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LESSONS IN READING.
We ought to distrust our passions, even when they appear the most reasonable.
It is idle as well as absurd, to impose our opinions upon others. The same ground of conviction operates differently on the same man in different circumstances, and on different men in the same circumstances.
Choose what is most fit; custom will make it the most agreeable.
A cheerful countenance betokens a good heart.
Anxiety and constraint are the constant attendants of pride.
Men make themselves ridiculous, not so much by the qualities they have, as by the affectation of those they have not.
Nothing blunts the edge of ridicule so effectually as good humour.
To say little and perform much, is the characteristic of a great mind.
A man who gives his children a habit of industry, provides for them better than giving them a stock of money.
II. : OUR good or bad fortune depends greatly on the choice we make of our friends.
The young are slaves to novelty, the old to custom.
No preacher is so successful as time. It gives a turn to thought to the aged; which it was impossible to inspire while they were young
Every man, however little, makes a figure in his own eyes.
Self partiality hides from us those very faults in our selves, which we see and blame in others.
The injuries we do, and those we suffer, are seldom weighed in the same balance.
Men generally put a greater value upon the favours they bestow, than upon those they receive.
He who is puffed up with the first gale of prosperity, will bend beneath the first blast of adversity.
Adversity borrows its sharpest sting from our impatience.
Men commonly owe their virtue or their vice, to education as much as to nature.
There is no such fop as my young master, of his lady mother's making. She blows him up with self conceit, and there she stops. She makes a man of him at twelve, and a boy all his life after
An infallible way to make your child miserable, is to satisfy all his demands. Passion swells by gratification ; and the impossibility of satisfying every one of his desires, will oblige you to stop short at last, after he has become headstrong.
III. We esteem most things according to their intrinsic merit; it is strange man should be an exception. We prize a horse for his strength and courage, not for his furniture. We prize a man for his sumptuous palace, his great train, his vast revenue ; yet these are his furniture, not his mind.
The true conveniences of life are common to the king with his meanest subject. The king's sleep is not sweeter, nor his appetite better.
The pomp which distinguishes the great man from the mob, defends him not from the fever nor from grief. Givea prince all the names of majesty that are found in a folio dictionary, the first attack of the gout will make him forget his palace and his guards. If he be in choler, will his princedom prevent him from turning pale, and gnashing his teeth like a fool ? The smallest prick of a nail, the slightest passion of the soul, is capable of rendering insipid the monarchy of the world.
Narrow minds think nothing right that is above thei: own capacity. .
Those who are the most faulty, are the most prone to find faults in others.
The first and most important female quality, is sweetness of temper. Heaven did not give to the female sex insinuation and persuasion, in order to be surly ; it did not make them weak, in order to be imperious ; it did not give them a sweet voice, in order to be employed in scolding; it did not provide them with delicate features, in order to be disfigured with anger.
Let fame be regarded, but conscience much more. It is an empty joy to appear better than you are ; but a great blessing to be what you ought to be.
Let your conduct be the result of deliberation, never of impatience.
In the conduct of life, let it be one great aim to show that every thing you do, proceeds from yourself; not from your passions. Chrysippus rewards in joy, chastises in wrath, doth every thing in passion. No person stands in awe of Chrysippus, no person is grateful to him. Why? Because it is not Chrysippus who acts, but his passions. We shun him in wrath as we shun a wild beast; and this is all the authority he has over us.
Indulge not desire at the expense of the slightest article of virtue ; pass once its limits, and you fall headlong into vice.
Examine well the counsel that favours your desires.
The gratification of desire is sometimes the worst thing that can befall us.
IV. TO be angry, is to punish myself for the fault of another.
A word dropped by chance from your friend, offends your delicacy. Avoid a hasty reply; and beware of opening your discontent to the first person you meet. When you are cool it will vanish, and leave no impression.
The most profitable revenge, the most rational, and the most pleasant, is to make it the interest of the injurious person, not to hurt you a second time.
It was a saying of Socrates, that we should eat and drink in order to live ; instead of living, as many do, in order to eat and drink.
Be moderate in your pleasures, that your relish for them may continue.
Time is requisite to bring great projects to maturity..
Precipitation ruins the best contrived plan ; patience ripens the most difficult.
When we sum up the miseries of life, the grief bestowed
on trifles makes a great part of the account ; trifles which, neglected, are nothing. How shameful such a weakness !
The pensionary De Wit being asked how he could transact such a variety of business without confusion, answered, that he never did but one thing at a time. · Guard your weak side from being known. If it be attacked, the best way is to join in the attack
Francis I. consulting with his generals how to lead his army over the Alps, into Italy, Amerel, bis fool, sprung from a corner, and advised him to consult rather how to bring it back.
The best practical rule of morality is, never to do but what we are willing all the world should know.
Solicitude in hiding failings makes them appear the greater. It is a safer and easier course, frankly to acknowledge them. A man owns that he is ignorant; we admire his modesty. He says he is old ; we scarce think him so. He declares himself poor; we do not believe it.
When you descant on the faults of others, consider whether you be not guilty of the same. To gain knowledge of ourselves, the best way is to convert the imperfections of others into a mirror for discovering our own.
Apply yourself more to acquire knowledge than to show it. Men commonly take great pains to put off the little stock they have ; but they take little pains to acquire more.
Never suffer your courage to be fierce, your resolution obstinate, your wisdom cunning, nor your patience sullen.
To measure all reasons by our own, is a plain act of injustice: it is an encroachment on the common rights of mankind.
If you would teach secrecy to others, begin with yourself. How can you expect another will keep your secret, when yourself cannot ?
A man's fortune is more frequently made by his tongue, than by his virtues; and more frequently crushed by it, than by his vices.
EVEN self interest is a motive for benevolence. There are none so low, but may have it in their power to return a good office.
To deal with a man, you must know his temper, by which you can lead him; or his ends, by which you can persuade him ; or his friends, by whom you can govern him. The first ingredient in conversation is truth ; the next, good sense ; the third, good humour; the last, wit.
The great error in conversation is, to be fonder of speak-, ing than of hearing. Few show more complaisance than to pretend to hearken, intent all the while upon what they themselves have to say, not considering, that to seek one's own pleasure, so passionately, is not the way to please others.
To be an Englishman in London, a Frenchman in Paris, a Spaniard in Madrid, is no easy matter, and yet it is necessary.
A man entirely without ceremony has need of great merit. He who cannot bear a jest, ought never to make ore.
In the deepest distress, virtue is more illustrious than vice in its highest prosperity.
No man is so foolish but he may give good counsel at a time ; no man so wise but he may err, if he take no counsel but his own.
He whose ruling passion is love of praise, is a slave to every one who has a tongue for detraction.
Always to indulge our appetites, is to extinguish them. Abstain, that you may enjoy.
To have your enemy in your power, and yet to do him good, is the greatest heroism.
Modesty, were it to be recommended for nothing else, leaves a man at ease, by pretending to little ; whereas vain glory requires perpetual labour, to appear what one is not.
If we have sense, modesty best sets it off; if not, best hides the want.
When, even in the heat of dispute, I yield to my antagonist, my victory over myself is more illustrious than over him, had he yielded to me.
The refined luxuries of the table, besides enervating the body, poison that very pleasure they are intended to promote; for, by soliciting the appetite, they exclude the greatest pleasure of taste, that which arises from the gratification of hunger.
. VI.—The Fox and the Goat. A FOX and a Goat travelling together, in a very sultry day, found themselves exceedingly thirsty ; when looking round the country in order to discover a place where they might probably meet with water, they at length descried a clear spring at the bottom of a well. They both eagerly descended : and having sufficiently allayed their thirst, be