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WILLIAM SHENSTONE
English poet, gardener and collector
(1714 - 1763)
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The regard one shows economy, is like that we show an old aunt who is to leave us something at last.
      - [Frugality]

The works of a person that begin immediately to decay, while those of him who plants begin directly to improve. In this, planting promises a more lasting pleasure than building; which, were it to remain in equal perfection, would at best begin to moulder and want repairs in imagination. Now trees have a circumstance that suits our taste, and that is annual variety.
      - [Trees]

Theirs is the present who can praise the past.
      - [Past]

There are no persons more solicitous about the preservation of rank than those who have no rank at all. Observe the humors of a country christening, and you will find no court in Christendom so ceremonious as the quality of Brentford.
      - [Rank]

There is a certain flimsiness of poetry which seems expedient in a song.
      - [Songs]

There would not be any absolute necessity for reserve if the world were honest; yet even then it would prove expedient. For, in order to attain any degree of deference, it seems necessary that people should imagine you have more accomplishments than you discover.
      - [Reserve]

They begin with making falsehood appear like truth, and end with making truth itself appear like falsehood.
      - [Lying]

Those who are incapable of shining out by dress would do well to consider that the contrast between them and their clothes turns out much to their disadvantage.
      - [Dress]

Trifles discover a character, more than actions of importance.
      - [Trifles]

Virtues, like essences, lose their fragrance when exposed. They are sensitive plants, which will not bear too familiar approaches.
      - [Virtue]

We may daily discover crowds acquire sufficient wealth to buy gentility, but very few that possess the virtues which ennoble human nature, and (in the best sense of the word) constitute a gentleman.
      - [Gentlemen]

What leads to unhappiness, is making pleasure the chief aim.
      - [Unhappiness]

When misfortunes happen to such as dissent from us in matters of religion, we call them judgments; when to those of our own sect, we call them trials; when to persons neither way distinguished, we are content to attribute them to the settled course of things.
      - [Misfortune]

When self-interest inclines a man to print, he should consider that the purchaser expects a pennyworth for his penny, and has reason to asperse his honesty if he finds himself deceived.
      - [Books]

Whoe'er excels in what we prize, appears a hero in our eyes.
      - [Schools]

Wit is the refractory pupil of judgment.
      - [Wit]

Yet why repine? I have seen mansions on the verge of Wales that convert my farm-house into a Hampton Court, and where they speak of a glazed window as a great piece of magnificence. All things figure by comparison.
      - [Comparison]

Zealous men are ever displaying to you the strength of their belief, while judicious men are showing you the grounds of it.
      - [Belief]

My banks they are furnish'd with bees,
  Whose murmur invites one to sleep;
    My grottoes are shaded with trees,
      And my hills are white over with sheep.
      - A Pastoral Ballad (pt. II, Hope) [Nature]

Second thoughts oftentimes are the very worst of all thoughts.
      - Detached Thoughts on Men and Manners
        [Thought]

I am thankful that my name in obnoxious to no pun.
      - Egotisms [Names]

I trimmed my lamp, consumed the midnight oil.
      - Elegies (XI, st. 7) [Learning]

For seldom shall she hear a tale
  So said, so tender, yet so true.
      - Jemmy Dawson (st. 20) [Story Telling]

Sloth views the towers of fame with envious eyes,
  Desirous still, still impotent to rise.
      - Moral Pieces--The Judgment of Hercules
         (l. 436) [Fame]

Oft has good nature been the fool's defence,
  And honest meaning gilded want of sense.
      - Ode to a Lady [Sense]


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