John Dryden


Wit will shine
Through the harsh cadence of a rugged line.

To the Memory of Mr. Oldham. Line 15.

Great wits are sure to madness near allied,
And thin partitions do their bounds divide.

Part i. Line 163.

Old as I am, for ladies’ love unfit,
The power of beauty I remember yet.

So softly death succeeded life in her,
She did but dream of heaven, and she was there.

Eleonora, Line 315.

And all to leave what with his toil he won
To that unfeather’d two-legged thing, a son.

When beauty fires the blood, how love exalts the mind!

Line 41.

Since heaven’s eternal year is thine.

Resolv’d to ruin or to rule the state.

He trudg’d along unknowing what he sought,
And whistled as he went, for want of thought.

Her wit was more than man, her innocence a child.

Elegy on Mrs. Killegrew. Line 70.

And heaven had wanted one immortal song.

Part i. Line 197.

Love taught him shame; and shame, with love at strife,
Soon taught the sweet civilities of life.

Line 133.

He was exhal’d; his great Creator drew
His spirit, as the sun the morning dew.

But wild Ambition loves to slide, not stand,
And Fortune’s ice prefers to Virtue’s land.

She hugg’d the offender, and forgave the offence:
Sex to the last.

A very merry, dancing, drinking,
Laughing, quaffing, and unthinking time.

The Secular Masque. Line 40.

The people’s prayer, the glad diviner’s theme,
The young men’s vision, and the old men’s dream!

Happy the man, and happy he alone,
He who can call to-day his own;
He who, secure within, can say,
To-morrow, do thy worst, for I have liv’d to-day.

Fool, not to know that love endures no tie,
And Jove but laughs at lovers’ perjury.

Who think too little, and who talk too much.

Part i. Line 534.

Not heaven itself upon the past has power;
But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.

Book iii. Ode 29, Line 71.

For Art may err, but Nature cannot miss.

The Cock and the Fox. Line 452.

A man so various, that he seem’d to be
Not one, but all mankind’s epitome;
Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong,
Was everything by starts, and nothing long;
But in the course of one revolving moon
Was chymist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon.

I can enjoy her while she ‘s kind;
But when she dances in the wind,
And shakes the wings and will not stay,
I puff the prostitute away.

Welcome as kindly showers to the long parched earth.