Apollonius of Tyana: Tomorrow will be like today, and the day after tomorrow will be like the day before yesterday. I see your remaining days as a tedious collection of hours full of useless vanities. You will think no new thoughts. You will forget what little you have known. Older you will become, but not wiser. Stiffer, but not more dignified. Childless you are, and childless you will remain. Of that suppleness you once commanded in your youth, of that strange simplicity which once attracted men to you, neither endures, nor shall you recapture them.
Mrs. Cassin: You're a mean, ugly man!
Apollonius of Tyana: Mirrors are often ugly and mean. When you die, you will be buried and forgotten, and that is all. And for all the good or evil, creation or destruction, your living might have accomplished, you might just as well never have lived at all. - - I'm sorry, but, you see, it is my curse to tell the absolute truth.
Dr. Lao: Mike, the whole world is a circus if you look at it the right way. Every time you pick up a handful of dust, and see not the dust, but a mystery, a marvel, there in your hand, every time you stop and think, "I'm alive, and being alive is fantastic!" Every time such a thing happens, Mike, you are part of the Circus of Dr. Lao.
[an evening heart-to-heart between Dr. Lao and Mike]
Dr. Lao: Mike, let me tell you something. The whole world is a circus if you know how to look at it. The way the sun goes down when you're tired, comes up when you want to be on the move. That's real magic. The way a leaf grows. The song of the birds. The way the desert looks at night, with the moon embracing it. Oh, my boy, that's... that's circus enough for anyone. Every time you watch a rainbow and feel wonder in your heart. Every time you pick up a handful of dust, and see not the dust, but a mystery, a marvel, there in your hand. Every time you stop and think, "I'm alive, and being alive is fantastic!" Every time such a thing happens, you're part of the Circus of Dr. Lao.
Mike: I don't understand.
Dr. Lao: Neither do I.
Dr. Lao: Every time you pick up a grain of sand you hold a universe in the palm of your hand.
Clint Stark: I was like you once, long time ago. I believed in the dignity of man. Decency. Humanity. But I was lucky. I found out the truth early, boy.
Ed Cunningham: And what is the truth, Stark?
Clint Stark: It's all very simple. There's no such thing as the dignity of man. Man is a base, pathetic and vulgar animal.
Merlin: Tricks? Gadzooks, Madam, these are not tricks! I do magic. I - I create, I transpose, I transubstantiate, I break up, I recombine - but I never trick!
Dr. Lao: [Dr. Lao's Welcome speech] This is the circus of Dr. Lao./ We show you things that you don't know./We've spared no pains and spared no dough,/ but we wanted to give you one helluva show.
Apollonius of Tyana: [after giving a grim prophecy] Five cents, please.
Dr. Lao: You worry - too much. You worry about how I brought my circus to Abalone with wagons. You worry about the future of your town. Or, if the sun will rise a year from today. The answer is to such matters, remain closed behind a curtain. Then, time says, presto! And out they come.
Dr. Lao: Et cetera, et cetera, and, of course, et cetera.
Dr. Lao: Now, Mr. Cunningham, do you suppose this garrulous intruder may be a... a swindler, perhaps, an assassin, a charlatan plotting some curious disaster for your town? Such characters exist, but they are secretive rather than mysterious. I, sir, am a major mystery.
Ed Cunningham: You know, you remind me of someone. A woman I know. Her names Angela Benedict. Same height. Same weight. Same general features. Ever met her?
Angela Benedict: No. No, but I've heard of her. She's supposed to be a most unpleasant person.
Ed Cunningham: Oh, no! No! Whoever told you that? It's a lie. Angela's a - well, you see, Angela has got a problem.
Angela Benedict: What kind of a problem?
Ed Cunningham: The worst kind. Same as mine. Loneliness.
Ed Cunningham: Now, come on, Doc! What kind of oriental hocus-pocus is going on around here? A circus with no wagons, no animals, no cages? A crazy old magician? What's it all about?
Dr. Lao: This is the circus of Dr. Lao. We show you things that you don't know. Oh we spare no pains and we spare no dough, oh we want to give you one hell of a show. And youth may come and age may go, but no more circuses like this show.
Clint Stark: [reading a story written by Ed Cunningham] All dictators, past and present, have thrived in a climate of fear. Without fear, they perish.
Dr. Lao: Excuse, pwease. This town ain't big enough for you and me, partner! Smile when you say that - you miserable horny toad hombre!
Dr. Lao: Whatever men do not understand they find unconvincing.
Ed Cunningham: I'm leaving in a cloud of befuddlement.
The Giant Serpent: This circus is like a mirror. You see yourself in it sometimes. Sometimes someone else.
Apollonius of Tyana: You were born with a great love of humanity, Clinton Stark. But, this love soon turned to bitterness and contempt. Why? It's because in all your years, you've never been able to understand that perfection exists only as an ideal.
Clint Stark: Who's interested in ideals? Get the money! That's what counts. Hold it out for the people, then grab at it. That's the truth! There's nothing in-between.
Apollonius of Tyana: Oh, but there is. Life is sharing. You began with an extreme notion of man's good. His strength and his nobility. You ended with another extreme, equally false. The notion of man's evil. His weakness and his ignobility.
Clint Stark: I've lost. But, I want you to know, it's the kind of loss, I wished for, a long time. So, I guess I've really won.
Carey: Who's afraid of an itty bitty storm?
Dr. Lao: Excuse! Excuse.
Tim Mitchell: Who are you?
Dr. Lao: Name: Lao, Dr. Lao.
Tim Mitchell: Well, they ain't nobody sick around here. Unless you know how to remedy this machine.
Dr. Lao: Do printing here?
Tim Mitchell: No. We sell ladies underwear.
Dr. Lao: Was a matter you? You big wise guy! All la time make joke. Make fun of old Chinese.
Dr. Lao: Big, big, big. Two page long. Two days. Start right away. Chop. Chop.
Ed Cunningham: A full page for two days? How about $50?
Dr. Lao: Good, good, good. American money?
Ed Cunningham: Ah, yes. We prefer it. If you don't mind?
Dr. Lao: No, no. No mind. Fifdy dollar. You fix?
Ed Cunningham: I fix. Mr. eh?
Dr. Lao: Lao. Dr. Lao.
Dr. Lao: Hallo. Goodbye. Thank you. Thank you.
Ed Cunningham: All those stories about me, they're lies. I'm not a bank robber or a cattle rustler and I've never kicked a woman in the stomach, even once, really!
Carey: [confronting George G. George] You're keepin' the wrong kind of company, boy. It ain't good to be seen with a man like Cunningham. Bad medicine. Savvy? - - Cat got your tongue?
Lucas: I believe that's whats happened. Cat's got his tongue!
Carey: Who told you you could go?
Lucas: Who's a sassy one, ain't he.
Carey: You know what my old man used to say? He said the only good Indian's a dead Indian. Now, what do you think of that, boy? Talk you miserable redskin! Talk!
Dr. Lao: My dear lady, the role of skeptic becomes you not. There are things in the world not even the experience of a lifetime spent in Abalone could conceive of.
Dr. Lao: You come circus, tonight? Maybe big supplies!
Mayor James Sargent: Let your conscience be your guide.