Matthew Prior


English Poet and Diplomat

Author Quotes

Thy sum of duty let two words contain, (O may they graven in thy heart remain!) Be humble and be just.

To each man at his birth nature has given some fault.

To err is human.

Variety alone gives joy; the sweetest meats the soonest cloy.

What is a king? a man condemn'd to bear The public burthen of the nation's care.

When Croft's "Life of Dr. Young" was spoken of as a good imitation of Dr. Johnson's style, "No, no," said he, "it is not a good imitation of Johnson; it has all his pomp without his force; it has all the nodosities of the oak, without its strength; it has all the contortions of the sibyl, without the inspiration."

Now fitted the halter, now travers'd the cart, And often took leave; but was loth to part.

When people once are in the wrong, each line they add is much too long; who fastest walks, but walks astray, is only furthest from his way.

Odds life! must one swear to the truth of a song?

Who walks the fastest, but walks astray, is only furthest from his way.

Of two evils I have chose the least.

You tell your doctor, that y' are ill And what does he, but write a bill, Of which you need not read one letter, The worse the scrawl, the dose the better. For if you knew but what you take, though you recover, he must break.

Poets are allowed the same liberty in their descriptions and comparisons as painters in their draperies and ornaments.

Similes are like songs of love: They much describe, they nothing prove.

The daily showers rejoice the thirsty earth, and bless the flowery buds.

The winds grow high; Impending tempests charge the sky; The lightning flies, the thunder roars; And big waves lash the frightened shores.

They always talk who never think, and who have the least to say.

They talk most who have the least to say.

Though bitter, good medicine cures illness. Though it may hurt, loyal criticism will have beneficial effects.

In argument similes are like songs in love; they describe much, but prove nothing.

An author is in the condition of a culprit; the public are his judges: by allowing too much, and condescending too far, he may injure his own cause; and by pleading and asserting too boldly he may displease the court.

In arms and science tis the same. Our rival's hurts create our fame.

And hope is but a dream of those that wake.

In his Odyssey, Homer explains that the hardest difficulties may be overcome by labor, and our fortune restored after the severest afflictions.

And they have my whimsies, but thou hast my heart.

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English Poet and Diplomat