Quotes by John Gay

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John Gay (30 June 1685 - 4 December 1732) was an English poet and dramatist. He is best remembered for The Beggar's Opera (1728), set to music by Johann Christoph Pepusch. The characters, including Captain Macheath and Polly ...

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What then in love can woman do? If we grow fond they shun us. And when we fly them, they pursue: But leave us when they've won us.

We only part to meet again.
Fools may our scorn, not envy, raise. For envy is a kind of praise.
Sure men were born to lie, and women to believe them!
I must have women -- there is nothing unbends the mind like them.
Shadow owes its birth to light.
An open foe may prove a curse, but a pretended friend is worse.
But his kiss was so sweet, and so closely he pressed, that I languished and pined till I granted the rest.
Gamesters and highwaymen are generally very good to their whores, but they are very devils to their wives.
No retreat. No retreat. They must conquer or die who've no retreat.
Do you think your mother and I should have lived comfortably so long together, if ever we had been married? Baggage!
But money, wife, is the true Fuller's Earth for reputations, there is not a spot or a stain but what it can take out.
Through all the employments of life each neighbor abuses his brother; whore and rogue they call husband and wife: All professions be-rogue one another.
Lions, wolves, and vultures don't live together in herds, droves or flocks. Of all animals of prey, man is the only sociable one. Every one of us preys upon his neighbor, and yet we herd together.
A fox may steal your hens, Sir, a whore your health and pence, Sir, your daughter rob your chest, Sir, your wife may steal your rest, Sir, a thief your goods and plate. But this is all but picking, with rest, pence, chest and chicken; it ever was decreed, Sir, if lawyer's hand is feed, Sir, he steals your whole estate.
Those who in quarrels interpose, must often wipe a bloody nose.
Of all mechanics, of all servile handycrafts-men, a gamester is the vilest. But yet, as many of the quality are of the profession, he is admitted amongst the politest company.
O Polly, you might have toyed and kissed, by keeping men off, you keep them on.
Can you support the expense of a husband, hussy, in gaming, drinking and whoring? Have you money enough to carry on the daily quarrels of man and wife about who shall squander most?
There is no dependence that can be sure but a dependence upon one's self.
How the mother is to be pitied who hath handsome daughters! Locks, bolts, bars, and lectures of morality are nothing to them: they break through them all. They have as much pleasure in cheating a father and mother, as in cheating at cards.
Cowards are cruel, but the brave love mercy and delight to save.
The brave love mercy, and delight to save.
A rich rogue nowadays is fit company for any gentleman; and the world, my dear, hath not such a contempt for roguery as you imagine.
Fill it up. I take as large draughts of liquor as I did of love. I hate a flincher in either.
The comfortable estate of widowhood is the only hope that keeps up a wife's spirits.
No retreat. No retreat. They must conquer or die whove no retreat.
When through the Town, with slow and solemn Air, Led by the Nostril, walks the muzled Bear; Behind him moves majestically dull, The Pride of Hockley-hole, the surly Bull; Learn hence the Periods of the Week to name, Mondays and Thursdays are the Days of Game.
When fishy Stalls with double Store are laid; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wednesdays and Fridays you'll observe from hence, Days, when our Sires were doom'd to Abstinence.
When dirty Waters from Balconies drop, And dextrous Damsels twirle the sprinkling Mop, And cleanse the spatter'd Sash, and scrub the Stairs; Know Saturday's conclusive Morn appears.