Page images
PDF
EPUB

MCCLVIII.
I hate ingratitude more in a man,
Than lying, vainness, babbling, drunkenness,
Or any taint of vice, whose strong corruption
Inhabits our frail blood.

Shakspeare.

MCCLIX.
I would particularly recommend our rising actresses,
never to take notice of the audience upon any occasion
whatsoever; let the spectators applaud never so loudly,
their praises should pass, except at the end of the epi.
logue, with seeming inattention.-Goldsmith.

MCCLX.
From women's eyes this doctrine I derive:
They sparkle still the right Promethean firé;
They are the books, the arts, the academies,
That show, contain, and nourish all the world;
Else none at all in aught proves excellent.

Shakspeare.

MCCLXI. He that expects to get, must relish all commodities alike, and admit no difference between oade (woad) and frankincense, or the most precious balsamum and a tar-barrel.-Ben Jonson.

[ocr errors]

MCCLXII. Of all the impertinent wishes which we hear expressed in conversation, there is not one more unworthy a gentleman or a man of liberal education, than that of wishing one's self younger. I have observed this wish is usually made upon sight of some object which gives the idea of a past action, that it is no dishonour to us that we cannot now repeat; or else on what was in itself shameful when we performed it.--Steele.

MCCLXIII. To deal freely with you counsellors, it is a matter that they who are strangers to your profession, can scarce put any fair construction upon; that the worst cause for a little money should find an advocate among

you! This driveth the standers-by upon this harsh dilemma, to think that either your understandings, or your consciences, are very bad. If indeed you so little know a good cause from a bad, then it must needs tempt men to think you very unskilful in your profes sion. But when almost every cause, even the worst that comes to the bar, shall have some of you for it, and some against it; and in the palpablest cases you are some on one side, and some on the other, the strange difference of your judgments doth seem to betray their weakness: but if you know the causes to be bad which you defend, and to be good which you oppose, it more evidently betrays a deplorable conscience. I speak not of your innocent or excusable mistakes in cases of great difficulty, nor yet of excusing a cause bad in the main, from unjust aggravations: but when money will hire you to plead for injustice against your own knowledge, and to use your wits to defraud the righteous, and spoil his cause, or vex him with delays, for the advantage of your unrighteous client: I would not have your conscience for all your gains, nor your accompt to make for all the world.-Baxter.

MCCLXIV. He that wants money, means, and content, is without three good friends. --Shakspeare.

MCCLXV. Two friends that met would give each other wine, And made their entrance at next bush and sign: Calling for claret, which they did agree, (The season hot) should qualified be With water and sugar; so the same being brought By a new boy, in vintner's tricks untaught; They quickly bid him bring fair water in, Who look'd as strange as he amaz'd had bin. “ Why dost not stir," quoth they, “ with nimble feet?": “ Cause, gentlemen,” said he, " it is not meet To put in too much water in your drink, For there's enough, already, sure I think; Richard the drawer, by my troth I vow, Put in great store of water even now." Rowland.

MCCLXVI. Some men are brave in battle who are weak in counsel, which daily experience sets before our eyes; others deliberate wisely, but are weak in the performing part; and even no man is the same to-day, which he was yesterday or may be to-morrow. On this account, says Polybius, “a good man is sometimes liable to blame; and a bad man, though not often, may possibly deserve to be commended."-Dryden.

MCCLXVII.
We must not make a scare-crow of the law,
Setting it up to fear the birds of prey,
And let it keep one shape, till custom make it
Their perch, and not their terror. Shakspeare.

MCCLXVIII. Ceremonies are different in every country; but true politeness is every where the same. Ceremonies which take up so much of our attention, are only artificial helps which ignorance assumes in order to imitate politeness, which is the result of good sense and good nature. A person possessed of those qualities, though he had never seen a court, is truly agreeable; and if without them, would continue a clown, though he had been all his life a gentleman usher.—Goldsmith.

MCCLXIX.

Thought
Precedes the will to think, and error lives
Ere reason can be born. Reason, the power
To guess at right and wrong, the twinkling lamp
Of wand'ring life, that winks and wakes by turns,
Fooling the follower betwixt shade and shining.

Congreve.
MCCLXX.
of gentle blood, his parents' only treasure,
Their lasting sorrow, and their vanished pleasure,
Adorned with features, virtues, wit, and grace,
A large provision for so short a race:
More moderate gifts might have prolonged his date,
Too early fitted for a better state:

But, knowing heaven his home, to shun delay,
He leap'd o'er age, and took the shortest way,

On young Mr. Rogers-Dryden.

MCCLXXI. Natural history is no work for one that loves his chair or his bed. Speculation may be pursued on a soft couch, but Nature must be observed in the open air. I have collected materials with indefatigable pertinacy. I have gathered glow-worms in the evening, and snails in the morning; I have seen the daisy close and open; I have heard the owl shriek at midnight, and hunted insects in the heat of noon.-Johnson,

MCCLXXII.
Seek not to know to morrow's doom;
That is not ours, which is to come.
The present moment's all our store:

The next, should heav'n allow,
Then this will be no more:

So all our life is but one instant now.
Look on each day you've past

To be a mighty treasure won:
And lay each moment out in haste;
We're sure to live too fast,

And cannot live too soon.
Youth doth a thousand pleasures bring,

Which from decrepid age will fly;
The flow'rs that flourish in the spring,
In Winter's cold embraces lie.

Congreve. MCCLXXIII. Time travels in divers paces with divers persons: I'll tell you who time ambles withal, who time trots withal, who time gallops withal, and who he stands still withal.

- Marry, he trots hard with a young maid, between the contract of her marriage and the day it is solemnized: if the interim be but a se'ennight, time's pace is so hard that it seems the length of seven years. He ambles withal with a priest that lacks latin, and a rich man that hath not the gout: for the one that sleeps, easily, because he cannot study; and the other lives merrily, because he feels no pain; the one lacking the burden of lean and wasteful learning; the other knowing no burden of heavy tedious penury: these time ambles withal. - He gallops withal with a thief to the gallows: for though he go as softly as foot can fall, he thinks himself too soon there.--He stays still withal, with lawyers in the vacation: for they sleep between term and term, and then they perceive not how time moves.- -Shakspeare.

MCCLXXIV.

Ceremony Was but devised at first, to set a gloss On faint deeds, hollow welcomes, Recanting goodness, sorry ere 'tis shewn; But where there is true friendship, there needs none.

Shakspeare. MCCLXXV. If we were to form an image of dignity in a man, we should give him wisdom and valour, as being essential to the character of manhood. In like manner, if you describe a right woman in a laudable sense, she should have gentle softness, tender fear, and all those parts of life which distinguish her from the other sex; with some subordination to it, but such an inferiority that makes her still more lovely.Steele.

MCCLXXVI.
When hath Diana, like an envious wretch,
That glitters only to his soothed self,
Denying to the world the precious use
Of hoarded wealth, withheld her friendly aid?
Monthly we spend our still-repaired shine,
And not forbid our virgin-waxen torch
To burn and blaze, while nutriment doth last:
Yet once consumed, out of Jove's treasury,
Anew we take, and stick it to our sphere,
To give the mutinous kind of wanting men
Their look'd-for light.

Cynthia's Revels-Ben Jonson. VOL. II.

Ee

« PreviousContinue »