Reference > Quotations > Hoyt & Roberts, comps. > Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations
Hoyt & Roberts, comps.  Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations.  1922.
Let’s meet and either do or die.
        Beaumont and Fletcher—The Island Princess. Act II. Sc. 2.
Of every noble action the intent
Is to give worth reward, vice punishment.
        Beaumont and Fletcher—The Captain. Act V. Sc. 5.
That low man seeks a little thing to do,
  Sees it and does it;
This high man, with a great thing to pursue,
  Dies ere he knows it.
        Robert Browning—A Grammarian’s Funeral.
Let us do or die.
What’s done we partly may compute,
But know not what’s resisted.
        BurnsAddress to the Unco Guid.
Put his shoulder to the wheel.
        Burton—Anatomy of Melancholy. Pt. II. Sect. I. Memb. 2.
To-morrow let us do or die.
        Campbell—Gertrude of Wyoming. Pt. III. St. 37.
  Our grand business undoubtedly is, not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.
        Carlyle—Essays. Signs of the Times.
  The best way to keep good acts in memory is to refresh them with new.
        Attributed to Cato by Bacon—Apothegms. No. 247.
He is at no end of his actions blest
Whose ends will make him greatest and not best.
        George Chapman—Tragedy of Charles, Duke of Byron. Act V. Sc. 1.
  Quod est, eo decet uti: et quicquid agas, agere pro viribus.
  What one has, one ought to use: and whatever he does he should do with all his might.
        Cicero—De Senectute. IX.
It is better to wear out than to rust out.
        Bishop Cumberland. See Horne’s Sermon—On the Duty of Contending for the Truth.
  Actions of the last age are like almanacs of the last year.
        Sir John Denham—The Sophy. A Tragedy.
  Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.
        Ecclesiastes. IX. 10.
          For strong souls
Live like fire-hearted suns; to spend their strength
In furthest striving action.
        George Eliot—Spanish Gypsy. Bk. IV.
Zeus hates busybodies and those who do too much.
        Euripides. Quoted by Emerson.
Man is his own star, and the soul that can
Render an honest and a perfect man,
Commands all light, all influence, all fate.
Nothing to him falls early or too late.
Our acts, our angels are, or good or ill,
Our fatal shadows that walk by us still.
        John Fletcher—Upon an Honest Man’s Fortune. L. 37.
A fiery chariot, borne on buoyant pinions,
Sweeps near me now! I soon shall ready be
To pierce the ether’s high, unknown dominions,
To reach new spheres of pure activity!
        Goethe—Faust. Bk. I. Sc. 1.
Do well and right, and let the world sink.
        Herbert—Country Parson. Ch. XXIX.
Let thy mind still be bent, still plotting, where,
And when, and how thy business may be done.
Slackness breeds worms; but the sure traveller,
Though he alights sometimes still goeth on.
        Herbert—Temple. Church Porch. St. 57.
The shortest answer is doing.
        Herbert—Jacula Prudentum.
Attempt the end, and never stand to doubt;
Nothing’s so hard but search will find it out.
        Herrick—Seek and Find.
A man that’s fond precociously of stirring
  Must be a spoon.
        Hood—Morning Meditations.
  It is not book learning young men need, nor instruction about this and that, but a stiffening of the vertebræ which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies, do a thing—“carry a message to Garcia.”
        Elbert Hubbard—Carry a Message to Garcia. Philistine. March, 1900. (Lieut. Col. Andrew S. Rowan carried the message to Garcia.)
          Fungar vice cotis, acutum
Reddere quæ ferrum valet, exsors ipsa secandi.
  I will perform the function of a whetstone, which is able to restore sharpness to iron, though itself unable to cut.
        Horace—Ars Poetica. 304.
In medias res.
  Into the midst of things.
        Horace—Ars Poetica. 148.
  That action which appears most conducive to the happiness and virtue of mankind.
        Frances Hutcheson—A System of Moral Philosophy. The General Notions of Rights, and Laws Explained. Bk. II. Ch. III.
  Attack is the reaction; I never think I have hit hard unless it rebounds.
        Samuel Johnson—Boswell’s Life of Johnson. (1775).
  Quelque éclatante que soit une action, elle ne doit pas passer pour grande, lorsqu’elle n’est pas l’effet d’un grand dessein.
  However resplendent an action may be, it should not be accounted great unless it is the result of a great design.
        La Rochefoucauld—Maximes. 160.
No action, whether foul or fair,
Is ever done, but it leaves somewhere
A record, written by fingers ghostly,
As a blessing or a curse, and mostly
In the greater weakness or greater strength
Of the acts which follow it.
        Longfellow—Christus. The Golden Legend. Pt. II. A Village Church.
The good one, after every action, closes
His volume, and ascends with it to God.
The other keeps his dreadful day-book open
Till sunset, that we may repent; which doing,
The record of the action fades away,
And leaves a line of white across the page
Now if my act be good, as I believe,
It cannot be recalled. It is already
Sealed up in heaven, as a good deed accomplished.
The rest is yours.
        Longfellow—Christus. The Golden Legend. Pt. VI.
With useless endeavour,
Forever, forever,
Is Sisyphus rolling
His stone up the mountain!
        Longfellow—Masque of Pandora. Chorus of the Eumenides.
Trust no future, howe’er pleasant!
  Let the dead past bury its dead!
Act,—act in the living Present!
  Heart within and God o’erhead.
        Longfellow—Psalm of Life.
Let us then be up and doing,
  With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
  Learn to labor and to wait.
        Longfellow—Psalm of Life.
  Every man feels instinctively that all the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action.
        Lowell—Among my Books. Rousseau and the Sentimentalists.
  Nil actum credens dum quid superesset agendum.
  Thinking that nothing was done, if anything remained to do.
        Lucan—Pharsalia. II. 657.
Go, and do thou likewise.
        Luke. X. 37.
He nothing common did, or mean,
Upon that memorable scene.
        Andrew Marvell—Horatian Ode. Upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland.
So much one man can do,
That does both act and know.
        Andrew Marvell—Horatian Ode. Upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland.
  Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
        Matthew. VII. 12.
Awake, arise, or be forever fall’n!
        MiltonParadise Lost. Bk. I. L. 330.
Execute their aery purposes.
        MiltonParadise Lost. Bk. I. L. 430.
          Those graceful acts,
Those thousand decencies that daily flow
From all her words and actions.
        MiltonParadise Lost. Bk. VIII. L. 600.
Ce qui est faict ne se peult desfaire.
  What’s done can’t be undone.
        Montaigne—Essays. III.
Push on,—keep moving.
        Thomas Morton—Cure for the Heartache. Act II. Sc. 1.
Ferreus assiduo consumitur anulus usu.
  The iron ring is worn out by constant use.
        Ovid—Ars Amatoris. Bk. I. 473.
  Aut petis, aut urgues ruiturum, Sisyphe, saxum.
  Either you pursue or push, O Sisyphus, the stone destined to keep rolling.
        Ovid—Metamorphoses, 4, 459.
  What the Puritans gave the world was not thought, but action.
        Wendell Phillips—Speech. The Pilgrims. Dec. 21, 1855.
Not always actions show the man; we find
Who does a kindness is not therefore kind.
        Pope—Moral Essays. Epistle I. L. 109.
Iron sharpeneth iron.
        Proverbs. XXVII. 17.
So much to do; so little done.
        Cecil Rhodes—Last words.
  Prius quam incipias consulto, et ubi consulueris mature facto opus est.
  Get good counsel before you begin: and when you have decided, act promptly.
        Sallust—Catilina. I.
Wer gar zu viel bedenkt, wird wenig leisten.
  He that is overcautious will accomplish little.
        Schiller—Wilhelm Tell. III. 1. 72.
Action is eloquence, and the eyes of the ignorant
More learned than the ears.
        Coriolanus. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 75.
*  *  *  the blood more stirs
To rouse a lion, than to start a hare.
        Henry IV. Pt. I. Act I. Sc. 3. L. 197.
I profess not talking: only this,
Let each man do his best.
        Henry IV. Pt. I. Act V. Sc. 2. L. 92.
          We must not stint
Our necessary actions, in the fear
To cope malicious censurers.
        Henry VIII. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 76.
          Things done well,
And with a care, exempt themselves from fear;
Things done without example, in their issue
Are to be fear’d.
        Henry VIII. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 88.
If it were done, when ’tis done, then ’twere well
It were done quickly.
        Macbeth. Act I. Sc. 7. L. 1.
          From this moment,
The very firstlings of my heart shall be
The firstlings of my hand. And even now,
To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done.
        Macbeth. Act IV. Sc. 1. L. 146.
          But I remember now
I am in this earthly world; where, to do harm,
Is often laudable; to do good, sometime,
Accounted dangerous folly.
        Macbeth. Act IV. Sc. 2. L. 74.
What’s done can’t be undone.
        Macbeth. Act V. Sc. 1.
So smile the Heavens upon this holy act
That after hours with sorrow chide us not!
        Romeo and Juliet. Act II. Sc. 6. L. 1.
How my achievements mock me!
I will go meet them.
        Troilus and Cressida. Act IV. Sc. 2. L. 71.
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in their dust.
        James Shirley—Contention of Ajax and Ulysses. Sc. 3. L. 23. (“In the dust” in Percy’s Reliques. Misquoted “Ashes of the dust” on old tombstone at St. Augustine, Florida.)
Heaven ne’er helps the men who will not act.
        Sophocles—Fragment. 288.
  Rightness expresses of actions, what straightness does of lines; and there can no more be two kinds of right action than there can be two kinds of straight line.
        Herbert Spencer—Social Statics. Ch. XXXII. Par. 4.
The sweet remembrance of the just
Shall flourish when he sleeps in dust.
        Tate and Brady—Psalm 112. (Ed. 1695)
So many worlds, so much to do,
  So little done, such things to be.
        Tennyson—In Memoriam. LXXII. 1.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
        Tennyson—Charge of the Light Brigade. St. 2.
Dicta et facta.
  Said and done. Done as soon as said.
        Terence—Eunuchus. 5. 4. 19.
Actum ne agas.
  Do not do what is already done.
        Terence—Phormio. II. 3. 72.
  A slender acquaintance with the world must convince every man that actions, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of friends; and that the most liberal professions of good-will are very far from being the surest marks of it.
        George Washington—Social Maxims.
Action is transitory, a step, a blow,
The motion of a muscle—this way or that.
        WordsworthThe Borderers. Act III.
And all may do what has by man been done.
        Young—Night Thoughts. Night VI. L. 611.

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