Hoyt & Roberts, comps. Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations. 1922.


He that hath a wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief.
Bacon—Essays. Of Marriage and Single Life.

No jealousy their dawn of love o’ercast,
Nor blasted were their wedded days with strife;
Each season looked delightful as it past,
To the fond husband and the faithful wife.
James Beattie—The Minstrel. Bk. I. St. 14.

To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.
Book of Common Prayer. Solemnization of Matrimony.

To love, cherish, and to obey.
Book of Common Prayer. Solemnization of Matrimony.

With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.
Book of Common Prayer. Solemnization of Matrimony.

He that said it was not good for man to be alone, placed the celibate amongst the inferior states of perfection.
Boyle—Works. Vol. VI. P. 292. Letter from Mr. Evelyn.

I’d rather die Maid, and lead apes in Hell
Than wed an inmate of Silenus’ Cell.
Richard Brathwait—English Gentelman and Gentelwoman (1640), in a supplemental tract, The Turtle’s Triumph. Phrase “lead apes in hell” found in his Drunken Barnaby’s Journal. Bessy Bell. Massinger—City Madam. Act II. Sc. 2. Shirley—School of Compliments. (1637).

Cursed be the man, the poorest wretch in life,
The crouching vassal, to the tyrant wife,
Who has no will but by her high permission;
Who has not sixpence but in her possession;
Who must to her his dear friend’s secret tell;
Who dreads a curtain lecture worse than hell.
Were such the wife had fallen to my part,
I’d break her spirit or I’d break her heart.
Burns—The Henpecked Husband.

Marriage and hanging go by destiny; matches are made in heaven.
Burton—Anatomy of Melancholy. Pt. III. Sec. II. Mem. 5. Subs. 5.

’Cause grace and virtue are within
Prohibited degrees of kin;
And therfore no true Saint allows,
They shall be suffer’d to espouse.
Butler—Hudibras. Pt. III. Canto I. L. 1,293.

For talk six times with the same single lady,
And you may get the wedding dresses ready.
Byron—Don Juan. Canto XII. St. 59.

There was no great disparity of years,
Though much in temper; but they never clash’d,
They moved like stars united in their spheres,
Or like the Rhône by Leman’s waters wash’d,
Where mingled and yet separate appears
The river from the lake, all bluely dash’d
Through the serene and placid glassy deep,
Which fain would lull its river-child to sleep.
Byron—Don Juan. Canto XIV. St. 87.

Una muger no tiene.
Valor para el consejo, y la conviene Casarse.
A woman needs a stronger head than her own for counsel—she should marry.
Calderon—El Purgatorio de Sans Patricio. III. 4.

To sit, happy married lovers; Phillis trifling with a plover’s
Egg, while Corydon uncovers with a grace the Sally Lunn,
Or dissects the lucky pheasant—that, I think, were passing pleasant
As I sit alone at present, dreaming darkly of a dun.
Calverley—In the Gloaming. (Parody on Mrs. Browning.)

We’ve been together now for forty years,
An’ it don’t seem a day too much;
There ain’t a lady livin’ in the land
As I’d swop for my dear old Dutch.
Albert Chevalier—My Old Dutch.

Man and wife,
Coupled together for the sake of strife.
Churchill—Rosciad. L. 1,005.

Oh! how many torments lie in the small circle of a wedding ring.
Colley Cibber.

Prima societas in ipso conjugio est: proxima in liberis; deinde una domus, communia omnia.
The first bond of society is marriage; the next, our children; then the whole family and all things in common.
Cicero—De Officiis. I. 17.

Thus grief still treads upon the heels of pleasure,
Marry’d in haste, we may repent at leisure.
Congreve—The Old Bachelor. Act V. Sc. 1.

Misses! the tale that I relate
This lesson seems to carry—
Choose not alone a proper mate,
But proper time to marry.
Cowper—Pairing Time Anticipated. (Moral.)

Wedlock, indeed, hath oft compared been
To public feasts, where meet a public rout,
Where they that are without would fain go in,
And they that are within would fain go out.
Sir John Davies—Contention Betwixt a Wife, etc.

At length cried she, I’ll marry:
What should I tarry for?
I may lead apes in hell forever.
Dibdin—Tack and Tack.

The wictim o’ connubiality.
Dickens—Pickwick Papers. Ch. XX.

Every woman should marry—and no man.
Benj. Disraeli—Lothair. Ch. XXX.

Is not marriage an open question, when it is alleged, from the beginning of the world, that such as are in the institution wish to get out, and such as are out wish to get in.
Emerson—Representative Men. Montaigne.

Magis erit animorum quam corporum conjugium.
The wedlock of minds will be greater than that of bodies.
Erasmus—Procus et Puella.

The joys of marriage are the heaven on earth,
Life’s paradise, great princess, the soul’s quiet,
Sinews of concord, earthly immortality,
Eternity of pleasures.
John Ford—The Broken Heart. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 102.

A bachelor
May thrive by observation on a little,
A single life’s no burthen: but to draw
In yokes is chargeable, and will require
A double maintenance.
John Ford—The Fancies Chaste and Noble. Act I. Sc. 3. L. 82.

Where there’s marriage without love, there will be love without marriage.
Benj. Franklin—Poor Richard. (1734).

My son is my son till he have got him a wife,
But my daughter’s my daughter all the days of her life.
Proverb from Fuller’s Gnomologia. (1732).

They that marry ancient people, merely in expectation to bury them, hang themselves, in hope that one will come and cut the halter.
Fuller—Holy and Profane States. Bk. III. Of Marriage.

You are of the society of the wits and railers;… the surest sign is, you are an enemy to marriage, the common butt of every railer.
Garrick—The Country Girl. Act II. 1. Play taken from Wycherly’s Country Wife.

The husband’s sullen, dogged, shy,
The wife grows flippant in reply;
He loves command and due restriction,
And she as well likes contradiction.
She never slavishly submits;
She’ll have her way, or have her fits.
He his way tugs, she t’other draws;
The man grows jealous and with cause.
Gay—Cupid, Hymen, and Plutus.

It is not good that the man should be alone.
Genesis. II. 18.

Bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.
Genesis. II. 23.

Denn ein wackerer Mann verdient ein begätertes Mädchen.
For a brave man deserves a well-endowed girl.
Goethe—Hermann und Dorothea. III. 19.

So, with decorum all things carry’d;
Miss frown’d, and blush’d, and then was—married.
Goldsmith—The Double Transformation. St. 3.

Le divorce est le sacrement de l’adultere.
Divorce is the sacrament of adultery.
G. F. Guichard.

An unhappy gentleman, resolving to wed nothing short of perfection, keeps his heart and hand till both get so old and withered that no tolerable woman will accept them.
Hawthorne—Mosses from an Old Manse.

I should like to see any kind of a man, distinguishable from a gorilla, that some good and even pretty woman could not shape a husband out of.
Holmes—The Professor at the Breakfast Table.

Yet while my Hector still survives, I see
My father, mother, brethren, all in thee.
Homer—Iliad. Bk. VI. L. 544. Pope’s trans.

Andromache! my soul’s far better part.
Homer—Iliad. Bk. VI. L. 624. Pope’s trans.

Felices ter et amplius
Quos irrupta tenet copula, nec malis
Divulsus querimoniis
Suprema citius solvet amor die.
Happy and thrice happy are they who enjoy an uninterrupted union, and whose love, unbroken by any complaints, shall not dissolve until the last day.
Horace—Carmina. I. 13. 17.

Marriages would in general be as happy, if not more so, if they were all made by the Lord Chancellor.
Samuel Johnson—Boswell’s Life. (1776).

I have met with women whom I really think would like to be married to a Poem, and to be given away by a Novel.
Keats—Letters to Fanny Brawne. Letter II.

Ay, marriage is the life-long miracle,
The self-begetting wonder, daily fresh.
Charles Kingsley—Saint’s Tragedy. Act II. Sc. 9.

You should indeed have longer tarried
By the roadside before you married.
Walter Savage Landor—To One Ill-mated.

As unto the bow the cord is,
So unto the man is woman;
Though she bonds him she obeys him,
Though she draws him, yet she follows,
Useless each without the other!
Longfellow—Hiawatha. Pt. X. L. 1.

Sure the shovel and tongs
To each other belongs.
Samuel Lover—Widow Machree.

Take heede, Camilla, that seeking al the Woode for a streight sticke, you chuse not at the last a crooked staffe.

Marriage is destinie, made in heaven.
Lyly’s Mother Bombie. Same in Clarke—Paræmologia. P. 230. (Ed. 1639).

Cling closer, closer, life to life,
Cling closer, heart to heart;
The time will come, my own wed Wife,
When you and I must part!
Let nothing break our band but Death,
For in the world above
’Tis the breaker Death that soldereth
Our ring of Wedded Love.
Gerald Massey—On a Wedding Day. St. 11.

And, to all married men, be this a caution,
Which they should duly tender as their life,
Neither to doat too much, nor doubt a wife.
Massinger—Picture. Act V. Sc. 3.

The sum of all that makes a just man happy
Consists in the well choosing of his wife:
And there, well to discharge it, does require
Equality of years, of birth, of fortune;
For beauty being poor, and not cried up
By birth or wealth, can truly mix with neither.
And wealth, when there’s such difference in years,
And fair descent, must make the yoke uneasy.
Massinger—New Way to Pay Old Debts. Act IV. Sc. 1.

What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder.
Matthew. XIX. 6.

Hail, wedded love, mysterious law; true source
Of human offspring.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. IV. L. 750.

To the nuptial bower
I led her, blushing like the morn; all Heaven,
And happy constellations on that hour
Shed their selectest influence; the earth
Gave sign of gratulation, and each hill;
Joyous the birds; fresh gales and gentle airs
Whisper’d it to the woods, and from their wings
Flung rose, flung odours from the spicy shrub.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. VIII. L. 510.

Therefore God’s universal law
Gave to the man despotic power
Over his female in due awe,
Not from that right to part an hour,
Smile she or lour.
Milton—Samson Agonistes. L. 1,053.

Par un prompt désespoir souvent on se marie.
Qu’on s’en repent après tout le temps de sa vie.
Men often marry in hasty recklessness and repent afterward all their lives.
Molière—Les Femmes Savantes. V. 5.

Women when they marry buy a cat in the bag.
Montaigne—Essays. Bk. III. Ch. V.

Il en advient ce qui se veoid aux cages; les oyseaux qui en sont dehors, desesperent d’y entrer; et d’un pareil soing en sortir, ceulx qui sont au dedans.
It happens as one sees in cages: the birds which are outside despair of ever getting in, and those within are equally desirous of getting out.
Montaigne—Essays. Bk. III. Ch. V.

There’s a bliss beyond all that the minstrel has told,
When two, that are link’d in one heavenly tie,
With heart never changing, and brow never cold,
Love on thro’ all ills, and love on till they die.
Moore—Lalla Rookh. Light of the Harem. St. 42.

Drink, my jolly lads, drink with discerning,
Wedlock’s a lane where there is no turning;
Never was owl more blind than a lover,
Drink and be merry, lads, half seas over.
D. M. Mulock—Magnus and Morna. Sc. 3.

Hac quoque de causa, si te proverbia tangunt,
Mense malos Maio nubere vulgus ait.
For this reason, if you believe proverbs, let me tell you the common one: “It is unlucky to marry in May.”
Ovid—Fasti. V. 489.

Si qua voles apte nubere, nube pari.
If thou wouldst marry wisely, marry thine equal.
Ovid—Heroides. IX. 32.

Some dish more sharply spiced than this
Milk-soup men call domestic bliss.
Coventry Patmore—Olympus.

The garlands fade, the vows are worn away;
So dies her love, and so my hopes decay.
Pope—Autumn. L. 70.

Grave authors say, and witty poets sing,
That honest wedlock is a glorious thing.
Pope—January and May. L. 21.

There swims no goose so gray, but soon or late
She finds some honest gander for her mate.
Pope—Wife of Bath. Her Prologue. From Chaucer. L. 98.

Before I trust my Fate to thee,
Or place my hand in thine,
Before I let thy Future give
Color and form to mine,
Before I peril all for thee,
Question thy soul to-night for me.
Adelaide Ann Procter—A Woman’s Question.

A prudent wife is from the Lord.
Proverbs. XIX. 14.

Advice to persons about to marry—Don’t.
“Punch’s Almanack.” (1845). Attributed to Henry Mayhew.

Le mariage est comme une forteresse assiégée; ceux qui sont dehors veulent y entrer et ceux qui sont dedans en sortir.
Marriage is like a beleaguered fortress; those who are without want to get in, and those within want to get out.
Quitard—Études sur les Proverbes Français. P. 102.

Widowed wife and wedded maid.
Scott—The Betrothed. Ch. XV.

Marriage is a desperate thing.
John Selden—Table Talk. Marriage.

If you shall marry,
You give away this hand, and that is mine;
You give away heaven’s vows, and those are mine;
You give away myself, which is known mine.
All’s Well That Ends Well. Act V. Sc. 3. L. 169.

Men are April when they woo, December when they wed; maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives.
As You Like It. Act IV. Sc. 1. L. 147.

I will fasten on this sleeve of thine:
Thou art an elm, my husband, I, a vine.
Comedy of Errors. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 175.

Men’s vows are women’s traitors! All good seeming,
By thy revolt, O husband, shall be thought
Put on for villany; not born where ’t grows,
But worn a bait for ladies.
Cymbeline. Act III. Sc. 4. L. 55.

Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
She married.
Hamlet. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 154.

The instances that second marriage move
Are base respects of thrift, but none of love.
Hamlet. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 192.

God, the best maker of all marriages,
Combine your hearts in one.
Henry V. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 387.

He is the half part of a blessed man,
Left to be finished by such as she;
And she a fair divided excellence,
Whose fulness of perfection lies in him.
King John. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 437.

A world-without-end bargain.
Love’s Labour’s Lost. Act V. Sc. 2. L. 799.

Hanging and wiving goes by destiny.
Merchant of Venice. Act II. Sc. 9. L. 83. Same in Schole House for Women. (1541).

As are those dulcet sounds in break of day
That creep into the dreaming bridegroom’s ear
And summon him to marriage.
Merchant of Venice. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 51.

Happiest of all, is, that her gentle spirit
Commits itself to yours to be directed,
As from her lord, her governor, her king.
Merchant of Venice. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 162.

I will marry her, sir, at your request; but if there be no great love in the beginning, yet heaven may decrease it upon better acquaintance***I hope, upon familiarity will grow more contempt: I will marry her; that I am freely dissolved, and dissolutely.
Merry Wives of Windsor. Act I. Sc. 1. L. 253.

But earthlier happy is the rose distill’d,
Than that which with’ring on the virgin thorn
Grows, lives and dies in single blessedness.
Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act I. Sc. 1. L. 76.

I would not marry her, though she were endowed with all that Adam had left him before he transgressed: she would have made Hercules have turned spit, yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire too.***I would to God some scholar would conjure her; for certainly, while she is here, a man may live as quiet in hell as in a sanctuary.
Much Ado About Nothing. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 258.

No, the world must be peopled. When I said, I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married.
Much Ado About Nothing. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 353.

Let husbands know,
Their wives have sense like them: they see, and smell,
And have their palates both for sweet and sour,
As husbands have.
Othello. Act IV. Sc. 3. L. 94.

She is not well married that lives married long:
But she’s best married that dies married young.
Romeo and Juliet. Act IV. Sc. 5. L. 77.

She is your treasure, she must have a husband;
I must dance barefoot on her wedding day
And for your love to her lead apes in hell.
Taming of the Shrew. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 32.

If she deny to wed, I’ll crave the day
When I shall ask the banns and when be married.
Taming of the Shrew. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 180.

Who wooed in haste, and means to wed at leisure.
Taming of the Shrew. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 11.

She shall watch all night:
And if she chance to nod I’ll rail and brawl
And with the clamour keep her still awake.
This is the way to kill a wife with kindness.
Taming of the Shrew. Act IV. Sc. 1. L. 218.

Thy husband***commits his body
To painful labour, both by sea and land,
And craves no other tribute at thy hands,
But love, fair looks, and true obedience;
Too little payment for so great a debt.
Taming of the Shrew. Act V. Sc. 2. L. 152.

Let still the woman take
An elder than herself: so wears she to him,
So sways she level in her husband’s heart:
For, boy, however we do praise ourselves,
Our fancies are more giddy and unfirm,
More longing, wavering, sooner lost and worn
Than women’s are.
Twelfth Night. Act II. Sc. 4. L. 29.

Then let thy love be younger than thyself,
Or thy affection cannot hold the bent:
For women are as roses, whose fair flower
Being once display’d, doth fall that very hour.
Twelfth Night. Act II. Sc. 4. L. 37.

Now go with me and with this holy man
Into the chantry by: there, before him,
And underneath that consecrated roof,
Plight me the full assurance of your faith.
Twelfth Night. Act IV. Sc. 3. L. 23.

To disbelieve in marriage is easy: to love a married woman is easy; but to betray a comrade, to be disloyal to a host, to break the covenant of bread and salt, is impossible.
Bernard Shaw—Getting Married.

What God hath joined together no man shall ever put asunder: God will take care of that.
Bernard Shaw—Getting Married.

The whole world is strewn with snares, traps, gins and pitfalls for the capture of men by women.
Bernard Shaw—Epistle Dedicatory to Man and Superman.

Lastly no woman should marry a teetotaller, or a man who does not smoke. It is not for nothing that this “ignoble tobagie” as Michelet calls it, spreads all over the world.
Stevenson—Virginibus Puerisque. Pt. I.

Under this window in stormy weather
I marry this man and woman together;
Let none but Him who rules the thunder
Put this man and woman asunder.
Swift—Marriage Service from His Chamber Window.

The reason why so few marriages are happy is because young ladies spend their time in making nets, not in making cages.
Swift—Thoughts on Various Subjects.

Celibate, like the fly in the heart of an apple, dwells in a perpetual sweetness, but sits alone, and is confined and dies in singularity.
Jeremy Taylor—Sermon. XVII. The Marriage Ring. Pt. I.

Marriages are made in Heaven.
Tennyson—Aylmer’s Field. L. 188.

As the husband is the wife is; thou art mated with a clown,
And the grossness of his nature will have weight to drag thee down.
Tennyson—Locksley Hall. St. 24.

Remember, it is as easy to marry a rich woman as a poor woman.
Thackeray—Pendennis. Bk. I. Ch. XXVIII.

This I set down as a positive truth. A woman with fair opportunities and without a positive hump, may marry whom she likes.
Thackeray—Vanity Fair. Ch. IV.

What woman, however old, has not the bridal-favours and raiment stowed away, and packed in lavender, in the inmost cupboards of her heart?
Thackeray—Virginians. Bk. I. Ch. XXVIII.

But happy they, the happiest of their kind!
Whom gentler stars unite, and in one fate
Their Hearts, their Fortunes, and their Beings blend.
Thomson—Seasons. Spring. L. 1,111.

Thrice happy is that humble pair,
Beneath the level of all care!
Over whose heads those arrows fly
Of sad distrust and jealousy.
Edmund Waller—Of the Marriage of the Dwarfs. L. 7.

The happy married man dies in good stile at home, surrounded by his weeping wife and children. The old bachelor don’t die at all—he sort of rots away, like a pollywog’s tail.
Artemus Ward—Draft in Baldinsville.

’Tis just like a summer bird cage in a garden: the birds that are without despair to get in, and the birds that are within despair, and are in a consumption, for fear they shall never get out.
John Webster—White Devil. Act I. Sc. 2.

Why do not words, and kiss, and solemn pledge,
And nature that is kind in woman’s breast,
And reason that in man is wise and good,
And fear of Him who is a righteous Judge,—
Why do not these prevail for human life,
To keep two hearts together, that began
Their spring-time with one love.
Wordsworth—Excursion. Bk. VI.

’Tis my maxim, he’s a fool that marries; but he’s a greater that does not marry a fool.
Wycherly—Country Wife. Act I. Sc. 1. L. 502.

You are of the society of the wits and railleurs … the surest sign is, since you are an enemy to marriage,—for that, I hear, you hate as much as business or bad wine.
Wycherly—Country Wife.

Body and soul, like peevish man and wife,
United jar, and yet are loth to part.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night II. L. 175.