English Essayist, Poet, Playwright and Politician
English Essayist, Poet, Playwright and Politician
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.
There is no virtue so truly great and godlike as Justice. Most of the other virtues are the virtues of created Beings, or accommodated to our nature as we are men. Justice is that which is practiced by God himself, and to be practiced in its perfection by none but him. Omniscience and Omnipotence are requisite for the full exertion of it. The one, to discover every degree of uprightness or iniquity in thoughts, words and actions. The other, to measure out and impart suitable rewards and punishments.
There is nothing truly valuable which can be purchased without pains and labor. The gods have set a price upon every real and noble pleasure.
They are obliged indeed to be thus lavish of their praises, that they may keep one another in countenance; and it is no wonder if a great deal of knowledge, which is not capable of making a man wise, has a natural tendency to make him vain and arrogant.
This Mr. Dryden calls `the fairy way of writing'.
Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm.
Since the inculcating precept upon precept will prove tiresome, the poet must not encumber his poem with too much business, but sometimes relieve the subject with a moral reflection.
Such as are treated ill, and upbraided falsely, find out an intimate friend that will hear their complaints, and endeavor to soothe their secret resentments.
That he delights in the misery of others no man will confess, and yet what other motive can make a father cruel?