Philip Massinger

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Philip Massinger

Philip Massinger (1583March 17, 1640) was an English dramatist. His finely plotted plays, including A New Way to Pay Old Debts, The City Madam and The Roman Actor are noted for their satire, realism, and political and social themes.


  • Death hath a thousand doors to let out life.
    • A Very Woman (1619), Act v. Sc. 4. Compare: "Death hath so many doors to let out life", Beaumont and Fletcher, The Custom of the Country, act ii. sc. 2; "The thousand doors that lead to death", Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici, part i, sect. xliv.
  • Be wise;
    Soar not too high to fall; but stoop to rise.
  • Some undone widow sits upon mine arm,
    And takes away the use of it; and my sword,
    Glued to my scabbard with wronged orphans' tears,
    Will not be drawn.
    • A New Way to pay Old Debts (1625), Act v. Sc. 1. Compare: "From thousands of our undone widows / One may derive some wit", Thomas Middleton, A Trick to catch the Old One (1605), Act i, Scene 2.
  • Cause me no causes.
    • A New Way to Pay Old Debts (1625), act i. sc. 3. See X me no X's.
  • This many-headed monster,
    The giddy multitude.
    • The Roman Actor (1626), Act iii. Sc. 2. Compare: "Many-headed multitude", Sir Philip Sidney, Defence of Poesy, Book ii; "Many-headed multitude", William Shakespeare, Coriolanus, act ii, scene 3; "This many-headed monster, Multitude", Daniel, History of the Civil War, book ii, st. 13.
  • Grim death.
    • The Roman Actor (1626), Act iv. Sc. 2. Compare: "Grim death, my son and foe", John Milton, Paradise Lost, book ii, line 804.
  • But in our Sanazarro 'tis not so,
    He being pure and tried gold; and any stamp
    Of grace, to make him current to the world,
    The duke is pleased to give him, will add honour
    To the great bestower; for he, though allow'd
    Companion to his master, still preserves
    His majesty in full lustre.
    • Great Duke of Florence (1627), Act I, scene 1.
  • Like a rough orator, that brings more truth
    Than rhetoric, to make good his accusation.
    • Great Duke of Florence (1627).
  • What a sea
    Of melting ice I walk on!
    • The Maid of Honour, (c. 1621; printed 1632), Act III, scene 3.

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