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


The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together: our virtues would be proud if our faults whipped them not; and our crimes would despair if they were not cherished by our virtues.
Shakespeare.—All’s Well that Ends Well, Act IV. Scene 3. (First Lord.)

Besides, this Duncan
Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
So clear in his great office, that his virtues
Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
The deep damnation of his taking-off;
And pity, like a naked new-born babe
Striding the blast, or heaven’s cherubim horsed
Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
That tears shall drown the wind.
Shakespeare.—Macbeth, Act I. Scene 7. (Macbeth contemplating the effect of his Assassination of Duncan.)

A virtue that was never seen in you.
Shakespeare.—King Henry IV., Part I. Act III. Scene 1. (Glendower to Hotspur.)

Assume a virtue, if you have it not.
Shakespeare.—Hamlet, Act III. Scene 4. (To his Mother.)

The soul’s calm sunshine, and the heartfelt joy,
Is virtue’s prize.
Pope.—Essay on Man, Epi. IV. Line 168.

The virtuous nothing fear but life with shame,
And death’s a pleasant road that leads to fame.
Lansdown.—Verses written in 1690.

This spot for dwelling fit Eulogius chose,
And in a month a decent homestall rose,
Something between a cottage and a cell,
Yet virtue here could sleep, and peace could dwell.
Dr. Walter Harte.—Eulogius.

O let us still the secret joy partake,
To follow virtue even for virtue’s sake.
Pope.—Temple of Fame, Line 364.

Well may your heart believe the truths I tell;
’Tis virtue makes the bliss where’er we dwell.
Collins.—Eclogue I. Line 5. Selim.

Virtue she finds too painful an endeavour,
Content to dwell in decencies for ever.
Pope.—Moral Essays, Epi. II. Line 163.

And he by no uncommon lot
Was famed for virtues he had not.
Cowper.—To the Rev. William Bull, Line 19.

Virtue alone is true nobility.
Stepney’s Eighth Satire of Juvenal.

Be to her virtues very kind;
Be to her faults a little blind.
Prior.—An English Padlock, last Lines but two. In Isaac Bickerstaff’s Farce of “The Padlock,” these lines are transposed.

How well is worth, and brave adventures styled,
Just to his virtues, to his error mild.
Dryden.—Absalom and Achitophel, Part II. Line 1051.

Know then this truth, enough for man to know,
Virtue alone is happiness below.
Pope.—Essay on Man, Epi. IV. Line 309.

That virtue only makes our bliss below,
And all our knowledge is ourselves to know.
Pope.—Essay on Man, Epi. IV. Line 397.

First know yourself; who to himself is known,
Shall love with conduct, and his wishes crown.
Yalden’s Ovid, Art of Love, Book II.

Or give to life the most you can,
Let social virtue shape the plan,
For does not to the virtuous deed,
A train of pleasing sweets succeed?
Shenstone.—Progress of Taste, Part IV.

Why to true merit should they have regard?
They know that virtue is its own reward.
Gay.—Epi. 4.; and Home, Douglas, Act III. Scene 1.

As beasts are hunted for their furs,
Men for their virtues fare the worse.
Butler.—Miscellaneous Thoughts.

Virtue is but drily praised, and starves.
Dryden’s Juvenal, Sat. 1.

Sometimes virtue starves while vice is fed.
Pope.—Essay on Man, Epi. IV. Line 149.

How oft is virtue seen to feel
The woful turn of Fortune’s wheel,
While she with golden stores awaits
The wicked, in their very gates?
William Combe.—Dr. Syntax, Tour to the Lakes, Chapter X.

Sneering at public virtue, which beneath their pitiless tread lies torn and trampled, where honour sits smiling at the sale of truth.
Shelley.—Queen Mab, Stanza 4.

Hang virtue!
Ben Jonson.—Catiline, Act II. Scene 1.

Virtue and vice had boundaries in old time,
Not to be pass’d.
Cowper.—The Task, Book III. Line 75.