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date: 20 April 2024

Oliver Goldsmith 1728–74
Irish writer, poet, and dramatist 

  1. Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain.
    The Deserted Village (1770) l. 1
  2. Ill fares the land, to hast'ning ills a prey,
    Where wealth accumulates, and men decay;
    Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade;
    A breath can make them, as a breath has made;
    But a bold peasantry, their country's pride,
    When once destroyed, can never be supplied.
    The Deserted Village (1770) l. 51
  3. How happy he who crowns in shades like these,
    A youth of labour with an age of ease.
    The Deserted Village (1770) l. 99
  4. Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway,
    And fools, who came to scoff, remained to pray.
    The Deserted Village (1770) l. 179
  5. And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew,
    That one small head could carry all he knew.
    The Deserted Village (1770) l. 215
  6. Man wants but little here below,
    Nor wants that little long.
    ‘Edwin and Angelina, or the Hermit’ (1766); see Young
  7. The man recovered of the bite,
    The dog it was that died.
    ‘Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog’ (1766)
  8. Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law.
    The Traveller (1764) l. 386
  9. How small, of all that human hearts endure,
    That part which laws or kings can cause or cure!
    The Traveller (1764) l. 429; see Johnson
  10. The true use of speech is not so much to express our wants as to conceal them.
    The Bee no. 3 (20 October 1759) ‘On the Use of Language’
  11. Don't let us make imaginary evils, when you know we have so many real ones to encounter.
    The Good-Natured Man (1768) act 1
  12. Measures not men, have always been my mark.
    The Good Natured Man (1768) act 2; see Burke, Canning
  13. Let schoolmasters puzzle their brain,
    With grammar, and nonsense, and learning,
    Good liquor, I stoutly maintain,
    Gives genius a better discerning.
    She Stoops to Conquer (1773) act 1, sc. 1 ‘Song’
  14. The very pink of perfection.
    She Stoops to Conquer (1773) act 1
  15. This is Liberty-Hall, gentlemen.
    She Stoops to Conquer (1773) act 2
  16. The first blow is half the battle.
    She Stoops to Conquer (1773) act 2
  17. I…chose my wife, as she did her wedding gown, not for a fine glossy surface, but such qualities as would wear well.
    The Vicar of Wakefield (1766) ch. 1
  18. The virtue which requires to be ever guarded is scarce worth the sentinel.
    The Vicar of Wakefield (1766) ch. 5
  19. When lovely woman stoops to folly
    And finds too late that men betray,
    What charm can soothe her melancholy,
    What art can wash her guilt away?
    The Vicar of Wakefield (1766) ch. 29; see Eliot
  20. There is no arguing with Johnson; for when his pistol misses fire, he knocks you down with the butt end of it.
    James Boswell Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) 26 October 1769