Reference > Quotations > John Bartlett, comp. > Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. > Matthew Prior
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John Bartlett (1820–1905).  Familiar Quotations, 10th ed.  1919.
 
Matthew Prior. (1664–1721)
 
 
1
    All jargon of the schools. 1
          I am that I am. An Ode.
2
    Our hopes, like towering falcons, aim
At objects in an airy height;
The little pleasure of the game
Is from afar to view the flight. 2
          To the Hon. Charles Montague.
3
    From ignorance our comfort flows.
The only wretched are the wise. 3
          To the Hon. Charles Montague.
4
    Odds life! must one swear to the truth of a song?
          A Better Answer.
5
    Be to her virtues very kind;
Be to her faults a little blind.
          An English Padlock.
6
    That if weak women went astray,
Their stars were more in fault than they.
          Hans Carvel.
7
    The end must justify the means.
          Hans Carvel.
8
    And thought the nation ne’er would thrive
Till all the whores were burnt alive.
          Paulo Purganti.
9
    They never taste who always drink;
They always talk who never think. 4
          Upon a passage in the Scaligerana.
10
    That air and harmony of shape express,
Fine by degrees, and beautifully less. 5
          Henry and Emma.
11
    Now fitted the halter, now traversed the cart,
And often took leave, but was loth to depart. 6
          The Thief and the Cordelier.
12
    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? 7
          Epitaph. Extempore.
13
    Soft peace she brings; wherever she arrives
She builds our quiet as she forms our lives;
Lays the rough paths of peevish Nature even,
And opens in each heart a little heaven.
          Charity.
14
    His noble negligences teach
What others’ toils despair to reach.
          Alma. Canto ii. Line 7.
15
    Till their own dreams at length deceive ’em,
And oft repeating, they believe ’em.
          Alma. Canto iii. Line 13.
16
    Abra was ready ere I called her name;
And though I called another, Abra came.
          Solomon on the Vanity of the World. Book ii. Line 364.
17
    For hope is but the dream of those that wake. 8
          Solomon on the Vanity of the World. Book iii. Line 102.
18
    Who breathes must suffer, and who thinks must mourn;
And he alone is bless’d who ne’er was born.
          Solomon on the Vanity of the World. Book iii. Line 240.
19
    A Rechabite poor Will must live,
And drink of Adam’s ale. 9
          The Wandering Pilgrim.
 
Note 1.
Noisy jargon of the schools.—John Pomfret: Reason.

The sounding jargon of the schools.—William Cowper: Truth, line 367. [back]
Note 2.
But all the pleasure of the game
Is afar off to view the flight.
Variations in a copy dated 1692. [back]
Note 3.
See Davenant, Quotation 2. [back]
Note 4.
See Jonson, Quotation 24. Also Dryden, Quotation 14. [back]
Note 5.
Fine by defect, and delicately weak.—Alexander Pope: Moral Essays, epistle ii. line 43. [back]
Note 6.
As men that be lothe to departe do often take their leff. [John Clerk to Wolsey.]—Ellis: Letters, third series, vol. i. p. 262.

”A loth to depart” was the common term for a song, or a tune played, on taking leave of friends. Tarlton: News out of Purgatory (about 1689). George Chapman: Widow’s Tears. Thomas Middleton: The Old Law, act iv. sc. 1. Beaumont and Fletcher: Wit at Several Weapons, act ii. sc. 2. [back]
Note 7.
The following epitaph was written long before the time of Prior:—

Johnnie Carnegie lais heer,
Descendit of Adam and Eve.
Gif ony con gang hieher,
Ise willing give him leve. [back]
Note 8.
This thought is ascribed to Aristotle by Diogenes Laertius (Aristotle, v. xi.), who, when asked what hope is, answered, “The dream of a waking man.” Menage, in his “Observations upon Laertius,” says that Stobæus (Serm. cix.) ascribes it to Pindar, while Ælian (Var. Hist. xiii. 29) refers it to Plato.

Et spes inanes, et velut somnia quædam, vigilantium (Vain hopes are like certain dreams of those who wake).—Quintilian: vi. 2, 27. [back]
Note 9.
A cup of cold Adam from the next purling stream.—Tom Brown: Works, vol. iv. p. 11. [back]
 

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