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The Poets’ “Essay on Man”
collected & arranged by
James Monk, c. 1873

What strange infatuation rules mankind! —T. Chatterton
What different spheres to human bliss assigned! —S. Rogers
To loftier things your finer pulses burn. —C. Sprague
If Man would but his finger nature learn. —R.H. Dana
What several ways men to their calling have! —B. Johnson
And grasp at life though sinking to the grave. —W. Falconer
Ask what is human life? The sage replies. —W. Cowper
Wealth, pomp and honor are but empty toys. —R. Fergusson
We trudge, we travel, but from pain to pain. —F. Quarles
Weak, timid landsmen on life's stormy main. —R. Burns
We only toil who are the first of things. —A. Tennyson
From labor health, from health contentment springs. —J. Beattie
Fame runs before us as the morning star. —J. Dryden
How little do we know that which we are! —Byron
Let none, then, here his certain knowledge boast. —J. Pomfret
Of fleeting joys too certain to be lost. —E. Waller
For over all there hangs a cloud of fear. —T. Hood
All is but change and separation here. —Steele
To smooth life's passage o'er its thorny way. —T. Dwight
Sum up at night what thou hast done by day. —G. Herbert
Be rich in patience, if thou in gudes be poor. —W. Dunbar
So many men do stoope to sights unsure. —G. Whitney
Choose out the man to virtue best inclined. —N. Rowe
Throw envy, folly, prejudice, behind. —J. Langhorne
Defer not till to-morrow to be wise. —W. Congreve
Wealth heaped on wealth nor truth nor safety buys. —S. Johnson
Remembrance worketh with her busy train. —O. Goldsmith
Care draws on care, woe comforts woe again. —M. Drayton
On high estates huge heaps of care attend. —Webster
No joy so great but runneth to an end. —R. Southwell
No hand applaud what honor shuns to hear. —J. Thomson
Who casts off shame should likewise cast off fear. —J.S. Knowles
Grief haunts us down the precipice of years. —W.S. Landor
Virtue alone no dissolution fears. —E. Moore
Time loosely spent will not again be won. —R. Greene
What shall I do to be forever known? —A. Cowley
But now the wane of life comes darkly on. —J. Baillie
After a thousand mazes overgone. —J. Keats
In this brief state of trouble and unrest. —B. Barton
Man never is, but always to be, blest. —A. Pope
How fading are the joys we dote upon! —J. Norris
Lo! while I speak the present moment's gone. —J. Oldham
Oh! thou eternal arbiter of things! —M. Akenside
How awful is the hour when conscience stings. —J.G. Percival
Conscience—stern arbiter in every breast. —J.A. Hillhouse
The fluttering wish on wing that will not rest. —D. Mallet
Time is the present hour; the past is fled. —J. Marsden
Oh! thou futurity—our hope and dread. —E. Elliott
This above all: to thin own self be true. —W. Shakespeare
Learn to live well, that thou may'st die so, too. —J. Denham
To those that list the world's gay scenes I leave. —E. Spenser
Some ills we wish for when we wish to live. —E. Young

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published 2016 Feb 27
last saved 2023 Aug 15