Careful Words

play (n.)

play (v.)

play (adj.)

At Christmas play and make good cheer,

For Christmas comes but once a year.

Thomas Tusser (Circa 1515-1580): Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry. The Farmer's Daily Diet.

'T is not for gravity to play at cherry-pit with Satan.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Twelfth Night. Act iii. Sc. 4.

Good at a fight, but better at a play;

Godlike in giving, but the devil to pay.

Thomas Moore (1779-1852): On a Cast of Sheridan's Hand.

What thou wouldst highly,

That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false,

And yet wouldst wrongly win.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Macbeth. Act i. Sc. 5.

Good as a play.

In books, or work, or healthful play.

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

Why, let the stricken deer go weep,

The hart ungalled play;

For some must watch, while some must sleep:

So runs the world away.

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

  He cometh unto you with a tale which holdeth children from play, and old men from the chimney-corner.

Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586): Defence of Poesy.

I took it for a faery vision

Of some gay creatures of the element,

That in the colours of the rainbow live,

And play i' th' plighted clouds.

John Milton (1608-1674): Comus. Line 298.

The play's the thing

Wherein I 'll catch the conscience of the king.

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

Hope travels through, nor quits us when we die.

Behold the child, by Nature's kindly law,

Pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw;

Some livelier plaything gives his youth delight,

A little louder, but as empty quite;

Scarfs, garters, gold, amuse his riper stage,

And beads and prayer-books are the toys of age.

Pleased with this bauble still, as that before,

Till tired he sleeps, and life's poor play is o'er.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744): Essay on Man. Epistle ii. Line 274.

Play me no plays.

If music be the food of love, play on;

Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,

The appetite may sicken, and so die.

That strain again! it had a dying fall:

O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound

That breathes upon a bank of violets,

Stealing and giving odour!

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Twelfth Night. Act i. Sc. 1.

Play out the play.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): King Henry IV. Part I. Act ii. Sc. 4.

  The play, I remember, pleased not the million; 't was caviare to the general.

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

Fain would I, but I dare not; I dare, and yet I may not;

I may, although I care not, for pleasure when I play not.

Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618): Fain Would I.

  "Let me not live," saith Aretine's Antonia, "if I had not rather hear thy discourse than see a play."

Robert Burton (1576-1640): Anatomy of Melancholy. Part iii. Sect. 1, Memb. 1, Subsect. 1.

  They will not let my play run; and yet they steal my thunder.

John Dennis (1657-1734):

And thus I clothe my naked villany

With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ,

And seem a saint when most I play the devil.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): King Richard III. Act i. Sc. 3.

  Thus we play the fools with the time, and the spirits of the wise sit in the clouds and mock us.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): King Henry IV. Part II. Act ii. Sc. 2.

  "Be of good comfort, Master Ridley," Latimer cried at the crackling of the flames. "Play the man! We shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out."

O, I could play the woman with mine eyes

And braggart with my tongue.

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

Though this may be play to you,

'T is death to us.

Roger L. Estrange (1616-1704): Fables from Several Authors. Fable 398.

  In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book, or goes to an American play, or looks at an American picture or statue?

Sydney Smith (1769-1845): Review of Seybert's Annals of the United States, 1820.

Oft on the dappled turf at ease

I sit, and play with similes,

Loose type of things through all degrees.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850): To the same Flower.

In books, or work, or healthful play.

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

If thou would'st have me sing and play

As once I play'd and sung,

First take this time-worn lute away,

And bring one freshly strung.

Thomas Moore (1779-1852): If Thou would'st have Me sing and play.