Life is a long lesson in humility.Sir James M. Barrie
- In records that defy the tooth of time.
- The Statesman's Creed
- Great let me call him, for he conquered me.
- The Revenge, Act I, sc. i (1721)
- Life is the desert, life the solitude;
Death joins us to the great majority.
- The Revenge, Act IV, sc. i
- Souls made of fire, and children of the sun,
With whom revenge is virtue.
- The Revenge, Act V, sc. ii
- The blood will follow where the knife is driven,
The flesh will quiver where the pincers tear.
- The Revenge, Act V, sc. ii
- In youth, what disappointments of our own making: in age, what disappointments from the nature of things.
- A Vindication of Providence; or, A True Estimate of Human Life (1728)
- The man that makes a character makes foes.
- To Mr. Pope, epistle I, l. 28 (1730)
- Their feet through faithless leather met the dirt,
And oftener chang'd their principles than shirt.
- To Mr. Pope, epistle I, l. 277
- There is something in Poetry beyond Prose-reason; there are Mysteries in it not to be explained, but admired.
- Conjectures on Original Composition (1759) p. 28.
Love of Fame (1725-1728)
- When the Law shows her teeth, but dares not bite.
- Satire I, l. 17
- The love of praise, howe'er concealed by art,
Reigns more or less, and glows in ev'ry heart.
- Satire I, l. 51
- Some for renown, on scraps of learning dote,
And think they grow immortal as they quote.
- Satire I, l. 89
- Titles are marks of honest men, and wise;
The fool or knave that wears a title lies.
- Satire I, l. 145
- They that on glorious ancestors enlarge,
Produce their debt instead of their discharge.
- Satire I, l. 147
- None think the great unhappy but the great.
- Satire I, l. 238
- The booby father craves a booby son,
And by Heaven’s blessing thinks himself undone.
- Satire II, l. 165
- Where Nature’s end of language is declin’d,
And men talk only to conceal the mind.
- Satire II, l. 207
- Be wise with speed;
A fool at forty is a fool indeed.
- Satire II, l. 282
- With skill she vibrates her eternal tongue,
Forever most divinely in the wrong.
- Satire VI, l. 105
- For her own breakfast she'll project a scheme,
Nor take her tea without a strategem.
- Satire VI, l. 187
- Think naught a trifle, though it small appear;
Small sands the mountain, moments make the year,
And trifles life.
- Satire VI, l. 208
- One to destroy, is murder by the law;
And gibbets keep the lifted hand in awe;
To murder thousands takes a specious name,
War's glorious art, and gives immortal fame.
- Satire VII, l. 55
Night Thoughts (1742-1745)
- Tired nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep!
- Night I, l. 1
- Night, sable goddess! from her ebon throne,
In rayless majesty, now stretches forth
Her leaden scepter o'er a slumbering world.
- Night I, l. 18
- Creation sleeps! 'Tis as the general pulse
Of life stood still, and Nature made a pause;
An awful pause! prophetic of her end.
- Night I, l. 23
- The bell strikes one. We take no note of time
But from its loss.
- Night I, l. 55
- Be wise today; 'tis madness to defer.
- Night I, l. 390
- Procrastination is the thief of time.
- Night I, l. 393
- At thirty, man suspects himself a fool;
Knows it at forty, and reforms his plan;
At fifty chides his infamous delay,
Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve;
In all the magnanimity of thought
Resolves, and re-resolves; then dies the same.
- Night I, l. 417
- All men think all men mortal but themselves.
- Night I, l. 424
- He mourns the dead who lives as they desire.
- Night II, l. 24
- Thy purpose firm is equal to the deed:
Who does the best his circumstance allows
Does well, acts nobly; angels could no more.
- Night II, l. 90
- Ah, how unjust to Nature and himself
Is thoughtless, thankless, inconsistent man!
- Night II, l. 112
- Life's cares are comforts; such by Heav'n design'd;
He that hath none must make them, or be wretched.
- Night II, l. 160.
- Time flies, death urges, knells call, Heaven invites,
- Night II, l. 292
- ’Tis greatly wise to talk with our past hours,
And ask them what report they bore to heaven.
- Night II, l. 376
- Thoughts shut up want air,
And spoil, like bales unopen’d to the sun.
- Night II, l. 466
- A friend is worth all hazards we can run.
- Night II, l. 571
- Friendship's the wine of life; but friendship new
(Not such was his) is neither strong nor pure.
- Night II, l. 582
- How blessings brighten as they take their flight!
- Night II, l. 602
- The chamber where the good man meets his fate
Is privileg’d beyond the common walk
Of virtuous life, quite in the verge of heaven.
- Night II, l. 633
- A death-bed ’s a detector of the heart.
- Night II, l. 641
- Virtue alone has majesty in death.
- Night II, l. 650
- Woes cluster. Rare are solitary woes;
They love a train, they tread each other’s heel.
- Night III, l. 63
- Beautiful as sweet!
And young as beautiful! and soft as young!
And gay as soft! and innocent as gay.
- Night III, l. 81
- Lovely in death the beauteous ruin lay;
And if in death still lovely, lovelier there;
Far lovelier! pity swells the tide of love.
- Night III', l. 104
- Heaven’s Sovereign saves all beings but himself
That hideous sight,—a naked human heart.
- Night III, l. 226
- Man makes a death which Nature never made.
- Night IV, l. 15
- And feels a thousand deaths in fearing one.
- Night IV, l. 17
- Wishing, of all employments, is the worst.
- Night IV, l. 71
- Man wants little, nor that little long.
- Night IV, l. 118
- A God all mercy is a God unjust.
- Night IV, l. 233
- ’Tis impious in a good man to be sad
- Night IV, l. 676
- Men may live fools, but fools they cannot die.
- Night IV, l. 843
- By night an atheist half believes a God.
- Night V, l. 177
- Less base the fear of death than fear of life.
- Night V, l. 441
- A soul without reflection, like a pile
Without inhabitant, to ruin runs.
- Night V, l. 596
- We see time’s furrows on another’s brow,
And death intrench’d, preparing his assault;
How few themselves in that just mirror see!
- Night V, l. 627
- Like our shadows,
Our wishes lengthen as our sun declines.
- Night V, l. 661
- While man is growing, life is in decrease;
And cradles rock us nearer to the tomb.
Our birth is nothing but our death begun.
- Night V, l. 717
- The man of wisdom is the man of years.
- Night V, l. 775
- Death loves a shining mark, a signal blow.
- Night V, l. 1011
- Revere thyself, and yet thyself despise.
- Night VI, l. 128
- Pygmies are pygmies still, though percht on Alps;
And pyramids are pyramids in vales.
Each man makes his own stature, builds himself.
Virtue alone outbuilds the Pyramids;
Her monuments shall last when Egypt’s fall.
- Night VI, l. 309
- Ambition! powerful source of good and ill!
- Night VI, l. 399
- Much learning shows how little mortals know;
Much wealth, how little worldlings can enjoy.
- Night VI, l. 519
- And all may do what has by man been done.
- Night VI, l. 606
- The man that blushes is not quite a brute.
- Night VII, l. 496
- What ardently we wish we soon believe.
- Night VII, l. 1311
- Too low they build who build beneath the stars.
- Night VIII, l. 215
- Truth never was indebted to a lie.
- Night VIII, l. 587
- The house of laughter makes a house of woe.
- Night VIII, l. 757
- A man of pleasure is a man of pains.
- Night VIII, l. 793
- Final Ruin fiercely drives
Her plowshare o'er creation.
- Night IX, l. 167
- An undevout astronomer is mad.
- Night IX, l. 771
- The course of Nature is the art of God.
- Night IX, l. 1267
- Tomorrow is the day when idlers work, and fools reform.
- By all means use some time to be alone.
- A slight misquotation of George Herbert "The Church Porch", line 145: "By all means use sometimes to be alone", in The Temple (1633).
- The future... seems to me no unified dream but a mince pie, long in the baking, never quite done.
- Widely attributed to Edward Young, but in fact written by E. B. White in Harper's Magazine (December 1940), and reprinted in his One Man's Meat (1942).
- They only babble who practise not reflection.
- From Richard Brinsley Sheridan's Pizarro, Act I, sc. i.
- Tomorrow is a satire on today,
And shows its weakness.
- This is a quotation from "The Old Man's Relapse", a poem addressed to Edward Young, but written by Lord Melcombe.