In the dark colony of night, when I consider man's magnificent capacity for malice, madness, folly, envy, rage, and destructiveness, and I wonder whether we shall not end up as breakfast for newts and polyps, I seem to hear the muffled cries of all the words in all the books with covers closed.
Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her [America's] heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. . . . She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit. This appears with minor variations in punctuation and with italics in the phrase "change from liberty to force," in John Quincy Adams and American Continental Empire, ed. Walter LaFeber, p. 45 (1965).
John Quincy Adams (1767 - 1848)
Source: An Address…. Celebrating the Anniversary of Independence, at the City of Washington on the Fourth of July 1821…, p. 32 (1821).
Harry, whose tuneful and well-measured song First taught our English music how to span Words with just note and accent, not to scan With Midas' ears, committing short and long, Thy worth and skill exempts thee from the throng, With praise enough for envy to look wan; To after age thou shalt be writ the man That with smooth air couldst humour best our tongue. Thou honour'st verse, and verse must lend her wing To honour thee, the priest of Phoebus' choir, That tun'st their happiest lines in hymn or story. Dante shall give Fame leave to set thee higher Than his Casella, whom he wooed to sing, Met in the milder shades of Purgatory.
John Milton (1608 - 1674)
Source: Sonnet XIII, To Mr H. Lawes on the Publishing His Airs
Goe and catche a falling starre, Get with child a mandrake root, Tell me, where all past yeares are, Or who cleft the Divel's foot. Teach me to hear Mermaides' singing, Or to keep of envies stinging, And finde What winde Serves to advance an honest minde.
John Donne (1572 - 1631)
Source: Song, "Go and Catch a Falling Star,” St. 1, [original spelling]