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The regard one shows economy, is like that we show an old aunt who is to leave us something at last.
The works of a person that begin immediately to decay, while those of him who plants begin directly to improve. In this, planting promises a more lasting pleasure than building; which, were it to remain in equal perfection, would at best begin to moulder and want repairs in imagination. Now trees have a circumstance that suits our taste, and that is annual variety.
Theirs is the present who can praise the past.
There are no persons more solicitous about the preservation of rank than those who have no rank at all. Observe the humors of a country christening, and you will find no court in Christendom so ceremonious as the quality of Brentford.
There is a certain flimsiness of poetry which seems expedient in a song.
There would not be any absolute necessity for reserve if the world were honest; yet even then it would prove expedient. For, in order to attain any degree of deference, it seems necessary that people should imagine you have more accomplishments than you discover.
They begin with making falsehood appear like truth, and end with making truth itself appear like falsehood.
Those who are incapable of shining out by dress would do well to consider that the contrast between them and their clothes turns out much to their disadvantage.
Trifles discover a character, more than actions of importance.
Virtues, like essences, lose their fragrance when exposed. They are sensitive plants, which will not bear too familiar approaches.
We may daily discover crowds acquire sufficient wealth to buy gentility, but very few that possess the virtues which ennoble human nature, and (in the best sense of the word) constitute a gentleman.
What leads to unhappiness, is making pleasure the chief aim.
When misfortunes happen to such as dissent from us in matters of religion, we call them judgments; when to those of our own sect, we call them trials; when to persons neither way distinguished, we are content to attribute them to the settled course of things.
When self-interest inclines a man to print, he should consider that the purchaser expects a pennyworth for his penny, and has reason to asperse his honesty if he finds himself deceived.
Whoe'er excels in what we prize, appears a hero in our eyes.
Wit is the refractory pupil of judgment.
Yet why repine? I have seen mansions on the verge of Wales that convert my farm-house into a Hampton Court, and where they speak of a glazed window as a great piece of magnificence. All things figure by comparison.
Zealous men are ever displaying to you the strength of their belief, while judicious men are showing you the grounds of it.
My banks they are furnish'd with bees,
Whose murmur invites one to sleep;
My grottoes are shaded with trees,
And my hills are white over with sheep.
- A Pastoral Ballad (pt. II, Hope) [Nature]
Second thoughts oftentimes are the very worst of all thoughts.
- Detached Thoughts on Men and Manners
I am thankful that my name in obnoxious to no pun.
- Egotisms [Names]
I trimmed my lamp, consumed the midnight oil.
- Elegies (XI, st. 7) [Learning]
For seldom shall she hear a tale
So said, so tender, yet so true.
- Jemmy Dawson (st. 20) [Story Telling]
Sloth views the towers of fame with envious eyes,
Desirous still, still impotent to rise.
- Moral Pieces--The Judgment of Hercules
(l. 436) [Fame]
Oft has good nature been the fool's defence,
And honest meaning gilded want of sense.
- Ode to a Lady [Sense]
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