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Despair is like forward children, who, when you take away one of their playthings, throw the rest into the fire for madness. It grows angry with itself, turns its own executioner, and revenges its misfortunes on its own head.
Gratitude is a duty none can be excused from, because it is always at our own disposal.
Gratitude is a virtue disposing the mind to an inward sense and an outward acknowledgment of a benefit received, together with a readiness to return the same, or the like, as occasions of the doer of it shall require, and the abilities of the receiver extend to. He who receives a good turn, should never forget it: he who does one, should never remember it.
Great towns are but a large sort of prison to the soul; like cages to birds, or pounds to beasts.
He that boasts of his ancestors confesses that he has no virtue of his own. No person ever lived for our honor; nor ought that to be reputed ours, which was long before we had a being; for what advantage can it be to a blind man to know that his parents had good eyes? Does he see one whit the better?
He who receives a good turn should never forget it; he who does one should never remember it.
It is certainly much easier wholly to decline a passion than to keep it within just bounds and measures; and that which few can moderate almost anybody may prevent.
Mutability is the badge of infirmity. It is seldom that a man continues to wish and design the same thing two days alike. Now he is for marrying; and now a mistress is preferred to a wife. Now he is ambitious and aspiring; presently the meanest servant is not more humble than he. This hour he squanders his money away; the next he turns miser. Sometimes he is frugal and serious; at other times profuse, airy, and gay.
Pleasure and pain, though directly opposite, are yet so contrived by nature as to be constant companions; and it is a fact that the same motions and muscles of the face are employed both laughing and crying.
Riches should be admitted into our houses, but not into our hearts; we may take them into our possession, but not into our affections.
The certain way to be cheated is to fancy one's self more cunning than others.
Those who have nothing else to recommend them to the respect of others but only their blood, cry it up at a great rate, and have their mouth perpetually full of it. They swell and vapor, and you are sure to hear of their families and relations every third word.
To owe an obligation to a worthy friend is a happiness, and can be no disparagement.
We ought not to judge of men's merits by their qualifications, but by the use they make of them.
Whatever difference there may appear to be in men's fortunes, there is still a certain compensation of good and ill in all, that makes them equal.
Wise men mingle mirth with their cares, as a help either to forget or overcome them; but to resort to intoxication for the ease of one's mind is to cure melancholy by madness.
Wounds and hardships provoke our courage, and when our fortunes are at the lowest, our wits and minds are commonly at the best.
The shortest follies are the best.
[Fr., Les plus courtes folies sont les meilleures.]
- Las Sagesse (bk. I, ch. 3) [Folly : Proverbs]
The proper Science and Subject for Man's Contemplation is Man himself.
[Fr., La vraie science et le vrai etude de l'homme c'est l'homme.]
- Of Wisdom (bk. I, ch. I),
(Stanhope's translation) [Man]
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