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James Wood, comp. Dictionary of Quotations. 1899.

George Herbert

A verse may find him who a sermon flies, / And turn delight into a sacrifice.

Corn is gleaned with wind, and the soul with chastening.

Cowards tell lies, and those that fear the rod.

Dare to be true, nothing can need a lie; / A fault which needs it most, grows two thereby.

Defer not the least virtue; life’s poor span / Make not an ell, by trifling in thy woe. / If thou do ill, the joy fades, not the pains; / If well, the pain doth fade, the joy remains.

Drink not the third glass, which thou canst not tame / When once it is within thee; but before, / May’st rule it as thou list; and pour the shame, / Which it would pour on thee, upon the floor.

Fathers first enter bonds to Nature’s ends; / And are her sureties ere they are a friend’s.

Feed no man in his sins; for adulation / Doth make thee parcel-devil in damnation.

Find out men’s wants and will, / And meet them there. All worldly joys go less / To the one joy of doing kindnesses.

First assay / To stuff thy mind with solid bravery; / Then march on gallant: get substantial worth: / Boldness gilds finely, and will set it forth.

Fly idleness, which yet thou canst not fly / By dressing, mistressing, and compliment. / If these take up thy day, the sun will cry / Against thee; for his light was only lent.

Fool not; for all may have, / If they dare try, a glorious life or grave.

For us, the winds do blow, / The earth doth rest, heaven move, and fountains flow; / Nothing we see but means our good, / As our delight, or as our treasure; / The whole is either our cupboard of food, / Or cabinet of pleasure.

Game is a civil gunpowder, in peace / Blowing up houses with their whole increase.

Get to live: / Then live and use it; else it is not true / That thou hast gotten.

Give thy need, thine honour, and thy friend his due.

God gave thy soul brave wings; put not those feathers / Into a bed to sleep out all ill weathers.

God made me one man; love makes me no more / Till labour come, and make my weakness score.

God’s mill grinds slow but sure.

Gold thou may’st safely touch; but if it stick / Unto thy hands, it woundeth to the quick.

Grain of glory mixt with humbleness / Cures both a fever and lethargicness.

Greatness envy not; for thou mak’st thereby / Thyself the worse, and so the distance greater.

He life’s war knows / Whom all his passions follow as he goes.

He that gets patience, and the blessing which / Preachers conclude with, hath not lost his pains.

He that needs five thousand pound to live, / Is full as poor as he that needs but five.

I care not though the cloth of state should be / Not of rich Arras, but mean tapestry.

If any speak ill of thee, fly home to thy own conscience and examine thy heart. If thou art guilty, it is a fair correction; if not guilty, it is a fair instruction.

If that thy fame with every toy be posed, / ’Tis a thin web which poisonous fancies make; / But the great soldier’s honour was composed / Of thicker stuff, which would endure a shake.

If thou be master-gunner, spend not all / That thou canst speak at once, but husband it.

If thy son can make ten pound his measure, / Then all thou addest may be called his treasure.

If truth be with thy friend, be with them both.

In alms regard thy means and others’ merit. / Think Heaven a better bargain than to give / Only thy single market-money for it.

In arguing, be calm; for fierceness makes / Error a fault, and truth discourtesy.

In clothes, cheap handsomeness doth bear the bell.

In conversation, boldness now bears sway.

In service, care or coldness / Doth ratably thy fortunes mar or make.

In thy thriving still misdoubt some evil: / Lest gaining gain on thee, and make thee dim / To all things else.

Is thy complexion sour? / Then keep such company.

It is a poor sport that is not worth the candle.

It’s a poor sport that’s not worth the candle.

Join hands with God to make a man to live.

Judge not the preacher…. Do not grudge / To pick out treasures from an earthen pot. / The worst speak something good; if all want sense, / God takes a text and preacheth patience.

Keep all thy native good, and naturalise / All foreign of that name; but scorn their ill; / Embrace their activeness, not vanities.

Kneeling ne’er spoiled silk stockings; quit thy state; / All equal are within the church’s gate.

Know that nothing can so foolish be / As empty boldness.

Laugh not too much: the witty man laughs least: / For wit is news only to ignorance. / Less at thine own things laugh: lest in the jest / Thy person share, and the conceit advance.

Let thy alms go before, and keep heaven’s gate / Open for thee, or both may come too late.

Let thy mind still be bent, still plotting where, / And when, and how thy business may be done, / Slackness breeds worms; but the sure traveller, / Though he alights sometimes, still goeth on.

Let thy mind’s sweetness have his operation / Upon thy body, clothes, and habitation.

Lie not, neither to thyself, nor man, nor God. Let mouth and heart be one; beat and speak together, and make both felt in action. It is for cowards to lie.

Like a man do all things, not sneakingly.

Look not on pleasures as they come, but go. / Defer not the least virtue; life’s poor span / Make not an ell by trifling in thy woe. / If thou do ill, the joy fades, not the pains; / If well, the pain doth fade, the joy remains.

Look to thy mouth; diseases enter there.

Love is a personal debt.

Love not thyself, nor give thy humours way; / God gave them to thee under lock and key.

Make not thy sport abuses; for the fly, / That feeds on dung, is coloured thereby.

Man is God’s image; but a poor man is / Christ’s stamp to boot: both images regard. God reckons for him, counts the favour His.

Man is one world, and hath / Another to attend him.

Mark what another says; for many are / Full of themselves, and answer their own notion. / Take all into thee; then with equal care / Balance each chain of reason, like a potion.

More servants wait on man / Than he’ll take notice of.

Never was scraper (miser) brave man.

No sooner is a temple built to God, but the devil builds a chapel close by.

None is so wasteful as the scraping dame: / She loseth three for one—her soul, rest, fame.

Nothing can need a lie; / A fault, which needs it most, grows two thereby.

Nothing hath got so far / But man hath caught and kept it as his prey; / His eyes dismount the highest star; / He is in little all the sphere.

One to another cannot be a perfect physician.

Only a sweet and virtuous soul, / Like seasoned timber, never gives; / But when the whole world turns to coal, / Then chiefly lives.

Pick out of mirth, like stones out of thy ground, / Profaneness, filthiness, abusiveness.

Pitch thy behaviour low, thy projects high; / So shalt thou humble and magnanimous be.

Play not for gain, but sport.

Play the man.

Praise the sea, but keep on land.

Praying’s the end of preaching.

Restore to God his due in tithe and time: / A tithe purloined cankers the whole estate.

Sad wise valour is the brave complexion / That leads the van and swallows up the cities.

Salute thyself: see what thy soul doth wear. / Dare to look in thy chest, for ’tis thine own, / And tumble up and down what thou find’st there.

Say not, / This with that lace will do well; / But, This with my discretion will be brave.

Scorn no man’s love, though of a mean degree; / Love is a present for a mighty king,— / Much less make any one thine enemy. / As guns destroy, so may a little sling.

Set out so / As all the day thou mayst hold out to go.

Simpering is but a lay-hypocrisy: / Give it a corner and the clue undoes.

Sink not in spirit: who aimeth at the sky / Shoots higher much than he that means a tree.

Slackness breeds worms; but the sure traveller, / Though he alight sometimes, still goeth on.

Slight not the smallest loss, whether it be / In love or honour; take account of all: / Shine like the sun in every corner: see / Whether thy stock of credit swell or fall.

So I do my part to others, let them think of me what they will or can…. If I should regard such things, it were in another’s power to defeat my charity, and evil should be stronger than good. But difficulties are so far from cooling Christians that they whet them.

Spend not on hopes.

Stirring spirits live alone: / Write on the others, “Here lies such a one.”

Sum up at night what thou hast done by day; / And in the morning what thou hast to do.

Sundays observe; think when the bells do chime, / ’Tis angels’ music, therefore come not late.

Surely use alone / Makes money not a contemptible stone.

Take all that is given, whether wealth, / Or love, or language; nothing comes amiss; / A good digestion turneth all to health.

Take not His name who made thy mouth in vain: / It gets thee nothing, and has no excuse.

The cheap swearer through his open sluice / Lets his soul run for nought.

The civil guest / Will no more talk all, than eat all the feast.

The cunning workman never doth refuse / The meanest tool that he may chance to use.

The curious unthrift makes his clothes too wide, / And spares himself, but would his tailor chide.

The drunkard forfeits man, and doth divest / All worldly right, save what he hath by beast.

The offender never pardons.

The shrine is that which thou dost venerate, / And not the beast that bears it on his back.

The stumbler stumbles least in rugged way.

The sweets of love are washed with tears.

The time of breeding is the time of doing children good; and not as many who think they have done fairly if they leave them a good portion after their decease.

The way to make thy son rich is to fill / His mind with rest, before his trunk with riches.

There is great force hidden in a sweet command.

There’s no great banquet but some fares ill.

They that by pleading clothes / Do fortunes seek, when worth and service fail, / Would have their tale believed for their oaths, / And are like empty vessels under sail.

Thine own worm be not: yet such jealousy, / As hurts not others, but may make thee better, / Is a good spur.

Things all are big with jest; nothing that’s plain / But may be witty, if thou hast the vein … / Many affecting wit beyond their power, / Have got to be a dear fool for an hour.

Think not thy fame at every twitch will break; / By great deeds show that thou canst little do; / And do them not; that shall thy wisdom be; / And change thy temperance into bravery.

Think of ease, but work on.

Thrifty be, but not covetous.

Thy friend put in thy bosom; wear his eyes / Still in thy heart, that he may see what’s there. / If cause require, thou art his sacrifice…. / But love is lost; the way of friendship’s gone.

Tie up thy fears. / He that forbears / To suit and serve his need, / Deserves his load.

’Tis the part of a poor spirit to undervalue himself and blush.

To what they know best entice all neatly; / For so thou dost thyself and him a pleasure.

Towards great persons use respective boldness: / That temper gives them theirs, and yet doth take / Nothing from thine.

Truth dwells not in the clouds; the bow that’s there / Doth often aim at, never hit the sphere.

Use sometimes to be alone.

Useful be where thou livest, that they may / Both want and wish thy pleasing presence still. / Kindness, good parts, great places, are the way / To compass this.

Usefulness comes by labour, wit by ease.

Wealth is the conjuror’s devil; / Whom when he thinks he hath, the devil hath him.

Wealth without contentment climbs a hill, / To feel those tempests which fly over ditches.

What house more stately hath there been, / Or can be, than is Man?

What skills it if a bag of stones or gold / About thy neck do drown thee? Raise thy head; / Take stars for money; stars not to be told / By any art, yet to be purchased.

When baseness is exalted, do not bate / The place its honour for the person’s sake.

When thou dost purpose ought within thy power, / Be sure to do it, though it be but small.

Who breaks his own bond, forfeiteth himself.

Who cannot rest till he good fellows find, / He breaks up house, turns out of doors his mind.

Who fears to do ill sets himself a task; / Who fears to do well sure should wear a mask.

Who follows all things forfeiteth his will.

Who keeps no guard upon himself is slack, / And rots to nothing at the next great thaw.

Who marks in church-time others’ symmetry, / Makes all their beauty his deformity.

Who plays for more / Than he can lose with pleasure, stakes his heart.

Who say, I care not, those I give for lost; / And to instruct them, ’twill not quit the cost.

Wisdom picks friends; civility plays the rest; / A toy shunn’d cleanly passeth with the best.

Wisdom’s a trimmer thing than shop e’er gave.

Wit’s an unruly engine, wildly striking / Sometimes a friend, sometimes the engineer: / Hast thou the knack? pamper it not with liking; / But if thou want it, buy it not too dear.

Words are women, deeds are men.

Wouldst thou both eat thy cake and have it?

Write, so much given to God; thou shalt be heard.

Youth may make / Even with the year; but age, if it will hit, / Shoots a bow short, and lessens still his stake, / As the day lessens, and his life with it.