Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Thomas Nashe

English Poet, Playwright and Pamphleteer

"Heaven is our heritage, Earth but a player's stage."

"Beauty is but a flower, Which wrinkles will devour. Brightness falls from the air; Queens have died young and fair; Dust hath closed Helen's eye: I am sick; I must die Lord, have mercy on us. Strength stoops unto the grave; Worms feed on Hector brave; Swords may not fight with fate; Earth still holds ope her gate. 'Come, come' the bells do cry: I am sick; I must die. Lord, have mercy on us."

"As like a church and an alehouse, God and the Devil, they many times dwell near together."

"Autumn hath all the summer's fruitful treasure; gone is our sport, fled is poor Croydon's pleasure. Short days, sharp days, long nights come on apace, ah! who shall hide us from the winter's face? Cold doth increase, the sickness will not cease, and here we lie, God knows, with little ease. From winter, plague, and pestilence, good Lord, deliver us!"

"Beauty is but a flower, which wrinkles will devour; brightness falls from the air; queens have died young and fair; dust hath closed Helen's eye. I am sick, I must die."

"A traveler must have the back of an ass to bear all, a tongue like the tail of a dog to flatter all, the mouth of a hog to eat what is set before him, the ear of a merchant to hear all and say nothing."

"A pretty round-faced wench was it, with black eyebrows, a high forehead, a little mouth, and a sharp nose - as fat and plum every part of her as a plover, a skin as sleek and soft as the back of a swan, it doth me good when I remember her. Like a bird she tripped on the ground, and bear out her belly as majestical as an ostrich. With a licorous rolling eye fixed piercing on the earth, and sometimes scornfully darted to the one side, she figured forth a high discontented disdain; much like a prince puffing and storming at the treason of some mighty subject fled lately out of his power...What ist, what ist for a maid fair and fresh to spend a little lip-salve on a hungry lover? My master beat the bush and kept a coil and prattling, but I caught the bird; simplicity and plainess shall carry it away in another world."

"A traveler must have the back of an ass to bear all, a tongue like the tail of a dog to flatter all, the mouth of a hog to eat what is set before him, the ear of a merchant to hear all and say nothing"

"Evermore mayst thou be canonized as the Nonparreille of impious epistlers."

"I know not how it comes to pass, but many are so delighted to hear themselves that they are a cumber to the ears of all other, pleasing their auditors in nothing more than in the pause of a full point."

"Causeless distrust is able to drive deceit into a simple woman's head."

"Garlic makes a man wink, drink, and stink."

"Downe shee ranne in her loose night-gowne, and her haire about her eares (euen as Semiramis ranne out with her lie-pot in her hand, and her blacke dangling tresses about her shoulders with her iuory combe ensnarled in them, when she heard that Babilon was taken), and thought to haue kist his dead corse aliue againe, but as on his blew iellied sturgeon lips she was about to clappe one of those warme plaisters, boystrous woolpacks of ridged tides came rowling in, and raught him from her, (with a mine belike to carrie him backe to Abidos.) At that she became a franticke Bacchanal outright, & made no more bones but sprang after him, and so resignd up her Priesthood, and left worke for Musaeus and Kit Marlowe."

"Blest is that government where no art thrives."

"Had they been witty lies, or merry lies, they would never have grieved me; but palpable lies, damned lies, lies as big as one of the Guards' chines of beef, who can abide? I'll make thee of my counsel, because I love thee (not). When I was in Cambridge, and but a child, I was indifferently persuaded of thee: methought by thy apparel and thy gait, thou shouldst have been a fine fellow. Little did I suspect that wert brother to Io Paean" (a book of Richard Harvey's) "...or any of the House of Hemp Hall" - (the Harveys' father John had been a ropemaker) - "but a cavalier of a clean contrary house. Now thou hast quite spoiled thyself; from the head to the foot I can tell how thou art fashioned..."

"From winter, plague and pestilence, good Lord, deliver us"

"Never remembering, that as there was a loyal Lucretia, so there was a light-a-love Lais; that as there was modest Medullina, so there was a mischievous Medea; that as there was a steadfast Timoclea, so there was a traitorous Tarpeya; that as there was a sober Sulpitia, so there was a deceitful Scylla; that as there was a chaste Claudia, so there was a wanton Clodia."

"He hath learning enough that has learned to drink to his first man."

"Our learning ought to be our lives' amendment, and the fruits of our private study ought to appear in our public behavior."

"Shall I impart unto you a rare secrecy how these great famous conjurers and cunning men ascend by degrees to foretell secrets as they do? First and foremost they are men which have had some little sprinkling of grammar learning in their youth, or at least I will allow them to be surgeons or apothecaries 'prentices; these I say, having run through their thrift at the elbows, and riotously among harlots and make-shifts spent the annuity of halfpenny ale that was left them, fall a-beating their brains how to set up an easy gainful trade, and set a new nap on an old occupation. Hereupon they presently rake up some dunghill for a few dirty boxes and plasters, and of toasted cheese and candles' ends temper up a few ointments or syrups: which having done, far north, or into some such rude simple country, they get them and set up."

"Some lofty tragicall Poet helpe recount and expresse the more than Herculean fury he was in, when hee sawe hee was so notably betrayd and boughte and solde : Hee fumde, hee stampt, hee buffeted himself about the face, beat his head against the walls, and was ready to byte the flesh off his armes if they had not hindred him: out of doors he would haue gone (as I cannot blame him) or hee swore hee would tear downe the walls and set the house on fire if they resisted him: whither, quoth he, you villaines, haue you brought mee? To Newgate, good Master Doctour, with a lowe legge they made answer. I know not where I am. In Newgate, agayne replyed they, good Master Doctour: Into some blinde corner you haue drawne me to be murdred : to no place (replyed they the third time) but to Newgate, good Master Doctour."

"Spring Spring, the sweet Spring, is the year's pleasant king Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring, Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing, Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo The palm and may make country houses gay, Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day, And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay, Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet, Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit In every street these tunes our ears do greet, Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo Spring the sweet Spring."

"Poverty in the end parts friends."

"Shape your coat according to your cloth."

"The first is ape drunk, and he leaps and sings and hollers and danceth to the heavens. The second is lion drunk, and he flings the pots about the house, calls his hostess whore, breaks the glass windows with his dagger, and is apt to quarrel with any man that speaks to him. The third is swine drunk - heavy, lumpish, and sleepy, and cries for a little more drink and a few more clothes. The fourth is sheep drunk, wise in his own conceit when he cannot bring forth a right word. The fifth is maudlin drunk, when a fellow will weep for kindness in the midst of his ale, and kiss you, saying "By God, Captain, I love thee; go thy ways, thou dost not think so often of me as I do of thee. I would, if it pleased God, I did not love thee so well as I do"- and then he puts his finger in his eye, and cries."

"There's great virtue belongs (I can tell you) to a cup of cider."

"The Sun shineth as well on the good as the bad: God from on high beholdeth all the workers of iniquity, as well as the upright of heart."

"They boldly will usurp Moses chair, without any study or preparation. They would have their mouths reverenced as the mouths of the Sybils, who spoke nothing but was registered; yet nothing comes from their mouths but gross, full-stomached tautology. They sweat, they blunder, they bounce and plunge in the pulpit, but all is voice and no substance; they deaf men's ears, but not edify. Scripture peradventure they come off thick and threefold with, but it is so ugly daubed, plastered and patched on, so peevishly specked and applied, as if a botcher with a number of satin and velvet shreds should clout and mend leather doublets and cloth breeches."

"With that she sprung full lightlie to my lips, and fast about the neck me colle's and clips. She wanton faint's, and fall's upon hir bed and often tosseth too and fro hir head. She shutts hir eyes, and waggles with hir tongue: Oh, who is able to abstaine so long?"

"Unhappy me," quoth she, "and will't not stand? Come, let me rub and chafe it with my hand. Perhaps the silly worm is laboured sore and weari├Ęd that it can do no more."

"We shall have a good son of you anon, if you be ashamed of your father's occupation. Ah thou wilt never thrive, that art beholding to a trade and canst not abide to hear of it! Thou dost live by the gallows, and wouldst not have a shoe to put on thy foot if thy father had no traffic with the hangman. Had I a ropemaker to my father, and someone had cast it in my teeth, I would forthwith have written in praise of ropemakers, and proved it by sound sillogistry to be one of the seven liberal sciences."