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The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations

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‘The Face of Violence’ (1954) ch. 5

2.200 Anne Brontë 1820-49

Because the road is rough and long,

Shall we despise the skylark’s song?

‘Views of Life’

2.201 Charlotte Brontë 1816-55

We wore a web in childhood, A web of sunny air;

We dug a spring in infancy Of water pure and fair;

We sowed in youth a mustard seed, We cut an almond rod;

We are now grown up to riper age— Are they withered in the sod?

‘19 December 1835’

Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee, is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns.

‘Jane Eyre’ (2nd ed., 1848) preface

Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer...it is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.

‘Jane Eyre’ (1847) ch. 12

As his curate, his comrade, all would be right...There would be recesses in my mind which would be only mine, to which he never came; and sentiments growing there, fresh and sheltered, which his austerity could never blight, nor his measured warrior-march trample down. But as his wife...forced to keep the fire of my nature continually low, to compel it to burn inwardly and never utter a cry...this would be unendurable.

‘Jane Eyre’ (1847) ch. 34

Reader, I married him.

‘Jane Eyre’ (1847) ch. 38

Of late years an abundant shower of curates has fallen upon the North of England.

‘Shirley’ (1849) opening words

2.202 Emily Brontë 1818-48

No coward soul is mine,

No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere: I see Heaven’s glories shine,

And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.

‘Last Lines’

Though earth and moon were gone And suns and universes ceased to be And thou wert left alone

Every existence would exist in thee.

‘Last Lines’

Oh! dreadful is the check—intense the agony— When the ear begins to hear, and the eye begins to see;

When the pulse begins to throb, the brain to think again; The soul to feel the flesh, and the flesh to feel the chain.

‘The Prisoner’

Cold in the earth—and fifteen wild Decembers, From those brown hills, have melted into spring.

‘Remembrance’ (1846)

Sweet Love of youth, forgive, if I forget thee, While the world’s tide is bearing me along; Other desires and other hopes beset me,

Hopes which obscure, but cannot do thee wrong!

‘Remembrance’ (1846)

But when the days of golden dreams had perished, And even Despair was powerless to destroy,

Then did I learn how existence could be cherished, Strengthened, and fed without the aid of joy.

‘Remembrance’ (1846)

If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it. My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods; time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees—My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath:—a source of little visible delight, but necessary.

‘Wuthering Heights’ (1847) ch. 9

I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.

‘Wuthering Heights’ (1847) closing words

2.203 Patrick Brontë 1777-1861

No quailing, Mrs Gaskell! no drawing back!

Apropos her undertaking to write the life of Charlotte Brontë, in her letter to Ellen Nussey, 24 July 1855, in J. A. V. Chapple and A. Pollard (eds.) ‘The Letters of Mrs Gaskell’ (1966) Letter 257

2.204 Henry Brooke 1703-83

For righteous monarchs,

Justly to judge, with their own eyes should see; To rule o’er freemen, should themselves be free.

‘Earl of Essex’ (performed 1750, published 1761) act 1

2.205 Rupert Brooke 1887-1915

Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead! There’s none of these so lonely and poor of old, But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold. These laid the world away; poured out the red Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,

That men call age; and those that would have been, Their sons, they gave, their immortality.

‘The Dead’ (1914)

Honour has come back, as a king, to earth, And paid his subjects with a royal wage; And Nobleness walks in our ways again; And we have come into our heritage.

‘The Dead’ (1914)

The cool kindliness of sheets, that soon Smooth away trouble; and the rough male kiss Of blankets.

‘The Great Lover’ (1914)

Fish say, they have their stream and pond; But is there anything beyond?

‘Heaven’ (1915)

One may not doubt that, somehow, good Shall come of water and of mud;

And sure, the reverent eye must see A purpose in liquidity.

‘Heaven’ (1915)

Fat caterpillars drift around, And Paradisal grubs are found; Unfading moths, immortal flies, And the worm that never dies.

And in that Heaven of all their wish, There shall be no more land, say fish.

‘Heaven’ (1915)

Just now the lilac is in bloom, All before my little room.

‘The Old Vicarage, Grantchester’ (1915)

Unkempt about those hedges blows An English unofficial rose.

‘The Old Vicarage, Grantchester’ (1915)

Curates, long dust, will come and go On lissom, clerical, printless toe; And oft between the boughs is seen The sly shade of a Rural Dean.

‘The Old Vicarage, Grantchester’ (1915)

God! I will pack, and take a train, And get me to England once again! For England’s the one land, I know,

Where men with Splendid Hearts may go.

‘The Old Vicarage, Grantchester’ (1915)

For Cambridge people rarely smile, Being urban, squat, and packed with guile.

‘The Old Vicarage, Grantchester’ (1915)

They love the Good; they worship Truth; They laugh uproariously in youth;

(And when they get to feeling old,

They up and shoot themselves, I’m told).

‘The Old Vicarage, Grantchester’ (1915)

Stands the Church clock at ten to three? And is there honey still for tea?

‘The Old Vicarage, Grantchester’ (1915)

Now, God be thanked Who has matched us with His hour, And caught our youth, and wakened us from sleeping, With hand made sure, clear eye, and sharpened power, To turn, as swimmers into cleanness leaping.

‘Peace’ (1914)

Naught broken save this body, lost but breath; Nothing to shake the laughing heart’s long peace there But only agony, and that has ending;

And the worst friend and enemy is but Death.

‘Peace’ (1914)

If I should die, think only this of me:

That there’s some corner of a foreign field

That is for ever England. There shall be

In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;

A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,

Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,

A body of England’s, breathing English air,

Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away, A pulse in the eternal mind, no less

Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given; Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;

And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,

In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

‘The Soldier’ (1914)

2.206 Anita Brookner 1938—

And what is the most potent myth of all?...The tortoise and the hare...In real life, of course, it is the hare who wins. Every time...You could argue that the hare might be affected by the tortoise lobby’s propaganda, might become more prudent, circumspect, slower, in fact. But the hare is always convinced of his own superiority; he simply does not recognize the tortoise as a worthy adversary. That is why the hare wins.

‘Hotel du Lac’ (1984) ch. 2

Good women always think it is their fault when someone else is being offensive. Bad women never take the blame for anything.

‘Hotel du Lac’ (1984) ch. 7

2.207 Thomas Brooks 1608-80

For (magna est veritas et praevalebit) great is truth, and shall prevail.

‘The Crown and Glory of Christianity’ (1662) p. 407.

2.208 Robert Barnabas Brough 1828-60

My Lord Tomnoddy is thirty-four; The Earl can last but a few years more.

My Lord in the Peers will take his place: Her Majesty’s councils his words will grace. Office he’ll hold and patronage sway; Fortunes and lives he will vote away;

And what are his qualifications?—one! He’s the Earl of Fitzdotterel’s eldest son.

‘Songs of the Governing Classes’ (1855) ‘My Lord Tomnoddy’

2.209 Lord Brougham (Henry Peter, Baron Brougham and Vaux) 1778-1868

In my mind, he was guilty of no error—he was chargeable with no exaggeration—he was betrayed by his fancy into no metaphor, who once said, that all we see about us, King, Lords, and Commons, the whole machinery of the State, all the apparatus of the system, and its varied workings, end in simply bringing twelve good men into a box.

‘Hansard’ 7 February 1828, col. 131

Look out, gentlemen, the schoolmaster is abroad!

Speech, London Mechanics’ Institute, 1825

Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.

Attributed; no source found

2.210 Heywood Broun 1888-1939

Just as every conviction begins as a whim so does every emancipator serve his apprenticeship as a crank. A fanatic is a great leader who is just entering the room.

‘New York World’ 6 February 1928, p. 11

2.211 H. Rap Brown (Hubert Geroid Brown) 1943—

I say violence is necessary. It is as American as cherry pie.

Speech at Washington, 27 July 1967, in ‘Washington Post’ 28 July 1967, p. A7

2.212 John Brown 1715-66

I have seen some extracts from Johnson’s Preface to his Shakespeare...No feeling nor pathos in him! Altogether upon the high horse, and blustering about Imperial Tragedy!

Letter to Garrick, 27 October 1765, in ‘The Private Correspondence of David Garrick’ (1831) vol. 1, p. 204

2.213 John Brown 1800-59

Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children, and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I submit: so let it be done!

Last speech to the court, 2 November 1859, in H. S. Commayer ‘Documents of American History’ (7th ed.)

I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.

Last statement, 2 December 1859, in R. J. Hinton ‘John Brown and His Men’

2.214 Lew Brown (Louis Brownstein) 1893-1958

Life is just a bowl of cherries.

Title of song (1931)

2.215 Thomas Brown 1663-1704

A little before you made a leap into the dark.

‘Letters from the Dead to the Living’ (1702) ‘Answer to Mr Joseph Haines’.

I do not love thee, Dr Fell. The reason why I cannot tell; But this alone I know full well, I do not love thee, Dr Fell.

Written while an undergraduate at Christ Church, Oxford.

2.216 T. E. Brown (Thomas Edward Brown) 1830-97

A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot!

‘My Garden’ (1893)

O blackbird, what a boy you are! How you do go it!

‘Vespers’ (1900)

2.217 Cecil Browne 1932—

But not so odd

As those who choose A Jewish God,

But spurn the Jews.

Reply to verse by William Norman Ewer.

2.218 Coral Browne 1913-91

Listen, dear, you couldn’t write fuck on a dusty venetian blind.

To a Hollywood script-writer who had presumed to criticise the ‘writing’ in Alan Bennett’s An Englishman Abroad, in ‘Guardian’ 31 May 1991, obituary notice

2.219 Sir Thomas Browne 1605-82

Oblivion is a kind of Annihilation.

‘Christian Morals’ (1716) pt. 1, sect. 21

He who discommendeth others obliquely commendeth himself.

‘Christian Morals’ (1716) pt. 1, sect. 34

As for that famous network of Vulcan, which enclosed Mars and Venus, and caused that unextinguishable laugh in heaven, since the gods themselves could not discern it, we shall not pry into it.

‘The Garden of Cyrus’ (1658) ch. 2

Life itself is but the shadow of death, and souls departed but the shadows of the living. All things fall under this name. The sun itself is but the dark simulacrum, and light but the shadow of God.

‘The Garden of Cyrus’ (1658) ch. 4

Flat and flexible truths are beat out by every hammer; but Vulcan and his whole forge sweat to work out Achilles his armour.

‘The Garden of Cyrus’ (1658) ch. 5

The quincunx of heaven runs low, and ’tis time to close the five ports of knowledge.

‘The Garden of Cyrus’ (1658) ch. 5

All things began in order, so shall they end, and so shall they begin again; according to the ordainer of order and mystical mathematics of the city of heaven.

‘The Garden of Cyrus’ (1658) ch. 5

Nor will the sweetest delight of gardens afford much comfort in sleep; wherein the dullness of that sense shakes hands with delectable odours; and though in the bed of Cleopatra, can hardly with any delight raise up the ghost of a rose.

‘The Garden of Cyrus’ (1658) ch. 5

Though Somnus in Homer be sent to rouse up Agamemnon, I find no such effects in these drowsy approaches of sleep. To keep our eyes open longer were but to act our Antipodes. The huntsmen are up in America, and they are already past their first sleep in Persia. But who can be drowsy at that hour which freed us from everlasting sleep? or have slumbering thoughts at that time, when sleep itself must end, and as some conjecture all shall awake again?

‘The Garden of Cyrus’ (1658) ch. 5

Old mortality, the ruins of forgotten times.

‘Hydriotaphia’ (Urn Burial, 1658) Epistle Dedicatory

With rich flames and hired tears they solemnized their obsequies.

‘Hydriotaphia’ (Urn Burial, 1658) ch. 3

Men have lost their reason in nothing so much as their religion, wherein stones and clouts make martyrs.

‘Hydriotaphia’ (Urn Burial, 1658) ch. 4

Were the happiness of the next world as closely apprehended as the felicities of this, it were a martyrdom to live.

‘Hydriotaphia’ (Urn Burial, 1658) ch. 4

The long habit of living indisposeth us for dying.

‘Hydriotaphia’ (Urn Burial, 1658) ch. 5

But to subsist in bones, and be but pyramidally extant, is a fallacy in duration.

‘Hydriotaphia’ (Urn Burial, 1658) ch. 5

Generations pass while some trees stand, and old families last not three oaks.

‘Hydriotaphia’ (Urn Burial, 1658) ch. 5

To be nameless in worthy deeds exceeds an infamous history.

‘Hydriotaphia’ (Urn Burial, 1658) ch. 5

The iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her poppy, and deals with the memory of men without distinction to merit perpetuity.

‘Hydriotaphia’ (Urn Burial, 1658) ch. 5

The night of time far surpasseth the day, and who knows when was the equinox?

‘Hydriotaphia’ (Urn Burial, 1658) ch. 5

Diurnity is a dream and folly of expectation.

‘Hydriotaphia’ (Urn Burial, 1658) ch. 5

Man is a noble animal, splendid in ashes, and pompous in the grave.

‘Hydriotaphia’ (Urn Burial, 1658) ch. 5

Ready to be any thing, in the ecstasy of being ever.

‘Hydriotaphia’ (Urn Burial, 1658) ch. 5

At my devotion I love to use the civility of my knee, my hat, and hand.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 1, sect. 3

Many from...an inconsiderate zeal unto truth, have too rashly charged the troops of error, and remain as trophies unto the enemies of truth.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 1, sect. 6

A man may be in as just possession of truth as of a city, and yet be forced to surrender.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 1, sect. 6

As for those wingy mysteries in divinity and airy subtleties in religion, which have unhinged the brains of better heads, they never stretched the pia mater of mine; methinks there be not impossibilities enough in religion for an active faith.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 1, sect. 9

I love to lose myself in a mystery, to pursue my reason to an O altitudo!

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 1, sect. 9

Who can speak of eternity without a solecism, or think thereof without an ecstasy? Time we may comprehend, ’tis but five days elder than ourselves.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 1, sect. 11

I have often admired the mystical way of Pythagoras, and the secret magic of numbers.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 1, sect. 12

We carry within us the wonders we seek without us: there is all Africa and her prodigies in us.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 1, sect. 15

All things are artificial, for nature is the art of God.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 1, sect. 16

Obstinacy in a bad cause, is but constancy in a good.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 1, sect. 25

Persecution is a bad and indirect way to plant religion.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 1, sect. 25

Not wrung from speculations and subtleties, but from common sense, and observation;not picked from the leaves of any author, but bred among the weeds and tares of mine own brain.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 1, sect. 36

I am not so much afraid of death, as ashamed thereof; ’tis the very disgrace and ignominy of our natures, that in a moment can so disfigure us that our nearest friends, wife, and children,

stand afraid and start at us.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 1, sect. 40

Certainly there is no happiness within this circle of flesh, nor is it in the optics of these eyes to behold felicity; the first day of our Jubilee is death.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 1, sect. 44

He forgets that he can die who complains of misery, we are in the power of no calamity, while death is in our own.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 1, sect. 44

All places, all airs make unto me one country: I am in England, everywhere, and under any meridian.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 2, sect. 1

If there be any among those common objects of hatred I do condemn and laugh at, it is that great enemy of reason, virtue and religion, the multitude, that numerous piece of monstrosity, which taken asunder seem men, and the reasonable creatures of God; but confused together, make but one great beast, and a monstrosity more prodigious than Hydra.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 2, sect. 1

This trivial and vulgar way of coition; it is the foolishest act a wise man commits in all his life, nor is there any thing that will more deject his cooled imagination, when he shall consider what an odd and unworthy piece of folly he hath committed.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 2, sect. 9

Sure there is music even in the beauty, and the silent note which Cupid strikes, far sweeter than the sound of an instrument. For there is music wherever there is a harmony, order or proportion; and thus far we may maintain the music of the spheres; for those well-ordered motions, and regular paces, though they give no sound unto the ear, yet to the understanding they strike a note most full of harmony.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 2, sect. 9

We all labour against our own cure, for death is the cure of all diseases.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 2, sect. 9

For the world, I count it not an inn, but an hospital, and a place, not to live, but to die in.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 2, sect. 11

There is surely a piece of divinity in us, something that was before the elements, and owes no homage unto the sun.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 2, sect. 11

We term sleep a death, and yet it is waking that kills us, and destroys those spirits which are the house of life.

‘Religio Medici’ (1643) pt. 2, sect. 12

Half our days we pass in the shadow of the earth; and the brother of death exacteth a third part of our lives.

S. Wilkin (ed.) ‘Sir Thomas Browne’s Works’ (1835) vol. 4, p. 355 ‘On Dreams’

That children dream not in the first half year, that men dream not in some countries, are to me

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