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Anything but history, for history must be false.
Had I children, my utmost endeavors would be to make them musicians.
History is a romance that is believed; romance, a history that is not believed.
I have known men of valor cowards to their wives.
I have known several persons of great fame for wisdom in public affairs and councils governed by foolish servants. I have known great ministers, distinguished for wit and learning, who preferred none but dunces. I have known men of valor cowards to their wives. I have known men of cunning perpetually cheated. I knew three ministers who would exactly compute and settle the accounts of a kingdom, wholly ignorant of their own economy.
I look upon paradoxes as the impotent efforts of men who, not having capacity to draw attention and celebrity from good sense, fly to eccentricities to make themselves noted.
I sit with my toes in a brook,
And if any one axes forwhy?
I hits them a rap with my crook,
For 'tis sentiment does it, says I.
- see Cunningham's "Walpole" [Sensibility]
In all science error precedes the truth, and it is better it should go first than last.
In my youth I thought of writing a satire on mankind! but now in my age I think I should write an apology for them.
It is difficult to divest one's self of vanity; because impossible to divest one's self of self-love.
Life is a comedy to him who thinks and a tragedy to him who feels.
- in a letter to Sir Horace Mann, Dec. 31, 1769
[Feeling : Life]
Men are often capable of grreater things than they perform.--They are sent into the world with bills of credit, and seldom draw to their full extent.
Mystery is the wisdom of blockheads.
Nine-tenths of the people were created so you would want to be with the other tenth.
Oh, we are ridiculous animals; and if the angels have any fun in them, how we must divert them!
Old friends are the great blessings of one's latter years. Half a word conveys one's meaning. They have memory of the same events, and have the same mode of thinking. I have young relations that may grow upon me, for my nature is affectionate, but can they grow old friends? My age forbids that. Still less can they grow companions. Is it friendship to explain half one says? One must relate the history of one's memory and ideas; and what is that to the young but old stories?
The gratitude of place expectants is a lively sense of future favours.
- ascribed to, by Hazlitt "Wit and Humour"
The whole secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and in a thousand things well.
This world is a comedy, not Life.
- in a letter to Sir Horace Mann, Mar. 5, 1772
To act with common sense, according to the moment, is the best wisdom I know; and the best philosophy, to do one's duties, take the world as it comes, submit respectfully to one's lot, bless the goodness that has given us so much happiness with it, whatever it is, and despise affectation.
- [Common Sense]
Virtuosi have been long remarked to have little conscience in their favorite pursuits. A man will steal a rarity who would cut off his hand rather than take the money it is worth. Yet, in fact, the crime is the same.
Without grace no book can live, and with it the poorest may have its life prolonged.
They dropped into the yolk of an egg the milk that flows from the leaf of a young fig-tree, with which, instead of water, gum or gumdragant, they mixed their last layer of colours.
- Anecdotes of Painting (vol. I, ch. II)
Our supreme governors, the mob.
- Letter to Horace Mann [Public]
The next Augustan age will dawn on the other side of the Atlantic. There will, perhaps, be a Thucydides at Boston, a Xenophon at New York, in time a Vergil at Mexico, and a Newton at Peru. At last some curious traveller from Lima will visit England, and give a description of the ruins of St. Paul's, like the editions of Balbec and Palmyra.
- Letter to Horace Mann [Ruin]
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