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PO'B's Quotations

A list of (nearly) all the literary and non-literary quotations, pre-quotations, allusions, echoes, and borrowings to be found in Patrick O'Brian's "Canon".


Page numbers are those of the HarperCollins edition. Bruce Trinque has provided an excellent synoptic table of the pagination of all UK and US editions.

For the quotations in languages other than English, I have relied considerably on Anthony Gary Brown's A Guide for the Perplexed (link is external).

My thanks to all the lissuns, so many of them "that it were insidious to particularize", who in their posts over the long life of the Gunroom have pointed out several of the quotations listed here. Needless to say, I'll be grateful for any additions and corrections.

Anna Ravano

October 2014: I have at long last added the findings sent in by lissuns over the years, and this time I can particularize. Thank you Barbara Baker, Anthony Gary Brown, Norm Crandles, Nancy Kaminski, Linda Laflamme, Charles Munoz, Oliver Mundy, Keith Peterson, Adam Quinan, Don Seltzer, Jane Skinner, Bruce Trinque, Kerry Webb, and Susan Wenger.


Master and Commander The Fortune of War The Reverse of the Medal The Wine-Dark Sea
Post Captain The Surgeon's Mate The Letter of Marque The Commodore
HMS Surprise The Ionian Mission The Thirteen-Gun Salute The Yellow Admiral
The Mauritius Command Treason's Harbour The Nutmeg of Consolation The Hundred Days
Desolation Island The Far Side of the World Clarissa Oakes Blue at the Mizzen

Master and Commander

p. viii

J'ai pris mon bien là où je l'ai trouvé

"I've taken my riches from anywhere I found them".

‘Je reprends mon bien où je le trouve’ (I recover my property wherever I find it) was Molière’s supposed answer to those that accused him of having stolen a scene from Cyrano de Bergerac’s comedy Le Pédant joué (1654) for his own play Les Fourberies de Scapin (1671). It seems (but critics are divided on this) that Cyrano in his play had made use of an idea given to him by Molière himself.

p. 26

[I]t was far more than he had ever owned before, at sea, and he surveyed it with glowing complacency, looking with particular delight at the handsomely mounted inward-sloping windows, all as bright as glass could very well be, seven sets of panes in a noble sweep quite furnishing the room.
It was more than he had ever had, and more than he had ever really hoped for so early in his career; so why was there something as yet undefined beneath his exultation, the aliquid amari of his schooldays?

medio de fonte leporum
surgit amari aliquid quod in ipsis floribus angat

from the heart of this fountain of delights
wells up some bitter taste to choke them even amid the flowers

Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, IV. 1133-4; tr. Cyril Bailey

p. 84

O'er the ship the gallant bosun flies
Like a hoarse mastiff through the storm he cries.

Prompt to direct th'unskilful still appears,
The expert he praises, and the timid cheers.

William Falconer, The Shipwreck, II. 254-57

p. 115

. . . Stephen nodded. ‘Tell me,’ he said, in a low voice, some moments later. ‘Were I under naval discipline, could that fellow have me whipped?’ He nodded towards Mr Marshall.
   ‘The master?’ cried Jack, with inexpressible amazement.
   ‘Yes,’ said Stephen, looking attentively at him, with his head slightly inclined to the left.
   ‘But he is the master. . .’ said Jack. If Stephen had called the Sophie’s stem her stern, or her truck her keel, he would have understood the situation directly; but that Stephen should confuse the chain of command, the relative status of a captain and a master, of a commissioned officer and a warrant officer, so subverted the natural order, so undermined the sempiternal universe, that for a moment his mind could hardly encompass it. Yet Jack, though no great scholar, no judge of a hexameter, was tolerably quick, and after gasping no more than twice he said, ‘My dear sir, I believe you have been led astray by the words master and master and commanderillogical terms, I must confess. The first is subordinate to the second. You must allow me to explain our naval ranks some time. But in any case you will never be floggedno, no; you shall not be flogged,’ he added, gazing with pure affection, and with something like awe, at so magnificent a prodigy, at an ignorance so very far beyond anything that even his wide-ranging  mind had yet conceived.

I never shall forget the indulgence with which he treated Hodge, his cat: for whom he himself used to go out and buy oysters,lest the servants having that trouble should take a dislike to the poor creature. I am, unluckily, one of those who have an antipathy to a cat, so that I am uneasy when in the room with one; and I own, I frequently suffered a good deal from the presence of this same Hodge. I recollect him one day scrambling up Dr. Johnson's breast, apparently with much satisfaction, while my friend smiling and half-whistling, rubbed down his back, and pulled him by the tail; and when I observed he was a fine cat, saying, "why yes, Sir, but I have had cats whom I liked better than this;" and then as if perceiving Hodge to be out of countenance, adding, "but he is a very fine cat, a very fine cat indeed."
This reminds me of the ludicrous account which he gave Mr. Langton, of the despicable state of a young Gentleman of good family. "Sir, when I heard of him last, he was running about town shooting cats." And then in a sort of kindly reverie, he bethought himself of his own favourite cat, and said, "But Hodge shan't be shot; no, no, Hodge shall not be shot."

James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL. D, A.D. 1783

p. 140

'But, however, here she is married to the admiral, so it all ends happy. . . yet, you know, he is amazingly ancient grey-haired, rising sixty, I dare say. Do you think, as a physician I mean, is it possible. . . ? “Possibilissima. Possibile è la cosa, e naturale,” sang Stephen in a harsh, creaking tone, quite unlike his speaking voice, which was not disagreeable. “E se Susanna vuol, possibilissima,” discordantly, but near enough to Figaro to be recognized. “Really? Really?” said Jack with intense interest. Then after a pause for reflexion, “We might try that as a duetto, improvising “. . . (p. 140 HC)

… Al signor Conte
piace la sposa mia;
indi segretamente
ricuperar vorria
il diritto feudale:
possibile è  la cosa, e naturale.
E, se Susanna vuol, possibilissima.

FIGARO: The Count fancies my bride, and hopes secretly to revive his feudal rights. It's possible, and quite natural.
COUNTESS: Possible!
SUSANNA: Natural!
FIGARO: Very natural. And if Susanna is willing, very possible.

Lorenzo Da Ponte, Le nozze di Figaro, II, ii

p. 167

'Oh, he has faults, sure. I know he is intensely ambitious where his profession is at issue and impatient of any restraint. My concern was to know just what it was that offended you in him. Or is it merely non amo te, Sabidi?'

Non amo te, Sabidi, nec possum dicere quam:
Hoc tantum possum dicere, non amo te.
I do not love you, Sabidius, nor can I say why;
I can only say this, I do not love you.

Martial, Epigrams, I. xxxiii

pp. 168-69

'I made a circuitous attempt at enlightening him a little, but he looked very knowing and said, "Don't tell me about rears and vices; I have been in the Navy all my life."'

'[W]e know very little of the inferior ranks. Post captains may be very good sorts of men, but they do not belong to us.Of various admirals, I could tell you a great deal; of them and their flags, and the gradation of their pay, and their bickerings and jealousies. But in general, I can assure that they are all passed over, and all very ill used. Certainly my home at my uncles brought me acquainted with a circle of admirals. Of Rears and Vices, I saw enough. Now, do not be suspecting me of a pun, I entreat.'

Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Ch. 6

p. 263

Stephen was engaged in a close discussion of the comparative merits of the crayfish and the true lobster with Miss Wade when the insistent voice on his left broke in so strongly that soon it was impossible to ignore it. ‘But I don’t understandyou are a real physician, he tells me, so how come you to be in the Navy? How come you to be in the Navy if you are a real doctor?’
   ‘Indigence, ma’am, indigence. For all that clysters is not gold on shore. And then, of course, a fervid desire to bleed for my country.’

“A lady once asked him how he came to define Pastern the knee of a horse: instead of making an elaborate defence, as she expected, he at once answered, ‘Ignorance, madam, pure ignorance.’”

James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL. D, A.D. 1755

p. 269

‘It is ungrateful in me to repine,’ he wrote, ‘but when I think that I might have paced the burning sands of Libya, filled (as Goldsmith tells us) with serpents of various malignity; that I might have trodden the Canopic shore, have beheld the ibis, the Mareotic grallatores in their myriads, even perhaps the crocodile himself; that I was whirled past the northern coast of Candia, with Mount Ida in sight all day long; that at a given moment Cythera was no more than half an hour away, and yet for all my pleas no halt to be made, no “heaving to”; and when I reflect upon the wonders that lay at so short a distance from our course the Cyclades, the Peloponnese, great Athens, and yet no deviation allowed, no not for half a daywhy, then I am obliged to restrain myself from wishing Jack Aubrey’s soul to the devil.’

This extraordinary man [Cato], whom prosperity could not elate, nor misfortunes depress, having retired into Africa, after the battle of Pharsalia, had led the wretched remains of Pompey's army through burning deserts, and tracts infested with serpents of various malignity, and was now in the city of Utica, which he had been left to defend.

Oliver Goldsmith, A History of Rome, 1769

p. 273

   Pray, will you not recite them to us? I am sure the Doctor would like to hear.'
   'Oh, yes, pray do,' said Stephen.
   The unhappy boy thrust a great lump of mutton into his cheek, turned a nasty yellow and gathered to his heart all the fortitude he could call upon. He said, 'Yes, sir,' fixed his eyes upon the stern-window and began,
   'White as the clouds beneath the blaze of noon Oh God don't let me die
   'White as the clouds beneath the blaze of noon
   Her b– ' His voice quavered, died, revived as a thin desperate ghost and squeaked out 'Her bottom'; but could do no more.
   'A damned fine verse,' cried Jack, after a very slight pause. 'Edifying too. Dr Maturin, a glass of wine with you?'

Her bottom through translucent waters shone,
White as the clouds beneath the blaze of noon.

William Falconer, The Shipwreck, I. 758-59

p. 281

'Oh were it mine with sacred Maro's art,
To wake to sympathy the feeling heart,
Then might I, with unrivalled strains, deplore,
Th'impervious horrors of a leeward shore.'

Oh, were it mine with sacred Maro's art,
To wake to sympathy the feeling heart;
Like him, the smooth and mournful verse to dress
In all the pomp of exquisite distress;
Then, too severely taught by cruel fate,
To share in all the perils I relate,
Then might I, with unrivall'd strains, deplore
The impervious horrors of a leeward shore.

William Falconer, The Shipwreck, III. 650-57

p. 281

'The mainsail, by the squall so lately rent,
In streaming pendants flying, is unbent:
With brails refixed, another soon prepared,
Ascending, spreads along beneath the yard.
To each yardarn the head-rope they extend,
And soon their earings and their robans bend.
That task performed, they first the braces slack,
Then to the chesstree drag th'unwilling tack:
And, while the lee clew-garnet's lowered away,
Taut aft the sheet they tally and belay.'

William Falconer, The Shipwreck, II. 203-12

p. 310

'I am coming to believe that laws are the prime cause of unhappiness. It is not merely a case of born under one law, required another to obey – you know the lines: 1 have no memory for verse. No, sir: it is born under half a dozen, required another fifty to obey. There are parallel sets of laws in different keys that have nothing to do with one another and that are even downright contradictory. [...] Buridan's ass died of misery between equidistant mangers, drawn first by one then by the other. Then again, with a slight difference, there are these double loyalties another great source of torment.'

O wearisome condition of humanity!
Born under one law, to another bound;
Vainly begot and yet forbidden vanity;
Created sick, commanded to be sound.
What meaneth nature by these diverse laws?

Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke, Chorus Sacerdotum, from Mustapha (1609)

p. 336

Mr Florey paused, gazing at the long straight double-edged catling and waving it solemnly over the joint. 'If you provide a man with horns, he may gore you,' he observed with a detached air, covertly watching to see what effect his remark might have.
'Very true,' said Stephen, tossing the vulture a piece of gristle. 'In general fenum habent in cornu.'

foenum habet in cornu, longe fuge.
He has hay on the horn, flee from him."

Horace, Satires, I. iv. 34 (Roman farmers used to tie a bundle of hay to the tips of a bull’s horns to indicate it was dangerous.)

p. 370

Breakfast with Dr Ramis was a very different matter – austere, if not penitential: a bowl of milkless cocoa, a piece of bread with a very little oil. 'A very little oil cannot do us much harm,' said Dr Ramis, who was a martyr to his liver.

'Mrs Bates, let me propose your venturing on one of these eggs. An egg boiled very soft is not unwholesome. Serle understands boiling an egg better than any body. I would not recommend an egg boiled by any body else – but you need not be afraid – they are very small, you see – one of our small eggs will not hurt you. Mrs Bates, let Emma help you to a little bit of tart – a very little bit. Ours are all apple tarts. I do not advise the custard. Mrs Goddard, what say you to half a glass of wine? A small half glass – put into a tumbler of water? I do not think it could disagree with you'.

Jane Austen, Emma, Ch. 3

Post Captain

p. 19

'Thou looks't like Antichrist in that lewd hat.'

Ben Jonson, The Alchemist, IV, vii

p. 50

'She is cynical, but not nearly cynical enough, whatever she may say. If she were, I should not be obsessed. Quo me rapis? Quo indeed. My whole conduct, meekness, mansuetude, voluntary abasement, astonishes me.'

Quo me, Bacche, rapis tui plenum?
Where, O Bacchus, are you carrying me off to, so full of that which is yours [i.e. wine]?

Horace, Odes, III. xxv. 1-2

p. 71

'No, no, you get no more of me. If this wantonness with Jack continues I shall go away.'

Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part;
Nay, I have done, you get no more of me,
And I am glad, yea glad with all my heart
That thus so cleanly I myself can free;
Shake hands forever, cancel all our vows,
And when we meet at any time again,
Be it not seen in either of our brows
That we one jot of former love retain.
Now at the last gasp of love's latest breath,
When his pulse failing, passion speechless lies,
When faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
And innocence is closing up his eyes,
Now if thou wouldst, when all have given him over,
From death to life thou mightst him yet recover.

Michael Drayron, Idea, xli (1619)

p. 114

'The finner is too hugeous, ma'am. If you are so rash as to make an attempt upon her – if you creep up in the whale-boat and strike your harpoon home, she will bash the boat like a bowl of neeps as she sounds, maybe, and in any case she will run out your two-hundred-fathom whale-line in less than a minute – you bend on another as quick as you can – she runs it out – another, and still she runs. She tows under, or she carries all away: you lose your line or your life or both. Which is as who should say, be humble, flee ambition. Canst thou draw up Leviathan with a hook? Confine thyself to the right-whale, thy lawful prey.'

Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord [which] thou lettest down?  Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn?

Job 41:1-2

p. 143

A convoy of hay-wains came down the Hampstead Road, led by countrymen with long whips. The whips, the drivers' smocks, the horses' tails and manes were trimmed with ribbons, and the men's broad faces shone red, effulgent through the gloom. From Jack's remote and ineffectual schooldays sprang a tag: O fortunatos nimium, sua si bona norint, agricolas. 'Come, that is pretty good. How I wish Stephen had been by, to hear it. However, I shall flash it out at him presently.'

O fortunatos nimium, sua si bona norint,
O more than happy farmers, if they ever come to realize their blessings!

Virgil, Georgics, II. 458-59

p. 180

Mr Scriven, the literary man, came across the courtyard; he was looking old and tired; his ear was hideously swollen.

Adam scriveyn, if ever it thee bifalle
Boece or Troylus for to wryten newe,
Under they long lokkes thou most have the scalle,
But after my makyng thow wryte more trewe;
So ofte adaye I mot they werk renewe,
It to correcte and eke to rubbe and scrape,
And al is thrugh they negligence and rape.

Chaucer,Wordes Unto Adam, His Owne Scriveyn’

p. 368

'What a wretched tedious slow hand you are with a pen, upon my soul. Scratch-scratch, gasp-gasp. You might have written the Iliad in half the time, and a commentary upon it, too.'
'I am truly sorry, my dear fellow – I hate writing letters: it don't seem to come natural, somehow.'
' Non omnia possumus omnes,' said Stephen, 'but at least we can step into a boat at a stated time, can we not?'

We can't all do everything.

Virgil, Eclogues, VIII. 63

HMS Surprise

p. 17

Dr Maturin walked into the Entomological Society's meeting as the Reverend Mr Lamb began his paper on Certain Non-Descript Beetles found on the Shore at Pringle-juxta-Mare in the Year 1799. He sat down at the back and listened closely for a while; but presently the gentleman strayed from his theme (as everyone had known he would) and began to harangue the gathering on the hibernation of swallows; for he had found a new prop for his theory – not only did they fly in ever-decreasing circles, conglobulate in a mass and plunge to the bottoms of quiet ponds, but they also took refuge in the shafts of tin-mines, 'of Cornish tin-mines, gentlemen!'

'He seemed pleased to talk of natural philosophy. 'That woodcocks, (said he,) fly over to the northern countries, is proved, because they have been observed at sea. Swallows certainly sleep all the winter. A number of them conglobulate together, by flying round and round, and then all in a heap throw themselves under water, and lye in the bed of a river.'

James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL. D, A.D. 1768

pp. 92-93

He stretched, gazed about him, met the stony, disapproving faces of the afterguard and realised that the gumminess of his feet was caused by tar, pitch and resin on his shoes: a trail of dirty footsteps led across the clean deck from the place where he had slept to the rail where he now stood. 'Oh, I beg your pardon, Franklin,' he cried, 'I have dirtied the floor, I find. Come, give me a scraper – sand – a broom.'
The harsh looks vanished. 'No, no,' they cried – it was only a little pitch, not dirt – they would have it off in a moment. But Stephen had caught up a small holystone and he was earnestly spreading the pitch far, deep and wide, surrounded by a ring of anxious, flustered seamen when four bells struck, and to the infinite distress of the afterguard a huge shadow fell across the deck – the captain, stark naked and carrying a towel.
'Good morning, Doctor,' he said. 'What are you about?'
'Good morning, my dear,' said Stephen. 'It is this damned spot. But I shall have him out. I shall extirpate this spot.'

Out, damned spot! out, I say!

Shakespeare, Macbeth, V. i

p. 103

Young Conroy was the last in the division: a blue-eyed youth as tall as Jack but much slimmer, with an absurdly beautiful mild smooth girl's face; his beauty left Jack totally unmoved (this could not be said for all his shipmates) [...] Was he sailing with an old shipmate's son? Age, age; dear me. This was no time to speak, and in any case, Conroy, though not dumb, had such a shocking stutter as to make him nearly so.

. . . welkin-eyed Billy Budd, or Baby Budd . . . aged twenty-one, a foretopman of the British fleet toward the close of the last decade of the eighteenth century . . . He was young; and despite his all but fully developed frame, in aspect looked even younger than he really was, owing to a lingering adolescent expression in the as yet smooth face, all but feminine in purity of natural complexion, but where, thanks to his seagoing, the lily was quite suppressed and the rose had some ado visibly to flush through the tan . . . No visible blemish, . . . but an occasional liability to a vocal defect. Though in the hour of elemental uproar or peril he was everything that a sailor should be, yet under sudden provocation of strong heart-feeling, his voice otherwise singularly musical, as if expressive of the harmony within, was apt to develop an organic hesitancy, – in fact, more or less of a stutter or even worse.

Herman Melville, Billy Budd, Sailor, Ch. 1 & 2

pp. 119-20

'There is an odour, sure,' said Stephen. 'But by paradise I mean the tameness of the fowl; and I do not believe it is they that smell.' He ducked as a tern shot past his head, banking and braking hard to land. 'The tameness of the birds before the Fall. I believe this bird will suffer me to smell it; I believe that much, if not all the odour is that of excrement, dead fish, and weed.' He moved a little closer to the booby, one of the few still sitting on an egg, knelt by it, gently took its wicked beak and put his nose to its back. 'They contribute a good deal, however,' he said. The booby looked indignant, ruffled, impenetrably stupid; it uttered a low hiss, but it did not move away -merely shuffled the egg beneath it and stared at a crab that was laboriously stealing a flying-fish, left by a tern at the edge of a nest two feet away.
From the top of the island he could see the frigate, lying motionless two miles off, her sails slack and dispirited: he had left Nicolls under a shelter made from their clothes spread on the oars, the only patch of shade on this whole marvellous rock. He had collected two boobies and two terns: he had had to overcome an extreme reluctance to knock them on the head, but one of the boobies, the red-legged booby, was almost certainly of an undescribed species; he had chosen birds that were not breeding, and by his estimate of this rock alone there were some thirty-five thousand left. He had filled his boxes with several specimens of a feather-eating moth, a beetle of an unknown genus, two woodlice apparently identical with those from an Irish turf stack, the agile thievish crab, and a large number of ticks and wingless flies that he would classify in time. Such a haul! Now he was beating the rock with his hammer, not for geological specimens, for they were already piled in the boat, but to widen a crevice in which an unidentified arachnid had taken refuge. The rock was hard; the crevice deep; the arachnid stubborn.

We found on St. Paul's only two kinds of birds – the booby and the noddy. The former is a species of gannet, and the latter a tern. Both are of a tame and stupid disposition, and are so unaccustomed to visitors, that I could have killed any number of them with my geological hammer. The booby lays her eggs on the bare rock; but the tern makes a very simple nest with seaweed. By the side of many of these nests a small flying-fish was placed; which I suppose, had been brought by the male bird for its partner. It was amusing to watch how quickly a large and active crab (Graspus), which inhabits the crevices of the rock, stole the fish from the side of the nest, as soon as we had disturbed the parent birds. Sir W. Symonds, one of the few persons who have landed here, informs me that he saw the crabs dragging even the young birds out of their nests, and devouring them. Not a single plant, not even a lichen, grows on this islet; yet it is inhabited by several insects and spiders. The following list completes, I believe, the terrestrial fauna: a fly (Olfersia) living on the booby, and a tick which must have come here as a parasite on the birds; a small brown moth, belonging to a genus that feeds on feathers; a beetle (Quedius) and a woodlouse from beneath the dung; and lastly, numerous spiders, which I suppose prey on these small attendants and scavengers of the waterfowl . . .

Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle, Ch. 1

pp. 142-43

Stephen opened the book, and holding it with the page to the bow-wave he read,
'Speed the soft intercourse from soul to soul
And waft a sigh from Indus to the Pole.
Mr White, I exult, I triumph. I claim my bottle; and Lord, Lord, how I shall enjoy it – such a thirst! Captain Aubrey, I beg you will share our bottle. Come, Lethargy,' he called directing his voice into the velvet sky.'

Heaven first taught letters for some wretch's aid,
Some banish'd lover, or some captive maid:
They live, they speak, they breathe what love inspires,
Warm from the soul, and faithful to its fires;
The virgin's wish without her fears impart,
Excuse the blush, and pour out all her heart;
Speed the soft intercourse from soul to soul,
And waft a sigh from Indus to the pole.

Alexander Pope, Eloisa to Abelard, 51-58

Yes! this is a fatal, dreadful revolution
A change repugnant to the dear delights
Of night-enveloped guilt, of midnight fraud,
And rapine long secure; of dexterous art
To plunge unthinking innocence in woe,
And riot in the spoils of beggar'd youth!
Sad revolution! Hence come lethargy,
Come inactivity, and worse than all,
Come simple honesty! The dice no more
Shall sound their melody, nor perj'ry's list
Swell at the nod of dark collusive practice
Gaols lie unpeopled, and rest gibbets bare,
And Newgate's front board take a holiday!

William J. Fitzpatrick, The Sham Squire and the Informers of '98, 1866
(more on this text in Katherine Tharp's post, June 14, 2004)

p. 154

'Verse,' said Stephen again, gazing at the illimitable blue-grey sea and the lop-sided moon above it. 'Verse:
   'Then we upon our globe's last verge shall go
   And view the ocean leaning on the sky;
   From thence our rolling neighbours we shall know,
   And on the lunar world securely pry by God I believe I see the albatross,'
'. . . believe I see the albatross.' said Bonden's lips silently. 'It don't rhyme. Another line, sir, maybe?'

John Dryden, Annus Mirabilis, 653-6

p. 171

'Verse,' he said again. 'Are you ready, Barret Bonden? Then dash away.
   Thus to the Eastern wealth through storms we go;
   But now, the Cape once doubled, fear no more:
   A constant trade-wind will securely blow,
   And gently lay us on the spicy shore.'
'An elegant sentiment, sir,' said Bonden. 'As good as Dibdin any day. If you wanted to crab it, which far from me be it, you might say the gent was a trifle out in his trade-wind, this rightly being the monsoon, as we call it by sea. And as for wealth, why, that's poetic licence; or, as you might say, all my eye. Spice maybe; I'm not saying anything against spice, nor yet spicy shores, though most of them is shit begging your pardon, in Indian ports. But wealth, I make so bold as to laugh, ha, ha; why, sir, bating a few privateers out of the Isle of France and Reunion there's not a prize for us in this whole Indian mortal ocean, not from here to Java Head, not since Admiral Rainier cleaned up Trincomalee.'

John Dryden, Annus Mirabilis, 1213-6

pp. 177-78

[H]e had all the advantage of the sun, of solitude (for the chains were well below the rail), and of the sea, which ran curving past under his feet, sometimes touching them with a warm caress, sometimes sending an agreeable shower of spray over his person; and as he sat he sang 'Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo – but those qualities
       were of course
         most apparent when she was poor
           lonely and oppressed
               what shall I find now?
                  what, what development?
                     if indeed I call? hyssopo
                        et super nivem dealbabor.
       Asperges me. . .'

Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo, et mundabor: lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor.
Purge me with hyssop, O Lord, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Psalms 51:7

p. 180

The daughter of the horse-leech was moderation made flesh compared to Captain Aubrey let loose in a Tom Tiddler's ground strewn with pitch, hemp, tow, cordage, sailcloth by the acre, copper in gleaming sheets, spars, blocks, boats and natural-grown knees.

The horseleech hath two daughters, crying, Give, give.

Prov. 30:15

p. 210

She was in tearing high spirits, laughing and talking away at a splendid rate, as though she had been long deprived of company. 'How it becomes her to laugh,' he reflected. 'Dulce loquentem, dulce ridentem – most women are solemn owls. But then few have such brilliant teeth.' he said, 'How many teeth have you in your head, now, Villiers?'

dulce ridentem Lalagen amabo,
dulce loquentem
I shall love sweetly-smiling,
sweetly-speaking Lalage.

Horace, Odes, I. xxii. 23-24

p. 260

Jack looked out of the stern window at the distant, receding land, dull purple now, with a rainstorm beating down on it. He said, 'We came on a fool's errand.'
Stephen said, as though in reply,
   'All all of a piece throughout
   Thy chase had a beast in view
   Thy wars brought nothing about
   Thy lovers were all untrue.'

All, all of a piece throughout;
Thy chase had a beast in view;
Thy wars brought nothing about;
Thy lovers were all untrue.
'Tis well an old age is out,

And time to begin a new.

John Dryden, A Secular Masque

p. 343

'Arma virumque cano,' began the harsh voice in the darkness, as some recollection of Diana's mad cousin set Stephen's memory in motion.
'Well, thank God we are in Latin again,' said Jack. 'Long may it last.'
Long indeed; it lasted until the Equatorial Channel itself, when the morning watch heard the ominus words '. . . ast illi solvuntur frigore membra vitaque cum gemitu fugit indignata sub umbras', followed by an indignant cry for tea – for 'green tea, there. Is there no one in this vile ship that knows how to look after a calenture? I have been calling and calling.'

I sing of arms and the man . . .

but the other's limbs grew slack and chill, and with a moan life passed indignant to the shades below . . .

Virgil, Aeneid, I. 1; XII. 950-2; tr. H. Rushton Fairclough

p. 346

'This is Testudo aubreii for all eternity; when the Hero of the Nile is forgotten, Captain Aubrey will live on in his tortoise. There's glory for you.'

'. . . and that shows you that there are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents--'
    'Certainly,' said Alice.
    'And only one for birthday presents, you know. There's glory for you.'

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

p. 368

‘As for your liberal education, I, too, can say ha, ha. We sailors are hardly educated at all ... we are not the sort of men that educated, intelligent, well-brought-up young women cross a thousand miles of sea for. They like us well enough ashore, and are kind, and say Good old Tarpaulin when there is a victory. But they don't marry us, not unless they do it right away—not unless we board them in our own smoke. Given time to reflect, as often as not they marry parsons, or clever chaps at the bar.'

'Why, as to that, Jack, you undervalue Sophie: to love her is a liberal education in itself. Of course you are an educated man, in that sense.'
'Though her mien carries much more invitation than command, to behold her is an immediate check to loose behavior; to love her is a liberal education.'
Richard Steele, Tatler (1709-1711), no. 49. On Lady Elizabeth Hastings.


The Mauritius Command

p. 6

The hives stood in a trim row on white painted stools, but never a bee was to be seen. Stephen peered into the entrances, saw the tell-tale cobweb, and shook his head and observed, 'It is the fell wax-moth.' He prised a skep from its stool and held it out, inverted, showing the dirty wreck of the combs, with the vile grubs spinning their cocoon."
   ‘The wax-moth!’ cried Jack. ‘Is there something I should have done?’
   ‘No,’ said Stephen. ‘Not that I know of.’

illis ira modum supra est, laesaeque uenenum
morsibus inspirant, et spicula caeca relinquunt
adfixae uenis, animasque in uulnere ponunt.
sin duram metues hiemem parcesque futuro
contusosque animos et res miserabere fractas,
at suffire thymo cerasque recidere inanis
quis dubitet? nam saepe fauos ignotus adedit

stelio et lucifugis congesta cubilia blattis
immunisque sedens aliena ad pabula fucus;
aut asper crabro imparibus se immiscuit armis,

aut dirum tiniae genus aut inuisa Mineruae
laxos in foribus suspendit aranea cassis.
Their anger knows no bounds, and when hurt
they suck venom into their stings, and leave their hidden lances
fixed in the vein, laying down their lives in the wound they make.
Twice men gather the rich produce: there are two seasons
for harvest, as soon as Taygete the Pleiad has shown
her lovely face to Earth and spurned the Ocean stream
with scornful foot, and when that same star fleeing watery Pisces
sinks more sadly from the sky into the wintry waves.
But if you fear a harsh winter, and would spare their future,
and pity their bruised spirits, and shattered fortunes,
who would then hesitate to fumigate them with thyme
and cut away the empty wax? For often a newt has nibbled
the combs unseen, cockroaches, light-averse, fill the cells,
and the useless drone sits down to another’s food:
or the fierce hornet has attacked with unequal weapons,
or the dread race of moths, or the spider, hated by Minerva,
hangs her loose webs in the entrances.

Virgil,Georgics, Book IV, 237-48; tr. A. S. Kline © 2002 (link is external)

p. 6

Look at the Admiralty, and what do you see? A general as First Lord, that is what you see. Would you believe it, Stephen? And the first thing this infernal redcoat does, is to take away one of the captain’s eighths – he reduces our prize-money by a third, which is stark, raving lunacy. And then, quite apart from the idiots in Whitehall, this village has half a dozen; they squeak and gibber in the market place.

In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets.

Shakespeare, Hamlet  I, i

p. 55

But now Mr Farquhar was sharing the great cabin, and he was as indifferent to Haydn as he was to Mozart; as he observed, he would not give a farthing candle for either of them, or for Handel.

Some cry up Haydn, some Mozart,
Just as the whim bites. For my part
I do not give a farthing candle
For either of them, nor for Handel . . .

Charles Lamb, Free Thoughts On Several Eminent Composers

pp. 73-4:

'He has not hurt my flowers, however,' said Stephen, smoothing their petals. 'They are, in their essentials, quite intact. You have no doubt remarked the curious spiral convolution of the ovary, so typical of the whole order. Though perhaps your realm does not extend to botany, at all?'
'It does not,' said McAdam. 'Though twisted ovaries are well within it; and twisted testicles too – I speak in figure, you understand: I am jocose. No. The proper study of mankind is man. And I may observe, Dr Maturin, that this eager prying into the sexual organs of vegetables on your part seems to me . . .'
What it seemed to Dr McAdam did not appear, for his tide too has reached the full. He rose; his eyes closed, and he pitched straight into Stephen's arms, falling, as Stephen noted, forwards.

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study of mankind is man.

Alexander Pope, Essay on Man, II. 1-2

p. 84

He was drawing on the breeches of his best full-dress uniform when Stephen walked in. 'I thought you might like to see something new,' he said, adding, not without pride, 'Ex Africa surgit semper aliquid novo, – novi, eh?'
'To what do you refer?' asked Stephen, gazing about the cabin.
'Cannot you see anything that strikes you dumb with awe, the mark of a living commodore, very nearly the most exalted being on the face of the earth?'

Ex Africa surgit semper aliquid novi.
There's always something new coming out of Africa.

Pliny the Elder, Historia Naturalis 5

pp. 87-88

All this time Clonfert had been sitting silent. A shaft of light, failing on his star, sent a constellation of little prismatic dots flashing high: now, as he leant forwards to the bottle, they all swept down. He filled his glass, passed the bottle on, and moved perhaps by some notion of repairing his unpleasant relationship with Corbett and possibly at the same time of winning an ally in this meeting where he could not but feel at a disadvantage, he said, ‘Captain Corbett, a glass of wine with you.’
   ‘I never drink a glass of wine with any man, my lord,’ replied Corbett.

In the year 1797, Admiral Murray was succeeded in the command by Admiral Vandeput, who, on the 21st of June, appointed me lieutenant in his flag-ship, the Resolution. On joining this ship a few days afterwards my reception was anything but encouraging.
Being seated near the admiral at dinner, he inquired what dish was before me. Mentioning its nature, I asked if he would permit me to help him. The uncourteous reply was — that whenever he wished for anything he was in the habit of asking for it. Not knowing what to make of a rebuff of this nature, it was  met by an inquiry if he would allow me the honour  of taking wine with him. "I never take wine with  any man, my lord," was the unexpected reply, from  which it struck me that my lot was cast among Goths, if no worse.

Thomas Cochrane, The Autobiography of a Seaman, 1861, p. 69

p. 147

'One constant is that indubitably happy courage, the courage of the fabled lion – how I wish I may see a lion – which makes him go into action as some men might go to their marriage-bed. Every man would be a coward if he durst: it is true of most, I do believe, certainly of me, probably of Clonfert; but not of Jack Aubrey.'

'This was meant of Rochester, whose "buffoon conceit" was, I suppose, a saying often mentioned, that "every man would be a coward, if he durst."'

Samuel Johnson, Lives of the Poets – Rochester

p. 169

'I shall soon have to think of another trip to La Reunion. This Mauritius brew is sad stuff, in comparison.'
'Very true,' said Jack. 'But drink it while you may. Carpe diem, Stephen: you may not get another cup.'

dum loquimur, fugerit invida
aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero
"while we're talking, envious time will have run on:
seize the present day, not relying on the next one at all"

Horace, Odes, I. xi. 8-9

p. 178

'There you are, Stephen,' he cried. 'How happy I am to see you. What have you there?'
'An unborn porcupine.'
'Well, there's glory for you.'

'. . . and that shows you that there are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents–'
'Certainly,' said Alice.
'And only one for birthday presents, you know. There's glory for you.'

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, Ch. 6

p. 299

Mr Peter smiled, looking significantly at Colonel Keating, greyish-yellow and blinking in the sun. It was in fact the Colonel who had been brought down in a wheelbarrow; it was he who had so often cried 'Let copulation thrive.'

Gloucester. The trick of that voice I do well remember:
Is 't not the king?
King Lear.       Ay, every inch a king:
When I do stare, see how the subject quakes.
I pardon that man's life. What was thy cause? Adultery?
Thou shalt not die: die for adultery! No:
The wren goes to 't, and the small gilded fly
Does lecher in my sight.
Let copulation thrive; for Gloucester's bastard son
Was kinder to his father than my daughters
Got 'tween the lawful sheets.

Shakespeare, King Lear, IV. vi

Desolation Island

p. 26

With his open, friendly character, Jack was always well with his company, and Stephen had known him get along famously with country gentlemen whose talk was all of bullocks.

The wisdom of a learned man cometh by opportunity of leisure : and he that hath little business shall become wise. How can he get wisdom that holdeth the plough, and that glorieth in the goad, that driveth oxen, and is occupied in their labours, and whose talk is of bullocks ? He giveth his mind to make furrows ; and is diligent to give the kine fodder."

Ecclesiasticus 38:24

p. 41

In a brief flare of rebellion, anger and frustration he thought of his enormous expense of spirit these last few weeks, of the mounting hope that he had indulged and fostered in spite of his judgement and of their frequently violent disagreements; but the flame died, leaving not so much an active sorrow as a black and wordless desolation.

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoy'd no sooner but despised straight,
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had
Past reason hated, as a swallow'd bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit and in possession so;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
        All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
        To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

Shakespeare, Sonnet 129

p. 69

They agreed heartily: a stowaway was most uncommon, indeed unheard of; and with a bow to Stephen Jack said, 'Before we tackle the ugly business in the forepeak, let us have this – this rara avis in mara, maro, in.'
The stowaway, a slight young man, was led aft by a Marine sergeant, holding him up rather than holding him in.

rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cycno
a rare bird on earth, and very much like a black swan

Juvenal, Satires, VI. 165

p. 85

[S]he did start a little when he asked whether she had any reason to apprehend a pregnancy, and her reply, 'None at all, sir,' was uttered with considerable reserve. There was no coldness, however in the words that followed: 'No, sir; I conceive that I am far more likely to be cribbed and cabined, than confined. And may not my yellow face,' she added with an amused, good-natured ghost of a smile, 'be connected with my cabining?'

Now I am cabin'd, cribb'd, confin'd.

Shakespeare, Macbeth, III. iv. 24

p. 146

[S]he had actually read right through Clarissa Harlowe without hanging herself (though that was sometimes only for want of a convenient hook) . . .

'Why, sir, if you were to read Richardson for the story, your impatience would be so much fretted that you would hang youself. But you must read it for the sentiment, and consider the story as only giving occasion to the sentiment.'

James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL. D, A.D. 1772

pp. 169-70

Stephen did indeed speak to the Captain, and it so happened that he did so at a moment when Jack was particularly inflamed against the sex. 'They make a sorry heart, an heavy countenance, a wounded mind, weak hands, and feeble knees. And that is in the Bible: I read it myself.'

A wicked woman abateth the courage, and maketh a heavy countenance, and a wounded heart. Feeble hands, and disjointed knees, a woman that doth not make her husband happy. From the woman came the beginning of sin, and by her we all die.

Ecclesiasticus, 25:22-24

p. 170

'There is your vile witch of a Gipsy, that has told one of the Portuguese hands the ship is unlucky, so unlucky that the two-headed fetch of a murdered sheriff's man haunts the bowsprit netting: all the people have heard the tale, and the morning watch saw this ghostly bum sitting on the spritsail yard, mopping and mowing at them – every hand on the forecastle came racing aft, tumbling over one another like a herd of calves, never stopping until they reached the break of the quarterdeck.'

Edgar. Both stile and gate, horse-way and foot-path. Poor Tom hath been scared out of his good wits: bless thee, good man's son, from the foul fiend! five fiends have been in poor Tom at once; of lust, as Obidicut; Hobbididence, prince of dumbness; Mahu, of stealing; Modo, of murder; Flibbertigibbet, of mopping and mowing, who since possesses chambermaids and waiting-women. So, bless thee, master!

Shakespeare, King Lear, IV. i

p. 262

Before my bed, clear moonlight
Frost on the floor?
Raising head, I gaze on the moon
Bowing head, I think of my own country.

Li Po (aka Li Bai) (701-762)

p. 310

'But surely, Stephen, you don't mean to miss the hoisting up of the rudder? To miss such a glorious sight?'
'Is this the definitive, final, triumphant move?'
'Oh, of course not. This is for the pintles, Stephen. The pintles, not the gudgeons. But it is pretty triumphant for a sailor, upon my sacred honour, it is.'
'My sacred honour,' said Stephen, closing the door. 'Tantum religio potuit saudere malorum. '

Such evil deeds could religion prompt.

Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, I, 101; tr. Cyril Bailey

p. 311

'Surely she must overcome him,' he reflected. 'She has this baby to wield, and the war, and tears, as well as all common sense. But when it comes to honour, dear Lord . . . I could not love thee, dear, so well, loved not honour more: and so on to the foot of the stake.'

Tell me not (Sweet) I am unkinde,
      That from the Nunnerie
Of thy chaste breast, and quiet minde,
      To Warre and Armes I flie.

True; a new Mistresse now I chase,
      The first Foe in the Field;
And with a stronger Faith imbrace
      A Sword, a Horse, a Shield.

Yet this Inconstancy is such,
      As you too shall adore;
I could not love thee (Deare) so much,
      Lov'd I not Honour more.

Richard Lovelace, 'To Lucasta, Going to the Warres'

The Fortune of War

p. 5

A slim honey-coloured young woman appeared: she was wearing a sarong and a little open jacket that revealed a firm and pointed bosom. Captain Aubrey's eyes instantly fixed upon this bosom: he swallowed painfully. He had not seen a bosom for a very long while indeed. The Admiral had, however, and with no more than a benign glance he called for champagne and koekjes. They came at once on trays, borne by three more young women of the same mould, lithe, smiling, cheerful; and as they served him Captain Aubrey noticed that they brought with them a waft of ambergris and musk; perhaps of cloves too, and nutmeg. 'These are my cooks, by land,' observed the Admiral. 'I find they answer very well, for country dishes.'

Hamlet. Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
Ophelia. No, my lord.
Hamlet. I mean, my head upon your lap?
Ophelia. Ay, my lord.
Hamlet. Do you think I meant country matters?

Shakespeare, Hamlet, III. ii

p. 17

The sea was a treacherous element; a ship but a frail conveyance – fragilis ratis – tossed by the billows at their whim, and subject to every wind that blew.

Illi robur et aes triplex
circa pectus erat, qui fragilem truci
commisit pelago ratem
His breast must have been bound all round with oak and three-fold bronze, who first entrusted a frail boat to the grim sea.

Horace, Odes, I. iii. 8-11

pp. 39-40

[Jack] smiled at Stephen, who gave him a bitter look, and said, 'Lead on, Macbeth.' Macbeth instantly sprang from the larboard gangway, where he had been standing by a tackle fall, ready to get on with the ship's business the moment the ceremony was over. Standing before his Captain with his huge bare red bony splay feet brought neatly together he plucked off his blue bonnet and asked, 'Wheer tu, sirr?'
'No, no, Macbeth,' said Jack. 'I did not mean you; and in any case I should have said Macduff . . .'
'Macduff, Macduff,' the cry went through the ship. 'Sawny Macduff to the quarterdeck at the double.'
'Belay there,' cried Jack. 'Scrub it. No, no. My meaning is, the officers may go over the side as soon as they please.'
Quite unmollified by this, Stephen was handed muttering down into the boat after the midshipman, and Jack followed him to the howl of silver pipes.

Macbeth. Yet I will try the last. Before my body
I throw my warlike shield. Lay on, Macduff,
And damn'd be him that first cries, 'Hold, enough!'

Shakespeare, Macbeth, V. viii

p. 45

'What else raises your blood, your spirits, your whole being, to the highest pitch, so that life is triumphant, or tragic, as the case may be, and so that every day is worth a year of common life? When you sit trembling for a letter? When the whole of life is filled with meaning, double-shotted? To be sure, when you actually come to what some have called the right true end, you may find the position ridiculous, and the pleasure momentary; but novels, upon the whole, are concerned with getting there. And for that matter, what else makes the world go round?'

The pleasure is fleeting, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable

Variously attributed to Lord Chesterfield  and Lord Acton

p. 46

'Come, Aubrey, you must have observed that love is a kind of war; you must have seen the analogy. As for hunting and deep play, what is more obvious? You pursue in love, and if the game is worth engaging in at all, you play for very high stakes indeed. Do you not agree, Doctor?'
'Sure, you are in the right of it. Intermissa, Venus diu, rursus bella moves.

Intermissa, Venus, diu
rursus bella moves? parce precor, precor.
non sum qualis eram bonae
sub regno Cinarae.
Venus, are you again
stirring up wars long since abandoned? Spare me, I beg you, I beg you.
I am not the man I was
in the reign of good-natured Cinara.

Horace, Odes, IV. i. 1.4

p. 47

Two weevils crept from the crumbs. 'You see those weevils, Stephen?' said Jack solemnly.
'I do.'
'Which would you choose?'
'There is not a scrap of difference. Arcades ambo. They are the same species of curculio, and there is nothing to choose between them.'

Ambo florentes aetatibus, Arcades ambo
Both in the flower of their youth, Arcadians both

Virgil, Eclogues, VII. 4

pp. 94, 129

[T]he word brought his vanished collections to his mind. He dismissed them at once. A woman whose acquaintance he greatly valued had once remarked that it was foolish to reflect on the past except where that past was agreeable: he did his best to observe the precept, but it was not much use – a sense of bereavement would keep breaking in.
'In our earlier mishap we lost all our possessions that we did not carry in our hands. All of them,' said Stephen, looking down as the piercing memory of his collection filled his mind.

I began to feel the greatness of my loss . . . I had not one specimen to illustrate the unknown lands I had trod, or to call back the recollection of the wild scenes I had beheld! But such regrets were vain . . . and I tried to occupy myself with the state of things which actually existed.
Alfred Russel Wallace

Edwards. 'You are a philosopher, Dr. Johnson. I have tried too in my time to be a philosopher, but, I don't know how, cheerfulness was always breaking in.'
James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL. D, A.D. 1778

p. 118

[H]e was very, very unwilling that any other eye should see him naked, see him exposed as a helpless tormented lover, a nympholept furiously longing for what was beyond his reach; and even more unwilling that any man should read his attempts at verse, Catullus-and-water at the best. A very great deal of water, though the fire might perhaps be the same: nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.

Odi et amo. Quare id faciam, fortasse requiris.
nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.
I hate and I love. Why should I do this, perhaps you ask.
I don't know, but I feel it happening and I am racked with pain.

Catullus, Carmina, lxxxv

p. 168

'He that is down needs fear no fall,' said Stephen. 'He that is low, no pride. My poke is empty, and no man can rob me.'

John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress, Pt. 2

pp. 182-83

'Well, we will leave that for the present. Now what have you to say to this?' holding out another paper. 'And pray what is the significance of kicky-wicky?'
Jack took it and his face grew paler still with anger: this was obviously, very obviously, a most private letter – he recognized that as soon as he recognized Admiral Drury's hand. 'Do you mean to tell me,' he said in a voice that filled the room, 'that you have broken the seal of a private letter, and that you have read what was clearly addressed to the lady alone? As God's my salvation. . .'

Ay, that would be known. To the wars, my boy, to the wars!
He wears his honour in a box unseen,
That hugs his kicky-wicky here at home,
Spending his manly marrow in her arms,
Which should sustain the bound and high curvet
Of Mars's fiery steed.

Shakespeare, All's Well that Ends Well, II. iii. 276-81

pp. 187

'If I no longer love Diana,' he wrote, 'what shall I do?' What could he do, with his mainspring, his prime mover gone? He had known that he would love her for ever – to the last syllable of recorded time.

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.

Shakespeare, Macbeth, V. v

pp. 218-19

'Here is a version, my dear sir,' he said, 'that I flatter myself you will not wholly disapprove:
 Flower: is it a flower?
Mist: is it a mist?
Coming at midnight
Leaving with the dawn.
She is there: the sweetness of a passing springtime
She is gone: the morning haze – no trace at all.'

Po Chu-I (772-846)

p. 219

'[B]ut for the fine work, give me a good fresh private corpse, preferably a pauper, to avoid the fat, lovingly preserved in the best spirits of wine, double-refined. Here are eloquent volumes – nocturna versate manu, versate diurna – worth a whole library of mere print.'

Vos exemplaria Graeca
Nocturna versate manu, versate diurna.
Turn over the pages of your Greek models by night and by day.

Horace, Ars Poetica, 268

p. 237

'I only drink any when I am excited, as I am now, or when I am low. Still, as I have been low ever since I came here, I dare say I must have swallowed gallons. But I will not be low with you, Stephen.' A long silence, and she went on. 'Do you remember, years and years ago, you asked me whether I had read Chaucer, and I said "Filthy old Chaucer?" and you abused me for it? Well, at least he did say "In woman vinolent is no defence. Thus knoweth lechers by experience. . .?"'

In wommen vinolent is no defense
This knowen lecchorrs by experience.

Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, Wife of Bath Prologue, (D) 467-68

p. 269

'Well sung, Jack,' said Broke, and turning to Stephen with his rare smile, 'He reminds me of that tuneful Lesbian -
   qui ferox bello tamen inter arma
   sive iactatam religarat udo
   litore navim.'
'To be sure, sir,' said Stephen, 'and as far as Bacchus and Venus are concerned, and even at a push the Muses, what could be more apt? Yet as I recall it goes on
   et Lycum nigris oculis nigroque
   crine decorum
and although I may well be mistaken, it does not seem to me that the black-haired boy quite suits, in a description of Captain Aubrey's tastes.'

. . . age dic Latinum,
barbite, carmen,
Lesbio primum modulate civi,
qui ferox bello, tamen inter arma
sive iactatam religarat udo
litore navim,
Liberum et Musas Veneremque et illi
semper haerentem puerum canebat
et Lycum nigris oculis nigroque
crine decorum.
. . . bring forth a Latin ode, o lyre, first tuned by the Lesbian citizen, who, fierce in battle, yet amid arms or after anchoring his storm-tossed ship by the watery shore, would sing of Bacchus and the Muses and Venus and the boy forever clinging to her, and of lovely Lycus with his black eyes and black hair.

Horace, Odes, I. xxxii. 4-12

The Surgeon's Mate

pp. 19-20

Jack smiled, shook his head, and walked on. 'Did you notice she called me husband?' he said after a few paces. 'They often do. I suppose marriage is the natural state, so that makes it seem less – less wrong.'
[...] 'Not at all. On the contrary, as one of your great men of the past age observed, it is so far from natural for a man and woman to live in a state of marriage, that we find all the motives which they have for remaining in that connection, and the restraints which civilized society imposes to prevent separation, are hardly sufficient to keep them together.'

'It is so far from being natural for a man and woman to live in a state of marriage, that we find all the motives which they have for remaining in that connection, and the restraints which civilised society imposes to prevent separation, are hardly sufficient to keep them together.'

James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., A.D. 1772

p. 46

'None but the brave deserve the fair,' said Jack: and pleased with the thought he began to sing in his deep, surprisingly tuneful voice
'None but the brave
None but the brave
Deserve the fair ha, ha, ha! What do you say to that, Tom?'

Happy, happy, happy pair!
None but the brave,
None but the brave,
None but the brave
Deserve the fair.

John Dryden, Alexander's Feast, I

pp. 46-47

Miss Smith's reappearance checked any retort that might have been forming in Jack's mind: the music began again, and as he led her into the dance he observed that it was strange how differently wine took different men – some grew glum and fault-finding, some quarrelsome or tearful; for his part he found it did not affect him at all, except perhaps to make him like people rather more, and to make the world seem a more cheerful place. 'Not that it could be much more cheerful than it is already,' he added, smiling at the throng, where the greenbacked girl, dancing away totally unconscious of her betrayal, was adding much to the gaiety of nations.

. . . There's not a budding boy or girl this day
But is got up and gone to bring in May. [...]
And some have wept and woo'd, and plighted troth,
And chose their priest, ere we can cast off sloth:
Many a green-gown has been given,
Many a kiss, both odd and even:
Many a glance, too, has been sent
From out the eye, love's firmament . . .

Robert Herrick, 'Corinna's Gone a-Maying'

p. 59

‘Reflect, my dear, upon the condition of a bastard. His state is in itself an insult. He is born with heavy disadvantages under all the codes of law I know; he is penalized from birth. He is debarred from many callings; if he is admitted to society at all, he is admitted only on sufferance; he meets the reproach at every turn all through his life - any tenth transmitter of a foolish face, any lawfully begotten blockhead can throw it in his teeth, and he has no reply. I believe you are aware that I am myself a bastard: I speak with full knowledge when I say that it is a cruel, cruel thing to entail upon a child.’

In gayer hours, when high my fancy ran,
The Muse exulting, thus her lay began:
'Blest be the bastard's birth! through wondrous ways,
He shines eccentric like a comet's blaze!
No sickly fruit of faint compliance he!
He! stamped in nature's mint of ecstasy!
He lives to build, not boast a generous race:
No tenth transmitter of a foolish face:
His daring hope no sire's example bounds;
His first-born lights no prejudice confounds.
He, kindling from within, requires no flame;
He glories in a bastard's glowing name.

Richard Savage, The Bastard

pp. 104-5

'You do not in principle object to suppers, my dear sir? There is a bottle I should like to share, to celebrate your return, a bottle in fact nata mecum consule Buteo, the last I possess. How I wish it may have survived.'

O nata mecum consule Manlio. . .
. . . pia testa
O kind wine-jar, born the same year as I, under Manlius' consulship

Horace, Odes, III. xxi. 1

p. 126

'I have always known that you spoke excellent French, but I had no idea that you had learnt it in the Hotel d'Arpajon – the Hotel d'Arpajon, for all love.'
'I suppose it never came up – I suppose you never asked. You never ask, much, Stephen.'
'Question and answer has never seemed to me a liberal form of conversation,' said he.

'Questioning is not the mode of conversation among gentlemen. It is assuming a superiority, and it is particularly wrong to question a man concerning himself. There may be parts of his former life he may not wish to be made known to other persons, or even brought to his own recollection.'

James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., A.D. 1776

p. 162

'Of recent months I have become most painfully aware of a certain – how shall I put it? Of a certain want of vigour, of a certain debility, as though I too should sing vixi puellis nuper idoneus. Is there nothing that physic can do in such a case, or is it inevitable at my age? I have passed Horace's lustra decem; yet I have heard tell of elixirs and drops.'

Vixi puellis nuper idoneus
et militavi non sine gloria,
nunc arma defunctumque bello
barbiton hic paries habebit.
I was fit for girls until recently,
and soldiered not ingloriously;
now this wall shall have my arms
and my lyre, dead to the wars.

Horace, Odes, III, xxvi.1-4

p. 162

'My colleague Beauprin, whom I had the pleasure of knowing in France, was only eighty when he married again, but his wife brought him sixteen children. Yet before I speak as a physician, may I ask you as a friend whether you have fully considered the wisdom of reviving these fires? When a man looks about him, surely he sees that in general the pain outweighs the pleasure? Your own Horace begged Venus to spare him – parce, precor, precor. Is not peace the greatest good? Calm rather than storms?'

        Intermissa, Venus, diu
rursus bella moves? parce precor, precor.
non sum qualis eram bonae
sub regno Cinarae.
Venus, are you again
stirring up wars long since abandoned? Spare me, I beg you, I beg you.
I am not the man I was in the reign
of good-natured Cinara.

Horace, Odes, iv. i. 1.4

pp. 168-69

Jagiello . . . obliged the company with The Lady and Death in a pure, true-pitched tenor. Chevy Case followed, and All in the Downs, with Jack's deep voice making the glasses rattle, while Stephen's harsh and disagreeable croak convulsed the maidens clinging to one another just outside the door.
      To this nest of singing-birds there entered a thin silent disapproving gentleman in a sad-coloured coat with stuff-covered buttons and starched white neckcloth, who seemed to have dined on cold vinegar.

Being himself a poet, Johnson was peculiarly happy in mentioning how many of the sons of Pembroke were poets, adding, with a smile of sporting triumph, 'Sir, we are a nest of singing-birds.'

James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL. D., A.D. 1730

p. 267

'Mark my words, sir, mark my words: it will come into the west yet, whatever Mr Grimmond may say; and when it does come, it will blow all the harder for the waiting.' He moved three steps down the ladder and paused, his eyes just over the rail. 'Sick Earth convulsive groans from shore to shore, And Nature shuddering feels the horrid roar,' he said: his eyes took on a particularly knowing and significant look for a moment, and then vanished.

Loud, and more loud, the rolling peals enlarge,
And blue on deck the fiery tides discharge;
There all aghast the shivering wretches stood,
While chill suspense and fear congeal'd their blood;
Wide bursts in dazzling sheets the living flame,
And dread concussion rends the ethereal frame;
Sick earth convulsive groans from shore to shore,
And nature, shuddering, feels the horrid roar.

William Falconer, The Shipwreck, III. 436-43

p. 322:

'The soft complaining flute
In dying notes discovers
The woes of hopeless lovers,' observed Stephen.
'Oh what a damned unlucky thing to say,' cried Jack. 'I have no notion of your hopeless at all.'

John Dryden, A Song for St Cecilia's Day, iv

The Ionian Mission

p. 1

Marriage was once represented as a field of battle rather than a bed of roses, and perhaps there are some who may still support this view; but just as Dr Maturin had made a far more unsuitable match than most, so he set about dealing with the situation in a far more compendious, peaceable and efficacious way than the great majority of husbands.

Marriage is a step so grave and decisive that it attracts  light-headed, variable men by its very awfulness. They have been  so tried among the inconstant squalls and currents, so often  sailed for islands in the air or lain becalmed with burning  heart, that they will risk all for solid ground below their  feet. Desperate pilots, they run their sea-sick, weary bark upon  the dashing rocks. It seems as if marriage were the royal road  through life, and realised, on the instant, what we have all  dreamed on summer Sundays when the bells ring, or at night when  we cannot sleep for the desire of living. They think it will  sober and change them. Like those who join a brotherhood, they  fancy it needs but an act to be out of the coil and clamour for  ever. But this is a wile of the devil's. To the end, spring  winds will sow disquietude, passing faces leave a regret behind  them, and the whole world keep calling and calling in their  ears. For marriage is like life in this-that it is a field of  battle, and not a bed of roses.

Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque, Ch. I

p. 12

[T]here was something about Jagiello that made people smile, he reflected – his youth, his cheerfulness, his abounding health, his beauty, perhaps his simplicity. 'None of these qualities are mine, or ever have been,' he said to himself. 'Are the Jagiellos conscious of their happiness? Probably not. Fortunatos nimium . . .'

O fortunatos nimium sua si bona norint
O more than happy farmers, if they ever come to realize their blessings!

Virgil, Georgics, II. 458-9

p. 37

'Upon the whole, I am very pleased: what with the old leaven and the new, as it says in the Bible, I do not doubt but we shall have a tolerable brisk crew by the time we reach the flag.'

Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.

St Paul, 1Cor. 5:7

p. 72

'You are looking wonderfully well, dear Doctor, I am happy to see. But it is not surprising, for
Even calamity, by thought refined,
Inspirits and adorns the thinking mind. '

I fly all public care, all venal strife,
To try the still, compar'd with active life;
To prove, by these the sons of men may owe
The fruits of bliss to bursting clouds of woe;
That ev'n calamity, by thought refin'd,
Inspirits and adorns the thinking mind.

Richard Savage, The Wanderer

pp. 72-73

'Well, sir, if you insist,' said Mowett, laying down his soup-spoon. His normally cheerful, good-natured expression changed to a boding, portentous look; he fixed his eyes on the decanter and in a surprisingly loud moo began:
'By woe, the soul to daring action swells;
By woe, in plaintless patience it excels:
From patience, prudent clear experience springs
And traces knowledge through the course of things;
Thence hope is formed, thence fortitude, success,
Renown – whate'er men covet and caress. '

Richard Savage, The Wanderer

p. 122

'Yes. Harry Bennet, who had Theseus before Dalton. You know him perfectly well, Stephen: he came to Ashgrove Cottage when you were there. The literary cove, that read Sophie a piece about the school at Eton and teaching the boys how to shoot, while she was knitting your stockings.'
'I remember him. He made a particularly happy quotation from Lucretius – suave mare magno, and so on.

Delightful task! to rear the tender thought,
To teach the young idea how to shoot.

James Thomson (1700-1745), The Seasons. Spring, I. 1152

Suave, mari magno turbantibus aequora ventis,
e terra magnum alterius spectare laborem.
Sweet it is, when on the great sea the winds are buffeting the waters, to gaze from the land on another's great struggles.

Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, II. 1-2; tr. Cyril Bailey

p. 216:

'It most unhappily appears that Mr Rowan, whom you will remember as the gentleman who attached you to the grating, sees fit to set up in rivalry with Mr Mowett; and what Mr Rowan may lack in talent he makes up in facility of composition and in fearless declamation. [...] He submits himself entirely to your judgement, and begs you to strike out whatever does not please.'
Mr Graham pursed his lips, took the roll, and read:
But on arrival at the fleet's anchorage, there
A very sad story we next did hear,
That Buenos Ayres had been retaken
And our little army very much shaken.
But a small reinforcement from the Cape
Induced the Commodore to try a feat
To reduce Monte Video was his intent
But which proved abortive in the event.

Samuel Walters, Memoirs of Lieutenant Samuel Walters RN

pp. 270-71

. . . Jack led him down and down into the hold, dim in spite of the open hatches, and extraordinarily aromatic, almost unbreathably scented.
   ‘They had begun breaking bulk, the goddamn fools,’ said Jack; and as his eyes grew used to the twilight.
   Stephen saw that they were walking on nutmegs, cinnamon, cloves and turmeric, spilt from torn bales. ‘Is it all spice?’ he asked, pausing by the extraordinary pungency of a cracked pot of musk.
   ‘No,’ said Jack. ‘The master tells me that the spice was only his last lading, at Scanderoon: the chief of the cargo is indigo, with a few casks of cochineal. But what those vermin were after,’ he said, referring to the Greeks and leading Stephen along the shadowy hold through slanting pillars of scented, dust-filled sunlight, ‘and what I am delighted to say they did not have time to carry to their infernal boats, was this.’ They turned the corner of a carefully-stowed wall of indigo bales, ducking under the shores, and there in a recess lay a heap of silver, a deep sloping heap of pieces of eight and Maria Theresa dollars that had spilled from an open tilting chest.

So I on board my Lord Brouncker; and there he and Sir Edmund Pooly carried me down into the hold of the India shipp, and there did show me the greatest wealth lie in confusion that a man can see in the world. Pepper scattered through every chink, you trod upon it; and in cloves and nutmegs, I walked above the knees: whole rooms full. And silk in bales, and boxes of copper-plate, one of which I saw opened. . . .  as noble a sight as ever I saw in my life.

Samuel Pepys, Diary, Nov 16th, 1665

Treason's Harbour

Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep;
And in his simple show he harbours treason.

Shakespeare, 2 Henry VI, III. i

p. 43

The male covered her, and maintaining himself precariously on her domed back with his ancient folded leathery legs he raised his face to the sun, stretched up his neck, opened his mouth wide and uttered the strangest dying cry. 'Bless me,' said Jack, 'I had no notion . . . how I wish Stephen were here.' Unwilling to disturb them, he fetched a cast quite round the pair and walked on, trying to recall some lines of Shakespeare that had to do not exactly with tortoises but with wrens [...]

Thou shalt not die; die for adultery! No:
The wren goes to't, and the small gilded fly
Does lecher in my sight.
Let copulation thrive.

Shakespeare, King Lear, IV. vi. 113-17

p. 68

[W]hen at last they left him at Laura Fielding's outer door it was late; so late that as he hobbled along the passage he heard Jack Aubrey's violin in the unseen courtyard, answered by a soft, complaining flute.

The soft complaining Flute
In dying notes discovers
The woes of hopeless lovers,
Whose dirge is whispered by the warbling Lute.

John Dryden, A Song for St Cecilia's Day, iv

p. 127

'Rowan came out with as fine a thing as ever I heard only this very morning, just before we rigged church. He and the second mate were looking at the six-pounders and he said "Oh ye mortal engines, whose rude throats /Th'immortal Jove's dread clamours counterfeit."'
'Capital, capital. I doubt if Shakespeare could have done much better,' said Stephen, nodding gravely. Of late he had noticed a very vicious tendency in these two young men, a tendency to indulge in bare-faced theft, each confident that the other's reading scarcely went beyond Robinson's Elements of Navigation.

                                        O, farewell!
Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner, and all quality,
Pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war!
And, O you mortal engines, whose rude throats
The immortal Jove's dread clamours counterfeit,
Farewell! Othello's occupation's gone!

Shakespeare, Othello, III. iii

p. 159

[P]erhaps he should have handled the Egyptian more tactfully, or have found some cleverer, quicker way of getting into touch with the Turks in spite of him; he turned the possibilities over in his mind, but sleep came welling up through the accusations, softening them a little. 'The best-led mice gang oft astray,' said one side of his mind, and before the other had quite formulated the answer,'Yes, but unlucky leaders are not the men to be entrusted with a delicate, ill-prepared mission' he dropped off: though indeed the notion lingered deep, ready to come to life again.

The best-laid plans of mice and men
Gang aft agley
And leave us naught but grief and pain
For promised joy.

Robert Burns, 'To a Mouse (on turning her up in her nest with the plough)'

p. 180

   ‘So that is a galley,’ said Martin, with great satisfaction: he and Stephen were standing at the fife-rails, sharing an indifferent spy-glass. ‘And if I do not mistake, it has five and twenty oars of a side. That makes it the exact equivalent of the classical penteconter: Thucydides must have seen just such a boat. What joy!’
   ‘So he must, too. Will you look at the oars now, how they beat? They are like the wings of a great low-flying, strong-flying bird, a vast celestial swan.’
   Martin laughed with pleasure. ‘It is Pindar, I believe, who makes the same comparison,’ he said.

multa Dircaeum levat aura cycnum,
tendit, Antoni, quotiens in altos
nubium tractus…

A swelling breeze uplifts the Dircaean swan, Antonius,
whenever he turns toward the loftiest regions of the sky

Horace, Odes, IV, ii, 25; tr. Steele Commager, The Odes of Horace, University of Oklahoma Press, 1995
Pindar is the swan of Dirce because of the legendary spring near Thebes, his birthplace.

p. 242

Certainly he had heard of Homer, and had indeed looked into Mr Pope's version of his tale; but for aught he could make out, the fellow was no seaman.

John Keats, 'On First Looking into Chapman's Homer' (1816).

pp. 225-26

'I had meant to tell you about some of the suspicions that have occurred to me – some most surprising people – there is really no one to trust – munera navium saevos inlaqueant duces, you know – but after that pure bath of music I have not the heart. Shall we step into our arbour, until is it time for dinner?'

aurum per medios ire satellites
et perrumpere amat saxa potentius
ictu fulmineo: concidit auguris
                Argivi domus ob lucrum
demersa exitio: diffidit urbium
portas vir Macedo et subruit aemulos
reges muneribus; munera navium
               saevos illaqueant duces.
Stronger than a thunderbolt, gold loves to penetrate among guards and to break down stone walls; the house of the Grecian augur fell, sunk in destruction because of lucre; the man from Macedon cleft the gates of cities and got rid of rival kings with gifts; gifts ensnare fierce captains of ships.

Horace, Odes, III. xvi. 9-16

p. 289

'I am mortally sure they would be suspected, even if you were to speak with the tongues of men and of angels too. Think, Stephen: you bring the handsomest woman in Malta aboard in the middle of the graveyard watch – someone who was seen leaving your room at Searle's the night the thieves – '

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

St Paul, 1Cor. 13:1

The Far Side of the World

pp. 15-17

Sutton took a draught of wine, straightened himself in his chair, and adopting a pulpit voice he began, ‘The First Lesson for the morning’s service is part of the third chapter of Discipline.
   1. Sir Francis Ives, the Commander-in-Chief, made an image of blue and gold, whose height was about five feet seven inches, and the breadth thereof was about twenty inches. He set it up every ten o’clock, on the quarterdeck of the Queen Charlotte, before Cadiz.
. . .
   Then the Captain cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O officers, parson, seamen, and Marines, that at what time ye hear the sound of the trumpet, the flute, the horn, the clarionet, the drum, the fife, and all kinds of music, ye take off your hats, and worship the blue and golden image that Sir Francis Ives, the Commander-in-Chief, hath set up; and whoso taketh not off his hat and worshippeth, shall be surely visited with the Commander-in-Chief’s displeasure.
. . .
   9. There is a certain seaman whom thou hast made a petty officer, and hast set over the affairs of the maintop: this man, 0 Commander-in-Chief, regarded not thee this morning: he took not off his hat and worshipped the image thou settest up.
. . .
   14. Then the captain of the maintop, in his trousers, his hosen, and his shoes, but without his jacket and his shirt, was bound up to the grating, and was flogged with one dozen lashes.
   15. Then was the captain of the maintop sore at the displeasure of Sir Francis Ives, the Commander-in-Chief.
   Here endeth the First Lesson....’

The original of this parody of the Biblical story of Nebuchadnezzar  (Daniel, 3) concerned the Earl of St. Vincent and it can be found in Jedediah Stephens Tucker, Memoirs of Admiral the Right the Earl of St. Vincent. Vol. 1. 1844. Reprint. London: Forgotten Books, 2013. 392-3. (link is external)

p. 41

[H]e felt the effect of the wine well before his glass was emptied – a very slight swimming in his head, the faint birth of a certain benignity, a willingness to be pleased with his company. 'Quo me rapis?' he murmured. 'Sure it destroys one's sense of free will. Jove made Hector bold and timid, timid and bold by turn, so there was no personal merit in his heroism, no shame in his running away. From a misanthrope Bacchus makes me sociable.'

Quo me, Bacche, rapis tui plenum?
Where, O Bacchus, are you carrying me off to, so full of that which is yours [i.e. wine]?

Horace, Odes, III. xxv. 1-2

p. 81

'Who does not know, / That happy island where huge lemons grow,/ Where shining pearl, coral, and many a pound, / On the rich shore, of ambergris is found?'

Bermuda, wall'd with rocks, who does not know?
That happy island where huge lemons grow,
And orange-trees, which golden fruit do bear,
Th' Hesperian garden boasts of none so fair;
Where shining pearl, coral, and many a pound,
On the rich shore, of ambergris is found.

Edmund Waller, The Battle of the Summer Islands, I. 5-10

pp. 103-4

Jack stepped forward with much more life in his eye and said, 'Why, Doctor, what would you be at?'
'I hope the biter may be bit,' said Stephen, reaching for the mizzen topsail halyards, to which the shark-hooks and their chains were attached. 'And above all I hope that the species may be determined; Carcharias is the genus, sure, but the species . . . Where is that black thief Padeen? Now, Padeen, thread the babies on the hooks – handle them as though you loved them – and let them soak up the good red blood till I have circumvented those villains behind – abaft – astern.'

Now of these water-frogs, if you intend to fish with a frog for a Pike, you are to choose the yellowest that you can get, for that the Pike ever likes best. And thus use your frog, that he may continue long alive: Put your hook into his mouth, which you may easily do from the middle of April till August; and then the frog's mouth grows up, and he continues so for at least six months without eating, but is sustained, none but He whose name is Wonderful knows how: I say, put your hook, I mean the arming-wire, through his mouth, and out at his gills; and then with a fine needle and silk sew the upper part of his leg, with only one stitch, to the arming-wire of your hook; or tie the frog's leg, above the upper joint, to the armed-wire; and, in so doing, use him as though you loved him, that is, harm him as little as you may possibly, that he may live the longer.

Isaak Walton, The Compleat Angler, Ch. 8

p. 137

'This is capital,' he said to Pullings and Mowett. 'I do not think we shall have to cruise here for so long as a week, even if Norfolk has had very indifferent breezes. If we stand well off, keeping the double-headed hill on our beam, she should pass inshore, which gives us the advantage of the current and the weather-gage, and then hey for Saffron Walden. Not that I think that she would decline an engagement, even if she were to windward of us.'

Thomas Nashe, 'Have with You to Saffron-Walden', 1596

p. 158

'Perhaps we can make the ship look a little less like something ready for the breaker's yard. How I do loathe being clapped right up tight against the land,' he added, glancing at Brazil, a dim band looming on the western horizon, but still far too near for a blue-water sailor, whose worst enemy was a lee shore. 'But sea-room, and the brine and cloudy billows kiss the moon, I care not,' he observed, taking the words from Mowett's mouth; but then, reflecting that fate might regard this as a challenge, he grasped a belaying-pin and said, 'I am only speaking figuratively, of course.'

First Sailor. Slack the bolins there! Thou wilt not, wilt thou? Blow, and split thyself.
Second Sailor. But sea-room, an the brine and cloudy billow kiss the moon, I care not.

Shakespeare, Pericles, III. i

p. 189

'It was common jealousy I make no doubt: disapproval too – the fellow is not worth her – a poor groatsworth of a man, vox et praeterea nihil (though a very fine vox) – but sure men in general are very rarely worth their women.'

Another having plucked all the feathers off from a nightingale, and seeing what a little body it had: ‘Surely,’ quoth he, ‘thou art all voice, and nothing else.’

Plutarch, Apophthegmata Laconica, xiii;  tr. Philemon Holland

p. 224

'I have been contemplating on the mating ceremonies of our own kind. Sometimes they are almost as brief as the boobies' [...]. At other times however the evolutions of the ceremonial dance, with its feigned advances and feigned withdrawals, its ritual offerings and symbolic motions, are protracted beyond measure [...]'
'Yes, indeed,' said Martin, 'and it is clearly of the first importance to the race: I wonder some writer has not made it his particular study. The ceremony, I mean, not the act itself, which is nasty, brutish and short.'

. . . the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

Thomas Hobbes, Leviatan, I, 13

p. 232

' I have known him hang about most shamefuly when it was a question of a wench – Nelson too and many a post-captain, many an admiral when adultery was concerned – no fine-spun scruples about the King's ship the, No, no: scruples are kept for natural philosphy alone, or any useful discovery. His soul to the devil, false, hypocritical dog; but he is probably unaware of his falsity – pravum est cor omnium, the heart is perverse above all things and unsearchable. Who shall know it?'

Jer., 17:9

p. 233

'[...] behold the threaden sails
Borne with the invisible and creeping wind,
Draw the huge bottoms through the furrow'd sea
Breasting the lofty surge'

Suppose that you have seen
The well-appointed king at Hampton pier
Embark his royalty; and his brave fleet
With silken streamers the young Phoebus fanning:
Play with your fancies, and in them behold
Upon the hempen tackle ship-boys climbing;
Hear the shrill whistle which doth order give
To sounds confused; behold the threaden sails,
Borne with the invisible and creeping wind,
Draw the huge bottoms through the furrow'd sea,
Breasting the lofty surge: O, do but think
You stand upon the ravage and behold
A city on the inconstant billows dancing;
For so appears this fleet majestical,
Holding due course to Harfleur.

Shakespeare, Henry V, III

p. 235

'Stern daughter of the voice of God! O Duty! ' said Mowett.

William Wordsworth, 'Ode to Duty' (1805)

p. 267

It was not ambergris: it was a piece of crystalline limestone, mottled and in part translucent, and it fairly stupefied Maturin. 'How can such things be?' he asked, gazing out into the offing. 'There is no question of glaciers, icebergs . . . How can such things possible come about? There is the boat. I have it,' he cried. 'This rock was brought tangled in the roots of a tree, a great tree swept away by some remote flood or tornado, cast up after the Dear knows how many thousand miles of drifting, and here decaying, leaving its incorruptible burden. Come, Jack, help me turn it – see,' he cried with a shining face as it heaved over, 'in these antifratuosities there are stillk the traces of my roots. What a discovery!'

A few miles north of Keeling there is another small atoll, the lagoon of which is nearly filled up with coral-mud. Captain Ross found embedded in the conglomerate on the outer coast a well-rounded fragment of greenstone, rather larger than a man's head; he and the maen with him were so much surprised at this, that they brought it away and preserved it as a curiousity. The occurrence of this one stone where every other particle of matter is calcerous, certainly is very puzzling. The island has scarcely ever been visited, nor is it probable that a ship had been wrecked there. From the absence of any better explanation, I came to the conclusion that it must have come entangled in the roots of some large tree: when, however, I considered the great distance from the nearest land, the combination of chances against a stone thus being entangled, the tree washed into the sea, floated so far, then landed safely, and the stone finally so embedded as to allow of its discovery, I was almost afraid of imagining a means of transport apparently so improbable.

Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the 'Beagle', Ch. XXII (April 6th, 1836)

The Reverse of the Medal

p. 3

'And as for Aubrey, well, they call him Lucky Jack, and to be sure he did take a great many prizes in the Mediterranean – Keith favoured him outrageously – gave him cruise after cruise – many people resented it. And then again in the Indian Ocean, when the Mauritius was taken in the year nine. Or was it ten? But I have not heard of anything much since then. No. It is my belief he overdid it – rode his luck to death. There is a tide in the affairs of men . . .' He hesitated.

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in misery.

Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, IV. iii. 217

pp. 12-13

   'Everyone has heard the couplet
   In vain may heroes fight and patriots rave
   If secret gold sap on from knave to knave
but how many know how it goes on?'
   'Not I, for one,' said Jack, laughing heartily.
   'Will I tell you, so?'
   'Pray do,' said Jack.
   Stephen held up a watch-bill by way of symbol, and with a significant look he continued,
   'Blest paper credit! last and best supply!
   That lends corruption lighter wings to fly!
   A single leaf shall waft an army o'er
   Or ship off senates to a distant shore.
   Pregnant with thousands flits the scrap unseen
   And silent sells a king, or buys a queen. '
   'I wish someone would try to corrupt me,' said Jack. 'When I think of how my account with Hoares must stand at the present moment, I would ship any number of senates to a distant shore for five hundred pounds; and for another ten the whole board of Admiralty too.'

Alexander Pope, Moral Essays, Epistle III, 33-48

p. 17

'You will tip it the civil to them, Aubrey, when you run each of 'em to earth. These medicos are a stiff-necked, independent crew, and you must never cross them just before they dose you.'
'No, sir,' said Jack, 'I shall speak to them like a sucking dove.'
'Pig, Aubrey, sucking pig. Doves don't suck.'

Bottom. I will aggravate my voice so that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you an 'twere any nightingale.

Shakespeare, Midsummer Night's Dream, I. ii

p. 37

'George Norris, gunner's mate, aged 28 years, five feet eight inches, sallow complexion, long black hair, slender build, has lost the use of the upper joint to his forefinger of the right hand, tattooed with a star under his left breast and a garter round his right leg with the motto Honi soit qui mal y pense. Has been wounded in one of his arms with a musket-ball.'  'John Pope, armourer, aged 40 years, five feet six inches, fair complexion, grey hair, strong made, much pitted with smallpox, a heart tattooed on his right arm.' 'William Strachey, aged 17 years, five feet three inches, fair complexion, long dark hair, strong made, has got his name tattooed on his right arm, dated 12 December.'

James Morrison—aged 28, 5ft 8in.; sallow complexion, long black hair; slender made; lost the use of the upper joint of right hand fore finger; star tatowed under left breast; tatowed garter round left leg with motto “honi soit qui mal y pense”—wounded in one arm with musquet ball.
Joseph Coleman—aged 40, 5ft 6in; fair complexion, grey hair, strong made, a heart tatowed on his arm.
Thomas Ellison—aged 17, 5ft 3in; fair complexion, dark hair, strong made; his name and date Oct 25 1788 tatowed on right arm.

From William Bligh’s official description of the Bounty mutinees.

p. 89

Martin said he supposed that the engine, pumping with such force upon the sails, striking them from behind, as it were, must urge the boat along, and so increase its speed.
'There cannot be the least doubt of it,' said Stephen.
'When virtue spooms before a prosperous gale
My heaving wishes help to fill the sail
says Dryden, that prince of poets, and the dear knows we spoom in the most virtuous manner.'

John Dryden, The Hind and the Panther, iii. 96

p. 94

[H]e returned in time to hear Stephen say, 'Smollett observed that had his friends told him what to expect in the capacity of an author "I should in all probability have spared myself the incredible labour and chagrin that I have undergone."'
'Think of Chatterton,' cried Martin.
'Nay, think of Ovid on the dank and fetid shores of the old cold Black Sea:
Omnia perdidimus, tantummodo vita relicta est,
praebeat ut sensum materiamque mali.'

We have lost everything, only life remains,
to offer the sense and substance of suffering.

Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto, IV. xvi. 49-50

pp. 124-5

'Thank you,' said Stephen, taking the letters. The only one of consequence was on top and he broke the seal as he walked up the stairs. It began
Why should a foolish marriage vow,
Which long ago was made,
Oblige us to each other now,
When passion is decayed?

Why should a foolish marriage vow,
Which long ago was made,
Oblige us to each other now
When passion is decay'd?
We lov'd, and we lov'd, as long as we could,
Till our love was lov'd out in us both:
But our marriage is dead, when the pleasure is fled:
'Twas pleasure first made it an oath.

If I have pleasures for a friend,
And farther love in store,
What wrong has he whose joys did end,
And who could give no more?
'Tis a madness that he should be jealous of me,
Or that I should bar him of another:
For all we can gain is to give our selves pain,
When neither can hinder the other.

John Dryden, Song from Marriage a-la-Mode, I. i

p. 171

'A wryneck? Yes, they call him the cuckoo's mate in these parts, and the cuckoo is here. Dear me, yes. Hear them: three at least. Cuckoo, cuckoo. Oh word of fear, unpleasing to a married ear. Lord, and to think I shall be a husband in a fortnight's time!

When daisies pied and violets blue,
And lady-smocks all silver-white,
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men; for thus sings he,
Cuckoo, cuckoo!-O word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!

Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost, V. ii

p. 237

As they came out of the boudoir the front door opened. Two chairmen supported Wray up the steps; two footmen took him over with practised hands; and as they propelled him across the hall he turned his blotched face towards Stephen and said
'A beaten wife and a cuckold swain
Have jointly cursed the marriage chain. '

Here lies John Hughes and Sarah Drew;
Perhaps you'll say, what's that to you?
Believe me, friend, much may be said
On this poor couple that are dead.
On Sunday next they should have married;
But see how oddly things are carried!
On Thursday last it rain'd and lighten'd;
These tender lovers, sadly frighten'd,
Shelter'd beneath the cocking hay,
In hopes to pass the storm away;
But the bold thunder found them out
(Commissioned for that end, no doubt),
And, seizing on their trembling breath,
Consign'd them to the shades of death.
Who knows if 'twas not kindly done?
For had they seen the next year's sun,
A beaten wife and cuckold swain
Had jointly curs'd the marriage chain;
Now they are happy in their doom,
For P. has wrote upon their tomb.

Lady Mary Wortley Montague

p. 248

He walked down the stairs towards the library, still muttering; but at their foot he met the amiable Admiral Smyth. 'Good evening to you, sir,' he said. 'I was on my way to find a naval encyclopaedia, but now I may cut my journey short, I find. Pray what is meant by a pavilion de partance?'
'Why, Doctor,' said the Admiral, smiling benignly, 'you must often have seen it, I am sure – the blue flag with a white square in the middle that we hoist at the foretopmasthead to signify that we mean to sail directly. It is generally called the Blue Peter.'
'The Blue Peter! Oh, of course, of course. Thank you, Admiral – very many thanks indeed.'
'Not at all,' said the Admiral, chuckling.

Admiral Smyth (William Henry), Sailors' Word Book, 1867

The Letter Of Marque

p. 161

  Shortly after this Tom Pullings appeared with a smiling face and reported that the ship was unmoored, that the launch and both cutters were out ahead with a tow-line, and that there was the appearance of a westerly breeze in the offing.
  ‘Very well,’ said Jack. ‘Carry on, if you please, Mr Pullings.’ And then hesitantly, with a hesitant smile, ‘Fair – fair stands the wind for France.

Fair stood the wind for France
When we our sails advance,
Nor now to prove our chance
         Longer will tarry;
But putting to the main,
At Caux, the mouth of Seine,
With all his martial train
         Landed King Harry.

Michael Drayton (1563-1631), ‘Ballad of Agincourt’

p. 179

It was good mutton, well hung and roasted to a turn, and with it came a truly beautiful claret, a Fombrauges which so pleased Jack Aubrey that after the first glass he produced one of the very few remnants of his brief education on dry land. 'Nunc est bibendum,' he said with a rather triumphant look at Stephen and Martin, 'and upon my honour, you could not ask a pleasanter vino to bib.'

Nunc est bibendum, nunc pede libero
pulsanda tellus.
Now is the time to drink, now is the time to beat the ground with a light foot.

Horace, Odes, I. xxxvii.1-2

pp. 256-57

'You have not changed at all," she went on, setting the horses in motion.
'You have, my dear,' he said in a fairly level voice. 'Your complexion is infinitely improved: you are a jeune fille en fleur.'

Marcel Proust, A l'ombre de les jeunes filles en fleurs.

The Thirteen-Gun Salute

p. 7

. . . and then by way of completing things Jack had made one of his rare adventures into literature. On hearing that in the course of a drawing-room the Regent's mistress Lady Hertford had been rude to Diana Maturin, his cousin by marriage and his best friend's wife, he said angrily and in rather too public a place, 'Birds of a feather, birds of a feather; fowl in their own nest, all tarred with the same brush. Dryden put it very well, speaking of another great man's mistresses: he said – he said – I have it. He said false, foolish, old, ill-natured and ill-bred. Aye: there's no beating Dryden. False, foolish, old, ill-natured and ill-bred – nothing more ill-bred than being uncivil at a levee or a drawing-room.'

Was ever prince by two at once misled,
False, foolish, old, ill-natured, and ill-bred?

John Dryden, An Essay upon Satire, 72-73

p. 36

It was Auden, a middle-aged experienced Shelmerstonian, who was up there; and after a moment he replied, 'No. She's not one of ours. I'll take my davy on that, sir. It is my belief she is a Frenchman. Most uncommon massy yards. She is gathering her boats as quick as ever they can pull. A very guilty conscience there, I fear. Oh, conscience does make cowards of us all.'

Thus conscience doth make cowards of us all.

Shakespeare, Hamlet, III. i

p. 56

'I did not know you had been a schoolmaster.'
'Oh, it was only for a short time, when my fortunes were low. That is a recourse we university men always have – in case of temporary embarrassment, you can always take refuge in a school, if you have a degree.'
'Delightful task, to teach the young idea how to shoot,' observed Stephen.

Delightful task! to rear the tender thought,
To teach the young idea how to shoot.

James Thomson (1700-1745), The Seasons. Spring, I. 1152

p. 68

Stephen had scarcely broken the seal of his first before he cried, with a passion rare in him, 'Upon my word, Jack, that woman is as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of Nile.'
Jack was not always quick, but this time he instantly grasped that Stephen was talking about his wife.

Mrs Malaprop. She's as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile.

R. B. Sheridan, The Rivals, III. iv

p. 106

'Dr Johnson said that every meeting or every conversation was a contest in which the man of superior parts was the victor. But I think he was mistaken: for that is surely wrangling or hostile debate, often self-defeating – it is not conversation as I understand it at all, a calm amicable interchange of opinions, news, information, reflexions, without any striving for superiority. I particularly noticed that Sir Joseph, indulging in several of his masterly flashes of silence – rather prolonged flashes – remained quite obviously the most considerable man among us.'

'"But, Sir, may there not be very good conversation without a contest for superiority?" "No animated conversation, Sir, for it cannot be but one or other will come off superior. I do not mean that the victor must have the better of the argument, for he many take the weak side; but his superiority of parts and knowledge will necessarily appear." . . .
'"That is the happiest conversation where there is no competition, no vanity, but a calm quiet interchange of sentiments."'
James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL. D., A.D. 1776, 1775

He [Macaulay] has occasional flashes of silence, that make his conversation perfectly delightful"
Rev. Sydney Smith (1771-1845)

p. 145

'Not nearly enough serious attention has been paid to the albatrosses,' he said to Fox, who had come to consult him about pains or rather general discomfort in his lower belly, difficulties with defecation, disturbed nights.
'Nor to the digestive system,' said Fox. 'If man is a thinking reed he is also a reed that absorbs and excretes, and if these functions are disturbed so is the first, and humanity recedes, leaving the mere brute.'

L'homme n'est qu' un roseau, le plus faible de la nature; ma c'est un roseau pensant.
Man is only a reed, the weakest thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed.

Blaise Pascal, Pensées, vi. 347

p. 166

He paused, staring at the bulkhead, and then he said, 'I wonder if you know the author of the lines I have ventured to translate
   When the bells justle in the tower
   The hollow night amid
   Then on my tongue the taste is sour
   Of all I ever did. '
[...] He said, 'I do not know the author. Can you remember the original?'
'I am afraid not.'
'It cannot be an ancient: the pagans, as far as my reading goes, were never much given to self-hatred or guilt about their sexual activities. That was reserved for Christians, with their particular sense of sin; and as "all I ever did" clearly refers to ill-doing, I must suppose it to be of a sexual nature, since a thief is not always stealing nor a murderer always murdering, whereas a man's sexual instincts are with him all the time, day and night. Yet it is curious to see how the self-hater often succeeds in retaining his self-esteem in relation to others, usually by means of a general denigration: he sees himself as a worthless creature, but his fellows as more worthless still.'

A.E. Housman, Additional Poems, IX

p. 175

'[...] But I admit that their company is a trial.'
'Vous l'avez voulu, George Dandin.'
'Yes. And I can bear it for the voyage and the time of the negotiations. I could and would bear a great deal more to succeed in this undertaking.'

You asked for it, George Dandin.

Molière, Georges Dandin, ou le Mari Confondu:

p. 180

'Has the ship stopped?'
'Yes. We have anchored for the night. I dare not go through the strait in the darkness, not carrying Caesar, or at least Caesar's representative, and all his fortunes.'

[The] sea was extremely rough and angry; and the current was beaten back with such a violent swell, that the master of the boat could not make good his passage, but ordered his sailors to tack about and return. Caesar, upon this, discovered himself, and taking the man by the hand, who was surprised to see him there, said, ‘Go on, my friend, and fear nothing; you carry Caesar and his fortune in your boat.'

Plutarch, Life of Caesar, xxxviii ('Dryden' translation)

p. 215

'Bless you, I have no money,'said Stephen. Then recollecting himself he went on, 'That is to say, for many years my life was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and it would have been short if I had not continued to live; so poverty and solitude became quite habitual – the natural state. I think of myself as penniless. Yet now in fact the case is altered. I have been blessed with an inheritance, which is, I may add, looked after by a bankinghouse of unquestioned integrity; and what is much more to the point I -am no longer solitary. I have a wife; and by the time I return I hope to have a daughter too.'

In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently, not culture of the earth, no navigation, nor the use of commodities that may be imported by sea, no commodious building, no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force, no knowledge of the face of the earth, no account of time, no arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

Thomas Hobbes, Leviatan, I, 13

p. 217

'Bosun's mates never seem to have any trouble; they lay on as though they were threshing out a bushel of beans and then put the cat away as calm as you please. Nor did old Pagan, my schoolmaster. Plagoso Orbilio, we used to call him.'

non equidem insector delendave carmina Livi
esse reor, memini quae plagosum mihi parvo
Orbilium dictare.
I'm not railing against Livy's works nor do I think they should be destroyed, works which I remember being taught as a child by Orbilius, that friend of the lash.

Horace, Epistles, II. i. 69-71

p. 221

Two hundred and fifty steps, and in a niche on the cliff side of the path the image of some god had been sadly disfigured. Three hundred, where the curve, always left-handed hitherto, became somewhat irregular, turned faster and showed not only a new stretch of country with the river shining silver a great way off but also another traveller far ahead.
A traveller wearing a shabby brown blanket, it seemed; a weary traveller, walking awkwardly, often on all fours where the steps rose steep, often resting. Three hundred and fifty. Stephen tried to remember Pope's lines about the Monument, and the number of the tall bully's steps.

Where London's column, pointing at the skies,
Like a tall bully, lifts the head and lies.

Alexander Pope, Moral Essays, Epistle III, 339-40

p. 317

'Brother,' said Stephen, when the clerk had staggered off with the files clutched to his bosom, 'what is afoot?'
'I am not sure,' said Jack, 'but it may be your St Cecilia:
   And when that last and dreadful hour
   This crumbling pageant shall devour,
   The trumpet shall be heard on high,
   The dead shall live, the living die,
   And Music shall untune the sky.
Look out to the east, will you?' They gazed through the stern window, where deep purple was massing beneath the coppery glare.

John Dryden, A Song for St. Cecilia's Day, Grand Chorus

The Nutmeg of Consolation

p. 3

   'Play,' cried the sergeant: he took two little skips and bowled a twisting lob, pitched well up. 'Never mind manoeuvres,' Nelson had said. 'Always go at them.' Jack obeyed his hero, leapt out, caught the ball before it landed and drove it straight at the bowler's head. The grim sergeant neither flinched nor ducked but seized it as it flew. 'Out,' cried Edwards, the only civilian aboard and therefore a perfect umpire. 'Out, sir, I am afraid.'
   Amid the roaring of the soldiers and the universal moan of disappointment from the seamen - for the Captain was well-liked both as an officer and as a dashing bat once his eye was in - Jack said 'Well held, sergeant,' and walked off to the three coconut-palms (long since bare of fruit) that served them as a pavilion.
   'Let it not be an omen,' said Stephen, slinging his rifle and turning away.

I am dead, Horatio. Wretched queen, adieu!
You that look pale and tremble at this chance,
That are but mutes or audience to this act,
Had I but time (as this fell sergeant, Death,
Is strict in his arrest) O, I could tell you-
But let it be. Horatio, I am dead;
Thou liv'st; report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.

Shakespeare, Hamlet, V, ii

pp. 74-75

'It is an odd thing,' said Stephen, after a pause, 'that when the American colonists broke away from England, a great many English supported them; even James Boswell did so, to my astonishment, in opposition to Dr Johnson. Yet when the Irish tried to do the same, no voice, as far as I know, was heard in their favour. It is true that Johnson, speaking of the infamous union with Kevin FitzGerald, said "Do not make an union with us, sir. We should unite with you, only to rob you"; but that was long before the rising.'
'It is a standing wonder to me that Johnson should have borne with that scrub Boswell, and that the scrub should have written such a capital book. I remember a passage where the Doctor grew outrageous about the revolting colonials and called them "a race of convicts, that ought to be thankful for anything we allow them short of hanging", and another where he said "I am willing to love all mankind, except an American" and called them "Rascals – robbers – pirates", exclaiming he'd "burn and destroy them". But then the intrepid Miss Seward said "Sir, this is an instance that we are always the most violent against those whom we have injured." Perhaps the same violence is now in action against the Irish. Will you join me in a bowl of punch?'

'Yet he had a kindness for the Irish nation, and thus generously expressed himself to a gentleman from that country, on the subject of an UNION which artful Politicians have often had in view– "Do not make an union with us, Sir. We should unite with you, only to rob you. We should have robbed the Scotch, if they had had any thing of which we could have robbed them." . . .
'He had long indulged most unfavourable sentiments of our fellow-subjects in America. For, as early as 1769, I was told by Dr. John Campbell, that he had said of them, "Sir, they are a race if convicts, and ought to be thankful for any thing we allow them short of hanging."' . . .
'From this pleasing subject, he, I know not how or why, made a sudden transition to one upon which he was a violent aggressor; for he said, "I am willing yo love all mankind, except an Anerican;" and his iflammable corruption bursting into a horrid fire, he "breathed out threatenings and slaughter;" calling them, "Rascals – Robbers – Pirates;" and exclaiming, he'd "burn and destroy them." Miss Sewards, looking to him with mild but steady astonishment, said. "Sir, this is an instance that we are always most violent against those whom we have injured." – He was irritated still more by this delicate and keen reproach; and roared out another tremendous volley which one might fancy could be heard across the Atlantick. During this tempest I sat in great uneasiness, lamenting his heat of temper; till, by degrees, I diverted his attention to other topics.'

James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL. D., A.D. 1779,  1775, 1778

pp. 261-62

'But I imagine, sir,' – to Stephen – 'that you read books on medicine, natural philosophy, perhaps history – that you do not read novels or plays.'
'Sir,' said Stephen, 'I read novels with the utmost pertinacity. I look upon them – I look upon good novels – as a very valuable part of literature, conveying more exact and finely-distinguished knowledge of the human heart and mind than almost any other, with greater breadth and depth and fewer constraints. Had I not read Madame de La Fayette, the Abbé Prévost, and the man who wrote Clarissa, that extraordinary feat, I should be very much poorer than I am; and a moment's reflection would add many more.'

'And what are you reading, Miss--?' 'Oh! it is only a novel!' replies the young lady; while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame. – 'It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda;' or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusion of wit and humour are conveyed to the world in the best chosen language.

Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, Ch. 5

p. 265

'I remember Bourville's definition of a novel as a work in which life flows in abundance, swirling without a pause: or as you might say without an end, an organised end.'

Rubens, fleuve d'oubli, jardin de la paresse,
Oreiller de chair fraîche où l'on ne peut aimer,
Mais où la vie afflue et s'agite sans cesse,
Comme l'air dans le ciel et la mer dans la mer . . .
Rubens, river of forgetfulness, garden of sloth,
Pillow of wet flesh that one cannot love,
But where life throngs and seethes without cease
Like the air in the sky and the water in the sea. . .

Charles Baudelaire, 'Les Phares'; tr. William A. Sigler

p. 265

Stephen said, 'There is another Frenchman whose name escapes me but who is even more to the point: La bêtise c'est de vouloir conclure. The conventional ending, with virtue rewarded and loose ends tied up is often sadly chilling; and its platitude and falsity tend to infect what has gone before, however excellent. Many books would be far better without their last chapter: or at least with no more than a brief, cool, unemotional statement of the outcome.'

La bêtise consiste a vouloir conclure. (Dec. 1850)
La rage de vouloir conclure est une des manies les plus funestes et les plus stériles qui appartiennent à l'humanité. (Oct. 1864)
It's stupid to want to bring things to a conclusion.
This mania of wanting to bring things to a conclusion is one of the most pernicious and sterile characteristics of mankind.

Gustave Flaubert, Correspondance avec Louise Bouilhet

Clarissa Oakes (The Truelove)

p. 17

'But were the case to apply to you, brother, where there is a distinct physical anomaly, I should point out that Plato and the ancients in general made the liver the seat of love: Cogit amare jecur, said the Romans. And so I should reiterate my plea for more sea-bathing, more going aloft, more pumping of an early morning, to say nothing of a fitting sobriety at table, to preserve the organ from ill-considered freaks.'

Cor sapit, et pulmo loquitur, fel commovet iras,
Splen ridere facit, cogit amare jecur.
The heart is wise, the lungs speak, bile moves to anger,
The spleen makes you laugh, the liver compels you to love.

p. 104

'But then – well, perhaps it was a little fanciful. One tells such things to ladies, you know, like the black fellow in the play, in Venice Preserved: he rattled away, too, about fields and floods.'

Still question'd me the story of my life,
From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes,
That I have passed.
I ran it through, even from my boyish days,
To the very moment that he bade me tell it;
Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances,
Of moving accidents by flood and field
Of hair-breadth scapes i' the imminent deadly breach,
Of being taken by the insolent foe
And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence
And portance in my travels' history:
Wherein of antres vast and deserts idle,
Rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads touch heaven
It was my hint to speak,--such was the process;
And of the Cannibals that each other eat,
The Anthropophagi and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders.

Shakespeare, Othello, I. iii

p. 109

Jack had missed the beginning while he reflected upon the situation, upon its possible causes and remedies, upon the ship's inner voice, now increasingly urgent in spite of sails having been taken in, and upon his own duties as a guest, and when he heard Stephen say '"O Spartan dog, More fell than anguish, hunger, or the sea,"' he called down the table 'What was that, Doctor? Are you talking about the income-tax?'

Lodovico [to Jago]. O Spartan dog,
More fell than anguish, hunger, or the sea!
Look on the tragic loading of this bed;
This is thy work: the object poisons sight;
Let it be hid.

Shakespeare, Othello, V. ii

p. 110

Captain Aubrey, feeling that he must do honour to the gunroom's feast, already tolerably damped, held out his plate; and now for the first time he realized with a pang that a third slice was going to be more of a labour than a delight: non sum qualis eram drifted up from those remote years when he was flogged into at least a remote, nodding acquaintance with Latin; the rest he could not recall. It might have had nothing to do with pudding at all, but the effect was the same.

        Intermissa, Venus, diu
rursus bella moves? parce precor, precor.
non sum qualis eram bonae
sub regno Cinarae. . .
Venus, are you again stirring up wars long since abandoned? Spare me, I beg you, I beg you. I am not the man I was in the reign of good-natured Cinara.

Horace, Odes, iv. i. 1.4

p. 147

The sash-light could be reached by a spring from the canoe: Killick, though totty from his swink, attempted it, fell back into the sea, sending up a phosphorescent splash like a moderately good firework, tried again and this time grasped the sill.

'By god', thoghte he, 'al wrang I have misgon;
Myn head is toty of my swink tonight.'

Chaucer, Canterbury Tales. The Reeve's Tale

p. 151

[...] the great water casks were already coming aboard, rising up from the launch, swaying in over the deck with many a cry of 'All together – way-oh – handsomely, there – God damn your eyes and limbs, Joe – half an inch, half an inch, half an inch forward, mate.'

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward.

Alfred Lord Tennyson, 'The Charge of the Last Brigade'

p. 165

'It was there that I began to have some notion of what had happened. Though I still could not make out why there was so much fuss. The first part of foeda est in coitu et brevis voluptas I could understand perfectly well, but not the second. I could not associate it with the least degree of pleasure, however short.'

Gross and brief is the pleasure of sex.


pp. 194, 200

Oakes had been silent for some time. He was silent while the plum-duff was passing round; he was silent while it was being eaten; but on swallowing his last spoonful he raised his glass and smiling happily round at the company he said,
                                      ‘So long as we may, let us enjoy this breath
                                      For naught doth kill a man so soon as death.’

. . .

'Nor am I morose and withdrawn: I think I am fairly kind, or mean to be fairly kind, to people who are kind to me or those who need kindness; and I know I like being liked – I love good company and cheerfulness.
                                         Sic erimus cuncti postquam nos auferet
                                         Orcus ergo vivamus dum licet esse, bene.

Eheu nos miseros, quam totus homuncio nil est!
Sic erimus cuncti postquam nos auferet
Orcus ergo vivamus dum licet esse, bene.
'las, alas, what a nothing is man!
Thus shall we all be, after Death has taken us away.
Therefore let us enjoy life, while we may.

Petronius, Satyricon, 34.7

p. 209

'Scribble, scribble, scribble, Dr. Maturin.'

Attributed either to William Henry, Duke of Gloucester or Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland, upon receiving the second volume of Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire from the author, 1781: 'Another damned, thick, square book! Always scribble, scribble, scribble! Eh, Mr Gibbon?''

p. 211

There was a somewhat embarrassed silence, and to break it Stephen said 'Had we but world enough and time you could choose your band in the Irish manner. Did I ever tell you of Finn Mac Cool?'

Had we but world enough and time
This coyness, Lady, were no crime
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day .
Thou by the Indian Ganges side
Should'st Rubies find: I by the Tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood . . .

Andrew Marvell, 'To His Coy Mistress'

pp. 212-13

. . . he heard Martin's voice: 'Let no man say, I could not miss a fortune, for I have studied all my youth. How many men have studied more nights than he hath done hours, and studied themselves blind and mad in the mathematics, and yet wither in beggary in a corner? Let him never add, But I studied in a useful and gainful profession. How many have done so too, and yet never compassed the favour of a judge? And how many that have had all that, have struck upon a rock, even at full sea, and perished there?' And then some time later: 'What a dim vespers of a glorious festival, what a poor half-holiday, is Methusalem's nine hundred years to eternity! What a poor account hath that man that says, This land hath been in my name, and in my ancestors' from the conquest! What a yesterday is that? Not six hundred years. If I could believe the transmigration of souls and think that my soul had been successively in some creature or other since the Creation, what a yesterday is that? Not six thousand years. What a yesterday for the past, what a tomorrow for the future is any term that can be comprehended in cipher or counters?'

What a dimme vespers of a glorious festival . . . that can be cornprehendred in Cyphar or Counters!

John Donne, Sermon for Christmas Day, 1629

The Wine-Dark Sea

Sailing on the wine-dark sea towards strange people.

Homer, Odyssey, I. 183

p. 20

The andante wound its slow length along with a curious gasping unpredicatable rhythm; and when they had brought it to its hesitant end, each looking at each other with disapproval at each false note, Jack said, 'Let us drink to Zephyrus, the son of Millpond.' He was in the act of pouring a glass when the ship pitched with such extraordinary violence – pitched as though she had fallen into a hole – that he very nearly fell, and the glass left the wine in the air, a coherent body for a single moment.

Then, at the last and only couplet fraught
With some unmeaning thing they call a thought,
A needless Alexandrine ends the song,
That, like a wounded snake, drags its slow length along.

Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism, II. 354-37

pp. 82-83

   ‘Well, as for slavery ... it is true that I should not like to be one myself, yet Nelson was in favour of it and he said that the country’s shipping would be ruined if the trade were put down. Perhaps it comes more natural if you are black . . . but come, I remember how you tore that unfortunate scrub Bosville to pieces years ago in Barbados for saying that the slaves liked it – that it was in their masters’ interest to treat them kindly – that doing away with slavery would be shutting the gates of mercy on the negroes. Hey, hey! The strongest language I have ever heard you use. I wonder he did not ask for satisfaction.’
    ‘I think I feel more strongly about slavery than anything else, even that vile Buonaparte who is in any case one aspect of it ... Bosville . . . the sanctimonious hypocrite . . . the silly blackguard with his “gates of mercy’, his soul to the Devil – a mercy that includes chains and whips and branding with a hot iron. Satisfaction. I should have given it him with the utmost good will: two ounces of lead or a span of sharp steel; though common ratsbane would have been more appropriate.’
    ‘Why, Stephen, you are in quite a passion.’
    ‘So I am. It is a retrospective passion, sure, but I feel it still. Thinking of that ill-looking flabby ornamented conceited self-complacent ignorant shallow mean-spirited cowardly young shite with absolute power over fifteen hundred blacks makes me fairly tremble even now – it moves me to grossness. I should have kicked him if ladies had not been present.’

I record Dr. Johnson's argument fairly upon this particular case; where, perhaps, he was in the right. But I beg leave to enter my most solemn protest against his general doctrine with respect to the Slave Trade. For I will resolutely say — that his unfavourable notion of it was owing to prejudice, and imperfect or false information. The wild and dangerous attempt which has for some time been persisted in to obtain an act of our Legislature, to abolish so very important and necessary a branch of commercial interest, must have been crushed at once, had not the insignificance of the zealots who vainly took the lead in it, made the vast body of Planters, Merchants, and others, whose immense properties are involved in that trade, reasonably enough suppose that there could be no danger. The encouragement which the attempt has received excites my wonder and indignation; and though some men of superiour abilities have supported it; whether from a love of temporary popularity, when prosperous; or a love of general mischief when desperate, my opinion is unshaken. To abolish a status, which in all ages God has sanctioned, and man has continued, would not only be robbery to an innumerable class of our fellow-subjects; but it would be extreme cruelty to the African Savages, a portion of whom it saves from massacre, or intolerable bondage in their own country, and introduces into a much happier state of life; especially now when their passage to the West Indies and their treatment there is humanely regulated. To abolish that trade would be to
                                 “— shut the gates of mercy on mankind.”

James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL. D., A.D. 1777

p. 95

For their part Martin and Dutourd were contemplating the seamen, their profoundly serious, concentrated weighing of the sea, the weather, the possibilities of a capture, and Stephen heard Martin say, 'Homo hominis lupus.'

Plautus, Asinaria, 495: lupus est homo homini
Thomas Hobbes, De Cive, Epistola dedicatoria: 'Man to Man is an arrant Wolfe.'

p. 123

'I beg pardon, sir,' said Sarah, just behind him, 'but Padeen says will you be long at all?'
After a moment she tugged his coat and speaking rather louder said, 'I beg pardon, sir; Padeen wonders will you ever be a great while surely not for the love of God.'
'I am with you, child,' said Stephen, gathering his wits. 'I thought I heard a sea-lion bark.'

James Thurber, The New Yorker, Jan. 30, 1932:

Thurber seal joke
"Have it your way. You heard a seal bark."

p. 235

'Do you not think that attacking three of their China ships is somewhat rash? Does it not smack of that pride which goeth before destruction?'

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs, 16:18

The Commodore


Years had passed, and years had a bad name: a verse of Horace floated into his mind:
   Singula de nobis anni praedantur euntes;
   eripuere jocos, Venerem, convivia, ludum...
and for a moment he tried to make a tolerable English version; but his
   The years in passing rob us of our delight, of merriment and carnal love,
   of each in turn, all sport and dining out...
 did not please him and he abandoned the attempt.

Horace, Epistles, II. ii. 55

p. 10

Yet changed he had to some degree, of that there was no doubt: more and more, for example, it seemed to him that the proper study of mankind was man rather than beetle or even bird.

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study of mankind is man.
Plac'd on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest,
In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast;
In doubt his Mind or Body to prefer,
Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks too little, or too much:
Chaos of Thought and Passion, all confus'd;
Still by himself abus'd, or disabus'd;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of Truth, in endless error hurl'd:
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world.

Alexander Pope, Essay on Man, II. 1-2

p. 37

'At the time it seemed to me that there was no choice; but since then it has puzzled me extremely to know what to do with them. I should like them to be brought up understanding how a house is run, but not as servants; to have reasonable dowries [...] in case they choose to marry rather than lead apes in Hell.'

Katharina. She is your treasure, she must have a husband.
I must dance bare-foot on her wedding day,
And, for your love to her, lead apes to hell.

Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, I. ii

p. 124

Towards evening, when between showers the sky cleared beautifully, showing Greenwich in all its splendour, shining white and green on the river-bank, he jerked his chin in that direction and said 'Greenwich. You would not believe, sir, the amount of money they screw out of poor hardworking seafaring men for that old chest of theirs. And who ever seen a penny piece out of it? Not Old Mould, any gate.'
'Lo, Greenwich, where many a shrew is in,' said Stephen, unthinking.

Whan that oure Hoost hadde herd this sermonyng,
He gan to speke as lordly as a kyng,
He seide; "What amounteth al this wit?
What shul we speke alday of hooly writ?
The devel made a reve for to preche,
Or of a soutere a shipman or a leche
Sey forth thy tale, and tatie nat the tyme:
Lo Depeford! and it is half-wey pryme:
Lo Grenewych, ther many a shrewe is inne!
It were al tyme thy tale to bigynne."

Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve's Tale

p. 145

'Cousin Stephen!' cried the Colonel, 'how happy I am to see you. What good wind brings you to Galicia?'
'First tell me do I see you well and happy? Kindly used by Fortune?'
'Faith, her privates me: but never let a soldier complain. Pray carry on.'

Hamlet. Good lads, how do ye both?
Rosencrantz. As the indifferent children of the earth.
Guildenstern. Happy, in that we are not over-happy;
On fortune's cap we are not the very button.
Hamlet. Nor the soles of her shoe?
Rosencrantz. Neither, my lord.
Hamlet. Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her favours?
Guildenstern. 'Faith, her privates we.
Hamlet. In the secret parts
of fortune? O, most true; she is a strumpet.

Shakespeare, Hamlet, II. ii

p. 202

'I hope he wrote a book. Oh how I hope he wrote a book. Square, will you tell me his name now, the worthy gentleman?'
'Mr Klopstock, sir,' said Square, shaking his head. 'No book.'
'No book at all?'
Square shook his head again. 'Mr Klopstock, he dead.'

'Mistah Kurtz – he dead'

Joseph Conrad, The Heart of Darkness, Ch. 3

p. 216

'[I]f it comes to that, you could always exchange with the surgeon of Camila, Laurel, or one of the inshore brigs.'
'No. They have tied me to a stake: I cannot fly, but bear-like I must fight the course,' said Stephen with a creditable smile.

I am tied to the stake, and I must stand the course.

Shakespeare, King Lear, III. vii. 54

p. 247

'But when you consider what the lower deck is like – three or four hundred men packed tight – the cloud of witnesses when hammocks are piped down – and the very public nature of the heads – it is difficult to imagine a more unsuitable place for such capers.'

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

St Paul, Hebrews, 12:1

The Yellow Admiral

p. 58

'Yet I don't know how it is . . .' He paused for quite a while and then in the tone of one quoting an aphorism he went on, 'The heart has its reasons that the . . . that the . . .'
'Kidneys?' suggested Stephen.
'That the kidneys know not.' Jack frowned. 'No, hell and death, that's not it. But anyhow the heart has its reasons, you understand.'
'It is a singularly complex organ, I am told.'

Le coeur à ses raisons que la raison ne connait pas.
The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of.

Blaise Pascal

p. 69

'Bless them I would not have missed that committee for the world, and as for the blockade during three or four days, why at this stage of the war, my withers are unwrung.'

Hamlet. We that have free souls, it touches us not: let the galled jade wince, our withers are unwrung.

Shakespeare, Hamlet, III. ii. 255

pp. 87-88

'Jack, I wish I had a memory for verse. If I had I should tell you a poem out of that dear man Geoffrey Chaucer, the way women in general have one consuming desire, the desire for command. A very true reflection, you are to observe. And he made some tolerably severe remarks on marriage, the sorrow and woe there is in marriage.' He paused for some kind of response: all that could be made out through the all-pervading ship-sounds and the run of water along the side was the steady breathing of a man lying on his back, a breathing that would presently take on flesh and become a great reverberating snore.

To every wight commanded was silence,
And that the knyght sholde telle in audience
What thyng that wordly wommen loven best,
This knyght ne stood nat stille as doth a best,
But to his questioun anon answerde
With manly voys, that all the court it herde:
"My liege lady, generally," quod he,
"Wommen desiren to have sovereynetee
As wel over hir housbond as hir love.
And for to been in maistrie hym above.
This is youre mooste desir, thogh ye me kille.
Doth as yow list; I am heer at youre wille."
In al the court ne was ther wyf, ne mayde,
Ne wydwe, that contraried that he sayde,
But seyden he was worthy han his lyf.

Chaucer, Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Tale, 1031-45

p. 179

Stephen uttered his rare discordant creaking laugh and said, ‘It is tempting, sure: but think of the possibilities of holding him, caught in the act, seen by undeniable witnesses, in possession of stolen property obtained by breaking and entering a dwelling-house by night. It is capital, without benefit of clergy: and he has no diplomatic immunity whatsoever. Tyburn tree, with perhaps the indulgence of a silken halter, is all he can expect. From the extreme embarrassment of his government, from his family’s anguish – to say nothing of his own uneasiness – what concessions may we not expect?’
   ‘My heart beats so that I can hardly speak,’ said Sir Joseph, whose face had flushed from deep red to purple. ‘Tell me, my most valued friend and colleague, how this is to be accomplished?

Heaven... I'm in heaven,
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak.

Irving Berlin, ‘Cheek to Cheek’

p. 200

'But Boney had thrashed the Austrians again and again, and he will certainly beat them this time too. Wellington sits there on the Garonne – the Land of Goshen, no doubt – instead of marching north; so the French ships of the line in Rochefort, La Rochelle and even Lorient can lure the offshore squadron westwards and combine with those here in Brest to cut us to pieces.'

Genesis 46:50

p. 203

'I was brought up to think that making money was a very proper thing to do: the proper . . . something . . . of mankind. Pursuit, perhaps: the proper pursuit. My father did not have a great deal of time to improve my morals, but now and then he used to urge me to take notice of various precepts of a religious nature.'

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study of mankind is man.

Alexander Pope, Essay on Man, II, 1-2

p. 204

'I dare say they have: but it is almost the only Latin that my father learnt, and the text he always quoted to me was
   Rem facias, rem
   Si possis, recte, si non, quocumque modo, rem.
Just where it was in the Bible I am not sure. My father thought it was one of the minor prophets. [...]'
'Dear Jack, I am sorry to contradict your father – probably some wicked school-fellow made game of him – but it is Horace, not the Bible; and Mr Pope renders it very well
   Get place and wealth, if possible, with grace;
   If not, by any means get wealth and place.

Horace, Epistles, I. i. 65-6

The Hundred Days

p. 45

[W]hen Woodbine, the master, hurried in he found the gunroom in a fine buzz of conversation. He excused his lateness to the president: 'That sudden gust took Elpenor the Greek over the side, and we have been fishing him out – a very strong and sudden gust indeed: north-east..'

Homer, The Odyssey, Books X and XI (Elpenor)

Virgil, The Aeneid, Books V and VI (Palinurus)

p. 56

'There, sir,' said the first-class volunteer, 'it was as simple as I told you the first time. First left, second left, down the ladder and second on your right. Your right.'
'Thank you, thank you,' said Jacob; and to Stephen, 'Oh sir, I do beg you to forgive me. I am no great seaman, as you know, and this great dark wandering labyrinth confounded me – darkness visible.'

. . . round he throws his baleful eyes,
That witnessed huge affliction and dismay,
Mixed with obdurate pride and steadfast hate.
At once, as far as Angels ken, he views
The dismal situation waste and wild.
A dungeon horrible, on all sides round,
As one great furnace flamed; yet from those flames
No light; but rather darkness visible
Served only to discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
That comes to all, but torture without end
Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed.

John Milton, Paradise Lost, I. 55-68

p. 86

'For my part I should never dare wander about a desert carrying a stock of gem-stones without a troop of horse at my back.'
'Nor, unless I had a soul triply bound in brass, should I ever dare to put to sea in a frail wooden affair drifting as the wind chooses: but as you know, sir, better than I, a little use makes it seem almost safe, even commonplace.'

Illi robur et aes triplex
circa pectus erat, qui fragilem truci
commisit pelago ratem
His breast must have been bound all round with oak and a triple layer of bronze, who first launched a frail boat on the grim sea.

Horace, Odes, I. iii. 8-11

p. 139

'There is that big Kutali xebec, flying in a state of dreadful concern, as though this were the end of the world, ha, ha.'
'It sounds very like it, and looks very like it,' said Stephen, and he muttered, '. . . solvet saeclum in favilla.'

Dies irae, dies illa
solvet saeclum in favilla,
teste David cum Sybilla.
A day of wrath, that day
will dissolve the universe into hot cinders,
as David foretold,
and the Sybil too.

Thomas of Celano, Dies Irae

p. 241

. . . 'and look, look, Stephen,' cried Jack, 'the audacious reptile has flashed out a skyscraper – do you see?'

(?) [Dr. Skinner] called Ernest 'an audacious reptile 'and said he wondered the earth did not open and swallow him up because he pronounced Thalia with a short i.' And this to me,' he thundered , 'who never made a false quantity in my life.' Surely he would have been a much nicer person if he had made false quantities in his youth like other people.

Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh, Ch. 30

Blue at the Mizzen

p. 104

'Jack,' he cried, bursting into the cabin. 'Oh, I beg your pardon.'
'Not at all, brother,' said Captain Aubrey: he closed his book. 'I was only reading a most uncomfortable piece in Galatians: damned, whatever you do, almost. I am afraid you have torn your stockings.'

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

St. Paul, Galatians, 5:19-21

. . . There's a great text in Galatians,
Once you trip on it, entails
Twenty-nine distinct damnations,
One sure, if another fails . . .

Robert Browning, Soliloquy in a Spanish Cloister

p. 157

'They have won again,' said Jack, shaking his head. 'How I hope that we gave them something, at least.'
'I did have half a carboy of tincture of hogweed conveyed into their boat,' said Stephen in a doubtful voice. 'It was the best hogweed,' he added, with even less certainty.

'Two days wrong!' sighed the Hatter. ' I told you butter wouldn't suit the works!? he added angrily at the March Hare.
'It was the best butter,' the March Hare meekly replied. [...]
The March Hare took the watch and looked at it gloomily: then he dipped it into his cup of tea, and looked at it again, but he could think of nothing better to day that his first remark, 'It was the best butter, you know.'

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, Ch. 7

p. 195

'Certainly I can advance not a shadow of official approval or qualified assent, no instant solution, no convincing hypothesis at all. But a line runs – or rather limps, for I do not think I have it right: "Jockey of Norfolk be not so bold, For Dickon thy master is bought and sold."'

Norfolk. A good direction, warlike sovereign.
This found I on my tent this morning.
[He sheweth him a paper]
King Richard III. [Reads]
'Jockey of Norfolk, be not too bold,
For Dickon thy master is bought and sold.'
A thing devised by the enemy.
Go, gentleman, every man unto his charge
Let not our babbling dreams affright our souls:
Conscience is but a word that cowards use,
Devised at first to keep the strong in awe:
Our strong arms be our conscience, swords our law.
March on, join bravely, let us to't pell-mell
If not to heaven, then hand in hand to hell.

Shakespeare, Richard III, V. iii

p. 259

He fixed it with his telescope, and there indeed was Jacob looking at him through another and making signs – untimely mirth? Whatever the signs were they were very soon lost as the brig rounded yet another great sea-worn cliff in the direction of Surprise, and Stephen's attention was at once seized by a very noble sight – two black-necked swans flying steadily south, quite low over the water, so low that he could hear the rhythmic beating of their wings.

. . . I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake's edge or pool
Delight men's eyes when I awake some day

W.B. Yeats, 'The Wild Swans at Coole'