SAJEEPEDIA

HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE

HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE

The History of English Literature starts with Beowulf, an Anglo-Saxon (Old English) epic poem comprising 3,182 alliterative lines, written in the 8th century. If modern readers go through this epic, they will understand the continuous linguistic development the language had undergone from period to period, from time to time, in the centuries that followed the poem.

Saint Bede, one of the greatest teachers and writers of the Early Middle Ages, said ‘Cædmon’s Hymn’ by Cædmon is the oldest surviving poem in English, composed in the 7th century. Bede was a co-herder, an illiterate, who was able to sing in honour of God. Wulfstan was the former Bishop of Worcester, Archbishop of York and also a major ecclesiastical figure, Benedictine monk during the late Anglo-Saxon period. He was also a writer of sermons who wrote on Anti-christian topics. His most famous work was the Sermon of the Wolf to the English (Sermo Lupi ad Anglos).

Today many countries possess English as their native tongue and the literature in these countries are also called English Literature. Not to be confused one with another, we categorize British Literature, American Literature, Commonwealth Literature and so on. But the History of English Literature was born with England.

It took more than a 1000 years for the development of English Language. Anglo-Saxon is the earliest form of English, a dialect brought to southern half of the island of Great Britain in the Early Middle Ages by Anglo-Saxons, the members of Germanic-speaking groups. Norman Conquest in 1066 marks the evolution of Middle English from Anglo-Saxon or Old English. A large amount of French vocabulary added to Old English and this led to the development of Old English to Middle English.

OLD ENGLISH LITERATURE

The Old English period expands from c. 450 to 1075, the end of Norman Conquest. Only a few books from old English survive today, only around 400 manuscripts. The Codex Exoniensis (The Exeter Book), The Vercelli Book, The Nowell Codex and The Junius manuscript (the Cædmon manuscript) are the four major codices of poetry from Anglo-Saxon period. Manuscripts from Old English period appear in these codices.

THE TRAVELLER’S SONG

The Traveller’s Song or Widsith is an old English poem which appears in The Codex Exoniensis. The poem talks about the common people and kings of the age in the Northern Europe.  The poem contains 143 lines.

Offa weold Ongle, Alewih Denum;
se wæs þara manna modgast ealra,
no hwæþre he ofer Offan eorlscype fremede,
ac Offa geslog ærest monna,
cnihtwesende,cynerica mæst.

BEOWULF

Beowulf is the oldest surviving and most frequently translated epic poem from Old English Literature. It is written in the tradition of Germanic heroic legend. Its author is unknown. During this period, epic poems were written intended to be performed. Beowulf is the protagonist of the poem who joins as a servant to Hrothgar, King of the Danes and becomes a hero after killing the king’s enemies. Later he becomes the King of the Geats. A dragon becomes a great threat to him. He slays the dragon finally but is greatly hurt during the fight. He is buried by the sea and a Tumulus is raised in his honour. A few lines from the Modern translation of the poem:

Famed was this Beowulf: far flew the boast of him,
son of Scyld, in the Scandian lands.
So becomes it a youth to quit him well
with his father’s friends, by fee and gift,
that to aid him, aged, in after days,
come warriors willing, should war draw nigh,
liegemen loyal: by lauded deeds
shall an earl have honor in every clan.
Forth he fared at the fated moment,
sturdy Scyld to the shelter of God.

Although the proper date of its composition is unknown, most sources say that it was composed in the 8th century. It has achieved the status of the national epic poem in England.

THE WANDERER

The Wanderer is another poem from Old English Literature appears only in The Codex Exoniensis. The poem was composed during 10th century written in alliterative verses of 112 lines. The author of the poem is anonymous. A few lines from the Modern translation of the poem:

Often the solitary one

finds grace for himself

the mercy of the Lord,

Although he, sorry-hearted,

must for a long time

move by hand [in context = row]

along the waterways,

(along) the ice-cold sea,

tread the paths of exile.

Events always go as they must!

THE SEAFARER

The Seafarer is a small poem of of 124 lines from Old English Literature. It is an account of a man alone on the sea. An old seafarer describes the hardships of life on the wintry sea and how it differs from the life on land. The suffering and anxiety of solitude on a voyage on the sea is never comparable to life on land. The opening lines of the poem in modern translation:

May I for my own self song’s truth reckon,
Journey’s jargon, how I in harsh days
Hardship endured oft.
Bitter breast-cares have I abided,
Known on my keel many a care’s hold,
And dire sea-surge, and there I oft spent
Narrow nightwatch nigh the ship’s head
While she tossed close to cliffs. Coldly afflicted,
My feet were by frost benumbed.

 

MIDDLE ENGLISH LITERATURE

The end of Norman Conquest (1075) marks the transition from the Anglo-Saxon into Middle English period. The Middle English Literature encompasses the body of writings during the period between 1066 and 1500 AD. Some of the significant writers in English Literature belong to this period. Most importantly Geoffrey Chaucer, the author of ‘The Canterbury Tales’. During this period, the dominant French became the language of courts, parliament, and educated society. The Anglo-Saxon underwent a gradual transition under the influence of various dialects. Middle English Literature was not written in any standard dialects.

John Wycliffe’s Bible translations during this period helped to establish Middle English as a literary language. Most popular writers during this period include Geoffrey Chaucer, William Langland, John Gower and the Pearl Poet. 

GEOFFREY CHAUCER

Chaucer is widely regarded as the most popular writer in the Middle English Literature. He is often called the ‘father of English Poetry’ and sometimes the ‘father of English Literature’. He is known for lucidity of expression and his use of colloquial language to describe his characters. The first poet to be buried in Poets’ Corner, in Westminster Abbey. Chaucer’s literary career may be divided into three periods:

  • French Period – (1360-1370)
  • Italian Period – (1370- 1385)
  • English Period – (1384 – 1390)

During French period, he wrote The Romaunt of the Rose and The Book of the Duchess (The Dreame of Chaucer). During Italian period, he wrote The House of Fame, The Legend of Good Women, Troilus and Criseyde, Anelida and Arcite and Parlement of Foules. He introduced Heroic Couplet (iambic pentameter couplets) in his The Legend of Good Women. He also invented Rhyme Royal (known as Chaucerian Stanza) in Troilus and Criseyde. During English Period, Chaucer wrote the famous ‘The Canterbury Tales‘ and A Treatise on the Astrolabe.

THE CANTERBURY TALES

The Canterbury Tales is Chaucer’s unfinished work. Chaucer intended to write 120 tales, but it was left incomplete at his death after writing only 24 tales. Despite its erratic qualities, The Canterbury Tales continues to be enjoyed by the readers for his characteristic use of satirical wit. It was written probably after the death of his wife Philippa de Roet in 1387 and published in 1400.

A group of pilgrims go on a pilgrimage to Canterbury to visit the relics of Saint Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral. The narrator joins the group of twenty-nine travelers at the Tabard Inn in Southwark. The travellers are of various backgrounds. The narrator suggests the group that they each tell four tales, two on the way to Canterbury and two on the way back, so as to entertain themselves. Everyone gladly accepts. Thus each of them tell stories, but none in the group tells four stories as the narrator has suggested. The Canterbury Tales are mostly erratic, blasphemous and obscene.

THE BOOK OF THE DUCHESS

The Book of the Duchess is about the untimely death of Blanch, the wife of Duke of Lancaster in 1368. The exact date of its composition is still in a debate. Also known as ‘The Dream of Chaucer or The Death of Blanche’, the poem is written in Dream Vision genre comprising 1334 lines and  composed in octosyllabic rhyming couplets.

The book can be divided into two parts:
  • The Proem and
  • The Dream (The Poem)
The Proem is a short introduction which echoes the main action of The Poem. The Proem comprises Lines 1 to 290 and Lines 291 to 1334 comprise The Dream.

WILLIAM LANGLAND

William Langland is popular writer from the Middle English Literature. Piers Plowman or Visio Willelmi de Petro Ploughman (William’s Vision of Piers Plowman) is a Middle English allegory and narrative poem written by him in alliterative verses. The verses are divided into sections called ‘Passus’. Piers Plowman is said to have influenced Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. Piers Plowman is attributed to his name because of the manuscript of the poem kept at Trinity College, Dublin which attributes the poem to Willielmi de Langland, son of Stacy de Rokayle, “who died in Shipton-under-Wychwood, a tenant of the Lord Spenser in the county of Oxfordshire.”

Piers Plowman is a social satire in dream-vision genre. It is about the narrator’s journey for true Christian life and his search for three allegorical characters Dowel (“Do-Well”), Dobet (“Do-Better”), and Dobest (“Do-Best”). Originally titled as Visio Willelmi de Petro Ploughman (William’s Vision of Piers Plowman).

JOHN GOWER

John Gower is a writer from Middle English Literature, the contemporary of Langland and Chaucer and one of the court poets of the period. He wrote in French, Latin and English. His famous works are Mirour de l’Omme (the mirror of mankind), Vox Clamantis (the voice of one crying out) and Confessio Amantis (The Lover’s Confession). Mirour de l’Omme was written in French. Vox Clamantis was written in Latin and Vox Clamantis was in English.

PEARL POET

The Pearl Poet alias the Gawain Poet is a poet from the 14th century English LiteratureHis name is unknown and he is named after his famous alliterative poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a chivalric romance in alliterative verses. The author and the title of the poem were unknown and the title was given centuries later and the poet was named after this poem and his another poem ‘Pearl.’ He also wrote poems like Patience, Cleanness etc.

MODERN ENGLISH LITERATURE

English has undergone great changes for centuries. During English Renaissance and after the introduction of printing press in England, literature and music became dominant at the beginning of 16th century. Scholars say that the Modern English Literature started in the 15th century. Throughout the 15th century, there was no any notable writers. Under the influence of English Renaissance, English Literature got a new form at the beginning of Modern period and authors like William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlowe etc, were the ealiest products of this period. Modern English Literature encompasses various Eras like Elizabethan Era, Jocobean, Victorian, Romantic and so on. All these periods have its own unique, best known authors.

ELIZABETHAN ERA

Elizabethan Era is the period of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I from 1558 to 1603, the golden period in English Literature. Writers such as as Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Kyd and William Shakespeare made the period glorious. It is a golden period of drama which produced some innovative playwrights such as Shakespeare, Marlowe and Kyd.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest playwright ever in English Literature. He is known as the ‘Bard of Avon’ as he was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. Apart from plays, he is also widely known for his sonnets and narrative poems. He wrote 37 plays, 154 sonnets and 3 long narrative poems. Most of his plays and sonnets are continued to be read till today. They have been translated into hundreds of languages. Shakespeare’s dramatic works were collected into the First Folio (Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies) posthumously in 1623 by John Heminges and Henry Condell, Shakespeare’s friends. “Sweet Swan of Avon, Shakespeare was not of an age, but for all time”, Ben Jonson wrote in his preface to the First Folio.

Shakespeare’s sonnets were probably composed between 1593 to 1601 and all were first published in a quarto in 1609 by Thomas Thorpe.  The sonnets 138 and 144 were published earlier in ‘The Passionate Pilgrim’ in 1599.

SHAKESPEARE’S PLAYS

Among the 37 plays of William Shakespeare, the majority of plays were attributed to his name. But he didn’t always write alone. He also had collaborations with a few other writers. Some of his plays were collaborative and some others were revised by others. He had collaborations with such writers as Thomas Nashe (Henry VI, Part 1), George Peele (Titus Andronicus), George Wilkins (Pericles, Prince of Tyre), Thomas Middleton (Macbeth,Measure for Measure and All’s Well That Ends Well) and John Fletcher (The Two Noble Kinsmen). Shakespeare’s plays are of many genres:

COMEDIES
  • All’s Well That Ends Well
  • As You Like It
  • Comedy of Errors
  • Love’s Labour’s Lost
  • Measure for Measure
  • Merchant of Venice
  • Merry Wives of Windsor
  • Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Much Ado about Nothing
  • Taming of the Shrew
  • Tempest
  • Twelfth Night
  • Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • Winter’s Tale
HISTORIES
  • Henry IV, Part I
  • Henry IV, Part II
  • Henry V
  • Henry VI, Part I
  • Henry VI, Part II
  • Henry VI, Part III
  • Henry VIII
  • King John
  • Pericles
  • Richard II
  • Richard III
TRAGEDIES
  • Antony and Cleopatra
  • Coriolanus
  • Cymbeline
  • Hamlet
  • Julius Caesar
  • King Lear
  • Macbeth
  • Othello
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Timon of Athens
  • Titus Andronicus
  • Troilus and Cressida

Some of his late plays had both comical and tragic elements. Such plays were later classified into ‘Romance’ or late Romances. Those plays are

  • Pericles
  • Cymbeline
  • The Winter’s Tale
  • The Tempest

Some other plays of Shakespeare were classified as Dark Comedies (Sombre Comedies or Gloomy Comedies). Such plays are

  • Troilus and Cressida
  • All’s Well that Ends Well
  • Measure for Measure

SHAKESPEARE’S SONNETS

Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets. The first 126 sonnets addressed to a Fair Youth. Critics claim the Fair Youth might be Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton. And the sonnets 127-154 are addressed to a Dark Lady who might be Mary Fitton. These 154 sonnets can be categorized as following:

PROCREATION SONNETS

Sonnets 1-17 are called ‘Procreation Sonnets’, since these sonnets urge the Fair Youth to marry and have children.

SONNETS OF LOVE AND ADMIRATION

Sonnets 18-126 reveal the poet’s Love and Respect for the youth.

SONNETS ON DARK LADY

Sonnets 127-152 are of the sexual relationship of the poet with Dark Lady.

ON LOVE GOD CUPID

The last two sonnets have reference to the little Love God Cupid. An allegorical treatment of Greek Epigrams.

JOCOBEAN ERA

It was a period during the reign of James VI of Scotland who also reigned England as James I in 1603. This era covers the English Literature from 1603 to 1625. This period is known for the Metaphysical poetry. The Metaphysical poetry of John Donne, the Cavalier poets, the dramatists like John Webster and Ben Jonson and essayists like Francis Bacon and Robert Burton were eminent writers during this era of English Literature.

JOHN DONNE

John Donne is a pioneer in Metaphysical poetry and a very popular poet in English Literature. Donne’s style is characterized by ironies, dislocations and paradoxes. He is best known for his sonnets, love poems, sermons, elegies and satires. A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning, The Good-Morrow, The Canonization, Holy Sonnet: ‘Batter my heart, three-person’d God, Holy Sonnet: ‘Death, be not proud, Go and catch a falling star and To His Mistress Going to Bed are some of his famous works.

FRANCIS BACON

Francis Bacon is one of the famous writers of Jocobean Era English Literature and the most famous essayist of all time. Bacon has been called the father of empiricism. His works are seen as inducing scientific revolution in general. He wrote 58 essays altogether. In 1597, he published only 10 essays as “Essayes Religious Meditations Places of Perswasion and Disswasion Seene and Allowed”. Much enlarged version was published in 1612 which contained 38 essays. His complete essays were published under the title Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall in 1625 which contained 58 essays.

Some of Bacon’s essays: Of Truth, Of Death, Of Unity in Religion/Of Religion, Of Revenge, Of Adversity, Of, Simulation and Dissimulation, Of Parents and Children, Of Marriage and Single Life, Of Envy, Of Love, Of Great Place, Of Boldness, Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature, Of Nobility, Of Seditions and Troubles, Of Atheism, Of Superstition, Of Travel, Of Empire, Of Counsels, Of Delays, Of Cunning, Of Wisdom for a Man’s Self, Of Innovations, Of Dispatch, Of Seeming Wise, Of Friendship, Of Expense, Of the True Greatness of Kingdoms and Estates, Of Regiment of Health, Of Suspicion, Of Discourse, Of Plantations, Of Riches, Of Prophecies and so on.

LATE RENAISSANCE

Late Renaissance followed the Jacobean Era in which some of the writers from Jacobean period continued to write still. The important writers during this period were John Donne, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, Henry Vaughan, the Cavalier poets and a few more. John Donne and George Herbert were in the first generation of Metaphysical poetry. The rest belonged to the second generation. John Milton was one the greatest poets during the Renaissance. He published a number of poems and his great epic ‘Paradise Lost’ was his masterpiece. It was published in 1667. His other considerable works include L’Allegro, Il Penseroso, Lycidas, Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes and Areopagitica.

RESTORATION AGE

Restoration period lasts from 1660 to 1700. John Milton was still alive and continued to write. In fact, his great epic Paradise Lost was published during this period although he formally belonged to Late Renaissance period. John Wilmot, John Bunyan, John Milton, John Dryden, William Wycherley, Sir George Etherege, William Congreve and Sir John Vanbrugh were some of the notable writers during this period. The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come by John Bunyan is one of the famous books published during Restoration. The Way of the World was a play by William Congreve, premiered in 1700, one of the best Restoration comedies.

AUGUSTAN LITERATURE

Augustan literature, covers the period between 1700 and 1750, is also one of the most illustrious periods in English Literature. Samuel Johnson’s  A Dictionary of the English Language alias Johnson’s Dictionary is considered to be a notable work, was written in this period. It was published in 1755, but it was written earlier during the Augustan literature. Another popular writer during this period is Alexander Pope. The Rape of the Lock by Pope was a mock heroic narrative poem published early in this period.

It was during this period the English novel emerged. Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, published in 1719, is credited to be the first novel in English Literature. Addison and Steele were dominant prose writers during this time. Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels was a prose satire published in 1726. This was a period when almost all genres of literature found their space in equal measure.

ROMANTIC ERA

Romantic Era or Romanticism was a literary movement that originated in Europe during 1770s and lasted until 1837. Romanticism also reflected in paintings, music, architecture, criticism etc. Poetry had been dominant during this period. Notable writers during this era in English Literature are William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Lord Byron and so on. Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems is a collection of poems by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, first published in 1798. It is generally agreed that, with this collection, these two writers helped establish the Romantic movement in English Literature.

LYRICAL BALLADS English for literature

Wordsworth and Coleridge agreed to write verses in vernacular language, the language of the common, accessible to all. The 1798 (first) edition of Lyrical Ballads contained only 23 poems, 19 poems by Wordsworth and only 4 poems by Coleridge, beginning with The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Coleridge. These two made an agreement to write poetry in vernacular language as an experiment. In the Advertisement prefaced to the edition, Wordsworth wrote:

The majority of the following poems are to be considered as experiments. They were written chiefly with a view to ascertain how far the language of conversation in the middle and lower classes of society is adapted to the purposes of poetic pleasure. Readers accustomed to the gaudiness and inane phraseology of many modern writers, if they persist in reading this book to its conclusion, will perhaps frequently have to struggle with feelings of strangeness and awkwardness: they will look round for poetry, and will be induced to enquire by what species of courtesy these attempts can be permitted to assume that title.

It is desirable that such readers, for their own sakes, should not suffer the solitary word Poetry, a word of very disputed meaning, to stand in the way of their gratification; but that, while they are perusing this book, they should ask themselves if it contains a natural delineation of human passions, human characters, and human incidents; and if the answer be favourable to the author’s wishes, that they should consent to be pleased in spite of that most dreadful enemy to our pleasures, our own pre-established codes of decision.

The subsequent editions were published with considerable enlargement of number of poems. Wordsworth later said that the experiment was a failure, ‘not because of the language of conversation is little adapted to the purpose of poetic pleasure’, but because it had been tried on ‘uninteresting subjects.’

Some of the poms in the collection: The Tables Turned, The Complaint of a Forsaken Indian Woman, The Last of the Flock, Lines Left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree which Stands Near the Lake of Esthwaite, The Foster-Mother’s Tale, Goody Blake and Harry Gill, The Thorn, We are Seven, Anecdote for Fathers, Lines Written at a Small Distance from My House and Sent Me by My little Boy to the Person to whom They Are Addressed, The Female Vagrant, The Dungeon, Simon Lee, the Old Huntsman, The Nightingale, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Lines Written Above Tintern Abbey, Hart-leap Well, The Waterfall and the Eglantine, Andrew Jones etc.

KEATS, BYRON AND SHELLEY

Poets like John Keats, Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley were prominent during the second generation of Romanticism. Keats was well known for his letters which were first published in 1848 and 1878. His odes are very popular within the canon of English Literature. His notable poems are Endymion, La Belle Dame sans Merci, Ode to a Nightingale, To Autumn, Ode on a Grecian Urn, When I Have Fears, Ode on Melancholy, The Eve of St. Agnes, On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer, Ode to Psyche, The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream etc.

The following odes of Keats written in 1819 are known as ‘The Great Odes of 1819’: Ode on a Grecian Urn, Ode on Indolence, Ode on Melancholy, Ode to a Nightingale and Ode to Psyche and Ode to Autumn.

P B Shelley is another major Romantic poet. Among his best-known poems are Adonais, Ozymandias, Prometheus Unbound, Ode to the West Wind, Alastor or The Spirit of Solitude and  To a Skylark. The Cenci is his famous verse play. Lord Byron is also one of the leading poets of the Romantic Era English Literature. Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, She Walks in Beauty, Don Juan, The Prisoner of Chillon, Epitaph to a Dog and The Prophecy of Dante are some among his notable works. English Literature English Literature

VICTORIAN ERA

During Victorian Era of English Literature, novel was the dominant genre of writing. Victorian era (1837–1901) in English Literature denotes the body of writings during the reign of Queen Victoria of England. Notable writers during this period are Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, William Makepeace Thackeray, Matthew Arnold, Thomas Carlyle, John Ruskin, Joseph Conrad, Samuel Butler and so on. English Literature English Literature English Literature

MODERNISM & POST-MODERNISM

Modernism in English Literature covers the period from 1901 to 1939. Important writers during this period are Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley, Samuel Beckett, Graham Greene, James Joyce, T S Eliot, W b Yeats, W H Auden etc. Virginia Woolf was a feminist notable for her technique stream of consciousness. Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), Orlando (1928), A Room of One’s Own (1929) and The Waves (1931) were her notable works.

Some of the modernists were still writing during Post-Modernism. Post-Modernism (1939-2000) includes the writings of modernists such as T S Eliot, Samuel Beckett and Graham Greene. Some of the notable works published during this period are: Lord of the Flies – a novel by Sir William Golding, Under the Volcano – a novel by Malcolm Lowry, Waiting for Godot – an absurd play by Samuel Beckett and Look Back in Anger – a realist play by John Osborne.

ENGLISH LITERATURE QUOTES

SHAKESPEARE QUOTES

  • All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.
  • All that glitters is not gold.
  • No legacy is so rich as honesty.
  • Now is the winter of our discontent.
  • The empty vessel makes the loudest sound. English Literature
  • Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air.
  • Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.
  • Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.
  • What’s done can’t be undone.
  • Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince: And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
  • There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.  English Literature
  • Love sought is good, but given unsought, is better.
  • To do a great right do a little wrong.
  • The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
  • Sweet mercy is nobility’s true badge.
  • Hell is empty and all the devils are here.
  • These violent delights have violent ends.
  • Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind.
  • Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow.
  • Brevity is the soul of wit.
  • Speak low, if you speak love.
  • One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
  • How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child!
  • The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
  • If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me. English Literature

CHAUCER QUOTES

  • Time and tide wait for no man.
  • How potent is the fancy! People are so impressionable. People can die of mere imagination.
  • First he wrought, and afterward he taught. English for literature
  • The life so short, the crafts so long to learn. English Literature
  • The guilty think all talk is of themselves. English Literature
  • Patience is a conquering virtue.
  • What is better than wisdom? Woman. And what is better than a good woman? Nothing.
  • If gold rusts, what then can iron do?
  • No empty handed man can lure a bird.
  • The life so brief, the art so long in the learning, the attempt so hard, the conquest so sharp, the fearful joy that ever slips away so quickly – by all this I mean love, which so sorely astounds my feeling with its wondrous operation, that when I think upon it I scarce know whether I wake or sleep.
  • Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.
  • Purity in body and heart May please some–as for me, I make no boast. For, as you know, no master of a household Has all of his utensils made of gold; Some are wood, and yet they are of use.
  • The greatest scholars are not usually the wisest people.
  • Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.
  • Youth may outrun the old, but not outwit.

WORDSWORTH QUOTES

  • The child is father of the man.
  • Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.
  • Come forth into the light of things, Let Nature be your teacher.
  • That inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude. English Literature
  • Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers. English Literature
  • Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!
  • I listened, motionless and still; And, as I mounted up the hill, The music in my heart I bore, Long after it was heard no more.
  • My heart leaps up when I behold A rainbow in the sky: So was it when my life began; So is it now I am a man.
  • Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.
  • Life is divided into three terms – that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future.

 

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