Imágenes de páginas


From early marriages proceeds the rivalry of parents and children. The son is eager to enjoy the world before the father is willing to forsake it; and there is hardly room at once for two generations. The daughter begins to bloom before the mother can be content to fade; and neither can forbear to wish for the absence of the other. Prince of Abyffinia, p. 173.


Those who marry late in life will find it dangerous to suspend their fate upon each other, at a time when opinions are fixed and habits are established; when friendships have been contracted on both sides; when life has been planned into method, and the mind has long enjoyed the contemplation of its own prospects. They will probably escape the encroachment of their. children; but, in diminution of this advantage, they will be likely to leave them, ignorant and helpless, to a guardian's mercy; or if that should not happen, they must, at least, go out of the world before they see those whom they love best,. either wise or great. From their children, if they have less to fear, they have also less to hope; and they lose, without equivalent, the joys of early love, and the convenience of uniting with manners pliant, and minds susceptible of new impressions, which might wear away their dissimilitudes by long cohabitation, as soft bodies, by continual attrition, conform their surfaces to each other.

Ibid. p. 175 .1773.

[blocks in formation]




It will be generally found, that those who marry late are best pleased with their children; and those who marry early, with their partners. Ibid. p. 178.


We should not despise the malice of the weakest. We should remember, that venom supplies the want of strength; and that the lion may perish by the puncture of an asp.

Rambler, vol 4, p. 163.

The natural discontent of inferiority will seldom fail to operate, in some degree of malice, against him who professes to superintend the conduct of others, especially if he seats himself unealled in the chair of judicature, and exercises authority by his own commission.

Idler, vol. 1, p. 97.


Man's study of himself, and the knowledge of his own station in the ranks of being, and his various relations to the innumerable multitudes which surround him, and with which his Maker has ordained him to be united, for the reception and communication of happiness, should begin with the first glimpse of reason, and only end with life itself. Other acquisitions are merely temporary benefits, except as they contribute to illustrate the knowledge, and confirm the practice, of morality and piety, which extend their influence beyond the grave, and increase our happiness through endless duration.

Preface to the Preceptor, p. 75.


There is an inequality happens to every man, in every mode of exertion, manual or mental. The mechanic cannot handle his hammer and his file at all times with equal dexterity; there are hours, he knows not why, when his hand is out,

Life of Milton.

There are men whose powers operate at leisure. and in retirement, and whose intellectual vigour deserts them in conversation; whom merriment confuses, and objection disconcerts; whose bashfulness restrains their exertion, and suffers them not to speak till the time of speaking is past; or whose attention to their own character makes them unwilling to utter, at hazard, what has not been considered, and cannot be recalled.

Life of Dryden.

There are some men who, in a great measure, supply the place of reading by gleaning from accidental intelligence, and various conversation; by a quick apprehension, a judicious selection, and a happy memory; by a keen appetite for knowledge and a powerful digestion; by a vigilance that permits nothing to pass without notice, and a habit of reflection that suffers nothing useful to be lost.


It is not sufficiently considered, that men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.

Rambler, vol. 1, p. 12.

It was said by Cujacius, that he never read more than one book, by which he was not instructed: and he that shall enquire after virtue with ardour and

N 5

and attention, will seldom find a man by whose example or sentiments he may not be improved. Ibid. vol. 4, p. 222.

Man is seldom willing to let fall the opinion of his own dignity. He is better content to want diligence than power, and sooner confesses the depravity of his will, than the imbecility of his



Idler, vol. 2, p. 204.

Every man is obliged, by the Supreme Master of the universe, to improve all the opportunities of good which are afforded him, and to keep in continual activity such abilities as are bestowed upon him. But he has no reason to repine, though his abilities are small, and his opportunities few. He that has improved the virtue or advanced the happiness of one fellow-creature; he that has ascertained a single moral proposition, or added one useful experiment to natural. knowledge, may be contented with his own performance; and, with respect to mortals like himself, may demand, like Augustus, to be dismissed, at his departure, with applause.

Ibid. p. 205

Man is made unwillingly acquainted with his own weakness; and meditation shows him only how little he can sustain and how little he can perform.

Western Islands, p. 88.

Such seems to be the disposition of man, that whatever makes a distinction produces rivalry.

Ibid. p. 96.


There are men who are always busy, though: no effects of their activity ever appear; and always eager, though they have nothing to gain. Memoirs of the King of Pruffia, p. 95.

Every man's first cares are necessarily do-mestic...

Ibid, p. 102.


The manners of a people are not to be found in the schools of learning, or the palaces of greatness, where the national character is obscured or obliterated by travel or instruction, by philosophy or vanity; nor is public happiness to be estimated by the assemblies of the gay, or the banquets of the rich.. The great mass of nations is neither rich nor gay. They whose aggregate.constitutes the people, are found in the streets and the villages; in the shops and farms; and from them, collectively considered, must the measure of ge-neral prosperity be taken. As they approach to delicacy, a nation is refined; as their conveniences are multiplied,,a nation, at least a commercial nation, must be denominated wealthy. Western Islands, p. 45.

Such manners as depend upon standing rela-tions and general passions, are co-extended with the race of man; but those modifications of life, and peculiarities of practice, which are the progeny of error and perverseness, or, at best, of some accidental influence or transient persuasion, must perish with their parents.

[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinuar »