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much beauty in truth, that I could wish our barristers would make a distinction between cases, in their opinion, well or ill founded; embarking their whole heart and soul in the one, and contenting themselves with a perspicuous and forcible statement of their client's case in the other.
The mind of youth, however deeply it may feel for a while, eventually rises up from dejection, and regains its wonted elasticity. That vigour by which the spirit recovers itself from the depth of useless regret and enters upon new prospects with its accustomed ardour, is only subdued by time.
To the learned and accomplished, the good and grave Dr. Horne, late lord bishop of Norwich, the friend of Dr. Johnson, and the triumphant champion of the christian faith, we are indebted for many of the following remarks and apophthegms, which combine in glorious union the force of reason and the brightness of fancy.
By the writers of dialogues, matters are often contrived, as m the combats of the emperor Commodus, in his gladiatorial capacity. The antagonist of his imperial majesty was allowed only a leaden weapon.
The Biographia Britannica is a work, which, notwithstanding its singular merit, I cannot help calling vindicatio Britannica, or a defence of every body.
Valerius used to say he learned more from borrowed books than from his own, because not having the same opportunity of receiving them, he read them with more care.
To read while eating was always my.fancy says Rousseau, in default of a tete a tete. 'Tis the supplement of society I want. I alternately devour a page and a piece: 'tis as if my book had dined with me.
Sir Peter Lely made it'a rule never to look at a bad picture, having found by experience, that whenever he did so, his pencil took a tint from it. Apply this to bad books and bad company.
Bossuet, before he sat down to compose a sermon, read a chapter in the prophet Isaiah, and another in Rodriguez's tract on Christian Perfection. The former fired his genius, the latter filled his heart. Dominichinor never offered to touch his pencil, till he found a kind of enthusiasm, or inspiration upon him.
The fiery trials of adversity have the same kindly effects on a christian mind, which Virgil ascribes to burning land. They purge away the bad properties, and remove obstructions to the operations of Hea▼ en.
Sive illis omne per ignem
Geo. I. §7.
An Abbe, remarkable for his parsimony, happened to be in a company where a charitable subscription was going round. The plate was brought to him, and he contributed his louis d'or. The collector not observing it, came to him the second time. I have put in, said he. If you say so, I will believe you, returned the collector, though I did not see it: I did see it, cried old Fontenelle, who was present, but did not believe it.
Every man has a certain manner and character in writing and speaking, which he spoils and loses by a too close and servile imitation of another, as bishop Felton, an imitator of bishop Andrews, observed. I had almost marred my own natural trot, by endeavouring to imitate his artificial amble.
Depth of sentiment, illustrated by a bright imagination, is like the sea when the sun shines upon it, and turns it into an ocean of light.
Places in the temple of Fame are a tenure, against which, of all others, quo warrantos are sure to be issued.
Metaphysical speculations are lofty, but frigid; as Lunardi after ascending to an immense height in the atmosphere, came down covered with icicles.
The busy man, say the Turks, is troubled with one devil, but the idle man is tormented with a thousand.
Idleness is the most painful situation of the mind, as standing still, according to Galen, is of the body. The irksomeness of being idle is humourously put offby Voltaire's old woman, in Candide, who puts it to the philosopher, which is worst; to experience all the miseries through which every one of us have passed, or, to remain here doing nothing.
The most sluggish of all creatures, called the sloth, is also the most horrible for its ugliness: to show the deformity of idleness, and, if possible, to frighten us from it.
In the mind as well as the body, natural and politic stagnation is followed by putrefaction. A want of proper motion does not breed rest and stability, but a motion of another kind; a motion unseen and intestine, which does not preserve but destroy.
The mind that has been subject to the fires of wantonness, becomes, like wood burnt to charcoal, apt upon every occasion to kindle and burn again.
Some persons who have a great deal of sharp and pungent satire in their tempers, do not discover it unless they are highly provoked; as in the evaporation of human blood, by a gentle fire, the salt will not rise.
It was the saying of a great general, that there should be some time between a soldier's dismission and his death; and it has been observed of the most furious polemical writers, as Bellarmine and others, that they have spent the latter part of their lives in pious meditation. Thus huntsmen tell us that a fox, when escaped from the dogs, after a hard chase, always walks himself cool before he earths himself.
When the institute presented its congratulations to Bonaparte, the emperor, on that occasion, conversed freely on history and historians. He said he did not admire ecclesiastical writers of history, who were apt to give distorted hues, and perhaps to rail against incontinency, when they had arisen from the sides of other men's wives; but observing Caprara and another cardinal within hearing, he said with a smile, I did not know that you were so nigh. He added that he preferred Machiavel to Tacitus, because the latter did not explain the motives and causes of events; but let us remark, that it is the art of the great historian to present such previous combinations and concomitants, that the attentive reader will generally discover the motives and causes although there be no formal explication.
A sensible Englishman somewhere remarks, that nations, like individuals, are often instigated and controlled by good or bad passions and habits acquired in their early years, and which the voice of reason and experience is generally ineffectual to overcome. Our American brethren, he continues, had been long educated and prepared for their happy situation, under a free government, but which being at a distance, was so little felt that they may be said to have been accustomed to live without government. The French, on the contrary, had been habituated to a severe and vigilant government, perhaps necessary to control their quick sensations, ardent passions and a disposition naturally unquiet, turbulent, and enterprising. Hence it is inferred, that the government of an emperor is better calculated for the felicity of Frenchmen than a government of the people, or a government of consuls.
The Irish antiquarian, or queen Ann's farthing.
Hardly the gods have dealt with man,
For many a wo has mark'd the span,
When ask'd what lot for man is best,
Silenus sagely made reply,
The next was, soon as born to die.
Here, ladies all your favours shower,
It is with deep regret that a friend and fellow student of Dr. Richard Brown has seen his death at Chilicothe announced in the public papers. This gentleman was the second son of the late respectable and distinguished Dr. Brown of Alexandria, but the merits of the son are the source of the pain now felt at his early fall. He was indeed extraordinarily endowed by nature and by art. To the first he was indebted for the fire and beauty of poetry, which he conspicuously possessed, for a solid understanding, and strong correct judgment, for a just and generous heart, with all those manly and honourable dispositions, which constitute the worth and excellence of character. To the latter he owed a finished education, which rendered him the accomplished scholar, and perhaps, he composed in the dead languages, with an ease and elegance, not excelled. He was well versed in subjects of general literature, perfectly well read at his age, and possessing a discriminating mind. Thus stored, he failed not to prove a most valuable companion and with the few he was accustomed to, and beyond the influence of an unfortunate diffidence and awkwardness, which he could not subdue, when in the presence of many, though not a stranger amongst them, it was remarked by his associates, that he scarce ever uttered an observation, not worthy to be remembered, or m some way marked with good sense originality or wit. In his profession, though but a youth, his attainments were uncommon, and when in Philadelphia attending lectures at the university, he published a thesis, as an exercise, on the applicability of physiognomy to the practice of Physic. This treatise was approved by the best judges, and in style is sensible judicious and brilliant. To those who delight to contrast compose and select resemblances in the human character, it will not be uninteresting, if the writer does not grossly err, to add, that he possessed very many points m common with the celebrated Dr. Goldsmith. In his beauties and in his defects too, the likeness was always striking.
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