Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

IF true fortitude of mind is best discovered by a cheerful resignation to the measures of Providence, we shall not find reason perhaps to claim that most singular of the human virtues as our peculiar privilege. There are numbers of the other sex * who from the natural delicacy of their constitution pass through one continual scene of suffering from their cradles to their graves with a firmness of resolution that would deserve so many statues to be erected to their memories, if heroism were not estimated more by the splendour than the merit of actions.

FITZOSBORNE. Letters.

Not sedulous by nature to indite
Wars, hitherto the only argument
Heroic deem'd; chief mastery to dissect
With long and tedious havoc fabled knights,
In battles feign'd; the better fortitude
Of patience and heroic martyrdom
Unsung

Paradise Lost, Book IX.

ALL the principles which Religion teaches, and all the habits which it forms, are favourable to strength of mind. It will be found that whatever purifies fortifies also the heart.t

BLAIR.

* Sublime is the faith of a lonely soul,

In pain and trouble cherish'd ;
Sublime the spirit of hope that lives
When earthly hope has perish'd.
And where does that blest faith abide ?
0! not in man's stern nature: human pride
Inhabits there, and oft by virtue led-
Pride though it be--it doth a glory shed
That makes the world we mortal beings treau,
In chosen spots, resplendent as the Heaven!
But to yon gentle maiden turn,
Who never for herself doth mourn,
And own that Faith's undying urn
Is but to woman given.

John Wilson. Isle of Palms. † Despots govern by terror. They know that he who fears God fears nothing else; and therefore they eradicate from the mind, through their Voltaire, their Helvetius, and the rest of that infamous gang, that only sort of fear which generates true courage.

BURKE.

CURIOSITY. A CURIOUS fellow meeting an Egyptian must needs know what he had in his basket. “It was therefore covered,” replied he, “because thou shouldst not know what it is.”

BURTON. Anatomy.

MERCURY.

A FOOTMAN'S hat should fly off to everybody : and therefore Mercury, who was Jupiter's footman, had wings fastened to

his cap.

SWIFT.

WAGERS.

Quoth she, I've heard old cunning stagers
Say; fools for arguments use wagers.

Hudibras, Part II., Canto 1.

[ocr errors]

FAILURES.
For as when merchants break, o'erthrown
Like nine-pins, they strike others down.

Ibid, Part II., Canto 2.

BANKRUPT.

A BANKRUPT is made by breaking, as a bird is hatched by breaking the shell; for he gains more by giving over his trade, than ever he did by dealing in it.

BUTLER.
So the huge bankers, when they needs must fail,
Send the small brothers of their trade to jail ;
Whilst they, by breaking, gentlemen are made,
Then more than any, scorn poor men o'th' trade.

WYCHERLEY. Love in a Wood—Prologue.

POPULARITY.
Achilles.

WHAT, am I poor of late ?
'Tis certain, greatness, once fallen out with fortune,
Must fall out with men too; what the declin'd is,
He shall as soon read in the eyes of others,
As feel in his own fall: for men, like butterflies,
Show not their mealy wings but to the summer;
And not a man, for being simply man,
Hath any honour; but honour for those honours
That are without him, as place, riches, favour,
Prizes of accident as oft as merit:
Which when they fall, as being slippery standers,

The love that lean'd on them as slippery too,
Do one pluck down another, and together
Die in the fall.

Troilus and Cressida, Act III. Wolsey. So farewell to the little good you bear me.

Farewell, a long farewell, to all my greatness !
This is the state of man: to-day he puts forth
The tender leaves of hope, to-morrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honours thick upon him ;
The third day, comes a frost, a killing frost :
And, --when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
His greatness is a ripening, -nips his root;
And then he falls, as I do. I have ventur'd,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
This many summers in a sea of glory;
But far beyond my depth: my high-blown pride
At length broke under me; and now has left me,
Weary, and old with service, to the mercy
Of a rude stream, that must for ever hide me.
Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye !
I feel my

heart new opened : 0, how wretched
Is that poor man that hangs on princes' favours !
There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,
That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,
More pangs and fears than wars or women have;
And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
Never to hope again.

Henry VIII.

SELF-DIGNITY. Man cannot arrive to a just and proper understanding of himself, without worthy notions of the Supreme Being. *

SMITH. Preface to Longinus. It is of dangerous consequence (says Monsieur Paschal) to represent to man how near he is to the level of beasts, without showing him the same time his greatness. It is likewise dangerous to let him see his greatness without his meanness. It is more dangerous yet to leave him ignorant of either, but very beneficial that he should be made sensible of both.

Spectator, No. 537.

* The precept “Know thyself” was not solely intended to obviate the pride of mankind; but likewise that we might understand our own worth.

CICERO.

REVERE thyself;--and yet thyself despise,
His Nature no man can o'er-rate, and none
Can under-rate his merit.

Young. Night Thoughts.
OFT-TIMES nothing profits more
Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right
Well managed.

Paradise Lost, Book VIII.

SELF-LOVE. SELF-LOVE is the love of one's self, and of everything on account of one's self: it makes men idolize themselves; and would make them tyrants over others if fortune were to give them the means. It never reposes out of itself, and only settles on strange objects, as bees do on flowers, to extract what is useful to it.

ROCHEFOUCAULD.
SELF-LOVE never yet could look on Truth,
But with blear'd beams; slick Flattery and she
Are twin-born sisters, and so mix their eyes,
That if you sever one the other dies.
Why did the gods give thee a heav'nly form
And earthly thoughts to make thee proud of it ?
Why do I ask? 'Tis now the known disease
That Beauty hath, to bear too deep a sense
Of her own self-conceived excellence.
BEN Jonson. Cynthia's RevelsEcho lamenting

over Narcissus,

a

[ocr errors]

SELF-CONTROL.
Ah, silly man, who dream'st thy honour stands

In ruling others, not thyself! thy slaves
Serve thee, and thou thy slaves :-in iron bands

Thy servile spirit pressed with wild passions, raves.
Wouldst thou live honoured, clip ambition's wing;

To reason's yoke thy furious passions bring :
Thrice noble is the man who of himself is king.

FLECHER. TQ pardon those absurdities in ourselves which we cannot suffer in others, is neither better nor worse than to be more willing to be fools ourselves than to have others so.

POPE. WHATEVER you dislike in another person, take care to correct in yourself by the gentle reproof.

SPRAT.

THE proper way to make an estimate of ourselves is to consider seriously what we value or despise in others.

Spectator, No. 621,
So no man does himself convince,
By his own doctrine, of his sins:
And though all cry down self, none means
His ownself in a literal sense.

Hudibras, Part II., Canto 2. ONE fact which lets us see that men are better acquainted with their faults than is generally thought, is, that they are never wrong when they speak of their own conduct; the same love which generally blinds, on such occasions enlightens them, and gives them views so just as to make them suppress or disguise the least things which might be condemned.

ROCHEFOUCAULD.
ONE self-approving hour whole years outweighs
Of stupid starers and of loud huzzas,
And more true joy Marcellus exiled feels
Than Caesar with a senate at his heels.

POPE. Essay on Man.
In spite of dulness, and in spite of wit,
If to thyself thou canst thyself acquit;
Rather stand up, assured with conscious pride,
Alone, than err with millions on thy side.

CHURCHILL.
SELF-KNOWLEDGE.
Fitz to the peerage knows he's a disgrace,

So mounts the coach-box as his proper place, He who thinks he can find in himself the means of doing without others is much mistaken; but he who thinks others cannot do without him is still more mistaken,

ROCHEFOUCAULD.

*

* The disposition to put any cheat upon ourselves, works constantly, and we are pleased with it, but are impatient of being bantered or misled by others.

LOCKE. Conduct of the Understanding. A man's first care should be to avoid the reproaches of his own heart; his next, to escape the censures of the world. If the last interferes with the former, it ought to be entirely neglected; but otherwise there cannot be a greater satisfaction to an honest mind, than to see those approbations which it gives itself, seconded by the applauses of the public.

Spectator, No. 122,

« ForrigeFortsæt »