Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

John Dryden

English Poet, Dramatist

"We first make our habits, and then our habits make us. All habits gather, by unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."

"What passion cannot music raise and quell?"

"Virtue is its own reward."

"Want is a bitter and hateful good, because its virtues are not understood; yet many things, impossible to thought, have been by need to full perfection brought; the daring of the soul proceeds from thence, sharpness of wit and active diligence; prudence at once, and fortitude it gives; and, if in patience taken, mends our lives."

"Zeal, the blind conductor of the will."

"Virtue in distress and vice in triumph, make atheists of mankind."

"Treason is greatest where trust is greatest."

"Words are but pictures of our thoughts."

"Truth, by its own sinews, will prevail."

"To breed up the son to common sense is evermore the parent’s least expense."

"They can conquer who believe they can."

"Thou stronger seducer, opportunity! of womankind, half are undone by thee."

"The wretched have no friends."

"The secret pleasure of a generous act is the great mind’s great bribe."

"Sighs, groans and tears proclaim his inward pains, but the firm purpose of his heart remains."

"The florid, elevated, and figurative way is for the passions; for love and hatred, fear and anger, are begotten in the soul by showing their objects out of their true proportion, either greater than the life, or less; but instruction is to be given by showing them what they naturally are. A man is to be cheated into passion, but reasoned into truth."

"Possess your soul with patience."

"Stiff opinion, always in the wrong."

"Not sharp revenge, nor hell itself can find a fiercer torment than a guilty mind."

"Merit challenges envy."

"Pity melts the mind to love."

"Of all the tyrannies on humankind, the worst is that which persecutes the mind."

"Imitators are but a servile kind of cattle."

"Love is a child that talks in broken language, yet then he speaks most plain."

"I can forgive a foe, but not a mistress and a friend; treason is there in its most horrid shape, where trust is greatest!"

"I must leave you to the satisfaction of your own conscience, which, though a silent panegyric, is yet the best."

"Humility and resignation are our prime virtues."

"Great souls forgive not injuries till time has put their enemies within their power, that they may show forgiveness is their own."

"Happy the man, and happy he alone - he who can call to-day his own."

"How strangely high endeavors may be blessed, where piety and valor jointly go."

"Fortune befriends the bold."

"Good sense and good-nature are never separated, though the ignorant world has thought otherwise. Good-nature by which I mean beneficence and candor, is the product of right reason."

"Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow; he would search for pearls must dive below."

"Discover the opinion of your enemies, which is commonly the truest; for they will give you no quarter, and allow nothing to complaisance."

"Beware the fury of a patient man."

"Even lust and envy sleep."

"Genius must be born, and never can be taught."

"Happy the man, and happy he alone, he, who can call today his own."

"Better shun the bait than struggle in the snare."

"A lively faith will bear aloft the mind, an leave the luggage of good works behind."

"All objects lose by too familiar a view."

"Death in itself is nothing; but we fear. To be we know not what, we know not where."

"Everyone is eagle-eyed to see another's fault and deformity."

"Dullness is decent in the Church and State."

"Everything in the world is good for something."

"Forgiveness to the injur'd does belong, but they ne'er pardon who have done the wrong."

"How can finite grasp infinity?"

"Ill habits gather by unseen degrees - as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."

"Love's the noblest frailty of the mind."

"Love is love's reward."