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Abstracts, abridgments, summaries, &c. have the same
use with burning glasses, to collect the diffused rays of wit and learning in authors, and make them point with warmth and quickness upon the reader's imagination.
I. QUOTATION, sir, is a good thing; there is a community of mind in it: classical quotation is the parole of literary men all over the world. —Johnson.
II. Two evils, ignorance and of taste, have produced a third, I mean the continual corruption of our English tongue; which, without some timely remedy, will suffer more by the false refinements of twenty years past, than it has been improved in the foregoing hundred. -Swift.
III. The southern wits are like cucumbers, which are commonly all good in their kind; but at best are an insipid fruit; while the northern geniuses are like me. lons, of which not one in fifty is good; but when it is so, it is an exquisite relish.— Berkeley.
IV. To endeavour to work upon the vulgar with fine sense, is like attempting to hew blocks with a razor.
V. Whatever stress some may lay upon it, a death-bed repentance is but a weak and slender plank to trust our all upon.-Sterne. VOL. I.
VI. There is some help for all the defects of fortune; for if a man cannot attain to the length of his wishes, he may have his remedy by cutting them off shorter.-Cowley
VII. As true wit generally consists in the resemblance and congruity of ideas, false wit chiefly consists in the resemblance and congruity sometimes of single letters, as in anagrams, chronograms, lipograms, and acrostics: sometimes of words, as in puns and quibbles; and sometimes of whole sentences or poems, cast into the figures of eggs, axes, or altars. Nay, some carry the notion of wit so far, as to ascribe it even to external mimicry; and to look upon a man as an ingenious person, that can resemble the tone, posture, or face of another.— Addison.
VIII. There never was any party, faction, sect, or cabal, whatsoever, in which the most ignorant were not the most violent: for a bee is not a busier animal than a blockhead. However, such instruments are necessary to politicians; and perhaps it may be with states as with clocks, which must have some lead weight hanging at them, to help and regulate the motion of the finer and more useful parts.
IX. Fear sometimes adds wings to the heels, and sometimes nails them to the ground, and fetters them from moving.-Montaigne.
X. There are miseries which wring the very heart; some want even food; they dread the winter; others eat forced fruits; artificial heats change the earth and seasons, to please their palates. I have known citizens, because grown rich, so execrably dainty, as to swallow at a morsel the nourishment of a hundred families; great are they who can behave well in these extremities: let me be nor happy nor unhappy; that is, neither rich nor poor; I take sanctuary in an honest mediocrity.-Bruyere.
XI. Wit must grow like fingers; if it be taken from others, 'tis like plums stuck upon black thorns; they are for a while, but come to nothing: -Selden.
XII. When I reflect, as I frequently do, upon the felicity I have enjoyed, I sometimes say to myself, that, were the offer made true, I would engage to run again, from beginning to end, the same career of life. All I would ask, should be the privilege of an author, to correct, in a second edition, certain errors of the first. - Franklin's Life.
XIII. We are for lengthening our span of life in general, but would fain contract the parts of which it is composed. The usurer would be very well satisfied to have all the time annihilated that lies between the present moment and next quarter-day. The politician would be contented to lose three years in his life, could he place things in the posture which he fancies they will stand in after such a revolution of time. The lover would be glad to strike out of his existence all the moments that are to pass away before the happy meeting. Thus, as fast as our time runs, we should be very glad in most parts of our lives, that it ran much faster than it does. Several hours of the day hang upon our hands, nay, we wish away whole years, and travel through time as through a country filled with many wild and empty wastes, which we would fain hurry over, that we may arrive at those several little settlements or imaginary points of rest which are dispersed up and down in it. --Addison.
XIV. The age of chivalry is gone, and one of calculators and economists has succeeded. --Burke.
XV. I do not call him a poet that writes for his own diversion, any more than that gentleman a fiddler who amuses himself with a violin.-Swift.
XVI. Pleasure of meat, drink, clothes, &c., are forbidden those that know not how to use them; just as nurses cry pah! when they see a knife in a child's hand; they will never say any thing to a man.---Selden.
XVII. The Pythagoreans make good to be certain and finite, and evil, infinite and uncertain; there are a thousand ways to miss the white, there is only one to hit it.Montaigne.
XVIII. There is none made so great, but he may both need the help and service, and stand in fear of the power and unkindness, even of the meanest of mortals. -Scneca.
XIX. There be that can pack the cards, and yet cannot play well: so there are some that are good in canvasses and factions, that are otherwise weak men.-Lord Bacon.
XX. A poet hurts himself by writing prose, as a race-horse hurts his motions by condescending to draw in a team.Shenstone.
XXI. From the earliest dawnings of policy to this day, the invention of men has been sharpening and improving the mystery of murder, from the first rude essay of clubs and stones, to the present perfection of gunnery, cannoneering, bombarding, mining.–Burke.
XXII. Those ears that are offended by the sweetly wild notes of the thrush, the blackbird, and the nightingale, - the distant cawing of the rock, the tender cooing of the turtle, the soft sighing of reeds and osiers, the magic murmur of lapsing streams, will be regaled and ravished by the extravagant and alarming notes of a squeaking fiddle, extracted by a musician who has no other genius than that which lies in his fingers; they will even be entertained with the rattling of coaches, the rumbling of carts, and the delicate cry of cod and mackerel. --SmolJet.
XXII. Next to clothes being fine, they should be well made, and worn easily: for a man is only the less genteel for a fine coat, if in wearing it he shows a regard for it, and is not as easy in it as if it were a plain one.-Chesterfield.
XXIV. A little wit is equally capable of exposing a beauty and of aggravating a fault; and though such a treatment of an author naturally produces indignation in the mind of an understandi reader, it has, however, its effect among the generality of those whose hands it falls into, the rabble of mankind being very apt to think that every thing which is laughed at, with any mixture of wit, is ridiculous in itself. Addison.
XXV. While we are reasoning concerning life, life is gone, and death, though perhaps they receive him differently yet treats alike the fool and the philosopher.--Hume.
XXVI. Imaginary evils soon become real ones by indulging our reflections on them; as he who in a melancholy fancy sees something like a face on the wall or the wainscot can, by two or three touches with a lead pencil, make it look visible, and agreeing with what he fancied.-Swift
XXVII. Nothing sinks a young man into low company, both of women and men, so surely as timidity and diffidence of