Careful Words

thing (n.)

thing (adv.)

thing (adj.)

Between the acting of a dreadful thing

And the first motion, all the interim is

Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream:

The Genius and the mortal instruments

Are then in council; and the state of man,

Like to a little kingdom, suffers then

The nature of an insurrection.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Julius Caesar. Act ii. Sc. 1.

  Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?

New Testament: John i. 46.

On a fair prospect some have looked,

And felt, as I have heard them say,

As if the moving time had been

A thing as steadfast as the scene

On which they gazed themselves away.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850): Peter Bell. Part i. Stanza 16.

And when a damp

Fell round the path of Milton, in his hand

The thing became a trumpet; whence he blew

Soul-animating strains,—alas! too few.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850): Scorn not the Sonnet.

  But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her.

New Testament: Luke x. 42.

Nothing in his life

Became him like the leaving it; he died

As one that had been studied in his death

To throw away the dearest thing he owed,

As 't were a careless trifle.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Macbeth. Act i. Sc. 4.

A thing devised by the enemy.

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

Thus times do shift,—each thing his turn does hold;

New things succeed, as former things grow old.

Robert Herrick (1591-1674): Ceremonies for Candlemas Eve.

I 'll example you with thievery:

The sun's a thief, and with his great attraction

Robs the vast sea; the moon's an arrant thief,

And her pale fire she snatches from the sun;

The sea's a thief, whose liquid surge resolves

The moon into salt tears; the earth's a thief,

That feeds and breeds by a composture stolen

From general excrement: each thing's a thief.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Timon of Athens. Act iv. Sc. 3.

Earth's noblest thing,—a woman perfected.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891): Irené.

I hold you as a thing ensky'd and sainted.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Measure for Measure. Act i. Sc. 4.

Her voice was ever soft,

Gentle, and low,—an excellent thing in woman.

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

Stuff the head

With all such reading as was never read:

For thee explain a thing till all men doubt it,

And write about it, goddess, and about it.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744): The Dunciad. Book iv. Line 249.

O God! it is a fearful thing

To see the human soul take wing

In any shape, in any mood.

Lord Byron 1788-1824: Prisoner of Chillon. Stanza 8.

Sweet are the uses of adversity,

Which like the toad, ugly and venomous,

Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;

And this our life, exempt from public haunt,

Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,

Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): As You Like It. Act ii. Sc. 1.

The one thing finished in this hasty world.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891): The Cathedral.

Oh the heart is a free and a fetterless thing,—

A wave of the ocean, a bird on the wing!

Julia Pardoe (1816-1862): The Captive Greek Girl.

Truth is the highest thing that man may keep.

Geoffrey Chaucer (1328-1400): Canterbury Tales. The Frankeleines Tale. Line 11789.

A mother is a mother still,

The holiest thing alive.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834): The Three Graves.

  How bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes!

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): As You Like It. Act v. Sc. 2.

Oh, fear not in a world like this,

And thou shalt know erelong,—

Know how sublime a thing it is

To suffer and be strong.

Henry W Longfellow (1807-1882): The Light of Stars.

How sweet a thing it is to wear a crown,

Within whose circuit is Elysium

And all that poets feign of bliss and joy!

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): King Henry VI. Part III. Act i. Sc. 2.

I am not merry; but I do beguile

The thing I am, by seeming otherwise.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Othello. Act ii. Sc. 1.

  It was alway yet the trick of our English nation, if they have a good thing to make it too common.

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

An ill-favoured thing, sir, but mine own.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): As You Like It. Act v. Sc. 4.

Well, honour is the subject of my story.

I cannot tell what you and other men

Think of this life; but, for my single self,

I had as lief not be as live to be

In awe of such a thing as I myself.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Julius Caesar. Act i. Sc. 2.

And if I laugh at any mortal thing,

'T is that I may not weep.

Lord Byron 1788-1824: Don Juan. Canto iv. Stanza 4.

A lion among ladies is a most dreadful thing.

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

'T is a little thing

To give a cup of water; yet its draught

Of cool refreshment, drained by fevered lips,

May give a shock of pleasure to the frame

More exquisite than when nectarean juice

Renews the life of joy in happiest hours.

Thomas Noon Talfourd (1795-1854): Ion. Act i. Sc. 2.

A little learning is a dangerous thing;

Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:

There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,

And drinking largely sobers us again.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744): Essay on Criticism. Part ii. Line 15.

  Look to the essence of a thing, whether it be a point of doctrine, of practice, or of interpretation.

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180 a d): Meditations. viii. 22.

Alas, the love of women! it is known

To be a lovely and a fearful thing.

Lord Byron 1788-1824: Don Juan. Canto ii. Stanza 199.

Never to blend our pleasure or our pride

With sorrow of the meanest thing that feels.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850): Hart-leap Well. Part ii.

Here lies our sovereign lord the king,

Whose word no man relies on;

He never says a foolish thing,

Nor ever does a wise one.

Earl Of Rochester (1647-1680): Written on the Bedchamber Door of Charles II.

Some say no evil thing that walks by night,

In fog or fire, by lake or moorish fen,

Blue meagre hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost

That breaks his magic chains at curfew time,

No goblin, or swart fairy of the mine,

Hath hurtful power o'er true virginity.

John Milton (1608-1674): Comus. Line 432.

  No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.

Epictetus (Circa 60 a d): Discourses. Chap. xv.

  There is no new thing under the sun.

Old Testament: Ecclesiastes i. 9.

  There's nothing like being used to a thing.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816): The Rivals. Act v. Sc. 3.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever;

Its loveliness increases; it will never

Pass into nothingness.

John Keats (1795-1821): Endymion. Book i.

A thing of custom,—'t is no other;

Only it spoils the pleasure of the time.

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

The lowest and most dejected thing of fortune.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): King Lear. Act iv. Sc. 1.

She walks the waters like a thing of life,

And seems to dare the elements to strife.

Lord Byron 1788-1824: The Corsair. Canto i. Stanza 3.

But who is this, what thing of sea or land,—

Female of sex it seems,—

That so bedeck'd, ornate, and gay,

Comes this way sailing

Like a stately ship

Of Tarsus, bound for th' isles

Of Javan or Gadire,

With all her bravery on, and tackle trim,

Sails fill'd, and streamers waving,

Courted by all the winds that hold them play,

An amber scent of odorous perfume

Her harbinger?

John Milton (1608-1674): Samson Agonistes. Line 710.

So dear to heav'n is saintly chastity,

That when a soul is found sincerely so,

A thousand liveried angels lackey her,

Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt,

And in clear dream and solemn vision

Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear,

Till oft converse with heav'nly habitants

Begin to cast a beam on th' outward shape.

John Milton (1608-1674): Comus. Line 453.

Order gave each thing view.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): King Henry VIII. Act i. Sc. 1.

A poor, weak, palsy-stricken, churchyard thing.

John Keats (1795-1821): The Eve of St. Agnes. Stanza 18.

The play's the thing

Wherein I 'll catch the conscience of the king.

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

Shalt show us how divine a thing

A woman may be made.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850): To a Young Lady. Dear Child of Nature.

Our days begin with trouble here,

Our life is but a span,

And cruel death is always near,

So frail a thing is man.

And telling me, the sovereign'st thing on earth

Was parmaceti for an inward bruise;

And that it was great pity, so it was,

This villanous saltpetre should be digg'd

Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,

Which many a good tall fellow had destroy'd

So cowardly; and but for these vile guns,

He would himself have been a soldier.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): King Henry IV. Part I. Act i. Sc. 3.

And then it started like a guilty thing

Upon a fearful summons.

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

The sweetest thing that ever grew

Beside a human door.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850): Lucy Gray. Stanza 2.

This is the thing that I was born to do.

Samuel Daniel (1562-1619): Musophilus. Stanza 100.

God bless the King,—I mean the faith's defender!

God bless—no harm in blessing—the Pretender!

But who pretender is, or who is king,—

God bless us all!—that's quite another thing.

John Byrom (1691-1763): To an Officer of the Army, extempore.

  The genteel thing is the genteel thing any time, if as be that a gentleman bees in a concatenation accordingly.

Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774): She Stoops to Conquer. Act i.

There's no such thing in Nature; and you 'll draw

A faultless monster which the world ne'er saw.

Sheffield, Duke Of Buckinghamshire (1649-1720): Essay on Poetry.

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,

Men were deceivers ever,—

One foot in sea and one on shore,

To one thing constant never.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Much Ado about Nothing. Act ii. Sc. 3.

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more!

Men were deceivers ever;

One foot in sea and one on shore,

To one thing constant never.

Thomas Percy (1728-1811): The Friar of Orders Gray.

Can one desire too much of a good thing?

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): As You Like It. Act iv. Sc. 1.

  Can we ever have too much of a good thing?

Miguel De Cervantes (1547-1616): Don Quixote. Part i. Book i. Chap. vi.

Those obstinate questionings

Of sense and outward things,

Fallings from us, vanishings,

Blank misgivings of a creature

Moving about in worlds not realized,

High instincts before which our mortal nature

Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850): Ode. Intimations of Immortality. Stanza 9.

Truth is the highest thing that man may keep.

Geoffrey Chaucer (1328-1400): Canterbury Tales. The Frankeleines Tale. Line 11789.

And all to leave what with his toil he won

To that unfeather'd two-legged thing, a son.

John Dryden (1631-1701): Absalom and Achitophel. Part i. Line 169.

Thou say'st an undisputed thing

In such a solemn way.

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894): To an Insect.

  For this thing was not done in a corner.

New Testament: Acts xxvi. 26.

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.

The thing we long for, that we are

For one transcendent moment.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891): Longing.

  When two do the same thing, it is not the same thing after all.

Publius Syrus (42 b c): Maxim 338.

But all thing which that shineth as the gold

Ne is no gold, as I have herd it told.

Geoffrey Chaucer (1328-1400): Canterbury Tales. The Chanones Yemannes Tale. Line 16430.

Who dares think one thing, and another tell,

My heart detests him as the gates of hell.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744): The Iliad of Homer. Book ix. Line 412.

She is a winsome wee thing,

She is a handsome wee thing,

She is a bonny wee thing,

This sweet wee wife o' mine.

Robert Burns (1759-1796): My Wife's a Winsome Wee Thing.