- For whan men wene best to have achieved,
Ful ofte it is al newe to beginne:
The werre hath no thing siker, thogh he winne.
- "In Praise of Peace", line 117.
Quotations are taken from the third recension of the poem, unless otherwise stated.
- Bot for men sein, and soth it is,
That who that al of wisdom writ
It dulleth ofte a mannes wit
To him that schal it aldai rede,
For thilke cause, if that ye rede,
I wolde go the middel weie
And wryte a bok betwen the tweie,
Somwhat of lust, somewhat of lore.
- Prologue, line 12.
- But in proverbe I have herde say,
That who that wel his werk beginneth,
The rather a good end he winneth.
- Prologue (First recension), line 86.
- For loves lawe is out of reule.
- Bk. 1, line 18.
- It hath and schal ben everemor
That love is maister wher he wile.
- Bk. 1, line 34.
- He hath the sor which no man heleth,
The which is cleped lack of herte.
- Bk. 4, line 334.
- O fol of alle foles,
Thou farst as he betwen tuo stoles
That wolde sitte and goth to grounde.
- Bk. 4, line 625.
- The beauté faye upon her face
Non erthly thing it may desface.
- Bk. 4, line 1321.
- Nevere yit
Was non, which half so loste his wit
Of drinke, as thei of such thing do
Which cleped is the jolif wo.
- Bk. 6, line 31.
- What is a lond wher men ben none?
What ben the men whiche are alone
Withoute a kinges governance?
What is a king in his ligance,
Wher that ther is no lawe in londe?
What is to take lawe on honde,
Bot if the jugges weren trewe?
- Bk. 7, line 2695.
- So goth the world, now wo, now wel.
- Bk. 8, line 1738.
- In the content of his work it is interesting to notice that he is profoundly English. His romanticism, and his choice of the theme of Time and Age – both these look back to the Anglo-Saxons and forward to the nineteenth century. Yet his form is French. The heart is insular and romantic, the head cool and continental: it is a good combination.