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C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
 
Sheridan
 
        A night of fretful passion may consume
All that thou hast of beauty’s gentle bloom;
And one distemper’d hour of sordid fear
Print on thy brow the wrinkles of a year.
  1
        Fortune, my friend, I’ve often thought
Is weak, if Art assist her not;
So equally all Arts are vain,
If Fortune help them not again.
  2
        If a daughter you have, she’s the plague of your life,
No peace shall you know though you’ve buried your wife!
At twenty she mocks at the duty you taught her—
Oh, what a plague is an obstinate daughter!
  3
        One moral’s plain—without more fuss;
Man’s social happiness all rests on us;
Through all the drama—whether damn’d or not—
Love gilds the scene, and women guide the plot.
  4
        They only babble who practice not reflection,
I shall think—and thought is silence.
  5
        While his off-heel, insidiously aside,
Provokes the caper which he seems to chide.
  6
        You write with ease to show your breeding
But easy writing’s curst hard reading.
  7
  A readiness to resent injuries is a virtue only in those who are slow to injure.  8
  A tale of scandal is as fatal to the credit of a prudent lady as a fever is generally to those of the strongest constitutions. But there is a sort of puny, sickly reputation, that is always ailing, yet will wither the robuster characters of a hundred prudes.  9
  An oyster may be crossed in love.  10
  Believe that story false that ought not to be true.  11
  Conscience has no more to do with gallantry than it has with politics.  12
  Darkness is fled. Now flowers unfold their beauties to the sun, and blushing kiss the beam he sends to wake them.  13
  Fame, the sovereign deity of proud ambition.  14
  For in religion as in friendship, they who profess most are ever the least sincere.  15
  Happiness is an exotic of celestial birth.  16
  Humanity always becomes a conqueror.  17
  I’m called away by particular business. But I leave my character behind me.  18
  If Parliament were to consider the sporting with reputation of as much importance as sporting on manors, and pass an act for the preservation of fame as well as game, there are many who would thank them for the bill.  19
  If the thought is slow to come, a glass of good wine encourages it; and when it does come, a glass of good wine rewards it.  20
 
 
  In all cases of slander, currency, whenever the forger of the lie is not to be found, the injured parties should have a right to come on any of the indorsers.  21
  In religion, as in friendship, they who profess most are ever the least sincere.  22
  Is she not a wilderness of faults and follies?  23
  It is by women that nature writes on the hearts of men.  24
  Many a wretch has rid on a hurdle who has done less mischief than utterers of forged tales, coiners of scandal, and clippers of reputation.  25
  Men seldom think deeply on subjects in which they have no choice of opinion: they are fearful of encountering obstacles to their faith—as in religion—and so are content with the surface.  26
  My valor is certainly going!—it is sneaking off!—I feel it oozing out, as it were, at the palms of my hands.  27
  Nothing keeps me in such awe as perfect beauty; now, there is something consoling and encouraging in ugliness.  28
  Our ancestors are very good kind of folks; but they are the last people I should choose to have a visiting acquaintance with.  29
  Our memories are independent of our wills.  30
  Prudence, like experience, must be paid for.  31
  Remember, now, when you meet your antagonist, do everything in a mild, agreeable manner. Let your courage be as keen, but, at the same time, as polished as your sword.  32
  Satires and lampoons on particular people circulate more by giving copies in confidence to the friends of the parties, than by printing them.  33
  Steal! to be sure they may, and, egad, serve your best thoughts as gypsies do stolen children,—disfigure them to make ’em pass for their own.  34
  Tale-bearers, as I said before, are just as bad as the tale-makers.  35
  The argument of the weak.  36
  The quarrel is a very pretty quarrel as it stands.  37
  The surest way not to fail is to determine to succeed.  38
  There are a set of malicious, prating, prudent gossips, both male and female, who murder characters to kill time; and will rob a young fellow of his good name before he has years to know the value of it.  39
  There is not a passion so strongly rooted in the human heart as envy.  40
  There’s no possibility of being witty without a little ill-nature; the malice of a good thing is the barb that makes it stick.  41
  They only babble who practice not reflection.  42
  They only have lived long who have lived virtuously.  43
  Though sinking in decrepit age, he prematurely falls whose memory records no benefit conferred on him by man. They only have lived long who have lived virtuously.  44
  Thought is silence.  45
  Where they do agree on the stage, then unanimity is wonderful.  46
  Wit loses its point when dipped in malice.  47
  Wit loses its respect with the good when seen in company with malice; and to smile at the jest which plants a thorn in another’s breast is to become a principal in the mischief.  48
  Women govern us; let us render them perfect: the more they are enlightened, so much the more shall we be. On the cultivation of the mind of women depends the wisdom of men. It is by women that nature writes on the hearts of men.  49
  Ye prime adepts in scandal’s school, who rail by precept and detract by rule!  50
 
 
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