Colley Cibber

British poet laureate (1671–1757)

Colley Cibber (June 11, 1671November 12, 1757) was an English actor, playwright, Poet Laureate, first British actor-manager, and head Dunce of Alexander Pope's Dunciad.

Our hours in love have wings; in absence, crutches.


  • As good be out of the world as out of the fashion.
    • Love's Last Shift, Act II (1696).
  • Prithee don’t screw your wit beyond the compass of good manners.
    • Love's Last Shift, Act II, sc. i (1696).
  • We shall find no fiend in hell can match the fury of a disappointed woman,—scorned, slighted, dismissed without a parting pang.
    • Love's Last Shift, Act IV (1696). Compare: "Heav'n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn'd,
      Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn'd", William Congreve, The Mourning Bride (1697), Act III, scene viii (often paraphrased: "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned").
  • Possession is eleven points in the law.
    • Woman's Wit, Act I (1697).
  • Words are but empty thanks.
    • Woman's Wit, Act V (1697).
  • Our hours in love have wings; in absence, crutches.
    • Xerxes, Act IV, sc. iii (1699).
  • This business will never hold water.
    • She Wou'd and She Wou'd Not, Act IV (1703).
  • I don't see it.
    • The Careless Husband (1704), Act ii, scene 2.
  • Old houses mended,
    Cost little less than new before they're ended.
    • The Double Gallant, prologue (1707).
  • Oh, how many torments lie in the small circle of a wedding ring!
    • The Double Gallant, Act I, sc. ii (1707).
  • Tea! Thou soft, thou sober, sage, and venerable liquid, thou innocent pretence for bringing the wicked of both sexes together in a morning; thou female tongue-running, smile-smoothing, heart- opening, wink-tipping cordial, to whose glorious insipidity I owe the happiest moment of my life, let me fall prostrate thus, and … adore thee.
    • The Lady's Last Stake (1707), Act I, sc. i.
  • O say what is this thing call'd Light,
    Which I must ne'er enjoy
    • The Blind Boy (l. 1-2).
  • Then let not what I cannot have
    My cheer of mind destroy.
    Whilst thus I sing, I am a king,
    Although a poor blind boy!
    • The Blind Boy (l. 17-20).
  • Persuasion tips his tongue whene'er he talks,
    And he has chambers in King's Bench walks.
    • A parody on Pope's lines: "Graced as thou art with all the power of words, / So known, so honoured at the House of Lords"; reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).

Richard III (altered) (1700)

  • So mourn'd the dame of Ephesus her love,
    And thus the soldier arm'd with resolution
    Told his soft tale, and was a thriving wooer.
    • Act II, scene 1.
  • Now, by St. Paul, the work goes bravely on.
    • Act III, scene 1.
  • The aspiring youth that fired the Ephesian dome
    Outlives in fame the pious fool that rais'd it.
  • I 've lately had two spiders
    Crawling upon my startled hopes.
    Now though thy friendly hand has brush'd 'em from me,
    Yet still they crawl offensive to my eyes:
    I would have some kind friend to tread upon 'em.
    • Act IV, scene 3.
  • Off with his head—; so much for Buckingham.
    • Act IV, scene 3.
  • And the ripe harvest of the new-mown hay
    Gives it a sweet and wholesome odour.
    • Act V, scene 3.
  • With clink of hammers closing rivets up.
  • Perish that thought! No, never be it said
    That Fate itself could awe the soul of Richard.
    Hence, babbling dreams! you threaten here in vain!
    Conscience, avaunt! Richard ’s himself again!
    Hark! the shrill trumpet sounds to horse! away!
    My soul ’s in arms, and eager for the fray.
    • Act V, scene 3.
  • A weak invention of the enemy.

The Rival Fools (1709)

  • Losers must have leave to speak.
    • Act I.
  • Stolen sweets are best.
    • Act I.
    • Confer Leigh Hunt: "Stolen sweets are always sweeter..."
  • The will for the deed.
    • Act III.
  • Within one of her.
    • Act V.
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