Careful Words

idle (n.)

idle (v.)

idle (adj.)

As idle as a painted ship

Upon a painted ocean.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834): The Ancient Mariner. Part ii.

True, I talk of dreams,

Which are the children of an idle brain,

Begot of nothing but vain fantasy.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Romeo and Juliet. Act i. Sc. 4.

For Satan finds some mischief still

For idle hands to do.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748): Divine Songs. Song xx.

And threat'ning France, plac'd like a painted Jove,

Kept idle thunder in his lifted hand.

John Dryden (1631-1701): Annus Mirabilis. Stanza 39.

  Toil does not come to help the idle.

Of Unknown Authorship: Frag. 440.

Thinking is but an idle waste of thought,

And nought is everything and everything is nought.

Horace Smith (1779-1849): Rejected Addresses. Cui Bono?

How various his employments whom the world

Calls idle, and who justly in return

Esteems that busy world an idler too!

William Cowper (1731-1800): The Task. Book iii. The Garden. Line 352.

Unthinking, idle, wild, and young,

I laugh'd and danc'd and talk'd and sung.

Princess Amelia (1783-1810).

There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats,

For I am arm'd so strong in honesty

That they pass by me as the idle wind,

Which I respect not.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Julius Caesar. Act iv. Sc. 3.

In idle wishes fools supinely stay;

Be there a will, and wisdom finds a way.

George Crabbe (1754-1832): The Birth of Flattery.