Francis Quarles Quotes

Francis Quarles

English poet (1592 - 1644)

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Be very circumspect in the choice of thy company. In the society of thine equals thou shalt enjoy more pleasure; in the society of thy superiors thou shalt find more profit. To be the best in the company is the way to grow worse.

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Let the fear of danger be a spur to prevent it; he that fears not, gives advantage to the danger.

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Socrates called beauty a short-lived tyranny; Plato, a privilege of nature; Theophrastus, a silent cheat; Theocritus, a delightful prejudice; Carneades, a solitary kingdom; Aristotle, that it was better than all the letters of recommendation in the world; Homer, that it was a glorious gift of nature; and Ovid, that it was favor bestowed by the gods.

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If thou desire the love of God and man, be humble, for the proud heart, as it loves none but itself, is beloved of none but itself. Humility enforces where neither virtue, nor strength, nor reason can prevail.

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Rather do what is nothing in the purpose than to be idle, that the devil may find thee doing. The bird that sits is easily shot when the fliers escape the fowler. Idleness is the Dead Sea that swallows all the virtues, and is the self-made sepulcher of a living man.

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Read not books alone, but men, and amongst them chiefly thyself. If thou find anything questionable there, use the commentary of a severe friend rather than the gloss of a sweet lipped flatterer; there is more profit in a distasteful truth than in deceitful sweetness.

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If thou desire to purchase honor with thy wealth, consider first how that wealth became thine; if thy labor got it, let thy wisdom keep it; if oppression found it, let repentance restore it; if thy parent left it, let thy virtues deserve it; so shall thy honor be safer, better and cheaper.

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If thy words be too luxuriant, confine them, lest they confine thee. He that thinks he can never speak enough, may easily speak too much. A full tongue and an empty brain are seldom parted.

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