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INCONSTANCY
[ Also see Apostasy Change Constancy Coquette Fickleness Inconsistency Levity Mutability Treachery Women Wooing ]

Nothing that is not a real crime makes a man appear so contemptible and little in the eyes of the world as inconstancy.
      - Joseph Addison

I hate inconstancy--I loathe, detest,
  Abhor, condemn, abjure the mortal made
    Of such quicksilver clay that in his breast
      No permanent foundation can be laid.
      - Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron),
        Don Juan (canto II, st. 209)

We pardon infidelities, but we do not forget them.
      - Madame Lafayette, Marie Madeleine Pioche de la Vergne

The dream on the pillow,
  That flits with the day,
    The leaf of the willow
      A breath wears away;
        The dust on the blossom,
          The spray on the sea;
            Ay,--ask thine own bosom--
              Are emblems of thee.
      - Letitia Elizabeth Landon (Mrs. George MacLean)

Inconstancy is the child of satiety.
      - Ninon de L'Enclos (real name Anne L'Enclos)

Clocks will go as they are set; but man, irregular man, is never constant, never certain.
      - Thomas Otway

Love, like men, dies oftener of excess than of hunger.
      - Jean Paul Friedrich Richter (Johann Paul Richter) (used ps. Jean Paul)

Inconstancy is but a name,
  To fright poor lovers from a better choice.
      - Joseph Rutter

How long must women wish in vain
  A constant love to find?
    No art can fickle man retain,
      Or fix a roving mind.
        Yet fondly we ourselves deceive,
          And empty hopes pursue;
            Though false to others, we believe
              They will to us prove true.
      - Thomas Shadwell

Inconstancy falls off ere it begins.
      - William Shakespeare

Or as one nail by strength drives out another,
  So the remembrance of my former love
    Is by a newer object quite forgotten.
      - William Shakespeare

Such an act, that blurs the grace and blush of modesty; calls virtue hypocrite; takes off the rose from the fair forehead of an innocent love, and sets a blister there.
      - William Shakespeare

They are not constant, but are changing still.
      - William Shakespeare

For even to vice
  They are not constant, but are changing still
    One vice but of a minute old for one
      Not half so old as that.
      - William Shakespeare, Cymbeline
         (Posthumus at II, v)

O, swear not by the moon, th' inconstant moon,
  That monthly changes in her circled orb,
    Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.
      - William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
         (Juliet at II, ii)

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
  Admit impediments; love is not love
    Which alters when it alteration finds
      Or bends with the remover to remove.
        O, no, it is an ever-fixed mark
          That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
            It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
              Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
      - William Shakespeare, Sonnet CXVI

Even as one heat another heat expels,
  Or as one nail by strength drives out another,
    So the remembrance of my former love
      Is by a newer object quite forgotten.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Two Gentlemen of Verona
         (Proteus at II, iv)

Trust not the treason of those smiling looks,
  Until ye have their guileful trains well tried;
    For they are like but unto golden hooks,
      That from the foolish fish their baits do hide:
        So she with flattering smiles weak hearts doth guide
          Unto her love, and tempt to their decay;
            Whom, being caught, she kills with cruel pride,
              And feeds at pleasure on the wretched prey.
      - Edmund Spenser

I loved a lass, a fair one,
  As fair as e'er was seen;
    She was indeed a rare one,
      Another Sheba queen:
        But, fool as then I was,
          I thought she loved me too:
            But now, alas! she's left me,
              Falero, lero, loo!
      - George Wither (Whyther or Withers),
        I Loved a Lass


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