Quotation by John Dryden

A man so various, that he seemed to be
Not one, but all mankind's epitome.
Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong;
Was everything by starts, and nothing long:
But in the course of one revolving moon
Was chemist, fiddler, statesman and buffoon.
John Dryden (1631–1700), British poet, dramatist, critic. Absalom and Achitophel, pt. 1, l. 545-50 (1681).

Describing Zimri, who in the poem represents George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham. A Privy Councillor and favorite of Charles II, the flamboyant Villiers had himself parodied Dryden in his comedy, The Rehearsal (1671). In 1978, Labour prime minister James Callaghan had quoted these words to tease Margaret Thatcher—then leader of the Conservative opposition—who had been trained as a chemist.
Surprise me with a
The Columbia World of Quotations © 1996, Columbia University Press.
Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. Except as otherwise permitted by written agreement, the following are prohibited: copying substantial portions or the entirety of the work in machine readable form, making multiple printouts thereof, and other uses of the work inconsistent with U.S. and applicable foreign copyright and related laws.
Copyright ©  2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
About PRIVACY POLICY Terms Careers Advertise with Us Contact Us Suggest a Word Help