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The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations

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coach, for the whining of a door.

‘LXXX Sermons’ (1640) 12 December 1626 ‘At the Funeral of Sir William Cokayne’

A memory of yesterday’s pleasures, a fear of tomorrow’s dangers, a straw under my knee, a noise in mine ear, a light in mine eye, an anything, a nothing, a fancy, a chimera in my brain, troubles me in my prayer. So certainly is there nothing, nothing in spiritual things, perfect in this world.

‘LXXX Sermons’ (1640) 12 December 1626 ‘At the Funeral of Sir William Cokayne’

They shall awake as Jacob did, and say as Jacob said, Surely the Lord is in this place, and this is no other but the house of God, and the gate of heaven, And into that gate they shall enter, and in that house they shall dwell, where there shall be no Cloud nor Sun, no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light, no noise nor silence, but one equal music, no fears nor hopes, but one equal possession, no foes nor friends, but one equal communion and identity, no ends nor beginnings, but one equal eternity.

‘XXVI Sermons’ (1660) 29 February 1627/8

John Donne, Anne Donne, Un-done.

On being dismissed from the service of his father-in-law, Sir George Moore: letter to his wife, in Izaak Walton ‘The Life of Dr Donne’ (first printed in ‘LXXX Sermons’, 1640)

4.74 Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith 1899-1977

Let ‘Dig for Victory’ be the motto of every one with a garden and of every able-bodied man and woman capable of digging an allotment in their spare time.

Radio broadcast, 3 October 1939, in ‘The Times’ 4 October 1939

4.75 Lord Alfred Douglas 1870-1945

I am the Love that dare not speak its name.

‘Two Loves’ (1896)

4.76 Gavin Douglas c.1475-1522

And all small fowlys singis on the spray: Welcum the lord of lycht and lamp of day.

‘Eneados’ bk. 12, prologue l. 251

4.77 James Douglas, fourth Earl Of Morton c1516-81

Here lies he who neither feared nor flattered any flesh.

Of John Knox, said as he was buried, 26 November 1572, in George R. Preedy ‘The Life of John Knox’ (1940) ch. 7

4.78 Keith Douglas 1920-44

If at times my eyes are lenses through which the brain explores constellations of feeling

my ears yielding like swinging doors admit princes to the corridors

into the mind, do not envy me. I have a beast on my back.

‘Bête Noire’ (1944)

And all my endeavours are unlucky explorers come back, abandoning the expedition;

the specimens, the lilies of ambition

still spring in their climate, still unpicked: but time, time is all I lacked

to find them, as the great collectors before me.

‘On Return from Egypt, 1943-4’ (1946)

Remember me when I am dead And simplify me when I’m dead.

‘Simplify me when I’m Dead’ (1941)

But she would weep to see today how on his skin the swart flies move; the dust upon the paper eye

and the burst stomach like a cave.

For here the lover and killer are mingled who had one body and one heart.

And death, who had the soldier singled

has done the lover mortal hurt.

‘Vergissmeinnicht, 1943’

4.79 Norman Douglas 1868-1952

To find a friend one must close one eye. To keep him—two.

‘Almanac’ (1941) p. 77

Many a man who thinks to found a home discovers that he has merely opened a tavern for his friends.

‘South Wind’ (1917) ch. 20

4.80Sir Alec Douglas-Home 1903—

See Lord Home (8.125)

4.81Lorenzo Dow 1777-1834

You will be damned if you do—And you will be damned if you don’t.

‘Reflections on the Love of God’ (1836) ch. 6 (on ‘the doctrine of Particular Election’)

4.82 Ernest Dowson 1867-1900

I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind, Flung roses, roses, riotously, with the throng, Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind; But I was desolate and sick of an old passion, Yea, all the time, because the dance was long:

I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

‘Non Sum Qualis Eram’ (also known as ‘Cynara’).

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter, Love and desire and hate:

I think they have no portion in us after We pass the gate.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses: Out of a misty dream

Our path emerges for a while, then closes Within a dream.

‘Vitae Summa Brevis’

4.83 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 1859-1930

Singularity is almost invariably a clue. The more featureless and commonplace a crime is, the more difficult is it to bring it home.

‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ (1892) ‘The Boscombe Valley Mystery’.

It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.

‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ (1892) ‘The Copper Beeches’

A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it.

‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ (1892) ‘The Five Orange Pips’

It is quite a three-pipe problem, and I beg that you won’t speak to me for fifty minutes.

‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ (1892) ‘The Red-Headed League’

You see, but you do not observe.

‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ (1892) ‘Scandal in Bohemia’

Of all ruins that of a noble mind is the most deplorable.

‘His Last Bow’ (1917) ‘The Dying Detective’.

Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age.

‘His Last Bow’ (1917) title story

‘Excellent,’ I cried. ‘Elementary,’ said he.

‘The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes’ (1894) ‘The Crooked Man’. ‘Elementary, my dear Watson’ is not found in any book by Conan Doyle, although a review of the film ‘The Return of Sherlock Holmes’ in ‘New York Times’ 19 October 1929, p. 22, states: ‘In the final scene Dr Watson is there with his ‘Amazing, Holmes’, and Holmes comes forth with his ‘Elementary, my dear Watson, elementary’’

Ex-Professor Moriarty of mathematical celebrity...is the Napoleon of crime, Watson.

‘The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes’ (1894) ‘The Final Problem’.

I didn’t think there was a soul in England who didn’t know Godfrey Staunton, the back three-quarter, Cambridge, Blackheath, and five Internationals. Good Lord! Mr Holmes where have you lived.

‘The Return of Sherlock Holmes’ (1905) ‘The Missing Three-Quarter’

You live in a different world to me, Mr Watson, a sweeter and a healthier one. My ramifications stretch out into many sections of society, but never, I am happy to say, into amateur sport, which is the best and soundest thing in England.

‘The Return of Sherlock Holmes’ (1905) ‘The Missing Three-Quarter’

Detection is, or ought to be, an exact science, and should be treated in the same cold and unemotional manner. You have attempted to tinge it with romanticism, which produces much the same effect as if you worked a love-story or an elopement into the fifth proposition of Euclid.

‘The Sign of Four’ (1890) ch. 1

In an experience of women that extends over many nations and three separate continents, I have never looked upon a face which gave a clearer promise of a refined and sensitive nature.

‘The Sign of Four’ (1890) ch. 2

How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?

‘The Sign of Four’ (1890) ch. 6

You know my methods. Apply them.

‘The Sign of Four’ (1890) ch. 6

It is the unofficial force—the Baker Street irregulars.

‘The Sign of Four’ (1890) ch. 8

London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained.

‘A Study in Scarlet’ (1888) ch. 1

Where there is no imagination there is no horror.

‘A Study in Scarlet’ (1888) ch. 5

The vocabulary of ‘Bradshaw’ is nervous and terse, but limited. The selection of words would hardly lend itself to the sending of general messages.

‘The Valley of Fear’ (1915) ch. 1

Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.

‘The Valley of Fear’ (1915) ch. 1

What of the bow?

The bow was made in England, Of true wood, of yew wood, The wood of English bows.

‘The White Company’ (1891) ‘Song of the Bow’

4.84 Sir Francis Doyle 1810-88

Last night, among his fellow roughs, He jested, quaffed, and swore.

‘The Private of the Buffs’

His creed no parson ever knew, For this was still his ‘simple plan’, To have with clergymen to do

As little as a Christian can.

‘The Unobtrusive Christian’

4.85 Sir Francis Drake c.1540-96

There must be a beginning of any great matter, but the continuing unto the end until it be thoroughly finished yields the true glory.

Dispatch to Sir Francis Walsingham, 17 May 1587, in ‘Navy Records Society’ vol. 11 (1898) p.134

There is plenty of time to win this game, and to thrash the Spaniards too.

Attributed, in ‘Dictionary of National Biography’

The singeing of the King of Spain’s Beard.

On the expedition to Cadiz, 1587, in Francis Bacon ‘Considerations touching a War with Spain’ (1629)

I must have the gentleman to haul and draw with the mariner, and the mariner with the gentleman...I would know him, that would refuse to set his hand to a rope, but I know there is not any such here.

In J. S. Corbett ‘Drake and the Tudor Navy’ (1898) vol. 1, ch. 9

4.86 Joseph Rodman Drake 1795-1820

Forever float that standard sheet!

Where breathes the foe but falls before us, With Freedom’s soil beneath our feet, And Freedom’s banner streaming o’er us?

‘The American Flag’ in New York Evening Post, 29 May 1819 (attributed also to Fitz-Greene Halleck)

4.87William A. Drake 1899—

See Greta Garbo (7.11)

4.88Michael Drayton 1563-1631

Fair stood the wind for France When we our sails advance, Nor now to prove our chance Longer will tarry.

‘To the Cambro-Britons’ (1619) ‘Agincourt’

O when shall English men

With such acts fill a pen? Or England breed again Such a King Harry?

‘To the Cambro-Britons’ (1619) ‘Agincourt’

Ill news hath wings, and with the wind doth go, Comfort’s a cripple and comes ever slow.

‘The Barrons’ Wars’ (1603) canto 2, st. 28

He of a temper was so absolute,

As that it seemed when Nature him began, She meant to show all, that might be in man.

‘The Barrons’ Wars’ (1603) canto 3, st. 40

The mind is free, whate’er afflict the man, A King’s a King, do Fortune what she can.

‘The Barrons’ Wars’ (1603) canto 5, st. 36

Thus when we fondly flatter our desires, Our best conceits do prove the greatest liars.

‘The Barrons’ Wars’ (1603) canto 6, st. 94

When Time shall turn those amber locks to grey, My verse again shall gild and make them gay.

‘England’s Heroical Epistles’ (1597) ‘Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, to the Lady Geraldine’ l. 123

Queens hereafter shall be glad to live Upon the alms of thy superfluous praise.

‘Idea’ (1619) sonnet 6

Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part, Nay, I have done: you get no more of me,

And I am glad, yea glad with all my heart, That thus so cleanly, I myself can free, Shake hands for ever, cancel all our vows, And when we meet at any time again,

Be it not seen in either of our brows, That we one jot of former love retain;

Now at the last gasp of Love’s latest breath, When his pulse failing, Passion speechless lies, When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death, And Innocence is closing up his eyes,

Now if thou wouldst, when all have given him over, From death to life, thou might’st him yet recover.

‘Idea’ (1619) sonnet 61

That shire which we the Heart of England well may call.

‘Poly-Olbion’ (1612-22) song 13, l. 2 (Warwickshire)

Crave the tuneful nightingale to help you with her lay, The ousel and the throstlecock, chief music of our May.

‘The Shepherd’s Garland’ (1593) eclogue 3, l. 17

To my mild tutor merrily I came (For I was then a proper goodly page

Much like a pigmy, scarce ten years of age) Clasping my slender arms about his thigh. O my dear master! cannot you (quoth I) Make me a poet? Do it, if you can,

And you shall see, I’ll quickly be a man.

‘To Henry Reynolds, of Poets and Poesy’ l. 24

Had in him those brave translunary things, That the first poets had.

‘To Henry Reynolds, of Poets and Poesy’ l.106 (on Marlowe)

For that fine madness still he did retain Which rightly should possess a poet’s brain.

‘To Henry Reynolds, of Poets and Poesy’ l. 109 (on Marlowe)

Next these, learn’d Jonson, in this list I bring, Who had drunk deep of the Pierian spring.

‘To Henry Reynolds, of Poets and Poesy’ l. 129.

I pray thee leave, love me no more, Call home the heart you gave me, I but in vain the saint adore,

That can, but will not, save me.

‘To His Coy Love’

These poor half-kisses kill me quite.

‘To His Coy Love’

4.89 William Drennan 1754-1820

Nor one feeling of vengeance presume to defile The cause, or the men, of the Emerald Isle.

‘Erin’ (1795) st. 3

4.90 John Drinkwater 1882-1937

In the corridors under there is nothing but sleep. And stiller than ever on orchard boughs they keep Tryst with the moon, and deep is the silence, deep On moon-washed apples of wonder.

‘Moonlit Apples’ (1917)

4.91 Thomas Drummond 1797-1840

Property has its duties as well as its rights.

Letter to the Earl of Donoughmore, 22 May 1838, in R. Barry O’Brien ‘Thomas Drummond...Life and Letters’ (1889) p. 284

4.92 William Drummond of Hawthornden 1585-1649

Only the echoes which he made relent, Ring from their marble caves repent, repent.

‘For the Baptist’ (1623)

Phoebus, arise,

And paint the sable skies, With azure, white, and red.

‘Song: Phoebus, arise’ (1614)

A morn

Of bright carnations did o’erspread her face.

‘Sonnet: Alexis here she stayed’ (1614)

I long to kiss the image of my death.

‘Sonnet: Sleep, Silence Child’ (1614)

4.93 John Dryden 1631-1700

In pious times, ere priestcraft did begin, Before polygamy was made a sin.

‘Absalom and Achitophel’ (1681) pt. 1, l. 1

Then Israel’s monarch, after Heaven’s own heart, His vigorous warmth did, variously, impart

To wives and slaves: and, wide as his command, Scattered his Maker’s image through the land.

‘Absalom and Achitophel’ (1681) pt. 1, l. 7

Whate’er he did was done with so much ease, In him alone, ’twas natural to please.

‘Absalom and Achitophel’ (1681) pt. 1, l. 27

Plots, true or false, are necessary things, To raise up commonwealths and ruin kings.

‘Absalom and Achitophel’ (1681) pt. 1, l. 83

Of these the false Achitophel was first, A name to all succeeding ages curst.

For close designs and crooked counsels fit, Sagacious, bold, and turbulent of wit, Restless, unfixed in principles and place, In power unpleased, impatient of disgrace; A fiery soul, which working out its way,

Fretted the pigmy body to decay:

And o’er informed the tenement of clay. A daring pilot in extremity;

Pleased with the danger, when the waves went high He sought the storms; but for a calm unfit,

Would steer too nigh the sands to boast his wit. Great wits are sure to madness near allied, And thin partitions do their bounds divide.

‘Absalom and Achitophel’ (1681) pt. 1, l. 150

Why should he, with wealth and honour blest, Refuse his age the needful hours of rest? Punish a body which he could not please; Bankrupt of life, yet prodigal of ease?

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

‘Absalom and Achitophel’ (1681) pt. 1, l. 165

In friendship false, implacable in hate: Resolved to ruin or to rule the state.

‘Absalom and Achitophel’ (1681) pt. 1, l. 173

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

‘Absalom and Achitophel’ (1681) pt. 1, l. 238

All empire is no more than power in trust.

‘Absalom and Achitophel’ (1681) pt. 1, l. 411

Better one suffer, than a nation grieve.

‘Absalom and Achitophel’ (1681) pt. 1, l. 416

But far more numerous was the herd of such Who think too little and who talk too much.

‘Absalom and Achitophel’ (1681) pt. 1, l. 533

A man so various that he seemed 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 chemist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon.

‘Absalom and Achitophel’ (1681) pt. 1, l. 545

In squandering wealth was his peculiar art: Nothing went unrewarded, but desert. Beggared by fools, whom still he found too late: He had his jest, and they had his estate.

‘Absalom and Achitophel’ (1681) pt. 1, l. 559

Youth, beauty, graceful action seldom fail: But common interest always will prevail: And pity never ceases to be shown

To him, who makes the people’s wrongs his own.

‘Absalom and Achitophel’ (1681) pt. 1, l. 723

For who can be secure of private right,

If sovereign sway may be dissolved by might? Nor is the people’s judgement always true: The most may err as grossly as the few.

‘Absalom and Achitophel’ (1681) pt. 1, l. 779

Never was patriot yet, but was a fool.

‘Absalom and Achitophel’ (1681) pt. 1, l. 968

Beware the fury of a patient man.

‘Absalom and Achitophel’ (1681) pt. 1, l. 1005

Doeg, though without knowing how or why, Made still a blund’ring kind of melody;

Spurred boldly on, and dashed through thick and thin, Through sense and nonsense, never out nor in;

Free from all meaning, whether good or bad, And in one word, heroically mad.

‘Absalom and Achitophel’ (1681) pt. 2, l. 412

Rhyme is the rock on which thou art to wreck.

‘Absalom and Achitophel’ (1681) pt. 2, l. 486

Happy, happy, happy, pair! None but the brave,

None but the brave,

None but the brave deserves the fair.

‘Alexander’s Feast’ (1697) l. 4

With ravished ears The monarch hears, Assumes the god, Affects to nod,

And seems to shake the spheres.

‘Alexander’s Feast’ (1697) l. 42

Drinking is the soldier’s pleasure; Rich the treasure;

Sweet the pleasure;

Sweet is pleasure after pain.

‘Alexander’s Feast’ (1697) l. 57

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