John Webster

(1578 - 1632 / London, England)

Quotations

  • ''We are merely the stars' tennis-balls, struck and bandied
    Which way please them.''
    John Webster (1580-1625), British dramatist. repr. In The Complete Works of John Webster, ed. F.L. Lucas (1927). Bosola, in The Duchess of Malfi, act 5, sc. 4, l. 53-4 (1623). See Shakespeare's comment on "life and death," expressing a similar idea.
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  • ''Other sins only speak; murder shrieks out:
    The element of water moistens the earth,
    But blood flies upwards, and bedews the heavens.''
    John Webster (1580-1625), British dramatist. repr. In The Complete Works of John Webster, ed. F.L. Lucas (1927). Bosola, in The Duchess of Malfi, act 4, sc. 2, l. 260-2 (1623).
  • ''Glories, like glow-worms, afar off shine bright,
    But looked to near, have neither heat nor light.''
    John Webster (1580-1625), British dramatist. repr. In The Complete Works of John Webster, ed. F.L. Lucas (1927). Bosola's song, in The Duchess of Malfi, act 4, sc. 2, l. 143-4 (1623).
  • ''Eagles commonly fly alone. They are crows, daws, and starlings that flock together.''
    John Webster (1580-1625), British dramatist. Ferdinand, in The Duchess of Malfi, act 5, sc. 2.
  • ''Fortune's a right whore.
    If she give ought, she deals it in small parcels,
    That she may take away all at one swoop.''
    John Webster (1580-1625), British dramatist. repr. In The Complete Works of John Webster, ed. F.L. Lucas (1927). Lodovico, in The White Devil, act 1, sc. 1, l. 4-6 (1612).
  • ''Vain the ambition of kings
    Who seek by trophies and dead things,
    To leave a living name behind,
    And weave but nets to catch the wind.''
    John Webster (1580-1625), British dramatist. repr. In The Complete Works of John Webster, ed. F.L. Lucas (1927). Romelio's song, in The Devil's Law-Case, act 5, sc. 4, l. 128-31 (1623).
  • ''To leave a living name behind,
    And weave but nets to catch the wind.''
    John Webster (c. 1580-1638), British writer. The Devil's Law Case (l. 15-16). . . Oxford Book of English Verse, The, 1250-1918. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (New ed., rev. and enl., 1939) Oxford University Press.
  • ''All the flowers of the spring
    Meet to perfume our burying;
    These have but their growing prime,
    And man does flourish but his time.
    Survey our progress from our birth—
    We are set, we grow, we turn to earth''
    John Webster (c. 1580-1638), British writer. The Devil's Law Case (l. 1-6). . . Oxford Book of English Verse, The, 1250-1918. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (New ed., rev. and enl., 1939) Oxford University Press.
  • ''I know death hath ten thousand several doors
    For men to take their exits.''
    John Webster (1580-1625), British dramatist. repr. In The Complete Works of John Webster, ed. F.L. Lucas (1927). The Duchess, in The Duchess of Malfi, act 4, sc. 2, l. 219-20 (1623). See Swift on books.
  • ''Heaven-gates are not so highly arched
    As princes' palaces: they that enter there
    Must go upon their knees.''
    John Webster (1580-1625), British dramatist. repr. In The Complete Works of John Webster, ed. F.L. Lucas (1927). The Duchess, in The Duchess of Malfi, act 4, sc. 2, l. 232-4 (1623).

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A Land Dirge

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.
Call unto his funeral dole
The ant, the field-mouse, and the mole,
To rear him hillocks that shall keep him warm
And, when gay tombs are robb'd, sustain no harm;
But keep the wolf far thence, that's foe to men,

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