C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


  • A Christian’s wit is offensive light,
  • A beam that aids, but never grieves the sight;
  • Vig’rous in age as in the flush of youth,
  • ’Tis always active on the side of truth.
  • A glory gilds the sacred page,
  • Majestic like the sun,
  • It gives a light to every age,
  • It gives, but borrows none.
  • A lawyer’s dealings should be just and fair;
  • Honesty shines with great advantage there.
  • A moral, sensible, and well-bred man
  • Will not affront me, and no other can.
  • A story, in which native humor reigns,
  • Is often useful, always entertains;
  • A graver fact enlisted on your side
  • May furnish illustration, well applied;
  • But sedentary weavers of long tales
  • Give me the fidgets, and my patience fails.
  • ’Tis the most asinine employ on earth,
  • To hear them tell of parentage and birth,
  • And echo conversations dull and dry,
  • Embellish’d with,—He said,—and, So said I.
  • A worm is in the bud of youth,
  • And at the root of age.
  • Absence of occupation is not rest,
  • A mind quite vacant is a mind distress’d.
  • Adored through fear, strong only to destroy.
  • Ages elapsed ere Homer’s lamp appear’d,
  • And ages ere the Mantuan swan was heard;
  • To carry nature lengths unknown before,
  • To give a Milton birth, ask’d ages more.
  • All affectation; ’tis my perfect scorn;
  • Object of my implacable disgust.
  • All has its date below; the fatal hour
  • Was register’d in Heav’n ere time began.
  • We turn to dust, and all our mightiest works
  • Die too.
  • All zeal for a reform, that gives offence
  • To peace and charity, is mere pretence.
  • Am I to set my life upon a throw,
  • Because a bear is rude and surly? No—
  • A moral, sensible, and well-bred man,
  • Will not affront me, and no other can.
  • And hast thou sworn on every slight pretence,
  • Till perjuries are common as bad pence,
  • While thousands, careless of the damning sin,
  • Kiss the book’s outside, who ne’er look within?
  • And he by no uncommon lot
  • Was famed for virtues he had not.
  • And in that charter reads with sparkling eyes,
  • Her title to a treasure in the skies.
  • And Satan trembles when he sees
  • The weakest saint upon his knees.
  • And the tear that is wiped with a little address,
  • May be follow’d perhaps by a smile.
  • As creeping ivy clings to wood or stone,
  • And hides the ruin that it feeds upon,
  • So sophistry cleaves close to and protects
  • Sin’s rotten trunk, concealing its defects.
  • Assail’d by scandal and the tongue of strife,
  • His only answer was a blameless life;
  • And he that forged, and he that threw the dart,
  • Had each a brother’s interest in his heart.
  • Be it a weakness, it deserves some praise,
  • We love the play-place of our early days.
  • The scene is touching, and the heart is stone,
  • That feels not at that sight, and feels at none.
  • Behind a frowning providence
  • He hides a smiling face.
  • Behold the picture! Is it like? Like whom?
  • The things that mount the rostrum with a skip
  • And then skip down again. Pronounce a text,
  • Cry hem; and reading what they never wrote,
  • Just fifteen minutes huddle up their work,
  • And with a well-bred whisper close the scene.
  • Beware of desperate steps. The darkest day,
  • Live till tomorrow, will have pass’d away.
  • But conversation, choose what theme we may,
  • And chiefly when religion leads the way,
  • Should flow, like waters after summer show’rs,
  • Not as if raised by mere mechanic powers.
  • But many a crime deemed innocent on earth
  • Is registered in heaven; and these no doubt
  • Have each their record, with a curse annex’d.
  • But poverty, with most who whimper forth
  • Their long complaints, is self-inflicted woe;
  • The effect of laziness, or sottish waste.
  • But slaves that once conceive the glowing thought
  • Of freedom, in that hope itself possess
  • All that the contest calls for; spirit, strength,
  • The scorn of danger, and united hearts,
  • The surest presage of the good they seek.
  • But they whom truth and wisdom lead
  • Can gather honey from a weed.
  • But what is truth? ’Twas Pilate’s question put
  • To Truth itself, that deign’d him no reply.
  • But who with filial confidence inspired,
  • Can lift to heaven an unpresumptuous eye,
  • And smiling say, my Father made them all.
  • Call’d to the temple of impure delight
  • He that abstains, and he alone, does right.
  • If a wish wander that way, call it home;
  • He cannot long be safe whose wishes roam.
  • “Can this be true”? an arch observer cries,—
  • “Yes,” rather moved, “I saw it with these eyes.”
  • “Sir! I believe it on that ground alone;
  • I could not had I seen it with my own.”
  • Come, evening, once again, season of peace;
  • Return, sweet evening, and continue long!
  • Methinks I see thee in the streaky west,
  • With matron step, slow moving, while the night
  • Treads on thy sweeping train; one hand employ’d
  • In letting fall the curtain of repose
  • On bird and beast, the other charged for man
  • With sweet oblivion of the cares of day.
  • Could he with reason murmur at his case
  • Himself sole author of his own disgrace?
  • Detested sport,
  • That owes its pleasures to another’s pain.
  • Did Charity prevail, the press would prove
  • A vehicle of virtue, truth, and love.
  • Doing good,
  • Disinterested good, is not our trade.
  • Domestic happiness, thou only bliss
  • Of Paradise, that has survived the fall!
  • Dream after dream ensues;
  • And still they dream that they shall still succeed;
  • And still are disappointed.
  • Dress drains our cellar dry,
  • And keeps our larder lean; puts out our fires.
  • And introduces hunger, frost, and woe,
  • Where peace and hospitality might reign.
  • Fancy, like the finger of a clock,
  • Runs the great circuit, and is still at home.
  • Fashion, leader of a chatt’ring train,
  • Whom man for his own hurt permits to reign
  • Who shifts and changes all things but his shape,
  • And would degrade her vot’ry to an ape,
  • The fruitful parent of abuse and wrong,
  • Holds a usurp’d dominion o’er his tongue,
  • There sits and prompts him with his own disgrace,
  • Prescribes the theme, the tone, and the grimace,
  • And when accomplish’d in her wayward school,
  • Calls gentleman whom she has made a fool.
  • 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.
  • Forgot the blush that virgin fears impart
  • To modest cheeks, and borrowed one from art.
  • From such apostles, oh ye mitred heads,
  • Preserve the church; and lay not careless hands
  • On skulls that cannot teach, and will not learn.
  • Give what thou canst, without thee we are poor;
  • And with thee rich, take what thou wilt away.
  • Glory, built
  • On selfish principles, is shame and guilt;
  • The deeds that men admire as half divine,
  • Stark naught, because corrupt in their design.
  • Go, mark the matchless working of the power
  • That shuts within the seed the future flower:
  • Bids these in elegance of form excel,
  • In colour these, and those delight the smell,
  • Sends nature forth, the daughter of the skies,
  • To dance on earth, and charm all human eyes.
  • God made the country, and man made the town;
  • What wonder then, that health and virtue, gifts,
  • That can alone make sweet the bitter draught
  • That life holds out to all, should most abound,
  • And least be threatened in the fields and groves?
  • Great contest follows, and much learned dust
  • Involves the combatants; each claiming truth,
  • And truth disclaiming both.
  • Happy the man who sees a God employ’d
  • In all the good and ill that checker life!
  • Hast thou not learn’d what thou art often told,
  • A truth still sacred, and believed of old,
  • That no success attends on spears and swords
  • Unblest, and that the battle is the Lord’s?
  • He finds his fellow guilty of a skin
  • Not color’d like his own, and having pow’r
  • T’ enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause
  • Dooms and devotes him as his lawful prey.
  • He holds no parley with unmanly fears,
  • Where duty bids he confident steers,
  • Faces a thousand dangers at her call,
  • And, trusting to his God, surmounts them all.
  • He is ours,
  • T’ administer, to guard, t’ adorn the state,
  • But not to warp or change it. We are his,
  • To serve him nobly in the common cause,
  • True to the death, but not to be his slaves.
  • He that attends to his interior self,
  • That has a heart, and keeps it; has a mind
  • That hungers, and supplies it; and who seeks
  • A social, not a dissipated life,
  • Has business.
  • He that negotiates between God and man,
  • As God’s ambassador, the grand concerns
  • Of judgment and of mercy, should beware
  • Of lightness in his speech. ’Tis pitiful
  • To court a grin where you should woo a soul;
  • To break a jest, when pity would inspire
  • Pathetic exhortation; and address
  • The skittish fancy with facetious tales,
  • When sent with God’s commission to the heart.
  • Heaven speed the canvas, gallantly unfurl’d,
  • To furnish and accommodate a world,
  • To give the Pole the produce of the sun,
  • And knit th’ unsocial climates into one.
  • Hence jarring sectaries may learn
  • Their real interest to discern;
  • That brother should not war with brother,
  • And worry and devour each other.
  • Here rills of oily eloquence in soft
  • Meanders lubricate the course they take.
  • His still refuted quirks he still repeats,
  • New-raised objections with new quibbles meets;
  • Till sinking in the quicksand he defends,
  • He dies disputing, and the contest ends.
  • How fleet is a glance of the mind!
  • Compared with the speed of its flight,
  • The tempest itself lags behind,
  • And the swift-winged arrows of light.
  • How shall I speak thee, or thy power address,
  • Thou god of our idolatry, the Press?
  • By thee, religion, liberty, and laws,
  • Exert their influence, and advance their cause:
  • By thee, worse plagues than Pharaoh’s land befell,
  • Diffused, make earth the vestibule of hell:
  • Thou fountain, at which drink the good and wise,
  • Thou ever bubbling spring of endless lies,
  • Like Eden’s dread probationary tree,
  • Knowledge of good and evil is from thee!
  • How sweet, how passing sweet, is solitude;
  • But grant me still a friend in my retreat,
  • Whom I may whisper—solitude it sweet.
  • How various his employments, whom the world
  • Calls idle, and who justly in return
  • Esteems that busy world an idler too!
  • Friends, books, a garden, and perhaps his pen,
  • Delightful industry enjoyed at home,
  • And Nature in her cultivated trim,
  • Dressed to his taste, inviting him abroad.
  • How! leap into the pit our life to save?
  • To save our life leap all into the grave.
  • 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 crown thee king of intimate delights,
  • Fireside enjoyments, home-born happiness,
  • And all the comforts that the lowly roof
  • Of undisturb’d retirement, and the hours
  • Of long, uninterrupted evening, know.
  • I pity bashful men, who feel the pain
  • Of fancied scorn and undeserved disdain,
  • And bear the marks upon a blushing face
  • Of needless shame, and self-impos’d disgrace.
  • I venerate the man whose heart is warm,
  • Whose hands are pure, whose doctrine and whose life,
  • Coincident, exhibit lucid proof
  • That he is honest in the sacred cause.
  • I was a poet too; but modern taste
  • Is so refined and delicate and chaste,
  • That verse, whatever fire the fancy warms,
  • Without a creamy smoothness has no charms.
  • Thus, all success depending on an ear,
  • And thinking I might purchase it too dear,
  • If sentiment were sacrific’d to sound,
  • And truth cut short to make a period round,
  • I judg’d a man of sense could scarce do worse
  • Than caper in the morris-dance of verse.
  • I would not enter on my list of friends,
  • (Though graced with polished manners and fine sense,
  • Yet wanting sensibility) the man
  • Who needlessly sets foot upon a worm.
  • I would not have a slave to till my ground,
  • To carry me, to fan me while I sleep,
  • And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth
  • That sinews bought and sold have ever earn’d.
  • In man or woman, but far most in man,
  • And most of all in man that ministers,
  • And serves the altar, in my soul I loathe
  • All affectation. ’Tis my perfect scorn:
  • Object of my implacable disgust.
  • In the vast, and the minute, we see,
  • The unambiguous footsteps of the God,
  • Who gives its lustre to an insect’s wing
  • And wheels His throne upon the rolling worlds.
  • Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much;
  • Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.
  • Lands, intersected by a narrow frith,
  • Abhor each other. Mountains interpos’d
  • Make enemies of nations, who 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.
  • Man in society is like a flow’r,
  • Blown in its native bed. ’Tis there alone
  • His faculties expanded in full bloom
  • Shine out, there only reach their proper use.
  • Man may dismiss compassion from his heart,
  • But God will never.
  • Mansions once
  • Knew their own masters, and laborious hinds,
  • That had surviv’d the father, serv’d the son.
  • Now the legitimate and rightful lord
  • Is but a transient guest, newly arrived,
  • And soon to be supplanted. He that saw
  • His patrimonial timber cast its leaf,
  • Sells the last scantling, and transfers the price
  • To some shrewd sharper ere it buds again.
  • Estates are landscapes, gazed upon awhile,
  • Then advertised and auctioneer’d away.
  • Marble and recording brass decay,
  • And, like the ’graver’s memory, pass away;
  • The works of man inherit, as is just,
  • Their author’s frailty, and return to dust;
  • But Truth divine forever stands secure,
  • Its head as guarded, as its base is sure;
  • Fixed in the rolling flood of endless years,
  • The pillar of the eternal plan appears;
  • The waving storm and dashing wave defies,
  • Built by that Architect who built the skies.
  • Men engage in it compell’d by force,
  • And fear, not courage, is its proper source,
  • The fear of tyrant custom, and the fear
  • Lest fops should censure us, and fools should sneer.
  • *****
  • Am I to set my life upon a throw
  • Because a bear is rude and surly?—No—
  • A moral, sensible, and well-bred man
  • Will not affront me, and no other can.
  • Misery still delights to trace
  • Its semblance in another’s case.
  • Most satirists are indeed a public scourge;
  • Their mildest physic is a farrier’s purge;
  • Their acrid temper turns, as soon as stirr’d,
  • The milk of their good purpose all to curd,
  • Their zeal begotten, as their works rehearse,
  • By lean despair upon an empty purse.
  • Mountains interposed
  • Make enemies of nations, who had else
  • Like kindred drops been mingled into one.
  • Nature, exerting an unwearied power,
  • Forms, opens, and gives scent to every flower;
  • Spreads the fresh verdure of the field, and leads
  • The dancing Naiads through the dewy meads.
  • No tree in all the grove but has its charms,
  • Though each its hue peculiar.
  • No wild enthusiast ever yet could rest,
  • Till half mankind were like himself possess’d.
  • No, Freedom has a thousand charms to show,
  • That slaves, howe’er contented, never know.
  • None but an author knows an author’s cares,
  • Or fancy’s fondness for the child she bears.
  • Nor rural sights alone, but rural rounds
  • Exhilarate the spirit, and restore
  • The tone of languid Nature.
  • Not a flower
  • But shows some touch, in freckle, streak, or stain,
  • Of His unrivall’d pencil.
  • Not to understand a treasure’s worth,
  • Till time has stolen away the slightest good,
  • Is cause of half the poverty we feel,
  • And makes the world the wilderness it is.
  • Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
  • Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
  • And while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
  • Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
  • That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
  • So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
  • O for a lodge in some vast wilderness,
  • Some boundless contiguity of shade,
  • Where rumor of oppression and deceit,
  • Of unsuccessful or successful war,
  • Might never reach me more.
  • O Winter! ruler of the inverted year,
  • Thy scatter’d hair with sleet-like ashes fill’d,
  • Thy breath congeal’d upon thy lips, thy cheeks
  • Fring’d with a beard made white with other snows
  • Than those of age; thy forehead wrapt in clouds,
  • A leafless branch thy sceptre, and thy throne
  • A sliding car indebted to no wheels,
  • But urged by storms along its slippery way;
  • I love thee, all unlovely as thou seem’st,
  • And dreaded as thou art.
  • Oh, popular applause! what heart of man
  • Is proof against thy sweet seducing charms?
  • The wisest and the best feel urgent need
  • Of all their caution in thy gentlest gales:
  • But swell’d into a gust—who then, alas!
  • With all his canvas set, and inexpert,
  • And therefore, heedless, can withstand thy power?
  • On the summit see,
  • The seals of office glitter in his eyes;
  • He climbs, he pants, he grasps them! At his heels,
  • Close at his heels, a demagogue ascends,
  • And with a dexterous jerk soon twists him down,
  • And wins them, but to lose them in his turn.
  • Pernicious weed; whose scent the fair annoys,
  • Unfriendly to society’s chief joys,
  • Thy worst effect is banishing for hours
  • The sex whose presence civilizes ours.
  • Pleasure admitted in undue degree
  • Enslaves the will, nor leaves the judgment free.
  • Poor England! thou art a devoted deer,
  • Beset with every ill but that of fear.
  • The nations hunt; all mock thee for a prey;
  • They swarm around thee, and thou stand’st at bay.
  • Poor Jack,—no matter who,—for when I blame
  • I pity, and must therefore sink the name,—
  • Liv’d in his saddle, lov’d the chase, the course,
  • And always ere he mounted, kiss’d his horse.
  • Presume to lay their hand upon the ark
  • Of her magnificent and awful cause.
  • Prison’d in a parlour snug and small,
  • Like bottled wasps upon a southern wall.
  • Religion does not censure or exclude
  • Unnumbered pleasures, harmlessly pursued.
  • Religion, if in heavenly truths attired,
  • Needs only to be seen to be admired.
  • Remorse, the fatal egg by pleasure laid,
  • In every bosom where her nest is made,
  • Hatched by the beams of truth, denies him rest,
  • And proves a raging scorpion in his breast.
  • Returning he proclaims by many a grace,
  • By shrugs and strange contortions of his face,
  • How much a dunce that has been sent to roam,
  • Excels a dunce that has been kept at home.
  • Sacred interpreter of human thought,
  • How few respect or use thee as they ought!
  • But all shall give account of every wrong,
  • Who dare dishonor or defile the tongue;
  • Who prostitute it in the cause of vice,
  • Or sell their glory at a market-price!
  • Scenes must be beautiful which daily view’d
  • Please daily, and whose novelty survives
  • Long knowledge and the scrutiny of years.
  • Seek to delight, that they may mend mankind,
  • And, while they captivate, inform the mind.
  • Silently as a dream the fabric rose;
  • No sound of hammer or of saw was there.
  • 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 men make gain a fountain, whence proceeds
  • A stream of liberal and heroic deeds;
  • The swell of pity, not to be confined
  • Within the scanty limits of the mind.
  • Some shout him, and some hang upon his car
  • To gaze in his eyes and bless him. Maidens wave
  • Their ’kerchiefs, and old women weep for joy;
  • While others not so satisfied, unhorse
  • The gilded equipage, and turning loose
  • His steeds, usurp a place they well deserve.
  • Stamps God’s own name upon a lie just made,
  • To turn a penny in the way of trade.
  • Suburban villas, highway-side retreats,
  • That dread th’ encroachments of our growing streets,
  • Tight boxes neatly sash’d, and in a blaze
  • With all a July sun’s collected rays,
  • Delight the citizen, who gasping there,
  • Breathes clouds of dust, and calls it country air.
  • O sweet retirement, who would balk the thought
  • That could afford retirement, or could not?
  • ’Tis such an easy walk, so smooth and straight,—
  • The second milestone fronts the garden gate;
  • A step if fair, and if a shower approach
  • You find safe shelter in the next stagecoach,
  • There prison’d in a parlor snug and small,
  • Like bottled wasps upon a southern wall,
  • The man of business and his friends compress’d,
  • Forget their labors, and yet find no rest;
  • But still ’tis rural,—trees are to be seen
  • From every window, and the fields are green.
  • Such dupes are men to custom, and so prone
  • To rev’rence what is ancient, and can plead
  • A course of long observance for its use,
  • That even servitude, the worst of ills,
  • Because deliver’d down from sire to son,
  • Is kept and guarded as a sacred thing!
  • The Cross!
  • There, and there only (though the deist rave,
  • And atheist, if Earth bears so base a slave);
  • There and there only, is the power to save.
  • The earth was made so various, that the mind
  • Of desultory man, studious of change
  • And pleased with novelty, might be indulged.
  • The fall of waters and the song of birds,
  • And hills that echo to the distant herds,
  • Are luxuries excelling all the glare
  • The world can boast, and her chief favorites share.
  • The kindest and the happiest pair
  • Will find occasion to forbear;
  • And something, ev’ry day they live,
  • To pity, and perhaps forgive.
  • The man that hails you Tom or Jack,
  • And proves by thumps upon your back
  • How he esteems your merit,
  • Is such a friend, that one had need
  • Be very much his friend indeed
  • To pardon or to bear it.
  • The man to solitude accustom’d long,
  • Perceives in everything that lives a tongue;
  • Not animals alone, but shrubs and trees
  • Have speech for him, and understood with ease,
  • After long drought when rains abundant fall,
  • He hears the herbs and flowers rejoicing all.
  • The mind, relaxing into needful sport,
  • Should turn to writers of an abler sort,
  • Whose wit well managed, and whose classic style,
  • Give truth a lustre, and make wisdom smile.
  • The path of sorrow, and that path alone,
  • Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown;
  • No traveller ever reach’d that blest abode,
  • Who found not thorns and briars in his road.
  • The pipe with solemn interposing puff,
  • Makes half a sentence at a time enough;
  • The dozing sages drop the drowsy strain,
  • Then pause, and puff—and speak, and pause again.
  • The rout is Folly’s circle, which she draws
  • With magic wand. So potent is the spell,
  • That none decoy’d into that fatal ring,
  • Unless by heaven’s peculiar grace, escape.
  • There we grow early gray, but never wise.
  • The slaves of custom and established mode,
  • With pack-horse constancy, we keep the road
  • Crooked or straight, through quags or thorny dells,
  • True to the jingling of our leader’s bells.
  • The spleen is seldom felt where Flora reigns;
  • The low’ring eye, the petulance, the frown,
  • And sullen sadness, that o’ershade, distort,
  • And mar the face of beauty, when no cause
  • For such immeasurable woe appears;
  • These Flora banishes, and gives the fair
  • Sweet smiles, and bloom less transient than her own.
  • The statesman, lawyer, merchant, man of trade
  • Pants for the refuge of some rural shade,
  • Where all his long anxieties forgot
  • Amid the charms of a sequester’d spot,
  • Or recollected only to gild o’er
  • And add a smile to what was sweet before,
  • He may possess the joys he thinks he sees,
  • Lay his old age upon the lap of ease,
  • Improve the remnant of his wasted span,
  • And having lived a trifler, die a man.
  • The things that mount the rostrum with a skip,
  • And then skip down again, pronounce a text,
  • Cry hem; and reading what they never wrote
  • Just fifteen minutes, huddle up their work,
  • And with a well-bred whisper close the scene!
  • There goes the parson, oh illustrious spark!
  • And there, scarce less illustrious, goes the clerk.
  • There is a pleasure in poetic pains,
  • Which only poets know.
  • There is in souls a sympathy with sounds,
  • And as the mind is pitch’d, the ear is pleas’d
  • With melting airs or martial, brisk or grave;
  • Some chord in unison with what we hear
  • Is touch’d within us, and the heart replies.
  • There is in souls a sympathy with sounds;
  • How soft the music of those village bells,
  • Falling at intervals upon the ear
  • In cadence sweet, now dying all away.
  • They fix attention, heedless of your pain,
  • With oaths like rivets forced into the brain;
  • And e’en when sober truth prevails throughout,
  • They swear it, till affirmance breeds a doubt.
  • They love the country, and none else, who seek
  • For their own sake its silence and its shade.
  • Delights which who would leave, that has a heart
  • Susceptible of pity, or a mind
  • Cultured and capable of sober thought.
  • This fond attachment to the well-known place
  • Whence first we started into life’s long race,
  • Maintains its hold with such unfailing sway,
  • We feel it e’en in age, and at our latest day.
  • Time, as he passes us, has a dove’s wing,
  • Unsoil’d, and swift, and of a silken sound.
  • ’Tis liberty alone that gives the flower
  • Of fleeting life its luster and perfume;
  • And we are weeds without it.
  • ’Tis Providence alone secures
  • In every change both mine and yours.
  • ’Tis Revelation satisfies all doubts,
  • Explains all mysteries except her own,
  • And so illuminates the path of life,
  • That fools discover it, and stray no more.
  • To follow foolish precedents, and wink
  • With both our eyes is easier than to think.
  • To swear, to game, to drink, to show at home
  • By lewdness, idleness, and Sabbath-breach,
  • The great proficiency he made abroad,
  • T’ astonish and to grieve his gazing friends,
  • To break some maiden’s and his mother’s heart,
  • To be a pest where he was useful once,
  • Are his sole aim, and all his glory now.
  • True charity, a plant divinely nursed,
  • Fed by the love from which it rose at first,
  • Thrives against hope, and in the rudest scene,
  • Storms but enliven its unfading green;
  • Exub’rant is the shadow it supplies,
  • Its fruit on earth, its growth above the skies.
  • True modesty is a discerning grace
  • And only blushes in the proper place;
  • But counterfeit is blind, and skulks through fear,
  • Where ’tis a shame to be asham’d t’ appear:
  • Humility the parent of the first,
  • The last by vanity produc’d and nurs’d.
  • 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.
  • War’s a game, which, were their subjects wise,
  • Kings would not play at.
  • We are his,
  • To serve him nobly in the common cause,
  • True to the death, but not to be his slaves.
  • We sacrifice to dress, till household joys
  • And comforts cease. Dress drains our cellar dry,
  • And keeps our larder lean; puts out our fires,
  • And introduces hunger, frost and woe,
  • Where peace and hospitality might reign.
  • What is there in the vale of life
  • Half so delightful as a wife;
  • When friendship, love and peace combine
  • To stamp the marriage-bond divine?
  • What peaceful hours I once enjoy’d!
  • How sweet their memory still!
  • But they have left an aching void
  • The world can never fill.
  • What we admire we praise; and when we praise,
  • Advance it into notice, that its worth
  • Acknowledged, others may admire it too.
  • When perjury, that heaven-defying vice,
  • Sells oaths by tale, and at the lowest price,
  • Stamps God’s own name upon a lie just made,
  • To turn a penny in the way of trade.
  • When scandal has new-minted an old lie,
  • Or tax’d invention for a fresh supply,
  • ’Tis call’d a satire, and the world appears
  • Gathering around it with erected ears;
  • A thousand names are toss’d into the crowd,
  • Some whisper’d softly, and some twang’d aloud,
  • Just as the sapience of an author’s brain,
  • Suggests it safe or dangerous to be plain.
  • Where penury is felt the thought is chain’d,
  • And sweet colloquial pleasures are but few.
  • Who ever keeps an open ear
  • For tattlers, will be sure to hear
  • The trumpet of contention;
  • Aspersion is the babbler’s trade,
  • To listen is to lend him aid,
  • And rush into dissension.
  • Whoso seeks an audit here
  • Propitious, pays his tribute, game or fish,
  • Wild fowl or venison, and his errand speeds.
  • Wisdom and Goodness are twin born, one heart
  • Most hold both sisters, never seen apart.
  • With spots quadrangular of diamond form,
  • Ensanguined hearts, clubs typical of strife,
  • And spades, the emblems of untimely graves.
  • Without one friend, above all foes,
  • Britannia gives the world repose.
  • Words learn’d by rote, a parrot may rehearse,
  • But talking is not always to converse;
  • Not more distinct from harmony divine,
  • The constant creaking of a country sign.
  • Would I describe a preacher,
  • *****
  • I would express him simple, grave, sincere;
  • In doctrine uncorrupt; in language plain,
  • And plain in manner; decent, solemn, chaste,
  • And natural in gesture; much impress’d
  • Himself, as conscious of his awful charge,
  • And anxious mainly that the flock he feeds
  • May feel it too; affectionate in look,
  • And tender in address, as well becomes
  • A messenger of grace to guilty men.
  • Yon ancient prude, whose wither’d features show
  • She might be young some forty years ago,
  • Her elbows pinion’d close upon her hips,
  • Her head erect, her fan upon her lips,
  • Her eyebrows arch’d, her eyes both gone astray
  • To watch yon amorous couple in their play,
  • With bony and unkerchief’d neck defies
  • The rude inclemency of wintry skies,
  • And sails, with lappet-head and mincing airs,
  • Duly at chink of bell to morning prayers.
  • Your Lordship and your Grace, what school can teach
  • A rhetoric equal to those parts of speech?
  • What need of Homer’s verse, or Tully’s prose,
  • Sweet interjections! if he learn but those?
  • Let rev’rend churls his ignorance rebuke,
  • Who starve upon a dog’s ear’d Pentateuch,
  • The Parson knows enough who knows a Duke.
  • A fool may now and then be right by chance.

    A fool with judges, amongst fools a judge.

    A life of ease is a difficult pursuit.

    A snug and friendly game at cards.

    Absence of occupation is not rest.

    Accomplishments have taken virtue’s place, and wisdom falls before exterior grace.

    Acquaint thyself with God, if thou wouldst taste His works.

    Alas! if my best Friend, who laid down His life for me, were to remember all the instances in which I have neglected Him, and to plead them against me in judgment, where should I hide my guilty head in the day of recompense? I will pray, therefore, for blessings on my friends, even though they cease to be so, and upon my enemies, though they continue such.

    All learned, and all drunk!

    All truth is precious, if not all divine; and what dilates the powers must needs refine.

    An idler is a watch that wants both hands.

    Beware of desperate steps. The darkest day, live till to-morrow, will have passed away.

    Blest be the art that can immortalize,—the art that baffles time’s tyrannic claim to quench it.

    Books are not seldom talismans and spells.

    Built God a church and laughed His word to scorn.

    But, oh, Thou bounteous Giver of all good, Thou art, of all Thy gifts, Thyself the crown!

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

    Doing nothing with a deal of skill.

    Domestic happiness, thou only bliss of paradise that hath survived the fall.

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

    Examine well his milk-white hand, the palm is hardly clean,—but here and there an ugly smutch appears. Foh! It was a bribe that left it. He has touched corruption.

    Farewell! “But not for ever.”

    Flavia, most tender of her own good name, is rather careless of a sister’s fame.

    Folly ends where genuine hope begins.

    For truth is unwelcome, however divine.

    From thoughtless youth to ruminating age.

    Gloriously drunk, obey the important call.

    God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.

    Good sense, good health, good conscience, and good fame,—all these belong to virtue, and all prove that virtue has a title to your love.

    Habits are soon assumed; but when we strive to strip them off, ’tis being flayed alive.

    Happy the man who sees a God employed in all the good and ills that checker life.

    He that runs may read.

    Heaven’s harmony is universal love.

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

    How happy it is to believe, with a steadfast assurance, that our petitions are heard even while we are making them; and how delightful to meet with a proof of it in the effectual and actual grant of them.

    How readily we wish time spent revoked, that we might try the ground again where once—through inexperience, as we now perceive—we missed that happiness we might have found!

    I would not enter on my list of friends (though graced with polished manners and fine sense, yet wanting sensibility) the man who needlessly sets foot upon a worm.

    It is the primal curse, but softened into mercy, made the pledge of cheerful days and nights without a groan.

    Lives spent in indolence, and therefore sad.

    Man may dismiss compassion from his heart, but God will never.

    Man on the dubious waves of error toss’d.

    Mercy to him that shows it, is the rule.

    My soul is sick with every day’s report of wrong and outrage with which earth is filled.

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

    No man was ever scolded out of his sins.

    None but an author knows an author’s cares.

    Not a flower but shows some touch, in freckle, streak, or stain, of His unrivaled pencil. He inspires their balmy odors, and imparts their hues,

    Not to understand a treasure’s worth till time has stole away the slighted good, is cause of half the poverty we feel, and makes the world the wilderness it is.

    Now let us sing, long live the king.

    O popular applause! what heart of man is proof against thy sweet, seducing charms?

    O solitude! where are the charms that sages have seen in thy face?

    Quick is the succession of human events. The cares of to-day are seldom the cares of to-morrow; and when we lie down at night, we may safely say to most of our troubles, “Ye have done your worst, and we shall meet no more.”

    Religion, richest favor of the skies.

    Remorse, the fatal egg by pleasure laid.

    Sin let loose speaks punishment at hand.

    Some to the fascination of a name surrender judgment hoodwinked.

    Spring hangs her infant blossoms on the trees.

    Strange as it may seem, the most ludicrous lines I ever wrote have been written in the saddest mood.

    Such stuff the world is made of.

    That good diffused may more abundant grow.

    The art of poetry is to touch the passions, and its duty to lead them on the side of virtue.

    The bird that flutters least is longest on the wing.

    The false fire of an overheated mind.

    The few that pray at all pray oft amiss.

    The innocent seldom find an uneasy pillow.

    The lie that flatters I abhor the most.

    The only amaranthine flower on earth is virtue.

    The parable of the prodigal son, the most beautiful fiction that ever was invented; our Saviour’s speech to His disciples, with which He closed His earthly ministrations, full of the sublimest dignity and tenderest affection, surpass everything that I ever read; and like the spirit by which they were dictated, fly directly to the heart.

    The proud are ever most provoked by pride.

    The rich are too indolent, the poor too weak, to bear the insupportable fatigue of thinking.

    The sounding jargon of the schools.

    The statesman, lawyer, merchant, man of trade, pants for the refuge of some rural shade.

    The still small voice is wanted.

    There is in souls a sympathy with sounds.

    There is no flesh in man’s obdurate heart; he does not feel for man.

    Those flimsy webs that break as soon as wrought, attain not to the dignity of thought.

    Thus neither the praise nor the blame is our own.

    True charity, a plant divinely nurs’d.

    True modesty is a discerning grace.

    Variety is the very spice of life.

    Vice stings us even in our pleasures, but virtue consoles us even in our pains.

    Visits are unsatiable devourers of time, and fit only for those who, if they did not visit, would do nothing.

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

    We turn to dust, and all our mightiest works die too.

    When from soft love proceeds the deep distress, ah! why forbid the willing tears to flow?

    When nations are to perish in their sins, ’tis in the Church the leprosy begins.

    Where thou art gone, adieus and farewells are a sound unknown.

    Who loves a garden loves a greenhouse, too.

    Wit, now and then, struck smartly, shows a spark.

    With paths like rivets forced into your brain.