Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

William Davenant, fully Sir William Davenant, also spelled D'Avenant

English Poet and Playwright

"Think not ambition wise, because ‘t is brave."

"Calamity is the perfect glass wherein we truly see and know ourselves."

"Wit is not only the luck of labour, but also the dexterity of thought."

"Ambition is the mind's immodesty."

"Honor is the moral conscience of the great."

"Faith lights us through the dark to Deity."

"Fame, as a river, is narrowest where it is bred, and broadest afar off; so exemplary writers depend not upon the gratitude of the world."

"All jealousy must be strangled in its birth, or time will soon make it strong enough to overcome the truth."

"LET us live, live! for, being dead, The pretty spots, Ribbons and knots, And the fine French dress for the head, No lady wears upon her In the cold, cold bed of honour. Beat down our grottos, and hew down our bowers, Dig up our arbours, and root up our flowers; Our gardens are bulwarks and bastions become; Then hang up our lute, we must sing to the drum. Our patches and our curls, So exact in each station, Our powders and our purls, Are now out of fashion. Hence with our needles, and give us your spades; We, that were ladies, grow coarse as our maids. Our coaches have driven us to balls at the court, We now must drive barrows to earth up the fort."

"Actions rare and sudden do commonly proceed from fierce necessity, of else from some oblique design, which is ashamed to show itself in the public road."

"All slander must still be strangled in its birth, or time will soon conspire to make it strong enough to overcome the truth."

"Ambition's monstrous stomach does increase By eating, and it fears to starve, unless It still may feed, and all it sees devour; Ambition is not tir'd with toll nor cloy'd with power."

"And then on rock he stood to bob for whale."

"Anger is blood, poured and perplexed into froth; but malice is the wisdom of our wrath."

"Be not with honor's gilded baits beguil'd, Nor think ambition wise, because 'tis brave; For though we like it, as a forward child, 'Tis so unsound, her cradle is the grave."

"Because they commonly make use of treasure found in books, as of other treasure belonging to the dead and hidden underground; for they dispose of both with great secrecy, defacing the shape and image of the one as much as of the other."

"Fame, like the river, is narrowest where it is bred, and broadest afar off."

"For angling-rod he took a sturdy oak; For line, a cable that in storm ne'er broke; His hook was such as heads the end of pole To pluck down house ere fire consumes it whole; This hook was bated with a dragon's tail, ? And then on rock he stood to bob for whale."

"For angling-rod he took a sturdy oake;"

"For in a dearth of comforts, we art taught to be contented with the least."

"How beautiful is sorrow when it is dressed by virgin innocence! it makes felicity in others seem deformed."

"If mercy were not mingled with His power, this wretched world could not subsist one hour."

"It is the wit, the policy, of sin to hate those men whom we have abused."

"Know, he that foretells his own calamity, and makes events before they come, twice over, doth endure the pains of evil destiny."

"Since knowledge is but sorrow's spy, It is not safe to know."

"Small are the seeds fate does unheeded sow Of slight beginnings to important ends."

"The assembled souls of all that men held wise."

"The lark now leaves his watery nest, And climbing, shakes his dewy wings. He takes your window for the East And to implore your light he sings."

"This Florentine's a very saint, so meek And full of courtesy, that he would lend The devil his cloak, and stand i' th' rain himself."

"To be rich be diligent; move on Like heav'ns great movers that enrich the earth; Whose moment's sloth would show the world undone; And make the spring straight bury all her birth. Rich are the diligent who can command Time ? nature's stock."

"Your politicians Have evermore a taint of vanity, As hasty still to show, and boast a plot As they are greedy to contrive it."