Aaron Hill (writer)

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Courage is poorly housed that dwells in numbers; the lion never counts the herd that are about him, nor weighs how many flocks he has to scatter.

Aaron Hill (February 10, 1685February 8, 1750) was an English dramatist and miscellaneous writer.

Sourced[edit]

Tender-handed stroke a nettle,
And it stings you for your pains;
Grasp it like a man of mettle,
And it soft as silk remains.
Free without scandal; wise without restraint;
Their virtue due to nature, not to fear.


  • O'er Nature's laws, God cast the veil of night,
    Out blaz'd a Newton's soul — and all was light.
    • Preserved in Hill's Works (1753), Vol. IV, p. 92, and mentioned as probably derived from Alexander Pope's "Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night: God said, Let Newton be! — and all was light" in The Epigrammatists : A Selection from the Epigrammatic Literature of Ancient, Mediæval, and Modern Times (1875) by Henry Philip Dodd, p. 329.
  • Courage is poorly housed that dwells in numbers; the lion never counts the herd that are about him, nor weighs how many flocks he has to scatter.
    • As quoted in The Golden Treasury of Thought : A gathering of quotations from the best ancient and modern authors (1873) edited by John Camden Hotten.
  • But me no buts.
    • Snake in the Grass, sc. 1.
  • Tender-handed stroke a nettle,
    And it stings you for your pains
    ;
    Grasp it like a man of mettle,
    And it soft as silk remains.

    ’Tis the same with common natures:
    Use ’em kindly, they rebel;
    But be rough as nutmeg-graters,
    And the rogues obey you well.

    • Verses Written on a Window in Scotland.

Zara (1735)[edit]

  • You talk no more of that gay nation now,
    Where men adore their wives, and woman's power
    Draws reverence from a polished people's softness,
    Their husbands' equals, and their lovers' queens;
    Free without scandal; wise without restraint;
    Their virtue due to nature, not to fear.
    • Selima, Act I, Sc. 1.
  • Joys, which we do not know, we do not wish.
    • Zara, Act I, Sc. 1.
  • Can my fond heart, on such a feeble proof,
    Embrace a faith, abhorred by him I love?
    I see too plainly custom forms us all;
    Our thoughts, our morals, our most fixed belief,
    Are consequences of our place of birth
    :
    Born beyond Ganges, I had been a Pagan;
    In France, a Christian; I am here a Saracen :
    'Tis but instruction, all! Our parents' hand
    Writes on our heart the first faint characters,
    Which time, re-tracing, deepens into strength,
    That nothing can efface, but death or Heaven.
    • Zara, Act I, Sc. 1.
  • First, then, a woman will or won’t, depend on ’t;
    If she will do ’t, she will; and there ’s an end on ’t.
    But if she won’t, since safe and sound your trust is,
    Fear is affront, and jealousy injustice.
    • Epilogue (1735). Note: The following lines are copied from the pillar erected on the mount in the Dane John Field, Canterbury:
      Where is the man who has the power and skill
      To stem the torrent of a woman’s will?
      For if she will, she will, you may depend on ’t;
      And if she won’t, she won’t; so there ’s an end on ’t.
      The Examiner, (31 May 1829).

Alzira : A Tragedy (1736)[edit]

  • Reason gains all men, by compelling none.
    Mercy was always Heaven's distinguished mark:
    And he, who bears it not, has no friend there.
    • Don Alvarez in Act I, Sc. 1; also misquoted as "Reason gains all people by compelling none".
  • Youth is ever apt to judge in haste,
    And lose the medium in the wild extreme,
    Do not repent, but regulate your passion:
    Though love is reason, its excess is rage.

    Give me, at least, your promise to reflect,
    In cool, impartial solitude, and still.
    No last decision till we meet again.
    • Don Alvarez in Alzira : A Tragedy, Act IV, Scene 1.

External links[edit]

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