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By Heaven! it is a splendid sight to see

(For one who hath no friend, no brother there) Their rival scarfs of mix'd embroidery,

Their various arms that glitter in the air!

What gallant war-hounds rouse them from their lair,
And gnash their fangs, loud yelling for the prey!
All join the chase, but few the triumph share :
The Grave shall bear the chiefest prize away,
And Havoc scarce for joy can number their array.
Three hosts combine to offer sacrifice;

Three tongues prefer strange orisons on high;
Three gaudy standards flout the pale blue skies;
The shouts are France, Spain, Albion, Victory!
The foe, the victim, and the fond ally

That fights for all, but ever fights in vain,
Are met-as if at home they could not die—
To feed the crow on Talavera's plain,

And fertilise the field that each pretends to gain.

There shall they rot-Ambition's honour'd fools! Yes, Honour decks the turf that wraps their clay! Vain Sophistry! in these behold the tools,* The broken tools, that tyrants cast away By myriads, when they dare to pave their way With human hearts-to what ?-a dream alone. Can despots compass aught that hails their sway? Or call with truth one span of earth their own, Save that wherein at last they crumble bone by bone? Childe Harold, Canto I.


HE, above the rest

In shape and gesture proudly eminent,

*For he was of that noble trade

That demigods and heroes made,
Slaughter and knocking on the head;
The trade to which they all were bred;
And is like others glorious when
'Tis great and large, but base if mean:
The former rides in triumph for it;
The latter in a two-wheeled chariot,
For daring to profane a thing
So sacred with vile bungling.

Hudibras, Part I., Canto 2.

Stood like a tower; his form had not yet lost
All her original brightness: nor appear'd
Less than archangel ruin'd, and the excess
Of glory obscured; as when the sun, new risen,
Looks through the horizontal misty air

Shorn of his beams; or from behind the moon
In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds

On half the nations; and with fear of change
Perplexes monarchs. Darken'd so, yet shone
Above them all the archangel: but his face
Deep scars of thunder had intrench'd; and care
Sat on his faded cheek; but under brows
Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride
Waiting revenge; cruel his eye, but cast
Signs of remorse and passion, to behold
The fellows of his crime, the followers rather
(Far other once beheld in bliss), condemn'd
For ever now to have their lot in pain ;
Millions of spirits for his faults amerced
Of heaven, and from eternal splendours flung
For his revolt, yet faithful how they stood,
Their glory wither'd: as when heaven's fire
Hath scathed the forest's oaks, or mountain pines,
With singed top their stately growth, though bare,
Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepared
To speak; whereat their doubled rank they bend
From wing to wing, and half enclose him round
With all his peers: attention held them mute.
Thrice he assay'd, and thrice in spite of scorn,
Tears, such as angels weep, burst forth; at last
Words, interwove with sighs, found out their way.
Paradise Lost, Book I.


It is the disposition of human nature, always to admire what we see is attended with danger and difficulty in others, how much soever we may choose ease and security for ourselves. MELMOUTH. Dialogues.


HE shall spurn death, scorn fate, and bear
His hopes 'bove wisdom, grace, and fear;

And you all know security

Is mortal's chiefest enemy.

BUT 'tis strange:

Macbeth, Act III.

And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths;
Win us with honest trifles, to betray us

In deepest consequence.


A FALSE imagination of plenty comes among the principal causes of want; and too great confidence in things present, leads to neglect of future assistance.



FAME cannot

Better be held, nor more attained than by
A place below the first: for what miscarries
Shall be the general's fault, though he perform
To the utmost of a man.



AND let me tell you, good company and good discourse are the very sinews of virtue.

WALTON. Angler.

ONE of the best rules in conversation is, never to say a thing which any of the company can reasonably wish we had rather left unsaid; nor can there anything be well more contrary to the ends for which people meet together, than to rest unsatisfied with each other or themselves.


THEY who have the true taste of conversation, enjoy themselves in a communication of each other's excellences, and not in a triumph over their imperfections.

Spectator, No. 422.

A GOOD word is an easy obligation; but not to speak ill requires only our silence, which costs us nothing.


It is a good old rule that our conversation should rather be laid out on things than persons.

Quoted, WATTS-On the Mind.

It is a secret known but to few, yet of no small use in the conduct of life, that when you fall into a man's conversation, the first thing you should consider is, whether he has a greater inclination to hear you or that you should hear him.


ONE thing which makes us find so few people who appear reasonable and agreeable in conversation is, that there is scarcely any one who does not think more of what he is about to say than of answering precisely what is said to him. The cleverest and most complaisant people content themselves with merely showing an attentive countenance, while we can see in their eyes and minds a wandering from what is said to them, and an impatience to return to what they wish to say; instead of reflecting that it is a bad method of pleasing or persuading others, to be so studious of pleasing oneself; and that listening well and answering well is one of the greatest perfections that can be attained in conversation.


IN conversation boldness now bears sway,
But know that nothing can so foolish be,
As empty boldness: therefore first assay
To stuff thy mind with solid bravery;
Then march on gallant: get substantial worth :
Boldness gilds finely, and will set it forth.


To have commonplaces of discourse and to want variety is odious to the hearers, and shows a shallowness of thought; 'tis therefore good to vary and suit speeches to the present occasion, as also to hold a moderation in all discourse, especially of religion, the state, great persons, important business, poverty, and anything deserving pity.

To use many circumstances before you come to the matter is wearisome, to use none at all is blunt.

Bashfulness is a great hindrance to a man both in uttering his sentiments, and in understanding what is proposed to him;

* Shepherd. The great charm o' conversation is being aff on any wind that blaws. Pleasant conversation between friends is just like walking through a mountainous kintra-at every glen mouth the wun blaws frae a different airt.

Noctes Ambrosianæ.

'tis therefore good to press forward with discretion, both in discourse and company of the better sort.


I TAKE it for a rule, that the natural, and not the acquired man, is the companion. Learning, wit, gallantry, and good breeding are all but subordinate qualities in society, and are of no value, but as they are subservient to benevolence, and tend to a certain manner of being or appearing equal to the rest of the company; for conversation is composed of an assembly of men, as they are men, and not as they are distinguished by fortune therefore he who brings his quality with him into conversation, should always pay the reckoning; for he came to receive homage, and not to meet his friends.



TELL me, thou star, whose wings of light
Speed thee in thy fiery flight,

In what cavern of the night

Wilt thy pinions close now?

Tell me, moon, thou pale and grey
Pilgrim of heaven's homeless way,
In what depth of night or day
Seekest thou repose now?

Weary wind, who wanderest
Like the world's rejected guest,
Hast thou still some secret nest

On the tree or billow?



Hamlet. SPEAK the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus; but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say) whirlwind of your passions, you must acquire and beget a temperance, that may give it smoothness. O, it offends me to the soul, to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings; who, for the most part, are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows, and noise: I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant; it out-herods Herod: pray you, avoid it.

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