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passionate man's life-he contracts debts when he is furious, which his virtue (if he has virtue) obliges him to discharge at the return of his reason. He spends his time in outrage and acknowledgment, injury and reparation. Ibid. p. 65.


Nothing is more despicable, or more miserable, than the old age of a passionate man. When the vigour of youth fails him, and his amusements pall with frequent repetition, his occasional rage sinks, by decay of strength, into peevishness; that peevishness, for want of novelty and variety, becomes habitual; the world falls off from around him; and he is left, as Homer expresses it, to devour his own heart in solitude and contempt.

Ibid. p. 66.

The maxim which Periander, of Corinth, one of the seven sages of Greece, left as a memorial of his knowledge and benevolence, was, " Be master of your anger." He considered anger as the great disturber of human life; the chief enemy both of public happiness and private tranquillity, and thought he could not lay on posterity a stronger obligation to reverence his memory, than by leaving them a salutary caution against this outrageous passion. Pride is undoubtedly the origin of anger; but pride, like every other passion, if it once breaks loose from reason, counteracts its own purposes. A passionate man, upon the review of his day, will have very few gratifications to offer to his pride, when he has considered how his outrages were caused, why they were borne, and in what they are likely to end at last. Rambler, vol. 1, p. 60 & 62.



There is an inconsistency in Anger, very common in life; which is, that those who are vexed to impatience, are angry to see others less disturbed than themselves; but, when others begin to rave, they immediately see in them what they could not find in themselves, the deformity and folly of useless rage.

Notes upon Shakespeare, vol. 6, p. 372.


It is no defence of a covetous man, to instance his inattention to his own affairs-as if he might not at once be corrupted by avarice and idle


Life of Sheffield.

Few listen without a desire of conviction to those who advise them to spare their money. Idler, vol. I, p. 144.

Avarice is always poor, but poor by her own fault.


Ibid., vol. 2, p. 126.

Avarice is an uniform and tractable vice ; other intellectual distempers are different in dif ferent constitutions of mind. That which soothes the pride of one, will offend the pride of another; but to the favour of the covetous bring money, and nothing is denied.

Prince of Abyssinia, p. 232.


Such is the general conspiracy of human nature against contemporary merit, that if we had inherited from antiquity enough to afford employment for the laborious, and amusement for

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the idle, what room would have been left for modern genius or modern industry? Almost every subject would have been pre-occupied, and every style would have been fixed by a precedent from which few would have ventured to depart: every writer would have had a rival whose superiority was already acknowledged, and to whose fame his work would, even before it was seen, be marked out for a sacrifice.

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Idler, vol. 2, p. 77.


Antiquity, like every other quality that atracts the notice of mankind, has votaries that reverence it, not from reason, but from prejudice. Some seem to admire indiscriminately whatever has been long preserved, without considering that time has sometimes co-operated with chance. All, perhaps, are more willing to honour past than present excellence; and the mind contemplates genius through the shades of age, as the eye surveys the sun through artificial opacity.

Preface to Shakspeare, p. 95.


Adversity has ever been considered as the state in which a man most easily becomes acquainted with himself; and this effect it must produce, by withdrawing flatterers, whose business it is to hide our weaknesses from us; or by giving loose to malice, and licence to reproach; or, at least, by cutting off those pleasures which called us away from meditation on our own conduct, and repressing that pride which too easily persuades us that we merit whatever we enjoy.

Rambler, vol. 1, p. 172.




The chief rule to be observed in the exercise of this dangerous office of giving ADVICE, is to preserve it pure from all mixture of interest or vanity; to forbear admonition or reproof when our consciences tell us that they are incited, not by the hopes of reforming faults, but the desire of showing our discernment, or gratifying our own pride by the mortification of another. It is not, indeed, certain that the most refined caution will find a proper time for bringing a man to the knowledge of his own failings, or the most zealous benevolence reconcile him to that judgment by which they are detected. But he who endeavours only the happiness of him whom he reproves, will always have either the satisfaction of obtaining or deserving kindness: if he succeeds, he benefits his friend; and if he' fails, he has at least the consciousness that he suffers for only doing well.

Rambler, vol. 1, p. 246.

It was the maxim, I think, of Alphonsus of Arragon, that dead counsellors are safest. The grave: puts an end to flattery and artifice, and the information we receive from books is pure from interest, fear, and ambition, Dead counsellors are likewise most instructive, because they are heard with patience and with reverence. We are not unwilling to believe that man wiser than ourselves, from whose abilities we may receive advantage, without any danger of rivalry or opposition, and who affords us the light of his experience without hurting our eyes by flashes of in-, solence,

Ibid, vol. 2, p. 192.

If we consider the manner in which those who assume the office of directing the conduct of others execute their undertaking, it will not be very wonderful that their labours, however zealous or affectionate, are frequently useless. For what is the advice that is commonly given? A few general maxims, enforced with vehemence and inculcated with importunity; but failing for want of particular reference and immediate application.

Ibid, vol. 2, p. 19.

It is not often that a man can have so much knowledge of another as is necessary to make instruction useful. We are sometimes not ourselves conscious of the original motives of our actions, and when we know them, our first care is to hide them from the sight of others, and often from those most diligently whose superiority either of power or understanding, may intitle them to inspect our lives. It is, therefore, very probable that he who endeavours the cure of our intellectual maladies, mistakes their cause, and that his prescriptions avail nothing, because he knows not which of the passions, or desires, is vitiated.


Advice, as it always gives a temporary appearance of superiority, can never be very grateful, even when it is most necessary, or most judicious; but, for the same reason, every one is eager to instruct his neighbour. To be wise or to be virtuous, is to buy dignity and importance at a high price; but when nothing is necessary to elevation but detection of the follies or the faults of others, no man is so insensible to the voice of fame as to linger on the ground.



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