• I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

    Quoted in Christian Monitor, and Religious Intelligencer, 4 July 1812. An almost identical quotation by Newton, said to have been uttered "a little before he died," appears in Joseph Spence, Anecdotes, Observations, and Characters of Books and Men, published in 1820 but extant in manuscript form from around 1730. A paraphrase of Newton's words was printed in a note in a 1797 edition of TheWorks of Alexander Pope.
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