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Quotes of the day: William Congreve

Published Saturday, January 24, 2015 @ 12:00 AM EST
Jan 24 2015

William Congreve (January 24, 1670 - January 19, 1729) was an English playwright and poet who wrote some of the most popular English plays of the Restoration period of the late 17th century. Unfortunately, his career ended almost as soon as it began. After writing five plays from his first in 1693 until 1700, he produced no more as public tastes turned against the sort of high-brow sexual comedy of manners in which he specialized. He withdrew from the theater and lived on the residuals of his early work. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A little disdain is not amiss; a little scorn is alluring.

Beauty is the lover's gift.

Courtship is to marriage, as a very witty prologue to a very dull play.

Defer not till tomorrow to be wise,
Tomorrow's sun to thee may never rise.

Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned,
Nor hell a fury, like a woman scorned.

I confess freely to you I could never look long upon a monkey, without very mortifying reflections.

I find we are growing serious, and then we are in great danger of being dull.

I know that's a secret, for it's whispered every where.

If this be not love, it is madness, and then it is pardonable.

Let us be very strange and well-bred:
Let us be as strange as if we had been married a great while;
And as wellbred as if we were not married at all.

Married in haste, we repent at leisure.

Music has charms to soothe a savage breast,
To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.

O, she is the antidote to desire.

Say what you will, tis better to be left than never to have been loved.

There is in true beauty, as in courage, something which narrow souls cannot dare to admire.

Though marriage makes man and wife one flesh, it leaves 'em still two fools.

Thus grief still treads upon the heels of pleasure;
Married in haste, we may repent at leisure.

Uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life. Security is an insipid thing, through the overtaking and possessing of a wish discovers the folly of the chase.

Wit must be foiled by wit: cut a diamond with a diamond.

Women are like tricks by sleight of hand,
Which, to admire, we should not understand.


(January 24 is also the birthday of Edith Wharton.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, William Congreve


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