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XXVIII. Wherever I find a great deal of gratitude in a poor man, I take it for granted, there would be as much generosity if he were a rich man.
XXIX. Flowers of rhetorick, in sermons and serious discourses, are like the blue and red flowers in corn, pleasing to them who come only for amusement, but prejudicial to him who would reap the profit.
When two people compliment each other with the choice of any thing, each of them generally gets that which he likes least.
He who tells a lie, is not sensible how great a task he undertakes; for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain that one.
Giving advice, is, many times, only the privilege of saying a foolish thing one's self, under pretence of hindering another from doing one.
It is with followers at court as with followers on the road, who first bespatter those that go before, and then tread on their heels.
False happiness is like false money; it passes for a time as well as the true, and serves some ordinary occasions: but when it is brought to the touch, we
find the lightness and allay, and feel the loss. - XXXV. DaşXXXV. Dastardly men are like sorry horses, who have but just spirit and mettle enough left to be mischievous. XXXVI.
Some people will never learn any thing, for this reason, because they understand every thing too SOOIl.
A person who is too nice an observer of the business of the crowd, like one who is too curious in observing the labour of the bees, will often be stung for his curiosity. XXXVIII. A man of business may talk of philosophy, a man
who has none may practise it *. XXXIX.
There are some solitary wretches, who seem to have left the rest of mankind, only as Eve left Adam, to meet the devil in private. XL. The vanity of human life is, like a river, constantly passing away, and yet constantly coming on. XLI.
I seldom see a noble building, or any great piece of magnificence and pomp, but I think, how little is all this to satisfy the ambition, or to fill the idea, of an immortal soul |
* The same sentiment occurs in a letter from Bolingbroke to
Swift, XLII. It
It is a certain truth, that a man is never so easy, or so little imposed upon, as among people of the best sense: it costs far more trouble to be admitted or continued in ill company than in good; as the former have less understanding to be employed, so they have more vanity to be pleased; and to keep a fool constantly in good humour with himself, and with others, is no very easy task.
XLIII. The difference between what is commonly called ordinary company and good company, is only hearing the same things said in a little room or in a large saloon, at small tables or at great tables, before two candles or twenty Sconces.
XLIV. It is with narrow-souled people as with narrownecked bottles: the less they have in them the more noise they make in pouring it out.
XLV. Many men have been capable of doing a wise thing, more a cunning thing, but very few a generous thing. XLVI. Since it is reasonable to doubt most things, we should most of all doubt that reason of ours, which would demonstrate all things.
To buy books, as some do who make no use of them, only because they were published by an eminent printer 5 printer; is much as if a man should buy clothes that did not fit him, only because they were made by some famous tailor.
It is as offensive to speak wit in a fool's company, as it would be ill manners to whisper in it; he is displeased at both for the same reason, because he is ignorant of what is said.
False criticks rail at false wits, as quacks and impostors are still cautioning us to beware of counterfeits, and decry others cheats only to make more way for their own.
Old men for the most part are like old chronicles, that give you dull but true accounts of time past, and are worth knowing only on that score.
There should be, methinks, as little merit in loving a woman for her beauty, as in loving a man for his prosperity ; both being equally subject to change.
We should manage our thoughts in composing any work, as shepherds do their flowers in making a garland: first select the choicest, and then dispose them in the most proper places, where they give a lustre to each other.
As handsome children are more a dishonour to a deformed father than ugly ones, because unlike himself; self; so good thoughts, owned by a plagiary, bring him more shame than his own ill ones. When a poor thief appears in rich garments, we immediately know they are none of his own.
LIV. Human brutes, like other beasts, find snares and poison in the provisions of life, and are allured by their appetites to their destruction.
The most positive men are the most credulous; since they most believe themselves, and advise most with their falsest flatterer, and worst enemy, their own self-love. LVI. Get your enemies to read your works, in order to
mend them; for your friend is so much your second self, that he will judge too like you.
Women use lovers as they do cards; they play with them awhile, and when they have got all they can by them, throw them away, call for new ones, and then perhaps lose by the new ones all they got by the old ones.
LVIII. Honour in a woman's mouth, like an oath in the mouth of a gamester, is ever still most used, as their truth is most questioned.
Women, as they are like riddles, in being unintelligible, so generally resemble them in this, that
they please us no longer when once we know them.