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he certainly waits with impatience to be contradicted.

Rambler, vol. 4, p. 180.

Vanity is often no less mischievous than negligence or dishonesty.

Idler, vol. 2, p. 72.

The greatest human virtue bears no proportion

to human vanity.

Rambler, vol. 2, p. 296.


"Be virtuous ends pursu'd by virtuous means,
"Nor think th' intention sanctifies the deed.”
That maxim published in an impious age,
Would loose the wild enthusiast to destroy,
And fix the fierce usurper's bloody title.
Then bigotry might send her slaves to war,
And bid success become the test of truth.
Unpitying massacre might waste the world,
And persecution boast the call of heaven.

Irene, p. 42.

He who desires no virtue in his companion, has no virtue in himself. Hence, when the wealthy and the dissolute connect themselves with indigent companions, for their powers of entertainment, their friendship amounts to little more than paying the reckoning for them. They only desire to drink and laugh; their fondness is without benevolence, and their familiarity without friendship. Life of Otway.

Many men mistake the love for the practice of virtue, and are not so much good men, as the friends of goodness.

Life of Savage.

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Virtue is undoubtedly most laudable in that state which makes it most difficult.


Virtue is the surest foundation both of reputation and fortune, and the first step to greatness is to be honest.

Life of Drake, p. 160.

He that would govern his actions by the laws of virtue, must regulate his thoughts by the laws of reason; he must keep guilt from the recesses of his heart, and remember that the pleasures of fancy and the emotion of desire, are more dangerous as they are more hidden, since they escape the awe of observation, and operate equally in every situation, without the concurrence of external opportunities.

Rambler, vol. 1, p. 48.

To dread no eye and to suspect no tongue, is the great prerogative of innocence; an exemption granted only to invariable virtue. But guilt has always its horrors and solicitudes; and to make it yet more shameful and detestable, it is doomed often to stand in awe of those to whom nothing could give influence or weight, but their power of betraying.

Ibid. vol. 2, p. 85.

Virtue may owe her panegyrics to morality, but must derive her authority from religion.

Preface to the Preceptor, p. 76.

Virtue is too often merely local. In some situations, the air diseases the body; and in others, poisons the mind.

Idler, vol. 2, p. 2.


There are some who, though easy to commit small crimes, are quickened and alarmed at atrocious villainies. Of these, virtue may be said to sit loosely, but not cast off.

Notes upon Shakspeare, vol. 10, p. 629.

Where there is yet shame, there may in time be virtue. Western Islands, p. 10,

There are some interior and secret virtues which a man may sometimes have, without the knowledge of others; and may sometimes assume to himself, without sufficient reasons for his opinion. Life of Sir T. Browne, p. 280.


Narrations of romantic and impracticable vir tue, will be read with wonder; but that which is unattainable is recommended in vain. That good may be endeavoured, it must be shown to be possible. Life of Pope.


Nothing is more unjust, however common, than to charge with hypocrisy, him that expresses zeal for those virtues which he neglects to practise; since he may be sincerely convinced of the advantages of conquering his passions, without having yet obtained the victory; as a man may be confident of the advantages of a voyage or a journey, without having courage or industry to undertake it, and may honestly recommend to others, those attempts which he neglects himself,

Rambler, vol. 1, p. 83.


It may be laid down as an axiom, that it is more easy to take away superfluities, than to supply defects; and therefore he that is culpable, because he has passed the middle point of virtue, is always accounted a fairer object of hope, than he who fails by falling short; as rashness is more pardonable than cowardice, profusion than avarice. Ibid. p. 151.


Vices, like diseases, are often hereditary. The property of the one is to infect the manners, as the other poisons the springs of life.

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Idler, vol. 1, p. 238.

The exemption which blank verse affords from the necessity of closing the sense with the couplet, betrays luxurious and active minds into such indulgence, that they pile image upon image, ornament upon ornament, and are not easily persuaded to close the sense at all. Blank verse will, it is to be feared, be too often found in description, exuberant; in argument, loquacious; and in narration, tiresome.

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Blank verse makes some approach to that which is called "the lepidary style." It has neither the easiness of prose, nor the melody of numbers.

Life of Milton.

Blank verse, said an ingenious critic, seems to be verse only to the eye.



He that thinks himself capable of astonishing, may write blank verse; but those that hope only to-please, must condescend to rhyme.



Large offers, and sturdy rejections are among the most common topics of falsehood.




WHAT is fit for every thing, can fit nothing



Life of Cowley.

As the mind must govern the hands, so in every society, the man of intelligence must direct the +man of labour. Western Islands, p. 201.


A large work is difficult, because it is large, even though all its parts might singly be performed with facility. Where there are many things to be done, each must be allowed its share of time and labour, in the proportion only which it bears to the whole; nor can it be expected that the stones which form the dome of the temple, should be squared and polished like the diamond of a ring. Preface to Dictionary, fol. p. 9.


The value of a work must be estimated by its use: it is not enough that a dictionary delights


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