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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.
- Love of Fame (satire VII, l. 55)
[Murder : Proverbs]
Some future strain, in which the muse shall tell
How science dwindles, and how volumes swell.
How commentators each dark passage shun,
And hold their farthing candle to the sun.
- Love of Fame (satire VII, l. 95)
None think the great unhappy, but the great.
- Love of Fame--Satire [Misfortune]
Teach me my days to number, and apply
My trembling heart to wisdom.
- Night Thought (night IX, l. 1,312)
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 Thoughts [Virtue]
The spider's most attenuated thread
Is cord, is cable, to man's tender tie
On earthly bliss; it breaks at every breeze.
- Night Thoughts (night 1, l, 178) [Bliss]
Tired Nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep!
He, like the world, his ready visit pays
Where fortune smiles; the wretched he forsakes.
- Night Thoughts (night I, l. 1) [Sleep]
Ocean into tempest wrought,
To waft a feather, or to drown a fly.
- Night Thoughts (night I, l. 153) [Ocean]
Night, sable goddess! from her ebon throne,
In rayless majesty, now stretches forth
Her leaden sceptre o'er a slumbering world.
Silence, how dead! and darkness, how profound!
Nor eye, nor list'ning ear, an object finds;
Creation sleeps. 'Tis as the general pulse
Of life stood still, and nature made a pause;
An awful pause! prophetic of her end.
- Night Thoughts (night I, l. 18) [Night]
Insatiate archer! could not one suffice?
Thy shaft flew thrice; and thrice my peace was slain!
- Night Thoughts (night I, l. 212) [Death]
Creation sleeps. 'Tis as the general pulse
Of life stood still, and nature made a pause.
- Night Thoughts (night I, l. 23) [Sleep]
Some for hard masters, broken under arms,
In battle lopt away, with half their limbs,
Beg bitter bread thro' realms their valour saved.
- Night Thoughts (night I, l. 250)
In human hearts what bolder thoughts can rise,
Than man's presumption on to-morrow's dawn!
Where is to-morrow?
- Night Thoughts (night I, l. 374)
Procrastination is the thief of time:
Year after year it steals, till all are fled,
And to the mercies of a moment leaves
The vast concerns of an eternal scene.
- Night Thoughts (night I, l. 390) [Time]
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.
And why? because he thinks himself immortal,
All men think all men mortal but themselves.
- Night Thoughts (night I, l. 417)
[Folly : Mortality]
The bell strikes one. We take no note of time
But from its loss: to give it then a tongue
Is wise in man.
- Night Thoughts (night I, l. 55) [Time]
And can eternity belong to me,
Poor pensioner on the bounties of an hour?
- Night Thoughts (night I, l. 66) [Eternity]
How poor, how rich, how abject, how august,
How complicate, how wonderful, is man!
How passing wonder He, who made him such!
- Night Thoughts (night I, l. 68) [Man]
And then, exulting in their taper, cry, "Behold the Sun;" and, Indian-like, adore.
- Night Thoughts (night II) [Authorship]
Time is eternity;
Pregnant with all eternity can give;
Pregnant will all that makes archangels smile.
Who murders Time, he crushes in the birth
A power ethereal, only not adorn'd.
- Night Thoughts (night II, l. 107) [Time]
Ah! how unjust to nature, and himself,
Is thoughtless, thankless, inconsistent man.
- Night Thoughts (night II, l. 112) [Man]
Leisure is pain; take off our chariot wheels,
How heavily we drag the load of life!
Blest leisure is our curse; like that of Cain,
It makes us wander, wander earth around
To fly that tyrant, thought.
- Night Thoughts (night II, l. 125)
We cry for mercy to the next amusement,
The next amusement mortgages our fields.
- Night Thoughts (night II, l. 131)
Time wasted is existence, used is life.
- Night Thoughts (night II, l. 149) [Time]
We push time from us, and we wish him back;
. . . .
Life we think long and short; death seek and shun.
- Night Thoughts (night II, l. 174) [Time]
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