Obrazy na stronie

• There is an inequality happens to every man, in every mode of exertion, manual or mental. The mechanic cannot handle his hammer and his file at all times with equal dexterity; there are hours, he knows not why, when his hand is out.

. . ' Life of Milton.

: There are men whose powers operate at leisure and in retirement, and whose intellectual vigour deserts them in conversation; whom merriment confuses, and objection disconcerts; whose bashfulness restrains their exertion, and suffers them · not to speak till the time of speaking is past; or whose attention to their own character makes them unwilling to utter, at hazard, what has not been considered, and cannot be recalled.

. . Life of Dryden.

There are some men who, in a great measure, · supply the place of reading by gleaning from ac

cidental intelligence, and various conversation ; by a quick apprehension, a judicious selection, . and a happy memory; by a keen appetite for knowledge and a.powerful digestion ; by a vigilance that permits nothing to pass without notice, and a habit of reflection that suffers nothing useful to be lost..


It is not sufficiently considered, that men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.

Rambler, vol. I, p. 12. • It was said by Cujacius, that he never read more

than one book, by which he was not instructed : and he that shall enquire after virtue with ardour Ná


and attention, will seldom find a man by whose example or sentiments he may not be improved.

Ibid. vol. 4, p. 222. Man is seldom willing to let fall the opinion of his own dignity. He is better content to want diligence than power, and sooner confesses the *depravity of his will, than the imbecility of his * nature.

Idler, vol. 2, p. 204.'

Every man is obliged, by the Supreme Master of the universe, to improve all the opportunities: of good which are afforded him, and to keep in continual activity such abilities as are bestowed upon him. But he has no reason to repine, though his abilities are small, and his opportunities few, He that has improved the virtue or advanced the happiness of one-fellow-creature; he that has ascertained a single moral proposia. tion, or added one useful experiment to natural knowledge, may be contented with his own performance; and, with respect to mortals like himself, may demand, like Augustus, to be dismissed, at his-departure, with applause...

Ibid. p. 2050

Man is made unwillingly acquainted with his own weakness; and meditation shows him only. how little, he can sustain and how little he can. perform..

Western Islands, p.-88.s Such seems to be the disposition of man, that: whatever makes a distinction producès rivalry.

Ibid. p. 96.


There are men who are always busy, though no effects of their activity ever appear; and always eager, though they have nothing to gain.

- Memoirs of the King of Prufīra, p. 95. Every man's first cares are necessarily do-mestic..

Ibid, p. 102.

MANNERS.. The manners of a people are not to be found in the schools of learning, or the palaces of great-ness; where the national character is obscured or: obliterated by travel or instruction, by philosophy or vanity; nor is public happiness to bo estimated by the assemblies of the.gay, or the banquets of: the rich.. The great mass of nations is neither rich nor gay. They whose aggregate.constitutes.' the people, are found in the streets and the vil..' lages;:in the shops and farms; and from them, collectively considered, must the measure of ge-neral prosperity be taken.. As they approach to.. delicacy, a nation is refined; as their convenia. ences are multiplied, a nation, at least á com-mercial nation, inust be denominated wealthy..

• Wetern IIands, p. 45..

Suchmanners as depend upon standing rela--tions and general passions, are co-extended with the race of man; but those modifications of life, and peculiarities of practice, which are the proe. geny.of error and perverseness, .or, at best, of some accidental influence or transient persuasion,,, 'must perish with their parents. . .

Life of Butlera.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

. .MADNESS. It is very common for madmen to catch an accidental hint and strain it to the purpose predominant in their minds; hence Shakspeare makes Lear pick up a flock, who from this inmediately

[ocr errors][merged small]

An infallible characteristic of meanness is cruelty.

· False Alarm, p. 49.

MERCHANT. No mercantile man or mercantile nation has

tween them will last no longer than their common safety or common profit is endangered; no longer than they have an enemy who threatens to take from each inore than either can steal from the othera

Political State of Great-Britain, p. 50. A merchant's desire is not of glory, but of gain; not of public wealth, but of private emolument; he is therefore rarely to be consulted about war and peace, or any designs of wide extent and disa tant consequences.

Taxation no. Tyranny, p. 2a

MEMORY. It may be observed, that we are apt to promise to ourselves a more lasting memory than the changing state of human things admits; Jate events obliterate the former; the civil wars have


left in this nation scarcely any tradition of more. ancient history.

Nates upon Shakspeare, vol. 6, p. 124. We suffer equal pain from the pertinacious adhesion of unwelcome images, as from the evanescence of those which are pleasing and useful; and it may be doubted, whether we should be more benefited by the art of memory or the art of forgetfulness.

Idler, vol. 2, p. 110. Forgetfulness is necessary to remembrance.'


Ibid. To forget or to remember at pleasure are equally beyond the power of man. Yet, as memory may be assisted by method, and the decays of knowledge repaired by stated times of recolo lection, so the power of forgetting is capable of improvement. Reason will, by a resolute contest, prevail over imagination; and the power may be obtained of transferring the attention as judyment shall direct.

Ibid. p. 112. Memory is like all other human powers, with which no man can be satisfied who measures them by what he can conceive or by what he can desire. He therefore that, after the perusal of a book, finds few ideas remaining in his mind, is not to consider the disappointment as peculiar to hima self, or to resign all hopes of improvement, because he does not retain what even the author has, perhaps, forgotten,

Ibid. p. 120. · The true art of memory is the art of attention, No man will read with much advantage, who is


« PoprzedniaDalej »