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English poet
(1731 - 1800)
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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
  As ecstasy.
      - 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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