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There are times in which the wise and the knowing are willing to receive praise, without the labour of deserving it; in which the most elevated mind is willing to descend, and the most active to be at rest. All therefore are, at some hour or another, fond of companions whom they can entertain upon easy terms, and who will relieve them from solitude, without condemning them to vigilance and caution. We are most inclined to love when we have nothing to fear; and hẻ that encourages us to please ourselves, will not be long without preference in our affection, to those whose learning holds us at the distance of pupils, or whose wit calls all attention from us, and leaves us without importance, and without regard.
Rambler, vol. 2, p. 104.
He that amuses himself among well-chosen companions, can scarcely fail to receive, from the most careless and obstreperous merriment which virtue can. allow, some useful hints; nor can converse on the most familiar topics, without some casual information. The loose sparkles of thoughtless wit may give new light to the mind, and the gay contention for paradoxical positions rectify the opinions.
This is the time in which those friendships that give happiness or consolation, relief or security, are generally formed. A wise and good man is never so amiable as in his 'unbended and familiar intervals. Heroic generosity, or philosophical discoveries, may compel veneration and respect; but love always implies some kind of natural or voluntary equality, and is only to be excited by that levity and cheerfulness which disencumbers
all minds from awe and solicitude, invites the modest to freedom, and exalts the timorous to confidence.
Ibid. p. 205.
It is discovered by a very few experiments, that no man is much pleased with a companion who does not increase, in some respect, his fondness of himself.
Ibid. p. 295.
The crime which has been once committed, is committed again with less reluctance.
Notes upon Shakspeare, vol. 2, p. 497.
COPIES COMPARED WITH ORIGINALS.
Copies are known from originals even when the painter copies his own picture; so, if an author should literally translate his, he would lose the manner of an original But though copies are easily known, good imitations are not detected with equal certainty, and are by the best judges often mistaken. Nor is it true that the writer has always peculiarities equally distinguishable with those of the painter. The peculiar manner of each arises from the desire natural to every performer of facilitating his subsequent works by recurrence to his former ideas; this recurrence produces that repetition which is called habit. The painter, whose work is partly intellectual, and partly manual, has habits of the mind, the eye, and the hand: the writer has only habits of the mind. Yet some painters have differed as much from themselves as from any other; and it is said there is little resemblance between the first works of Raphael and the last.
The same variation may be expected in writers; and if it be true, as it seems, that they are less subject, to habit, the difference between their works may be yet greater.
Ibid. vol. I, p. 123.
Compliment is, as Armada well expresses it, the varnish of a complete man.
Ibid. vol. 2, p. 385.
No rank in life precludes the efficacy of a well-timed compliment. When Queen Elizabeth asked an ambassador how he liked her ladies, he replied, "It was hard to judge of stars in the présence of the sun."
Ibid. p. 484
Very little of the pain or pleasure which does not begin and end in ourselves, is otherwise than relative. We are rich or poor, great or little, in proportion to the number that excel us, or fall beneath us in any of these respects; and therefore a man whose uneasiness arises from reflection on any misfortune that throws him below those with whom he was once equal, is comforted by finding that he is not yet lowest. Again, when we look abroad, and behold the multitudes that are groaning under evils heavier than those which we have experienced, we shrink back to our own state, and, instead of repining that so much must be felt, learn to rejoice that we have not more to feel.
By this observation of the miseries of others, fortitude is strengthened, and the mind brought to a more extensive knowledge of her own powers. Rambler, vol. 1, p. 315.
There is such a difference between the pursuits of men in great cities, that one part of the inhabitants lives to little other purpose than to wonder at the rest. Some have hopes and fears, wishes and aversio which never enter into the thoughts of others; and enquiry is laboriously exerted, to gain that which those who possess it are ready to throw away.
Idler, vol. 2, p. 20.
There will always be a part, and always a very large part of every community, that have no care but for themselves, and whose care for themselves reaches little farther than impatience of immediate pain, and eagerness for the nearest good.
Taxation no Tyranny, p. 9.
Conveniencies are never missed, where they were never enjoyed.
Western Islands, p. 237.
Through the mist of controversy, it can raise no wonder that the truth is not easily discovered. When a quarrel has been long carried on between individuals, it is often very hard to tell by whom it was begun. Every fact is darkened by distance, by interest, and by multitudes. Information is not easily procured from far; those whom the truth will not favour, will not step
voluntarily forth to tell it; and where there are many agents, it is easy for every single action to be concealed.
Obfervations on the State of Affairs, 1756, p. 20.
As there are to be found in the service of envy, men of every diversity of temper, and degree of understanding, calumny is diffused by all arts and methods of propagation. Nothing is too gross or too refined, too cruel or too trifling, to be practised; very little regard is had to the rules of honourable hostility, but every weapon is accounted lawful; and those who cannot make a thrust. at life, are content to keep themselves in play with petty malevolence, to tease with feeble blows and impotent disturbance.
Rambler, vol. 3, p. 233
Those who cannot strike with force, can however poison their weapon, and weak as they are, give mortal wounds, and bring a hero to the grave. So true is that observation, "that many are able to do hurt, but few to do good."
Life of Dr. Boerhaave, p. 215.
There is always a point at which caution, however solicitous, must limit its preservatives, because one terror often counteracts another.
Rambler, vol. 3, p. 126.
What mankind has lost and gained by European conquests, it would be long to compare,