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

Page 288

Matthew Prior. (1664–1721) (continued)
    Now fitted the halter, now traversed the cart,
And often took leave, but was loth to depart. 1
          The Thief and the Cordelier.
    Nobles and heralds, by your leave,
  Here lies what once was Matthew Prior;
The son of Adam and of Eve:
  Can Bourbon or Nassau claim higher? 2
          Epitaph. Extempore.
    Soft peace she brings; wherever she arrives
She builds our quiet as she forms our lives;
Lays the rough paths of peevish Nature even,
And opens in each heart a little heaven.
    His noble negligences teach
What others’ toils despair to reach.
          Alma. Canto ii. Line 7.
    Till their own dreams at length deceive ’em,
And oft repeating, they believe ’em.
          Alma. Canto iii. Line 13.
    Abra was ready ere I called her name;
And though I called another, Abra came.
          Solomon on the Vanity of the World. Book ii. Line 364.
    For hope is but the dream of those that wake. 3
          Solomon on the Vanity of the World. Book iii. Line 102.
Note 1.
As men that be lothe to departe do often take their leff. [John Clerk to Wolsey.]—Ellis: Letters, third series, vol. i. p. 262.

”A loth to depart” was the common term for a song, or a tune played, on taking leave of friends. Tarlton: News out of Purgatory (about 1689). George Chapman: Widow’s Tears. Thomas Middleton: The Old Law, act iv. sc. 1. Beaumont and Fletcher: Wit at Several Weapons, act ii. sc. 2. [back]
Note 2.
The following epitaph was written long before the time of Prior:—

Johnnie Carnegie lais heer,
Descendit of Adam and Eve.
Gif ony con gang hieher,
Ise willing give him leve. [back]
Note 3.
This thought is ascribed to Aristotle by Diogenes Laertius (Aristotle, v. xi.), who, when asked what hope is, answered, “The dream of a waking man.” Menage, in his “Observations upon Laertius,” says that Stobæus (Serm. cix.) ascribes it to Pindar, while Ælian (Var. Hist. xiii. 29) refers it to Plato.

Et spes inanes, et velut somnia quædam, vigilantium (Vain hopes are like certain dreams of those who wake).—Quintilian: vi. 2, 27. [back]