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For though most hands dispatch apace,
heads t obstruct intrigues,
Hudibras, Part III., Canto 2.
THE WORLD A STAGE.
ALL the world's a stage,
As You Like It, Act II.
A GERMAN writer observes, "The noblest characters only show themselves in their real light. All others act comedy with their fellowmen even unto the grave.”
THE HUMAN SEASONS.
There are four seasons in the mind of man:
Takes in all beauty with an easy span : He has his Summer, when luxuriously
Spring's honey'd cud of youthful thought he loves
Is nearest unto heaven: quiet coves
He furleth close; contented so to look
Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook. He has his winter too of pale misfeature, Or else he would forego his mortal nature.
ADAM AND EVE. YET went she not, as not with such discourse Delighted, or not capable her ear Of what was high: such pleasure she reserved, Adam relating, she sole auditress : Her husband the relater she preferr'd Before the angel, and of him to ask Chose rather; he, she knew, would intermix Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute With conjugal caresses : from his lip Not words alone pleased her. 0! when meet now Such pairs in love and mutual honour join'd ? With goddess-like demeanour forth she went, Not unattended; for on her, as queen, A pomp of winning graces waited still, And from about her shot darts of desire Into all eyes, to wish her still in sight.
Paradise Lost, Book VIII.
(David and Michol.)
Upon the palace top beneath a row
COWLEY. Davideis, Book I.
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.
CICERO. 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.
CRABBE. The Library.
HOWEVER, many books,
Incessantly, and to his reading brings not
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.
JOHNSON. 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 possesses 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 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,
That will not be deep-search'd with saucy looks;
Love's Labour's Lost, Act I.
As 'tis a greater mystery in the art
BUTLER. Miscellaneous Thoughts.
Books of Ainusement.* 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!
Without some stir of heart, some malady ;
It soothed each to be the other by ;
With every eve deeper and tenderer still;
But her full shape would all his seeing fill;
To her, than noise of trees or hidden rill;
Before the door had given her to his eyes;
* 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.