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Proverbs
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[ Also see Catchphrases Laws of Life and Nature Old Sayings Proverbial Phrases Proverbs (General) ]

And with necessity,
  The tyrant's plea, excused his devilish deeds.
      - John Milton

But what avail'd this temperance, not complete
  Against another object more enticing?
      - John Milton

For evil news rides post, while good news baits.
      - John Milton

For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime,
  Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer.
      - John Milton

For the air of youth,
  Hopeful and cheerful, in thy blood will reign
    A melancholy damp of cold and dry
      To weigh thy spirits down, and last consume
        The balm of life.
      - John Milton

How fallen, how changed
  From him, who, in the happy realms of light,
    Clothed with transcendent brightness, didst outshine
      Myriads, though bright.
      - John Milton

Laughter holding both his sides.
      - John Milton

Let no man seek
  Henceforth to be foretold that shall befall
    Him or his children.
      - John Milton

Love-quarrels oft in pleasing concord end.
      - John Milton

The strongest and the fiercest spirit
  That fought in heaven, now fiercer by despair.
      - John Milton

Then wander forth the sons
  Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.
      - John Milton

Two other precious drops that ready stood,
  Each, in their crystal sluice, he ere they fell
    Kiss'd.
      - John Milton

Two other tender drops, which ready stood,
  Each in their crystal sluice.
      - John Milton

Who aspires must down as low
  As high he soar'd.
      - John Milton

Who reigns within himself, and rules
  Passions, desires, and fears, is more a king.
      - John Milton

With diadem and sceptre high advanced,
  The lower still I fall; only supreme
    In misery; such joy ambition finds.
      - John Milton

Yielded with coy submission, modest pride,
  And sweet reluctant amorous delay.
      - John Milton

Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise,
  (That last infirmity of noble mind)
    To scorn delights, and live laborious days;
      But the fair guerdon when we hope to find,
        And think to burst out into sudden blaze,
          Comes the blind Fury with th' abhorred shears,
            And slits the thin-spun life.
      - John Milton, Lycidas (l. 70)

Who overcomes
  By force, hath overcome but half his foe.
      - John Milton, Paradise Lost (bk. I, l. 648)

A crown
  Golden in show, is but a wreath of thorns,
    Bring dangers, troubles, cares, and sleepless nights
      To him who wears the regal diadem.
      - John Milton, Paradise Regained
         (bk. II, l. 458)

What boots it at one gate to make defence,
  And at another to let in the foe?
      - John Milton, Samson Agonistes (l. 560)

He gives twice who gives quickly.
  [Lat., Bis dat qui cito dat.]
      - credited to Publius Syrus Mimus,
        by Langius in "Polyanth--Noviss", p. 382

To pull the chestnuts from the fire with the cat's paw.
      - Moliere (pseudonym of Jean Baptiste Poquelin),
        L'Etourdi (act III, 6)

The envious will die, but envy never.
  [Fr., Les envieux mourront, mais non jamais l'envie.]
      - Moliere (pseudonym of Jean Baptiste Poquelin),
        Tartuffe (V, 3)

One must draw back in order to leap better.
  [Fr., Il faut reculer pour mieux sauter.]
      - Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, Essays
         (bk. I, ch. XXXVIII)

What's done can't be undone.
  [Fr., Ce qui est faicr ne se peult desfaire.]
      - Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, Essays (III)

And neglected his task for the flowers on the way.
      - Thomas Moore

Blest tears of soul-felt penitence!
  In whose benign, redeeming flow
    Is felt the first, the only sense
      Of guiltless joy that guilt can know.
      - Thomas Moore

Bliss itself is not worth having,
  If we're by compulsion blest.
      - Thomas Moore

Light may come where all looks darkest,
  Hope hath life, when life seems o'er.
      - Thomas Moore

Oh, sweet youth, how soon it fades!
  Sweet joys of youth, how fleeting!
      - Thomas Moore

Round, round, while thus we go round,
  The best thing a man can do,
    Is to make it at least, a merry-go-round,
      By--sending the wine round too.
      - Thomas Moore

So closely our whims on our miseries tread,
  That the laugh is awak'd ere the tear can be dried.
      - Thomas Moore

Some flowers of Eden ye yet inherit,
  But the trail of the serpent is over them all.
      - Thomas Moore

The pain
  Remembrance gives, when the fix'd dart
    Is stirred thus in the wound again.
      - Thomas Moore

Then fill the bowl--way with gloom!
  Our joys shall always last;
    For Hope shall brighten days to come,
      And Mem'ry gild the past.
      - Thomas Moore

Then let me quaff the foamy tide,
  And through the dance meandering glide.
      - Thomas Moore

Time flies, as he flies, adds increase to her truth,
  And gives to her mind what he steals from her youth.
      - Thomas Moore

To-night, at least, to-night be gay,
  Whate'er to-morrow brings.
      - Thomas Moore

While tears that from repentance flow,
  In bright exhalement reach the skies.
      - Thomas Moore

Whose wit in the combat as gentle as bright
  Ne'er carried a heartstain away on its blade.
      - Thomas Moore

Wouldst thou, or thou,
  Forego what's now,
    For all that hope may say?
      No--joy's reply,
        From every eye,
          Is, "Live we while we may."
      - Thomas Moore

You may break, you may shatter the vase, as you will,
  But the scent of the roses will hang round it still.
      - Thomas Moore

Like a young eagle, who has lent his plume
  To fledge the shaft by which he meets his doom,
    See their own feathers pluck'd, to wing the dart,
      Which rank corruption destines for their heart!
      - Thomas Moore, Corruption

To live with them is far less sweet,
  Than to remember thee!
      - Thomas Moore,
        I Saw Thy Form in Youthful Prime

How calm, how beautiful comes on
  The stilly hour, when storms are gone!
    When warring winds have died away,
      And clouds, beneath the glancing ray,
        Melt off, and leave the land and sea
          Sleeping in bright tranquillity.
      - Thomas Moore,
        Lalla Rookh--Fire Worshippers (st. 52)

All that's bright must fade,--
  The brightest still the fleetest;
    All that's sweet was made
      But to be lost when sweetest.
      - Thomas Moore,
        National Airs--All That's Bright Must Fade

Small habits, well pursued betimes,
  May reach the dignity of crimes.
      - Hannah More, Florio (pt. I)

They lepe lyke a flounder out of a fryenge panne into the fyre.
  [They leap like a flounder out of a frying pan into the fire.]
      - Sir Thomas More, Dial
         (bk. II, ch. I, folio LXIII, b)

Push on,--keep moving.
      - Thomas Morton, A Cure for the Heartache
         (act II, sc. 1)


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