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THESE reasonings will furnish us with an adequate definition of a true critic; that he is a discoverer and collector of writers' faults. Which may be further put beyond dispute, by the following demonstration; that whoever will examine the writings in all kinds, wherewith this ancient sect hath honoured the world, shall immediately find, from the whole thread and tenour of them, that the idea of the authors have been altogether conversant, and taken up, with the faults and blemishes, and oversights, and mistakes of the writers; and let the subject treated on be whatever it will, their imaginations are so entirely possessed, and replete with the defects of other pens, that the very quintessence of what is bad does of necessity distil into their own; by which means the whole appears to be nothing else but an abstract of the criticisms themselves have made.
SWIFT. Tale of a Tub.
CRITICS must excuse me, if I compare them to certain animals called asses, who by gnawing vines, originally taught the great advantage of pruning them.
CRITICS are like a kind of flies, that breed
In wild fig trees, and, when they're grown up, feed
And by their nibbling on the outward rind,
To ripen it sooner than he would have done.
BUTLER. Miscellaneous Thoughts.
TILL critics blame, and judges praise,
I take it for a panegyric.
Hated by fools, and fools to hate,
Be that my motto and my fate.
POVERTY wants some, luxury many, avarice all things.
IN all the world there is no vice
Less prone t' excess than avarice;
It neither cares for food nor clothing:
Nature's content with little, that with nothing.
BUTLER. Miscellaneous Thoughts.
As misers their own laws enjoin
So he that toils and labours hard
To gain, and what he gets has spared,
And though he can produce more spankers
Yet after more and more he hankers;
And after all his pains are done,
Has nothing he can call his own,
COVETOUSNESS, by a greediness of getting more, deprives itself of the true end of getting: it loses the enjoyment of what it has got.
THE character of covetousness is what a man generally acquires more through some niggardness or ill grace, in little and inconsiderable things, than in expenses of any consequence; a very few pounds a year would ease that man of the scandal of avarice.
A SMART REPARTEE.
CRIES Sylvia to a reverend dean,
They cannot find a priest.
A PERSON having once observed of another, that if you said a good thing to him he did not understand you, it was somewhat pithily asked in reply, "Did you ever try him ?"
SCIENCE often furnishes means of discovering precise truth, when ignorance does not even dream of the possibility.
DR. ARNOTT. Physics.
THE sciences are of a sociable disposition, and flourish best in the neighbourhood of each other; nor is there any branch of learning but may be helped and improved by assistance drawn from other Arts. *
THE sciences throw an inexpressible grace over our compositions, even where they are not immediately concerned; as their effects are discernible where we least expect to find them.
Dialogue on Oratory, ascribed to PLINY, translated by MELMOUTH. SCIENCE, regarded as the pursuit of truth, must ever afford occupation of consummate interest and subject of elevated meditation. The contemplation of the works of creation elevates the mind to the admiration of whatever is great and noble ; accomplishing the object of all study, which, in the elegant language of Sir James Macintosh, "is to inspire the love of truth, of wisdom, of beauty, especially of goodness the highest beauty, and of that supreme and eternal Mind which contains all truth and wisdom, all beauty and goodness. By the love or delightful contemplation and pursuit of these transcendent aims, for their own sake only, the mind of man is raised from low and perishable objects and prepared for those high destinies which are appointed for all those who are capable of them." SOMERVILLE. Connection of the Sciences, Introduction.
THE CHARM OF EARLY ASSOCIATIONS.
As the stern grandeur of a Gothic tower
And the heart opens in a foreign land;
No one can justly or successfully discover the nature of any one thing in that thing itself, or without numerous experiments which lead to farther enquiries. BACON.
The nature of things, is best discovered by the torturings of art, than when they are left to themselves.
So scenes of life, when present and confest,
But wins the heart and wakes the social sigh,
S. ROGERS. Pleasures of Memory.
EVERY favour which is conferred upon a follower should appear to be bestowed though willingly, yet with deliberation. For deliberation does not more lend aggravation to an act of malice, than it heightens the complexion of a service rendered. Favours which seem to be disposed upon the impulse with an unthinking facility, are received like the liberalities of a spendthrift, and men thank God for them.
H. TAYLOR. Statesman.
QUEEN ELIZABETH was dilatory enough in suits of her own nature; and the lord treasurer Burleigh, being a wise man, and willing therein to feed her humour, would say to her, "Madam, you do well to let suitors stay; for I shall tell you, Bis dat qui cito dat; if you grant them speedily, they will come again the sooner."
It is good discretion not to make too much of any man at the first, because we cannot hold out that proportion.
WHAT causes such a miscalculation in the amount of gratitude which men expect for the favours they have done, is, that the pride of the giver and that of the receiver can never agree as to the value of the benefit.
HE who goes round about in his requests, wants commonly more than he chooses to appear to want.
He who receives a good turn, should never forget it; he who does one, should never remember it.
WHO WENT ON INCREASING IN BEAUTY LIKE THE FOAM OF
LADY Mary Ann
Was a flower i' the dew,
Sweet was its smell,
And bonnie was its hue;
And the longer it blossom'd
Young Charlie Cochrane
Was the sprout of an aik,
And straight was its make;
To shine for its sake,
And it will be the brag
O' the forest yet.
IGNORANCES AND PREJUDICES.
IGNORANCE of the signification of words disposes men to take on trust not only the truth they know not, but errors and nonsense. For neither can be detected without a perfect understanding of words.
But ignorance of the causes and original constitution of right, equity, law, and justice, disposes a man to make custom and example the rule of his actions, in such manner as to think that unjust which it has been the custom to punish, and that just, of the impunity or approbation of which they can produce an example, or, as the lawyers, which only use this false measure of justice, barbarously call it, a precedent. Men appeal from custom to reason, and from reason to custom as it serves their turn, receding from custom when interest requires it, and setting themselves against reason as oft as reason is against them; which is the cause that the doctrine of right and wrong is perpetually disputed both by the pen and the sword; whereas the doctrine of lines and figures is not so, because men care not in that subject what is truth, as it is a thing that crosses no man's ambition, profit, or lust. For I doubt not, but if it had been a thing contrary to any man's right of dominion, or to the interest of men that have dominion, that the three angles of a triangle should be equal to two angles of a square, that doctrine would have been, if not disputed, yet by the burning of all books of geometry, suppressed as far as he whom it concerned was able.