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THE WAY OF THE WORLD

by: William Congreve


Men are ever in extremes; either doting or averse. While they are lovers, if they have fire and sense, their jealousies are insupportable: and when they cease to love (we ought to think at least) they loathe, they look upon us with horror and distaste, they meet us like the ghosts of what we were, and as from such, fly from us.

Act I

To pass our youth in dull indifference, to refuse the sweets of life because they once must leave us, is as preposterous as to wish to have been born old, because we one day must be old. For my part, my youth may wear and waste, but it shall never rust in my possession.

Act I

Why do we daily commit disagreeable and dangerous actions? To save that idol, reputation.

Act II

An old woman's appetite is depraved like that of a girl. 'Tis the green-sickness of a second childhood, and, like the faint offer of a latter spring, serves but to usher in the fall, and withers in an affected bloom.

Act II

One's cruelty is one's power, and when one parts with one's cruelty one parts with one's power, and when one has parted with that, I fancy one's old and ugly.

Act II

I know a lady that loves talking so incessantly, she won't give an echo fair play; she has that everlasting rotation of tongue that an echo must wait till she dies before it can catch her last words.

Act II

To please a fool is some degree of folly.

Act II

A man may as soon make a friend by his wit, or a fortune by his honesty, as win a woman with plain-dealing and sincerity.

Act II

A fellow that lives in a windmill has not a more whimsical dwelling than the heart of a man that is lodged in a woman. There is no point of the compass to which they cannot turn, and by which they are not turned, and by one as well as another; for motion, not method, is their occupation. To know this, and yet continue to be in love, is to be made wise from the dictates of reason, and yet persevere to play the fool by the force of instinct.

Act II

The devil's an ass: if I were a painter, I would draw him like an idiot, a driveller with a bib and bells. Man should have his head and horns, and woman the rest of him. Poor, simple fiend!

Act III

'Tis a lamentable thing, I swear, that one has not the liberty of choosing one's acquaintance as one does one's clothes.

Act III

Importance is one thing and learning's another; but a debate's a debate, that I assert.

Act III

Marriage is honorable, as you say; and if so, wherefore should cuckoldom be a discredit, being derived from so honorable a root? Nay, I know not; if the root be honorable, why not the branches?

Act III

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