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


Pro.Beshrew me, but you have a quick wit.
Speed.And yet cannot overtake your slow purse.
Shakespeare.—Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act I. Scene 1.

I shall ne’er be ’ware of mine own wit, till I break my shins against it.
Shakespeare.—As You Like It, Act II. Scene 4. (Touchstone to Rosalind.)

Wit now and then, struck smartly, shows a spark.
Cowper.—Table Talk, Line 665.

What though wit tickles, tickling is unsafe,
If still ’tis painful while it makes us laugh;
Who, for the poor renown of being smart,
Would leave a sting within a brother’s heart?
Dr. Young.—Sat. II. Line 111.

Whose wit in the combat, as gentle as bright,
Ne’er carried a heart-stain away on its blade.
Thos. Moore.—Lines on Sheridan, Vol. VII. v. xi.

I am not only witty in myself, but the cause that wit is in other men.
Shakespeare.—King Henry IV., Part II. Act I. Scene 2. (Falstaff.)

Such short-liv’d wits do wither as they grow.
Shakespeare.—Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act II. Scene 1. (The Princess to Maria.)

A perfect judge will read each work of wit
With the same spirit that its author writ.
Pope.—On Criticism, Part II. Line 233.

Beauty that shocks you, parts that none will trust,
Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust.
Pope.—Prologue to Sat. Line 332.

It is meat and drink to me to see a clown: By my troth, we that have good wits have much to answer for.
Shakespeare.—As You Like It, Act V. Scene 1. (Touchstone.)

We grant, altho’ he had much wit,
He was very shy of using it,
As being loath to wear it out,
And therefore bore it not about,
Unless on holidays or so,
As men their best apparel do.
Butler.—Hudibras, Part I. Canto I. Line 45.

Wit and genius pass often amidst us without being unpacked, as Montesquieu says.
Chateaubriand. [See Ramage’s Beautiful Thoughts from the French, page 66.]

One wit like a knuckle of ham in soup, gives a zest and flavour to the dish, but more than one serves only to spoil the pottage.
Smollett.—Melford to Sir Watkin Phillips, June 5, Humphrey Clinker.

Some, to whom Heaven in wit has been profuse,
Want as much more, to turn it to its use.
Pope.—On Criticism, Line 80.

True wit is nature to advantage dress’d,
What oft was thought, but ne’er so well express’d.
Pope.—On Criticism, Line 297.

Wit and judgment often are at strife,
Though meant each other’s aid, like man and wife.
Pope.—On Criticism, Line 82.

I am a fool, I know it: And yet, Heav’n help me, I’m poor enough to be a wit.
Congreve.—Love for Love, Act I. Scene 1.

We six now were all at supper, all in good-humour. Champaign was the word, and wit flew about the room like a pack of losing cards.
Colley Cibber.—Love Makes a Man, Act I.

Wit is the most rascally, contemptible, beggarly thing on the face of the earth.
Murphy.—The Apprentice, Act I.

Quick and fine-witted.
Sir Thomas More.—Utopia, page 118.

[A happy phrase (says Sir James Mackintosh) lost to the language except on familiar occasions, or by a master in the art of combining words. See his Life of More, 437.]

Wit’s last edition is now i’th press.
Vaughan.—Apostrophe to Fletcher.

Great wits are sure to madness near allied,
And thin partitions do their bounds divide.
Dryden.—Absalom and Achitophel, Part I. Line 163.

I’ve search’d records and cannot find that Magna Charta does allow a subject to live by his wits; there is no statute for it.
Sir Wm. D’Avenant.—The Wits, Act IV. Scene 1.