„When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.“

Last update May 15, 2022. History
Abraham Lincoln photo
Abraham Lincoln619
16th President of the United States 1809 - 1865

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Franklin D. Roosevelt photo

„When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.“

—  Franklin D. Roosevelt 32nd President of the United States 1882 - 1945

The earliest citation yet found does not attribute this to Roosevelt, but presents it as a piece of anonymous piece folk-wisdom: "When one reaches the end of his rope, he should tie a knot in it and hang on" ( LIFE magazine (3 April 1919), p. 585 http://hdl.handle.net/2027/wu.89063018576?urlappend=%3Bseq=65).
Misattributed
Variant: When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.

Theodore Roosevelt photo

„When you're at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on.“

—  Theodore Roosevelt American politician, 26th president of the United States 1858 - 1919

„If you're at the end of your rope… untie the knot in your heart.“

—  Cooper Edens American writer 1945

Source: If You're Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow/Add One More Star to the Night

Justine Larbalestier photo

„A difference in self loathing? Please. The only difference between a gun and a rope is the time it takes to tie the knot.“

—  Justine Larbalestier Australian young-adult fiction author 1967

Source: Zombies Vs. Unicorns

A.E. Housman photo

„All knots that lovers tie
Are tied to sever.
Here shall your sweetheart lie,
Untrue for ever.“

—  A.E. Housman English classical scholar and poet 1859 - 1936

Source: More Poems

Barney Frank photo

„Moderate Republicans are reverse Houdinis. They tie themselves up in knots and then tell you they can't do anything because they're tied up in knots.“

—  Barney Frank American politician, former member of the House of Representatives for Massachusetts 1940

Quoted in Dionne, E. J., The Washington Post, (16 November 2004)]

Garth Brooks photo

„On a prayer,
In a song,
I hear your voice,
And it keeps me hanging on.
Oh, raining down, against the wind,
I'm reaching out,
'Till we reach the circle's end.
When you come back to me again.“

—  Garth Brooks American country music artist 1962

When You Come Back to Me Again, written by Jenny Yates and G. Brooks.
Song lyrics, Scarecrow (2001)

Tupac Shakur photo

„Niggers was the ones with the rope, hanging off trees; Niggas are the ones with gold ropes, hanging out at clubs.“

—  Tupac Shakur rapper and actor 1971 - 1996

Posthumous attributions, Tupac: Resurrection (2003)
Source: Resurrection, 1971-1996

Edna St. Vincent Millay photo

„When I can make
Of ten small words a rope to hang the world!
"I had you and I have you now no more.“

—  Edna St. Vincent Millay American poet 1892 - 1950

Source: Renascence and Other Poems

Mary E. Pearson photo
Vladimir Lenin photo

„We will hang the capitalists with the rope that they sell us.“

—  Vladimir Lenin Russian politician, led the October Revolution 1870 - 1924

According to the book, "They Never Said It", p. 64, there is no evidence Lenin ever said this. Lenin was supposed to have made his observation to one of his close associates, Grigori Zinoviev, not long after a meeting of the Politburo in the early 1920s, but there is no evidence that he ever did. Experts on the Soviet Union reject the rope quote as spurious.
Misattributed

Karl Marx photo

„We will hang the capitalists with the rope that they sell us.“

—  Karl Marx German philosopher, economist, sociologist, journalist and revolutionary socialist 1818 - 1883

Often attributed to Lenin or Stalin, less often to Marx. According to the book, "They Never Said It", p. 64, the phrase derives from a rumour that Lenin said this to one of his close associates, Grigori Zinoviev, not long after a meeting of the Politburo in the early 1920s, but there is no evidence that he ever did. Experts on the Soviet Union reject the rope quote as spurious.
Misattributed

Joseph Stalin photo

„We will hang the capitalists with the rope that they sell us.“

—  Joseph Stalin General secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union 1879 - 1953

Often attributed to Stalin and Marx, according to the book, They Never Said It (1989), p. 64, the phrase derives from a rumour that Lenin said this to one of his close associates, Grigori Zinoviev, not long after a meeting of the Politburo in the early 1920s, but there is no evidence that he ever did. It has also been believed that Lenin may have expressed that the profit motive cannot be undone in that "If we were to hang the last capitalist, another would suddenly appear to sell us the rope". Experts on the Soviet Union reject the rope quote as spurious. However, it is established that Lenin did remark on the same underlying theme (even if not in reference to rope), namely, that capitalists in their addiction to high profits could not help themselves from selling things to a socialist state, even if it was against their own long-term interests by strengthening an enemy; Edvard Radzinsky covers it in his discussion of Lenin's comments on the "deaf-mutes" in Radzinsky's biography of Stalin.
Misattributed

Thomas Fuller (writer) photo

„1657. Give him but Rope enough, and he'll hang himself.“

—  Thomas Fuller (writer) British physician, preacher, and intellectual 1654 - 1734

Introductio ad prudentiam: Part II (1727), Gnomologia (1732)

Charles Haughey photo

„You know, I have a theory about Charlie Haughey. If you give him enough rope, he'll hang you.“

—  Charles Haughey Irish politician 1925 - 2006

BBC Ireland correspondent Leo Enright at the end of Haughey's premiership.
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Octavio Paz photo

„No one hangs himself by the rope of a physical law. The equations fall tirelessly into themselves.“

—  Octavio Paz Mexican writer laureated with the 1990 Nobel Prize for Literature 1914 - 1998

The Clerk's Vision (1949)
Context: The world stretches out before me, the vast world of the big, the little, and the medium. Universe of kings and presidents and jailors, of mandarins and pariahs and liberators and liberated, of judges and witnesses and the condemned: stars of the first, second, third and nth magnitudes, planets, comets, bodies errant and eccentric or routine and domesticated by the laws of gravity, the subtle laws of falling, all keeping step, all turning slowly or rapidly around a void. Where they claim the central sun lies, the solar being, the hot beam made out of every human gaze, there is nothing but a hole and less than a hole: the eye of a dead fish, the giddy cavity of the eye that falls into itself and looks at itself without seeing. There is nothing with which to fill the hollow center of the whirlwind. The springs are smashed, the foundations collapsed, the visible or invisible bonds that joined one star to another, one body to another, one man to another, are nothing but a tangle of wires and thorns, a jungle of claws and teeth that twist us and chew us and spit us out and chew us again. No one hangs himself by the rope of a physical law. The equations fall tirelessly into themselves.
And in regard to the present matter, if the present matters: I do not belong to the masters. I don't wash my hands of it, but I am not a judge, nor a witness for the prosecution, nor an executioner. I do not torture, interrogate, or suffer interrogation. I do not loudly plead for leniency, nor wish to save myself or anyone else. And for all that I don't do and for all that they do to us, I neither ask forgiveness nor forgive. Their piety is as abject as their justice. Am I innocent? I'm guilty. Am I guilty? I'm innocent. (I'm innocent when I'm guilty, guilty when I'm innocent. I'm guilty when … but that is another song. Another song? It's all the same song.) Guilty innocent, innocent guilty, the fact is I quit.

Karl Marx photo

„The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope.“

—  Karl Marx German philosopher, economist, sociologist, journalist and revolutionary socialist 1818 - 1883

Edward R. Murrow photo

„It is not necessary to remind you of the fact that your voice, amplified to the degree where it reaches from one end of the country to the other, does not confer upon you greater wisdom than when your voice reached only from one end of the bar to the other. All of these things you know.“

—  Edward R. Murrow Television journalist 1908 - 1965

A variant of part of this statement is often quoted: Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.
RTNDA Convention Speech (1958)
Context: I have no technical advice or counsel to offer those of you who labor in this vineyard, the one that produces words and pictures. You will, I am sure, forgive me for not telling you that instruments with which you work are miraculous, that your responsibility is unprecedented or that your aspirations are frequently frustrated. It is not necessary to remind you of the fact that your voice, amplified to the degree where it reaches from one end of the country to the other, does not confer upon you greater wisdom than when your voice reached only from one end of the bar to the other. All of these things you know.

Karl Marx photo

„If we were to hang the last capitalist, another would appear to sell us the rope.“

—  Karl Marx German philosopher, economist, sociologist, journalist and revolutionary socialist 1818 - 1883

A variant of the above misquote, sometimes also attributed to Lenin. This gained popularity during the glasnost era when black market activity was at its most visible in the USSR; meant to show the profit motive was human nature and cannot be eradicated.
Misattributed

Rumi photo

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