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Matthew Prior

British diplomat, poet
From ignorance our comfort flows.
The only wretched are the wise.

Matthew Prior (July 21, 1664September 18, 1721) was an English poet and diplomat.

QuotesEdit

  • Our hopes, like towering falcons, aim
    At objects in an airy height;
    The little pleasure of the game
    Is from afar to view the flight.
    • To the Honorable Charles Montague (1692).
  • From ignorance our comfort flows.
    The only wretched are the wise.
    • To the Honorable Charles Montague (1692).
  • That if weak women went astray,
    Their stars were more in fault than they.
    • Hans Carvel (1700).
  • The end must justify the means.
    • Hans Carvel (1700).
  • Soft peace she brings; wherever she arrives
    She builds our quiet as she forms our lives;
    Lays the rough paths of peevish Nature even,
    And opens in each heart a little heaven.
    • Charity (1703).
  • Be to her virtues very kind;
    Be to her faults a little blind;
    Let all her ways be unconfined;
    And clap your padlock — on her mind!
    • An English Padlock (1707).
  • And thought the nation ne'er would thrive
    Till all the whores were burnt alive.
    • Paulo Purganti and His Wife (1708).
  • He ranged his tropes, and preached up patience;
    Backed his opinion with quotations.
    • Paulo Purganti and His Wife (1708).
  • Cured yesterday of my disease,
    I died last night of my physician.
    • The Remedy Worse than the Disease (1714).
  • Now fitted the halter, now traversed the cart,
    And often took leave, but was loth to depart.
    • The Thief and the Cordelier (1718).
  • His noble negligences teach
    What others' toils despair to reach.
    • Alma, Canto II, l. 7 (1718).
  • Till their own dreams at length decive 'em,
    And oft repeating, they believe 'em.
    • Alma, Canto III, l. 13 (1718).
  • To John I owed great obligation;
    But John, unhappily, thought fit
    To publish it to all the nation:
    Sure John and I are more than quit.
    • Epigram (1718).
  • Venus, take my votive glass;
    Since I am not what I was,
    What from this day I shall be,
    Venus, let me never see.
    • The Lady Who Offers Her Looking-Glass to Venus (1718).
  • Nobles and heralds, by your leave,
    Here lies what once was Matthew Prior;
    The son of Adam and of Eve:
    Can Bourbon or Nassau claim higher?
    • Epitaph (1721).
  • All jargon of the schools.
    • I am that I am, An Ode; reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Odds life! must one swear to the truth of a song?
    • A Better Answer; reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • They never taste who always drink;
    They always talk who never think.
    • Upon a passage in the Scaligerana; reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • That air and harmony of shape express,
    Fine by degrees, and beautifully less.
    • Henry and Emma; reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Abra was ready ere I called her name;
    And though I called another, Abra came.
    • Solomon on the Vanity of the World, book ii, line 364; reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • For hope is but the dream of those that wake.
    • Solomon on the Vanity of the World, book iii, line 102; reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Who breathes must suffer, and who thinks must mourn;
    And he alone is bless'd who ne'er was born.
    • Solomon on the Vanity of the World, book iii, line 240; reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • A Rechabite poor Will must live,
    And drink of Adam's ale.
    • The Wandering Pilgrim.; reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).

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