« AnteriorContinuar »
and comfort, as in the works of nature the bog is sometimes covered with flowers, and the mine concealed in the barren crags.
Rambler, vol. 3, p. 35.
An army, especially a defensive army, multiplies itself. The contagion of enterprize spreads from one heart to another; zeal for a native, or detestation for a foreign sovereign, hope of sudden greatness or riches, friendship or emulation between particular men, or what are perhaps more general and powerful, desire of novelty, and impatience of inactivity, fill a camp with adventurers, add rank to rank, and squadron to squadron.
Memoirs of the King of Pruffia, p. 118.
We frequently fall into error and folly, not because the true principles of action are not known, but because, for a time, they are not remembered: he may, therefore, justly be numbered among the benefactors of mankind, who contracts the great rules of life into short sentences that may be easily impressed on the memory, and taught by frequent recollection to recur habitually to the mind.
Rambler, vol. 4, p. 84.·
Pointed axioms, and acute replies, fly loose about the world, and are assigned successively to those whom it may be the fashion to celebrate.
Life of Waller.
SUCH books as make little things too important, may be considered as showing the world under a false appearance; and so far as they obtain credit from the young and inexperienced, as misleading expectation, and misguiding practice.
Life of Waller,
He that merely makes a book from books, may be useful, but can scarcely be great.
Life of Butler.
That book is good in vain which the reader throws away. He only is the master who keeps the mind in pleasing captivity; whose pages are perused with eagerness, and in hope of new pleasure are perused again; and whose conclusion is perceived with an eye of sorrow, such as the traveller casts upón departing day.
Life of Dryden.
"Books," says Bacon, Bacon," can never teach the use of books." The student must learn by commerce with mankind to reduce his speculations to practice, and accommodate his knowledge to the purposes of life.
Rambler, vol. 3, p. 189.
No man should think so highly of himself as to imagine he could receive no lights from books, nor so meanly, as to believe he can discover nothing but what is to be learned from them.
Life of Dr. Boerhaave, p. 229
Books are faithful repositories, which may be a while neglected or forgotten, but when they are opened again, will again impart their instruction. Memory once interrupted is not to be recalled. Written learning is a fixed luminary, which, after the cloud that had hidden it is past. away, is again bright in its proper station. Tradition is but a meteor, which, if it once falls, cannot be rekindled.
Western Islands, p. 2591
When a language begins to teem with books, it is tending to refinement, as those who undertake to teach others must have undergone some labour in improving themselves; they set a proportionate value on their own thoughts, and wish to enforce them by efficacious expressions. Speech becomes embodied and permanent; different modes and phrases are compared, and the best obtain an establishment. By degrees one age improves upon another; exactness is first obtained and afterwards elegance. But diction merely vocal is always in its childhood: as not man leaves his eloquence behind him, the new generations have all to learn. There may possibly be books without a polished language, but there can be no polished language without books. Ibid. p. 268.
There are books only known to antiquariesand collectors, which are sought because they are scarce; but they would not have been scarce had they been much esteemed.
Preface to Shakspeare, p. 126.
It is not necessary to refuse benefits from a bad man, when the acceptance implies no approba
tion of his crimes: nor has the subordinate officer any obligation to examine the opinions or conduct of those under whom he acts, except that he may not be made the instrument of wicked
Life of Addifon.
Burlesque consists in a disproportion between the style and the sentiments, or between the adventitious sentiments and the fundamental subject. It, therefore, like all bodies compounded of heterogeneous parts, contains in it a principle of corruption. All disproportion is unnatural, and from what is unnatural we can derive only the pleasure which novelty produces. We admire it a while as a strange thing; but when it is no longer strange, we perceive its deformity. It is a kind of artifice, which, by frequent repetition, detects itself; and the reader, learning in time what he is to expect, lays down his book; as the spectator turns away from a second exhibition of those tricks, of which the only use is, to show that they can be played.
Life of Butler.
If the opinion of Bacon be thought to deserve much regard, very few sighs would be vented for eminent and superlative elegance of form. "For beautiful women (says he) are seldom of any great accomplishments, because they, for the most part, study behaviour rather than virtue."
Rambler, vol. I, p. 230.
We recommend the care of their nobler part to women, and tell them how little addition is made by all their arts, to the graces of the mind. But when was it known that female goodness or knowledge was able to attract that officiousness, or inspire that ardour, which beauty produces › whenever it appears?
Ibid. vol. 2, p. 74.
The bloom and softness of the female sex are not to be expected among the lower classes of life, whose faces are exposed to the rudeness of the climate, and whose features are sometimes contracted by want, and sometimes hardened by blasts. Supreme beauty is seldom found in cottages, or workshops, even where no real hardships are suffered. To expand the human face to its full perfection, it seems necessary that the mind should co-operate by placidness of content, or consciousness of superiority.
Western Islands, p. 195.
Beauty is so little subject to the examination of reason, that Paschal supposes it to end where demonstration begins; and maintains that, without inconguity and absurdity, we cannot speak of geometrical beauty.
Rambler, vol. 2, p. 219.
Beauty is well known to draw after it the persecutions of impertinence; to incite the artifices of envy, and to raise the flames of unlawful love; yet among ladies whom prudence or modesty have made most eminent, who has ever complained of the inconveniences of an amiable. form, or would have purchased safety by the loss. of charms?
Ibid. vol. 3, p. 35.