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sounds; and this distinctness is obtained, and preserved, by the artifice of rhyme.
Life of Milton.
To attempt any farther improvement or versification, beyond what Pope has given us in his translation of Homer's Iliad, will be dangerous. Art and diligence have now done their best; and what shall be added, will be the effort of tedious toil, and needless curiosity.
Life of Pope.
There is no credit due to a rhetorician's count either of good or evil..
Life of Roger Ascham, p. 247.
Reproof should not exhaust its power upon petty failings; let it watch diligently against the incursion of vice, and leave foppery and futility to die of themselves..
Idler, vol. I, p. 141.
Rules may obviate faults, but can never confer beauties..
Idler, vol. 2, p. 26.
CHARACTER OF THE ANCIENT ROMANS.
While they were poor, they robbed mankind; and as soon as they became rich, they robbed one another.
Review of the Memoirs of the Court of Auguftus, p. 6.
The utmost exertion of right is always invidious; and where claims are not easily determinable, is always dangerous.
Falkland Islands, p. 59.
PERSONAL resentment, though no laudable motive to satire, can add great force to general principle. Self-love is a busy prompter.
Life of Dryden.
All truth is valuable, and satirical criticism may be considered as useful, when it rectifies error, and improves judgment. He that refines the public taste, is a public benefactor.
Life of Pope.
In defence of him who has satirized the man he has once praised, it may be alleged, that the object of his satire has changed his principles, and that he who was once deservedly commended, may be afterwards satirized with equal justice, or that the poet was dazzled with the appearance of virtue, and found the man whom he had celebrated, when he had an opportunity of examining him more nearly, unworthy of the panegyric which he had too hastily bestowed; and that, as false satire ought to be recanted, for the sake of him whose reputation may be injured, false praise ought likewise to be obviated, lest the distinction between vice and virtue should be lost, lest a bad man should be trusted upon the credit of his encomiast, or lest others should endeavour to obtain the like praises by the same means.--But though these excuses may be often plausible,. and sometimes just, they are seldom satisfactory to mankind; and the writer who is not constant to his subject, quickly sinks into contempt; his satire loses its force,
and his panegyric its value; and he is only sidered at one time as a flatterer, and as a lumniator at another. To avoid these imputations, it is only necessary to follow the rules of virtue, and to preserve an unvaried regard to truth. For though it is undoubtedly possible, that a man, however cautious, may be sometimes deceived by an artful appearance of virtue, or a false appearance of guilt, such errors will not be frequent; and it will be allowed, that the name of an author would never have been made contemptible, had no man ever said what he did not think, or misled others but when he was himself deceived. Life of Savage.
Secrets are so seldom kept, that it may be with some reason doubted, whether a secret has not some subtile volatility by which it escapes, imperceptibly, at the smallest vent;, or some power of fermentation, by which it expands itself, so as to burst the heart that will not give it. way. Rambler, vol. I, p. 75.
To tell our own secrets is generally folly, but that folly is without guilt. To communicate those with which we are intrusted, is always treachery, and treachery for the most part combined with folly.
Ibid. p. 76.
The vanity of being known to be trusted with a secret, is generally one of the chief motives to disclose it; for, however absurd it may be thought to boast an honour by an act which shows that it was conferred without merit, yet most men seem rather inclined to confess the want of virtue than
of importance, and more willingly show their influence, though at the expence of their probity, than glide through life with no other pleasure than the private consciousness of fidelity, which, while it is preserved, must be without praise, except from the single person who tries and knows it.
Ibid. p. 75.
The whole doctrine, as well as the practice, of secresy, is so perplexing and dangerous, that, next to him who is compelled to trust, that man is unhappy who is chosen to be trusted; for he is often involved in scruples, without the liberty of calling in the help of any other understanding; he is frequently drawn into guilt, under the appearance of friendship and honesty; and sometimes subjected to suspicion by the treachery of others, who are engaged without his knowledge ́ in the same schemes: for he that has one confident, has generally more; and when he is at last. betrayed, is in doubt on whom he shall fix the
Ibid. p. 79
The rules that may be proposed concerning secrecy, and which it is not safe to deviate from, without long and exact deliberation, are,
First, Never to solicit the knowledge of a secret; nor willingly, nor without many limitations, accept such confidence, when it is offered.
Second, When a secret is once admitted, to consider the trust as of a very high nature, important as society and sacred as truth-and therefore not to be violated for any incidental convenience, or slight appearance of contrary fitness.
Ibid. p. 80.
There are some men of narrow views and grovelling conceptions, who, without the instigation of personal malice, treat every new attempt as wild and chimerical, and look upon every endeavour to depart from the beaten track, as the rash effort of a warm imagination, or the glittering speculation of an exalted mind, that may please and dazzle for a time, but can produce no real or lasting advantage.
To play with important truths, to disturb the repose of established tenets, to subtilize objections, and elude proof, is too often the sport of youthful vanity, of which maturer experience commonly repents. There is a time when every man is weary of raising difficulties only to task himself with the solution, and desires to enjoy truth, without the labour or hazard of contest. Life of Sir Thomas Browne, p. 279.
There is not, perhaps, in all the stores of ideal anguish, a thought more painful than the consciousness of having propagated corruption by vitiating principles; of having not only drawn others from the paths of virtue, but blocked up the way by which they should return; of having blinded them to every beauty but the paint of pleasure; and deafened them to every call, but the alluring voice of the syrens of destruction.
Rambler, vol. 1, p. 191.