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There is a vigilance of observation, and accue racy of distinction, which books and precepts cannot çonfer; and from this almost all original and native excellence proceeds.
.Preface to Shakspeare, p. 123. They whose excellence of any kind has been loudly celebrated, are ready to conclude that? their powers are universal.
sostiepeil ENQUIRY.. . In the zeal of enquiry we do not always re.
fleet on the silent encroachments of time, or remember that no man is in more danger of doing · little, than he who Hatters himself with abilities to do all. K till sina OYO TA ziem i
H Treatise on the Longitude, p. 14...)
su a gl.v. 1. EQUANIMITY. Evil is uncertain, in the same degree, as good; and for the reason we ought not to hope too securely, we ought not to fear with too much 'de , jection. The state of the world is continually changing, and none can tell the result of the next vicissitude. Whatever is afloat in the streain of time, may, when it is very near-usy be driven away by an accidental blast, which shall happen to cross the general course of the cure rent. The sudden accidents by which the powerful are depressed, may fall upon those whose malice we fear, and the greatness by which we expect to be overborne, may become another proof of the false flatteries of fortune. Our enemies may become weak, or we grow strong,*. before our encounter; or we may advance against each, other without ever meeting. There are
indeed natural evils, which we can flatter oure selves with no hopes of escaping, and with little of delaying; but of the ills which are' apprehended from human' malignity, or the oppo. sition of rival interests, we may always alle! viate the terror, by.considering that our per. secutors are weak, ignorant, and mortal, like ourselves.
. . , Rambler; vol. Ip. 178?
· It is incumbent on every man who consults his own dignity, to retract his error as soon aş her discovers it, without fearing any censure so much as that of his own mind. As justice requires that all injuries should be repaired, it is the duty of him who has seduced others by bad pràetices, or false notions, to'endeavour that such as have adopted his errors should know his retraction, and that those who have learned vice by his example, should, by his example, be taught amendment,
Rambler, vol. 1, p. 192.;"
The men who can be charged with fewest fail. ings, either with respect to abilities or virtuę; are generally most ready to allow them. Cæsar wrote an account of the errors committed by him in his wars of Gaul; and Hippoerates, whose name is, perhaps, in rational estimation, greater than Cæsar's, warned posterity against a mistake
into which he had fallen. “ So much (says Celsus) does the open and artless confession of an error become a man conscious that he has enough remaining to support his character."
Thid. p. 195.
That which is strange, is delightful: and a pleasing error is not willingly detected.
Western Illands, p. 63.
EPITAPH.. . To define an epitaph is useless; every one knows it is an inscription on a tomb; an epitaph, therefore, implies no particular character of writing, but may be composed in verse or prose. It is, indeed, commonly panegyrical, because we are seldom distinguished with a stone but by our friends ; but it has no rule to restrain or modify it, except this, that it ought not to be longer than common beholders may be expected. to have leisure and patience to peruse.
Differtation on the Epitaphs of Pope, p. 303i .
The name of the deceased should never be omitted in an epitaph, whose end is to convey some account of the dead; and to what purpose is any thing told of him whose name is concealed? An epitaph, and a history of a nameless hero, are equally absurd, since the virtues and qualities so recounted in either are scattered, at the mercy of fortune, to be appropriated by guess. The name, it is true, may be read upon the stone, but what obligation has it to the poet, whose verses wander over the earth, and leave their subject behind them; and who is forced,
like an unskilful painter, to make his purpose known by adventitious help?
. Ibid. p. 307.
The difficulty of writing epitaphs, is to give a particular and appropriate praise.
Ibid. p. 314.
To raise esteem we must benefit others; to procure love, we must please them.
Rambler, vol. 4, P: 5.
ELECTION Perhaps no election, by a plurality of suffrages, was ever made among human beings, to which it might not be objected, that voices were procured by illicit influence.
Memoirs of the King of Prusia, p. 125.
· EXPECTATION. Expectation, when once her wings are expanded, easily reaches heights which performance never will attain; and when she has mounted the summit of perfection, derides her' follower, who dies in the pursuit.
Plan of an English Dictionary, p. 32.
, EFFECTS .; .
It seems to be almost the universal error of historians, to suppose it politically, as it is physically, true, that every effect has a proportionate
cause. In the inanimate action of matter upon matter, the motion produced can be but equal to the force of the moving power; but the operations of life, whether public or private, admit no such laws. The caprices of voluntary agents, laugh at calculation. It is not always there is a strong reason for a great event; obstinaey and flexibility, malignity and kindness, give place alternately to each other; and the reason of those vicissitudes, however important may be the consequences, often escapes the mind in which the change is made!
Falkland Isands, p. 33.
; ELEGANCE. Elegance is surely to be desired, if it be not gained at the expence of dignity. A hero would wish to be loved, as well as to be reverenced.
• Life of Pope. Honesty is not greater where elegance is less.
In all ages foreigners have affected to call England their country; even when, like the Saxons of old, they came to conquer it. ,
Marmor Norfolciense, P.,10.
ESTIMATION Little things are not valued, but when they are done by those who can do greater.
Life of Philips.