The Cigar Quote Primer
Some of the most celebrated sayings about cigars have a long, colorful and sometimes surprising history
Fred R. Shapiro
From the Print Edition:
Tom Selleck, Nov/Dec 2007
(continued from page 1)
"Some sigh for this and that;
My wishes don't go far;
The world may wag at will,
So I have my cigar."
—Thomas Hood, "The Cigar"
"You should hurry up…and acquire the cigar habit. It's one of the major happinesses. And so
much more lasting than love, so much less costly in emotional wear and tear."
—Aldous Huxley, Time Must Have a Stop
"I said, 'Forgive me, sir,' and plucked the cigar out of his mouth. By the time I got back to
my camera, he looked so belligerent he could have devoured me. It was at that instant that I took
the photograph. The silence was deafening."
—Yousuf Karsh, recalling the taking of his famous "bulldog" photograph of Winston Churchill
"'A cigar,' said the altruist, 'a cigar, my good man, I cannot give you. But any time you need
a light, just come around; mine is always lit.'"
"Young man, you may or may not have murdered a middle-aged woman, but you've certainly saved
the life of an elderly barrister."
—Charles Laughton, thanking Tyrone Power for sneaking him a cigar, Witness for the Prosecution (film)
"No cigar-smoker ever committed suicide."
—William Maginn, Irish writer
"I never can understand how anyone can not smoke—it deprives a man of the best part of
life...with a good cigar in his mouth a man is perfectly safe, nothing can touch him—literally."
—Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain
"I promised myself that if I ever had some money that I would savor a cigar each day after
lunch and after dinner. This is the only resolution of my youth that I have kept, and the only
realized ambition which has not brought dissolution."
—W. Somerset Maugham, Summing Up
"'Life's a cigar': the wasting body glows;
The head turns white as Kosciusko's snows;
And, with the last soul-fragrance still in air,
The ashes slowly sink in soft repose."
—George G. McCrae, "Life's a Cigar"
"You better take advantage of the good cigars. You don't get much else in that job."
—Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, advice to Vice President Walter Mondale
"I can't stand cigarette smoke…. Cigarette smoking is both expensive and unhealthy. There
should be a law against women smoking…. Now take the cigar. Cigars are an expression of the
fundamental idea of smoking. A stimulant and a relaxation. A manly vice."
—Victor Sjostrom, lecturing Ingrid Thulin about smoking, Wild Strawberries (film)
"Yes, social friend, I love thee well, In learned doctors' spite; Thy clouds all other clouds
dispel, And lap me in delight."
—Charles Sprague, "To My Cigar"
"Call the roller of big cigars, The muscular one, and bid him whip In kitchen cups concupiscent
—Wallace Stevens, "The Emperor of Ice-Cream"
"Fuller's cigar in the night was a beacon warning carefree, frivolous people away. It was
plainly a cigar smoked in anger."
—Kurt Vonnegut, Welcome to the Monkey House
"It [love] is like a cigar. If it goes out you can light it again, but it never tastes quite
—Lord Wavell, British field marshal
You must be logged in to post a comment.