Lord Chesterfield's Worldly Wisdom: Selections from His Letters and Characters

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Page 201 - Sir, he was a scoundrel, and a coward : a scoundrel for charging a blunderbuss against religion and morality ; a coward, because he had not resolution to fire it off himself, but left half a crown to a beggarly Scotchman to draw the trigger after his death...
Page 232 - For even then, sir, even before this splendid orb was entirely set, and while the western horizon was in a blaze with his descending glory, on the opposite quarter of the heavens arose another luminary, and, for his hour, became lord of the ascendant.
Page xl - Och! it hardens a' within, And petrifies the feeling! To catch dame Fortune's golden smile, Assiduous wait upon her; And gather gear by ev'ry wile That's justified by honour; Not for to hide it in a hedge, Nor for a train attendant; But for the glorious privilege Of being independent. The fear o...
Page 5 - ... show you plainly that no improvement has been made in any one art or science these last seventeen hundred years. I would by no means have you disown your acquaintance with the Ancients; but still less would I have you brag of an exclusive intimacy with them. Speak of the Moderns without contempt, and of the Ancients without idolatry...
Page 137 - You must look into people, as well as at them. Almost all people are born with all the passions, to a certain degree; but almost every man has a prevailing one, to which the others are subordinate. Search every one for that ruling passion; pry into the recesses of his heart, and observe the different workings of the same passion in different people. And, when you have found out the prevailing passion of any man, remember never to trust him where that passion is concerned.
Page 231 - He was haughty, imperious, impatient of contradiction, and overbearing — qualities which too often accompany, but always clog, great ones. He had manners and address, but one might discern through them too great a consciousness of his own superior talents.
Page 137 - Search then the ruling passion: there, alone, The wild are constant, and the cunning known; The fool consistent, and the false sincere; Priests, princes, women, no dissemblers here.
Page 8 - You should not only have attention to everything, but a quickness of attention, so as to observe, at once, all the people in the room ; their motions, their looks, and their words ; and yet without staring at them, and seeming to be an observer.
Page 195 - I lisp'd in numbers, for the numbers came. I left no calling for this idle trade, No duty broke, no father disobey'd. 130 The muse but serv'd to ease some friend, not wife, To help me thro' this long disease, my life, To second, Arbuthnot!
Page 21 - But, on the other hand, if one of these unmerciful talkers lays hold of you, hear him with patience, and at least seeming attention, if he is worth obliging; for nothing will oblige him more than a patient hearing, as...

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