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James Wood, comp. Dictionary of Quotations. 1899.


A crust of bread and liberty.

A little learning is a dangerous thing / Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.

A mighty maze! but not without a plan.

A saint in crape is twice a saint in lawn.

A third interprets motion, looks, and eyes, / At every word a reputation dies.

A very good woman may make but a paltry man.

A wise physician, skill’d our wounds to heal, / Is more than armies to the public weal.

A wit with dunces, and a dunce with wits.

Above all Greek, above all Roman fame.

Act well your part; there all the honour lies.

All are but parts of one stupendous whole / Whose body Nature is, and God the soul.

All nature is but art unknown to thee: / All chance, direction which thou canst not see: / All discord, harmony not understood; / All partial evil, universal good.

An honest man’s the noblest work of God.

An obstinate man does not hold opinions, but they hold him.

As man, perhaps, the moment of his breath, / Receives the lurking principle of death; / The young disease, that must subdue at length, / Grows with his growth, and strengthens with his strength.

As yet a child, not yet a fool to fame, / I lisp’d in numbers, for the numbers came.

At every trifle scorn to take offence; / That always shows great pride or little sense.

Be not the first by whom the new is tried, / Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.

Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll; / Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.

Beauty draws us with a single hair.

Behold the child, by Nature’s kindly law, / Pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw.

Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.

Condition, circumstance, is not the thing, / Bliss is the same in subject or in king.

Content if hence th’ unlearn’d their wants may view, / The learn’d reflect on what before they knew.

Created half to rise and half to fall, / Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all: / Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl’d; / The glory, jest, and riddle of the world.

Curse on all laws but those which love has made.

Curst be the verse, how well soe’er it flow, / That tends to make one worthy man my foe, / Give virtue scandal, innocence a fear, / Or from the soft-ey’d virgin steal a tear.

Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, / And, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer. / Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike; / Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike.

Destroy his fib or sophistry—in vain! / The creature’s at his dirty work again.

Die of a rose in aromatic pain.

Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame.

Downward to climb and backward to advance.

Envy will merit as its shade pursue, / But, like a shadow, proves the substance true.

Eternal smiles his emptiness betray, / As shallow streams run dimpling all the way.

Every man has just as much vanity as he wants understanding.

Extremes in nature equal ends produce; / In man they join to some mysterious use.

Eye Nature’s walks, shoot folly as it flies, / And catch the manners living as they rise.

Fair tresses man’s imperial race ensnare, / And beauty draws us with a single hair.

Fame is a fancied life in others’ breath.

Father of all! in every age, / In every clime adored, / By saint, by savage, and by sage, Jehovah, Jove, or Lord.

Fine by defect and delicately weak.

Fine sense and exalted sense are not half so useful as common sense.

Fix’d to no spot is happiness sincere; / ’Tis nowhere to be found, or everywhere.

Fixed like a plant on his peculiar spot, / To draw nutrition, propagate, and rot.

Flowers of rhetoric in sermons and serious discourses are like the blue and red flowers in corn, pleasing to those who come only for amusement, but prejudicial to him who would reap profit from it.

Fools grant whate’er ambition craves, / And men, once ignorant, are slaves.

For dear to gods and men is sacred song.

For fate has wove the thread of life with pain, / And twins e’en from the birth are misery and man.

For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

For forms of government let fools contest; / Whate’er is best administered is best.

For he lives twice who can at once employ / The present well and e’en the past enjoy.

For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight; / His can’t be wrong whose life is in the right.

For sacred even to gods is misery.

For virtue’s self may too much zeal be had; / The worst of madmen is a saint run mad.

From grave to gay, from lively to severe.

Get place and wealth, if possible, with grace; / If not, by any means get wealth and place.

Get your enemies to read your works in order to mend them, for your friend is so much your second self that he will judge too like you.

Give me again my hollow tree, / A crust of bread, and liberty.

Glory and gain the industrious tribe provoke; / And gentle dulness ever loves a joke.

Go, wondrous creature, mount where science guides. / Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides; / Instruct the planets in what orbs to run, / Correct old Time, and regulate the sun; / Go, teach Eternal Wisdom how to rule, / Then drop into thyself and be a fool.

Godfrey sent the thief that stole the cash away, / And punished him that put it in his way.

Good-nature and good sense are usually companions.

Good-nature and good sense must ever join; / To err is human, to forgive divine.

Good-sense, which only is the gift of Heaven, / And though no science, fairly worth the seven.

Happily to steer / From grave to gay, from lively to severe.

He lives twice who can at once employ / The present well and e’en the past enjoy.

He that will carry nothing about him but gold will be every day at a loss for readier change.

He who tells a lie is not sensible how great a task he undertakes, for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain that one.

He’s armed without that’s innocent within.

Health consists with temperance alone.

Heaven from all creatures hides the book of fate, / All but the page prescribed—their present state.

Heroes are much the same, the point’s agreed, / From Macedonia’s madman to the Swede.

Hills peep o’er hills; and alps on alps arise.

Hope springs eternal in the human breast; / Man never is, but always to be, blest.

How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot! / The world forgetting, by the world forgot.

How prone to doubt, how cautious are the wise!After Homer.

I never knew any man in my life who could not bear another’s misfortunes perfectly as a Christian.

I was not born for courts or great affairs; / I pay my debts, believe, and say my prayers.

If I am right, Thy grace impart / Still in the right to stay; / If I am wrong, O teach my heart to find the better way.

If I should say nothing, I should say much (much being included in my love); though my love be such, that if I should say much, I should yet say nothing, it being, as Cowley says, equally impossible either to conceal or to express it.

If my person be crooked, my verses shall be straight.

If vain our toil, we ought to blame the culture, not the soil.

In Faith and Hope the world will disagree, / But all mankind’s concern is Charity.

In men we various ruling passions find; / In women, two almost divide the mind; / Those, only fix’d, they first or last obey, / The love of pleasure and the love of sway.

In pride, in reasoning pride, our error lies; / All quit their sphere and rush into the skies.

In youth and beauty wisdom is but rare.After Homer.

It is impossible that an ill-natured man can have a public spirit; for how should he love ten thousand men who never loved one?

It is not poetry, but prose run mad.

It is not strength, but art obtains the prize.

Judges and senates have been bought for gold; / Esteem and love were never to be old.

Know from the bounteous heaven all riches flow; / And what man gives, the gods by man bestow.

Know then this truth (enough for man to know), / Virtue alone is happiness below.

Know then thyself; presume not God to scan; / The proper study of mankind is man.

Know, Nature’s children all divide her care; / The fur that warms a monarch warm’d a bear.

Ladies like variegated tulips show; / ’Tis to their changes half their charms they owe.

Laugh where we must, be candid where we can, / But vindicate the ways of God to man.

Learn of the little nautilus to sail, / Spread the thin oar and catch the driving gale.

Let such teach others who themselves excel, / And censure freely who have written well.

Like leaves on trees the race of man is found, / Now green in youth, now withering on the ground; / Another race the following spring supplies; / They fall successive, and successive rise.His Homer.

Like mighty rivers, with resistless force, / The passions rage, obstructed in their course, / Swell to new heights, forbidden paths explore, / And drown those virtues which they fed before.

Lo! the poor Indian, whose untutored mind / Sees God in clouds, or hears Him in the wind; / His soul proud science never taught to stray / Far as the solar walk or milky way; / Yet simple nature to his hope has given, / Behind the cloud-topt hills, a humbler heaven.

Love seldom haunts the breast where learning lies, / And Venus sets ere Mercury can rise.

Love, free as air, at sight of human ties, / Spreads his light wings, and in a moment flies.

Man, like the gen’rous vine, supported, lives; / The strength he gains is from the embrace he gives.

Men dream in courtship, but in wedlock wake.

Men must be taught as though you taught them not.

Men would be angels, angels would be gods.

Men, some to business, some to pleasure take; / But every woman is at heart a rake: / Men, some to quiet, some to public strife; / But every lady would be queen for life.

Monuments, like men, submit to fate.

Most authors steal their works, or buy.

Most women have no characters at all.

Nature and Nature’s laws lay hid in night; / God said, “Let Newton be!” and all was light.

Nature and truth, though never so low or vulgar, are yet pleasing when openly and artlessly represented.

Nature made every fop to plague his brother, / Just as one beauty mortifies another.

Never elated when one man’s oppress’d; / Never dejected while another’s bless’d.

No creature smarts so little as a fool.

No man should ever be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser to-day than he was yesterday.

Nor Fame I slight, nor for her favours call; / She comes unlook’d for, if she comes at all.

Not a vanity is given in vain.

Numbers err in this: / Ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss.

O sons of earth, attempt ye still to rise, / By mountains piled on mountains, to the skies? / Heav’n still with laughter the vain toil surveys, / And buries madmen in the heaps they raise.

On eagles’ wings immortal scandals fly, / While virtuous actions are but born to die.

On life’s vast ocean diversely we sail, / Reason the card, but passion is the gale.

On wrong / Swift vengeance waits; and art subdues the strong.

One science only can one genius fit, / So vast is art, so narrow human wit.

Order is heaven’s first law.

Our passions are like convulsion fits, which, though they make us stronger for the time, leave us weaker ever after.

Ourselves are easily provided for; it is nothing but the circumstantials of human life that cost so much.

Party is the madness of many for the gain of the few.

Passions are the gales of life.

Pleas’d with a rattle, tickl’d with a straw.

Praise undeserved is satire in disguise.

Pride is still aiming at the blest abodes; / Men would be angels, angels would be gods; / Aspiring to be gods, if angels fell, / Aspiring to be angels, men rebel.

Pride, the never-failing vice of fools.

Ravish’d with the whistling of a name.

Reason raise o’er instinct as you can; / In this ’tis God directs, in that ’tis man.

Reason serves when pressed, but honest instinct comes a volunteer.

Reason’s whole pleasure, all the joys of sense, / Lie in three words,—health, peace, and competence.

Religion, blushing, veils her sacred fires, / And unawares morality expires.

Remembrance and reflection how allied! / What thin partitions sense from thought divide!

Resentment, indeed, may remain, perhaps cannot be quite extinguished in the noblest minds; but revenge never will harbour there.

Respect us human, and relieve us poor.

Satan now is wiser than of yore, / And tempts by making rich, not making poor.

Slave to no sect, who takes no private road, / But looks through Nature up to Nature’s God.

Sleep and death, two twins of winged race, / Of matchless swiftness, but of silent pace.His Homer.

Solid pudding against empty praise.

Some old men, by continually praising the time of their youth, would almost persuade us that there were no fools in those days; but unluckily they are left themselves for examples.

Some to whom Heaven in wit has been profuse, / Want as much more to turn it to its use.

Strength of mind is exercise, not rest.

Sure, of qualities demanding praise, / More go to ruin fortunes, than to raise.

Sworn to no master, of no sect am I; / As drives the storm, at any door I knock, / And house with Montaigne now, and now with Locke.

Teach me to feel another’s woe, / To hide the fault I see; / That mercy I to others show, / That mercy show to me.

Ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss.

The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read, / With loads of learned lumber in his head.

The feast of reason and the flow of soul.

The finest minds, like the finest metals, dissolve the easiest.

The proper study of mankind is man.

The ruling passion, be it what it will, / The ruling passion, conquers reason still.

The worst of madmen is a saint run mad.

The young disease, that must subdue at length, / Grows with his growth, and strengthens with his strength.

There are, whom heaven has blessed with store of wit, / Yet want as much again to manage it; / For wit and judgment ever are at strife, / Tho’ meant each other’s aid, like man and wife.

There never was any party, faction, or sect in which the most ignorant was not the most violent.

Time conquers all, and we must time obey.

’Tis education forms the common mind, / Just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined.

’Tis not a lip, or eye, we beauty call, / But the joint force and full result of all.

’Tis not enough your counsel still be true; / Blunt truths more mischief than nice falsehoods do.

’Tis with our judgments as our watches; none / Go just alike, yet each believes his own.

To be angry is to avenge the faults of others upon ourselves.

To endeavour to work upon the vulgar with fine sense is like attempting to hew blocks with a razor.

To err is human, to forgive divine.

To Him no high, no low, no great, no small; / He fills, He bounds, connects and equals all.

Trifles themselves are elegant in him.

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, / As those move easiest who have learned to dance.

Two principles in human nature reign— / Self-love to urge, and reason to restrain.

Unextinguish’d laughter shakes the skies.

Vast chain of being! / From Nature’s chain whatever link you strike / Tenth or ten thousandth breaks the chain alike.

Vice is a monster of such frightful mien, / As to be hated needs but to be seen; / Yet seen too often, familiar with her face, / We first endure, then pity, then embrace.

Virtuous and vicious every man must be; / Few in the extreme, but all in a degree.

What can ennoble sots, or slaves, or cowards? / Alas! not all the blood of all the Howards.

What can we reason, but from what we know?

What dire offence from amorous causes springs! / What mighty contests rise from trivial things!

What he greatly thought, he nobly dared.

What is generally accepted as virtue in women is very different from what is thought so in men: a very good woman would make but a paltry man.

Whatever is, is right.

When a man is conscious that he does no good himself, the next thing is to cause others to do some.

When men grow virtuous in their old age, they only make a sacrifice to God of the devil’s leavings.

Who builds a church to God and not to fame, / Will never mark the marble with his name.

Who combats bravely is not therefore brave, / He dreads a death-bed like the meanest slave; / Who reasons wisely is not therefore wise,— / His pride in reasoning, not in acting lies.

Who pants for glory finds but short repose; / A breath revives him or a breath o’erthrows.

Who shall decide when doctors disagree, / And soundest casuists doubt, like you and me.

Whoever thinks a faultless piece to see, / Thinks what ne’er was, nor is, nor e’er shall be.

Why has not man a microscopic eye? / For this plain reason—man is not a fly.

Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike, / Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike.

Wise to resolve, and patient to perform.

Wit and judgment often are at strife, / Though meant each other’s aid, like man and wife.

With too much quickness ever to be taught; / With too much thinking to have common thought.

Without a sign his sword the brave man draws, / And asks no omen but his country’s cause.

Woman’s at best a contradiction still.

Words are like leaves, and when they most abound / Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.

Worth makes the man, and want of it the fellow; / The rest is all but leather or prunello.

Years following years steal something every day; / At last they steal us from ourselves away.

Yet taught by Time, my heart has learned to glow / For other’s good and melt at other’s woe.

You beat your pate, and fancy wit will come; / Knock as you please, there’s nobody at home.