Say It With Swine

Quotations concerning pigs
and their descriptive utility

bucking pig

Pig-sticking Philistine, bourgeois pig or boar-bating barbarian — these and many others often meet on the pig paths of the world.

And when we regale in our Pigaleian pleasures, we realize that we are all ‘souee generis,’ we are all the pigs of our own sows.


The wretched, bloody, and usurping boar,
That spoil’d your summer fields and fruitful vines,
Swills your warm blood like wash, and makes his trough
In your embowell’d bosoms, this foul swine
Lies now even in the centre of this isle,
Near to the town of Leicester, as we learn
From Tamworth thither is but one day’s march.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
English dramatist and poet. The Tragedy of King Richard III, Act 5, Scene 2 (1593-3).

The wind snorted across the Kansas plains.

Gail Sheehy (b. 1937)
U.S. author, journalist and critic.

His face was the color of a freshly baked pork pie and as noncommittal.

Thomas Pynchon (b. 1937)
U.S. writer.

Pigs must have hot blood, they feel like ovens.

Ted Hughes (1930-1998)
British poet, Poet Laureate of England (1984). View of a Pig (1960).

Is there a man among us who on running through a list of his friends, is unable to say that there is one among them who is a perfect pig?

W.H. Hudson (1841-1922)
British naturalist and author.

A beer so clouded, that it looked
    as if it were a lake and pigs had wrestled in it.

Anonymous
A popular 16th century English commentary on hopped beer.

Sometimes I’m not able to find the trajectory of an idea and carry it through to the end. [My director] is a truffle pig to an idea. He just ruts it out.

Jon Robin Baitz (b, 1961)
U.S. playwright. The Playwriting Seminars by Richard Toscan.

The history of Sicily was larded with treachery.

Mario Puzo, (1920-1999)
U.S. novelist.

Now, it is senseless getting the thing [modern architecture] in a heap, pig-piling, to pig-pile some more. Believe me, it is old-fashioned. It is not in the keeping of our modern opportunities. It is not in the keeping of our modern thought. It is dead. And I believe that unless real estate men… get this message: decentralization — reintegration — organic architecture — the use of our other resources… we have not got a civilization.

Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959)
U.S. architect with a distinctive style, based on natural forms. “Lower Construction Costs for Homes”, a speech before the 25th Annual Convention of the National Association of Real Estate Boards held at the Netherland Plaza Hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio on June 30, 1932.

Me pinguem et nitidum bene curata cute vises,
   …Epicuri de grege porcum.

You may see me, fat and shining, with well-cared for hide
   …a hog from Epicurus’ herd.

Horace (65-8 BC)
Roman lyric poet and master of poetic form. Epistoles (22-8 BC).

Well-being and happiness never appeared to me as an absolute aim. I am even inclined to compare such moral aims to the ambitions of a pig.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
Theoretical physicist, widely considered to have been one of the greatest physicists of all time. Quoted in C.P. Snow’s Variety of Men (1969).

Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow.

James Joyce (1882-1941)
Irish novelist and poet. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916).

My own dearest piggish pig…

Simone de Beauvoir
A favorite form of address that the French existentialist, feminist writer and author of The Second Sex (1949), uses in letters circa 1947-48 written to her new lover, U.S. author Nelson Algren, while they are traveling and separated from each other.

Pearls before swine.

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)
Attributed to this U.S. writer and critic, replying to someone after they held a door open for her, saying “age before beauty.”

Spelling reform has only made [our alphabet] bald-headed and unsightly. There is a whole tribe of them, “row” and “read” and “lead” — a whole family who don’t know who they are. I ask you to pronounce s-o-w , and you ask me what kind of a one. If we had a sane, determinate alphabet, instead of a hospital of comminuted eunuchs, you would know whether one referred to the act of a man casting the seed over the ploughed land or whether one wished to recall the lady hog and the future ham.

Mark Twain, a pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910)
U.S. writer and humorist. The Alphabet and Simplified Spelling, an address at the dinner given to Mr. Carnegie at the dedication of the New York Engineers’ Club, December 9, 1907.

Already the legend had gifted him with supernatural powers. Yes, it was said, there had been many ropes cunningly disposed, and a strange contrivance that turned by the efforts of many men, and each gun went up tearing slowly through the bushes, like a wild pig rooting its way in the undergrowth…

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)
Polish-born British author. Lord Jim (1900).

But I do remember myself on deck watching the hills now well above the horizon, asking myself again if Ireland were going to appear to me small as a pig’s back or a land of extraordinary enchantment? It was the hills themselves that reminded me of the legend — on the left, rough and uncomely as a drove of pigs running down a lane, with one tall hill very like the peasant whom I used to see in childhood, an old man that wore a tall hat, knee-breeches, worsted stockings, and brogues. Like a pig’s back Ireland has appeared to me, I said; but soon after on my right a lovely hill came into view, shaped like a piece of sculpture and I said: Perhaps I am going to see Ireland as an enchanted isle after all.

George Moore (1852-1933)
Irish novelist, playwright and poet, and a co-founder of the Irish Literary Theatre (1899) which eventually became the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Hail and Farewell (1914).

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A random image of a pig, hog, boar or swine from the collection at Porkopolis.