The Library of the Old English Prose Writers ...: Works of Sir Thomas Browne

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Hilliard, 1831 - English literature
 

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Page 226 - Oblivion is not to be hired. The greater part must be content to be as though they had not been, to be found in the register of God, not in the record of man. Twenty-seven names make up the first story before the flood, and the recorded names ever since contain not one living century. The number of the dead long exceedeth all that shall live. The night of time far surpasseth the day, and who knows when was the equinox?
Page 222 - Had they made as good provision for their names, as they have done for their relics, they had not so grossly erred in the art of perpetuation. But to subsist in bones, and be but pyramidally extant, is a fallacy in duration. Vain ashes which in the oblivion of names, persons, times, and sexes, have found unto themselves a fruitless continuation, and only arise unto late posterity, as emblems of mortal vanities, antidotes against pride, vain-glory, and madding vices.
Page 225 - But the iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her poppy, and deals with the memory of men without distinction to merit of perpetuity ; who can but pity the founder of the pyramids ? Herostratus lives that burnt the temple of Diana; he is almost lost that built it: time hath spared the epitaph of Adrian's horse, confounded that of himself.
Page 224 - To be read by bare inscriptions like many in Gruter, to hope for eternity by enigmatical epithets, or first letters of our names, to be studied by antiquaries, who we were, and have new names given us like many of the mummies, are cold consolations unto the students of perpetuity, even by everlasting languages.
Page 303 - Light that makes things seen, makes some things invisible : were it not for darkness and the shadow of the earth, the noblest part of the creation had remained unseen, and the stars in heaven as invisible as on the fourth day, when they were created above the horizon with the sun, or there was not an eye to behold them.
Page 221 - What song the Syrens sang, or what name Achilles assumed when he hid himself among women, though puzzling questions, are not beyond all conjecture. What time the persons of these ossuaries entered the famous nations of the dead, and slept with princes and counsellors, might admit a wide solution. But who were the proprietaries of these bones, or what bodies these ashes made up, were a question above antiquarism; not to be resolved by man, nor easily perhaps by spirits, except we consult the provincial...
Page 226 - ... it cannot be long before we lie down in darkness and have our light in ashes...
Page 220 - If the nearness of our last necessity brought a nearer conformity unto it, there were a happiness in hoary hairs, and no calamity in half -senses. But the long habit of living indisposeth us for dying ; when avarice makes us the sport of death, when even David grew politicly cruel, and Solomon could hardly be said to be the wisest of men.
Page 227 - To be ignorant of evils to come, and forgetful of evils past, is a merciful provision in nature, whereby we digest the mixture of our few and evil days, and, our delivered senses not relapsing into cutting remembrances, our sorows are not kept raw by the edge of repetitions.
Page 223 - ... of folly. We cannot hope to live so long in our names, as some have done in their persons. One face of Janus holds no proportion unto the other. Tis too late to be ambitious. The great mutations of the world are acted, or time may be too short for our designs.

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