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Huge volumes, like the ox roasted at Bartholomew Fair, may pro
claim plenty of labour and invention, but afford less of what is delicate, savory, and well concocted, than smaller pieces.
I. WEIGnot so much what men say, as what they prove; remembering that truth is simple and naked, and needs not invective to apparel her comeliness.Sidney
II. Scholars are men of peace; they bear no arms, but their tongues are sharper than Actius' razor, their pens carry further, and give a louder report than thunder. I had rather stand in the shock of a basilisk, than in the fury of a merciless pen.—Sir. T. Brown.
IV. There is something in the genius of poetry too libertine to be confined to many rules; and whoever goes about to subject it to such constraints, loses both its spirit and grace, which are ever native, and never learned, even of the best masters, it is as if, to make excellent honey, you should cut off the wings of your bees, confine them to their hive, or their stands, and lay flowers before them, such as you think the sweetest,
and likely to yield the finest extraction: you had as good pull out ther stings, and make arrant drones of them. --Sir W. Temple.
V. Laws are commanded to hold their tongues among arms; and tribunals fall to the ground with the peace they are no longer able to uphold.-Burke.
VII. Learned men have learnedly thought, that where
reason hath so much over-mastered passion, as that the mind hath a free desire to do well, the inward light each mind hath in itself is as good as a philosopher's book; since in nature we know that it is well to do well, and what is good, and what is evil, although not in the words of art, which philosophers bestow on us; for out of natural conceit (which is the very hand-writing of God,) the philosophers drew it. But to be moved to do that which we know; or to be moved with desire to know,-hoc opus, hic labor est.Sidney.
VIII. Wit is brush-wood, judgment timber, the one gives the greatest flame, the other yields the durablest heat; and both meeting make the best fire.- Sir T. Overbury.
IX. They who are most weary of life, and yet are most unwilling to die, are such who have lived to no purpose; who have rather breathed than lived.Clarendon.
Naught save itself, ev'n such a thing is love.
And worldly wealth in worth as far doth fail,
As lowest earth doth yield to heav'n above. Divine is love, and scorneth worldly pelf, And can be bought with nothing but with self.
Sir W. Raleigh.
XI. Books may be helps to learning and knowledge, and make it more common and diffused; but I doubt whether they are necessary ones or no; or much advance any other science, beyond the particular records of actions or registers of time; and these, perhaps, might be as long preserved without them, by the care and exactness of tradition in the long succession of certain races of men with whom they were intrusted.- Sir W. Temple.
XII. A true artist should put a generous deceit on the spectators, and effect the noblest designs by easy methods.--Burke.
XIII. Alexander received more bravery of mind by the pattern of Achilles, than by hearing the definition of fortitude.—Sir P. Sidney.
XIV. We live with other men, and to other men; neither with nor to ourselves. We may sometimes be at home left to ourselves, when others are weary of us, and we are weary of being with them; but we do not dwell at home, we have no commerce, no conversation with ourselves, nay, we keep spies about us that we may not have; and if we feel a suggestion, or hear an importunate call from within, we divert it by company, or quiet it with sleep; and when we wake, no man runs faster from an enemy, than we do from ourselves, get with our friends, that we may not be with ourselves. This is not only an epidemical disease that spreads every where, but effected and purchased at as great a price, as most other of our diseases, with the expense of all our precious time.-Clarendon.
Live they that list for me:
A fool at least shall be.
Unhappy life they gain,
Sir W. Raleigh.
XVI. Nobility of birth commonly abateth industry; and he that is not industrious envieth him that is: besides, noble persons cannot go much higher: and he that standeth at a stay when others rise, can hardly avoid motions of envy.--Lord Bacon.
XVII. I have long thought, that the different abilities of men, which we call wisdom or prudence for the conduct of public affairs or private life, grow directly out of that little grain of intellect or good sense which they bring with them into the world; and that the defect of it in men comes from some want in their conception or birth.—Sir W. Temple.