Thursday, May 14, 2009

Quotations on Action


He was utterly without ambition [Chas. II.].

He detested business, and would sooner have

abdicated his crown than have undergone the

trouble of really directing the administration.

o. Macaulay—History of England.

(Character of Charles II.).
Vol. I. Ch. II.

To see her abdicate this majesty to play at precedence with her next door neighbor.

b. Ruskin—Sesame and Lilies. Of Queen's

Gardens. P. 92. (J. B. A., '86.)

I give this heavy weight from off my head, And this unwieldy sceptre from my hand, The pride of kingly away from out my heart; With mine own tears I wash away my value, With mine own hands I give away my crown, With mine own tongue deny my sacred state, With mine own breath release all duteous oaths.

c. Richard II. Act IV. Sc. 1. L. 204.


The self-same thing they will abhor
One way, and long another for.

d. Butleb—Hudibras. Pt. I. Canto I.

L.219. I find no abhorring in my appetite.

e. Donne—Devotion.

Nature abhors the old.
/. Emkbson—Essays. Circles.

The arts of pleasure in despotic courts
I spurn abhorrent.
g. Glover— Leonidas. Bk. X.

Justly thou abhorr'st
That son, who on the quiet state of men
Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue
Rational liberty ; yet know withal.
Since thy original lapse, true liberty
Is lost.
h. Milton—Paradise Lout. Bk. XIT.

L. 79.

Boils and plagues

Plaster you o'er, that you may be abhorr'd Further than seen. »'. Coriolanus. Act I. Sc. 4. L. 37.

* * » few things loves better Than to abhor himself. j. Timon of Athens. Act I. Sc. 1. L.60.

How abhorred in my imagination it is! *. Hamlet. Act V. Sc. 1. L. 206.

It doth abhor me now I speak the word. I. Othello. Act IV. Sc. 2. L. 162.

* * * more abhorr'd

Than spotted livers in the sacrifice. m. Troilus and Cressida. Act V. Sc. 3.

L. 18.

Though thou abhorr'dst in us our human

griefs. n. Timon of At/tens. Act V. Sc. 5. L. 11.

Whom my very soul abhors.
o. Two Gentlemen of Verona. Act IV.

Sc. 3. L. 17.

* make the abhorrent eye Roll back and close.

p. Southey—Curse of Kehama. VIII. 9.

For, if the worlds In worlds enclosed should on his senses

burst * * * He would abhorrent turn. q. Thomson—Seasons. Summer. L. 313.

When it was become an abhorring even to them that had loved it best. r. Tkench—Miracle*. XXIX. 414.




Men who undertake considerable things, even in a regular way, ought to give us ground to presume ability.

a. Bukke—Refections on the Revolution in


He could raise scruples dark and nice,
And after solve 'era in a trice;
As if Divinity had catch'd
The itch, on purpose to be scratch'd.
6. Butler—Hudibras. Pt. I. Canto I.

L. 163.

You are a devil at everything, and there is no kind of thing in the 'versal world but what you can turn your hand to.

c. Cervantes—Don Quixote. Pt. I.

Bk. III. Ch. XI.

The dwarf sees farther than the giant, when he has the giant's shoulders to mount on.

d. Coleridge—The Friend. Sect. I.

Essay VIII.

Could swell the soul to rage, or kindle soft desire.

e. Dbyden—Alexander's Feast. L. 160.

As we advance in life, we learn the limits of our abilities. /. Froude—Short Studies on Great

Subjects. Education.

Every person is responsible for all the good within the scope of his abilities, and for no more, and none can tell whose sphere is the largest.

g. Gail Hamilton—Country Living and Country Thinking. Men and Women.

To the very last, he [Napoleon] had a kind of idea; that, namely, of la, carriere ouverte aux talent—the tools to him that can handle them.

A. Lockhart—Sir Walter Scott. London and Westminster Review, 1838.

A Traveller at Sparta, standing long upon one leg, said to a Lacedaemonian, "I do not believe you can do as much." "True," said he, " but every goose can." t. Plutarch—Laconic, Apothegm.

Remarkable Speeches of Some Obscure


Read my little fable:

He that runs may read.
Most can raise the flowers now,

For all have got the seed.

j. Tehnybon—TJic Flowers.

Who does the best his circumstance allows,

Does well, acts nobly ; angels could no more.

*. Youko—Night Thoughts. Night II.

L. 91.


Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
I. Thomas Hayneb Bayly—Isle of


Wives in their husband's absences grow subtler,

And daughters sometimes run off with the

butler. m. Byron—Don Juan. Canto III. St. 22.

Where'er I roam, whatever realms to see,
My heart untravclled, fondly turns to thee ;
Still to my brother turns, with ceaseless pain,
And drags at each remove a lengthening chain.
n. Goldsmith—Traveller. L. 7.

Achilles absent, was Achilles still.
o. Homer— The Iliad. Bk. 22. L. 415.

Pope's trans.

In the hope to meet

Shortly again, and make our absence sweet. p. Ben Jonbon—Underwoods.

Miscellaneous Poems, LIX.

Ever absent, ever near;
Still I see thee, still I hear;
Yet I cannot reach thee, dear !
q. Francis Kazinczy—Separation.

What shall I do with nil the days and hours
That must be counted ere I see thy face ?

How shall I charm the interval that lowers Between this time and that sweet time of

grace? r. Frances Anne K F.mblf.—Absence.

For with G. D., to be absent from the body is sometimes (not to speak it profanely) to be present with the Lord.

». Charles Lamb—Oxford in the Vacation.

Your absence of mind we have borne, till your presence of body came to be called in question by it.

t. Charles Lamb—Amicus Redivimt.

Oft in the tranquil hour of night,

When stars illume the sky, I gaze upon each orb of light,

And wish that thou wert by.

u. George Linley—Song.

Thou art gone from my gaze like a beautiful

dream, And I seek thee in vain by the meadow and

stream. «. George Linley—Thou Art Gone.

There's little pleasure in the house When our gudeman's awa. w. W. J. Mickle—There's Nae Luck Aboot

the House. ABSENCE.


With what a deep devotedness of woe
I wept thy absence—o'er and o'er again
Thinking of tliee, still thee, till thought grew

pain, And memory, like a drop that, night and

day. Falls cold and ceaseless, wore my heart


a. Moore—LaUa. Rookh. The Veiled

Prophet of Khorassin.

Condemned whole years in absence to deplore, And image charms he must behold no more.

b. I'ove—Elaine to Abelard. L. 361.

Days of absence, sad and dreary,
Clothed in sorrow's dark array,—

Days of absence, I am weary;
She I love is far away.

c. Rousseau—Days of Absence.

Conspicuous by his absence.

d. Lord John Russell—Quoted from

Tacili" Annals, III., 76.

All days are nights to see till I see thee,
And nights bright days when dreams do show

thee me.
c. Sonnet XLIII.

How like a winter hath my absence been From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!

What freezings have I felt, what dark days


What old December's bareness everywhere. /. Sonnet XCVII.

I dote on his very absence, anfl I wish them a fair departure. g. Merchant of Venice. Act I. Sc. 2.

L. 120.

'Tis said that absence conquers love ;

Butoh! believe it not.
I've tried, alas! its power to prove,

But thon art not forgot.

A. Frederick W. Thomas—Absence

Conqueri Love.

Since yon have waned from us,

Fairest of women!
I am a darkened cage

Songs cannot hymn in.
My songs have followed you,

Like birds the summer;
Ah! bring them back to me,
Swiftly, dear comer!
Her to hymn,
Might leave their portals;
And at my feet learn
The harping af mortals !
i. Francis Thompson—A Carrier Song.


Chapter of accidents.
j. Burke—Notes for Speeches (edition

1852). Vol. II. P. 426.

Chapter of accidents.
k. Earl or Chesterfield—Letter,

February 16, 1753.

To what happy accident is it that we owe so unexpected a visit?

1. Goldsmith— Vicar of Wakefield.

Ch. XIX.

Our wanton accidents take root, and grow
To vaunt themselves God's laws.
To. Charles Kingsley—Saint's Tragedy.

Act II. Sc. 4.

At first laying down, as a fact fundamental,
That nothing with God can be accidental.
n. Longfellow—Chriettis. The Golden
Legend. Pt. VI.

By many a happy accident.
o. Thomas Middleton—No Wit, no Help,
like a Woman's. Act IV. Sc. 1.


I have shot mine arrow o'er the house
And hurt my brother.
p. Hamlet. Act V. Sc. 2. L. 254.

Moving accidents by flood and field.
g. Othello. Act 1. Sc. 3. L. 135.

The chapter of accidents is the longest chapter in the book. r. Attributed to John Wilkes by

Southey— The Doctor. Ch. CXVIII.

The accident of an accident.
«. Lord Thuhlow—Speech in reply to

Lord Qrafton.

ACTING (See Occupations).


Let's meet and either do or die.
t. Beaumont And Fletcher.—The Island
Princess. Act II. Sc. 2.

Of every noble action the intent
Is to give worth reward, vice punishment.
u. Beaumont And Fletchkb.

The Captain. Act V. 8c. 5.

Think that day lost whose (low) descending


Views from thy hand no noble action done, t). Jacob Bobart—In David Krieg's

A Ibum in British Museum, See also Staniford—Art of Reading.



That low man seeks a little thing to do,

Sera it and does it; This high man, with a great thing to pursue,

Dies ere he knows it.

a. Robert Browning—A Grammarian's


What's done we partly may compute,
But know not what's resisted.
6. Burns—Address to the Unco Guid.

Put his shoulder to the wheel.

c. Burton—Anatomy of Melnnclutly.

Pt. II. Sect 1. Memb. 2.

To-morrow let us do or die.

d. 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.

e. 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


g. George Chapman—Tragedy of Charles, Duke of Byron. Act V. Sc. 1.

It is better to wear out than to rust out.
A. Bishop Cumberland. Sec Home's

Sermon—On the Duty of Contending
for the Truth.

Actions of the last age are like almanacs of the last year. i. Sir John Denham—The Sophy.

A Tragedy.

For strong souls Live like fire-hearted suns; to spend their


In furthest striving action. j. George Eliot—Spanish Gypsy. Bk. 4.

A great mind is a good sailor, as a great heart is.

fc. Emerson—EuglM Traits. Voyage to England. Chap. II.

The manly part is to do with might and main what you can do.

1. Emerson— The Conduct of Life.


Our acts, our angels are, or good or ill, Our fatal shadows that walk by us still, ro. John Fletcher— Upnn an

Man's Fortmir. 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


To reach new spheres of pure activity ! n. Goethe—Faust. Bk. 1. Sc. 1.

Do well and right, and let the world sink, o. Herbert—Country Parson. Ch. XXIX.

Let thy mind still be bent, still plotting, where, And when, und how thy business may be


Slackness breeds worms ; but the sure traveller, Though he alights sometimes, still goeth on. ;>. Herbert—Temple. Church Porch.

St. 57.

Attempt the end, and never stand to doubt; Nothing's so hard but search will find it out. q. Herrick—Seek and Find.

A man that's fond precociously of stirring Must be a spoon, r. Hood—Morning Meditations. .

That action which appears most conducive to the happiness and virtue of mankind. s. Frances Hutchkson—A System of

Moral Philosophy. The General Notions of Sights, and Laws Explained. Bk. II. Ch, III.

Attack is the reaction; I never think I have hit hard unless it rebounds. t. Sam'l Johnson—Boswell's Life of

Johnson. 1775.

When desperate ills demand a speedy cure,

Distrust is cowardice, and prudence folly.

u. Sam'l Johnson—Irene. Act IV.

Sc. 1. L. 87.

I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts. v. Locke—Human Understanding. Bk. I.

Ch. 3.

Let us then be up and doing,

With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labour and to wait.

w. Longfellow—Psalm of Life.

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 accom-

The rest is yours.
x. Longfellow—Christus, The Goldfn

Legend. Pt. VI.



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.

a. Longfellow—P»alm of Life.

With useless endeavour,
Forever, forever,
Is Sisyphus rolling
His stone up the mountain !
6. Longfellow—The Masque of Pandora.
Chorus of the Eumenidcs.

Every man feels instinctively that all the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action.

c. Lowell—Among my Books. Rousseau

a>id the Sen limcntalists.

He nothing common did, or mean,
Upon that memorable scene.

d. Andbew Mabvbli/—A Horatian Ode.

Upon Cromweirs Return from Ireland.

So much one man can do,
That does both act and know.

e. Andrew Marvell—A Horatian Ode.

Upon Cromweirs Return from Ireland.

Awake, arise, or be forever fall'n!
/. Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. I.

L. 330.

Execute their aery purposes.
g. Milton—Paradise Lost. Book I.

L. 430.

Those graceful acts,

Those thousand decencies that daily flow
From all her words and actions.
4. Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. VIII.

L. 600.

Push on,—keep moving.
t. Thomas Mobton—A Cure for the

Heartache. Act II. Sc. 1.

What the Puritans gave the world was not thought, but action, j. Wbndkll Phillips—Speech. The

Pilgrims. Dec. 21, 1855.

Not always actions show the man; we find Who does a kindness is not therefore kind, i. Pope—Moral Essays. Epistle I.

L. 109.

But I remember now I am in this earthly world; where, to do


Is often laudable; to do good, sometime,
Accounted dangerous folly.
I. Macbeth. Act IV. Sc. 2. L. 74.

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.
m. Macbeth. Act IV. Sc. 1. L. 146.

How my achievements mock me!
I will go meet them.

n. Troilus and Cressida. Act IV. Sc. 2.

L. 71.

If it were done, when 'tis done, then 'twere

well It were done quickly.

0. Macbeth. Act I. Sc. 7. L. 1.

In such business

Action is eloquence, and the eyes of the ignorant

More learned than the ears.
p. Coriolaniis. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 75.

I profess not talking : only this,
Let each man do his best.
q. Henry IV. Pt. I. ActV. Sc. 2.

L. 02.

So smile the Heavens upon this holy act That after hours with sorrow chide us not! r. Romeo and Juliet. Act II. Sc. 6.

L. 1.

Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that yoxi o'erstep not the modesty of nature.

1. Samlet. Act III. 8c. 2. L. 19.

* * * the blood more stirs
To rouse a lion, than to start a hare.
t. Henry IV. Pt. I. Act I. Sc. 3.

L. 197.

Things done well,

And with a care, exempt themselves from fear;
Things done without example, in their issue
Are to be fear'd.
u. Henry VIII. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 88.

We must not stint
Our necessary actions, in the fear
To cope malicious censurers.
v. Henry VIII. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 76.

Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in the dust,
if. Shirley—Death's Final Conquest.

Heaven ne'er helps the men who will not act. x. Sophocles—Fragment 288.

Rightness expresses of actions, what straight- ness does of lines; and there can no more be two kinds of right action than there can be two kinds of straight line.

y. Herbert Spencer—Social Static.'.

Ch. XXXII. Par. 4.

Related Sites:

No comments:

Post a Comment