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MORAL PHILOSOPHY.

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“It may be said of Shakspeare, that from his works may be collected a system of civil and economical prudence.

He has himself been imitated by all succeeding writers; and it may be doubted, whether from all his successors more maxims of theoretical knowledge, or more rules of practical prudence, can be collected, than he alone has given to his country.”

Dr. JOHNSON.

MORAL

PHILOSOPHY.

1

Gifts, not our own. Heaven doth with us as we with torches do; Not light them for themselves: for if our virtues Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike As if we had them not.* Spirits are not finely touch'd, But to fine issues : nor nature never lends The smallest scruple of her excellence, But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines Herself the glory of a creditor, Both thanks and use.

5-i. 1. 2

The same.

Thyself and thy belongings
Are not thine own so proper, as to waste
Thyself upon thy virtues, them on thee. 5-i. 1.
3

Faults, extenuation of.
Oftentimes, excusing of a fault,
Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse;
As patches, set upon a little breach,
Discredit more, in hiding of the fault, I
Than did the fault before it was so patch'd.

16-iv. 2. 4 Modern and present opinions contrasted. In this, the antique and well-noted face Of plain old form is much disfigured :

* Matt. v. 15, 16. I i. e. Blemish.

| Interest. Matt. xxv. 20, &c.

5

And, like a shifted wind unto a sail,
It makes the course of thoughts to fetch about;
Startles and frights consideration;
Makes sound opinion sick, and truth suspected,
For putting on so new a fashion'd robe. 16-iv. 2.

The future anticipated by the past.
There is a history in all men's lives,
Figuring the nature of the times deceased :
The which observed, a man may prophecy,
With a near aim, of the main chance of things
As yet not come to life; which in their seeds,
And weak beginnings, lie intreasured. 19-iii. 1.
6

Wise men superior to woes.

Wise men ne'er wail their present woes,
But presently prevent the ways to wail.
To fear the foe, since fear oppresseth strength,
Gives, in your weakness, strength unto your foe,
And so your follies fight against yourself. 17—iji. 2.
7

Apathy.
Patience, unmoved, no marvel though she pause;*
They can be meek, that have no other cause.
A wretched soul, bruised with adversity,
We bid be quiet, when we hear it cry;
But were we burden'd with like weight of pain,
As much, or more, we should ourselves complain.

14-. 1. 8

Men's last words to be regarded.

The tongues of dying men
Enforce attention like deep harmony;
Where words are scarce, they are seldom spent in

vain,
For they breathe truth that breathe their words in

pain. He, that no more must say, is listen’d more Than they, whom youth and ease have taught to

glose; More are men's ends mark'd, than their lives before :

The setting sun, and music at the close,

* To pause is to rest, to be in quiet.
ti. e. Who have no cause to be otherwise.

| Flatter.

!

As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last;
Writ in remembrance, more than things long past.

17-ii. 1. 9

Self-interest, its influence.
Commodity,* the bias of the world;
The world, who of itself is peisedt well,
Made to run even, upon even ground;
Till this advantage, this vile drawing bias,
This sway of motion, this commodity,
Makes it take head from all indifferency,
From all direction, purpose, course, intent.

16-ii. 2. 10

Assured wisdom. They say, miracles are past; and we have our philosophical persons, to make moderns and familiar things, supernatural and causeless. Hence is it, that we make trifles of terrors; ensconcing ourselves into seeming knowledge, when we should submit ourselves to an unknown fear.

11-ii. 3.

11 Blessings undervalued, till irrecoverable.

Love, that comes too late
Like a remorseful pardon slowly carried,
To the great sender turns a sour offence,
Crying, That's good, that's gone: our rash faults
Make trivial price of serious things we have,
Not knowing them, until we know their grave;
Oft our displeasures, to ourselves unjust,
l'estroy our friends, and after weep their dust.

11-v. 3.

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'Tis pity

That wishing well had not a body in't,
Which might be felt: that we, the poorer born,
Whose baser stars do shut us up in wishes,
Might with effects of them follow our friends,
And show what we alone must think ;ll which ne'er
Returns us thanks.

11-i. 1.

* Self-interest.

† Poised, balanced. | Ordinary

Fear means here, the object of fear. lli.e. And show by realities what we now must only think.

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