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


The pleasantest part of a man’s life.


She most attracts who longest can refuse.

Aaron Hill.

See how the skilful lover spreads his toils.


She half consents who silently denies.


Men dream in courtship, but in wedlock wake!


A feast is more fatal to love than a fast.


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


What a woman says to her lover should be written on air or swift water.


The acceptance of favors from the other sex is a woman’s first step towards self-committal.

Mme. de Puisieux.

  • So, with decorum all things carried,
  • Miss frown’d, and blush’d, and then was married.
  • Goldsmith.

  • O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
  • That I might touch that cheek!
  • Shakespeare.

  • She is a woman, therefore may be woo’d;
  • She is a woman, therefore may be won.
  • Shakespeare.

    That man that has a tongue, I say, is no man if with his tongue he cannot win a woman.


    A woman that wishes to retain her suitor must keep him in the trenches.


    Men are April when they woo, December when they wed.


    I knelt, and with the fervor of a lip unused to the cool breath of reason, told my love.


  • With women worth the being won,
  • The softest lover ever best succeeds.
  • Hill.

  • It is your virtue, being men, to try;
  • And it is ours, by virtue to deny.
  • Drayton.

    Who listens once will listen twice; her heart be sure is not of ice, and one refusal no rebuff.


    A fellow who lives in a windmill has not a more whimsical dwelling than the heart of a man that is lodged in a woman.


    Every man in the time of courtship and in the first entrance of marriage, puts on a behavior like my correspondent’s holiday suit.


    Courtship consists in a number of quiet attentions, not so pointed as to alarm, nor so vague as not to be understood.


    If you cannot inspire a woman with love of you, fill her above the brim with love of herself; all that runs over will be yours.


    A man is in no danger so long as he talks his love; but to write it is to impale himself on his own pothooks.

    Douglas Jerrold.

    I profess not to know how women’s hearts are wooed and won. To me they have always been matters of riddle and admiration.

    Washington Irving.

    God has put into the heart of man love and the boldness to sue, and into the heart of woman fear and the courage to refuse.

    Marguerite de Valois.

    When a woman is deliberating with herself whom she shall choose of many near each other in other pretensions, certainly he of the best understanding is to be preferred.


  • Now from the world,
  • Sacred to sweet retirement, lovers steal,
  • And pour their souls in transport.
  • Thomson.

  • Into these ears of mine,
  • These credulous ears, he pour’d the sweetest words
  • That art or love could frame.
  • Beaumont.

    Rejected lovers need never despair! There are four-and-twenty hours in a day, and not a moment in the twenty-four in which a woman may not change her mind.

    De Finod.

    The Greek epigram intimates that the force of love is not shown by the courting of beauty, but where the like desire is inflamed for one who is ill-favored.


    If fathers are sometimes sulky at the appearance of the destined son-in-law, is it not a fact that mothers become sentimental and, as it were, love their own loves over again.


    Tom hinted at his dislike at some trifle his mistress had said; she asked him how he would talk to her after marriage if he talked at this rate before.


  • She that with poetry is won,
  • Is but a desk to write upon;
  • And what men say of her they mean
  • No more than on the thing they lean.
  • Butler.

  • He that would win his dame must do
  • As love does when he draws his bow;
  • With one hand thrust the lady from,
  • And with the other pull her home.
  • Butler.

  • Wooing thee, I found thee of more value
  • Than stamps in gold or sums in sealed bags;
  • And ’tis the very riches of thyself
  • That now I aim at.
  • Shakespeare.

    How would that excellent mystery, wedded life, irradiate the world with its blessed influences, were the generous impulses and sentiments of courtship but perpetuated in all their exuberant fullness during the sequel of marriage!

    Frederic Saunders.

  • Women are angels, wooing:
  • Things won are done; joy’s soul lies in the doing:
  • That she beloved knows naught, that knows not this—
  • Men prize the thing ungained more than it is.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Do proper homage to thine idol’s eyes,
  • But not too humbly, or she will despise
  • Thee and thy suit though told in moving tropes;
  • Disguise even tenderness, if thou art wise.
  • Byron.

  • Like a lovely tree
  • She grew to womanhood, and between whiles
  • Rejected several suitors, just to learn
  • How to accept a better in his turn.
  • Byron.

  • Like conquering tyrants you our breasts invade,
  • Where you are pleas’d to ravage for awhile;
  • But soon you find new conquests out and leave
  • The ravag’d province ruinate and bare.
  • Otway.

  • There is, sir, a critical minute in
  • Ev’ry man’s wooing, when his mistress may
  • Be won, which if he carelessly neglect
  • To prosecute, he may wait long enough
  • Before he gain the like opportunity.
  • Marmion.

    The pleasantest part of a man’s life is generally that which passes in courtship, provided his passion be sincere, and the party beloved kind with discretion. Love, desire, hope, all the pleasing emotions of the soul, rise in the pursuit.


    He that can keep handsomely within rules, and support the carriage of a companion to his mistress, is much more likely to prevail than he who lets her see the whole relish of his life depends upon her. If possible, therefore, divert your mistress rather than sigh for her.


    Let a woman once give you a task, and you are hers, heart and soul; all your care and trouble lend new charms to her for whose sake they are taken. To rescue, to revenge, to instruct, or protect a woman is all the same as to love her.


  • If she do frown, ’tis not in hate of you,
  • But rather to beget more love in you:
  • If she do chide, ’tis not to have you gone;
  • For why, the fools are mad if left alone.
  • Take no repulse, whatever she doth say;
  • For—get you gone—she doth not mean—away.
  • Shakespeare.

    Every man ought to be in love a few times in his life, and to have a smart attack of the fever. You are better for it when it is over: the better for your misfortune, if you endure it with a manly heart; how much the better for success, if you win it and a good wife into the bargain!


    Courtship is a fine bowling-green turf, all galloping round and sweet-hearting, a sunshine holiday in summer time; but when once through matrimony’s turnpike, the weather becomes wintry, and some husbands are seized with a cold, aguish fit, to which the faculty give the name of indifference.

    G. A. Stevens.

  • His folded flock secure, the shepherd home
  • Hies merry-hearted; and by turns relieves
  • The ruddy milk-maid of her brimming pail;
  • The beauty whom perhaps his witless heart,
  • Unknowing what the joy-mix’d anguish means,
  • Sincerely loves, by that best language shown
  • Of cordial glances, and obliging deeds.
  • Thomson.

  • 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.
  • Spenser.

    Maggie and Stephen were in that stage of courtship which makes the most exquisite moment of youth, the freshest blossom-time of passion,—when each is sure of the other’s love, but no formal declaration has been made, and all is mutual divination, exalting the most trivial words, the lightest gestures, into thrills delicate and delicious as wafted jasmine scent.

    George Eliot.

  • Say that she rail; why then I’ll tell her plain,
  • She sings as sweetly as a nightingale;
  • Say that she frown; I’ll say she looks as clear
  • As morning roses, newly wash’d with dew;
  • Say she be mute and will not speak a word,
  • Then I’ll commend her volubility
  • And say she uttereth piercing eloquence.
  • Shakespeare.

  • O days remember’d well! remember’d all!
  • The bitter sweet, the honey and the gall;
  • Those garden rambles in the silent night,
  • Those trees so shady, and that moon so bright,
  • That thickset alley by the arbor clos’d,
  • That woodbine seat where we at last repos’d;
  • And then the hopes that came and then were gone,
  • Quick as the clouds beneath the moon past on.
  • Crabbe.

    A town, before it can be plundered and deserted, must first be taken; and in this particular Venus has borrowed a law from her consort Mars. A woman that wishes to retain her suitor must keep him in the trenches; for this is a siege which the besieger never raises for want of supplies, since a feast is more fatal to love than a fast, and a surfeit than a starvation. Inanition may cause it to die a slow death, but repletion always destroys it by a sudden one.