Page images
PDF
EPUB

And do a wilful stillness entertain,
With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit;
As who should say, I am Sir Oracle,
And, when I ope my lips, let no dog bark!

I do know of these,
That therefore only are reputed wise,
For saying nothing

Shakspeare. DCCCCLXXII. If our sports are destructive, our gluttony is more so, and in a more inhuman manner. Lobsters roasted alive, pigs whipped to death, fowls sewed up, are testimonies of our outrageous luxury. Those who (as Seneca expresses it) divide their lives betwixt an anxious conscience and a nauseated stomach, have a just reward of their gluttony in the diseases it brings with it; for human savages, like other wild beasts, find snares and poison in the provisions of life, and are allured by their appetite to their destruction. I know nothing more shocking or horrid than the prospect of one of their kitchens, covered with blood, and filled with the cries of creatures expiring in tortures. It gives one an image of a giant's den in a romance, bestrewed with the scattered heads and mangled limbs of those who were slain by his cruelty.-Pope.

DCCCCLXXIII.
Be sure, avoid set phrases when you write,
The usual way of speech is more polite.
How have I seen the puzzled lover verd,
To read a letter with hard words perplex’d.
A style too coarse, takes from a handsome face,
And makes us wish an uglier in its place.

Ovid_Congreve in imit.
DCCCCLXXIV.

At midnight all rest, Time's dead low water, when all minds divest To-morrow's business, when the lab’rers have Such rest in bed, that their fast church-yard graße,

Subjcct to change, will scarce be type of this.
Now, when the client, whose last hearing is
To-morrow, sleeps; when the condemned man,
(Who, when he opes his eyes, must shut them, then,
Again by death) although sad watch he keep,
Doth practise dying by a little sleep.

Donne.
DCCCCLXXV.
Each like an Indian ship or hull appears,
That took a voyage for some certain years,
To plough the sea and furrow up the main,
And brought rich ingots from his loaded brain,
His art the sun; his labours were the lines;
His solid stuff the treasure of his mines.

On Ben Jonson's Plays-W. Hodgem.

DCCCCLXXVI. Books have their time as well as cucumbers. I would no more bring a new work out in summer than I would sell pork in the dog-days. Nothing in my way goes off in summer, except light goods indeed. A review, a magazine, or a sessions-paper, may amuse a summer reader; but all our stock of value we reserve for a spring and winter trade.— The Bookseller, in The Citizen of the World-Goldsmith.

DCCCCLXXVII. Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing, more than any man in all Venice: his reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff; you shall seek all day ere you find them; and when you have them, they are not worth the search.--Shakspeare.

DCCCCLXXVIII. At the working man's house hunger looks in, but dares not enter; nor will the bailiff or the constable enter: for Industry pays debts, but Despair increaseth them.-Franklin.

DCCCCLXXIX. I like her with all her faults; nay, like her for her faults. Her follies are so natural, or so artful, that they

become her; and those affectations which in another woman would be odious, serve but to make her more agreeable. I'll tell thee, she once used me with that insolence, that in revenge I took her to pieces, sifted her, and separated her failings; I studied 'em and got'em by Tote. The catalogue was so large, that I was not without hopes, one day or other, to hate her heartily: to which end I so used myself to think of 'em, that at length, contrary to my design and ctation, they gave me every hour less disturbance: till in a few days it became habitual to me, to remember 'em without being displeased. They are now grown as familiar to me as my own frailties; and in all probability in a little time longer I shall like 'em as well.--MirabelThe Way of the World-Congrede.

DCCCCLXXX.
Greatness, with private men
Esteem'd a blessing, is to me a curse;
And we, who from our high births they conclude
The only freemen, are the only slaves.
Happy the golden mean.

Massinger. DCCCCLXXXI. Plutarch, in his Symposiacks, or Table Conversations, says that one Lamprias, a man eminent for his learning, and a philosopher, disputed best, and unravelled the difficulties of philosophy with most success when he was at supper, and well warmed with wine. These table entertainments were part of the education of those times, their discourses being commonly the canvassing and solution of some question, either philosophical or philological, always instructive, and usually pleasant; for the cups went round with the debate, and men were merry and wise together, according to the proverb.Dryden.

DCCCCLXXXII. Life is a voyage, in the progress of which, we are perpetually changing our scenes: we first leave childħood behind us, then youth, then the years of ripened

manhood, then the better and more pleasing part of old age.-Seneca.

DCCCCLXXXIJI. There is one reason seldom remarked, which makes riches less desirable. Too much wealth is very frequently the occasion of poverty. He whom the wan. tonness of abundance has once softened, easily sinks into neglect of his affairs; and he that thinks he can afford to be negligent, is not far from being poor. He will soon be involved in perplexities which his inexperience will render unsurmountable; he will fly for help to those whose interest it is that he should be more distressed, and will be at last torn to pieces by the vultures that always hover over fortunes in decay.-- Johnson.

DCCCCLXXXIV. Caprice is inseparable from women, that, as the counter-poison of their beauty, it may abate its mischkevous quality, of which, men without some remedy, would never be cured.-Bruyere.

DCCCCLXXXV. Friendship is like a debt of honour, the moment it is talked of, it loses its real name, and assumes the more ungrateful form of obligation. From hence we find, that those who regularly undertake to cultivate friendship, find ingratitude generally repays their endeavours. -Goldsmith.

DCCCCLXXXVI. Superficial writers, like the mole, often fancy themselves deep, when they are exceeding near the surface. -Shenstone.

DCCCCLXXXVII. The marriage-life is always an insipid, a vexatious, or a happy condition. The first is, when two people of no genius or taste for themselves meet together, upon such a settlement as has been thought reasonable by parents and conveyances from an exact valuation of the land and cash of both parties. In this case the young lady's person is no more regarded than the house and improve, ments in purchase of an estates but she goes with her fortune, rather than her fortune with her. These make up the crowd or vulgar of the rich, and fill up the lumber of human race, without beneficence towards those below them, or respect towards those above them.

The vexatious life arises from a conjunction of two people of quick taste and resentment, put together for reasons well known to their friends, in which especial care is taken to avoid (what they think the chief of evils) poverty, and ensure to them riches, with every evil besides. These good people live in a constant constraint before

company, and too great familiarity alone. When they are within observation they fret at each other's carriage and behaviour; when alone they revile each other's person and conduct. In company they are in purgatory; when only together in a hell.

The happy marriage is, where two persons meet and voluntarily make choice of each other, without principally regarding or neglecting the circumstances of fortune or beauty. These may still love in spite of adversity or sickness: the former we may in some measure defend ourselves from, the other is the portion of our very make.-Steele.

DCCCCLXXXVIII. I'd have you sober and contain yourself, Not that your sail be bigger than your boat; But moderate your expenses now, at first, As you may keep the same proportion still: Nor stand so much on your gentility, Which is an airy and mere borrow'd thing, From dead men's dust and bones; and none of yours, Except you make or hold it.

Ben Jonson.

DCCCCLXXXIX. No translation ought to be the ground of criticism, because no man ought to be condemned upon another man's explanation of his meaning, --Pope.

« PreviousContinue »