« PreviousContinue »
The true conveniences of life are common to the king with his meanest subject. The king's sleep is not sweeter, nor his appetite better.
The pomp which distinguishes the great man from the mob, defends him not from the fever, nor from grief. Give a prince all the names of majesty that are found in a folio dictionary, the first attack of the gout will make im forget his palace and his guards. If he be in choler, will his princedom prevent him from turning pale, and gnashing his teeth like a fool? The smallest prick of a nail, the slightest passion of the soul, is capable of rendering insipid the monarchy of the world.
Narrow minds think nothing right that is above their own capacity.
Those who are the most faulty, are the most prone to find fault in others.
The first and most important female quality is sweetness of temper. Heaven did not give to the female sex insinuation and persuasion, in order to be surly; it did not make them weak in order to be imperious; it did not give them a sweet voice in order to be employed in scolding; it did not provide them with delicate features in order to be disfigured with anger.
Let fame be regarded, but conscience much more. It is an empty joy to appear better than you are; but a great blessing to be what you ought to be.
Let your conduct be the result of deliberation, never of impatience.
In the conduct of life, let it be one great aim to show that every thing you do proceeds from yourself, not from your passions. Chrysippus rewards in joy, chas. tises in wrath, doth every thing in passion. No person stands in awe of Chrysippus, no person is grateful to him. Why? Because it is not Chrysippus who acts, but his passions. We shun him in wrath, as we shun a wild beast; and this is all the authority he hath over us.
Indulge not desire, at the expense of the slightest article of virtue; pass once its limits,and you fall headlong
Examine well the counsel that favors your desires. The gratification of desire is sometimes the worst thing that can befal us,
TO be angry, is to punish myself for the fault of another.
A word dropped by chance from your friend, offends your delicacy. Avoid a hasty reply; and beware of opening your discontent to the first person you meet. When you are cool it will vanish, and leave no impression.
The most profitable revenge, the most rational, and the most pleasant, is to make it the interest of the injurious person, not to hurt you a second time.
It was a saying of Socrates, that we should eat and drink in order to live; instead of living as many do, in order to eat and drink.
Be moderate in your pleasures, that your relish for them may continue.
Time is requisite to bring great projects to maturity. Precipitation ruins the best contrived plan; patience ripens the most difficult.
When we sum up the miseries of life, the grief bestowed on trifles makes a great part of the account; trifles which, neglected, are nothing. How shameful such a weakness.
The pensionary de Witt being asked how he could transact such a variety of business without confusion, answered, that he never did but one thing at a time.
Guard your weak side from being known. If it be attacked, the best way is to join in the attack.
Francis I, consulting with his generals how to lead his army over the Alps, into Italy, Amarel, his fool, sprung from a corner, and advised him to consult rather how to bring it back.
The best practical rule of morality is, never to do but what we are willing all the world should know.
Solicitude in hiding failings makes them appear the greater. It is a safer and easier course, frankly to acknowledge them. A man owns that he is ignorant ; we admire his modesty. He says he is old; we scarce think him so. He declares himself poor; we do not believe it.
When you descant on the faults of others, consider whether you be not guilty of the same. To gain knowledge of ourselves, the best way is to convert the imperfections of others, into a mirror, for discovering our own.
Apply yourself more to acquire knowledge than to show it. Men commonly take great pains to put off the little stock they have; but they take little pains to acquire more.
Never suffer your courage to be fierce, your resolution obstinate, your wisdom cunning, nor your patience sullen.
To measure all reason by our own, is a plain act of injustice; it is an encroachment on the common rights of mankind.
If you would tech secrecy to others, begin with yourself. How can you expect another will keep your secret, when yourself cannot ?
A man's fortune is more frequently made by his tongue, than by his virtues; and more frequently crushed by it, than by his vices.
EVEN self interest is a motive for benevolence. There are none so low, but may have it in their power to return a good office.
To deal with a man, you must know his temper, by which you can lead him; or his ends, by which you can persuade him; or his friends, by whom you can govern him.
The first ingredient in conversation is truth; the next good sense; the third good humor; the last, wit.
The great error in conversation is, to be fonder of speaking than of hearing. Few show more complaisance than to pretend to hearken, intent all the while upon what they themselves have to say, not considering, that to seek one's own pleasure, so "passionately, is not the way to please others.
To be an Englishman in London, a Frenchman in Paris, a Spaniard in Madrid, is no easy matter, and yet it is necessary.
A man entirely without ceremony has need of great merit.
He who cannot bear a jest, ought never to make one. In the deepest distress, virtue is more illustrious than vice in its highest prosperity.
No man is so foolish but he may give good counsel at a time; no man so wise but he may err, if he take no counsel but his own.
He whose ruling passion is love of praise, is a slave to every one who has a tongue for detraction.
Always to indulge our appetites, is to extinguish them. Abstain, that you may enjoy.
To have your enemy in your power, and yet to do him good, is the greatest heroism.
Modesty, were it to be recommened for nothing else, leaves a man at ease, by pretending to little, whereas vain glory requires perpetual labor, to appear what one is not. If we have sense, modesty best sets it off; if not, best hides the want.
When, even in the heat of dispute, I yield to my antagonist, my victory over myself is more illustrious than over him, had he yielded to me.
The refined luxuries of the table, besides enervating the body, poison that very pleasure they are intended to promote; for, by soliciting the appetite, they exclude the greatest pleasure of taste, that which arises from the gratification of hunger.
VI.-The Fox and the Goat.-DODSLEY'S FABLES.
A FOX and a goat travelling together, in a very sultry day, found themselves exceedingly thirsty; when looking round the country in order to discover a place where they might probably meet with water, they at length descried a clear spring, at the bottom of a well. They both eagerly descended; and having sufficiently allayed their thirst, began to consider how they should get out. Many expedients for that purpose, were mu tually proposed and rejected. At last, the crafty Fox cried out with great joy-I have a thought just struck into my mind; which, I am confident, will extricate us out of our dfficulty: Do you, said he to the Goat, on
ly rear yourself up upon your hind legs, and rest your fore feet against the side of the well. In this posture i will climb up to your head, from which I shall be able with a spring, to reach the top; and when I am once there, you are sensible it will be very easy for me to pull you out by the horns. The simple Goat liked the proposal well, and immediately placed himself as directed; by means of which, the Fox, without much difficulty, gained the top. And now, said the Goat, give me the assistance you promised. Thou old fool, replied the Fox, hadst thou but half as much brains as beard, thou wouldst never have believed that I would hazard my own life to save thine. However, I will leave with thee a piece of advice, which may be of service to thee hereafter, if thou shouldst have the good fortune to make thy escape: Never venture into a well again, before thou hast well considered how to get out of it.
VII-The Fox and the Stork.-IB.
THE Fox, though, in general more inclined to rogue. ry than wit, had once a strong inclination to play the wag with his neighbor the Stork. He accordingly invited her to dinner in great form; but when it came upon the table, the Stork found it consisted entirely of dif ferent soups, served up in broad shallow dishes, so that she could only dip in the end of her bill, but could not possibly satisfy her hunger. The Fox lapped it up very readily; and every now and then, addressing himself to his guest, desired to know how she liked her entertainment; hoped that every thing was seasoned to her mind; and protested he was very sorry to see her eat so sparingly. The Stork perceiving she was played upon, took no notice of it,but pretended to like every dish extremely; and, at parting, pressed the Fox so earnestly to return her visit, that he could not in civility refuse. The day arrived, and he repaired to his appointment; but to his great mortification, when dinner appeared, he found it composed of minced meat, served up in long narrow necked glasses; so that he was only tantalized with the sight of what it was impossible for him to taste. The Stork thrust in her long bill and