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What virtue breeds, iniquity devours:
We have no good that we can say is ours:
But ill annexed opportunity

Or kills his life, or else his quality.

O, Opportunity! thy guilt is great:

"Tis thou that execut'st the traitor's treason; Thou set'st the wolf where he the lamb may get; Whoever plots the sin, thou 'point'st the season; "Tis thou that spurn'st at right, at law, at reason; And in thy shady cell, where none may spy him, Sits Sin, to seize the souls that wander by him. Thou mak'st the vestal violate her oath :

Thou blow'st the fire when temperance is thaw'd;
Thou smother'st honesty, thou murder'st troth;
Thou foul abettor ! thou notorious bawd!
Thou plantest scandal, and displacest laud:
Thou ravisher, thou traitor, thou false thief,
Thy honey turns to gall, thy joy to grief!
Thy secret pleasure turns to open shame,
Thy private feasting to a public fast;
Thy smoothing title to a ragged name;
Thy sugar'd tongue to bitter wormwood taste:
Thy violent vanities can never last.
How comes it then, vile Opportunity,
Being so bad, such numbers seek for thee?

When wilt thou be the humble suppliant's friend,
And bring him where his suit may be obtain'd?
When wilt thou sort an hour great strifes to end?
Or free that soul which wretchedness hath chain'd?
Give physic to the sick, ease to the pained?
The poor, lame, blind, halt, creep, cry out for thee;
But they ne'er meet with Opportunity.

The patient dies while the physician sleeps;
The orphan pines while the oppressor feeds;
Justice is feasting while the widow weeps;
Advice is sporting while infection breeds;
Thou grant'st no time for charitable deeds:
Wrath, envy, treason, rape, and murder's rages,
Thy heinous hours wait on them as their pages.
When Truth and Virtue have to do with thee,
A thousand crosses keep them from thy aid;
They buy thy help: but Sin ne'er gives a fee,

He gratis comes; and thou art well appay'd:
As well to hear as grant what he hath said.

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Guilty thou art of murder and of theft;
Guilty of perjury and subornation;
Guilty of treason, forgery, and shift ;
Guilty of incest, that abomination:
An accessary by thine inclination
To all sins past, and all that are to come,
From the creation to the general doom.

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Mis-shapen Time, copesmate of ugly night,
Swift subtle post, carrier of grisly care;
Eater of youth, false slave to false delight,


Base watch of woes, sin's pack-horse, virtue's snare; Thou nursest all, and murderest all, that are.

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Time's glory is to calm contending kings;
To unmask falsehood, and bring truth to light;
To stamp the seal of time on aged things;
To wake the morn, and centinel the night;
To wrong the wronger, till he render right;
To ruinate proud buildings, with thy hours,

And smear with dust their glittering golden towers;
To fill with worm-holes stately monuments;
To feed oblivion with decay of things;

To blot old books, and alter their contents;

To pluck the quills from ancient ravens' wings;
To dry the old oak's sap, and cherish springs;
To spoil antiquities of hammer'd steel,
And turn the giddy round of fortune's wheel:
To show the beldame daughters of her daughter;
To make the child a man, the man a child;
To slay the tiger, that doth live by slaughter;
To tame the unicorn, and lion wild;
To mock the subtle, in themselves beguiled;
To cheer the ploughman with increaseful crops,
And waste huge stones with little water-drops.
Why work'st thou mischief in thy pilgrimage,
Unless thou could'st return to make amends?

One poor retiring minute in an age,

Would purchase thee a thousand thousand friends;
Lending him wit, that to bad debtors lends.


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Brave conquerors !-for so you are,

That war against your own affections,
And the huge army of the world's desires.

8-i. 1.


Every place a home to the wise.

All places, that the eye of heaven visits,

Are to a wise man ports and happy havens:*
Teach thy necessity to reason thus ;

There is no virtue like necessity.

17-i. 3.

536 The proffered means of Heaven to be embraced.

The means, that heaven yields, must be embraced,
And not neglected; else, if heaven would,
And we will not, heaven's offer we refuse;

The proffer'd means of succour and redress.

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Better conquest never can'st thou make, Than arm thy constant and thy nobler parts Against those giddy loose suggestions.


17-iii. 2.

16-iii. 1.

Acquaintanceship to be formed with caution.

It is certain that either wise bearing, or ignorant carriage, is caught, as men take diseases, one of another: therefore, let men take heed of their company.

* Tit. i. 15.

19-v. 1.


Sorrow not to be courted.

In wooing sorrow let's be brief,

Since, wedding it, there is such length in grief.

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The truth thou art unsure

17-v. 1.


To swear, swear* only not to be forsworn;
Else, what a mockery should it be to swear!

Resignation to the will of God.

16-iii. 1.

Heaven me such usage send,

Not to pick bad from bad; but, by bad, mend!

37-iv. 3.


Knowledge to govern ourselves.

Let's teach ourselves. Ah, honourable stop,
Not to outsport discretion.

37-ii. 3.

Anger to be controlled by reason.


Let your reason with your choler question
What 'tis you go about: To climb steep hills
Requires slow pace at first: Anger is like
A full hot horse; who being allow'd his way,
Self-mettle tires him.



Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience.


25-i. 1.

36-iii. 4.

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When right with right wars, who shall be most right!

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Let's take the instant by the forward top;
For we are old, and on our quick'st decrees
The inaudible and noiseless foot of time

Steals, ere we can effect them.

* Old copy reads swears.

11-v. 3.


The encouragement to hope.

What! we have many goodly days to see:
The liquid drops of tears that you have shed,
Shall come again, transform'd to orient pearl;
Advantaging their loan with interest,

Of ten-times-double gain of happiness.



Weigh thy value with an even hand.

24-iv. 4.

9-ii. 7.

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6-iv. 1.

Doubt not but success

Will fashion the event in better shape
Than I can lay it down in likelihood.

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Though I look old, yet I am strong and lusty :
For in my youth I never did apply

Hot and rebellious liquors in my blood;
Nor did not with unbashful forehead woo
The means of weakness and debility;
Therefore my age is as a lusty winter,
Frosty, but kindly.


10-ii. 3.

The effects of anger.
Is your blood

So madly hot, that no discourse of reason,
Nor fear of bad success in a bad cause,

Can qualify the same?

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26-ii. 2.

You should account me the more virtuous, that I have not been common in my love.


28-ii. 3.

The same.

How long

Shall tender duty make me suffer wrong? 17-ii. 1.



From mine own knowledge.

Poison'd hours had bound me up

30-ii. 2.

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