tennyson Ulysses Poem (1842)
1994 Legends Segovian Leviathan Leviathan, too! Can you catch him with a fish-hook or run a line round his tongue? The Bible, Job 41:1[9] Religious text (6th century BC)
1994 Legends Shimian Night Stalker When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world.
William Shakespeare Hamlet Tragedy (ca. 1600)
1994 Legends Syphon Soul Her lips suck forth; see, where it flies! Christopher Marlowe The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus Tragedy (ca. 1590)
1994 Legends The Abyss An immense river of oblivion is sweeping us away into a nameless abyss. Ernest Renan Souvenirs d'Enfance et de Jeunesse Autobiography (1883)
1994 Legends The Brute Union may be strength, but it is mere blind brute strength unless wisely directed. Samuel Butler The Note-Books of Samuel Butler Note (1912)
1994 Legends Thunder Spirit It was full of fire and smoke and light and …
it drove between us and the Efrafans like a thousand thunderstorms with lightning.
Richard Adams Watership Down Novel (1972)
1994 Legends Tolaria Fairest Isle, all isles excelling,
Seat of pleasures, and of loves …
John Dryden King Arthur Opera (1691)
1994 Legends Touch of Darkness Black spirits and white, red spirits and gray,
Mingle, mingle, mingle, you that mingle may.
Thomas Middleton The Witch Tragicomedy (1616)
1994 Legends Transmutation You know what I was,
You see what I am: change me, change me!
Randall Jarrell The Woman at the Washington Zoo Poem (1960)
1994 Legends Underworld Dreams In the drowsy dark cave of the mind,
dreams build their nest with fragments dropped from day’s caravan.
Rabindranath Tagore Fireflies Aphorism (1912)
1994 Legends Urborg Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.
So blend the turrets and shadows there
That all seem pendulous in air,
While from a proud tower in town
Death looks gigantically down.
Edgar Allan Poe The City in the Sea Poem (1845)
1994 Legends Vampire Bats For something is amiss or out of place
When mice with wings can wear a human face.
Theodore Roethke The Bat Poem (1941)
1994 Legends Visions Visions of glory, spare my aching sight,
Ye unborn ages, crowd not on my soul!
Thomas Gray The Bard Poem (1757)
1994 Legends Winds of Change Tis the set of sails, and not the gales,
Which tells us the way to go.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox The Winds of Fate Poem (1916)
1994 Legends Winter Blast Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow! William Shakespeare King Lear Tragedy (1606)
1994 Legends Wolverine Pack Give them great meals of beef and iron and steel, they will eat like wolves and fight like devils. William Shakespeare King Henry V History play (1599)
1994 The Dark Fissure Must not all things at the last be swallowed up in death? Plato Phaedo Dialogue (4th century BC)
1994 The Dark Squire Of twenty yeer of age he was, I gesse.
Of his stature he was of evene lengthe.
And wonderly delyvere, and of greete strengthe.
Geoffrey Chaucer The Canterbury Tales
(General Prologue)
Short story (1400)
1997 Fifth Edition Abyssal Specter Mystic shadow, bending near me,
Who art thou?
Whence come ye?
Stephen Crane Mystic shadow, bending near me Poem (1905)
1997 Fifth Edition Castle … Our castle’s strength
Will laugh a siege to scorn.
William Shakespeare Macbeth Tragedy (1606)
1997 Fifth Edition Energy Flux Nothing endures but change. Heraclitus On Nature Philosophical text (5th century BC)
1997 Fifth Edition Force Spike Unknown spears
Suddenly hurtle before my dream-awakened eyes … .
William Butler Yeats The Valley Of The Black Pig Poem (1896)
1997 Fifth Edition Funeral March Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
And seal the hushed casket of my soul.
John Keats To Sleep Poem (1900)
1997 Fifth Edition Hurricane The raging winds …, settling on the sea, the surges sweep,
Raise liquid mountains, and disclose the deep.
Virgil Aeneid Poem (1st century BC)
1997 Fifth Edition Ivory Guardians But who is to guard the guards themselves? Juvenal Satires Poem (2nd century BC)
1997 Fifth Edition Marsh Viper And the seraphs sob at vermin fangs
In human gore imbued.
Edgar Allen Poe The Conqueror Wurm Poem (1843)
1997 Fifth Edition Radjan Spirit Crawing, crawing,
For my crowse crawing,
I lost the best feather i’ my wing
For my crowse crawing.
Anonymous Scottish ballad Ballad
1997 Fifth Edition Righteousness I too shall be brought low by death,
but until then let me win glory.
Homer The Iliad, Book XVIII Poem (9th century BC)
1997 Fifth Edition Soul Barrier The Soul selects her own Society—
Then—shuts the Door—
Emily Dickinson The Soul selects her own Society Poem (1862)
1997 Fifth Edition Updraft Come one, come all! this rock shall fly
From its firm base as soon as I.
Sir Walter Scott The Lady of the Lake Poem (1810)
1997 Fifth Edition Wind Spirit … When the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.
Christina Rossetti Who Has Seen the Wind? Poem (1947)
1997 Portal Armageddon O miserable of happy! Is this the end Of this new glorious world … ? John Milton Paradise Lost Poem (1667)
1997 Portal Dread Charge As equal were their souls, so equal was their fate. John Dryden Ode to Mrs. Anne Killigrew Poem (1686)
1997 Portal Knight Errant … Before honor is humility. The Bible, Proverbs 15:33 Religious text (BC)
1997 Portal Moon Sprite I am that merry wanderer of the night. William Shakespeare A Midsummer Night's Dream Comedy (1600)
1997 Portal Sacred Nectar For he on honey-dew hath fed, And drunk the milk of Paradise. Samuel Coleridge Kubla Khan Poem (1797)
1997 Portal Symbol of Unsummoning … inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude … . Kate Chopin The Awakening Novel (1899)
1997 Portal Tidal Surge Twas when the seas were roaring
With hollow blasts of wind … .
John Gay The What D'Ye Call It Poem (1715)
1997 Portal Wind Drake No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings. William Blake The Marriage of Heaven and Hell Poem (1793)
1997 Portal Wrath of God As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods. They kill us for their sport. William Shakespeare King Lear Tragedy (1606)
1999 Portal Three Kingdoms Multiple cards (40 [2]) Multiple quotes Luo Guanzhong Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel History novel (14th century)
1999 Portal Three Kingdoms Ambition's Cost When you give offense to heaven, to whom can you pray? Confucius Analects Philosophical text (3rd century BC)
1999 Portal Three Kingdoms Barbarian General Barbarian tribes with their rulers are inferior to Chinese states without them. Confucius Analects Philosophical text (3rd century BC)
1999 Portal Three Kingdoms Burning Fields In raiding and plundering, be like fire, in immovability like a mountain. Sun Tzu The Art of War Military treatise (5th century BC)
1999 Portal Three Kingdoms False Defeat All warfare is based on deception. Sun Tzu The Art of War Military treatise (5th century BC)
1999 Portal Three Kingdoms Ravages of War Thorn bushes spring up wherever the army has passed. Lean years follow in the wake of a great war. Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching Philosophical text (6th century BC)
1999 Portal Three Kingdoms Sage's Knowledge Those who know do not talk. Those who talk do not know. Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching Philosophical text (6th century BC)
1999 Portal Three Kingdoms Slashing Tiger Unless you enter the tiger’s lair, you cannot get hold of the tiger’s cubs. Sun Tzu The Art of War Military treatise (5th century BC)
1999 Portal Three Kingdoms Three Visits Trying to meet a worthy man in the wrong way is as bad as closing the door on an invited guest. Mencius Mencius Philosophical text (4th century BC)
1999 Portal Three Kingdoms Wei Scout He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared. Sun Tzu The Art of War Military treatise (5th century BC)
1999 Portal Three Kingdoms Young Wei Recruits To send the common people to war untrained is to throw them away. Confucius Analects Philosophical text (3rd century BC)
1999 Starter 1999 Dakmor Ghoul Cursed be the sickly forms that err from honest Nature’s rule! Alfred, Lord Tennyson Locksley Hall Poem (1835)
1999 Starter 1999 Royal Trooper Fortune does not side with the faint-hearted. Sophocles Phaedra Tragedy (5th century BC)
1999 Starter 1999 Squall To-night the winds begin to rise … The rooks are blown about the skies … . Alfred, Lord Tennyson In Memoriam Poem (1849)
1999 Starter 1999 Tidings Many wearing rapiers are afraid of goose-quills. William Shakespeare Hamlet Tragedy (ca. 1600)
2001 Seventh Edition Ancestral Memories It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards Lewis Carroll Through the Looking Glass Novel (1871)
2001 Seventh Edition Boomerang Returne from whence ye came… . Edmund Spenser The Faerie Queene Poem (1590)
2001 Seventh Edition Squall May the winds blow till they have wakened death… . William Shakespeare Othello Tragedy (1603)
2001 Seventh Edition Jayemdae Tome Knowledge is power. Sir Francis Bacon Meditationes Sacrae Religious meditation (1597)
2001 Seventh Edition Lightning Elemental A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave,
He passes from life to his rest in the grave.
William Knox Mortality Poem (1824)
2001 Seventh Edition Dark Banishing Hence ‘banishèd’ is banished from the world,
And the world’s exile is death.
William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet Tragedy (1597)
2001 Seventh Edition Wind Drake But high she shoots through air and light,
Above all low delay,
Where nothing earthly bounds her flight,
Nor shadow dims her way.
Thomas Moore Oh that I had Wings Hymn (1855)
2001 FNM card Carnophage And in their blind and unattaining state their miserable lives have sunk so low that they must envy every other fate. Dante Inferno Poem (1320)
2001 FNM card Jackal Pup Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war. William Shakespeare Julius Caesar Historic play (1599)
2001 FNM card Ophidian I will … tell thee more than thou hast wit to ask. Christopher Marlowe The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus Tragedy (ca. 1590)
2001 FNM card Quirion Ranger I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately. Henry David Thoreau Walden Memoir (1854)
2001 FNM card Swords to Plowshares Peace hath her victories No less renownd than war. John Milton To the Lord General Cromwell Poem (1852)
2001 Junior Super Series City of Brass Enter this palace-gate and ask the news
Of greatness fallen into dust and clay.
The Arabian Nights Folk tale (9th century)
2001 Judge Gift Ball Lightning Life, struck sharp on death, Makes awful lightning. Elizabeth Barrett Browning Aurora Leigh Poem (1856)
2001 Magic Player Reward Wasteland I will show you fear in a handful of dust. T. S. Eliot The Waste Land Poem (1922)
2002 FNM card Black Knight The chill, to him who breathed it, drew
Down with his blood, till all his heart was cold.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson Idylls of the King Poem (1869)
2002 FNM card Fireslinger One pain is lessened by another’s anguish. William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet Tragedy (1597)
2002 FNM card Soltari Priest Fire is the test of gold; adversity of strong men. Seneca On Providence Dialogue (64)
2002 FNM card Wall of Blossoms Everything in Nature contains all the powers of Nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson Compensation Essay (1841)
2002 FNM card White Knight When good men die their goodness does not perish,
But lives though they are gone.
Euripides Temenidae Tragedy (5th century BC)
2002 Judge Gift Tradewind Rider Tis a shame, in such a tempest, to have but one anchor. Laurence Sterne Tristram Shandy Novel (1759)
2002 Arena League promo Dauthi Slayer A wisp of life remains in the undergloom of Death; a visible form, though no heart beats within it. Homer The Iliad Poem (9th century BC)
2002 Arena League promo Mana Leak If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts. Sir Francis Bacon Advancement of Learning Letter (1605)
2003 Eighth Edition Archivist Words — so innocent and powerless are they, as standing in a dictionary;
how potent for good and evil they become to one who knows how to combine them!
Nathaniel Hawthorne The American Notebooks (1835 - 1853) Note (1848)
2003 Eighth Edition Confiscate It is better to take what does not belong to you than to let it lie around neglected. Mark Twain More Maxims of Mark Note (1927)
2003 Eighth Edition Cowardice Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once. William Shakespeare Julius Caesar Historic play (1599)
2003 Eighth Edition Dark Banishing Ha, banishment? Be merciful, say ‘death,’
For exile hath more terror in his look,
Much more than death.
William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet Tragedy (1597)
2003 Eighth Edition Death Pits of Rath Neither could I forget what I had read of these pits
that the sudden extinction of life formed no part of their most horrible plan.
Edgar Allan Poe The Pit and the Pendulum Short story (1842)
2003 Eighth Edition Defense Grid A good deal of tyranny goes by the name of protection. Crystal Eastman Equality or Protection Column (1924)
2003 Eighth Edition Distorting Lens The Eye altering alters all. William Blake The Mental Traveller Poem (1863)
2003 Eighth Edition Enrage You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. David Banner The Incredible Hulk Catchphrase (1978)
2003 Eighth Edition Fear The horror. The horror. Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness Novella (1899)
2003 Eighth Edition Fertile Ground The love of nature …
is a furious, burning, physical greed… .
Mary Webb The House in Dormer Forest Short story (1920)
2003 Eighth Edition Fleeting Image Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow. Aesop Fables Fable (6th century BC)
2003 Eighth Edition Giant Octopus Before my eyes was a horrible monster, worthy to figure in the legends of the marvellous… .
Its eight arms, or rather feet, fixed to its head …
were twice as long as its body, and were twisted like the furies’ hair.
Jules Verne Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea Novel (1870)
2003 Eighth Edition Maggot Carrier We do not suddenly fall on death,
but advance towards it by slight degrees;
we die every day.
Seneca Epistles Letter (1st century)
2003 Eighth Edition Naturalize One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. William Shakespeare Troilus and Cressida Tragedy (1602)
2003 Eighth Edition Persecute Of all the tyrannies on humane kind The worst is that which persecutes the mind. [10] John Dryden The Hind and the Panther Poem (1687)
2003 Eighth Edition Redeem Let me redeem my brothers both from death. William Shakespeare Titus Andronicus Tragedy (ca. 1600)
2003 Eighth Edition Sacred Nectar Over the silver mountains,
Where spring the nectar fountains,
There will I kiss The bowl of bliss;
And drink my everlasting fill… .
Sir Walter Raleigh The Pilgrimage Poem (ca. 1603)
2003 Eighth Edition Solidarity We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. Benjamin Franklin Life of Franklin Quote (1776)
2003 Eighth Edition Swarm of Rats Rats, rats, rats! Hundreds, thousands, millions of them, and every one a life. Bram Stoker Dracula Novel (1897)
2003 Eighth Edition Treasure Trove Wealth means power; the power to subdue, to crush, to exploit, the power to enslave, to outrage, to degrade. Emma Goldman Anarchism Essay (1910)
2005 Ninth Edition Archivist Sit down and read. Educate yourself for the coming conflicts. Mary Harris "Mother" Jones Speech to railroad workers. Speech (1880's)
2005 Ninth Edition Cruel Edict No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells,
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells.
Wilfred Owen Anthem for Doomed Youth Poem (1917)
2005 Ninth Edition Early Harvest Earth’s increase, foison plenty, Barns and garners never empty:
Vines with clust'ring bunches growing;
Plants with goodly burden bowing.
William Shakespeare The Tempest Comedy (1610)
2005 Ninth Edition Greater Good To examine the causes of life, we must first have recourse to death. Mary Shelley Frankenstein Novel (1818)
2005 Ninth Edition Inspirit The hour of your redemption is here… . Rally to me… . rise and strike. Strike at every favorable opportunity. For your homes and hearths, strike! General Douglas MacArthur Speech to the people of the Philippines. Speech (1944)
2005 Ninth Edition Phantom Warrior There are as many pillows of illusion as flakes in a snow-storm. We wake from one dream into another dream. Ralph Waldo Emerson Illusions Essay (1860)
2005 Ninth Edition Seasoned Marshal We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat. Queen Victoria Letter to Arthur Balfour during the Boer War. Letter (1899)
2005 Ninth Edition Seething Song The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace, and the brightest thunder-bolt is elicited from the darkest storm. Charles Colton Lacon; or Many Things in Few Words; Addressed to Those Who Think Note (1828)
2005 Ninth Edition Warrior's Honor No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave. Calvin Coolidge Have Faith in Massachusetts: A Collection of Speeches and Messages Speech (1916)
2006 Judge Gift Pernicious Deed The tyrannous and bloody deed is done, The most arch deed of piteous massacre That ever yet this land was guilty of. William Shakespeare Richard III Historic play (1897)
2006 Judge Gift Exalted Angel She is a theme of honor and reknown,
…Whose present courage may beat down our foes.
William Shakespeare Troilus and Cressida Tragedy (1602)
2007 Tenth Edition Air Elemental The East Wind, an interloper in the dominions of Westerly Weather, is an impassive-faced tyrant with a sharp poniard held behind his back for a treacherous stab.[3] Joseph Conrad The Mirror of the Sea Memoir (1906)
2007 Tenth Edition Céphalalgie
(French Megrim)
Cloués au sol, de honte et de céphalalgies …
(Nailed to the earth, in shame and mental horror ...)
Arthur Rimbaud Poésies: First Communions Poem (1871)
2007 Tenth Edition Mind Stone Not by age but by capacity is wisdom gained. Titus Maccius Plautus Trinummus Comedy (2nd century BC)
2007 Gateway card Mind Stone Except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power. René Descartes Discourse on Method Philosophical treatise (1637)
2007 Gateway card Mogg Fanatic As if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart’s shell upon it. Herman Melville Moby Dick Novel (1851)
2008 From the Vault: Dragons Ebon Dragon The dragon wing of night o'erspreads the earth. William Shakespeare Troilus and Cressida Tragedy (1602)
2009 Magic 2010 Alluring Siren The ground polluted floats with human gore,
And human carnage taints the dreadful shore
Fly swift the dangerous coast: let every ear
Be stopp’d against the song! ‘tis death to hear!
Homer The Odyssey Poem (9th century BC)
2010 Magic 2011 Back to Nature Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same. Ralph Waldo Emerson Essays Essay (1841)
2010 Magic 2011 Dark Tutelage It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness. Seneca Epistles Letter (1st century)
2010 Magic 2011 Diminish ‘That was a narrow escape!’ said Alice, a good deal frightened at the sudden change, but very glad to find herself still in existence.’ Lewis Carroll Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Novel (1865)
2011 Magic 2012 Taste of Blood How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads, to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams. Bram Stoker Dracula Novel (1897)
2012 Magic 2013 Unsummon Not to be. That is the answer.
Rif on To be or not to be.
William Shakespeare Hamlet Tragedy (ca. 1600)
2013 Magic 2014 Pay No Heed Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety. William Shakespeare King Henry IV, Part I History play (1597)
2013 Magic 2014 Zephyr Charge All armies prefer high ground to low and sunny places to dark. Sun Tzu The Art of War Military treatise (5th century BC)
2020 Secret Lair Drop Series: Secretversary Evolving Wilds We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents. Bob Ross The Joy of Painting Instructional television show (1983-1994)

Notes and references[]

  1. Doug Beyer (November 19, 2008). "Perfection Through Etherium". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. a b John Dale Beety (February 24, 2011). "Compulsive Research - The Top Five Sources Of Real-World Flavor Text".
  3. a b Wizards of the Coast (August 9, 2006). "Selecting Tenth Edition, Week 9". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater (July 16, 2019). "Is there a chance of cards (or at least those in core sets) quoting real-life literature in their flavor texts again in the future?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  5. Aaron Forsythe (July 25, 2002). "Selecting Eighth Edition". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. a b Mark Rosewater (March 25, 2002). "Add Text to Flavor". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Mark Rosewater (January 22, 2013). "Please tell the relevant people that i very strongly feel that core set flavor text should have more literary quotes.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  8. The quotation in the flavor text is from Ecclesiastics 3:19, not from Ecclesiastes 3:19 as mentioned on the card. This error was corrected in Chronicles
  9. The quotation in the flavor text is from Job 41:1, not Job 40:25 as mentioned on the card (although it is Job 40:25 in the original Hebrew text). This error was corrected in Fifth Edition.
  10. Aaron Forsythe (October 10, 2002). "Selecting Eighth Edition".