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John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

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John Webster. (1580?–1634) (continued)
    Glories, like glow-worms, afar off shine bright,
But look’d too near have neither heat nor light. 1
          The White Devil. Act iv. Sc. 4.
    Call for the robin-redbreast and the wren,
Since o’er shady groves they hover,
And with leaves and flowers do cover
The friendless bodies of unburied men.
          The White Devil. Act v. Sc. 2.
    Is not old wine wholesomest, old pippins toothsomest, old wood burns brightest, old linen wash whitest? Old soldiers, sweetheart, are surest, and old lovers are soundest. 2
          Westward Hoe. Act ii. Sc. 2.
    I saw him now going the way of all flesh.
          Westward Hoe. Act ii. Sc. 2.
Thomas Dekker. (1570–1632)
    A wise man poor
Is like a sacred book that ’s never read,—
To himself he lives, and to all else seems dead.
This age thinks better of a gilded fool
Than of a threadbare saint in wisdom’s school.
          Old Fortunatus.
    And though mine arm should conquer twenty worlds,
There ’s a lean fellow beats all conquerors.
          Old Fortunatus.
Note 1.
The mountains, too, at a distance appear airy masses and smooth, but when beheld close they are rough.—Diogenes Laertius: Pyrrho.

Love is like a landscape which doth stand
Smooth at a distance, rough at hand.
Robert Hegge: On Love.

We ’re charm’d with distant views of happiness,
But near approaches make the prospect less.
Yalden: Against Enjoyment.

As distant prospects please us, but when near
We find but desert rocks and fleeting air.
Samuel Garth: The Dispensatory, canto iii. line 27.

’T is distance lends enchantment to the view,
And robes the mountain in its azure hue.
Thomas Campbell: Pleasures of Hope, part i. line 7. [back]
Note 2.
See Bacon, Quotation 57. [back]