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John Denham

We are never like angels till our passion dies.

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Nor ought a genius less than his that writ attempt translation.

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Books should to one of these fours ends conduce, for wisdom, piety, delight, or use.

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Youth, what man's age is like to be, doth show; We may our ends by our beginnings know.

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Search not to find things too deeply hid; Nor try to know things whose knowledge is forbid.

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Tis the most certain sign, the world's accurst. That the best things corrupted are the worst.

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Poetry is of so subtle a spirit, that in the pouring out of one language into another it will evaporate.

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Of Justice

'Tis the first sanction Nature gave to man,
Each other to assist in what they can;
Just or unjust, this law for ever stands;
All things are good by law which she commands;
The first step, man t'wards Christ must justly live,
Who t'us himself, and all we have, did give;
In vain doth man the name of just expect,
If his devotions he to God neglect;
So must we rev'rence God, as first to know
Justice from Him, not from ourselves, doth flow;
God those accepts who to mankind are friends,
Whose justice far as their own power extends;
In that they imitate the power Divine;
The sun alike on good and bad doth shine;
And he that doth no good, although no ill,
Does not the office of the just fulfil.
Virtue doth man to virtuous actions steer,
'Tis not enough that he should vice forbear;
We live not only for ourselves to care,
Whilst they that want it are denied their share.

[...] Read more

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