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SIR ARCHIBALD ALISON
English historian
(1792 - 1867)

Grace is a quality different from beauty, though nearly allied to it, which is never observed without affecting us with emotions of peculiar delight, and which it is, perhaps, the first object of the arts of sculpture and painting to study and to present.
      - [Grace]

It is in periods of apparent disaster, during the sufferings of whole generations, that the greatest improvement in human character has been effected.
      - [Disaster]

Jeffrey, in conversation, was like a skilful swordsman flourishing his weapon in the air; while Mackintosh, with a thin sharp rapier, in the middle of his evolutions, ran him through the body.
      - [Conversation]

Taste is, in general, considered as that faculty of the human mind by which we perceive and enjoy whatever is beautiful or sublime in the works of nature or art.
      - [Taste]

The exercise of criticism always destroys for a time our sensibility to beauty by leading us to regard the work in relation to certain laws of construction. The eye turns from the charms of nature to fix itself upon the servile dexterity of art.
      - [Criticism]

There is no man who has not some interesting associations with particular scenes, or airs, or books, and who does not feel their beauty or sublimity enhanced to him by such connections.
      - [Association]

There is no unmixed good in human affairs; the best principles, if pushed to excess, degenerate into fatal vices. Generosity is nearly allied to extravagance; charity itself may lead to ruin; the sternness of justice is but one step removed from the severity of oppression. It is the same in the political world; the tranquillity of despotism resembles the stagnation of the Dead Sea; the fever of innovation the tempests of the ocean. It would seem as if, at particular periods, from causes inscrutable to human wisdom, a universal frenzy seizes mankind; reason, experience, prudence, are alike blinded; and the very classes who are to perish in the storm are the first to raise its fury.
      - [Excess]

There is often no material difference between the enjoyment of the highest ranks and those of the rudest stages of society. If the life of many a young English nobleman, and an Iroquois in the forest, or an Arab in the desert are compared, it will be found that their real sources of happiness are nearly the same.
      - [Civilization]

Who is there who, at this season, does not feel his mind impressed with a sentiment of melancholy? or who is able to resist that current of thought, which, from such appearances of decay, so naturally leads him to the solemn imagination of that inevitable fate which is to bring on alike the decay of life, of empire, and of nature itself?
      - [Autumn]


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