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James Wood, comp. Dictionary of Quotations. 1899.


A fiery soul, which, working out its way / Fretted the pigmy body to decay.

A man so various, that he seem’d to be, / Not one, but all mankind’s epitome.

A satirical poet is the check of the layman on bad priests.

All faiths are to their own believers just / For none believe because they will, but must.

Art may err, but Nature cannot miss.

Bankrupt of life, yet prodigal of ease.

Better to hunt in fields for health unbought, / Than fee the doctor for a nauseous draught. / The wise for cure on exercise depend; / God never made his work for man to mend.

Beware the fury of a patient man.

But far more numerous was the herd of such / Who think too little and who talk too much.

But Shakespeare’s magic could not copied be; / Within that circle none durst walk but he.

By education most have been misled.

Content with poverty, my soul I arm; / And virtue, though in rags, will keep me warm.After Horace.

Damn’d neuters, in their middle way of steering, / Are neither fish, nor flesh, nor good red herring.

Deserted, at his utmost need, / By those his former bounty fed, / On the bare earth exposed he lies, / With not a friend to close his eyes.

Devotion in distress is born, but vanishes in happiness.

Distrust and darkness of a future state / Make poor mankind so fearful of their fate, / Death in itself is nothing; but we fear / To be we know not what, we know not where.

Divines but peep on undiscovered worlds, / And draw the distant landscape as they please.

Dreams are but interludes which fancy makes. / When monarch reason sleeps, this mimic wakes; / Compounds a medley of disjointed things, / A mob of cobblers and a court of kings; / Light fumes are merry, grosser fumes are sad; / Both are the reasonable soul run mad.

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

Famine hath a sharp and meagre face.

Fear’s a large promiser; who subject live / To that base passion, know not what they give.

Flames rise and sink by fits; at last they soar / In one bright flame, and then return no more.

Fool, not to know that love endures no tie, / And Jove but laughs at lovers’ perjury.

For they can conquer who believe they can.

For truth has such a face and such a mien, / As to be loved needs only to be seen.

Forgiveness to the injured does belong, / But they ne’er pardon who have done the wrong.

From stratagem to stratagem we run, / And he knows most who latest is undone: / An honest man will take a knave’s advice, / But idiots only will be cozened twice.

Genius must be born, and never can be taught.

Go, miser, go; for lucre sell thy soul; / Truck wares for wares, and trudge from pole to pole, / That men may say, when thou art dead and gone: / “See what a vast estate he left his son!”

God never made His work for man to mend.

Good-sense and good-nature are never separated, though the ignorant world has thought otherwise.

Great souls forgive not injuries till time has put their enemies within their power, that they may show forgiveness is their own.

Great wits are sure to madness near allied, / And thin partitions do their bounds divide.

Griefs assured are felt before they come.

Guards from outward harms are sent; / Ills from within thy reason must prevent.

Happy the man, and happy he alone, / He who can call to-day his own; / He who, secure within, can say, / To-morrow do thy worst, for I have lived to-day.After Horace.

Happy who in his verse can gently steer, / From grave to light, from pleasant to severe.

He needs no foil, but shines by his own proper light.

He rais’d a mortal to the skies, / She drew an angel down.

He trudged along, unknowing what he sought, / And whistled as he went, for want of thought.

He was exhaled; his great Creator drew / His spirit, as the sun the morning dew.

He who trusts a secret to his servant makes his own man his master.

He who would pry behind the scenes oft sees a counterfeit.

I am as free as Nature first made man, / Ere the base laws of servitude began, / When wild in woods the noble savage ran.

Ignorant of guilt, I fear not shame.

Ill habits gather by unseen degrees, / As brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas.

It is madness to make fortune the mistress of events, because in herself she is nothing, but is ruled by prudence.

Joy ruled the day and love the night.

Justice is blind; he knows nobody.

Keep to your subject close in all you say; / Nor for a sounding sentence ever stray.

Kindness by secret sympathy is tied; / For noble souls in nature are allied.

Kings fight for empires, madmen for applause.

Kings’ titles commonly begin by force, / Which time wears off, and mellows on to right.

Let fortune empty her whole quiver on me, / I have a soul that, like an ample shield, / Can take in all, and verge enough for more.

Let thy great deeds force fate to change her mind; / He that courts fortune boldly, makes her kind.

Lightning and thunder (heaven’s artillery) / As harbingers before th’ Almighty fly: / Those but proclaim His style, and disappear; / The stiller sounds succeed, and God is there.

Little souls on little shifts rely.

Look round the habitable world, how few / Know their own good, or, knowing it, pursue.After Juvenal.

Love reckons hours for months, and days for years; and every little absence is an age.

Love the sense of right and wrong confounds; / Strong love and proud ambition have no bounds.

Love which hath ends will have an end.

Love works a different way in different minds, / The fool enlightens and the wise he blinds.

Love’s the noblest frailty of the mind.

Mark if his birth makes any difference, if to his words it adds one grain of sense.

Men are but children of a larger growth; / Our appetites are apt to change as theirs, / And full as craving too, and full as vain.

Monkeys, as soon as they have brought forth their young, keep their eyes fastened on them, and never weary of admiring their beauty; so amorous is Nature of whatever she produces.

More pleased we are to see a river lead / His gentle streams along a flowery mead, / Than from high banks to hear loud torrents roar, / With foamy waters on a muddy shore.

Nations and empires flourish and decay, / By turns command, and in their turn obey.After Ovid.

Nobler is a limited command, / Given by the love of all your native land, / Than a sucessive title, long and dark, / Drawn from the mouldy rolls of Noah’s ark.

None but the brave deserve the fair.

Not heaven itself upon the past has power; / But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.

Pains of love be sweeter far / Than all other pleasures are.

Painters draw their nymphs in thin and airy habits, but the weight of gold and of embroideries is reserved for queens and goddesses.

Parting is worse than death; it is death of love.

Pity only with new objects stays, / But with the tedious sight of woe decays.

Railing and praising were his usual themes; / And both, to show his judgment, in extremes; / So over-violent or over-civil, / That every man with him was god or devil.

Reason’s a staff for age when Nature’s gone; / But youth is strong enough to walk alone.

Reason’s glimmering ray / Was lent, not to assure our doubtful way, / But guide us upward to a better day.

Resolved to ruin or to rule the state.

Rich the treasure, / Sweet the pleasure; / Sweet is pleasure after pain.

Second thoughts, they say, are best.

Seek not thyself without thyself to find.

Seek not to know what must not be reveal’d; / Joys only flow where fate is most conceal’d; / Too busy man would find his sorrows more, / If future fortunes he should know before; / For by that knowledge of his destiny / He would not live at all, but always die.

Seldom contented, often in the wrong, / Hard to be pleased at all, and never long.

Slow to resolve, but in performance quick.

Snarl if you please, but you shall snarl without.

Soothed with the sound, the king grew vain, / Fought all his battles o’er again; / And thrice he routed all his foes, / And thrice he slew the slain.

Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong, / Was everything by starts, and nothing long; / But in the course of one revolving moon / Was chemist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon.

Strange cozenage! none would live past years again; / Yet all hope pleasure in what yet remain; / And from the dregs of life think to receive / What the first sprightly running could not give.

Study thyself; what rank or what degree / The wise Creator hath ordained for thee.

Such only enjoy the country as are capable of thinking when they are there; then they are prepared for solitude, and in that case solitude is prepared for them.

The conscious water saw its god and blushed.On the water into wine at Cana.

The fates but only spin the coarser clue; / The finest of the wool is left for you.

The fortitude of a Christian consists in patience.

(The mob is) the scum that rises uppermost when the nation boils.

The soul shut up in her dark room, / Viewing so clear abroad, at home sees nothing; / But, like a mole in earth, busy and blind, / Works all her folly up, and casts it outward / To the world’s open view.

The wretched have no friends.

There is a pleasure, sure, in being mad, which none but mad men know.

Three poets in three distant ages born, / Greece, Italy, and England did adorn. / The first in loftiness of thought surpass’d; / The next, in majesty; in both, the last. / The force of Nature could no further go; / To make a third, she join’d the former two.

’Tis not enough when swarming faults are writ, / That here and there are scatter’d sparks of wit.

To threats the stubborn sinner oft is hard, / Wrapp’d in his crimes, against the storm prepared; / But, when the milder beams of mercy play, / He melts, and throws his cumbrous cloak away.

To yourself be critic most severe.

Virtue, though in rags, will keep one warm.After Horace.

We ought to attempt no more than what is in the compass of our genius and according to our vein.

Whate’er he did was done with so much ease, / In him alone ’twas natural to please.

When I consider life, ’tis all a cheat. / Yet fool’d with hope, men favour the deceit; / Trust on, and think to-morrow will repay. / To-morrow’s falser than the former day; / Lies worse, and while it says we shall be blest / With some new joys, cuts off what we possest.

When monarch reason sleeps, this mimic wakes.

Wild ambition loves to slide, not stand; / And Fortune’s ice prefers to Virtue’s land.

Your words are like notes of dying swans— / Too sweet to last.