Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

William Cowper

English Poet and Hymnodist

"God made the country, and man made the town. - What wonder, then, that health and virtue should most abound, and least be threatened in the fields and groves."

"God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform he plants his footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm. Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill he treasures up his bright designs, and works his sovereign will. Ye fearful saints fresh courage take, the clouds ye so much dread are big with mercy, and shall break in blessings on your head. Judge not the lord by feeble sense, but trust him for his grace behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face."

"God never meant that man should scale the heavens by strides of human wisdom. In his works, though wondrous, he commands us in his word to seek him rather where his mercy shines."

"Grac'd with a sword, and worthier of a fan."

"Great contest follows, and much learned dust involves the combatants; each claiming truth, and truth disclaiming both."

"Great offices will have great talents, and God gives to every man the virtue, temper, understanding, taste, that lifts him into life, and lets him fall just in the niche he was ordained to fill."

"Greece, sound thy Homer's, Rome thy Virgil's name, but England's Milton equals both in fame."

"Habits of close attention, thinking heads, become more rare as dissipation spreads, till authors hear at length one general cry tickle and entertain us, or we die!"

"Happiness depends, as nature shows, less on exterior things than most suppose."

"Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length."

"Hast thou not learn'd what thou art often told, A truth still sacred, and believed of old, That no success attends on spears and swords Unblest, and that the battle is the Lord's?"

"Hatred and vengeance, my eternal portion, scarce can endure delay of execution:— wait, with impatient readiness, to seize my Soul in a moment."

"He assigned it to regions more than tropical."

"He blam'd and protested, but join'd in the plan; He shared in the plunder, but pitied the man."

"He cannot drink five bottles, bilk the score, then kill a constable, and drink five more; but he can draw a pattern, make a tart, and has ladies' etiquette by heart."

"He comes, the herald of a noisy world, with spatter'd boots, strapp'd waist, and frozen locks; news from all nations lumbering at his back."

"He finds his fellow guilty of a skin not color'd like his own, and having pow'r t' enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause dooms and devotes him as his lawful prey."

"He found it inconvenient to be poor."

"He has no hope that never had a fear."

"He holds no parley with unmanly fears, where duty bids he confident steers, faces a thousand dangers at her call, and, trusting to his god, surmounts them all."

"He kissed likewise the maid in the kitchen, and seemed upon the whole a most loving, kissing, kind-hearted gentleman."

"He sees that this great round about the world, with all its motley rout, church, army, physic, law, its customs and its businesses, is no concern at all of his, and says -- what says he? -- caw."

"He stands erect; his slouch becomes a walk; he steps right onward, martial in his air, his form and movement."

"He that attends to his interior self, that has a heart, and keeps it; has a mind that hungers, and supplies it; and who seeks a social, not a dissipated life, has business."

"He that dares traduce, because he can with safety to himself, is not a man."

"He that has seen both sides of fifty has lived to little purpose if he has no other views of the world than he had when he was much younger."

"He that holds fast the golden mean, and lives contently between the little and the great, feels not the wants that pinch the poor, nor plagues that haunt the rich man's door."

"He that negotiates between God and man, as God's ambassador, the grand concerns of judgment and of mercy, should beware of lightness in his speech."

"He that runs may read."

"He whistles as he goes, light-hearted wretch, cold and yet cheerful; messenger of grief perhaps to thousands, and of joy to some."

"He who finds thought that lets us penetrate even a little deeper into the eternal mystery of nature has been granted great grace. He who, in addition, experiences the recognition, sympathy, and help of the best minds of his times, had been given almost more happiness than one man can bear."

"He would not, with a peremptory tone, assert the nose upon his face his own."

"He would stroke the head of modest and ingenuous youth that blushed at its own praise."

"Heaven held his hand, the likeness must be true."

"Heaven speed the canvas, gallantly unfurl'd, to furnish and accommodate a world, to give the pole the produce of the sun, and knit the unsocial climates into one."

"Heaven's harmony is universal love."

"Hence jarring sectaries may learn their real interest to discern; that brother should not war with brother, and worry and devour each other."

"Here may we prove the pow'r of pray'r, to strengthen faith, and sweeten care; to teach our faint desires to rise, and bring all heav'n before our eyes."

"Here rills of oily eloquence in soft meanders lubricate the course they take."

"Here the heart may give a useful lesson to the head, and learning wiser grow without his books."

"Him, the vindictive rod of angry justice sent, quick and howling, to the centre headlong; I, fed with judgments, in a fleshy tomb, am buried above ground."

"Himself a wanderer from the narrow way, his silly sheep, what wonder if they stray?"

"His frown was full of terror, and his voice shook the delinquent with such fits of awe as left him not, till penitence had won lost favor back again, and clos'd the breach."

"His head, not yet by time completely silver'd o'er, bespoke him past the bounds of freakish youth, but strong for service still, and unimpair'd."

"His mind his kingdom, and his will his law."

"His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding ev'ry hour; the bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flow'r."

"His still refuted quirks he still repeats. New-raised objections with new quibbles meets; till sinking in the quicksand he defends, he dies disputing, and the contest ends."

"His wit invites you by his looks to come But when you knock it never is at home."

"How fleet is a glance of the mind compared with the speed of its flight, the tempest itself lags behind, and the swift-winged arrows of light."

"How fleet is a glance of the mind! Religion does not censure or exclude unnumbered pleasures, harmlessly pursued."