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JONATHAN SWIFT
Irish satirist and man of letters
(1667 - 1745)
  CHECK READING LIST (4)    << Prev Page    Displaying page 9 of 12    Next Page >> 

Whoe'er excels in what we prize,
  Appears a hero in our eyes;
    Each girl, when pleased with what is taught,
      Will have the teacher in her thought.
        . . . .
          A blockhead with melodious voice,
            In boarding-schools may have his choice.
      - Cadenus and Vanessa (l. 733) [Teaching]

'Tis an old maxim in the schools,
  That flattery's the food of fools;
    Yet now and then your men of wit
      Will condescend to take a bit.
      - Cadenus and Vanessa (l. 769) [Flattery]

A college joke to cure the dumps.
      - Cassinus and Peter [Jesting]

Oh how our neighbour lifts his nose,
  To tell what every schoolboy knows.
      - Century Life [Education]

Daphne knows, with equal ease,
  How to vex and how to please;
    But the folly of her sex
      Makes her sole delight to vex.
      - Daphne [Women]

Lose no time to contradict her,
  Nor endeavor to convict her;
    Only take this rule along,
      Always to advise her wrong,
        And reprove her when she's right;
          She may then grow wise for spite.
      - Daphne [Women]

The tucked-up sempstress walks with hasty strides,
  While streams run down her oil'd umbrella's sides.
      - Description of a City Shower [Umbrellas]

They never would hear,
  But turn the deaf ear,
    As a matter they had no concern in.
      - Dingley and Brent [Hearing]

Under the rose, since here are none but friends,
  (To own the truth) we have some private ends.
      - Epilogue to a Benefit Play for the Distressed Weavers
        [Secrecy]

Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.
      - Essay on the Faculties of the Mind [Law]

A wise man is never less alone than when he is alone.
      - Essay on the Faculties of the Mind--First Evening--Conclusion
        [Solitude]

There is no talent so useful toward rising in the world, or which puts men more out of the reach of fortune, than that quality generally possessed by the dullest sort of men, and in common speech called discretion; a species of lower prudence, by the assistance of which, people of the meanest intellectuals, without any other qualification, pass through the world in great tranquillity, and with universal good treatment, neither giving nor taking offence.
      - Essay on the Fate of Clergymen
        [Discretion]

My father had a small Estate in Nottinghamshire; I was the Third of five Sons.
      - Gulliver's Travels [Books (First Lines)]

Big-endians and small-endians.
      - Gulliver's Travels
         (pt. I, ch. IV, Voyage to Lilliput)
        [Proverbial Phrases]

He had been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put in phials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw, inclement summers.
      - Gulliver's Travels
         (pt. III, ch. V, Voyage to Laputa)
        [Folly : Invention]

And he gave it for his opinion, "that whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together."
      - Gulliver's Travels--Voyage to Brobdingnag
         (pt. II, ch. CII) [Agriculture : Success]

I've often wished that I had clear,
  For life, six hundred pounds a year,
    A handsome house to lodge a friend,
      A river at my garden's end,
        A terrace walk, and half a rood
          Of land, set out to plant a wood.
      - Imitation of Horace (bk. II, satire 6)
        [Wishes]

A nice man is a man of nasty ideas.
      - Introductions to History of the Reformation
         (preface), by Bishop Burnet [Chastity]

What some invent the rest enlarge.
      - Journal of a Modern Lady [Rumor]

Convey a libel in a frown.
  And wink a reputation down!
      - Journal of a Modern Lady (l. 185)
        [Reputation]

If Heaven had looked upon riches to be a valuable thing, it would not have given them to such a scoundrel.
      - Letter to Miss Vanhomrigh [Wealth]

I heard the little bird say so.
      - Letter to Stella [Gossip]

Will she pass in a crowd? Will she make a figure in a country church?
      - Letter to Stella [Appearance]

Under this window in stormy weather
  I marry this man and woman together;
    Let none but Him who rules the thunder
      Put this man and woman asunder.
      - Marriage Service from His Chamber Window
        [Matrimony]

Tell truth, and shame the devil.
      - Mary, the Cookmaid's Letter [Truth]


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