Pipe Smoking Quotes

Testified to by pipe clubs, pipe shows, and our Daily Reader itself, pipe smokers love talking about pipes and tobacco. Ask any pipe smoker about a certain aspect of the hobby or about their experience as a pipe smoker, and they'll likely want nothing more than to spend the next hour sharing their thoughts and listening to yours. Beyond that, some of history's greatest writers and thinkers were pipe smokers themselves — likely hinting at some sort of connection between eloquent rhetoric and pipe smoking (or at least that's how we enthusiasts like to interpret that relationship).

Listed below are some of our favorite quotes and literary references regarding pipes and pipe tobacco. Some are from well-known personas, others less famous, but all are unified in a love for the hobby. Have a favorite of your own that's not listed? Share it below in the comments!

I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgement in all human affairs."

- Albert Einstein

When love grows cool, thy fire still warms me;
When friends are fled, thy presence charms me.
If thou art full, though purse be bare,
I smoke and cast away all care."

- German Smoking Song

A pipe gives a wise man time to think and a fool something to stick in his mouth."

- Trischmann's Paradox

There is nothing like being left alone again to walk peacefully with oneself in the woods, to boil one's coffee and fill one's pipe, and to think idly and slowly as one does it."

- Knut Hamsun

For this: Some links we forge are never broker;
      Some feelings claim exemption from decay;
And Love, of which this pipe is but the token,
      Shall last, though pipes and smokers pass away."

- W.H.B., "On Receipt of a Rare Pipe"

The pipe draws wisdom from the lips of the philosopher, and shuts up the mouth of the foolish; it generates a style of conversation, contemplative, thoughtful, benevolent, and unaffected."

- William Makepeace Thackeray, "The Social Pipe"

Well, it keeps my hands busy and my mouth shut."

- Anonymous, regarding smoking a pipe

Pipe smoking is properly an intellectual exercise."

- Christopher Morley

The knocking out of a pipe can be made almost as important as the smoking of it, especially if there are nervous people in the room. A good, smart knock of a pipe against a tin wastebasket and you will have a neurasthenic out of his chair and into the window sash in no time."

- Robert Benchley

Smoke your pipe and be silent; there's only wind and smoke in the world."

- Irish Proverb

Oh, give me but Virginia's weed,
An earthen bowl, a stem of reed,
     What care I for the weather?
Though winter freeze and summer broil
We rest us from our days of toil
     My Pipe and I together!"

- Hermann Rave, "The Ballad of the Pipe"

A pipe is the foundation of contemplation, the source of pleasure, the companion of the wise, and the man who smokes thinks like a philosopher and acts like a Samaritan."

- Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

Nowhere in the world will such a brotherly feeling of confidence be experienced as amongst those who sit together smoking their pipes."

- Dr. Barnstein, The Results and Merits of Tobacco (1844)

[T]he moment a man takes to a pipe, he becomes a philosopher. It's the poor man's friend; it calms the mind, soothes the temper, and makes a man patient under difficulties. It has made more good men, good husbands, kind masters, indulgent fathers, than any other blessed thing on this universal earth."

- Sam Slick in Thomas Chandler Haliburton's The Clockmaker (1835)

A glass is good, and a lass is good,
     And a pipe to smoke in cold weather;
The world is good, and the people are good,
     And we're all good fellows together."

- John O'Keefe, Sprigs of Laurel

If you can't send money, send tobacco."

- George Washington in a letter to the Continental Congress (1776)

Pipe smoking is the most protracted of all forms of tobacco consumption. It may explain why pipe smokers are generally regarded as patient men — and philosophers."

- Jerome E. Brooks, The Mighty Leaf: Tobacco Through the Centuries (1952)

Vin frowned. This is, she thought, undoubtedly the strangest informant meeting I've ever been to. Slowswift puffed on his pipe. He didn't appear to be waiting for her to say anything. In fact, he seemed to think the conversation was over."

- Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn: The Hero of Ages (2009)

Let the toper regale in his tankard of ale,
     Or with alcohol moisten his thrapple,
Only give me, I pray, a good pipe of soft clay,
     Nicely tapered and thin in the stapple;
And I shall puff, puff, let who will say, 'Enough!'
     No luxury else I'm in lack o',
No malice I hoard 'gainst queen, prince, duke, or lord,
     While I pull at my pipe of tobacco."

- John Usher, "A Pipe of Tobacco"

Every morning I wake up and think good, another 24 hours' pipe smoking."

- J.R.R. Tolkien

After some time he felt for his pipe. It was not broken, and that was something. Then he felt for his pouch, and there was some tobacco in it, and that was something more. Then he felt for matches and he could not find any at all, and that shattered his hopes completely."

- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, or There and Back Again (1937)

There is another astonishing thing about Hobbits of old that must be mentioned, an astonishing habit: they imbibed or inhaled, through pipes of clay or wood, the smoke of the burning leaves of a herb, which they called pipe-weed or leaf, a variety probably of Nicotiana. A great deal of mystery surrounds the origin of this peculiar custom or 'art' as the Hobbits preferred to call it."

- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)

Sam was chewing an apple thoughtfully. He had a pocket full of them: a parting present from Nob and Bob. 'Apples for walking, and a pipe for sitting,' he said. 'But I reckon I'll miss them both before long.'"

- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)

He had a tall tankard in front of him, and was smoking a long-stemmed pipe curiously carved. His legs were stretched out before him, showing high boots of supple leather that fitted him well, but had seen much wear and were now caked in mud. A travel-stained cloak of heavy dark-green cloth was drawn close about him, and in spite of the heat of the room he wore a hood that overshadowed his face; but the gleam of his eyes could be seen as he watched the hobbits."

- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)

Frodo lay down again. He felt too comfortable and peaceful to argue, and in any case he did not think he would get the better of an argument. He was fully awake now, and the memory of his journey was returning: the disastrous 'short cut' through the Old Forest; the 'accident' at The Prancing Pony; and his madness in putting on the Ring in the dell under Weathertop. While he was thinking of all these things and trying in vain to bring his memory down to his arriving in Rivendell, there was a long silence, broken only by the soft puffs of Gandalf's pipe, as he blew white smoke-rings out of the window."

- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)

'Well, you can go on looking forward,' said Gandalf. 'There may be many unexpected feats ahead for you. For myself I would like a pipe to smoke in comfort, and warmer feet. However, we are certain of one thing at any rate: it will get warmer as we get south.'"

- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)

The sky above had cleared again and was slowly filled with twinkling stars. Frodo and his companions huddled round the fire, wrapped in every garment and blanket they possessed; but Strider was content with a single cloak, and sat a little apart, drawing thoughtfully at his pipe."

- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)

'Half a moment!' said Pippin. Putting his hand inside the breast of his jacket he pulled out a little soft wallet on a string. 'I keep a treasure or two near my skin, as precious as Rings to me. Here's one: my old wooden pipe. And here's another: an unused one. I have carried it a long way, though I don't know why. I never really expected to find any pipe-weed on the journey, when my own ran out. But now it comes in useful after all.' He held up a small pipe with a wide flattened bowl, and handed it to Gimli. 'Does that settle the score between us?' he said.
      'Settle it!' cried Gimli. 'Most noble hobbit, it leaves me deep in your debt.'"

- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers (1954)

Not-smoking is a whole time job."

- C.S. Lewis, Letters of C.S. Lewis

When Stubb had departed, Ahab stood for a while leaning over the bulwarks; and then, as had been usual with him of late, calling a sailor of the watch, he sent him below for his ivory stool, and also his pipe. Lighting the pipe at the binnacle lamp and planting the stool on the weather side of the deck, he sat and smoked."

- Herman Melville, Moby Dick: Or the Whale (1851)

With Pipe and Book at close of day,
Oh, what is sweeter, mortal, say?
It matters not what book on knee,
Old Izaak or the Odyssey
It matters not meerschaum or clay."

- Richard Le Gallienne, "With Pipe and Book"

There may be comrades in this world,
     As stanch and true as steel.
There are: and by their friendships firm
     Is my life made only real.
But, after all, of all these hearts
     That close with mine entwine,
None lie so near, nor seem so dear
     As this old pipe of mine."

- Elton J. Buckley, "My Pipe and I"

'I believe I could smoke this pipe all day,' said Joe. 'I don't feel sick.'
'Neither do I,' said Tom. 'I could smoke it all day. But I bet you Jeff Thatcher couldn't.'
'Jeff Thatcher! Why he'd keel over just with two draws. Just let him try it once. He'd see!'
     'I be he would. And Johnny Miller—I wish I could see Johnny Miller tackle it once.'
     'O, don't I!' said Joe. 'Why, I bet you Johnny Miller couldn't any more do this than nothing. Just one little snifter would fetch him.'
     'Deed it would, Joe. Say — I wish the boys could see us now.'
     'So do I.'"

- Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)

[S]ome other time when they're around, I'll come up to you and say 'Joe, got a pipe? I want a smoke.' And you'll say, kind of careless like, as if it warn't anything, you'll say, 'Yes, I got my old pipe, and another one, but my tobacker ain't very good.' And I'll say, 'Oh, that's all right, if it's strong enough.' And then you'll out with the pipes, and we'll light up just as ca'm, and then just see 'em look!"

- Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)


    • Dan on March 25, 2020
    • It's amazing, inspirational, and enlightening. The human body was designed by nature to smoke a pipe.

    • Dsn on March 25, 2020
    • Dr. J. Allen Hyneck (Project Blue Book), Physicist J.Robert Oppenheimer, Basil Rathbone, Jeremy Brett, Zen priest and poet Ryokan, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are a few unmentioned....a very inspiring article. To be a part of the human race, with opposable thumbs, imagination, and wit.... we're the only mammel that can control fire, harvest tobacco, design pipes, and smoke them while reflecting on whatever. It's cool to see that some of the people who have achieved great human potential were pipe smokers.

    • Joe N on March 26, 2020
    • “I toiled after it, sir, as some men toil after virtue.”
      -Charles Lamb, when asked how he became such a prodigious pipe smoker

    • Dan on March 26, 2020
    • To do good work one must eat well, be well housed, have one's fling from time to time, smoke one's pipe, and drink one's coffee in peace
      Vincent Van Gogh

    • John Hughey on March 26, 2020
    • Smoking a pipe gives you something to do while you’re doing nothing.

    • Rick on March 26, 2020
    • Excellent literary quotes - from my favorite authors to boot. So true, so true to have pipe and leaf but no fire!

    • Sam on March 27, 2020
    • "From smokers you can learn tolerance. A smoker has never complained about a non-smoker" Sandro Pertini

    • Sam on March 27, 2020

    • “By smoking a pipe I burn my bitterness and my bitterness are many. So I need a lot of pipes. " Sandro Pertini

    • Dan on March 27, 2020
    • The pipe marks the point at which the orangutan ends and man begins." - Ben Jonson

    • Roger on March 29, 2020
    • Van Gogh believed pipe smoking helped his art .... https://www.theartnewspaper.com/blog/van-gogh-s-trusty-pipe-how-smoking-helped-his-art

    • Astrocomical on March 29, 2020
    • I think pipe smoking reminds men of women. You have to stoke it gently to get 'er going. And that, my friend, takes a lot of patience. ;)

    • Dan on March 29, 2020
    • @Roger: Thank you for the link, very educational. Now I want to buy some of those prints and hang them on my wall. “The most beautiful paintings are those one dreams of while smoking a pipe in one’s bed,” Vincent van Gogh

    • Morley Surcon on March 30, 2020
    • "You might find that smoke blown out cleared your mind of shadows within. Anyway it gives patience, to listen to error without anger..."
      - Mithrandir, The Grey Wanderer

    • William Gallagher on April 1, 2020
    • I'm interested in the phrase "Put that in your pipe and smoke it". Among the meanings are: "Make what you can of what I've just said!; Digest that, if you can!; Put up with (or tolerate) that -- if you can!; since early C19. Peake, 1824; Dickens in 'Pickwick Papers'; 'Ingoldsby' Barham: Miss Mary Braddon (1837-1915), the now forgotten bestseller of late C19...It's a fact worth noting: that, despite its continuous currency and continual - indeed, constant - use, very little attention has been paid to this phrase, which is, I'd say, rather more of a c.p. (catchphrase) than of a proverbial saying. And, by the way, it derives from the very widely held, not entirely erroneous, belief that pipe-smoking and meditation go together..." From "Dictionary of Catch Phrases: American and British from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day" by Eric Partridge, updated and edited by Paul Beal, Scarborough House, Lanham, Md., 1992).
      In spite of the "original" meaning having to do with the beneficent pleasures of the pipe, it now seems to be more of a negative rejoinder, e.g., "Take that!"

    • William Gallagher on April 1, 2020
    • There is also this from quora.com: 'Put that it your pipe and smoke it', which might be reinterpreted for modern life as 'Deal with it' and for which an earlier synonym had been the 18th century's blunter 'Take you that!' is currently first recorded in R.B. Peake's two-act comedy Americans Abroad (1824). Eric Partridge, in his Dictionary of Catch Phrases, attributes it to the image that links pipe-smoking and meditation, but such peaceful contemplation fails to suggest the enforced acceptance of the unpalatable that underlies the phrase. For Francophiles the equivalent is 'mets ca dans ta poche et ton mouchoir par dessus': put that in your pocket with your handkerchief on top. And a colloquial translation of that might be 'stick it where the sun don't shine'."

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