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Wealth, after all, is a relative thing, since he that has little, and wants less, is richer than he that has much, but wants more.
Were we as eloquent as angels, we should please some more by listening than by talking.
When all moves equally (says Pascal), nothing seems to move as in a vessel under sail; and when all run by common consent into vice, none appear to do so. He that stops first, views as from a fixed point the horrible extravagance that transports the rest.
When I meet with any persons who write obscurely or converse confusedly, I am apt to suspect two things; first, that such persons do not understand themselves; and secondly, that they are not worthy of being understood by others.
When in reading we meet with any maxim that may be of use, we should take it for our own, and make an immediate application of it, as we would of the advice of a friend whom we have purposely consulted.
When Learning's triumph o'er her barb'rous foes
First rear'd the stage, immortal Shakespeare rose;
Each change of many-colored life he drew,
Exhausted worlds, and then imagin'd new;
Existence saw him spurn her bounded reign,
And panting Time toil'd after him in vain,
His powerful strokes presiding Truth impress'd,
And unresisted Passion stormed the breast. Shakespeare stands alone. His want of erudition was a most happy and productive ignorance; it forced him back upon his own resources, which were exhaustless. If his literary qualifications made it impossible for him to borrow from the ancients, he was more than repaid by the powers of his invention, which made borrowing unnecessary.
When the air balloon was first discovered, some one flippantly asked Dr. Franklin what was the use of it. The doctor answered this question by asking another: "What is the use of a new-born infant? It may become a man."
When the cruel fall into the hands of the cruel, we read their fate with horror, not with pity. Sylla commanded the bones of Marius to be broken, his eyes to be pulled out, his hands to be cut off, and his body to be torn in pieces with pinchers; and Catiline was the executioner. "A piece of cruelty," says Seneca, "only fit for Marius to suffer, Catiline to execute, and Sylla to command."
When the million applaud you, seriously ask yourself what harm you have done; when they censure you, what good!
When we are in doubt and puzzle out the truth by our own exertions, we have gained a something that will stay by us, and which will serve us again. But, if to avoid the trouble of the search, we avail ourselves of the superior information of a friend, such knowledge will not remain with us; we have not bought, but borrowed it.
When we are in the company of sensible men, we ought to be doubly cautious of talking too much, lest we lose two good things, their good opinion and our own improvement; for what we have to say we know, but what they have to say we know not.
When we feel a strong desire to thrust our advice upon others, it is usually because we suspect their weakness; but we ought rather to suspect our own.
When we live habitually with the wicked, we become necessarily either their victim or their disciple; when we associate, on the contrary, with virtuous men, we form ourselves in imitation of their virtues, or, at least, lose every day something of our faults.
When young, we trust ourselves too much, and we trust others too little when old. Rashness is the error of youth, timid caution of age. Manhood is the isthmus between the two extremes; the ripe and fertile season of action, when alone we can hope to find the head to contrive, united with the hand to execute.
Where true religion has prevented one crime, false religions have afforded a pretext for a thousand.
Where we cannot invent, we may at least improve; we may give somewhat of novelty to that which was old, condensation to that which was diffuse, perspicuity to that which was obscure, and currency to that which was recondite.
Wit in women is a jewel, which, unlike all others, borrows lustre from its setting, rather than bestows it; since nothing is so easy as to fancy a very beautiful woman extremely witty.
With respect to the authority of great names, it should be remembered that he alone deserves to have any weight or influence with posterity who has shown himself superior to the particular and predominant error of his own time.
With the offspring of genius, the law of parturition is reversed; the throes are in the conception, the pleasure in the birth.
Women do not transgress the bounds of decorum so often as men; but when they do, they go greater lengths.
Women that are the least bashful are often the most modest.
Women who are the least bashful are not unfrequently the most modest; and we are never more deceived than when we would infer any laxity of principle from that freedom of demeanor which often arises from a total ignorance of vice.
Words indeed are but the signs and counters of knowledge, and their currency should be strictly regulated by the capital which they represent.
Worldly wisdom dictates to her disciples the propriety of dressing somewhat beyond their means, but of living somewhat within them.
You cannot separate charity and religion.
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