Edward Young

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In records that defy the tooth of time.
The blood will follow where the knife is driven,
The flesh will quiver where the pincers tear.
In youth, what disappointments of our own making: in age, what disappointments from the nature of things.
Night, sable goddess! from her ebon throne,
In rayless majesty, now stretches forth
Her leaden scepter o'er a slumbering world.
As Love alone can exquisitely bless,
Love only feels the marvellous of pain;
Opens new veins of torture in the foul,
And wakes the nerve where agonies are born.
Tired nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep!

Edward Young (1683April 5, 1765) was an English poet, best remembered for Night-Thoughts.

Quotes[edit]

  • In records that defy the tooth of time.
    • The Statesman's Creed.
  • Ah! what is human life?
    How, like the dial's tardy-moving shade,
    Day after day slides from us unperceiv'd!
    The cunning fugitive is swift by stealth;
    Too subtle is the movement to be seen;
    Yet soon the hour is up—and we are gone.
    • Busiris (1719), Act V, sc. i.
  • Great let me call him, for he conquered me.
    • The Revenge (1721), Act I, sc. i.
  • Life is the desert, life the solitude;
    Death joins us to the great majority.
    • The Revenge, Act IV, sc. i.
  • Souls made of fire, and children of the sun,
    With whom revenge is virtue.
    • The Revenge, Act V, sc. ii.
  • The blood will follow where the knife is driven,
    The flesh will quiver where the pincers tear.
    • The Revenge, Act V, sc. ii.
  • In youth, what disappointments of our own making: in age, what disappointments from the nature of things.
    • A Vindication of Providence; or, A True Estimate of Human Life (1728).
  • The man that makes a character makes foes.
    • To Mr. Pope, epistle I, l. 28 (1730).
  • Their feet through faithless leather met the dirt,
    And oftener chang'd their principles than shirt.
    • To Mr. Pope, epistle I, l. 277.
  • As Love alone can exquisitely bless,
    Love only feels the marvellous of pain;
    Opens new veins of torture in the foul,
    And wakes the nerve where agonies are born.
    • The Brothers (1753), Act V, scene i.
  • There is something in Poetry beyond Prose-reason; there are Mysteries in it not to be explained, but admired.
    • Conjectures on Original Composition (1759) p. 28.
  • Too low they build who build beneath the stars.
    • Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 206.
  • He weeps! the falling drop puts out the sun; He sighs! the sigh earth's deep foundation shakes. If in His love so terrible, what then His wrath inflamed?
    • Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 271.
  • Accept a miracle instead of wit,—
    See two dull lines with Stanhope's pencil writ.
    • Lines written with the Diamond Pencil of Lord Chesterfield; reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Time elaborately thrown away.
    • The Last Day, book i; reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • There buds the promise of celestial worth.
    • The Last Day, book iii; reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • And friend received with thumps upon the back.
    • Universal Passion; reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).

Love of Fame (1725-1728)[edit]

  • When the Law shows her teeth, but dares not bite.
    • Satire I, l. 17.
  • The love of praise, howe'er concealed by art,
    Reigns more or less, and glows in ev'ry heart.
    • Satire I, l. 51.
  • Some for renown, on scraps of learning dote,
    And think they grow immortal as they quote.
    • Satire I, l. 89.
  • Titles are marks of honest men, and wise;
    The fool or knave that wears a title lies.
    • Satire I, l. 145.
  • They that on glorious ancestors enlarge,
    Produce their debt instead of their discharge.
    • Satire I, l. 147.
  • None think the great unhappy but the great.
    • Satire I, l. 238.
  • Unlearned men of books assume the care,
    As eunuchs are the guardians of the fair.
    • Satire II, l. 83.
  • The booby father craves a booby son,
    And by Heaven’s blessing thinks himself undone.
    • Satire II, l. 165.
  • Where Nature’s end of language is declin’d,
    And men talk only to conceal the mind.
    • Satire II, l. 207.
  • Be wise with speed;
    A fool at forty is a fool indeed.
    • Satire II, l. 282.
  • And waste their music on the savage race.
    • Satire V, l. 228.
  • With skill she vibrates her eternal tongue,
    Forever most divinely in the wrong.
    • Satire VI, l. 105.
  • For her own breakfast she'll project a scheme,
    Nor take her tea without a strategem.
    • Satire VI, l. 187.
  • Think naught a trifle, though it small appear;
    Small sands the mountain, moments make the year,
    And trifles life.
    • Satire VI, l. 208.
  • One to destroy, is murder by the law;
    And gibbets keep the lifted hand in awe;
    To murder thousands takes a specious name,
    War's glorious art, and gives immortal fame.
    • Satire VII, l. 55.
  • How commentators each dark passage shun,
    And hold their farthing candle to the sun.
    • Satire VII, l. 97.

Night-Thoughts (1742–1745)[edit]

Night I[edit]

  • Tired nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep!
    • Line 1.
  • Night, sable goddess! from her ebon throne,
    In rayless majesty, now stretches forth
    Her leaden scepter o'er a slumbering world.
    • Line 18.
  • Creation sleeps! 'Tis as the general pulse
    Of life stood still, and Nature made a pause;
    An awful pause! prophetic of her end.
    • Line 23.
  • On reason build resolve,
    that column of true majesty in man.
    • Line 30.
  • The bell strikes one. We take no note of time
    But from its loss.
    • Line 55.
  • Poor pensioner on the bounties of an hour.
    • Line 67.
  • An angel's arm can't snatch me from the grave;
    Legions of angels can't confine me there.
    • Line 89.
  • To waft a feather or to drown a fly.
    • Line 154.
  • Insatiate archer! could not one suffice?
    Thy shaft flew thrice, and thrice my peace was slain;
    And thrice, ere thrice yon moon had filled her horn.
    • Line 212.
  • Be wise today; 'tis madness to defer.
    • Line 390.
  • Procrastination is the thief of time.
    • Line 393.
  • At thirty, man suspects himself a fool;
    Knows it at forty, and reforms his plan;
    At fifty chides his infamous delay,
    Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve;
    In all the magnanimity of thought
    Resolves, and re-resolves; then dies the same.
    • Line 417.
  • All men think all men mortal but themselves.
    • Line 424.

Night II[edit]

  • He mourns the dead who lives as they desire.
    • Line 24.
  • And what its worth, ask death-beds; they can tell.
    • Line 51.
  • Thy purpose firm is equal to the deed:
    Who does the best his circumstance allows
    Does well, acts nobly; angels could no more.
    • Line 90.
  • "I've lost a day!"—the prince who nobly cried,
    Had been an emperor without his crown.
    • Line 99. Suetonius says of the Emperor Titus: "Once at supper, reflecting that he had done nothing for any that day, he broke out into that memorable and justly admired saying, ‘My friends, I have lost a day!'" Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Cæsars (translation by Alexander Thomson).
  • Ah, how unjust to Nature and himself
    Is thoughtless, thankless, inconsistent man!
    • Line 112.
  • Life's cares are comforts; such by Heav'n design'd;
    He that hath none must make them, or be wretched.
    • Line 160.
  • The spirit walks of every day deceased.
    • Line 180.
  • Time flies, death urges, knells call, Heaven invites,
    Hell threatens.
    • Line 292.
  • Whose yesterdays look backwards with a smile.
    • Line 334.
  • 'Tis greatly wise to talk with our past hours,
    And ask them what report they bore to heaven.
    • Line 376.
  • Thoughts shut up want air,
    And spoil, like bales unopen’d to the sun.
    • Line 466.
  • A friend is worth all hazards we can run.
    • Line 571.
  • Friendship's the wine of life; but friendship new
    (Not such was his) is neither strong nor pure.
    • Line 582.
  • How blessings brighten as they take their flight!
    • Line 602.
  • The chamber where the good man meets his fate
    Is privileg’d beyond the common walk
    Of virtuous life, quite in the verge of heaven.
    • Line 633.
  • A death-bed ’s a detector of the heart.
    • Line 641.
  • Virtue alone has majesty in death.
    • Line 650.

Night III[edit]

  • Woes cluster. Rare are solitary woes;
    They love a train, they tread each other’s heel.
    • Line 63.
  • Beautiful as sweet!
    And young as beautiful! and soft as young!
    And gay as soft! and innocent as gay.
    • Line 81.
  • Lovely in death the beauteous ruin lay;
    And if in death still lovely, lovelier there;
    Far lovelier! pity swells the tide of love.
    • Line 104.
  • Heaven’s Sovereign saves all beings but himself
    That hideous sight,—a naked human heart.
    • Line 226.

Night IV[edit]

  • The knell, the shroud, the mattock, and the grave,
    The deep damp vault, the darkness and the worm.
    • Line 10.
  • Man makes a death which Nature never made.
    • Line 15.
  • And feels a thousand deaths in fearing one.
    • Line 17.
  • Wishing, of all employments, is the worst.
    • Line 71.
  • Man wants little, nor that little long.
    • Line 118.
  • A God all mercy is a God unjust.
    • Line 233.
  • ’Tis impious in a good man to be sad
    • Line 676.
  • A Christian is the highest style of man.
    • Line 788.
  • Men may live fools, but fools they cannot die.
    • Line 843.

Night V[edit]

  • By night an atheist half believes a God.
    • Line 177.
  • Less base the fear of death than fear of life.
    • Line 441.
  • A soul without reflection, like a pile
    Without inhabitant, to ruin runs.
    • Line 596.
  • Early, bright, transient, chaste as morning dew,
    She sparkled, was exhal'd and went to heaven.
    • Line 600.
  • We see time’s furrows on another’s brow,
    And death intrench’d, preparing his assault;
    How few themselves in that just mirror see!
    • Line 627.
  • Like our shadows,
    Our wishes lengthen as our sun declines.
    • Line 661.
  • While man is growing, life is in decrease;
    And cradles rock us nearer to the tomb.
    Our birth is nothing but our death begun.
    • Line 717.
  • That life is long which answers life's great end.
    • Line 773.
  • The man of wisdom is the man of years.
    • Line 775.
  • Death loves a shining mark, a signal blow.
    • Line 1011.

Night VI[edit]

  • Revere thyself, and yet thyself despise.
    • Line 128.
  • Pygmies are pygmies still, though percht on Alps;
    And pyramids are pyramids in vales.
    Each man makes his own stature, builds himself.
    Virtue alone outbuilds the Pyramids;
    Her monuments shall last when Egypt’s fall.
    • Line 309.
  • Ambition! powerful source of good and ill!
    • Line 399.
  • Much learning shows how little mortals know;
    Much wealth, how little worldlings can enjoy.
    • Line 519.
  • And all may do what has by man been done.
    • Line 606.

Night VII[edit]

  • The man that blushes is not quite a brute.
    • Line 496.
  • What ardently we wish we soon believe.
    • Line 1311.

Night VIII[edit]

  • Too low they build who build beneath the stars.
    • Line 215.
  • Truth never was indebted to a lie.
    • Line 587.
  • Prayer ardent opens heaven.
    • Line 721.
  • The house of laughter makes a house of woe.
    • Line 757.
  • A man of pleasure is a man of pains.
    • Line 793.
  • To frown at pleasure, and to smile in pain.
    • Line 1045.

Night IX[edit]

  • Final Ruin fiercely drives
    Her plowshare o'er creation.
    • Line 167. Compare Robert Burns, To a Mountain Daisy: "Stern Ruin's ploughshare drives elate / Full on thy bloom".
  • 'T is elder Scripture, writ by God's own hand,—
    Scripture authentic! uncorrupt by man.
    • Line 644.
  • An undevout astronomer is mad.
    • Line 771.
  • The course of Nature is the art of God.
    • Line 1267.


Misattributed[edit]

  • By all means use some time to be alone.
    • A slight misquotation of George Herbert "The Church Porch", line 145: "By all means use sometimes to be alone", in The Temple (1633).
  • The future... seems to me no unified dream but a mince pie, long in the baking, never quite done.
    • Widely attributed to Edward Young, but in fact written by E. B. White in Harper's Magazine (December 1940), and reprinted in his One Man's Meat (1942).
  • Tomorrow is a satire on today,
    And shows its weakness.
    • This is a quotation from "The Old Man's Relapse", a poem addressed to Edward Young, but written by Lord Melcombe.

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:
Wikisource has original works written by or about:
  • Edward Young, The Poetical Works of Edward Young, Vol. I, Vol. II, London: Bell and Daldy, 1858.