Hoyt & Roberts, comps. Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations. 1922.


Tout finit par des chansons.
Everything ends with songs.
Beaumarchais—Mariage de Figaro. End.

Sing a song of sixpence.
Beaumont and Fletcher—Bonduca. Act V. Sc. 2.

I cannot sing the old songs
Though well I know the tune,
Familiar as a cradle-song
With sleep-compelling croon;
Yet though I’m filled with music,
As choirs of summer birds,
“I cannot sing the old songs”—
I do not know the words.
Robert J. Burdette—Songs Without Words.

All this for a song.
Burleigh—To Queen Elizabeth (when ordered to give £100 to Spenser).

I can not sing the old songs now!
It is not that I deem them low,
’Tis that I can’t remember how
They go.
Chas. S. Calverley—Changed.

Unlike my subject now***shall be my song,
It shall be witty and it sha’n’t be long!
Chesterfield—Preface to Letters. Vol. I.

A song of hate is a song of Hell;
Some there be who sing it well.
Let them sing it loud and long,
We lift our hearts in a loftier song:
We lift our hearts to Heaven above,
Singing the glory of her we love,
Helen Gray Cone—Chant of Love for England.

And heaven had wanted one immortal song.
Dryden—Absalom and Achitophel. Pt. I. L. 197.

Verse sweetens toil, however rude the sound;
She feels no biting pang the while she sings,
Nor as she turns the giddy wheel around,
Revolves the sad vicissitudes of things.
Gifford—Contemplation. Samuel Johnson altered the second line to: “All at her work the village maiden sings”; and in the third line substituted “while for “as.”

He play’d an ancient ditty long since mute,
In Provence call’d, “La belle dame sans merci.”
Keats—The Eve of St. Agnes. St. 33. “La Belle Dame, sans Merci” is a poem by Alain Chartier. Attributed to Jean Marot by M. Paulin—Manuscript Français. VII. 252. In Harleian MS. 373, a translation is attributed to Sir Richard Ros.

We are tenting tonight on the old camp ground,
Give us a song to cheer.
Walter Kittridge—Tenting on the Old Camp Ground.

In the ink of our sweat we will find it yet,
The song that is fit for men!
Frederic L. Knowles.

The song on its mighty pinions
Took every living soul, and lifted it gently to heaven.
Longfellow—Children of the Lord’s Supper. L. 44.

Listen to that song, and learn it!
Half my kingdom would I give,
As I live,
If by such songs you would earn it!
Longfellow—Tales of a Wayside Inn. Pt. I. The Musician’s Tale. The Saga of King Olaf. Pt. V.

Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.
Longfellow—The Day is Done. St. 9.

And grant that when I face the grisly Thing,
My song may trumpet down the gray Perhaps
Let me be as a tune-swept fiddlestring
That feels the Master Melody—and snaps.
John G. Neihardt—Let me live out my Years.

She makes her hand hard with labour, and her heart soft with pity: and when winter evenings fall early (sitting at her merry wheel), she sings a defiance to the giddy wheel of fortune … and fears no manner of ill because she means none.
Thos. Overbury—A Fair and Happy Milkmaid.

I think, whatever mortals crave,
With impotent endeavor,
A wreath—a rank—a throne—a grave—
The world goes round forever;
I think that life is not too long,
And therefore I determine,
That many people read a song,
Who will not read a sermon.
W. M. Praed—Chant of the Brazen Head.

Odds life! must one swear to the truth of a song?
Prior—A Better Answer.

Etiam singulorum fatigatio quamlibet se rudi modulatione solatur.
Men, even when alone, lighten their labors by song, however rude it may be.
Quintilian—De Institutione Oratoria. I. 81.

Builders, raise the ceiling high,
Raise the dome into the sky,
Hear the wedding song!
For the happy groom is near,
Tall as Mars, and statelier,
Hear the wedding song!
Sappho—Fragments. J. S. Easby Smith’s trans.

Song forbids victorious deeds to die.
Schiller—The Artists.

The lively Shadow-World of Song.
Schiller—The Artists.

Now, good Cesario, but that piece of song,
That old and antique song we heard last night;
Methought it did relieve my passion much,
More than light airs and recollected terms
Of these most brisk and giddy-paced times:
Come, but one verse.
Twelfth Night. Act II. Sc. 4. L. 2.

Songs consecrate to truth and liberty.
Shelley—To Wordsworth. L. 12.

Knitting and withal singing, and it seemed that her voice comforted her hands to work.
Sir Philip Sidney—Arcadia. Bk. I.

Because the gift of Song was chiefly lent,
To give consoling music for the joys
We lack, and not for those which we possess.
Bayard Taylor—The Poet’s Journal. Third Evening.

They sang of love and not of fame;
Forgot was Britain’s glory;
Each heart recalled a different name,
But all sang “Annie Laurie.”
Bayard Taylor—A Song of the Camp.

Short swallow-flights of song, that dip
Their wings in tears, and skim away.
Tennyson—In Memoriam. Pt. XLVIII. St. 4.

Cantilenam eandem canis.
You sing the same old song.
Terence—Phormio. III. 2. 10.

Cicala to cicala is dear, and ant to ant, and hawks to hawks, but to me the muse and song.
Theocritus—Idyl. IX. Trans. by Andrew Lang. St. 2.

Grasshopper to grasshopper, ant to ant is dear,
Hawks love hawks, but I the muse and song.
Theocritus—Idyl. IX. Trans. by Maurice Thompson.

Swift, swift, and bring with you
Song’s Indian summer!
Francis Thompson—A Carrier Song. St. 2.

Martem accendere cantu.
To kindle war by song.
Vergil—Æneid. VI. 165.

Soft words, with nothing in them, make a song.
Edmund Waller—To Mr. Creech. L. 10.

A careless song, with a little nonsense in it now and then, does not mis-become a monarch.
Horace Walpole—Letter to Sir Horace Mann. (1770).

Bring the good old bugle, boys! we’ll sing another song—
Sing it with a spirit that will start the world along—
Sing it as we used to sing it, fifty thousand strong,
While we were marching through Georgia.
Henry Clay Work—Marching Through Georgia.