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That borrow their behaviours from the great,*
Grow great by your example, and put on
The dauntless spirit of resolution.
Away; and glisten like the god of war,
When he intended to become the field;
Show boldness and aspiring confidence.

What, shall they seek the lion in his den,

And fright him there? And make him tremble there?
O, let it not be said!

King John, Act V.

THE wise and prudent conquer difficulties
By daring to attempt them.† Sloth and folly
Shiver and shrink at sight of toil and danger,
And make th' impossibility they fear.

He alone has energy that cannot be deprived of it.

OUR doubts are traitors,



And make us lose the good we oft might win,
By fearing to attempt.

Measure for Measure, Act I., Scene 5.


IT deserves to be considered that boldness is ever blind, for it sees not dangers and inconveniences. Whence 'tis bad in council though good in execution. The right use of bold persons, therefore, is that they never command in chief; but serve as seconds, under the direction of others. For in council 'tis good to see dangers, and in execution not to see them unless they are very great. BACON. Essays.


ANTIQUITY! thou wondrous charm, what art thou? that being nothing art everything! When thou wert, thou wert not antiquity-then thou wert nothing, but hadst a remoter

* Carried away by the irresistible influence which is always exercised over men's minds by a bold resolution in critical circumstances.

GUIZOT. Cromwell.

† Our remedies oft' in ourselves do lie,
Which we ascribe to heaven; the fated sky
Gives us free scope; only doth backward pull
Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull.


antiquity, as thou calledst it, to look back to with blind veneration; thou thyself being to thyself flat, jejune, modern! What mystery lurks in this retroversion? or what half Januses are we, that cannot look forward with the same idolatry with which we for ever revert! The mighty future is as nothing being everything! The past is everything being nothing!

What were the dark ages? Surely the sun rose as brightly then as now, and man got him to his work in the morning. Why is it we can never hear mention of them without an accompanying feeling as though a palpable obscure had dimmed the face of things, and that our ancestors wandered to and fro groping?

CHARLES LAMB. Elia-Oxford in the Vacation.

'Tis not antiquity, nor author,

That makes truth truth, altho' Time's daughter,

'Twas he that put her in the pit

Before he pull'd her out of it;
And as he eats his sons, just so
He feeds upon his daughters too.
Nor does it follow, 'cause a herald,

Can make a gentleman, scarce a year old,

To be descended of a race

Of ancient kings in a small space,
That we should all opinions hold
Authentic that we can make old.

Hudibras, Part II., Canto 3.


SARCASTICALLY referred by Hobbes to the contention men have with the living, not with the dead, to these ascribing more than their due that they may obscure the glory of the other.

HUME says the humour of blaming the present and admiring the past is strongly rooted in human nature, and has an influence even on persons endued with the profoundest judgment and most extensive learning.

And again.

Essays, Part II., Essay 12.

AN established government has an infinite advantage by that very circumstance of its being established, the bulk of mankind being governed by authority, not reason, and never attributing authority to anything that has not the recommendation of antiquity.

Ibid., Essay 16.


TIRED nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep!
He, like the world, his ready visit pays

Where fortune smiles; the wretched he forsakes;
Swift on his downy pinions flies from woe,

And lights on lids unsully'd with a tear.


YOUNG. Night Thoughts, Night I.

SOFT closer of our eyes!

Low murmurer of tender lullabies!

Light hoverer around our happy pillows!
Wreather of poppy buds, and weeping willows!
Silent entangler of beauties tresses!

Most happy listener! when the morning blesses
Thee for enlivening all the cheerful eyes

That glance so brightly at the new sun rise.

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How many thousands of my poorest subjects
Are at this hour asleep! O sleep, O gentle sleep,
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down
And steep my senses in forgetfulness ?

Why, rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee

And hush'd with buzzing night flies to thy slumber,
Than in the perfumed chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of costly state,

And lull'd with sound of sweetest melody?
O thou dull god, why liest thou with the vile
In loathsome beds, and leavest the kingly couch
A watch-case or a common 'larum-bell?

Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast
Seal up the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his brains
In cradle of the rude imperious surge

And in the visitation of the winds,

Who take the ruffian billows by the top,

Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them
With deafening clamour in the slippery clouds,
That with the hurly, death itself awakes?

* It seldom visits sorrow: when it doth

It is a comforter.

Tempest, Act II.

Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,*
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

Henry IV., Second Part, Act III.

SLEEP is a god too proud to wait in palaces,
And yet so humble, too, as not to scorn
The meanest country cottages;

His poppy grows among the corn,

The halcyon sleep will never build his nest
In any stormy breast;

'Tis not enough that he does find

Clouds and darkness in their mind;
Darkness but half his work will do,

'Tis not enough, he must find quiet too.

COWLEY. Horace, Ode I., Book III.

'Twas now the time when Phoebus yields to night,

And rising Cynthia sheds her silver light,

Wide o'er the world in solemn pomp she drew,

Her airy chariot hung with pearly dew;

All birds and beasts lie hush'd; sleep steals away
The wild desires of men, and toils of day,
And brings, descending through the silent air,
A sweet forgetfulness of human care.

POPE. Thebais of Statius.

A FLOCK of sheep that leisurely pass by,

One after one; the sound of rain, and bees
Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky;
I've thought of all by turns; and still I lie
Sleepless; and soon the small birds' melodies
Must hear, first uttered from my orchard trees;
And the first cuckoo's melancholy cry.

Even thus last night, and two nights more I lay,


Can snore upon the flint, when restive sloth.

Finds the down pillow hard.

Cymbeline, Act III.

And could not win thee, Sleep! by any stealth :
So do not let me wear to-night away:

Without thee what is all the morning's wealth?
Come, blessed barrier betwixt day and day,
Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health!

THE crowd are gone, the revellers at rest;
The courteous host, and all-approving guest,
Again to that accustom'd couch must creep,
Where joy subsides, and sorrow sighs to sleep;
And man, o'er laboured with his being's strife,
Shrinks to that sweet forgetfulness of life:
There lie love's feverish hope, and cunning's guile,
Hate's working brain, and lull'd ambition's wile;
O'er each vain eye oblivion's pinions wave,
And quench'd existence crouches in a grave.

BYRON. Lara, Canto I.


"I KNOW not what that means," replied Sancho; "I only know that while I am asleep, I have neither fear, nor hope, neither trouble, nor glory; and blessings on him who invented sleep, the mantle that covers all human thoughts; the food that appeases hunger; the drink that quenches thirst; the fire that warms cold; the cold that moderates heat; and lastly, the general coin that purchases all things; the balance and weight that makes the shepherd equal to the king, and the simple to the wise."

Don Quixote.

SLEEP is death's younger brother, and so like him, that I never dare trust him without my prayers.


CARE-charmer sleep, son of the sable night,*
Brother to death, in silent darkness born,
Destroy my languish ere the day be light,

* Care-charming Sleep, thou easer of all woes,
Brother to Death, sweetly thyself dispose
On this afflicted prince. Fall like a cloud
In gentle showers: give nothing that is loud
Or painful to his slumbers: easy, sweet,
And as a purling stream, thou son of Night,


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