Pens are devices used to apply ink to a surface, usually paper, for writing or drawing. Historically, reed pens, quill pens, and dip pens were used, with a nib of some sort to be dipped in the ink. Ruling pens allow precise adjustment of line width, and still find a few specialized uses, but technical pens such as the Rapidograph are more commonly used. Modern types also include ballpoint, rollerball, fountain, and felt or ceramic tip pens.
- Whose noble praise
Deserves a quill pluckt from an angel's wing.
- Dorothy Berry, Sonnet, prefixed to Diana Primrose's Chain of Pearls (1699).
- Beneath the rule of men entirely great
The pen is mightier than the sword.
- Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Richelieu (1839), Act II, scene 2.
- Hinc quam sit calamus sævior euse, patet.
- From this it appears how much more cruel the pen may be than the sword.
- Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part I, Section XXI. Mem. 4. Subsec. 4.
- Oh! nature's noblest gift—my gray-goose quill!
Slave of my thoughts, obedient to my will,
Torn from thy parent-bird to form a pen,
That mighty instrument of little men!
- Lord Byron, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809), line 7.
- The pen wherewith thou dost so heavenly sing
Made of a quill from an angel's wing.
- Henry Constable, Sonnet, found in Notes to Todd's Milton, Volume V, p. 454 (Ed. 1826).
- The pen is mightier than the sword.
- Benjamin Franklin, Oration, (1783).
- When a filled pen is held point downwards, the ink it contains is acted on by a variety of forces, among which may be reckoned gravity, inertia, capillary attraction, air pressure, friction, and the viscosity of the liquid, as well as several minor forces. If the pen is properly made, these forces are in a state of equilibrium, and the ink does not run out of the reservoir. As soon, however, as the point touches a surface it is capable of wetting, the action of the capillary atraction is altered, with the result that the ink is enabled to flow from the reservoir, and that the pen writes.
- James P. Maginnis, "Lecture III. Cantor lectures. Reservoir, Fountain. and Stylographic Pens". Journal of the Royal Society of Arts 53. 1905. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uiug.30112007628008&view=1up&seq=1182&q1=maginnis. (p. 1168)
- The swifter hand doth the swift words outrun:
Before the tongue hath spoke the hand hath done.
- Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), Book XIV, Epigram 208. Translation by Wright (on a shorthand writer).
- Qu'on me donne six lignes écrites de la main du plus honnête homme, j'y trouverai de quoi le faire pendre.
- If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.
- Attributed to Richelieu by Fournier, L'Esprit dans l'Histoire (1883), Chapter XLI, p. 255.
- Tant la plume a eu sous le roi d'avantage sur l'épée.
- So far had the pen, under the king, the superiority over the sword.
- Saint Simon, Mémoires, Volume III (1702; Ed. 1856), p. 517.
- Let there be gall enough in thy ink, though thou write with a goose-pen, no matter.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 592-93.
- Art thou a pen, whose task shall be
To drown in ink
What writers think?
Oh, wisely write,
That pages white
Be not the worse for ink and thee.
- Ethel Lynn Beers, The Gold Nugget.
- For what made that in glory shine so long
But poets' Pens, pluckt from Archangels' wings?
- John Davies, Bien Venu.
- Anser, apie, vitellus, populus et regna gubernant.
- Goose [pen] bee [wax] and calf [parchment] govern the world.
- Quoted by James Howell. Letters, Book II. Letter 2.
- The pen became a clarion.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Monte Cassino, Stanza 13.
- The sacred Dove a quill did lend
From her high-soaring wing.
- F. Nethersole. Prefixed to Giles Fletcher's Christ's Victorie.
- Non sest aliena res, quæ fere ab honestis negligi solet, cura bene ac velociter scribendi.
- Men of quality are in the wrong to undervalue, as they often do, the practise of a fair and quick hand in writing; for it is no immaterial accomplishment.
- Quintilian, De Institutione Oratorio, I. 5.
- You write with ease, to show your breeding, But easy writing's curst hard reading.
- Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Clio's Protest. See Moore's Life of Sheridan, Volume I, p. 55.
- The feather, whence the pen
Was shaped that traced the lives of these good men,
Dropped from an Angel's wing.
- William Wordsworth, Ecclesiastical Sonnets, Part III. V. Walton's Book of Lives.