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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
 
Prior
 
        Against our peace we arm our will;
Amidst our plenty something still,
For horses, houses, pictures planting,
To thee, to me, to him is wanting;
That cruel something unpossest
Corrodes and leavens all the rest,
That something if we could obtain,
Would soon create a future pain.
  1
        And now your matrimonial Cupid,
Lash’d on by time, grows tired and stupid.
For story and experience tell us
That man grows old and woman jealous.
Both would their little ends secure;
He sighs for freedom, she for power:
His wishes tend abroad to roam,
And hers to domineer at home.
  2
        And oft the pangs of absence to remove
By letters, soft interpreters of love.
  3
        And when obedient nature knows his will,
A fly, a grapestone, or a hair can kill.
  4
        And when the parent-rose decays and dies,
With a resembling face the daughter-buds arise.
  5
        Be to her virtues very kind;
Be to her faults a little blind.
Let all her ways be unconfin’d,
And clap your padlock on her mind.
  6
        Behold where age’s wretched victim lies,
See his head trembling, and his half clos’d eyes,
Frequent for breath his panting bosom heaves;
To broken sleep his remnant sense he gives,
And only by his pains, awaking, finds he lives.
  7
        Ere on thy chin the springing beard began
To spread a doubtful down, and promise man.
  8
        Ev’n so, with all submission, I
*        *        *        *        *
Send you each year a homely letter,
Who may return me much a better.
  9
        Examples I could cite you more;
But be contented with these four;
For when one’s proofs are aptly chosen
Four are as valid as four dozen.
  10
        From ignorance our comfort flows,
The only wretched are the wise.
  11
        From nature’s constant or eccentric laws,
The thoughtful soul this general inference draws,
That an effect must pre-suppose a cause;
And, while she does her upward flight sustain,
Touching each link of the continued chain,
At length she is oblig’d and forc’d to see
A first, a source, a life, a Deity;
Which has forever been, and must forever be.
  12
                        Her hair
In ringlets rather dark than fair,
Does down her ivory bosom roll,
And hiding half adorns the whole.
  13
        How mean the order and perfection sought
In the best product of the human thought,
Compar’d to the great harmony that reigns
In what the spirit of the world ordains!
  14
        I drank: I liked it not: ’twas rage, ’twas noise,
An airy scene of transitory joys.
In vain I trusted that the flowing bowl
Would banish sorrow and enlarge the soul.
  15
        Music’s force can tame the furious beast;
Can make the wolf or foaming boar restrain
His rage; the lion drop his crested mane
Attentive to the song.
  16
        No penance can absolve our guilty fame;
Nor tears, that wash out sin, can wash out shame.
  17
        Nobles and heralds, by your leave,
Here lies what once was Matthew Prior,
The son of Adam and of Eve:
Can Bourbon or Nassau claim higher?
  18
        One single positive weighs more,
You know, than negatives a score.
  19
        Parent of wicked, bane of honest deeds,
Pernicious flattery! thy malignant seeds,
In an ill hour, and by a fatal hand,
Sadly diffus’d o’er virtue’s gleby land,
With rising pride amidst the corn appear,
And choke the hopes and harvest of the year.
  20
 
 
        See daily show’rs rejoice the thirsty earth
And bless the flow’ry buds’ succeeding birth.
  21
        Soon their crude notions with each other fought,
The adverse sect deny’d what this had taught,
And he at length the amplest triumph gain’d,
Who contradicted what the last maintain’d.
  22
        That air and harmony of shape express,
Fine by degrees, and beautifully less.
  23
                    The winds grow high;
Impending tempests charge the sky;
The lightning flies, the thunder roars;
And big waves lash the frightened shores.
  24
                        The world agrees
That he writes well who writes with ease.
  25
        They never taste who always drink;
They always talk who never think.
  26
                    They say  *  *  *
That, putting all his words together,
’Tis three blue beans in one blue bladder.
  27
        Thy sum of duty let two words contain
(O may they graven in thy heart remain!)
Be humble and be just.
  28
        Till their own dreams at length deceive ’em,
And oft repeating, they believe ’em.
  29
        View not this spire by measure given,
To buildings raised by common hands;
That fabric rises high as heaven,
    Whose basis on devotion stands.
  30
        What is a king? a man condemn’d to bear
The public burthen of the nation’s care.
  31
        Who breathes must suffer; and who thinks, must mourn;
And he alone is bless’d, who ne’er was born.
  32
        Yet tell me, frighted senses! what is death?
Blood only stopp’d, and interrupted breath;
The utmost limit of a narrow span,
And end of motion, which with life began,
And smoke that rises from the kindling fires
Is seen this moment and the next expires;
As empty clouds by rising winds are toss’d
Their fleeting forms scarce sooner found than lost.
  33
  A real grief I ne’er can find till thou provest perjured or unkind.  34
  And fondly mourn the dear delusions gone.  35
  Backed his opinion with quotations.  36
  Faith and hope themselves shall die, while deathless charity remains.  37
  For hope is but the dream of those that wake!  38
  He alone is blessed who never was born.  39
  Human science is uncertain guess.  40
  In argument similes are like songs in love; they much describe; they nothing prove.  41
  In silence weep, and thy convulsive sorrow inward keep.  42
  In the flowers that wreathe the sparkling bowl, fell adders hiss, and poisonous serpents roll.  43
  Like the Grecian, woos the image he himself has wrought.  44
  Live to explain thy doctrine by thy life.  45
  Love, well thou knowest, no partnership allows; Cupid averse rejects divided vows.  46
  Odds life! must one swear to the truth of a song?  47
  Of two evils I have chose the least.  48
  Parent of wicked, bane of honest deeds.  49
  Some folks are drunk, yet do not know it.  50
  Tell me why the ant midst summer’s plenty thinks of winter’s want.  51
  That beauteous Emma vagrant courses took.  52
  That fabric rises high as heaven whose basis on devotion stands.  53
  The cradle and the tomb, alas! so nigh.  54
  The end must justify the means.  55
  The victor’s pastime, and the sport of warrior.  56
  These pointed spires, that wound the ambient sky.  57
  They always talk who never think.  58
  Thou sovereign power, whose secret will controls the inward bent and motion of our souls.  59
  Thy sum of duty let two words contain—… be humble and be just.  60
  Tired of the last, and eager of the new.  61
  ’Tis remarkable that they talk most who have the least to say.  62
  Variety alone gives joy; the sweetest meats the soonest cloy.  63
  What is this little, agile, precious fire, this fluttering motion which we call the mind?  64
 
 
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