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For though most hands dispatch apace,
Are found t' have contrary effects;
Hudibras, Part III., Canto 2.
THE WORLD A STAGE.
ALL the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
And then, the whining school-boy, with his satchel,
Even in the cannon's mouth: And then, the justice,
Is second childishness, and mere oblivion;
As You Like It, Act II.
The noblest characters only
A GERMAN writer observes, show themselves in their real light. with their fellowmen even unto the grave."
THE HUMAN SEASONS.
FOUR seasons fill the measure of the year;
There are four seasons in the mind of man :
Spring's honey'd cud of youthful thought he loves
ADAM AND EVE.
YET went she not, as not with such discourse
Of what was high: such pleasure she reserved,
Her husband the relater she preferr❜d
Before the angel, and of him to ask
Chose rather; he, she knew, would intermix
Not words alone pleased her. O! when meet now
Paradise Lost, Book VIII.
(David and Michol.)
HOME flies the prince, and to his trembling wife
Upon the palace top beneath a row
Of lemon trees, which there did proudly grow,
The light they drank from the sun's neighb'ring ray
And hand in hand sad, gentle things they talk'd.
PRAISE OF LITERATURE.
OTHER relaxations are peculiar to certain times, places, and stages of life, but the study of letters is the nourishment of our youth, and the joy of our old age. They throw an additional splendour on prosperity, and are the resource and consolation of adversity; they delight at home, and are no embarrassment abroad, in short they are company to us at night, our fellowtravellers on a journey, and attendants in our rural recesses.
No man's life is free from struggles and mortification, not even the happiest; but every one may build up his own happiness by seeking mental pleasures, and thus making himself independent of outward fortune.
VON HUMBOLDT. Letters.
THOSE faithful mirrors, which reflect to our mind, the minds of sages and heroes.
GIBBON. Decline and Fall.
New views to life, and teach us how to live;
They soothe the grieved, the stubborn they chastise,
CRABBE. The Library.
HOWEVER, many books,
Wise men have said, are wearisome; who reads
Incessantly, and to his reading brings not
(And what he brings, what need he elsewhere seek?)
Deep-versed in books, and shallow in himself,+
And trifles of choice matters, worth a sponge;
As children gathering pebbles on the shore.
Paradise Regained, Book IV.
THE frame of mind in which we read a work often influences our judgment upon it. That which for the moment predominates in our minds, colours all that we read, and we are afterwards surprised, on a reperusal of works of this kind, under circumstances and with different feelings, to find no longer the merit we formerly attributed to them.
LADY BLESSINGTON. Thoughts.
SOME are too indolent to read anything, till its reputation is established; others too envious to promote that fame which gives them pain by its increase. What is new is opposed, because most are unwilling to be taught; and what is known is rejected, because it is not sufficiently considered that men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.
NOTHING perhaps increases by indulgence more than a desultory habit of reading. I believe one reason why such numerous instances of erudition occur among the lower ranks is, that, with the same powers of mind, the poor student is limited to a narrow circle for indulging his passion for books, and must necessarily make himself master of the few he sesses ere he can acquire more.
Waverley, Chap. III.
* Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking makes what we read ours. So far as we apprehend and see the connexion of ideas, so far it is ours; without that it is so much loose matter floating in our brain.
LOCKE. Conduct of the Understanding.
+ Study is like the heaven's glorious sun,
Love's Labour's Lost, Act I.
As 'tis a greater mystery in the art
BUTLER. Miscellaneous Thoughts.
WHAT ken we better that sae sindle look,
Books of Amusement."
ONE of the amusements of idleness is reading without the fatigue of close attention, and the world therefore swarms with writers whose wish is not to be studied, but to be read.
DR. JOHNSON. Idler, No. 30.
FAIR Isabel, poor simple Isabel!
Lorenzo, a young palmer in Love's eye!
They could not, sure, beneath the same roof sleep,
With every morn their love grew tenderer,
With every eve deeper and tenderer still;
To her, than noise of trees or hidden rill;
Men love better books which please them, than those which instruct. Since their ennui troubles them more than their ignorance, they prefer being amused to being informed.