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those that hear him will only laugh; for no man sympathises with the sorrows of vanity.

Life of Pope.

The man who threatens the world is always ridiculous; for the world can easily go on without him, and, in a short time, will cease to miss him.



No cause more frequently produces bashfulness than too high an opinion of our own importance. He that imagines an assembly filled with his merit, panting with expectation, and hushed with attention, easily terrifies himself with the dread of disappointing them, and strains his imagination in pursuit of something that may vindicate the veracity of fame, and show that his reputation was not gained by chance. Rambler, vol. 3, p. 319.


There are innumerable modes of insult, and tokens of contempt, for which it is not easy to find a name, which vanish to nothing in an attempt to describe them, and yet may, by continual repetition, make day pass after day in sorrow and in terror.

Ibid. p. 262.

Whatever be the motive of insult, it is always best to overlook it; for folly scarcely can deserve resentment, and malice is punished by neglect.


Ibid. vol. 4, p. 221.


To refuse credit, confers, for a moment, an appearance of superiority, which every little mind is


tempted to assume, when it may be gained so cheaply, as by withdrawing attention from evidence, and declining the fatigue of comparing probabilities.

Idler, vol. 2, p. 195.

The most pertinacious and vehement demonstrator may be wearied in time, by continual negation and incredulity, which an old poet, in his address to Raleigh, calls "the wit of fools," obtunds the arguments which it cannot answer, as woolsacks deaden arrows, though they cannot repel them.

Ibid. p. 196.


The man who commits common faults, should not be precluded from common indulgence. Preliminary Discourse to the London Chronicle, p. 155.


It may reasonably be asserted, that he who finds himself strongly attracted to any particular study, though it may happen to be out of his proposed scheme, if it is not trifling or vicious, had better continue his application to it, since it is likely that he will with much more ease and expedition attain that which a warm inclination stimulates him to pursue, than that at which a prescribed law compels him to toil.

Idler, vol. 2, p. 85.


Whether to plant a walk in undulating curves, and to place a bench at every turn where there is an object to catch the view; to make water M 4


run where it will be heard, and to stagnate where it will be seen; to leave' intervals where the eye will be pleased, and to thicken the plantation where there is something to be bidden, demands. any great powers of mind, we will not enquire. Perhaps a surly and sullen speculator may think such performances rather the sport, than the business, of human reason. But it must be at least confessed, that to embellish the form of nature is an innocent amusement, and some praise must be allowed, by the most supercilious observer, to him who does best, what such multitudes are contending to do well,

Life of Shenstone.


There are some reasoners who frequently confound innocence with the mere incapacity of guilt; but he that never saw, or heard, or thought of strong liquors, cannot be proposed as a pattern of sobriety.

Life of Drake, p. 224.


Inconstancy is in every case a mark of weakness.
Plan of an English Dictionary, p. 37.


Most men are animated with greater ardour by interest than by fidelity.

Life of Drake, p. 186.


Interest and pride harden the heart; and it is. vain to dispute against avarice and power.

Introduction to the World Displayed, p. 177.


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MAN is not weak; knowledge is more than equivalent to force..

Prince of Abyffina, p. 90.`

As knowledge advances, pleasure passes from the eye to the ear; but returns, as it declines,, from the ear to the eye..

Preface to Shakspeare, p. 34-

Other things may be seized by might, or pur-chased with money; but knowledge is to be gained only by study, and study to be prosecuted only in retirement.

Rambler, vol. 1, p. 37.

No degree of knowledge, attainable by man,. is able to set him above the want of hourly assistance, or to extinguish the desire of fond en dearments and tender officiousness; and, therefore, no one should think it unnecessary to learn those arts by which friendship may be gained. Kindness is preserved by a constant reciprocation of benefits or interchange of pleasures; but such benefits only can be bestowed as others are ca-pable to receive, and such pleasures only iìn-parted as others are qualified to enjoy. By this descent from the pinnacles of art, no honour will be lost; for the condescensions of learning are always overpaid by gratitude. An elevated. genius employed in little things, appears, to use the simile of Longinus, "like the sun in its evening declination; he remits his splendour,, but retains his magnitude; and. pleases more though he dazzles less."

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Jbid. vol. 5, p. 192.


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The seeds of knowledge may be planted in solitude, but must be cultivated in public.

Ibid. vol. 4, p. 48.

In all parts of human knowledge, whether terminating in science merely speculative, or operating upon life, private or civil, are admitted some fundamental principles, or common axioms, which, being generally received, are little doubted, and being little doubted, have been rarely proved.

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Taxation no Tyranny, p. 1.

One man may be often ignorant, but never ridiculous; another may be full of knowledge, whilst his variety often distracts his judgment, and his learning frequently is disgraced by his absurdities. Preface to Dict. fol. p. 3.

It is to be lamented, that those who are most. capable of improving mankind, very frequently neglect to communicate their knowledge, either because it is more pleasing to gather ideas than to impart them, or because, to minds naturally great, few things appear of so much importance as to deserve the notice of the public.

Life of Sir Thomas Browne, p. 256.

Acquisitions of knowledge, like blazes of genius, are often fortuitous. Those who had proposed to themselves a methodical course of reading, light by accident on a new book, which seizes their thoughts, and kindles their curiosity, and opens an unexpected prospect, to which the way which they had prescribed to themselves, would never have conducted them.

Idler, vol. 2, P: 79..


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