Francis Quarles Quotes

Socrates called beauty a short-lived tyranny; Plato, a privilege of nature; Theophrastus, a silent cheat; Theocritus, a delightful prejudice; Carneades, a solitary kingdom; Aristotle, that it was better than all the letters of recommendation in the world; Homer, that it was a glorious gift of nature; and Ovid, that it was favor bestowed by the gods.


If thy words be too luxuriant, confine them, lest they confine thee. He that thinks he can never speak enough, may easily speak too much. A full tongue and an empty brain are seldom parted.

Use law and physic only for necessity. They that use them otherwise abuse themselves into weak bodies and light purses. They are good remedies, bad businesses, and worse recreations.

The way to subject all things to thyself is to subject thyself to reason; thou shalt govern many if reason govern thee. Wouldst thou be a monarch of a little world, command thyself.

Seest thou good days? Prepare for evil times. No summer but hath its winter. He never reaped comfort in adversity that sowed not in prosperity.

Read not books alone, but men, and amongst them chiefly thyself. If thou find anything questionable there, use the commentary of a severe friend rather than the gloss of a sweet lipped flatterer; there is more profit in a distasteful truth than in deceitful sweetness.

Rather do what is nothing in the purpose than to be idle, that the devil may find thee doing. The bird that sits is easily shot when the fliers escape the fowler. Idleness is the Dead Sea that swallows all the virtues, and is the self-made sepulcher of a living man.


Let the fear of danger be a spur to prevent it he that fears not, gives advantage to the danger.

In thy apparel avoid singularity, profuseness, and gaudiness. Be not too early in the fashion, nor too late. Decency is half way between affectation and neglect. The body is the shell of the soul, apparel is the husk of that shell; the husk often tells you what the kernel is.

In the height of thy prosperity expect adversity, but fear it not. If it come not, thou art the more sweetly possessed of the happiness thou hast, and the more strongly confirmed. If it come, thou art the more gently dispossessed of the happiness thou hadst, and the more firmly prepared.

Be very circumspect in the choice of thy company. In the society of thine equals thou shalt enjoy more pleasure in the society of thy superiors thou shalt find more profit. To be the best in the company is the way to grow worse.

If thou desire to purchase honor with thy wealth, consider first how that wealth became thine; if thy labor got it, let thy wisdom keep it; if oppression found it, let repentance restore it; if thy parent left it, let thy virtues deserve it; so shall thy honor be safer, better and cheaper.

If thou desire the love of God and man, be humble, for the proud heart, as it loves none but itself, is beloved of none but itself. Humility enforces where neither virtue, nor strength, nor reason can prevail.

If thou desire not to be poor, desire not to be too rich. He is rich, not that possesses much, but he that covets no more; and he is poor, not that enjoys little, but he that wants too much. The contented mind wants nothing which it hath not; the covetous mind wants, not only what it hath not, but likewise what it hath.



Give not thy tongue too great a liberty, lest it take thee prisoner. A word unspoken is like thy sword in thy scabbard; if vented, the sword is in another?s hand.* If thou desire to be held wise, be so wise as to hold thy tongue.

Be very circumspect in the choice of thy company. In the society of thy equals thou shalt enjoy more pleasure; in the society of thy superiors thou shalt find more profit. To be the best of the company is the way to grow worse; the best means to grow better is to be the worst there.

Be very circumspect in the choice of thy company. In the society of thine equals thou shalt enjoy more pleasure; in the society of thy superiors thou shalt find more profit. To be the best in the company is the way to grow worse.



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