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Habits of close attention, thinking heads,
Become more rare as dissipation spreads,
Till authors hear at length one general cry
Tickle and entertain us, or we die!
- Retirement (l. 707) [Authorship]
The mind, relaxing into needful sport,
Should turn to writers of an abler sort,
Whose wit well managed, and whose classic style,
Give truth a lustre, and make wisdom smile.
- Retirement (l. 715) [Reading]
I praise the Frenchman; his remark was shrewd,--
"How sweet, how passing sweet is solitude."
But grant me still a friend in my retreat,
Whom I may whisper--Solitude is sweet.
- Retirement (l. 739),
quotation is also attributed to Jean de la Bruyere and to Jean Louis Guez de Balzac
Religion does not censure or exclude
Unnumbered pleasures, harmlessly pursued.
- Retirement (l. 782) [Religion]
Joint-stools were then created; on three legs
Upborne they stood. Three legs upholding firm
A massy slab, in fashion square or round.
On such a stool immortal Alfred sat.
- Sofa (bk. I, l. 19) [Furniture]
A worm is in the bud of youth,
And at the root of age.
- Stanzas Subjoined to a Bill of Mortality
Ages elapsed ere Homer's lamp appeared,
And ages ere the Mantuan Swan was heard;
To carry nature lengths unknown before,
To give a Milton birth, asked ages more.
- Table Talk [Poets]
. . . glory built
On selfish principles is shame and guilt.
- Table Talk (l. 1) [Glory]
And prate and preach about what others prove,
As if the world and they were hand and glove.
- Table Talk (l. 173) [Hypocrisy]
When admirals extoll'd for standing still,
Of doing nothing with a deal of skill.
- Table Talk (l. 192) [Labor]
The Frenchman, easy, debonair, and brisk,
Give him his lass, his fiddle, and his frisk,
Is always happy, reign whoever may,
And laughs the sense of mis'ry far away.
- Table Talk (l. 237) [France]
Thus happiness depends, as Nature shows,
Less on exterior things than most suppose.
- Table Talk (l. 246) [Happiness]
No, Freedom has a thousand charms to show
That slaves, howe'er contented, never know.
- Table Talk (l. 260) [Freedom]
Stamps God's own name upon a lie just made,
To turn a penny in the way of trade.
- Table Talk (l. 421) [Money]
So that the jest is clearly to be seen,
Not in the words--but in the gap between;
Manner is all in all, whate'er is writ,
The substitute for genius, sense, and wit.
- Table Talk (l. 540) [Authorship]
Elegant as simplicity, and warm
- Table Talk (l. 588) [Character]
By low ambition and the thirst of praise.
- Table Talk (l. 591) [Ambition]
Made poetry a mere mechanic art.
- Table Talk (l. 654) [Poetry]
Wit, now and then, struck smartly, shows a spark.
- Table Talk (l. 665) [Wit]
Pity! Religion has so seldom found
A skilful guide into poetic ground!
The flowers would spring where'er she deign'd to stray
And every muse attend her in her way.
- Table Talk (l. 688) [Religion]
Nature, exerting an unwearied power,
Forms, opens, and gives scent to every flower;
Spreads the fresh verdure of the field, and leads
The dancing Naiads through the dewy meads.
- Table Talk (l. 690) [Nature]
We bear our shades about us; self-deprived
Of other screen, the thin umbrella spread,
And range an Indian waste without a tree.
- Task (bk. I, l. 259) [Umbrellas]
No tree in all the grove but has its charms,
Though each its hue peculiar.
- Task (bk. I, l. 307) [Trees]
The earth was made so various, that the mind
Of desultory man, studious of change
And pleased with novelty, might be indulged.
- Task (bk. I, l. 506) [Variety]
Ingenious Fancy, never better pleased
Than when employ'd t' accommodate the fair,
Heard the sweet moan of pity, and devised
The soft settee; one elbow at each end,
And in the midst an elbow it received,
United yet divided, twain at once.
- Task (bk. I, l. 71) [Furniture]
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