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James Wood, comp. Dictionary of Quotations. 1899.


A crown / Golden in show, is but a wreath of thorns.

A good book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.

Accuse not Nature; she hath done her part; / Do thou thine.

And found no end, in wand’ring mazes lost.

As ever in my great taskmaster’s eye.

As good almost kill a man as kill a good book; who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God’s image; but he who destroys a good book kills reason itself.

At whose sight all the stars / Hide their diminished heads.

Beauty stands / In the admiration only of weak minds, / Led captive.

Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.

But all was false and hollow; though his tongue / Dropp’d manna, and could make the worse appear / The better reason, to perplex and dash / Maturest counsels.

Childhood shows the man, as morning shows the day.

Come, and trip it as you go, / On the light fantastic toe.

Confidence imparts a wondrous inspiration to its possessor. It bears him on in security, either to meet no danger or to find matter of glorious trial.

Confusion worse confounded.

Courage never to submit or yield.

Courtesy is often sooner found in lowly sheds with smoky rafters, than in tapestry halls and courts of princes, where it first was named.

Dark with excessive bright.

Darkness visible.

Dear son of memory, great heir of fame.On Shakespeare.

Deep on his front engraven / Deliberation sat, and public care.

Deep vers’d in books, and shallow in himself.

Earth felt the wound; and Nature from her seat, / Sighing through all her work, gave sign of woe / That all was lost.

Education of youth is not a bow for every man to shoot in that counts himself a teacher, but will require sinews almost equal to those which Homer gave Ulysses.

Elephants endors’d with towers.

Eloquence the soul, song charms the sense.

Enflamed with the study of learning and the admiration of virtue; stirred up with high hopes of living to be brave men and worthy patriots, dear to God, and famous to all ages.

Error is but opinion in the making.

Evil news rides post, while good news bates.

Evil, be thou my good.

Fairest of stars, last in the train of night, / If better thou belong not to the dawn.

Faithful found / Among the faithless; faithful only he.

Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil.

Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise, / (That last infirmity of noble minds,) / To scorn delights and live laborious days.

Far from all resort of mirth / Save the cricket on the hearth.

Farewell, happy fields, / Where joy for ever dwells; hail, horror, hail!

Fear of change / Perplexes monarchs.

For contemplation he and valour form’d, / For softness she and sweet attractive grace; / He for God only, she for God in him, / His fair large front and eye sublime declared.

For solitude sometimes is best society, / And short retirement urges sweet return.

For who would lose, / Though full of pain, this intellectual being, / Those thoughts that wander through eternity; / To perish rather, swallowed up and lost, / In the wide womb of uncreated night?

Forget thyself to marble.

Give me the liberty to know, to think, to believe, and to utter freely, according to conscience, above all other liberties.

Good the more / Communicated more abundant grows.

Gorgons, and hydras, and chimæras dire.

Grace was in all her steps, heav’n in her eye, / In every gesture dignity and love.

He that has light within his own clear breast may sit in the centre and enjoy bright day.

He who would not be frustrate of his hope to write well hereafter in laudable things ought himself to be a true poem.

He who would write heroic poems must make his whole life a heroic poem.Quoted by Carlyle.

Heav’n is for thee too high; be lowly wise.

His tongue / Dropp’d manna, and could make the worse appear / The better reason, to perplex and dash / Maturest counsels.

His tongue could make the worse appear the better reason.

Hope never comes that comes to all.

How charming is divine philosophy!

I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and seeks her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.

Immediate are the acts of God, more swift / Than time or motion.

In argument with men, a woman ever / Goes by the worse, whatever be her cause.

In dim eclipse disastrous twilight sheds / On half the nations, and with fear of change perplexes monarchs.

In loving thou dost well, in passion not, / Wherein true love consists not.

Just are the ways of God, / And justifiable to men; / Unless there be who think not God at all.

Knowledge is as food, and needs no less / Her temp’rance over appetite, to know / In measure what the mind may well contain, / Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns / Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind.

Laughter, holding both his sides.

Let him who would write heroic poems make his life a heroic poem.

Let none admire / That riches grow in hell; that soil may best / Deserve the precious bane.

Let none henceforth seek needless cause t’ approve / The faith they owe; when earnestly they seek / Such proof, conclude they then begin to fail.

License they mean when they cry liberty.

Lust—hard by fate.

Mammon, the least erected spirit that fell / From heaven.

Men of most renowned virtue have sometimes by transgressing most truly kept the law.

Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth / Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep.

Moping melancholy.

New presbyter is but old priest writ large.

No falsehood can endure / Touch of celestial temper.

Nor love thy life, nor hate, but what thou liv’st / Live well, how long or short permit to heaven.

Not to know me argues yourselves unknown.

Nothing lovelier can be found / In woman than to study household good, / And good works in her husband to promote.

Now morn her rosy steps in th’ eastern clime, / Advancing, sowed the earth with orient pearl.

Ofttimes nothing profits more / Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right.

One tongue is sufficient for a woman.In reference to foreign languages.

Others apart sat on a hill retired, / In thoughts more elevate, and reason’d high / Of Providence, fore-knowledge, will, and fate, / Fix’d fate, free-will, fore-knowledge absolute; / And found no end, in wand’ring mazes lost.

Our country is wherever we are well off.

Peace hath her victories, / No less renown’d than war.

Prudence is that virtue by which we discern what is proper to be done under the various circumstances of time and place.

Rather than be less, / Cared not to be at all.

Revenge, at first though sweet, bitter erelong back on itself recoils.

Rocks whereon greatest men have oftest wreck’d.

Servant of God, well done; well hast thou fought / The better fight.

Smiles from reason flow, / To brute denied, and are of love the food.

Solitude sometimes is best society, / And short retirement urges sweet return.

Spirits, when they please, / Can either sex assume, or both.

Stand fast! to stand or fall, / Free in thine own arbitrament it stands.

Subverting worldly strong and worldly wise, / By simply meek.

Sweet bird, that shunn’st the noise of folly, / Most musical, most melancholy.

Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet, / With charm of earliest birds.

Tears such as angels weep.

That golden key that opes the palace of eternity.

That last infirmity of noble minds.

The childhood shows the man / As morning shows the day.

The mind is its own place, and in itself / Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.

The pilot of the Galilean lake; / Two massy keys he bore, of metals twain, / The golden opes, the iron shuts amain.

The pious and just honouring of ourselves may be thought the radical moisture and fountain-head from whence every laudable and worthy enterprise issues forth.

They found no end, in wandering mazes lost.

Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks / In Vallombrosa.

This is not the liberty which we can hope, that no grievance should arise in the commonwealth, but when complaints are freely heard, deeply considered, and speedily reformed, then is the utmost bound of civil liberty attained that wise men look for.

Though wisdom wake, suspicion sleeps / At wisdom’s gate; and to simplicity / Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill where no ill seems.

Thoughts that voluntary move / Harmonious numbers.

Thus with the year / Seasons return; but not to me returns / Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn, / Or sight of vernal bloom or summer’s rose, / Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine; / But cloud instead, and ever-during dark / Surrounds me.

To be weak is miserable, / Doing or suffering.

To know / That which before us lies in daily life, / Is the prime wisdom.

To reign is worth ambition, though in hell: / Better to reign in hell than serve in heav’n.

To scorn delights and live laborious days.

True virtue, being united to heavenly grace of faith, makes up the highest perfection.

Truth is as impossible to be soiled by any outward touch as the sunbeam.

Virtue that wavers is not virtue.

Virtue, which breaks through all opposition / And all temptations can remove, / Most shines and most is acceptable above.

We boast our light; but if we look not wisely on the sun itself, it smites us into darkness.

What boots it at one gate to make defence, / And at another to let in the foe?

What is strength without a double share / Of wisdom? vast, unwieldy, burdensome, / Proudly secure, yet liable to fall / By weakest subtleties; not made to rule, / But to subserve where wisdom bears command.

What needs my Shakespeare for his honour’d bones?

What though the field be lost? / All is not lost; th’ unconquerable will, / And study of revenge, immortal hate, / And courage never to submit or yield.

When the new light which we beg for shines in upon us, there be who envy and oppose, if it come not in first at their casements.

Where no hope is left, is left no fear.

Where peace / And rest can never dwell, hope never comes, / That comes to all.

Where shame is, there is fear.

Which way I fly is hell; myself am hell; / And in the lowest deep a lower deep, / Still threat’ning to devour me, opens wide, / To which the hell I suffer seems a heaven.

Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, but he who kills a good book kills reason itself.

Who knows not that truth is strong, next to the Almighty? She needs no politics, nor stratagems, nor licensings to make her victorious; those are the shifts and the defences that error uses against her power; give her but room and do not bind her when she sleeps.

Who overcomes / By force, hath overcome but half his foe.

Whom well inspir’d the oracle pronounced / Wisest of men.Of Socrates.

With centric and eccentric scribbled o’er, / Cycle and epicyle, orb in orb.

With necessity, the tyrant’s plea, excused his devilish deeds.