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When the pale of ceremony is once broken, rudeness and insult soon enter the breach. Ibid. vol. 4, p. 23.
He that too early aspires to honours must resolve to encounter not only the opposition of interest, but the malignity of envy. He that is too eager to be rich, generally endangers his fortune in wild adventures and uncertain projects; and he that hastens too speedily to reputation, often raises his character by artifices and fallacies, decks himself in colours which quickly fade, or in plumes which accident may shake off, or competition pluck away.
Rambler, vol. 3, P. 33.
When the excellence of a new composition can no longer be contested, and malice is compelled to give way to the unanimity of applause, there is yet this one expedient to be tried-the charge of plagiarism. By this, the author may be degraded, though his work be reverenced; and the excellence which we cannot obscure,、 may be set at such a distance as not to overpower our fainter lustre. Ibid. p. 224.
The author who imitates his predecessors, only by furnishing himself with thoughts and elegancies out of the same general magazine of literature, can with little more propriety be reproached as a plagiary, than the architect can be censured as a mean copier of Angelo, or Wren, because he digs his marble from the same quarry,
quarry, squares his stones by the same art, and unites them in columns of the same orders. Ibid. p. 225.
Power and superiority are so flattering and delightful, that, fraught with temptation, and exposed to danger as they are, scarcely any virtue is so cautious, or any prudence so timorous, as to decline them. Even those that have most reverence for the laws of right, are pleased with showing, that not fear, but choice, regulates their behaviour; and would be thought to comply, rather than obey. We love to overlook the boundaries which we do not wish to pass; and as the Roman satyrist remarks," he that has no design to take the life of another, is yet glad to have it in his hands."
Ibid. p. 48.
Every scholar knows the opinion of Horace concerning those that open their undertakings with magnificent promises; but every man should know the dictates of common sense and common honesty, names of greater antiquity than that of Horace, who directs, that no man should promise what he cannot perform.
Review of the Memoirs of the Court of Augustus, p. 2.
HE who is in the exercise of raillery should prepare himself to receive it in turn. When
Louis the XIVth was asked, why, with so much wit he never attempted raillery, he answered, that he who practised raillery, ought to bear it in his turn, and that to stand the butt of raillery was not suitable to the dignity of a king.
Notes upon Shakspeare, vol. 5. p. 364.
When desperate ills demand a speedy cure, distrust is cowardice, and prudence folly.
Irene, p. 52.
Resolution and success reciprocally produce each other.
Life of Drake, p. 174.
Marshal Turenne, among the acknowledgments which he used to pay in conversation to the memory of those by whom he had been instructed in the art of war, mentioned one, with honour, who taught him not to spend his time in regretting any mistake which he had made, but to set himself immediately, and vigorously, to repair it. Patience and submission should be carefully distinguished from cowardice and indolence; we are not to repine, but we may lawfully struggle; for the calamities of life, like the necessities of nature, are calls to labour, and exercises of diligence.
Rambler, vol. 2, p. 195.
Some firmness and resolution is necessary to the discharge of duty, but it is a very unhappy state of life in which the necessity of such struggles frequently occurs; for no man is defeated without some resentment, which will be continued with obstinacy, while he believes himself in the right, and
and exerted with bitterness, if, even to his own conviction, he is detected in the wrong. fbid. vol. 2, p. 17.
To have attempted much is always laudable, even when the enterprise is above the strength 'that undertakes it. To rest below his own aim, is incident to every one whose fancy is active, and whose views are comprehensive; nor is any man satisfied with himself, because he has done much, but because he can conceive little. Preface to Dict. fol. p.5.
There is nothing which we estimate so fallaciously as the force of our own resolutions, nor any fallacy which we so unwillingly and tardily detect. He that has resolved a thousand and a thousand times, deserted his own purpose, yet suffers no abatement of his confidence, but still believes himself his own master, and able, by innate vigour of soul, to press forward to his end, through all the obstructions that inconveniences or delights can put in his way.
Idler, vol. 1, p. 150.
Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be first overcome.
Prince of Abyssinia, p. 40.
Most men may review all the lives that have passed within their observation without remembering one efficacious resolution, or being able to tell a single instance of a course of practice. suddenly changed, in consequence of a change of opinion, or an establishment of determination. Many, indeed, alter their conduct, and are not at fifty what they were at thirty; but they com
monly varied imperceptibly from themselves, followed the train of external causes, and rather suffered reformation than made it.
Idler, vol. 1, p. 151.
To be of no church, is dangerous. Religion, of which the rewards are distant, and which is animated only by faith and hope, will glide by degrees out of the mind, unless it be invigorated and reimpressed by external ordinances, by stated calls to worship, and the salutary influence of example.
Life of Milton.
That conversion of religion will always be suspected, that apparently concurs with interest. He that never finds his error, till it hinders his progress towards wealth and honour, will not be thought to love truth only for herself. Yet it may happen, information may come at a commodious time, and as truth and interest are not by any fatal necessity at variance, that one may, by accident, introduce the other.
Life of Dryden.
Philosophy may infuse stubbornness, but Religion only can give patience.
Idler, vol. I, p. 234.
Malevolence to the clergy, is seldom at a great distance from irreverence to Religion. Life of Dryden.
The great task of him who conducts his life by the precepts of religion, is to make the future predominate over the present, to impress upon