Careful Words

fancy (n.)

fancy (v.)

fancy (adj.)

Tell me where is fancy bred,

Or in the heart or in the head?

How begot, how nourished?

Reply, Reply.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): The Merchant of Venice. Act iii. Sc. 2.

Bright-eyed Fancy, hov'ring o'er,

Scatters from her pictured urn

Thoughts that breathe and words that burn.

Thomas Gray (1716-1771): The Progress of Poesy. III. 3, Line 2.

Dear as remember'd kisses after death,

And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feign'd

On lips that are for others; deep as love,—

Deep as first love, and wild with all regret.

Oh death in life, the days that are no more!

Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892): The Princess. Part iv. Line 36.

Some things are of that nature as to make

One's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache.

John Bunyan (1628-1688): Pilgrim's Progress. The Author's Way of sending forth his Second Part of the Pilgrim.

The maid who modestly conceals

Her beauties, while she hides, reveals;

Give but a glimpse, and fancy draws

Whate'er the Grecian Venus was.

Edward Moore (1712-1757): The Spider and the Bee. Fable x.

Gay hope is theirs by fancy fed,

Less pleasing when possest;

The tear forgot as soon as shed,

The sunshine of the breast.

Thomas Gray (1716-1771): On a Distant Prospect of Eton College. Stanza 5.

Chewing the food of sweet and bitter fancy.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): As You Like It. Act iv. Sc. 3.

And the imperial votaress passed on,

In maiden meditation, fancy-free.

Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell:

It fell upon a little western flower,

Before milk-white, now purple with love's wound,

And maidens call it love-in-idleness.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): A Midsummer Night's Dream. Act ii. Sc. 1.

  His [Burke's] imperial fancy has laid all Nature under tribute, and has collected riches from every scene of the creation and every walk of art.

Robert Hall (1764-1831): Apology for the Freedom of the Press.

We figure to ourselves

The thing we like; and then we build it up,

As chance will have it, on the rock or sand,—

For thought is tired of wandering o'er the world,

And homebound Fancy runs her bark ashore.

Sir Henry Taylor (1800-18—): Philip Van Artevelde. Part i. Act i. Sc. 5.

While fancy, like the finger of a clock,

Runs the great circuit, and is still at home.

William Cowper (1731-1800): The Task. Book iv. The Winter Evening. Line 118.

  Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now; your gambols, your songs? your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now, to mock your own grinning? Quite chap-fallen? Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must come.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Hamlet. Act v. Sc. 1.

All impediments in fancy's course

Are motives of more fancy.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): All's Well that Ends Well. Act v. Sc. 3.


Of entrance to a quarrel; but being in,

Bear 't that the opposed may beware of thee.

Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;

Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.

Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,

But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;

For the apparel oft proclaims the man.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Hamlet. Act i. Sc. 3.

She's all my fancy painted her;

She's lovely, she's divine.

William Mee: Alice Gray.

I care not, Fortune, what you me deny:

You cannot rob me of free Nature's grace,

You cannot shut the windows of the sky

Through which Aurora shows her brightening face;

You cannot bar my constant feet to trace

The woods and lawns, by living stream, at eve:

Let health my nerves and finer fibres brace,

And I their toys to the great children leave:

Of fancy, reason, virtue, naught can me bereave.

James Thomson (1700-1748): The Castle of Indolence. Canto ii. Stanza 3.

  Ye who listen with credulity to the whispers of fancy, and pursue with eagerness the phantoms of hope; who expect that age will perform the promises of youth, and that the deficiencies of the present day will be supplied by the morrow,—attend to the history of Rasselas, Prince Of Abyssinia.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784): Rasselas. Chap. i.

In the spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish'd dove;

In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892): Locksley Hall. Line 19.

Is she not more than painting can express,

Or youthful poets fancy when they love?

Nicholas Rowe (1673-1718): The Fair Penitent. Act iii. Sc. 1.