Thomas Love Peacock

Thomas Love

English Novelist, Poet and Official of the East India Company

Author Quotes

The Indian dances to prepare himself for killing his enemy: but while the beaux and belles of our assemblies dance, they are in the very act of killing theirs--TIME!--a more inveterate and formidable foe than any the Indian has to contend with; for, however completely and ingeniously killed, he is sure to rise again, 'with twenty mortal murders on his crown,'* leading his army of blue devils, with ennui in the van, and vapours in the rear.

There are two reasons for drinking: one is, when you are thirsty, to cure it; the other, when you are not thirsty, to prevent it. The first is obvious, mechanical, and plebeian; the second is most refined, abstract, prospicient, and canonical.

When Scythrop grew up, he was sent, as usual, to a public school, where a little learning was painfully beaten into him, and from thence to the university, where it was carefully taken out of him; and he was sent home like a well-threshed ear of corn, with nothing in his head.

The juice of the grape is the liquid quintessence of concentrated sunbeams.

There is a law above all human law, by which she is his. MELVAS: From that it is for you to absolve me; and I dispense my bounty according to your indulgence. ABBOT: There are limits we must not pass. MELVAS: You set up your landmark, and I set up mine. They are both moveable. ABBOT:

You are a man of taste, Mr. Crotchet. A man of taste is seen at once in the array of his breakfast-table. It is the foot of Hercules, the far-shining face of the great work, according to Pindar's doctrine: archomenou ergou, pros¢pon chr‚ themen telauges. The breakfast is the pros¢pon of the great work of the day. Chocolate, coffee, tea, cream, eggs, ham, tongue, cold fowl,--all these are good, and bespeak good knowledge in him who sets them forth: but the touchstone is fish: anchovy is the first step, prawns and shrimps the second; and I laud him who reaches even to these: potted char and lampreys are the third, and a fine stretch of progression; but lobster is, indeed, matter for a May morning, and demands a rare combination of knowledge and virtue in him who sets it forth.

The lawyer who employed me had chosen his profession very injudiciously, for he was an honest and benevolent man.

There is a time for everything under the sun. You may as well dine first, and be miserable afterwards.

You are a man of taste, Mr. Gryll. That [large sirloin of beef] is a handsomer ornament of a dinner-table than clusters of nosegays, and all sorts of uneatable decorations.

The mountain sheep are sweeter but the valley sheep are fatter; we therefore deemed it meter to carry off the latter. We made an expedition; we met a host, and quelled it; we forced a strong position, and killed the men who held it... As we drove our prize at leisure, the king marched forth to catch us: his rage surpassed all measure, But his people could not match us. He fled to his hall-pillars; and, ere our force we led off, some sacked his house and cellars, while others cut his head off.

These improvements, as you call them, appear to me only so many links in the great chain of corruption, which will soon fetter the whole human race in irreparable slavery and incurable wretchedness: your improvements proceed in a simple ratio, while the factitious wants and unnatural appetites they engender proceed in a compound one; and thus one generation acquires fifty wants, and fifty means of supplying them are invented, which each in its turn engenders two new ones; so that the next generation has a hundred, the next two hundred, the next four hundred, till every human being becomes such a helpless compound of perverted inclinations, that he is altogether at the mercy of external circumstances, loses all independence and singleness of character, and degenerates so rapidly from the primitive dignity of his sylvan origin, that it is scarcely possible to indulge in any other expectation, than that the whole species must at length be exterminated by its own infinite imbecility and vileness.

You are welcome to laugh if it so please you. None shall laugh in my company, though it be at my expense, but I will have my share of the merriment. The world is a stage, and life is a farce, and he that laughs most has most profit of the performance. The worst thing is good enough to be laughed at, though it be good for nothing else; and the best thing, though it be good for something else, is good for nothing better.

The old Greek poetry is always true to nature, and will bear any degree of critical analysis. I must say, I take no pleasure in poetry that will not.

This is the only social habit that the disappointed spirit never unlearns. REVEREND MR. LARYNX (filling): It is the only piece of academical learning that the finished educatee retains.. FLOSKY (filling): It is the only objective fact which the sceptic can realize. (filling): It is the only styptic for a bleeding heart. HONORABLE MR. LISTLESS (filling): It is the only trouble that is very well worth taking.. ASTERIAS (filling): It is the only key of conversational truth.. TOOBAD (filling):

Taliesin grew up, Gwythno instructed him in all knowledge of the age, which was of course not much, in comparison with ours. The science of political economy was sleeping in the womb of time. The advantage of growing rich by getting into debt and paying interest was altogether unknown: the safe and economical currency, which is produced by a man writing his name on a bit of paper, for which other men give him their property, and which he is always ready to exchange for another bit of paper, of an equally safe and economical manufacture, being also equally ready to render his own person, at a moment's notice, as impalpable as the metal which he promises to pay, is a stretch of wisdom to which the people of those days had nothing to compare. They had no steam-engines, with fires as eternal as those of the nether world, wherein the squalid many, from infancy to age, might be turned into component portions of machinery for the benefit of the purple-faced few. They could neither poison the air with gas, nor the waters with its dregs: in short, they made their money of metal, and breathed pure air, and drank pure water, like unscientific barbarians. Of moral science they had little; but morals, without science, they had about the same as we have. They had a number of fine precepts, partly from their religion, partly from their bards, which they remembered in their liquor, and forgot in their business. Political science they had none. The blessings of virtual representation were not even dreamed of; so that, when any of their barbarous metallic currency got into their pockets or coffers, it had a chance to remain there, subjecting them to the inconvenience of unemployed capital. Still they went to work politically much as we do. The powerful took all they could get from their subjects and neighbours; and called something or other sacred and glorious, when they wanted the people to fight for them. They represented disaffection by force, when it showed itself in an overt act; but they encouraged freedom of speech, when it was, like Hamlet's reading, "words, words, words."

The present is our own; but while we speak, w cease from its possession, and resign the stage we tread on, to another race, as vain, and gay, and mortal as ourselves.

Time, the foe of man's dominion, wheels around in ceaseless flight, scattering from his hoary pinion shades of everlasting night.

The [ancient Britons] lived in darkness and vassalage. They were lost in the grossness of beef and ale. They had no pamphleteering societies to demonstrate that reading and writing are better than meat and drink; and they were utterly destitute of the blessings of those "schools for all," the house of correction, and the treadmill, wherein the autochthonal justice of our agrestic kakistocracy now castigates the heinous sins which were then committed with impunity, of treading on old foot-paths, picking up dead wood, and moving on the face of the earth within sound of the whirr of a partridge..

The progress of reason is slow, but the ground which it has once gained it never abandons. The interest of rulers, and the prejudices of the people, are equally hostile to everything that comes in the shape of innovation; but all that now wears the strongest sanction of antiquity was once received with reluctance under the semblance of novelty: and that reason, which in the present day can scarcely obtain a footing from the want of precedents, will grow with the growth of years, and become a precedent in its turn.

To assert that the unfortunate must necessarily have been imprudent, is to furnish an excuse to the cold-hearted and illiberal selfishness of a state of society, which needs no motive superadded to its own miserable marrow-mindedness, to produce the almost total extinction of benevolence and sympathy. Good and evil fortune depend so much on the combinations of external circumstances, that the utmost skill and industry cannot command success; neither is the result of the most imprudent actions always fatal: ?Our indiscretions sometimes serve us well, when our deep plots do pall.? {Hamlet., V. ii.]."

THE ABBOT: How shall [Arthur's] arms prosper against the common enemy, if he be forced to turn them on the children of his own land for the recovery of his own wife? MELVAS: What do you mean by his own? That which he has, is his own: but that which I have, is mine. I have the wife in question, and some of the land. Therefore they are mine. THE ABBOT: Not so. The land is yours under fealty to him. MELVAS: As much fealty as I please, or he can force me, to give him. ABBOT:

THE REVEREND DOCTOR FOLLIOTT: Sir, we are all brethren. MR. CROTCHET: Yes, sir, as the hangman is of the thief; the 'squire of the poacher; the judge of the libeler; the lawyer of his client; the statesman of his colleague; the bubble-blower of the bubble-buyer; the slave-driver of the negro: as these are brethren, so am I and the worthies in question. THE REVEREND DOCTOR FOLLIOTT: To be sure, sir, in these instances, and in many others, the term brother must be taken in its utmost latitude of interpretation: we are all brothers, nevertheless.

To chase the clouds of life?s tempestuous hours, to strew its short but weary way with flow?rs, new hopes to raise, new feelings to impart, and pour celestial balsam on the heart; for this to man was lovely woman giv?n, the last, best work, the noblest gift of Heav?n.

The ancient Britons lacked, it must be confessed, some of our light, and also some of our prisons. They lacked some of our light, to enable them to perceive that the act of coming, in great multitudes, with fire and sword, to the remote dwellings of peaceable men, with the premeditated design of cutting their throats, ravishing their wives and daughters, killing their children, and appropriating their worldly goods, belongs, not to the department of murder and robbery, but to that of legitimate war, of which all the practitioners are gentlemen, and entitled to be treated like gentlemen. They lacked some of our prisons, in which our philanthropy has provided accommodation for so large a portion of our own people, wherein, if they had left their prisoners alive, they could have kept them from returning to their countrymen, and being at their old tricks again immediately. They would also, perhaps, have found some difficulty in feeding them, from the lack of the county rates, by which the most sensible and amiable part of our nation, the country squires, contrive to coop up, and feed, at the public charge, all who meddle with the wild animals of which they have given themselves the monopoly. But as the Druids could neither lock up their captives, nor trust them at large, the darkness of their intellect could suggest no alternative to the process they adopted, of putting them out of the way, which they did with all the sanctions of religion and law. If one of these old Druids could have slept, like the seven sleepers of Ephesus, and awaked, in the nineteenth century, some fine morning near Newgate, the exhibition of some half-dozen funipendulous forgers might have shocked the tender bowels of his humanity, as much as one of his wicker baskets of captives in the flames shocked those of C‘sar; and it would, perhaps, have been difficult to convince him that paper credit was not an idol, and one of a more sanguinary character than his Andraste. The Druids had their view of these matters, and we have ours; and it does not comport with the steam-engine speed of our march of mind to look at more than one side of a question.

THE REVEREND DOCTOR OPIMIAN: On the whole, I agree in opinion with Theseus, that there is more good than evil in the world. MRS OPIMIAN: I think, Doctor, you would not maintain any opinion if you had not an authority two thousand years old for it. REVEREND DOCTOR OPIMIAN:

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Thomas Love
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English Novelist, Poet and Official of the East India Company