Thomas Love Peacock

Thomas Love

English Novelist, Poet and Official of the East India Company

Author Quotes

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:

To reconcile man as he is to the world as it is, to preserve and improve all that is good, and destroy or alleviate all that is evil, in physical and moral nature--have been the hope and aim of the greatest teachers and ornaments of our species.

The Church has not been niggardly in its indulgences to King Melvas. MELVAS: Nor King Melvas in his gifts to the Church. ABBOT: But, setting aside this consideration, I would treat it as a question of policy. SEITHENYN: Now you talk sense. Right without might is the lees of an old barrel, without a drop of the original liquor. THE ABBOT:I would appeal to you, King Melvas, by your love to your common country, by your love of the name of Britain, by your hatred of the infidel Saxons, by your respect of the character of Arthur; will you let your passion for a woman, even though she be a second Helen, frustrate, or even impede, the great cause, of driving these spoilers from a land in which they have no right even to breathe? MELVAS: They have a right to do all they do, and to have all they have. If we can drive them out, they will then have no right here. Have not you and I a right to this good wine, which seems to trip very merrily over your ghostly palate? I got it by seizing a good ship, and throwing the crew overboard, just to remove them out of the way, because they were troublesome. They disputed my right, but I taught them better. I taught them a great moral lesson, though they had not much time to profit by it. If they had had the might to throw me overboard, I should not have troubled myself about their right, any more, or, at any rate, any longer, than they did about mine.

THE REVEREND DOCTOR OPIMIAN: The world is not over charitable.. FALCONER: The world will never suppose a good motive where it can suppose a bad one. I would not willingly offend any of its prejudices. I would not affect eccentricity. At the same time, I do not feel disposed to be put out of my way because it is not the way of the world .

Truth to nature is essential to poetry. Few may perceive an inaccuracy: but to those who do, it causes a great diminution, if not a total destruction, of pleasure in perusal. Shakespeare never makes a flower blossom out of season. Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey are true to nature in this and all other respects: even in their wildest imaginings.

The conduct of men, in this respect, is very much like that of a gardener who should plant a plot of ground with merely ornamental flowers, and then pass sentence on the soil for not bearing substantial fruit. If women are treated only as pretty dolls, and dressed in all the fripperies of irrational education; if the vanity of personal adornment and superficial accomplishments be made from their earliest years to suppress all mental aspirations, and to supersede all thoughts of intellectual beauty, is it to be inferred that they are incapable of better things? But such is the usual logic of tyranny, which first places its exstinguisher on the flame, and then argues that it cannot burn.

The sands of the Libyan desert gaining like a sea, is an impressive though not original image, but the picture is spoiled by the figure of Time standing waiting. Has Mr. Moore forgotten that time and tide wait neither for men nor sands? The very essence of Time is steady, interminable progression. If he has any business in the place, it is as an agent, himself silently impelling the progress of desolation, not waiting till the sands have done their work, in order to begin his. And as Memphis was still a flourishing city at least four centuries later than our very curious specimen of an Epicurean, Time must have stood waiting for no inconsiderable portion of himself.

Very well, said King Arthur; and for the present, illuminate Bedevere with your art, to assist him in procuring us a supper, for none of us has eaten anything since we were killed.

The critic does his utmost to blight genius in his infancy.

The sentimental tourist, (who, perching himself on an old wall, works himself up into a soliloquy of philosophical pathos, on the vicissitudes of empire and the mutability of all sublunary things, interrupted only by an occasional peep at his watch, to ensure his not overstaying the minute at which his fowl, comfortably roasting at the nearest inn, has been promised to be ready,) has, no doubt, many fine thoughts well worth recording in a dapper volume.

We are all born to disappointment. It is as well to be prospective. Our happiness is not in what is, but in what is to be. We may be disappointed in our everyday realities, and if not, we may make an ideality of the unattainable, and quarrel with Nature for not giving what she has not to give. It is unreasonable to be so disappointed, but it is disappointment not the less.

The explanation, said Mr. Glowry, is very satisfactory. The Great Mogul has taken lodgings at Kensington, and the external part of the ear is a cartilaginous funnel.

The stranger approached [Taliesin] with a golden goblet, which he had just replenished with the choicest wine of the vaults of Dinas Vawr, and pronounced the oracular monosyllable, "Drink!" to which he subjoined emphatically "GWIN O EUR: Wine from gold. That is my taste. Ale is well; mead is better; wine is best. Horn is well; silver is better; gold is best." Taliesin, who had been very abstemious during the evening, took the golden goblet, and drank to please the inviter; in the hope that he would become communicative, and satisfy the curiosity his appearance had raised.

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