Careful Words

flattery (n.)

I come not

To hear such flattery now, and in my presence.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): King Henry VIII. Act v. Sc. 3.

  Imitation is the sincerest flattery.

C. C. Colton (1780-1832): The Lacon.

'T is an old maxim in the schools,

That flattery's the food of fools;

Yet now and then your men of wit

Will condescend to take a bit.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745): Cadenus and Vanessa.


Was flattery lost on poet's ear;

A simple race! they waste their toil

For the vain tribute of a smile.

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832): Lay of the Last Minstrel. Canto iv. Stanza 35.

Can storied urn, or animated bust,

Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?

Can honour's voice provoke the silent dust,

Or flatt'ry soothe the dull cold ear of death?

Thomas Gray (1716-1771): Elegy in a Country Churchyard. Stanza 11.

The man that lays his hand upon a woman,

Save in the way of kindness, is a wretch

Whom 't were gross flattery to name a coward.

John Tobin (1770-1804): The Honeymoon. Act ii. Sc. 1.