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Ten thousand saw I at a glance
In such a jocund company!
His tongue and his heart are always at variance, and fall out like rogues in the street, to pick somebody's pocket. They never agree but like Herod and Pilate, to do mischief. His conscience never stands in his light, when the devil holds a candle to him; for he has stretched it so thin that it is transparent
As thistles wear the softest down,
And hide their prickles till they're grown,
BUTLER. Miscellaneous Thoughts.
A MAN who enters the theatre is immediately struck with the view of so great a multitude, participating of one common amusement; and experiences, from their very aspect, a superior sensibility or disposition of being affected with every sentiment which he shares with his fellow-creatures.
BACON Somewhere says-That it is one of the greatest secrets of Nature that men's passions are more capable of being raised to higher degrees in company than in solitude: and that we sooner grieve, fear, rejoice, love, admire, when we behold many others so moved, than when we are alone.
'Tis strange how some men's tempers suit
(Like bawd and brandy) with dispute,
That for their own opinions stand fast
Hudibras, Part II., Canto 2.
FOR disputants, like rams and bulls,
Ibid., Canto 2.
As lamps burn silent, with unconscious light,
NOTHING can atone for the want of modesty, without which beauty is ungraceful and wit detestable.
Spectator, No. 20.
BLUSHING is the livery of virtue, though it may sometimes proceed from guilt; so it holds true of Poverty, that it is the attendant of Virtue, though sometimes it may proceed from mismanagement and accident.
MODESTY was designed by Providence as a guard to virtue, and that it might be always at hand 'tis wrought into the mechanism of the body. 'Tis likewise proportioned to the occasions of life, and strongest in youth when passion is so too.
COLLIER. On the Stage.
SOMETIMES in his wild way of talking, he would say that gravity was an errant scoundrel; and he would add of the most dangerous kind too,-because a sly one; and that he verily believed, more honest well-meaning people were bubbled out of their goods and money by it in one twelvemonth, than by pocket-picking and shop-lifting in seven. In the naked temper which a merry heart discovered he would say, there was no danger but to itself; whereas the very essence of gravity was design, and consequently, deceit. 'Twas a taught trick to gain credit of the world for more sense and knowledge than a man was worth, and that, with all its pretensions, it was no better but often worse than what a French wit had long ago defined it-A mysterious carriage of the body to cover the
defects of the mind which definition of gravity, Yorick with great impudence would say deserved to be wrote in letters of gold.
Tristam Shandy, Vol. I., Chap. 2.
THE formalities of life do often counterfeit wisdom, but never beget it.
SPRATT. History of the Royal Society.
Antonio. I HOLD the world but as the world, Gratiano,
Let me play the fool;
As who would say, I am Sir Oracle,
That therefore only are reputed wise;
For saying nothing; who, I am very sure,
If they should speak, would almost damn those ears,
Merchant of Venice, Act I.
JUDGMENT is but a curious pair of scales,
That turns with th' hundredth part of true or false;
The subtlety and niceness of its weight,
Until 'tis false, and will not rise, nor fall,
Like those that are less artificial;
And, therefore, students in their ways of judging
Its active faculty with too much use;
For reason, when too curiously 'tis spun,
Is but the next of all removed from none.
BUTLER. Satire upon the Abuse of Human Learning.
NEVER did two men make the same judgment of the same thing; and 'tis impossible to find two opinions exactly alike, not only in several men, but in the same men at different hours. I often find matter of doubt in things which the commentary disdains to take notice of. I am most apt to stumble in an open country, like some horses that I have known, who make most trips in the smoothest way. Who will not say that glosses augment doubts and ignorance, since there is no one book to be found, either human or divine, which the world busies itself about, the difficulties of which are cleared by interpretation. The hundredth commentator still refers you to the next, more knotty and perplexed than himself. When were we ever agreed among ourselves, that a book had enough, and that there was no more to be said? MONTAIGNE.
A PRINCIPAL Source of erroneous judgment is viewing things partially and only on one side: as, for instance, fortune-hunters, when they contemplated the fortunes singly and separately, it was a dazzling and tempting object; but when they came to possess the wives and the fortunes together, they began to suspect they had not made quite so good a bargain.
How far the average of men are from having attained the power of free independent thought, is shown by the staggering and stumbling of their intellects, when a completely new subject of investigation tempts them to form a judgment of their own, on a matter which they have not studied. In such cases a really educated intellect sees at once that no judgment is yet within its reach, and acquiesces in suspense.* But the uneducated intellect hastens to account for the phenomenon; to discover
*The modesty which forbears to judge of what is above us, is a quality far too noble to be found very frequently. VON HUMBOLDT. Letters.
new laws of nature, and new relations of truth, to decide and predict, and perhaps to demand a remodelling of all previous knowledge. The discussions on table-turning a few years ago, illustrated this want of intellects* able to govern themselves. The whole analogy of physical science was not enough to induce that suspension of judgment which was effected in a week by the dictum of a known philosopher.
Essays and Reviews.
THE influence of the works of fiction is unbounded. the minds of well-informed people are more often stored with characters from acknowledged fiction, than from history or biography, or the real life around them. We dispute about their characters, as if they were realities. Their expe
rience is our experience; we adopt their feelings, and imitate their acts. And so there comes to be something traditional even in the management of the passions. Shakspeare's historical plays were the only history of the Duke of Marlborough. The poet sings of the deeds that shall be. He imagines the past; he forms the future.
Friends in Council.
Milton's Lamentation for his Loss of Sight.
May I express thee unblamed? since God is light,
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee,
The rising world of waters dark and deep,
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing,
Escaped the Stygian pool, though long detain'd
Fools, whose nat❜ral itches
Incline perpetually to witches.