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And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel,
Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.
Henry VI., First Part.
VAIN is the vaunt and victory unjust,
That more to mighty hands than rightful cause doth trust.
Faëry Queen, Book II., Canto 2.
A GOOD word is an easy obligation, but not to speak ill requires only our silence, which costs us nothing.
Thoughts : POPE and SWIFT. THE imitation of an ill thing is the worse for its being exact; and sometimes to report a fault is to repeat it.
COLLIER.-On the Stage.
WHEN Lara's lip breathed forth the words of home:
Those accents, as his native mountains dear,
Awake their absent echoes in his ear.
BYRON. Lara, Canto I. Emp. WHAT can be sweeter than our native home!
Thither for ease, and soft repose, we come :
Home is the sacred refuge of our life :
Secur'd from all approaches but a wife.
If thence we fly, the cause admits no doubt:
None but an inmate foe could force us out.
Clamours our privacies uneasy make;
Birds leave their nests disturb'd, and beasts their
DRYDEN. Aurenge-Zebe, Act II.
AND, therefore, living hence, did give ourself
To barbarous licence : as 'tis very common,
That men are merriest when away from home.
Henry V., Act I.
But where to find that happiest spot below,
Who can direct when all pretend to know ?
The shudd'ring tenant of the frigid zone
Boldly proclaims that happiest spot his own;
Extols the treasures of his stormy seas,
And his long nights of revelry and ease;
The naked negro panting at the line,
Boasts of his golden sands, and palmy wine,
Basks in the glare, or stems the tepid wave,
And thanks the gods for all the good they gave.
Such is the patriot's boast, where'er we roam
His first best country ever is at home.
And yet perhaps if countries we compare,
And estimate the blessings which they share;
Though patriots flatter, still shall wisdom find
An equal portion dealt to all mankind;
As different good by art or nature given
To different nations, makes their blessings even.
AFFECTATION is not, I confess, an early fault of childhood, or the product of untaught nature; it is of that sort of weeds which grow, not in the wild uncultivated waste, but in garden plots, under the negligent hand or unskilful care of the gardener. Management and instruction, and some sense of the necessity of breeding, are requisite to make any one capable of affectation, which endeavours to correct natural defects, and has always the laudable aim of pleasing, though it always misses it, and the more it labours to put on gracefulness the farther it is from it.* For this reason it is the more carefully to be watched, because it is the proper fault of education, a perverted education indeed, but such as young people often fall into, either by their own mistake or the ill conduct of those about them.
LOCKE. On Education.
WANTS of all kinds are made to fame a plea,
One learns to lisp, another not to see;
Miss D-tottering catches at your hand,
Was ever thing so pretty born to stand ?
Whilst these, that nature gave disown thro' pride,
Others affect what nature has deny'd;
What nature has denied fools will pursue,
As apes are ever walking upon two.†
* Nothing so much prevents our being natural as the desire of appeariny ss.
ROCHEFOUCAULD. + But as the fool is never more provoking than when he aims at wit, the ill-favour'd of our sex are never more nauseous than when they would be
MEN are never so ridiculous for the qualities they have, as for those they affect to have.
MORNING ADDRESS TO A BIRD.
HITHER thou com’st. The busy wind all night
Blew through thy lodging; where thy own warm wing,
Thy pillow was : * and many a sullen storm,
For which coarse man seems much the fitter born,
Rained on thy bed,
And harmless head;
And now as fresh and cheerful as the light,
Thy little heart in early hymns doth sing
Unto that Providence, whose unseen arm
Curb’d them, and cloth'd thee well and warm.
All gs that be praise Him; and had
That lesson taught them when first made.
VITUPERATIVE. NEITHER the abject submission of deserting his post in the hour of danger, nor even the sacred shield of cowardice should protect him. I would pursue him. through life and try the last exertion of my abilities to preserve the perishable infamy of his name and make it immortal.+
Junius to the Duke of Grafton.
THE PLEASURE OF A RETIRED COUNTRY LIFE.
Does Art through pipes a purer water bring,
Than that which Nature strains into a spring ?
Can all your tap’steries, or your pictures show
More beauties than in herbs and flowrs do grow?
beauties, adding to their natural deformity the artificial ugliness of affectation.
The Plain Dealer, Act II. * And all the little birds had laid their heads Under their wings-sleeping in feather beds.
HOOD. + And hasten Og and Doeg to reherse,
Two fools that crutch their feeble sense in verse ;
Who by my muse, to all succeeding times
Shall live, in spite of their own doggrel rhimes.
DRYDEN. Absalom and Achitophel.
Fountains and trees our wearied pride do please
Ey'n in the midst of gilded palaces;
And in your towns that prospect gives delight
Which opens round the country to our sight.
Men to the good from which they rashly fly
Return at last, and their wild luxury
Does but in vain with those true joys contend
Which Nature did to Mankind recommend.
The man who changes gold for burnish'd brass
Or small right gems for larger ones of glass,
Is not at length more certain to be made
Ridiculous and wretched by the trade,
Than he who sells a solid good, to buy
The painted goods of pride and vanity.
If thou be wise no glorious fortune choose
Which 'tis but pain to keep, yet grief to lose ;
For when we place ev'n trifles in the heart,
With trifles too unwillingly we part.
An humble roof; plain bed, and homely board
More clear untainted pleasures do afford
Than all the tumult of vain greatness brings
To kings or to the favourites of kings.
COWLEY. Translation, Horace.
SWEET country life, to such unknown,
Whose lives are others' not their own;
But serving courts and cities, be
Less happy, less enjoying thee.
HERRICK. The Country Life. To one who has been long in city pent,
'Tis very sweet to look into the fair
And open face of heaven,- to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile of the blue firmament;
Who is more happy, when, with heart's content,
Fatigued he sinks into some pleasant lair
Of wavy grass, and reads a debonair
And gentle tale of love and languishment ?
Returning home at evening, with an ear
Catching the notes of Philomel, -an eye
Watching the sailing cloudlets' bright career,
He mourns that day so soon has glided by,
E'en like the passage of an angel's tear
That falls through the clear ether silently.
Oh! 'tis a quiet spirit healing nook !
Which all, methinks, would love; but chiefly he,
The humble man, who, in his youthful years,
Knew just so much of folly as had made
His early manhood more securely wise !.
Here he might lie on fern, or wither'd heath,
While from the singing lark, that sings unseen
The minstrelsy that solitude loves best,
And from the sun, and from the breezy air,
Sweet influences trembled o'er his frame;
And he with many feelings, many thoughts,
Made up a meditative joy, and found
Religious meanings in the forms of nature !
And so, his senses gradually wrapt
In a half-sleep, he dreams of better worlds,
And dreaming, hears thee still, O singing lark,
That singest like an angel in the clouds !
COLERIDGE. Tears in Solitude.
I do not suppose that a man loses his time who is not engaged in public affairs, or an illustrious course of action. On the contrary, I believe our hours may often be more profitably laid out in such transactions as make no figure in the world, than in such as are apt to draw upon them the attention of mankind. One
may become wiser and better, by several methods of employing oneself in secrecy and silence, and do what is laudable without noise and ostentation.
Spectator, No. 318.
Sweet to himself was exercised in good
That shall survive his name and memory.
DEAR Wood, and you sweet solitary place,
Where I estranged from the vulgar live,
Contented more with what your shades me give,
Than if I had what Thetis doth embrace :
* The private path the secret acts of men
If noble, far the noblest of our lives.
Young. Night Thoughts. Night 5.