Reference > Quotations > Frank J. Wilstach, comp. > A Dictionary of Similes
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Frank J. Wilstach, comp.  A Dictionary of Similes.  1916.
 
Poets
 
  Poets are like birds: the least thing makes them sing.
            —René de François Chateaubriand
  1
For party poets are like wasps, who dart
Death to themselves, and to their foes but smart.
            —George Crabbe
  2
Poets, like Divers, should be bold and dare,
They spoil their business with an overcare.
            —John Dryden
  3
Poets, like painters, their machinery claim,
And verse bestows the varnish and the frame.
            —Oliver Wendell Holmes
  4
Poets, like candles, are all puffers,
And critics are the candle snuffers.
            —Robert Lloyd
  5
Poets, like angels, where they once appear,
Hallow the place.
            —John Norris
  6
Fir’d 1 at first sight with what the Muse imparts,
In fearless youth we tempt the height of arts,
While from the bounded level of our mind
Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind;
But more advanc’d, behold, with strange surprise,
New distant scenes of endless science rise.
So pleas’d at first the tow’ring Alps we try,
Mount o’er the vales, and seem to tread the sky;
Th’ eternal snows appear already past,
And the first clouds and mountains seem the last;
But these attain’d, we tremble to survey
The growing labours of the lengthen’d way:
Th’ increasing prospect tires our wandering eyes;
Hills peep o’er hills, and Alps on Alps arise.
            —Alexander Pope
  7
 
Note 1. Dr. Johnson, in his “Lives of the Poets,” says that this simile on poets is “perhaps the best the English language affords.” [back]
 
 
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