Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

himself. If he thinks that he shall not, he may depend upon it he will not please. But with proper endeavours to please, and a degree of persuasion that he shall, it is almost certain that he will. --Chesterfield.

XXVIII. I cannot imagine why we should be at the expense to furnish wit for succeeding ages, when the former have made no sort of provision for ours.—Swift.

XXIX. Old friends are best. King James used to call for his old shoes; they were easiest for his feet. -Selden.

XXX. The conceit that a cat has nine lives, has cost at least nine lives in ten of the whole race of them; scarce a boy in the streets, but has in this point outdone Hercules himself, who was famous for killing a monster that had but three lives. Whether the unaccountable animosity against this useful domestic, may be any cause of the general persecution of owls, (who are a sort of feathered cats, or whether it be only an unseasonable pique the moderns have taken to a serious countenance, I shall not determine: though I am inclined to believe the former; since I observe the sole reason alleged for the destruction of frogs, is because they are like toads.-Pope.

XXXI. Vanity bids all her sons to be generous and brave and her daughters to be chaste and courteous.-But why do we want her instructions?-Ask the comedian who is taught a part he feels not.-Sterne.

XXXII. Real merit of any kind, ubi est non potest diu celari; it will be discovered, and nothing can depreciate it, but a man's exhibiting it himself. may not always be rewarded as it ought; but it will always be known. Chesterfield

It

XXXIII. Reserve is no more essentially connected with understanding, than a church organ with devotion, or wine with good nature.-Shenstone.

XXXIV. If a strong attachment to a particular subject, a total ignorance of every other; an eagerness to introduce that subject upon all occasions, and a confirmed habit of declaiming upon it without either wit or discretion, be the marks of a pedantic character, as they certainly are, it belongs to the illiterate as well as the learned; and St. James's itself may boast of producing as arrant pedants as were ever sent forth from a college.--B. Thornton.

XXXV. Pride may be allowed to this or that degree, else a man cannot keep up his dignity. In gluttony there must be eating, in drunkenness there must be drinking; 'tis not the eating, nor 'tis not the drinking that must be blamed, but the excess. So in pride.-Selden.

XXXVI. Those beings only are fit for solitude, who like nobody, are like nobody, and are liked by nobody.--Zim

XXXVII. General, abstract truth is the most precious of all blessings; without it man is blind: it is the eye of reason.-Rousseau.

XXXVIII. You cannot spend money in luxury without doing good to the poor. Nay, you do more good to them by spending it in luxury—you make them exert industry, whereas, by giving it, you keep them idle.—Johnson.

merman.

XXXIX. In proportion that credulity is a more peaceful possession of the mind than curiosity, so far preferable is that wisdom which converses about the surface, to that pretended philosophy which enters into the depth of things, and then comes back gravely with informations and discoveries, that in the inside they are good for nothing: Swift.

XL. How often at our theatre, has the tear of sympathy and burst of laughter been repressed by a malignant species of pride, refusing approbation to the author and actor, and renouncing society with the audience.--Smollet.

XLI. In tragedy, the poet who flourished in the scene, is damned in the ruelle; nay more, is not esteemed a good poet, by those who see and hear his extravagances with delight. They are a sort of stately fustian and lofty childishness. Nothing but nature can give a sincere pleasure: where that is not imitated, 'tis grotesque painting; the fine woman ends in a fish's tail. --Dryden.

XLII. When a philosopher has once laid hold of a favourite principle, which, perhaps, accounts for many natural effects, he extends the same principle over the whole creation, and reduces it to every phenomenon, though by the most violent and absurd reasoning. Our own mind being narrow and contracted, we cannot extend our conception to the variety and extent of nature; but imagine that she is as much bounded in her operations as we are in our speculation.-Hume.

XLIII. A contented mind is the greatest blessing a man can enjoy in this world; and if in the present life his happiness arises from the subduing of his desires, it will arise in the next from the gratification of them. Addison.

XLIV. To be a beggar, it will cost the richest candidate every groat he is worth; so, before one commence a true critic, it will cost a man all the good qualities of his mind,

which, perhaps, for a less purchase, would be thought but an indifferent bargain.-Swift.

XLV. Nothing is more evident than that divers persons, no other way remarkable, have each a strong disposition to the formation of some particular trope or figure. Aristotle saith that the hyperbole is an ornament fit for young men of quality; accordingly, we find in those gentlemen a wonderful propensity towards it, which is marvellously improved by travelling. Soldiers also and seamen are happy in the same figure. The periphrasis or circumlocution is the peculiar talent of country farmers; the prologue and apologue, of old men at clubs; the illipsis, or speech by half words, of ministers and politicians: the aposiopesis, of courtiers; the liotes and diminution of ladies, whisperers, and backbiters; and the andiplosis, of common criers and hawkers, who, by redoubling the same words, persuade people to buy their oysters, green hastings, or new ballads. Epithets may be found in great plenty at Billingsgate; sarcasm and irony learned upon the water; and the epiphonema or exclamation frequently from the bear-garden, and as frequently from the “hear him,” of the house of com

mons.

- Pope.

XLVI.
-Slander lives upon succession;
For ever hous'd when once it gets possession.

Shakspeare.

XLVII. Pride, treachery, envy, hypocrisy, malice, cruelty, and self-love, may have been said, in one shape or other, to have occasioned all the frauds and mischiefs that ever happened in the world: but the chances against a coincidence of them all in one person are so many, that one · would have supposed the character of a common slanderer as rare and difficult a production in nature, as that of a great genius, which seldom happens above once in an age.-Sterne,

XLVIII. Some reserve is a debt to prudence, as freedom and simplicity of conversation is a debt to good nature.Shenstone.

XLIX. . No man is the wiser for his learning: it may administer matter to work in, or objects to work upon; but wit and wisdom are born with a man.-Selden.

L. Learning once made popular is no longer learning; it has the appearance of something which we have bestowed upon ourselves, as the dew appears to rise from the field which it refreshes.-Johnson.

LI. Mankind may be divided into the merry and the serious, who, both of them, make a very good figure in the species, so long as they keep their respective humours from degenerating into the neighbouring extreme; there being a natural tendency in the one to a melancholy moroseness, and in the other to a fantastic levityAddison.

LII. The best of men appear sometimes to be strange compounds of contradictory qualities: and, were the accidental oversights and folly of the wisest man,—the failings and imperfections of a religious man,—the hasty acts and passionate words of a meek man;-were they to rise up in judgment against them,—and an ill-natured judge be suffered to mark, in this manner, what has been done amiss—what character so unexceptionable as to be able to stand before him? -Sterne.

LIII. There is a time which precedes reason, when, like other animals, we live by instinct alone; of which the memory retains no vestiges. There is a second term, when reason discovers itself, when it is formed, and might act, if it were not hoodwinked as it were, and

« AnteriorContinuar »