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Seventeenth Century

Eighteenth Century



Sir Walter Ralegh or Raleigh Portrait

Sir Walter Ralegh: Quotes and Quotations

Source: John Bartlett (18201905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

    If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd’s tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee, and be thy love.
          The Nymph’s Reply to the Passionate Shepherd.
    Fain would I, but I dare not; I dare, and yet I may not;
I may, although I care not, for pleasure when I play not.
          Fain Would I.
    Passions are likened best to floods and streams:
The shallow murmur, but the deep are dumb. 1
          The Silent Lover.
    Silence in love bewrays more woe
  Than words, though ne’er so witty:
A beggar that is dumb, you know,
  May challenge double pity.
          The Silent Lover.
    Go, Soul, the body’s guest,
  Upon a thankless arrant:
Fear not to touch the best,
  The truth shall be thy warrant:
    Go, since I needs must die,
    And give the world the lie.
          The Lie.
    Methought I saw the grave where Laura lay. 2
          Verses to Edmund Spenser.
    Cowards [may] fear to die; but courage stout,
Rather than live in snuff, will be put out.
          On the snuff of a candle the night before he died.
Raleigh’s Remains, p. 258, ed. 1661.
    Even such is time, that takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, our all we have,
And pays us but with age and dust;
Who in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days.
But from this earth, this grave, this dust,
My God shall raise me up, I trust!
          Written the night before his death.
—Found in his Bible in the Gate-house at Westminster.
    Shall I, like an hermit, dwell
On a rock or in a cell?
    If she undervalue me,
What care I how fair she be? 3
    Fain would I climb, yet fear I to fall. 4
    [History] hath triumphed over time, which besides it nothing but eternity hath triumphed over.
          Historie of the World. Preface.
    O eloquent, just, and mightie Death! whom none could advise, thou hast perswaded; what none hath dared, thou hast done; and whom all the world hath flattered, thou only hast cast out of the world and despised. Thou hast drawne together all the farre stretchèd greatnesse, all the pride, crueltie, and ambition of man, and covered it all over with these two narrow words, Hic jacet!
          Historie of the World. Book v. Part 1.

Note 1.
Altissima quæque flumina minimo sono labi (The deepest rivers flow with the least sound).—Q. Curtius, vii. 4. 13.

Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep.—William Shakespeare: 2 Henry VI. act iii. sc. i. [back]
Note 2.
Methought I saw my late espoused saint.—John Milton: Sonnet xxiii.

Methought I saw the footsteps of a throne.—William Wordsworth: Sonnet. [back]
Note 3.
If she be not so to me,
What care I how fair she be?
George Wither: The Shepherd’s Resolution. [back]
Note 4.
Written in a glass window obvious to the Queen’s eye. “Her Majesty, either espying or being shown it, did under-write, ‘If thy heart fails thee, climb not at all.’”—Thomas Fuller: Worthies of England, vol. i. p. 419. [back]

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Created by Anniina Jokinen on January 13, 2007. Last updated on June 8, 2010.


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Elizabethan Theatre
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Images of London:
London in the time of Henry VII. MS. Roy. 16 F. ii.
London, 1510, the 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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