Reference > Quotations > Hoyt & Roberts, comps. > Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations
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Hoyt & Roberts, comps.  Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations.  1922.
 
Fish
 
Wha’ll buy my caller herrin’?
  The’re no brought here without brave darin’
Buy my caller herrin’, Ye little ken their worth.
  Wha’ll buy my caller herrin’?
  O you may ca’ them vulgar farin’,
Wives and mithers maist despairin’
  Ca’ them lives o’ men.
        Caller Herrin’. Old Scotch Song. Credited to Lady Nairn. Claimed for Neil Gow, who probably only wrote the music.
  1
“Will you walk a little faster?” said a whiting to a snail,
“There’s a porpoise close behind us, and he’s treading on my tail!
See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance:
They are waiting on the shingle—will you come and join the dance?”
        Lewis Carroll—Song in Alice in Wonderland.
  2
Here when the labouring fish does at the foot arrive,
And finds that by his strength but vainly he doth strive;
His tail takes in his teeth, and bending like a bow,
That’s to the compass drawn, aloft himself doth throw:
Then springing at his height, as doth a little wand,
That, bended end to end, and flerted from the hand,
Far off itself doth cast, so does the salmon vaut.
And if at first he fail, his second summersaut
He instantly assays and from his nimble ring,
Still yarking never leaves, until himself he fling
Above the streamful top of the surrounded heap.
        Drayton—Poly-Olbion. Sixth Song. L. 45.
  3
O scaly, slippery, wet, swift, staring wights,
What is ’t ye do? what life lead? eh, dull goggles?
How do ye vary your vile days and nights?
How pass your Sundays? Are ye still but joggles
In ceaseless wash? Still nought but gapes and bites,
And drinks, and stares, diversified with boggles.
        Leigh Hunt—Sonnets. The Fish, the Man, and the Spirit.
  4
Fishes that tipple in the deepe,
Know no such liberty.
        Lovelace—To Althea from Prison. St. 2.
  5
Cut off my head, and singular I am,
Cut off my tail, and plural I appear;
Although my middle’s left, there’s nothing there!
What is my head cut off? A sounding sea;
What is my tail cut off? A rushing river;
And in their mingling depths I fearless play,
Parent of sweetest sounds, yet mute forever.
        Macaulay—Enigma. On the Codfish.
  6
Ye monsters of the bubbling deep,
  Your Maker’s praises spout;
Up from the sands ye codlings peep,
  And wag your tails about.
        Cotton Mather—Hymn.
  7
Our plenteous streams a various race supply,
The bright-eyed perch with fins of Tyrian dye,
The silver eel, in shining volumes roll’d,
The yellow carp, in scales bedropp’d with gold,
Swift trouts, diversified with crimson stains,
And pikes, the tyrants of the wat’ry plains.
        Pope—Windsor Forest. L. 141.
  8
’Tis true, no turbots dignify my boards,
But gudgeons, flounders, what my Thames affords.
        Pope—Second Book of Horace. Satire II. L. 141.
  9
We have here other fish to fry.
        Rabelais—Works. Bk. V. Ch. 12.
  10
It’s no fish ye’re buying—it’s men’s lives.
        Scott—The Antiquary. Ch. XI.
  11
  Master, I marvel how the fishes live in the sea.
  Why, as men do a-land: the great ones eat up the little ones.
        Pericles. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 29.
  12
Blue, darkly, deeply, beautifully blue.
        Southey—Madoc in Wales. Pt. V. (Referring to dolphins.) Byron erroneously quotes this as referring to the sky.
  13
  They say fish should swim thrice  *  *  *  first it should swim in the sea (do you mind me?) then it should swim in butter, and at last, sirrah, it should swim in good claret.
        Swift—Polite Conversation. Dialogue II.
  14
All’s fish they get that cometh to net.
        Tusser—Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry. February Abstract. Gascoigne—Steele Glas.
  15
Now at the close of this soft summer’s day,
Inclined upon the river’s flowery side,
I pause to see the sportive fishes play,
And cut with finny oars the sparkling tide.
        Valdarne. In Thomas Forster’s Perennial Calendar.
  16
 
 
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