Grocott & Ward, comps. Grocott’s Familiar Quotations, 6th ed. 189-?.


“O ye Gods,” says a wise heathen, “deny us what we ask if it shall be hurtful to us, and grant us whatever shall be profitable for us, even though we do not ask it!”
Francis’ Horace, in a Note to Book I.

Not what we wish, but what we want,
Oh! let thy grace supply,
The good unask’d, in mercy grant;
The ill, though ask’d, deny.
Merrick.—A Hymn, No. CCXXV. in the Rev. W. Mercer’s Church Psalter.

[The idea is from the Greek, and the passage is given by Mr. Riley in his Dict. of Class. Quot., p. 537, where it is rendered “Father Jove, grant us good whether we pray for it or not, and avert from us evil, even though we pray for it.” A prayer by an unknown poet highly commended by Plato. See his Alcibiades, ii. 5, in Dr. Ramage’s Thoughts from Greek Authors.]

If I am right, Thy grace impart,
Still in the right to stay:
If I am wrong, oh teach my heart
To find that better way.
Pope.—The Universal Prayer, v. 8.

Lord, grant me one suit, which is this: deny me all suits which are bad for me.
Fuller.—Personal Meditations, 18.

So much does our true interest lie concealed from us.
Riley’s Ovid’s Meta., Page 211.

We, ignorant of ourselves,
Beg often our own harms, which the wise Powers
Deny us for our good; so find we profit,
By losing of our prayers.
Shakespeare.—Antony and Cleo., Act II. Scene 1. (Menecrates to Pompey.)

Seek not thou to find
The sacred counsels of Almighty mind;
Involv’d in darkness lies the great decree,
Nor can the depths of fate be pierc’d by thee.
Pope.—The Iliad, Book I. Line 704; Ibid. Book XXII. Line 17.

More to know—
Did never meddle with my thoughts.
Shakespeare.—The Tempest, Act I. Scene 2. (Miranda to her father.)

Where ignorance is bliss,
’Tis folly to be wise.
Gray.—Ode on Eton College.

Be ignorance thy choice, where knowledge leads to woe.
Beattie.—The Minstrel, Book II. St. 30, Line 9.

But ask not bodies doomed to die,
To what abode they go;
Since knowledge is but sorrow’s spy,
It is not safe to know.
Davenant.—The Just Italian, Act V.

Heaven from all creatures hides the book of fate,
All but the page prescrib’d—their present state;
From brutes what men, from men what spirits know:
Or who could suffer being here below?
The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day,
Had he thy reason, would he skip and play?
Pleas’d to the last, he crops the flow’ry food,
And licks the hand just raised to shed his blood.
Pope.—Essay on Man, Epi. I. Line 77.

The sheep was sacrific’d on no pretence,
But meek and unresisting innocence:
A patient, useful creature, born to bear,
The warm and woolly fleece, that cloth’d her murderer.
Dryden.—Pythagorean Phil.

Prithee, despatch,
The lamb entreats the butcher.
Shakespeare.—Cymbeline, Act III. Scene 4.

A gentle lamb has rhetoric to plead,
And when she sees the butcher’s knife decreed,
Her voice entreats him not to make her bleed.
Dr. King.—Mully to Mountown, Line 52.

And sweet it is in ignorance to be,
In that the will of God and ours agree.
Wright’s Dante, Paradise, Canto XX. Line 136.

Let me not burst in ignorance!
Shakespeare.—Hamlet, Act I. Scene 4. (Hamlet to the Ghost.)

In man’s most dark extremity
Oft succour dawns from heaven.
Scott.—Lord of the Isles, Canto I. Stanza 20.

We oft doubt
What the unsearchable dispose
Of highest wisdom brings about.
Oft he seems to hide his face,
But unexpectedly returns.
Milton.—Samson Agonistes.

By outward show
Men judge of happiness and woe.
Shall ignorance of good and ill
Dare to direct th’ eternal will?
Gay.—Fable XXXIX. Line 45.

Alas, regardless of their doom,
The little victims play!
No sense have they of ills to come,
No care beyond to-day.
Gray.—Ode on Eton College, Stanza 6.

Ignorance with looks profound.
Gray.—Ode for Music, Line 3.

1.I wonder you will magnify this madman;
You are old and should understand.
2.Should, say’st thou?
Thou monstrous piece of ignorance in office!
Beaumont and Fletcher.—The Elder Brother, Act II. Scene 1.

Instruct the ignorant; to those that live
Under thy care, good rules and patterns give.
Denham.—On Prudence, Line 195.