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Seventeenth Century

Eighteenth Century



Presentation copy of a 'Coronation Suite' of Latin poems by Sir Thomas More to King Henry VIII upon his accession, 1509.
Presentation copy of a 'Coronation Suite'
of Latin poems by Sir Thomas More to King
Henry VIII upon his accession, 1509.

Sir Thomas More Quotes and Quotations

Better 'tis to be fortunate than wise!
— "The Words of Fortune to the People" (c.1504)

Divers heads, divers wits.
— "To Them Who Trust in Fortune"

None falleth far but he who climbeth high.
— "To Them Who Trust in Fortune"

Men use, if they have an evil turn, to write it in marble;
and whoso doth us a good turn, we write it in dust.
History of King Richard III (c.1513-1518)

What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can.
Utopia, Bk. 1. (1516)

Extreme justice is an extreme injury: for we ought not to approve of those terrible laws that make the smallest offences capital, nor of that opinion of the Stoics that makes all crimes equal; as if there were no difference to be made between the killing a man and the taking his purse, between which, if we examine things impartially, there is no likeness nor proportion.
Utopia, Bk 1. (1516)

They have no lawyers among them, for they consider them as a sort of people whose profession it is to disguise matters.
Utopia, Bk. 2. (1516)

All things appear incredible to us, as they differ more or less from our own manners.
Utopia, Bk 2. (1516)

Man's folly hath enhanced the value of gold and silver because of their scarcity; whereas nature, like a kind parent, hath freely given us the best things, such as air, earth, and water, but hath hidden from us those which are vain and useless.
Utopia, Bk 2. (1516)

When public judicatories are swayed by avarice or partiality, justice, the grand sinew of society, is lost.
Utopia, Bk 2. (1516)

While there is nothing so neat and witty that will not be made insipid by silly and inconsiderate loquacity, so also there is nothing in itself so insipid, that you cannot season with grace and wit if you give a little thought to it.
— A Letter to his Children, 1522.

Although poets are with many men taken but for painted words, yet do they much help the judgment, and make a man among other things well furnished in one special thing, without which all learning is half lame... a good mother wit.
A Dialogue Concerning Heresies (1529)

If any good thing shall go forward, something must be adventured.
A Dialogue Concerning Heresies (1529)

A faint faith is better than a strong heresy.
A Dialogue Concerning Heresies (1529)

A tale that fleeth through many mouths catcheth many feathers.
A Dialogue Concerning Heresies (1529)

I do not care very much what men say of me, provided that God approves of me.
— A Letter to Erasmus, 1532.

We see that this man fareth as one that walked bare-foot upon a field full of thorns, that wotteth not where to tread.
Confutation of Tyndales's Answer (1532)

He will bring forth for the plain proof his old three worshipful witnesses, which stand yet all unsworn, that is to wit: Some-say, and They-say, and Folk-say.
Confutation of Tyndales's Answer (1532)

He spinneth that fine lie with flax, fetching it out of his own body, as the spider spinneth her cobweb.
Confutation of Tyndales's Answer (1532)

Heretics be they that obstinately hold any self-minded opinion contrary to the doctrine that the common known Catholic Church teacheth and holdeth for necessary to salvation.
Debellation of Salem and Bizance (1533)

I never saw fool yet that thought himself other than wise.
A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation (1534)

A fond old man is often as full of words as a woman.
A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation (1534)

Many a man buyeth hell with so much pain, that he might have heaven with less than the one half.
A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation (1534)

He that biddeth other folk do well, and giveth evil example with the contrary deed himself, fareth even like a foolish weaver, that would weave a part with his one hand and unweave a part with his other.
A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation (1534)

I do nobody harm, I say none harm, I thinke none harm, but wish everybody good. And if this be not enough to keep a man alive, in good faith I long not to live.
— Letter to his daughter, Margaret, 1535.

Quoted by others:

We may not look at our pleasures to go to heaven in featherbeds; it is not the way, for our Lord Himself went thither with great pain, and by many tribulations, which was the path wherein He walked thither, and the servant may not look to be in better case than his Master.
— To his wife and children, according to William Roper.

Where there is no malice there can be no offense.
— Speech in his Defence, to the Lords of the Council, 1535.
Quoted by William Roper

I die the King's good servant, but God's first.
— Last words on the scaffold, 1535,
according to Paris Newsletter, August 4, 1535:
"qu'il mouroit son bon serviteur et de Dieu premierement."

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Queen Catherine of Aragon
Queen Anne Boleyn
Queen Jane Seymour
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Queen Catherine Howard
Queen Katherine Parr

King Edward VI
Queen Mary I
Queen Elizabeth I
Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond

Renaissance English Writers
Bishop John Fisher
William Tyndale
Sir Thomas More
John Heywood
Thomas Sackville
Nicholas Udall
John Skelton
Sir Thomas Wyatt
Henry Howard
Hugh Latimer
Thomas Cranmer
Roger Ascham
Sir Thomas Hoby
John Foxe
George Gascoigne
John Lyly
Thomas Nashe
Sir Philip Sidney
Edmund Spenser
Richard Hooker
Robert Southwell
Robert Greene
George Peele
Thomas Kyd
Edward de Vere
Christopher Marlowe
Anthony Munday
Sir Walter Ralegh
Thomas Hariot
Thomas Campion
Mary Sidney Herbert
Sir John Davies
Samuel Daniel
Michael Drayton
Fulke Greville
Emilia Lanyer
William Shakespeare

Persons of Interest
Cardinal Thomas Wolsey
Archbishop Thomas Cranmer
Thomas Cromwell
John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester
Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio
Cardinal Reginald Pole
Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester
William Tyndale
Pico della Mirandola
Desiderius Erasmus
Christopher Saint-German
Thomas Linacre
William Grocyn
Hugh Latimer
Elizabeth Barton, the Nun of Kent
For more, visit Encyclopedia

Historical Events
Field of the Cloth of Gold, 1520
Pilgrimage of Grace, 1536
The Babington Plot, 1586
The Spanish Armada, 1588

Oath of Supremacy
The Act of Supremacy, 1534
The First Act of Succession, 1534
The Third Act of Succession, 1544
The Ten Articles, 1536
The Six Articles, 1539
The Second Statute of Repeal, 1555

Images of London:
London in the time of Henry VII. MS. Roy. 16 F. ii.
London, 1510, earliest view in print
Map of England from Saxton's Descriptio Angliae, 1579
Location Map of Elizabethan London
Plan of the Bankside, Southwark, in Shakespeare's time
Detail of Norden's Map of the Bankside, 1593
Bull and Bear Baiting Rings from the Agas Map (1569-1590, pub. 1631)
Sketch of the Swan Theatre, c. 1596
Westminster in the Seventeenth Century, by Hollar
Visscher's Panoramic View of London, 1616. COLOR

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