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date: 27 May 2024


see also Death
  1. Lizzie Borden took an axe
    And gave her mother forty whacks;
    When she saw what she had done
    She gave her father forty-one!
    after the acquittal of Lizzie Borden, in June 1893, from the charge of murdering her father and stepmother at Fall River, Massachusetts, on 4 August 1892
    Anonymous: popular rhyme
  2. Mordre wol out; that se we day by day.
    Geoffrey Chaucer c.1343–1400 English poet: The Canterbury Tales ‘The Nun's Priest's Tale’ l. 3052
  3. Thou shalt not kill; but need'st not strive
    Officiously to keep alive.
    Arthur Hugh Clough 1819–61 English poet: ‘The Latest Decalogue’ (1862)
  4. Murder considered as one of the fine arts.
    Thomas De Quincey 1785–1859 English essayist and critic: title of essay in Blackwood's Magazine February 1827
  5. If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination.
    Thomas De Quincey 1785–1859 English essayist and critic: ‘On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts’ (Supplementary Paper) in Blackwood's Magazine November 1839
  6. Assassination has never changed the history of the world.
    Benjamin Disraeli 1804–81 British Tory statesman and novelist; Prime Minister 1868, 1874–80: speech, House of Commons, 1 May 1865
  7. Any man has to, needs to, wants to
    Once in a lifetime, do a girl in.
    T. S. Eliot 1888–1965 American-born British poet, critic, and dramatist: Sweeney Agonistes (1932) ‘Fragment of an Agon’
  8. Television has brought back murder into the home—where it belongs.
    Alfred Hitchcock 1899–1980 British-born film director: in Observer 19 December 1965
  9. English law does not permit good persons, as such, to strangle bad persons, as such.
    T. H. Huxley 1825–95 English biologist: letter in Pall Mall Gazette, 31 October 1866
  10. In that case, if we are to abolish the death penalty, let the murderers take the first step.
    Alphonse Karr 1808–90 French novelist and journalist: in Les Guêpes January 1849 (6th series, 1859)
  11. Whoso slays a soul not to retaliate for a soul slain, nor for corruption done in the land, shall be as if he had slain mankind altogether.
    The Koran: sura 5, tr. A. J. Arberry
  12. Roast beef and Yorkshire, or roast pork and apple sauce, followed up by suet pudding and driven home, as it were, by a cup of mahogany-brown tea, have put you in just the right mood. Your pipe is drawing sweetly, the sofa cushions are soft underneath you, the fire is well alight, the air is warm and stagnant. In these blissful circumstances, what is it that you want to read about?
    Naturally, about a murder.
    George Orwell 1903–50 English novelist: Decline of the English Murder and other essays (1965) title essay, written 1946
  13. Kill a man, and you are an assassin. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill everyone, and you are a god.
    Jean Rostand 1894–1977 French biologist: Pensées d'un biologiste (1939) p. 116; see Porteus, Young
  14. Murder most foul, as in the best it is;
    But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.
    William Shakespeare 1564–1616 English dramatist: Hamlet (1601) act 1, sc. 5, l. 27 (Oxford Standard Authors ed.)