I've seen the smiling of Fortune beguiling, I've felt all its favours and found its decay; Sweet was its blessing, kind its caressing, But now it is fled, fled far, far away. Richard Cobden
'The Flowers of the Forest'.
Awit should no more be sincerethana woman constant; one argues a decay of parts, as t'other of beauty. William Congreve
The Way of the World, act1, sc.6.
All human things are subject to decay, And, when fate summons, monarchs must obey. John Dryden
MacFlecknoe (published1682), l.1^2.
Words strain, Crack and sometimes break, under the burden, Under the tension, slip, slide, perish, Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place, Will not stay still. T(homas) S(tearns) Eliot
Four Quartets,'Burnt Norton', pt.5.
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 destroyed, can never be supplied. Oliver Goldsmith
The Deserted Village, l.51^6.
My God, I heard this day, That none doth build a stately habitation, But that he means to dwell therein. What house more stately hath there been, Or can be, than is Man? to whose creation All things are in decay. George Herbert
'Man', collected in The Temple, Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations (published posthumously,1633).
Iamnot yet so lost inlexicographyastoforgetthat words arethe daughters of earth, and thatthings arethesons of heaven. Language is only the instrument of science, and words are but thesigns of ideas: Iwish, however, that the instrument might be less apt to decay, and that signs might be permanent, like the things which they denote. Samuel known as Dr Johnson Johnson
A Dictionary of the English Language, preface.
An accountof the decadence occupying the trough between the two world wars introduces us to a moronic inferno of insipidityand decay. (Percy) Wyndham Lewis
Rude Assignment, ch.31.
I have always looked upon decayas being just as wonderful an expression of life as growth. Henry Valentine Miller
The Wisdom of the Heart,'Reflections on Writing'.
Probably the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing- fields of Eton, but the opening battles of all subsequent wars have been lost there.One of the dominant facts in English life during the past three-quarters of a century has been the decay of ability in the ruling class. George pseudonym of Eric Arthur Blair Orwell
The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius, pt.4.
Earth has waited for them, All the time of their growth Fretting for their decay: Now she has them at last. Isaac Rosenberg
'Dead Man's Dump'.
Can a society in which thought and technique are scientific persist for a long period, as, for example, ancient Egypt persisted, or does it necessarily contain within itself forces which must bring either decay or explosion? Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell
'Can a Scientific Community Be Stable?', Lloyd Roberts lecture to the Royal Society of Medicine, 29 Nov.
People can say what they like about the decay of Christianity; the religious system that produced green Chartreuse can never really die. Saki pseudonym of Hector Hugh Munro
Reginald,'Reginald on Christmas Presents'.
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!' Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away. Percy Bysshe Shelley
To that high Capital, where kingly Death Keeps his pale court in beauty and decay, He came. Percy Bysshe Shelley
Adonais, stanza 7.
We took away their countryand their means of support, broke up their mode of living, their habits of life, introduced disease and decayamong them and it was for this and against this they made war.Could anyone expect less? Philip Henry Sheridan
c.1870 Quoted inThomas C Leonard Above the Battle (1978).
So passeth, in the passing of a day, Of mortal life the leaf, the bud, the flower, No more doth flourish after first decay, That erst was sought to deck both bed and bower, Of manya lady, and many a paramour: Gather therefore the rose, whilst yet is prime, For soon comes age, that will her pride deflower: Gather the rose of love, whilst yet is time, Whilst loving thou mayst love' d be with equal crime. Edmund Spenser
The Faerie Queen, bk.2, canto12, stanza 75.
One day I wrote her name upon the strand, But came the waves and washe' d it away; Again I wrote it with a second hand, But came the tide, and made my pains his prey. 'Vain man,'said she,'that doest in vain assay A mortal thing so to immortalise, For I my self shall like to this decay, And eke my name be wipe' d out likewise.' 'Not so,'quod I,'let baser things devise To die in dust, but you shall live by fame: My verse your virtues rare shall eternise, And in the heavens write your glorious name. Where when as death shall all the world subdue, Our love shall live, and later life renew.' Edmund Spenser
Amoretti, sonnet 75.
What man that sees the ever-whirling wheel Of Change, the which all mortal things doth sway, But that thereby doth find, and plainly feel, How mutability in them doth play Her cruel sports, to many men's decay? Edmund Spenser
The Faerie Queen,'Mutability', canto 6, stanza1.
The woods decay, the woods decayand fall, The vapours weep their burthen to the ground, Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath, And after manya summer dies the swan. Me only cruel immortality Consumes: I wither slowly in thine arms, Here at the quiet limit of the world. Tennyson
I am very glad that I see Rome while it yet exists; before a great number of years are elapsed, I question whether it will be worth seeing. Between the ignorance and poverty of the present Romans, every thing is neglected and falling to decay. Horace, 4th Earl of Orford Walpole
Letter. Collected in P Cunningham (ed) The Letters of HoraceWalpole, Fourth Earl of Orford (1857^9).
Ispenttwo hourswiththat great man,Dr Johnson, who is sinking into the grave bya gentle decay. John WesleySearch Quotes Webster's New World Dictionary of Quotations Copyright © 2010 by Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Published by Wiley, Hoboken, NJ. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Journal entry,18 Dec.
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