Home  »  A Dictionary of Similes  »  John Dryden

Frank J. Wilstach, comp. A Dictionary of Similes. 1916.

John Dryden

Altering, like one who waits for an ague fit.

Beautiful as a rainbow.

Beauty, like ice, our footing does betray:
Who can tread sure in the smooth slippery way?
Pleased with the passage, we slide swiftly on,
And see the dangers which we cannot shun.

Blind as the Cyclop.

Blushes as adorn the ruddy welkin or the purple morn.

Bounteous as nature.

Bright as goodness.

Burst like bellowing Ætna.

The tide of business, like the running stream,
Is sometimes high and sometimes low,
A quiet ebb, or a tempestuous flow,
And always in extreme.
Now with a noiseless gentle course,
It keeps within the middle bed,
Anon it lifts aloft the head,
And bears down all before it with impetuous force.

The frighted blood
Scarce yet recalled to her pale cheeks,
Like the first streaks of light broke loose from darkness,
And dawning into blushes.

Dim as the borrow’d beams of moon or stars.

Keep their distances, as if they were Montagues and Capulets.

Droops, like a rose, surcharged with morning dew.

Moves eccentric, like a wandering star,
Whose motion’s just, though ’tis not regular.

Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow;
He who would search for pearls, must dive below.

Fame, like a new mistress of the town, is gained with ease, but then she’s lost as soon.

Flies like the nimble journeys of the light.

Folly is like a sore on a surfeited horse, cure it in one place and it breaks out in another.

False Fortune, like a fawning strumpet,
About to leave the bankrupt prodigal,
With a dissembled smile would kiss at parting,
And flatter to the last.

Free as nature first made man.

Gloomy outside, like a rusty chest.

But when a government is grown in strength,
Like some old oak, rough with its armed bark,
It yields not to the tug, but only nods,
And turns to sullen state.

Grief and passion are like floods raised in little brooks by a sudden rain.

Like some sad prophet, that foresaw the doom
Of those whom best he loved, and could not save.

Woman’s honour is nice as ermine; ’twill not bear a soil.

Hot as hell-fire.

Humorous as wind.

As invincibly ignorant as a town-fop judging of a new play.

Jealousy is like
A polished glass held to the lips when life’s in doubt;
If there be breath, ’twill catch the damp, and show it.

Kind as kings upon their coronation day.

Light as an empty dream at break of day.

Light as the vapours of a morning dream.

He would live like a lamp, to the last wink,
And crawl upon the utmost verge of life.

Love, like a scene, at distance should appear,
But marriage views the gross daubed landscape near.

Lurks like embers raked in ashes.

Why do you make such haste to have done loving me? You men are like watches, wound up for striking twelve immediately; but after you are satisfied, the very next that follows, is the solitary sound of a single one.

His mind was like a bottle, extended with the delectable liquor of observation.

Obstinate as death.

Pale as fires when mastered by the night.

Panting, like a bird that has often beaten his wings in vain against his cage.

Poets, like Divers, should be bold and dare,
They spoil their business with an overcare.

Rough as a storm.

Serene and calm, as when the Spring
The new-created world began.

Shout, like the hoarse peals of vultures.

Shrink like parchment in consuming flame.

Shrinks as some fair tulip by a storm oppressed
Shrinks up and folds its silken arms to rest.

Shunn’d him as a sailor shuns the rocks.

Fall silently like dew on roses.

Slighted and betrayed;
And like a rose, just gathered from the stalk,
But only smelt, and cheaply thrown aside,
To wither on the ground.

Slip like bending rushes from your hand.

Solemn as the long stops upon an organ.

All sparkling, like a goddess.

Spread like fog.

Sprout like rose-buds.

Start as from some dreadful dream.

Still like a clock worn out with eating time,
The wheels of weary life at last stood still.

Fortune striding, like a vast Colossus.

Like chain-shot, sweeps all things in its way.

Thick as Egypt’s locusts.

Threatening, like a storm, just breaking on our heads.

Transparent as a rock of solid crystal.

As true as Tristram and Isolde were.

Doubling and turning like a hunted hare.

Unsatiate as the barren womb or grave.

My virtue, like a string, wound up by art
To the same sound, when yours was touched, took part,
At distance shook, and trembled at my heart.