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).
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.
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.