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James Wood, comp. Dictionary of Quotations. 1899.


A change came o’er the spirit of my dream.

A thousand years scarce serve to form a state; / An hour may lay it in the dust.

All went as merry as a marriage-bell.

And Mammon wins his way where seraphs might despair.

“Arcades ambo,” id est, blackguards both.

As falls the dew on quenchless sands, / Blood only serves to wash ambition’s hands.

Battle’s magnificently stern array.

But there are wanderers o’er eternity, / Whose bark drives on and on, and anchor’d ne’er shall be.

But words are things, and a small drop of ink, / Falling, like dew, upon a thought, produces / That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.

Can despots compass aught that hails their sway? / Or call with truth one span of earth their own, / Save that wherein at last they crumble bone by bone?

Cervantes smiled Spain’s chivalry away.

Christians have burnt each other, quite persuaded / That all the apostles would have done as they did.

Constant thought will overflow in words unconsciously.

Critics all are ready made.

Danger levels man and brute, / And all are fellows in their need.

Dead scandals form good subjects for dissection.

Death is but what the haughty brave, / The weak must bear, the wretch must crave.

Death shuns the wretch who fain the blow would meet.

Death, so called, is a thing which makes men weep, / And yet a third of life is passed in sleep.

Deformity is daring; it is its essence to overtake mankind by heart and soul, and make itself the equal, ay, the superior of the rest.

Despair defies even despotism; there is that in my heart would make its way through hosts with levelled spears.

Dreams in their development have breath / And tears and torture and the touch of joy; / They leave a weight upon our waking thoughts; / They take a weight from off our waking toils; / They do divide our being; they become a portion of ourselves as of our time, / And look like heralds of eternity.

Dust long outlasts the storied stone.

Ennui is a growth of English root, though nameless in our language.

Enough—no foreign foe could quell / Thy soul, till from itself it fell; / Yes, self-abasement paved the way / To villain bonds and despot sway.

Extreme in all things! hadst thou been betwixt, / Thy throne had still been thine, or never been.

Fare thee well! and if for ever, / Still for ever fare thee well! / E’en though unforgiving, never / ’Gainst thee shall my heart rebel.

Fate made me what I am, may make me nothing; / But either that or nothing must I be; / I will not live degraded.

Few men dare show their thoughts of worst or best.

Folly loves the martyrdom of fame.

Fools are my theme; let satire be my song.

For Freedom’s battle, once begun, / Bequeath’d by bleeding sire to son, / Though baffled oft, is ever won.

For glances beget ogles, ogles sighs, / Sighs wishes, wishes words, and words a letter; / And then God knows what mischief may arise / When love links two young people in one fetter.

For pleasures past I do not grieve, / Nor perils gathering near; / My greatest grief is that I leave / Nothing that claims a tear.

Friendship is love without its wings.

Full many a stoic eye and aspect stern / Masks hearts where grief has little left to learn; / And many a withering thought lies hid, not lost, / In smiles that least befit who wears them most.

Glory long has made the sages smile, / ’Tis something, nothing, words, illusion, wind, / Depending more upon the historian’s style / Than on the name a person leaves behind.

Grief should be the instructor of the wise; / Sorrow is knowledge: they who know the most / Must mourn the deepest o’er the fatal truth, / The Tree of Knowledge is not that of Life.

Had sigh’d to many, though he loved but one.

Here’s a sigh for those who love me, / And a smile for those who hate, / And whatever sky’s above me, / Here’s a heart for every fate.

Hereditary bondsmen! know ye not, / Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow?

I awoke one morning and found myself famous.

I have seen some nations, like overloaded asses, / Kick off their burdens, meaning the higher classes.

I know no evil death can show, which life / Has not already shown to those who live / Embodied longest.

I live not in myself, but I become / Portion of that around me; and to me / High mountains are a feeling.

“I must sleep now.”His last words.

In her first passion, woman loves her lover, / In all the others, all she loves is love.

In hope to merit heaven by making earth a hell.

In life there is no present.

In the balance, hero dust / Is vile as vulgar clay: / Thou, mortality, art just / To all that pass away.

It were easier to stop Euphrates at its source than one tear of a true and tender heart.

Jealousy dislikes the world to know it.

Joy’s recollection is no longer joy, while sorrow’s memory is a sorrow still.

Know ye not who would be free themselves must strike the blow? / By their right arms the conquest must be wrought.

Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle / Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime; / Where the rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle, / Now melt into sorrow, now madden to crime?

Knowledge is not happiness, and science but an exchange of ignorance for that which is another kind of ignorance.

Laughter leaves us doubly serious shortly after.

Let’s not unman each other—part at once; / All farewells should be sudden when for ever, / Else they make an eternity of moments, / And clog the last sad sands of life with tears.

Life’s enchanted cup but sparkles near the brim.

Lord of himself, that heritage of woe.

Love has made its best interpreter a sigh.

Love is old, old as eternity, but not outworn; with each new being born or to be born.

Love is vanity, / Selfish in its beginning as its end.

Love on his lips and hatred in his heart: / His motto—constancy, his creed—to part.

Love will find its way / Through paths where wolves would fear to prey.

Maidens, like moths, are ever caught with glare, / And Mammon wins his way where seraphs might despair.

Mammon wins his way where seraphs might despair.

Man must serve his time to every trade / Save censure; critics all are ready made.

Man! / Thou pendulum betwixt a smile and a tear.

Man’s love is of man’s life a thing apart; / ’Tis woman’s whole existence.

Marriage is the bloom or blight of all men’s happiness.

Melancholy spreads itself betwixt heaven and earth, like envy between man and man, and is an everlasting mist.

Men are the sport of circumstances, when the circumstances seem the sport of men.

Men love in haste, but they detest at leisure.

Midst the crowd, the hum, the shock of men, / To hear, to see, to feel, and to possess, / And roam along, the world’s tired denizen, / With none who bless us, none whom we can bless; / … This is to be alone; this, this is solitude!

My days are in the yellow leaf; / The flowers and fruits of love are gone; / The worm, the canker, and the grief / Are mine alone.

No hand can make the clock strike for me the hours that are past.

No words suffice the secret soul to show, / For truth denies all eloquence to woe.

Noble spirits war not with the dead.

None are all evil; quickening round his heart, / One softer feeling would not yet depart.

None are so desolate but something dear, / Dearer than self, possesses or possess’d / A thought, and claims the homage of a tear.

Not all that heralds rake from coffin’d clay, / Nor florid prose, nor honeyed lines of rhyme, / Can blazon evil deeds or consecrate a crime.

Nothing so difficult as a beginning / In poesy, except perhaps the end; / For oftentimes when Pegasus seems winning / The race, he sprains a wing, and down we tend, / Like Lucifer, when hurl’d from heaven for sinning.

Oh, Love! no habitant of earth thou art— / An unseen seraph, we believe in thee.

Oh, Love, how perfect is thy mystic art, / Strengthening the weak, and trampling on the strong!

Our thoughts take wildest flight / Even at the moment when they should array themselves in pensive order.

Parting day / Dies like the dolphin, whom each pang imbues / With a new colour as it grasps away, / The last still loveliest, till—’tis gone, and all is gray.

Perhaps the early grave / Which men weep over may be meant to save.

Prolonged endurance tames the bold.

Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean, roll! / Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain; / Man marks the earth with ruin,—his control / Stops with the shore.

Sapping a solemn creed with solemn sneer.

Science / Is but an exchange of ignorance for that / Which is another kind of ignorance.

Shrine of the mighty! can it be / That this is all remains of thee?

Sleep hath its own world, / A boundary between the things misnamed / Death and Existence.

Smiles form the channel of a future tear.

Snatch from the ashes of your sires / The embers of their former fires; / And he who in the strife expires / Will add to theirs a name of fear / That tyranny shall quake to hear, / And leave his sons a hope, a fame, / They too would rather die than shame.

Sorrow is knowledge; they who know the most must mourn the deepest over the fatal truth, the tree of knowledge is not that of life.

Such hath been—shall be—beneath the sun, / That many still must labour for the one.

Such is the aspect of this shore; / ’Tis Greece, but living Greece no more! / So coldly sweet, so deadly fair, / We start, for soul is wanting there.

Suspicion is a heavy armour, and with its own weight impedes more than protects.

Tempted Fate will leave the loftiest star.

That low vice curiosity.

The commencement of atonement is / The sense of its necessity.

The common crowd but see the gloom / Of wayward deeds and fitting doom; / The close observer can espy / A noble soul and lineage high.

The dome of thought, the palace of the soul.

The drying up a single tear has more / Of honest fame than shedding seas of gore.

The heart will break, yet brokenly live on.

The many still must labour for the one! It is Nature’s doom.

The mind can make / Substance, and people planets of its own / With beings brighter than have been, and give / A breath to forms that can outlive all flesh.

The night shows stars and women in a better light.

The tree of knowledge is not that of life.

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods; / There is a rapture on the lonely shore; / There is society, where none intrudes, / By the deep sea, and music in its roar; / I love not the man the less, / But Nature more.

There is music in all things, if men had ears.

There is no sterner moralist than pleasure.

There is no traitor like him whose domestic treason plants the poniard within the breast which trusted to his truth.

There’s a courage which grows out of fear.

There’s music in the sighing of a reed; / There’s music in the gushing of a rill; / There’s music in all things, if men had ears.

There’s not a joy the world can give like that it takes away.

Think’st thou existence doth depend on time? / It doth; but actions are our epochs.

Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow; / Such as creation’s dawn beheld, thou rollest now.

’Tis pleasant, sure, to see one’s name in print; / A book’s a book, although there’s nothing in’t.

Truth in its own essence cannot be / But good.

Truth is always strange, stranger than fiction.

Unknell’d, uncoffin’d, and unknown.

We are slaves, / The greatest as the meanest—nothing rests / Upon our will … / And when we think we lead, we are most led.

We loathe what none are left to share; / Even bless ’twere woe alone to bear.

We, who name ourselves its (the world) sovereigns, we, / Half dust, half deity, alike unfit / To sink or soar.

What a strange thing man is! and what a stranger / Is woman!

What exile from himself can flee?

What is writ is writ.

Whatsoever thine ill, / It must be borne, and these wild starts are useless.

Where there is mystery, it is generally supposed that there must also be evil.

Where’er we tread, ’tis haunted, holy ground.

Who ascends to mountain-tops, shall find / The loftiest peaks most wrapt in clouds and snow.

Who loves, raves.

Who surpasses or subdues mankind / Must look down on the hate of those below.

Who track the steps of glory to the grave.

“Whom the gods love die young,” was said of yore.

With just enough of learning to misquote.

With none who bless us, none whom we can bless— / This is to be alone; this, this is solitude!

Words are things, and a small drop of ink, / Falling like dew upon a thought, produces / That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.

Ye stars! which are the poetry of heaven!… In our aspirations to be great, / Our destinies o’erleap their mortal state, / And claim a kindred with you; for ye are / A beauty and a mystery, and create / In us such love and reverence from afar, / That fortune, fame, power, life, have named themselves a star.

Years steal / Fire from the mind as vigour from the limb, / And life’s enchanted cup but sparkles near the brim.

Yes, there are things we must dream and dare, / And execute ere thought be half aware.