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


  • A foot more light, a step more true,
  • Ne’er from the heath-flower dashed the dew.
  • A garland for the hero’s crest,
  • And twined by her he loves the best;
  • To every lovely lady bright,
  • What can I wish but faithful knight?
  • To every faithful lover, too,
  • What can I wish but lady true?
  • And knowledge to the studious sage;
  • And pillow soft to head of age.
  • To thee, dear school-boy, whom my lay
  • Has cheated of thy hour of play,
  • Light task and merry holiday!
  • To all, to each, a fair good-night,
  • And pleasing dreams and slumber light!
  • Ah, County Guy, the hour is nigh,
  • The sun has left the lea,
  • The orange flower perfumes the bower,
  • The breeze is on the sea.
  • All live by seeming.
  • The beggar begs with it, and the gay courtier
  • Gains land and title, rank and rule, by seeming;
  • The clergy scorn it not, and the bold soldier
  • Will eke with it his service.—All admit it,
  • All practise it; and he who is content
  • With showing what he is, shall have small credit
  • In church, or camp, or state.—So wags the world.
  • And better had they ne’er been born,
  • Who read to doubt, or read to scorn.
  • And dar’st thou then
  • To beard the lion in his den,
  • The Douglas in his hall?
  • And let our barks across the pathless flood
  • Hold different courses.
  • And scenes, long past, of joy and in pain,
  • Came wildering o’er his aged brain.
  • And the stern joy which warriors feel
  • In foemen worthy of their steel.
  • As hope and fear alternate chase
  • Our course through life’s uncertain race.
  • Breathes there the man with soul so dead,
  • Who never to himself hath said,
  • This is my own, my native land!
  • Whose heart hath ne’er within him burn’d,
  • As home his footsteps he hath turn’d,
  • From wandering on a foreign strand!
  • But woe awaits a country, when
  • She sees the tears of bearded men.
  • Chance will not do the work—Chance sends the breeze;
  • But if the pilot slumber at the helm,
  • The very wind that wafts us towards the port
  • May dash us on the shelves.—The steersman’s part is vigilance,
  • Blow it or rough or smooth.
  • Come forth, old man,—thy daughter’s side
  • Is now the fitting place for thee:
  • When time has quell’d the oak’s bold pride,
  • The youthful tendril yet may hide.
  • The ruins of the parent tree.
  • Come one, come all! this rock shall fly
  • From its firm base as soon as I.
  • Contentions fierce,
  • Ardent, and dire, spring from no petty cause.
  • Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
  • The wretch, concentred all in self,
  • Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
  • And, doubly dying, shall go down
  • To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
  • Unwept, unhonour’d and unsung.
  • England was merry England, when
  • Old Christmas brought his sports again.
  • ’Twas Christmas broach’d the mightiest ale;
  • ’Twas Christmas told the merriest tale;
  • A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
  • The poor man’s heart through half the year.
  • ***for ne’er
  • Was flattery lost on Poet’s ear;
  • A simple race! they waste their toil
  • For the vain tribute of a smile.
  • From the white-thorn the May-flower shed
  • Its dewy fragrance round our head;
  • Not Ariel lived more merrily
  • Under the blossom’d bough than we.
  • Hard toil can roughen form and face,
  • And want can quench the eye’s bright grace.
  • He that climbs the tall tree has won right to the fruit,
  • He that leaps the wide gulf should prevail in his suit.
  • Heap on more wood! the wind is chill;
  • But let it whistle as it will,
  • We’ll keep our Christmas merry still.
  • Her blue eyes sought the west afar,
  • For lovers love the western star.
  • Here eglantine embalm’d the air,
  • Hawthorne and hazel mingled there;
  • The primrose pale, and violet flower,
  • Found in each cliff a narrow bower;
  • Fox-glove and nightshade, side by side,
  • Emblems of punishment and pride,
  • Group’d their dark hues with every stain
  • The weather-beaten crags retain.
  • Here is neither want of appetite nor mouths,
  • Pray heaven we be not scant of meat or mirth.
  • High minds, of native pride and force,
  • Most deeply feel thy pangs, Remorse!
  • Fear, for their scourge, mean villains have,
  • Thou art the torturer of the brave!
  • His face was of that doubtful kind,
  • That wins the eye but not the mind.
  • His soul, like bark with rudder lost,
  • On passion’s changeful tide was tost;
  • Nor vice nor virtue had the power
  • Beyond th’ impression of the hour;
  • And O, when passion rules, how rare
  • The hours that fall to virtue’s share!
  • Hope and fear alternate chase
  • Our course through life’s uncertain race.
  • I cannot tell how the truth may be;
  • I say the tale as ’twas said to me.
  • I’ll dream no more—by manly mind
  • Not even in sleep is will resigned.
  • My midnight orisons said o’er,
  • I’ll turn to rest, and dream no more.
  • In man’s most dark extremity
  • Oft succor dawns from Heaven.
  • In the lost battle,
  • Borne down by the flying,
  • Where mingles war’s rattle
  • With groans of the dying.
  • It [true love] is the secret sympathy,
  • The silver link, the silken tie,
  • Which heart to heart, and mind to mind
  • In body and in soul can bind.
  • Just at the age ’twixt boy and youth,
  • When thought is speech, and speech is truth.
  • Land of my sires! what mortal hand
  • Can e’er untie the filial band
  • That knits me to thy rugged strand!
  • Lightly from fair to fair he flew,
  • And loved to plead, lament, and sue,—
  • Suit lightly won, and short-lived pain,
  • For monarchs seldom sigh in vain.
  • Like the dew on the mountain,
  • Like the foam on the river,
  • Like the bubble on the fountain,
  • Thou art gone, and forever!
  • Love rules the court, the camp, the grove,
  • And men below, and saints above;
  • For love is heaven, and heaven is love.
  • Love, to her ear, was but a name,
  • Combin’d with vanity and shame;
  • Her hopes, her fears, her joys, were all
  • Bounded within the cloister wall.
  • Necessity—thou best of peacemakers,
  • As well as surest promoter of invention.
  • O Caledonia! stern and wild,
  • Meet nurse for a poetic child!
  • Land of brown heath and shaggy wood,
  • Land of the mountain and the flood,
  • Land of my sires! what mortal hand
  • Can e’er untie the filial band,
  • That knits me to thy rugged strand!
  • O woman! in our hours of ease,
  • Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
  • And variable as the shade
  • By the light quivering aspen made;
  • When pain and anguish wring the brow,
  • A ministering angel thou!
  • O, what a tangled web we weave,
  • When first we practise to deceive.
  • O! many a shaft, at random sent,
  • Finds mark the archer little meant!
  • And many a word, at random spoken,
  • May soothe or wound a heart that’s broken!
  • Oh, on that day, that wrathful day,
  • When man to judgment wakes from clay,
  • Be Thou, O Christ, the sinner’s stay,
  • Though heaven and earth shall pass away.
  • On his bold visage middle age
  • Had slightly press’d its signet sage,
  • Yet had not quenched the open truth
  • And fiery vehemence of youth;
  • Forward and frolic glee was there,
  • The will to do, the soul to dare.
  • Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
  • Morn of toil, nor night of waking.
  • Soldier, rest! thy warfare o’er,
  • Dream of fighting fields no more;
  • Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
  • Morn of toil, nor night of waking.
  • Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife!
  • To all the sensual world proclaim,
  • One crowded hour of glorious life
  • Is worth an age without a name.
  • Still from the sire the son shall hear
  • Of the stern strife, and carnage drear,
  • Of Flodden’s fatal field,
  • When shiver’d was fair Scotland’s spear,
  • And broken was her shield!
  • The harper smiled, well pleased; for ne’er
  • Was flatt’ry lost on poet’s ear:
  • A simple race! they waste their toil
  • For the vain tribute of a smile.
  • The rose is fairest when ’tis budding new,
  • And hope is brightest when it dawns from fears;
  • The rose is sweetest wash’d with morning dew,
  • And love is loveliest when, embalmed in tears.
  • The soul too soft its ills to bear,
  • Has left our mortal hemisphere,
  • And sought in better world the meed
  • To blameless life by heaven decreed.
  • The summer dawn’s reflected hue
  • To purple changed Loch Katrine blue,
  • Mildly and soft the western breeze
  • Just kiss’d the lake, just stirr’d the trees,
  • And the pleased lake, like maiden coy,
  • Trembled but dimpled not for joy.
  • The tear down childhood’s cheek that flows,
  • Is like the dewdrop on the rose;
  • When next the summer breeze comes by,
  • And waves the bush, the flower is dry.
  • The wind breath’d soft a lover’s sigh,
  • And, oft renew’d, seem’d oft to die
  • With breathless pause between,
  • O who, with speech of war and woes,
  • Would wish to break the soft repose
  • Of such enchanting scene!
  • Though varying wishes, hopes, and fears,
  • Fever’d the progress of these years,
  • Yet now, days, weeks, and months but seen
  • The recollection of a dream.
  • Thus aged men, full loth and slow,
  • The vanities of life forego,
  • And count their youthful follies o’er,
  • Till memory lends her light no more.
  • Thus pleasures fade away;
  • Youth, talents, beauty, thus decay,
  • And leave us dark, forlorn, and gray.
  • Time rolls his ceaseless course. The race of yore,
  • Who danced our infancy upon their knee,
  • And told our marvelling boyhood legends store,
  • Of their strange ventures happ’d by land or sea,
  • How are they blotted from the things that be!
  • How few, all weak and wither’d, of their force
  • Wait, on the verge of dark eternity,
  • Like stranded wrecks, the tide returning hoarse,
  • To sweep them from our sight!
  • ’Tis an old tale, and often told;
  • But did my fate and wish agree,
  • Ne’er had been read, in story old,
  • Of maiden true betray’d for gold,
  • That loved, or was avenged, like me!
  • To all, to each, a fair good night,
  • And pleasing dreams, and slumbers light.
  • Upon the gale she stoop’d her side,
  • And bounded o’er the swelling tide,
  • As she were dancing home;
  • The merry seamen laugh’d to see
  • Their gallant ship so lustily
  • Furrow the green-sea foam.
  • Vengeance to God alone belongs;
  • But, when I think of all my wrongs,
  • My blood is liquid flame.
  • We often praise the evening clouds,
  • And tints so gay and bold,
  • But seldom think upon our God,
  • Who tinged these clouds with gold.
  • Welcome, grave stranger, to our green retreats,
  • Where health with exercise and freedom meets.
  • What skilful limner e’er would choose
  • To paint the rainbow’s varying hues,
  • Unless to mortal it were given
  • To dip his brush in dyes of heaven?
  • What various scenes, and O! what scenes of Woe,
  • Are witness’d by that red and struggling beam!
  • The fever’d patient, from his pallet low,
  • Through crowded hospitals beholds it stream;
  • The ruined maiden trembles at its gleam,
  • The debtor wakes to thought of gyve and jail,
  • The love-lorn wretch starts from tormenting dream;
  • The wakeful mother, by the glimmering pale,
  • Trims her sick infant’s couch, and soothes his feeble wail.
  • When musing on companions gone,
  • We doubly feel ourselves alone.
  • When true friends meet in adverse hour,
  • ’Tis like a sunbeam through a shower;
  • A watery ray an instant seen,
  • The darkly closing clouds between.
  • When, musing on companions gone,
  • We doubly feel ourselves alone.
  • Who o’er the herd would wish to reign,
  • Fantastic, fickle, fierce, and vain?
  • Vain as the leaf upon the stream,
  • And fickle as a changeful dream;
  • Fantastic as a woman’s mood,
  • And fierce as Frenzy’s fever’d blood—
  • Thou many-headed monster thing,
  • Oh, who would wish to be thy king?
  • With dying hand, above his head,
  • He shook the fragment of his blade,
  • And shouted “Victory!—
  • Charge, Chester, charge! on, Stanley on!”
  • Were the last words of Marmion.
  • Within that awful volume lies
  • The mystery of mysteries!
  • Happiest they of human race,
  • To whom God has granted grace
  • To read, to fear, to hope, to pray,
  • To lift the latch and force the way;
  • And better had they ne’er been born,
  • Who read to doubt, or read to scorn.
  • Woe to the youth whom fancy gains
  • Winning from reason’s hand the reins.
  • Woman’s faith, and woman’s trust,
  • Write the characters in dust.
  • A man may with more impunity be guilty of an actual breach, either of real good breeding or good morals, than appear ignorant of the most minute points of fashionable etiquette.

    Affection can withstand very severe storms of rigor, but not a long polar frost of downright indifference. Love will subsist on wonderfully little hope, but not altogether without it.

    Ambition breaks the ties of blood, and forgets the obligations of gratitude.

    Blood is thicker than water.

    Breathes there a man, with soul so dead, who never to himself hath saith, This is my own, my native land!

    But there’s a gude time coming.

    But with the morning cool reflections came.

    Courtesy of temper, when it is used to veil churlishness of deed, is but a knight’s girdle around the breast of a base clown.

    Cutting honest throats by whispers.

    Dinna curse him, sir; I have heard a good man say that a curse was like a stone flung up to the heavens, and maist like to return on his head that sent it.

    Do not Christians and Heathens, Jews and Gentiles, poets and philosophers, unite in allowing the starry influences?

    Equity judgeth with lenity, laws with extremity. In all moral cases, the reason of the law is the law.

    Every hour has its end.

    Fat, fair, and forty.

    For deadly fear can time outgo, and blanch at once the hair.

    For monarchs seldom sigh in vain.

    From my experience, not one in twenty marries the first love; we build statues of snow and weep to see them melt.

    Give me an honest laugher.

    Greatness of any kind has no greater foe than a habit of drinking.

    Guilt, though it may attain temporal splendor, can never confer real happiness; the evil consequences of our crimes long survive their commission, and, like the ghosts of the murdered, forever haunt the steps of the malefactor; while the paths of virtue, though seldom those of worldly greatness, are always those of pleasantness and peace.

    Hail to the Chief who in triumph advances.

    He that follows the advice of reason has a mind that is elevated above the reach of injury; that sits above the clouds, in a calm and quiet ether, and with a brave indifferency hears the rolling thunders grumble and burst under his feet.

    He that would soothe sorrow must not argue on the vanity of the most deceitful hopes.

    He who indulges his sense in any excesses renders himself obnoxious to his own reason; and, to gratify the brute in him, displeases the man, and sets his two natures at variance.

    His eyebrow dark, and eye of fire, showed spirit proud, and prompt to ire.

    Hope is brightest when it dawns from fears.

    How pleasant it is for a father to sit at his child’s board. It is like the aged man reclining under the shadow of the oak which he has planted.

    If a faultless poem could be produced, I am satisfied it would tire the critics themselves, and annoy the whole reading world with the spleen.

    In love quarrels the party that loves the most is always most willing to acknowledge the greater fault.

    In lover’s quarrels, the party that loves most is always most willing to acknowledge the greater fault.

    Is death the last sleep? No, it is the last final awakening.

    It is a great disgrace to religion, to imagine that it is an enemy to mirth and cheerfulness, and a severe exacter of pensive looks and solemn faces.

    It is more difficult to look upon victory than upon battle.

    Jock, when ye hae naething else to do, ye may be aye sticking in a tree; it will be growing, Jock, when ye’re sleeping.

    Like the last beam of evening thrown on a white cloud, just seen and gone.

    Literature is a great staff, but a sorry crutch.

    Love is loveliest when embalmed in tears.

    Many of our cares are but a morbid way of looking at our privileges.

    Mystery has great charms for womanhood.

    No scene of mortal life but teems with mortal woe.

    Profan’d the God-given strength, and marr’d the lofty line.

    Ridicule, the weapon of all others most feared by enthusiasts of every description, and which, from its predominance over such minds, often checks what is absurd, and fully as often smothers that which is noble.

    Sea of upturned faces.

    See yonder rock from which the fountain gushes; is it less compact of adamant, though waters flow from it? Firm hearts have moister eyes.

    Sensibility is nature’s celestial spring.

    Sleep in peace, and wake in joy.

    Soldier, rest! thy warfare o’er, dream of fighting fields no more.

    Some feelings are to mortals given with less of earth in them than heaven.

    Sordid selfishness doth contract and narrow our benevolence, and cause us, like serpents, to infold ourselves within ourselves, and to turn out our stings to all the world besides.

    Still are the thoughts to memory dear.

    Stranger is a holy name.

    Strike while the iron is hot.

    Teach self-denial, and make its practice pleasurable, and you create for the world a destiny more sublime than ever issued from the brain of the wildest dreamer.

    Tears are the softening showers which cause the seed of heaven to spring up in the human heart.

    The happy combination of fortuitous circumstances.

    The legendary tablets of the past.

    The lover’s pleasure, like that of the hunter, is in the chase, and the brightest beauty loses half its merit, as the flower its perfume, when the willing hand can reach it too easily. There must be doubt; there must be difficulty and danger.

    The man, whom I call deserving the name, is one whose thoughts and exertions are for others rather than himself.

    The most learned, acute, and diligent student cannot, in the longest life, obtain an entire knowledge of this one volume.

    The paths of virtue, though seldom those of worldly greatness, are always those of pleasantness and peace.

    The play bill which is said to have announced the tragedy of Hamlet, the character of the Prince of Denmark being left out.

    The progress of a private conversation betwixt two persons of different sexes is often decisive of their fate, and gives it a turn very distinct perhaps from what they themselves anticipated. Gallantry becomes mingled with conversation, and affection and passion come gradually to mix with gallantry. Nobles, as well as shepherd swains, will, in such a trying moment, say more than they intended; and queens, like village maidens, will listen longer than they should.

    The race of mankind would perish, did they cease to aid each other. From the time that the mother binds the child’s head till the moment that some kind assistant wipes the death-damp from the brow of the dying, we cannot exist without mutual help. All, therefore, that need aid have a right to ask it from their fellow-mortals; no one who holds the power of granting can refuse it without guilt.

    The sickening pang of hope deferred.

    The stern joy that warriors feel in foemen worthy of their steel.

    The sun never sets on the immense empire of Charles V.

    The tear down childhood’s cheek that flows is like the dew-drop on the rose.

    The time which passes over our heads so imperceptibly makes the same gradual change in habits, manners and character as in personal appearance. At the revolution of every five years we find ourselves another and yet the same—there is a change of views and no less of the light in which we regard them; a change of motives as well as of action.

    The willow which bends to the tempest often escapes better than the oak, which resists it; and so, in great calamities, it sometimes happens that light and frivolous spirits recover their elasticity and presence of mind sooner than those of a loftier character.

    Their flag was furled, and mute their drum.

    There are those to whom a sense of religion has come in storm and tempest; there are those whom it has summoned amid scenes of revelry and idle vanity; there are those, too, who have heard its “still small voice” amid rural leisure and placid retirement. But perhaps the knowledge which causeth not to err is most frequently impressed upon the mind during the season of affliction.

    There never did and never will exist anything permanently noble and excellent in a character which was a stranger to the exercise of resolute self-denial.

    Those faces which have charmed us most escape us the soonest.

    Those who are too idle to read, save for the purpose of amusement, may in these works acquire some acquaintance with history, which, however inaccurate, is better than none.

    Those who follow the banners of Reason are like the well-disciplined battalions which, wearing a more sober uniform and making a less dazzling show than the light troops commanded by Imagination, enjoy more safety, and even more honor, in the conflicts of human life.

    Though wit be very useful, yet unless a wise man has the keeping of it, that knows when, where, and how to apply it, it is like wild-fire, that flies at rovers, runs hissing about, and blows up everything that comes in its way, without any respect or discrimination.

    Time rolls his ceaseless course.

    To that dark inn, the Grave!

    To the timid and hesitating everything is impossible because it seems so.

    To the very last, he [Napoleon] had a kind of idea; that, namely, of la carriere ouverte aux talent—the tools to him that can handle them.

    Treason seldom dwells with courage.

    We build statues of snow, and weep to see them melt.

    We do that in our zeal our calmer moment would be afraid to answer.

    We shall never learn to feel and respect our real calling and destiny, unless we have taught ourselves to consider everything as moonshine, compared with the education of the heart.

    What an ornament and safeguard is humor! Far better than wit for a poet and writer. It is a genius itself, and so defends from the insanities.

    What can they see in the longest kingly line in Europe, save that it runs back to a successful soldier?

    When a man has not a good reason for doing a thing, he has one good reason for letting it alone.

    When dark December glooms the day, and takes our autumn joys away.

    Where lives the man that hath not tried how mirth can into folly glide, and folly into sin?

    Who loves not more the night of June than cold December’s gloomy noon?

    Whose lenient sorrows find relief, whose joys are chastened by their grief.

    With a smile on her lips, and a tear in her eye.

    With every change his features played, as aspens show the light and shade.

    Without courage there cannot be truth, and without truth there can be no other virtue.

    Yet what cam they see in the longest kindly line in Europe, save that it runs back to a successful soldier?