« AnteriorContinuar »
into which he had fallen. "So much (says CELSUS) does the open and artless confession of an error become a man conscious that he has enough remaining to support his character."
Thid. p. 191.
That which is strange, is delightful: and pleasing error is not willingly detected.
Western Islands, p. 63.
To define an epitaph is useless; every one knows it is an inscription on a tomb; an epitaph, therefore, implies no particular character of writing, but may be composed in verse or prose. It is, indeed, commonly panegyrical, because we are seldom distinguished with a stone but by our friends; but it has no rule to restrain or modify it, except this, that it ought not to be longer than common beholders may be expected. to have leisure and patience to peruse.
Differtation on the Epitaphs of Pope, p. 303.
The name of the deceased should never be omitted in an epitaph, whose end is to convey some account of the dead; and to what pur"pose is any thing told of him whose name is concealed? An epitaph, and a history of a nameless hero, are equally absurd, since the virtues and qualities so recounted in either are scattered, at the mercy of fortune, to be appropriated by guess. The name, it is true, may be read upon the stone, but what obligation has it to the poet, whose verses wander over the earth, and leave their subject behind them; and who is forced,
like an unskilful painter, to make his purpose known by adventitious help?
Ibid. p. 307.
The difficulty of writing epitaphs, is to give a particular and appropriate praise.
Ibid. p. 314
To raise esteem we must benefit others; tó procure love, we must please them.
Rambler, vol. 4, P. S.
Perhaps no election, by a plurality of suffrages, was ever made among human beings, to which it might not be objected, that voices were procured by illicit influence.
Memoirs of the King of Pruffia, p. 125.
Expectation, when once her wings are expanded, easily reaches heights which performance never will attain; and when she has mounted the summit of perfection, derides her follower, who dies in the pursuit.
Plan of an English Dictionary, p. 32.
(Not always proportioned to their Causes).
It seems to be almost the universal error of historians, to suppose it politically, as it is physically, true, that every effect has a proportionate
cause. In the inanimate action of matter upon matter, the motion produced can be but equal to the force of the moving power; but the operations of life, whether public or private, admit no such laws. The caprices of voluntary agents, laugh at calculation. It is not always there is a strong reason for a great event; obstinacy and flexibility, malignity and kindness, give place alternately to each other; and the reason of those vicissitudes, however important may be the consequences, often escapes the mind in which the change is made.
Falkland Islands, p. 33.
Elegance is surely to be desired, if it be not gained at the expence of dignity. A hero would wish to be loved, as well as to be reverenced.
Life of Pope.
Honesty is not greater where elegance is less.
In all ages foreigners have affected to call England their country; even when, like the Saxons of old, they came to conquer it.
Marmor Norfolciense, p. 10.
Little things are not valued, but when they are done by those who can do greater.
Life of Philips.
Elegy is the effusion of a contemplative mind, sometimes plaintive, and always serious, and therefore superior to the glitter of slight orna
Life of Shenstone.
He that questions his abilities to arrange the dissimilar parts of an extensive plan, or fears to be lost in a complicated system, may yet hope to adjust a few pages without perplexity; and if, when he turns over the repositories of his memory, he finds his collection too small for a volume, he may yet have enough to furnish an essay.
Rambler, vol. I, p. 6.
Such is the constitution of man, that labour may be styled its own reward: nor will any external incitements be requisite, if it be considered how much happiness is gained, and how much misery escaped, by frequent and violent agitation of the body.
Ibid. vol. 2, P. 177,
Exercise cannot secure us from that dissolution to which we are decreed; but, while the soul and body continue united, it can make the association pleasing, and give probable hopes that they shall be disjoined by an easy separation. It was a principle among the ancients, that acute diseases are from heaven, and chroK 2 nical
nical from ourselves: the dart of death, indeed, falls from heaven; but we poison it by our own misconduct.
Ibid. p. 178.
It is not very easy to fix the principle upon which mankind have agreed to eat some animals, and reject others; and as the principle is not evident, it is not uniform. That which is selected as delicate in one country, is, by its neighbours, abhorred as lothesome. The Neapolitans lately refused to eat potatoes in a famine: an Englishman is not easily persuaded to dine on snails with an Italian, on frogs with a Frenchman, or on horseflesh with a Tartar. The vulgar inhabitants of Sky, one of the Western islands of Scotland, have not only eels, but pork and bacon in abhorrence.
Western Islands, p. 136.
HE that is loudly praised, will be clamorously censured. He that rises hastily into fame, will be in danger of sinking suddenly into oblivion. Idler, vol. 2, p. 25.
The memory of mischief is no desirable fame.
The true satisfaction which is to be drawn from the consciousness that we shall share the attention