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


  • A sweet attractive kind of grace,
  • A full assurance given by looks,
  • Continual comfort in a face,
  • The lineaments of Gospel books—
  • I trow that countenance cannot lye
  • Whose thoughts are legible in the eye.
  • All, that in this world is great or gay,
  • Doth, as a vapor, vanish, and decay.
  • And by his side rode loathsome gluttony,
  • Deform’d creature, on a filthy swine;
  • His belly was up-blown with luxury,
  • And eke with fatness swollen were his eyne.
  • And in his lap a masse of coyne he told
  • And turned upside down, to feede his eye
  • And covetous desire with his huge treasury.
  • And is there care in heaven? and is there love
  • In heavenly spirits to the creatures base,
  • That may compassion of their evils move?
  • There is; else much more wretched were the case
  • Of men than beasts. But O! th’ exceeding grace
  • Of highest God that loves His creatures so,
  • And all His works with mercy doth embrace,
  • That blessed angels He sends to and fro
  • To serve to wicked man, to serve His wicked foe!
  • How oft do they their silver bowers leave
  • To come to succour us that succour want?
  • How oft do they with golden pinions cleave
  • The flitting skies, like flying pursuivant,
  • Against foul fiends to aid us militant?
  • They for us fight, they watch and duly ward,
  • And their bright squadrons round about us plant;
  • And all for love, and nothing for reward:
  • O why should heavenly God to men have such regard?
  • And next to him malicious Envy rode
  • Upon a ravenous wolfe, and still did chaw
  • Between his cankered teeth a venomous tode,
  • That all the poison ran about his jaw;
  • But inwardly he chawed his own maw
  • At neighbour’s wealth that made him ever sad
  • For death it was when any good he saw;
  • And wept, that cause of weeping none he had;
  • And when he heard of harme he waxed wondrous glad.
  • And on his brest a bloodie crosse he bore,
  • The deare remembrance of His dying Lord,
  • For whose sweete sake that glorious badge He wore.
  • And otherwhyles with amorous delights
  • And pleasing toyes he would her entertaine,
  • Now singing sweetly to surprise her sprights,
  • Now making layes of love and lover’s paine,
  • Bransles, ballads, virelayes, and verses vaine!
  • Oft purposes, oft riddles, he devys’d;
  • And thousands like which flowed in his braine,
  • With which, he fed her fancy, and entys’d
  • To take to his new love, and leave her old despys’d.
  • And thus of all my harvest-hope I have
  • Nought reaped but a weedye crop of care.
  • And when she spake,
  • Sweete words, like dropping honey, she did shed;
  • And ’twixt the perles and rubies softly brake
  • A silver sound, that heavenly musicke seem’d to make.
  • At last the golden oriental gate
  • Of greatest heaven ’gan to open fair;
  • And Phœbus, fresh as bridegroom to his mate,
  • Came dancing forth shaking his dewy hair,
  • And hurl’d his glist’ing beams through gloomy air.
  • Bright as does the morning star appear,
  • Out of the east with flaming locks bedight,
  • To tell the dawning day is drawing near.
  • Bring therefore all the forces that ye may,
  • And lay incessant battery to her heart;
  • Playnts, prayers, vowes, truth, sorrow, and dismay;
  • Those engins can the proudest love convert:
  • And if those fayle, fall down and dy before her;
  • So dying live, and living do adore her.
  • But now so wise and wary was the knight
  • By trial of his former harms and cares,
  • That he descry’d and shunned still his slight;
  • The fish, that once was caught, new bait will hardly bite.
  • Dan Chaucer, well of English undefyled,
  • On Fame’s eternall beadroll worthie to be fyled.
  • For highest looks have not the highest mind,
  • Nor haughty words most full of highest thought;
  • But are like bladders blown up with the wind,
  • That being prick’d evanish into nought.
  • For if good were not praised more than ill,
  • None would chuse goodness of his own free will.
  • For next to Death is Sleepe to be compared;
  • Therefore his house is unto his annext:
  • Here Sleepe, ther Richesse, and hel-gate them both betwext.
  • For of the soul the body form doth take,
  • For soul is form, and doth the body make.
  • From that day forth, in peace and joyous bliss
  • They liv’d together long without debate;
  • Nor private jars, nor spite of enemies,
  • Could shake the safe assurance of their state.
  • Full little knowest thou that hast not tried,
  • What hell it is in suing long to bide:
  • To loose good dayes, that might be better spent;
  • To waste long nights in pensive discontent;
  • To speed to-day, to be put back to-morrow;
  • To feed on hope, to pine with feare and sorrow.
  • Full many mischiefs follow cruel wrath;
  • Abhorred bloodshed and tumultuous strife
  • Unmanly murder and unthrifty scath,
  • Bitter despite, with rancor’s rusty knife,
  • And fretting grief the enemy of life;
  • All these and many evils more, haunt ire.
  • Good is no good, but if it be spend,
  • God giveth good for none other end.
  • He maketh kings to sit in soverainty;
  • He maketh subjects to their powre obey;
  • He pulleth downe, He setteth up on hy:
  • He gives to this, from that He takes away;
  • For all we have is His: what He list doe he may.
  • Her angel’s face,
  • As the great eye of heaven, shyned bright,
  • And made a sunshine in the shady place.
  • Her long loose yellow locks lyke golden wyre,
  • Sprinckled with perle, and perling flowres atweene,
  • Doe lyke a golden mantle her attyre.
  • Her words were like a stream of honey fleeting,
  • The which doth softly trickle from the hive,
  • Able to melt the hearer’s heart unweeting,
  • And eke to make the dead again alive.
  • Here may thy storme-bett vessell safely ryde;
  • This is the port of rest from troublous toyle,
  • The worlde’s sweet inn from paine and wearisome turmoyle.
  • His rawbone cheekes, through penurie and pine,
  • Were shronke into his jawes, as he did never dyne.
  • How many great ones may remember’d be,
  • Which in their days most famously did flourish,
  • Of whom no word we hear, nor sign now see,
  • But as things wip’d out with a sponge do perish,
  • Because the living cared not to cherish
  • No gentle wits, through pride or covetize,
  • Which might their names forever memorize!
  • How many perils doe enfold
  • The righteous man to make him daily fall.
  • Ill seemes (sayd he) if he so valiant be,
  • That he should be so sterne to stranger wight;
  • For seldom yet did living creature see
  • That courtesie and manhood ever disagree.
  • In vain he seeketh others to suppress,
  • Who hath not learn’d himself first to subdue.
  • It is the mind that maketh good or ill,
  • That maketh wretch or happy, rich or poor.
  • Lastly came Winter cloathed all in frize,
  • Chattering his teeth for cold that did him chill;
  • Whilst on his hoary beard his breath did freese,
  • And the dull drops, that from his purpled bill,
  • As from a limebeck did adown distill:
  • In his right hand a tipped staffe he held,
  • With which his feeble steps he stayed still;
  • For he was faint with cold, and weak with eld;
  • That scarce his loosed limbes he hable was to weld.
  • Like to an almond tree ymounted hye
  • On top of greene Selinis all alone,
  • With blossoms brave bedecked daintily;
  • Whose tender locks do tremble every one,
  • At everie little breath, that under heaven is blowne.
  • Long thus he chew’d the cud of inward griefe,
  • And did consume his gall with anguish sore;
  • Still when he mused on his late mischiefe,
  • Then still the smart thereof increased more,
  • And seemed more grievous than it was before.
  • Long while I sought to what I might compare
  • Those powerful eyes, which light my dark spirit;
  • Yet found I nought on earth, to which I dare
  • Resemble th’ image of their goodly light.
  • Not to the sun, for they do shine by night;
  • Nor to the moon, for they are changed never;
  • Nor to the stars, for they have purer sight;
  • Nor to the fire, for they consume not ever;
  • Nor to the lightning, for they still persever;
  • Nor to the diamond, for they are more tender;
  • Nor unto crystal, for nought may they sever;
  • Nor unto glass, such baseness might offend her;
  • Then to the Maker’s self the likest be;
  • Whose light doth lighten all that here we see.
  • O happy earth,
  • Whereon thy innocent feet doe ever tread!
  • Sleepe after toyle, port after stormie seas,
  • Ease after warre, death after life, does greatly please.
  • So forth issew’d the Seasons of the yeare:
  • First, lusty Spring, all dight in leaves of flowres
  • That freshly budded and new bloomes did beare,
  • In which a thousand birds had built their bowres
  • That sweetly sung to call forth paramours;
  • And in his hand a javelin he did beare,
  • And on his head (as fit for warlike stoures)
  • A guilt, engraven morion he did weare:
  • That, as some did him love, so others did him feare.
  • Suddeine they see from midst of all the maine
  • The surging waters like a mountaine rise,
  • And the great sea, puft up with proud disdaine,
  • To swell above the measure of his guise,
  • As threatning to devoure all that his powre despise.
  • Sweet is the rose, but grows upon a brere;
  • Sweet is the juniper, but sharp his bough;
  • Sweet is the eglantine, but sticketh nere;
  • Sweet is the firbloome, but its braunches rough;
  • Sweet is the cypress, but its rynd is tough;
  • Sweet is the nut, but bitter is his pill;
  • Sweet is the broome-flowre, but yet sowre enough;
  • And sweet is moly, but his root is ill.
  • The careful cold hath nipt my rugged rind,
  • And in my face deep furrows eld hath plight;
  • My head bespren with hoary frost I find,
  • And by mine eye the crow his claw doth bright;
  • Delight is laid abed, and pleasure past;
  • No sun now shines, clouds have all overcast.
  • The fields did laugh, the flowers did freshly spring,
  • The trees did bud and early blossoms bore,
  • And all the quire of birds did sweetly sing,
  • And told that gardin’s pleasures in their caroling.
  • The gentle minde by gentle deeds is knowne;
  • For a man by nothing is so well bewrayed
  • As by his manners.
  • The laurell, meed of mightie conquerours
  • And poets sage; the firre that weepeth still;
  • The willow, worne of forlorne paramours;
  • The eugh, obedient to the bender’s will;
  • The birch, for shafts; the sallow for the mill;
  • The mirrhe sweete-bleeding in the bitter wound;
  • The warlike beech; the ash for nothing ill;
  • The fruitfull olive; and the platane round;
  • The carver holme; the maple seldom inward sound.
  • The merry cuckow, messenger of spring,
  • His trumpet shrill hath thrice already sounded.
  • Their sheep have crusts, and they the bread;
  • The chips and they the cheer:
  • They have the fleece, and eke the flesh,
  • (O seely sheep the while!)
  • The corn is theirs—let others thresh,
  • Their hands they may not file.
  • Then came the autumne, all in yellow clad,
  • As though he joy’d in his plenteous store,
  • Laden with fruits that made him laugh, full glad
  • That he had banished hunger, which tofore
  • Had by the belly oft him pinched sore;
  • Upon his head a wreath that was enrol’d
  • With ears of corne of every sort, he bore,
  • And in his hand a sickle did he holde,
  • To reape the ripened fruit the which the earth had yold.
  • Then came the jolly summer, being dight
  • In a thin silken cassock, coloured green,
  • That was unlined all, to be more light.
  • There learned arts do flourish in great honour
  • And poets’ wits are had in peerless price;
  • Religion hath lay power, to rest upon her,
  • Advancing virtue, and suppressing vice.
  • For end all good, all grace there freely grows,
  • Had people grace it gratefully to use:
  • For God His gifts there plenteously bestows,
  • But graceless men them greatly do abuse.
  • Therewith they gan, both furious and fell,
  • To thunder blowes, and fiercely to assaile
  • Each other, bent his enemy to quell,
  • That with their force they perst both plate and maile,
  • And made wide furrows in their fleshes fraile,
  • That it would pity any living eie,
  • Large floods of blood adowne their sides did raile,
  • But floods of blood could not them satisfie:
  • Both hongred after death; both chose to win or die.
  • Those that were up themselves, kept others low;
  • Those that were low themselves, held others hard;
  • He suffered them to ryse or greater grow;
  • But every one did strive his fellow down to throw.
  • Through knowledge we behold the world’s creation,
  • How in his cradle first he fostered was;
  • And judge of Nature’s cunning operation,
  • How things she formed of a formless mass.
  • Trust not the treason of those smiling looks,
  • Until ye have their guileful trains well tried;
  • For they are like but unto golden hooks,
  • That from the foolish fish their baits do hide:
  • So she with flattering smiles weak hearts doth guide
  • Unto her love, and tempt to their decay;
  • Whom, being caught, she kills with cruel pride,
  • And feeds at pleasure on the wretched prey.
  • Vain-glorious man, when fluttering wind does blow
  • In his light wings, is lifted up to sky;
  • The scorn of knighthood and true chivalry,
  • To think, without desert of gentle deed
  • And noble worth, to be advanced high,
  • Such praise is shame, but honour, virtue’s meed,
  • Doth bear the fairest flower in honourable seed.
  • What man so wise, what earthly wit so ware,
  • As to descry the crafty cunning train,
  • By which deceit doth mask in visor fair,
  • And cast her colours dyed deep in grain,
  • To seem like truth, whose shape she well can feign,
  • And fitting gestures to her purpose frame,
  • The guiltless man with guile to entertain?
  • Who would ever care to do brave deed,
  • Or strive in virtue others to excel,
  • If none should yield him his deserved meed
  • Due praise, that is the spur of doing well?
  • For if good were not praisèd more than ill,
  • None would choose goodness of his own free will.
  • Without an helm or pilot her to sway;
  • Full sad and dreadful is that ship’s event,
  • So is the man that wants intendiment.
  • Ye tradeful merchants! that with weary toil,
  • Do seek most precious things to make you gaine,
  • And both the Indies of their treasures spoil;
  • What needeth you to seek so far in vain?
  • For lo! my love doth in herself contain
  • All this world’s riches that may far be found;
  • If saphyrs, lo! her eyes be saphyrs plain;
  • If rubies, lo! her lips be rubies sound;
  • If pearls, her teeth be pearls, both pure and round;
  • If ivory, her forehead’s ivory I ween;
  • If gold, her locks are finest gold on ground;
  • If silver, her fair hands are silver sheen;
  • But that which fairest is, but few behold,
  • Her mind, adorn’d with virtues manifold.
  • Yet is there one more cursed than they all,
  • That canker-worm, that monster, jealousie,
  • Which eats the heart and feeds upon the gall,
  • Turning all love’s delight to misery,
  • Through fear of losing his felicity.
  • A circle cannot fill a triangle, so neither can the whole world, if it were to be compassed, the heart of man; a man may as easily fill a chest with grace as the heart with gold. The air fills not the body, neither doth money the covetous mind of man.

    A stern discipline pervades all nature, which is a little cruel that it may be very kind.

    Ah, fool! faint heart fair lady ne’er could win.

    All flesh doth frailty breed!

    At last fell humbly down upon his knees, and of his wonder made religion.

    Be bolde, be bolde, and everywhere be bolde.

    Change still doth reign, and keep the greater sway.

    Death is an equal doom to good and bad, the common inn of rest.

    Discord oft in music makes the sweeter lay.

    Fly from wrath; sad be the sights and bitter fruits of war; a thousand furies wait on wrathful swords.

    For beauty is the bait which with delight doth man allure, for to enlarge his kind.

    For evil deeds may better than bad words be borne.

    For since mine eyes your joyous sight did miss, my cheerful day is turned to cheerless night.

    Foul jealousy! that turnest love divine to joyless dread, and makest the loving heart with hateful thoughts to languish and to pine.

    Gold all is not that doth golden seem.

    Greatest god below the sky.

    Hasty wrath and heedless hazardy do breed repentance late and lasting infamy.

    Heaps of huge words uphoarded hideously, with horrid sound, though having little sense.

    Her cheek like apples which the sun had ruddied.

    Her golden locks she roundly did uptie in braided trammels, that no looser hairs did out of order stray about her dainty ears.

    Her words but wind, and all her tears but water.

    Ill can he rule the great that cannot reach the small.

    In one consort there sat cruel revenge and rancorous despite, disloyal treason and heart-burning hate.

    It often falls, in course of common life, that right long time is overborne of wrong.

    Men, when their actions succeed not as they would, are always ready to impute the blame thereof to heaven, so as to excuse their own follies.

    Mishaps are mastered by advice discreet, and counsel mitigates the greatest smart.

    Much dearer be the things which come through hard distress.

    Much more profitable and gracious is doctrine by example than by rule.

    Naught under heaven so strongly doth allure the sense of man, and all his mind possess, as beauty’s love-bait.

    Nothing under heaven so strongly doth allure the sense of man, and all his mind possess, as beauty’s love-bait.

    O blessed well of love! O flower of grace.

    O sacred hunger of ambitious minds!

    Oh, help thou my weak wit, and sharpen my dull tongue!

    Purged from drugs of foul intemperance.

    Rising glory occasions the greatest envy, as kindling fire the greatest smoke.

    Sluggish idleness—the nurse of sin.

    Tell me, when shall these weary woes have end? or shall their ruthless torment never cease?

    Thankfulness is the tune of angels.

    The canker-worm of every gentle breast.

    The dureful oak, whose sap is not yet dried.

    The little babe up in his arms he bent, who with sweet pleasure and bold blandishment ’gan smile.

    The man whom nature’s self had made to mock herself, and truth to imitate.

    The morrow, fair with purple beams, dispersed the shadows of the misty night.

    The nightingale is sovereign of song.

    The noblest mind the best contentment has.

    The osier good for twigs, the poplar for the mill.

    The rolling billows beat the rugged shore, as they the earth would shoulder from her seat.

    There, though last, not least.

    This iron world brings down the stoutest hearts to lowest state; for misery doth bravest minds abate.

    Troubled blood through his pale face was seen to come and go, with tidings from his heart, as it a running messenger had been.

    Who does not know the bent of woman’s fancy?

    Who will not mercy unto others show, how can he mercy ever hope to have?

    Whose plenty made him pore.

    With countenance demure, and modest grace.

    Woe to the man that first did teach the cursed steel to bite in his own flesh, and make way to the living spirit!