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James Wood, comp. Dictionary of Quotations. 1899.


A subject’s faults a subject may proclaim, / A monarch’s errors are forbidden game.

Absence of occupation is not rest; / A mind quite vacant is a mind distress’d.

Affection lights a brighter flame / Than ever blazed by art.

Always filling, never full.

An idler is a watch that wants both hands; / As useless if it goes as if it stands.

Base in kind, and born to be a slave.

Behind a frowning providence / God hides a shining face.

But truths on which depend our main concern, / That ’tis our shame and misery not to learn, / Shine by the side of every path we tread, / With such a lustre, he that runs may read.

But war’s a game which, were their subjects wise, / Kings would not play at.

Ceremony leads her bigots forth, / Prepared to fight for shadows of no worth; / While truths, on which eternal things depend, / Find not, or hardly find, a single friend.

Defend me, common sense, say I, / From reveries so airy, from the toil / Of dropping buckets into empty wells, / And growing old with drawing nothing up.

Detested sport, that owes its pleasures to another’s pain.

Did charity prevail, the press would prove / A vehicle of virtue, truth, and love.

Domestic happiness! thou only bliss / Of happiness that has survived the Fall.

Dream after dream ensues, / And still they dream that they shall still succeed / And still are disappointed.

Events of all sorts creep or fly exactly as God pleases.

Fanaticism, soberly defined, / Is the false fire of an o’erheated mind.

Fate steals along with silent tread, / Found oftenest in what least we dread; / Frowns in the storm with angry brow, / But in the sunshine strikes the blow.

Folly ends where genuine hope begins.

Folly, letting down buckets into empty wells, and growing old with drawing nothing up.

For ’tis a truth well known to most, / That whatsoever thing is lost, / We seek it, ere it comes to light, / In every cranny but the right.

Freedom has a thousand charms to show, / That slaves, howe’er contented, never know.

God is His own interpreter.

God made the country; man made the town.

God moves in a mysterious way / His wonders to perform; / He plants His footsteps in the sea, / And rides upon the storm.

God never meant that man should scale the heavens / By strides of human wisdom … He commands us in His Word / To seek Him rather where His mercy shines.

Grace abused brings forth the foulest deeds, / As richest soil the most luxuriant weeds.

Grace is a plant, where’er it grows! / Of pure and heavenly root; / But fairest in the youngest shows, / And yields the sweetest fruit.

He is the free man whom the truth makes free, / And all are slaves besides.

He lives who lives to God alone, / And all are dead beside; / For other source than God is none / Whence life can be supplied.

He who feeds the ravens / Will give His children bread.

His wit invites you by his looks to come, / But when you knock, it never is at home.

How much a dunce that has been sent to roam / Excels a dunce that has been kept at home!

I am monarch of all I survey, / My right there is none to dispute; / From the centre all round to the sea, / I am lord of the fowl and the brute.

I seek divine simplicity in him who handles things divine.

I would not enter on my list of friends … the man / Who needlessly sets foot upon a worm.

In every heart are sown the sparks that kindle fiery war; occasion needs but fan them, and they blaze.

John Gilpin kiss’d his loving wife; / O’erjoy’d was he to find / That, though on pleasure she was bent, / She had a frugal mind.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, / But trust Him for His grace.

Just knows, and knows no more, her Bible true, / A truth the brilliant Frenchman never knew.

Knowledge and Wisdom, far from being one, / Have ofttimes no connection. Knowledge dwells / In heads replete with thoughts of other men; / Wisdom, in minds attentive to their own.

Knowledge is proud that he has learn’d so much; / Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.

Labour like this our want supplies, / And they must stoop who mean to rise.

Lands intersected by a narrow firth / Abhor each other. Mountains interposed / Make enemies of nations, which had else, / Like kindred drops, been mingled into one.

Learning itself, received into a mind / By nature weak or viciously inclined, / Serves but to lead philosophers astray, / Where children would with ease discern the way.

Letting down buckets into empty wells, and growing old with drawing nothing up.

Man, on the dubious waves of error tost.

Men deal with life as children with their play, / Who first misuse, then cast their toys away.

Mercy to him that shows it is the rule.

Mountains interposed / Make enemies of nations, who had else / Like kindred drops being mingled into one.

Nature is but a name for an effect whose cause is God.

No Hecuba, by aid of rouge and ceruse, is a Helen made.

No man was ever scolded out of his sins.

No wild enthusiast ever yet could rest / Till half mankind were like himself possess’d.

None but an author knows an author’s cares, / Or Fancy’s fondness for the child she bears.

Oars alone can ne’er prevail / To reach the distant coast; / The breath of heav’n must swell the sail, / Or all the toil is lost.

Oh, for a lodge in some vast wilderness, / Some boundless contiguity of shade, / Where rumour of oppression and deceit, / Of unsuccessful or successful war, / May never reach me more.

Philologists, who chase / A panting syllable through time and space, / Start it at home, and hunt it in the dark / To Gaul, to Greece, and into Noah’s ark.

Poor though I am, despised, forgot, / Yet God, my God, forgets me not; / And he is safe, and must succeed, / For whom the Lord vouchsafes to plead.

Religion, if in heavenly truths attired, / Needs only to be seen to be admired.

Remorse, the fatal egg by pleasure laid.

Satan trembles when he sees / The weakest saint upon his knees.

Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs / Receive our air, that moment they are free; / They touch our country, and their shackles fall.

Some must be great.

Stillest streams oft water finest meadows, / And the bird that flutters least is longest on the wing.

The bud may have a bitter taste, / But sweet will be the flower.

The cups that cheer, but not inebriate.

The darkest day, live till to-morrow, will have passed away.

The innocent seldom find an uneasy pillow.

The path of sorrow, and that path alone, / Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown.

There is a pleasure in poetic pains which only poets know.

There’s mercy in every place, / And mercy, encouraging thought, / Gives even affliction a grace, / And reconciles man to his lot.

They whom truth and wisdom lead / Can gather honey from a weed.

Variety’s the very spice of life, / That gives it all its flavour.

War is a game which, were their subjects wise, kings should not play at.

We sacrifice to dress till household joys and comforts cease. Dress drains our cellar dry and keeps our larder lean.

When nations are to perish in their sins, / ’Tis in the Church the leprosy begins; / The priest, whose office is, with zeal sincere, / To watch the fountain and preserve it clear, / Carelessly nods and sleeps upon the brink, / While others poison what the flock must drink.

Who gives the lilies clothing, / Will clothe his people too.

Wisdom is a pearl; with most success / Sought in still water and beneath clear skies.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; / The clouds ye so much dread / Are big with mercy, and shall break / In blessings on your head.