English Essayist, Poet, Playwright and Politician
English Essayist, Poet, Playwright and Politician
What an absurd thing it is to pass over all the valuable parts of a man, and fix our attention on his infirmities.
When a man is made up wholly of the dove, without the least grain of the serpent in his composition, he becomes ridiculous in many circumstances of life, and very often discredits his best actions.
When I read an author of genius who writes without method, I fancy myself in a wood that abounds with a great many noble objects, rising among one another in the greatest confusion and disorder. When I read a methodical discourse, I am in a regular plantation, and can place myself in its several centres, so as to take a view of all the lines and walks that are struck from them. You may ramble in the one a whole day together, and every moment discover something or other that is new to you; but when you have done, you will have but a confused, imperfect notion of the place: in the other your eye commands the whole prospect, and gives you such an idea of it as is not easily worn out of the memory.
When our universities found there was no end of wrangling this way, they invented a kind of argument, which is not reducible to any mood or figure in Aristotle. It was called the Argumentum Basilinum (others write it Bacilinum or Baculinum), which is pretty well expressed in our English word club-law. When they were not able to refute their antagonist, they knocked him down. It was their method, in these polemical debates, first to discharge their syllogisms, and afterwards betake themselves to their clubs, until such time as they had one way or other confounded their gainsayers.
While good men are employed in extirpating mortal sins, I should rally the world out of indecencies and venial transgression.
Women in their nature are much more gay and joyous than men; whether it be that their blood is more refined, their fibres more delicate, and their animal spirits more light and volatile; or whether, as some have imagined, there may not be a kind of sex in the very soul, I shall not pretend to determine. As vivacity is the gift of women, gravity is that of men.
Though I have here only chosen this single link of martyrs, I might find out others among those names which are still extant, that delivered down this account of our Savior in a successive tradition.
Tis heaven itself, that points out an hereafter, and intimates eternity to man.
To my confusion, and eternal grief, I must approve the sentence that destroys me.
True religion and virtue give a cheerful and happy turn to the mind, admit of all true pleasures, and even procure for us the highest.
We are pleased ? to see him humbled in his reputation who had so far raised himself above us.
We see the pernicious effects of luxury in the ancient Romans, who immediately found themselves poor as soon as this vice got footing among them.
What are these wondrous civilizing arts, this Roman polish, and this smooth behavior that render man thus tractable and tame?
When a man sees the prodigious pains our forefathers have been at in these barbarous buildings, one cannot but fancy what miracles of architecture they would have left us had they been instructed in the right way.
When I read rules of criticism I inquire after the works of the author, and by that means discover what he likes in a composition.
When religion was woven into the civil government, and flourished under the protection of the emperors, men?s thoughts and discourses were full of secular affairs; but in the three first centuries of Christianity men who embraced this religion had given up all their interests in this world, and lived in a perpetual preparation for the next.
Whilst I yet live, let me not live in vain.
Women were formed to temper Mankind, and sooth them into Tenderness and Compassion; not to set an Edge upon their Minds, and blow up in them those Passions which are too apt to rise of their own Accord.
Though the presence of imaginary good cannot make us happy, the absence of it may make us miserable.
Tis not in mortals to command success, But we'll do more, Sempronius; we'll deserve it
To say of a celebrated piece that there are faults in it, is, in effect, to say that the author of it is a man.
Tully has justly exposed a precept, that a man should live with his friend in such a manner that if he became his enemy it should not be in his power to hurt him.
We are pleased by some implicit kind of revenge to see him taken down and humbled in his reputation who had so far raised himself above us.
We therefore very often find, that Persons the most accomplished in Ridicule are those who are very shrewd at hitting a Blot, without exerting anything masterly in themselves. As there are many eminent Criticks who never writ a good Line, there are many admirable Buffoons that animadvert upon every single Defect in another, without ever discovering the least Beauty of their own. By this Means, these unlucky little Wits often gain Reputation in the Esteem of Vulgar Minds, and raise themselves above Persons of much more laudable Characters.
What can be nobler than the idea it gives us of the Supreme Being?