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


The wrecks of matter, and the crush of worlds.
Addison—Cato. Act V. Sc. 1.

This restless world
Is full of chances, which by habit’s power
To learn to bear is easier than to shun.
John Armstrong—Art of Preserving Health. Bk. II. L. 453.

Wandering between two worlds, one dead,
The other powerless to be born,
With nowhere yet to rest my head,
Like these, on earth I wait forlorn.
Matthew Arnold—Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse.

Securus judicat orbis terrarum.
The verdict of the world is conclusive.
St. Augustine—Contra Epist. Parmen. III. 24.

This world’s a bubble.
Ascribed to Bacon by Thomas Farnaby. (1629). Appeared in his Book of Epigrams; and by Joshua Sylvester—Panthea. Appendix. (1630). See also Wottonianæ. P. 513. Attributed to Bishop Usher. See Miscellanes. H. W. Gent. (1708).

Earth took her shining station as a star,
In Heaven’s dark hall, high up the crowd of worlds.
Bailey—Festus. Sc. The Centre.

Dieu est le poète, les hommes ne sont que les acteurs. Ces grandes pièces qui se jouent sur la terre ont été composées dans le ciel.
God is the author, men are only the players. These grand pieces which are played upon earth have been composed in heaven.
Balzac—Socrate Chrétien.

Fly away, pretty moth, to the shade
Of the leaf where you slumbered all day;
Be content with the moon and the stars, pretty moth,
And make use of your wings while you may.
But tho’ dreams of delight may have dazzled you quite,
They at last found it dangerous play;
Many things in this world that look bright, pretty moth,
Only dazzle to lead us astray.
Thos. Haynes Bayly—Fly away, pretty Moth.

Let the world slide.
Beaumont and Fletcher—Wit Without Money. Act V. Sc. 2. Taming of the Shrew. Induction. Sc. 1. L. 5. Also Sc. 2. L. 146. (“Slip” in folio.)

The world is like a board with holes in it, and the square men have got into the round holes, and the round into the square.
Bishop Berkeley, as quoted by Punch.

Renounce the devil and all his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world.
Book of Common Prayer. Public Baptism of Infants.

The pomps and vanity of this wicked world.
Book of Common Prayer. Catechism.

He sees that this great roundabout,
The world, with all its motley rout,
Church, army, physic, law,
Its customs and its businesses,
Is no concern at all of his,
And says—what says he?—Caw.
Vincent Bourne—The Jackdaw. Cowper’s trans.

’Tis a very good world we live in
To spend, and to lend, and to give in;
But to beg, or to borrow, or ask for our own;
’Tis the very worst world that ever was known.
J. Bromfield. As given in The Mirror, under The Gatherer. Sept. 12, 1840. Quoted by Irving in Tales of a Traveller. Prefixed to Pt. II. Another similar version attributed to Earl of Rochester.

This is the best world, that we live in,
To lend and to spend and to give in:
But to borrow, or beg, or to get a man’s own,
It is the worst world that ever was known.
From A Collection of Epigrams. (1737).

The severe schools shall never laugh me out of the philosophy of Hermes, that this visible world is but a picture of the invisible, wherein as in a portrait, things are not truly, but in equivocal shapes, and as they counterfeit some real substance in that invisible fabric.
Sir Thomas Browne—Religio Medici.

In this bad, twisted, topsy-turvy world,
Where all the heaviest wrongs get uppermost.
E. B. Browning—Aurora Leigh. Bk. V. L. 981.

O world as God has made it! All is beauty.
Robert Browning—Guardian Angel. A Picture at Fano.

The wide world is all before us—
But a world without a friend.
Burns—Strathallan’s Lament.

I have not loved the world, nor the world me;
I have not flatter’d its rank breath, nor bow’d
To its idolatries a patient knee.
Byron—Childe Harold. Canto III. St. 113.

Well, well, the world must turn upon its axis,
And all mankind turn with it, heads or tails,
And live and die, make love and pay our taxes,
And as the veering winds shift, shift our sails.
Byron—Don Juan. Canto II. St. 4.

Such is the world. Understand it, despise it, love it; cheerfully hold on thy way through it, with thy eye on highest loadstars!
Carlyle—Essays. Count Cagliostro. Last lines.

The true Sovereign of the world, who moulds the world like soft wax, according to his pleasure, is he who lovingly sees into the world.
Carlyle—Essays. Death of Goethe.

Socrates, quidem, cum rogaretur cujatem se esse diceret, “Mundanum,” inquit; totius enim mundi se incolam et civem arbitrabatur.
Socrates, indeed, when he was asked of what country he called himself, said, “Of the world;” for he considered himself an inhabitant and a citizen of the whole world.
Cicero—Tusculanarum Disputationum. Bk. V. 37. 108.

Such stuff the world is made of.
Cowper—Hope. L. 211.

’Tis pleasant, through the loopholes of retreat,
To peep at such a world; to see the stir
Of the Great Babel, and not feel the crowd.
Cowper—Task. Bk. IV. L. 88.

And for the few that only lend their ear,
That few is all the world.
Samuel Daniel—Musophilus. St. 97.

Vien dietro a me, e lascia dir le genti.
Come, follow me, and leave the world to its babblings.
Dante—Purgatorio. V. 13.

Quel est-il en effet? C’est un verre qui luit,
Qu’un souffle peut detruire, et qu’un souffle a produit.
What is it [the world], in fact? A glass which shines, which a breath can destroy, and which a breath has produced.
De Caux—L’Horloge de Sable. (1745). In D’Israeli’s Curiosities of Literature. Imitations and Similarities.

I am a citizen of the world.
Diogenes Laertius.

The world is a wheel, and it will all come round right.
Benj. Disraeli—Endymion. Ch. LXX.

Since every man who lives is born to die,
And none can boast sincere felicity,
With equal mind, what happens let us bear,
Nor joy nor grieve too much for things beyond our care.
Like pilgrims, to th’ appointed place we tend;
The world’s an inn, and death the journey’s end.
Dryden—Palamon and Arcite. Bk. III. L. 2,159.

The world’s a stage where God’s omnipotence,
His justice, knowledge, love and providence,
Do act the parts.
Du Bartas—Divine Weekes and Workes. First Week. First Day.

I take the world to be but as a stage,
Where net-maskt men doo play their personage.
Du Bartas—Divine Weekes and Workes. Dialogue Between Heraclitus and Democritus. “The world is a stage; each plays his part, and receives his portion.” Found in Winschooten’s Seeman. (1681). Bohn’s Collection, 1857. Juvenal—Satires. III. 100. (Natio comœda est.)

But they will maintain the state of the world;
And all their desire is in the work of their craft.
Ecclesiasticus. XXXVIII. 34.

Pythagoras said that this world was like a stage,
Whereon many play their parts; the lookers-on the sage
Philosophers are, saith he, whose part is to learn
The manners of all nations, and the good from the bad to discern.
Richard Edwards—Damon and Pythias.

Good-bye, proud world! I’m going home;
Thou art not my friend; I am not thine.
Emerson—Good-bye, Proud World! (“And I,” in later Ed.)

Shall I speak truly what I now see below?
The World is all a carkass, smoak and vanity,
The shadow of a shadow, a play
And in one word, just Nothing.
Owen Felltham—Resolves. P. 316. (Ed. 1696). From the Latin said to have been left by Lipsius to be put on his grave.

Map me no maps, sir; my head is a map, a map of the whole world.
Fielding—Rape upon Rape. Act I. Sc. 5.

Long ago a man of the world was defined as a man who in every serious crisis is invariably wrong.
Fortnightly Review. Armageddon—and After. Nov., 1914. P. 736.

Mais dons ce monde, il n’y a rien d’assure que le mort et les impots.
But in this world nothing is sure but death and taxes.
Franklin—Letter to M. Leroy. (1789).

Eppur si muove. (Epur.)
But it does move.
Galileo—Before the Inquisition. (1632). Questioned by Karl von Geble; also by Prof. Heis, who says it appeared first in the Dictionnaire Historique. Caen. (1789). Guisar says it was printed in the Lehrbuch der Geschichte. Wurtzburg. (1774). Conceded to be apocryphal. Earliest appearance in Abbé Irailh—Querelle’s Litteraires.

Il mondo è un bel libro, ma poco serve a chi non lo sa leggere.
The world is a beautiful book, but of little use to him who cannot read it.
Goldoni—Pamela. I. 14.

Ill fares the land, to hastening 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 destroy’d can never be supplied.
Goldsmith—Deserted Village. L. 51.

Creation’s heir, the world, the world is mine!
Goldsmith—Traveller. L. 50.

Earth is but the frozen echo of the silent voice of God.

Let the world slide, let the world go;
A fig for care and a fig for woe!
If I can’t pay, why I can owe,
And death makes equal the high and low.
John Heywood—Be Merry Friends.

The world’s a theatre, the earth a stage,
Which God and nature do with actors fill.
Heywood—Dramatic Works. Vol. I. The Author to His Book. Prefix to Apology for Actors.

Nor is this lower world but a huge inn,
And men the rambling passengers.
James Howell—The Vote. Poem prefixed to his Familiar Letters.

There are two worlds; the world that we can measure with line and rule, and the world that we feel with our hearts and imaginations.
Leigh Hunt—Men, Women, and Books. Fiction and Matter of Fact.

The nations are as a drop of a bucket.
Isaiah. XL. 15.

World without end.
Isaiah. XLV. 17.

The visible world is but man turned inside out that he may be revealed to himself.
Henry James (the Elder). From J. A. Kellog—Digest of the Philosophy of Henry James.

It takes all sorts of people to make a world.
Douglas Jerrold—Story of a Feather. In Punch. Vol. V. P. 55.

I never have sought the world; the world was not to seek me.
Samuel Johnson—Boswell’s Life of Johnson. (1783).

This world, where much is to be done and little to be known.
Samuel Johnson—Prayers and Meditations. Against Inquisitive and Perplexing Thoughts.

If there is one beast in all the loathsome fauna of civilization I hate and despise, it is a man of the world.
Henry Arthur Jones—The Liars. Act I.

Upon the battle ground of heaven and hell
I palsied stand.
Marie Josephine—Rosa Mystica. P. 231.

The world goes up and the world goes down,
And the sunshine follows the rain;
And yesterday’s sneer and yesterday’s frown
Can never come over again,
Sweet wife.
No, never come over again.
Charles Kingsley—Dolcino to Margaret.

For to admire an’ for to see,
For to be’old this world so wide—
It never done no good to me,
But I can’t drop it if I tried!
Kipling—For to Admire. In The Seven Seas.

If all the world must see the world
As the world the world hath seen,
Then it were better for the world
That the world had never been.
Leland—The World and the World.

It is an ugly world. Offend
Good people, how they wrangle,
The manners that they never mend,
The characters they mangle.
They eat, and drink, and scheme, and plod,
And go to church on Sunday—
And many are afraid of God—
And more of Mrs. Grundy.
Frederick Locker-Lampson—The Jester’s Plea.

O what a glory doth this world put on
For him who, with a fervent heart, goes forth
Under the bright and glorious sky, and looks
On duties well performed, and days well spent!

Glorious indeed is the world of God around us, but more glorious the world of God within us. There lies the Land of Song; there lies the poet’s native land.
Longfellow—Hyperion. Bk. I. Ch. VIII.

One day with life and heart,
Is more than time enough to find a world.
Lowell—Columbus. Last lines.

Flammantia mœnia mundi.
The flaming ramparts of the world.
Lucretius—De Rerum Natura. I. 73.

When the world dissolves,
And every creature shall be purified,
All places shall be hell that are not heaven.
Marlowe—Faustus. L. 543.

The world in all doth but two nations bear,
The good, the bad, and these mixed everywhere.
Marvell—The Loyal Scot.

This world is full of beauty, as other worlds above,
And if we did our duty, it might be as full of love.
Gerald Massey—This World.

The world’s a stage on which all parts are played.
Thos. Middleton—A Game of Chess. Act V. Sc. II.

Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot
Which men call Earth.
Milton—Comus. L. 5.

Hanging in a golden chain
This pendent world, in bigness as a star
Of smallest magnitude close by the moon.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. II. L. 1,051.

A boundless continent,
Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of night
Starless expos’d.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. III. L. 423.

Then stayed the fervid wheels, and in his hand
He took the golden compasses, prepared
In God’s eternal store, to circumscribe
This universe and all created things:
One foot he centred, and the other turned
Round through the vast profundity obscure,
And said, “Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds,
This be thy just circumference, O World.”
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. VII. L. 224. God is like a skillful Geometrician. Sir Thomas Browne—Religio Medici. Pt. I. Sect. XVI. Nature geometrizeth and observeth order in all things. Sir Thomas Browne—Garden of Cyrus. Ch. III. The same idea appears in Comber—Companion to the Temple. (Folio 1684). God acts the part of a Geometrician…. His government of the World is no less mathematically exact than His creation of it. (Quoting Plato.) John Norris—Practical Discourses. II. P. 228. (Ed. 1693). “God Geometrizes” is quoted as a traditional sentence used by Plato, in Plutarch—Symposium. By a carpenter mankind was created and made, and by a carpenter mete it was that man should be repaired. Erasmus—Paraphrase of St. Mark. Folio 42.

The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. XII. L. 646.

Le monde n’est qu’une bransloire perenne.
The world is but a perpetual see-saw.
Montaigne—Essays. Bk. III. Ch. II.

Is it not a noble farce wherein kings, republics, and emperors have for so many ages played their parts, and to which the vast universe serves for a theatre?
Montaigne—Of the Most Excellent Men.

Or may I think when toss’d in trouble,
This world at best is but a bubble.
Dr. Moor. MS.

This world is all a fleeting show,
For man’s illusion given;
The smiles of joy, the tears of woe,
Deceitful shine, deceitful flow,—
There’s nothing true but Heaven.
Moore—This World is all a Fleeting Show.

This outer world is but the pictured scroll
Of worlds within the soul;
A colored chart, a blazoned missal-book,
Whereon who rightly look
May spell the splendors with their mortal eyes,
And steer to Paradise.
Alfred Noyes—The Two Worlds.

Think, in this battered Caravanserai,
Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day,
How Sultán after Sultán with his Pomp
Abode his destined Hour, and went his way.
Omar Khayyam—Rubaiyat. St. 17. FitzGerald’s trans.

Love to his soul gave eyes; he knew things are not as they seem.
The dream is his real life: the world around him is the dream.
F. T. Palgrave—Dream of Maxim Wledig.

Quod fere totus mundus exerceat histrionem.
Almost the whole world are players.
Petronius Arbiter—Adapted from Fragments. No. 10. (Ed. 1790). Over the door of Shakespeare’s theatre, The Globe, Bankside, London, was a figure of Hercules; under this figure was the above quotation. It probably suggested “All the world’s a stage.”

They who grasp the world,
The Kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
Must pay with deepest misery of spirit,
Atoning unto God for a brief brightness.
Stephen Phillips—Herod. Act III.

Alexander wept when he heard from Anaxarchus that there was an infinite number of worlds, and his friends asking him if any accident had befallen him he returned this answer: “Do you not think it is a matter worthy of lamentation that where there is such a vast multitude of them we have not yet conquered one?”
Plutarch—On the Tranquillity of the Mind. One world is not sufficient; he [Alexander the Great] fumes unhappy in the narrow bounds of this earth. Quoted from Juvenal—Satires. X.

But as the world, harmoniously confused,
Where order in variety we see;
And where, tho’ all things differ, all agree.
Pope—Windsor Forest.

My soul, what’s lighter than a feather? Wind.
Than wind? The fire. And what than fire? The mind.
What’s lighter than the mind? A thought. Than thought?
This bubble world. What than this bubble? Nought.
Quarles—Emblems. Bk. I. 4.

All nations and kindreds and people and tongues.
Revelation. VII. 9.

Le monde est le livre des femmes.
The world is woman’s book.

The worlde bie diffraunce ys ynn orderr founde.
Rowley—The Tournament. Same idea in Pascal—Pensées. Bernardin de St. Pierre—Etudes de la Nature. Burke—Reflections on the French Revolution. Horace—Epistle 12. Lucan—Pharsalia. Longinus—Remark on the Eloquence of Demosthenes.

Es liebt die Welt, das Stralende zu schwärzen
Und das Erhabne in den Staub zu ziehn.
The world delights to tarnish shining names,
And to trample the sublime in the dust.
Schiller—Das Mädchen von Orleans.

Denn nur vom Nutzen wird die Welt regiert.
For the world is ruled by interest alone.
Schiller—Wallenstein’s Tod. I. 6. 37.

Non sum uni angulo natus; patria mea totus hic est mundus.
I am not born for one corner; the whole world is my native land.
Seneca—Epistles. 28.

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
As You Like It. Act II. Sc. 7. L. 139.

This wide and universal theatre
Presents more woful pageants than the scene
Wherein we play in.
As You Like It. Act II. Sc. 7. L. 137.

How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Hamlet. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 133.

For some must watch, while some must sleep;
So runs the world away.
Hamlet. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 284.

Would I were dead! if God’s good will were so:
For what is in this world but grief and woe?
Henry VI. Pt. III. Act II. Sc. 5. L. 19.

Mad world. Mad kings. Mad composition.
King John. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 561.

The earth hath bubbles, as the water has,
And these are of them.
Macbeth. Act I. Sc. 4. L. 79.

To be imprisoned in the viewless winds
And blown with restless violence around about
The pendent world.
Measure for Measure. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 124.

I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano:
A stage where every man must play a part.
Merchant of Venice. Act I. Sc. 1. L. 76.

Why, then, the world’s mine oyster,
Which I with sword will open.
Merry Wives of Windsor. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 2.

The world is grown so bad,
That wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch.
Richard III. Act I. Sc. 3. L. 70.

You’ll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race.
Bernard Shaw—O’Flaherty, V. C.

The world’s great age begins anew,
The golden years return,
The earth doth like a snake renew
Her winter weeds outworn.
Shelley—Hellas. Last chorus.

Making a perpetual mansion of this poor baiting place.
Sir Philip Sidney—Arcadia. Same idea in Moore—Irish Melodies. Irving—Bracebridge Hall. Vol. I. P. 213. An adaptation of Cicero—De Senectute. 26; and Seneca—Epistles. 120.

If you choose to represent the various parts in life by holes upon a table, of different shapes,—some circular, some triangular, some square, some oblong,—and the persons acting these parts by bits of wood of similar shapes, we shall generally find that the triangular person has got into the square hole, the oblong into the triangular, and a square person has squeezed himself into the round hole. The officer and the office, the doer and the thing done, seldom fit so exactly that we can say they were almost made for each other.
Sydney Smith—Sketches of Moral Philosophy. P. 309.

O Earth! all bathed with blood and tears, yet never
Hast thou ceased putting forth thy fruit and flowers.
Madame de Staël—Corinne. Bk. XIII. Ch. IV. L. E. L.’s trans.

This world surely is wide enough to hold both thee and me.
Sterne—Tristram Shandy. Bk. II. Ch. XII.

There was all the world and his wife.
Swift—Polite Conversation. Dialogue III. Anstey—New Bath Guide. P. 130. (1767).

In this playhouse of infinite forms I have had my play, and here have I caught sight of him that is formless.
Rabindranath Tagore—Gitanjali. 96.

A mad world, my masters.
John Taylor—Western Voyage. First line. Middleton. Title of a play. (1608). Nicholas Breton. Title of a pamphlet. (1603). Mundus furiosus. (a mad world.) Inscription of a book by Jansenius—Gallo-Belgicus. (1596).

So many worlds, so much to do,
So little done, such things to be.
Tennyson—In Memoriam. Pt. LXXIII.

The world is a looking glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it and it will in turn look sourly upon you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind companion.
Thackeray—Vanity Fair.

Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist.
Francis Thompson—Hound of Heaven. L. 126.

Anchorite, who didst dwell
With all the world for cell!
Francis Thompson—To the Dead Cardinal of Westminster. St. 5.

For, if the worlds
In worlds enclosed should on his senses burst***
He would abhorrent turn.
Thomson—Seasons. Summer. L. 313.

Heed not the folk who sing or say
In sonnet sad or sermon chill,
“Alas, alack, and well-a-day!
This round world’s but a bitter pill.”
We too are sad and careful; still
We’d rather be alive than not.
Graham R. Tomson—Ballade of the Optimist.

Tout est pour le mieux dans le meilleur des mondes.
Everything is for the best in this best of possible worlds.
Voltaire—Candide. I. (A hit against Leibnitz’ Optimistic Doctrines.)

Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view,
That stand upon the threshold of the new.
Waller—Divine Poems. Works. P. 316. (Ed. 1729).

The world is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel.
Horace Walpole—Letter to Sir Horace Mann. (1770).

If we suppose a sufficient righteousness and intelligence in men to produce presently, from the tremendous lessons of history, an effective will for a world peace—that is to say, an effective will for a world law under a world government—for in no other fashion is a secure world peace conceivable—in what manner may we expect things to move towards this end?… It is an educational task, and its very essence is to bring to the minds of all men everywhere, as a necessary basis for world cooperation, a new telling and interpretation, a common interpretation, of history.
H. G. Wells—Outline of History. Ch. XLI. Par. 2.

What is this world? A net to snare the soule.
George Whetstone. In Tottle’s Miscellany. Erroneously attributed to Gascoigne.

I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
Walt Whitman—Starting from Pawmano. No. 52.

Was ist ihm nun die Welt? ein weiter leerer Raum,
Fortunen’s Spielraum, frei ihr Rad herum zu rollen.
What is the world to him now? a vast and vacant space, for fortune’s wheel to roll about at will.
Wieland—Oberon. VIII. 20.

I have my beauty,—you your Art—
Nay, do not start:
One world was not enough for two
Like me and you.
Oscar Wilde—Her Voice.

When the fretful stir
Unprofitable, and the fever of the world
Have hung upon the beatings of my heart.
Wordsworth—Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey.

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours.
Wordsworth—Miscellaneous Sonnets. Pt. I. XXXIII.

The world’s a bubble—and the life of man
Less than a span.
In his conception wretched, and from the womb
So to the tomb.
Nurst from the cradle, and brought up to years
With cares and fears.
Who then to frail mortality shall trust,
But limns in water, and but writes in dust.
Wotton—The World. Ode to Bacon.

Man of the World (for such wouldst thou be called)—
And art thou proud of that inglorious style?
Young—Night Thoughts. Night VIII. L. 8.

They most the world enjoy who least admire.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night VIII. L. 1,173.

Let not the cooings of the world allure thee:
Which of her lovers ever found her true?
Young—Night Thoughts. Night VIII. L. 1,279.