Careful Words

office (n.)

office (v.)

office (adv.)

Friendship is constant in all other things

Save in the office and affairs of love:

Therefore all hearts in love use their own tongues;

Let every eye negotiate for itself

And trust no agent.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Much Ado about Nothing. Act ii. Sc. 1.

  Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving how not to do it.

Charles Dickens (1812-1870): Little Dorrit. Book ii. Chap. x.

Besides, this Duncan

Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been

So clear in his great office, that his virtues

Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against

The deep damnation of his taking-off;

And pity, like a naked new-born babe,

Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubim, horsed

Upon the sightless couriers of the air,

Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,

That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur

To prick the sides of my intent, but only

Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself,

And falls on the other.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Macbeth. Act i. Sc. 7.

  If a due participation of office is a matter of right, how are vacancies to be obtained? Those by death are few; by resignation, none.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826): Letter to Elias Shipman and others of New Haven, July 12, 1801.

Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news

Hath but a losing office, and his tongue

Sounds ever after as a sullen bell,

Remember'd tolling a departing friend.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): King Henry IV. Part II. Act i. Sc. 1.

The play's the thing

Wherein I 'll catch the conscience of the king.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Hamlet. Act ii. Sc. 2.

  In their nomination to office they will not appoint to the exercise of authority as to a pitiful job, but as to a holy function.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797): Reflections on the Revolution in France. Vol. iii. p. 356.

Me let the tender office long engage

To rock the cradle of reposing age;

With lenient arts extend a mother's breath,

Make languor smile, and smooth the bed of death;

Explore the thought, explain the asking eye,

And keep awhile one parent from the sky.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744): Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot. Prologue to the Satires. Line 408.

'T is all men's office to speak patience

To those that wring under the load of sorrow,

But no man's virtue nor sufficiency

To be so moral when he shall endure

The like himself.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Much Ado about Nothing. Act v. Sc. 1.