SELECTED LARGELY FROM EASTERN SOURCES
W. A. CLOUSTON
Author of "Popular Tales and Fictions," "Literary Coincidences, and other Papers," "Flowers from a Persian Garden," etc.
"Concise sentences, like darts, fly abroad and make impressions, while long discourses are tedious and not regarded."—BACON.
"Many are the sayings of the wise, In ancient and in modern books enrolled."—MILTON.
LONDON PUBLISHED BY HUTCHINSON & CO.
AT 34 PATERNOSTER ROW 1893
PRINTED AT NIMEGUEN (HOLLAND) BY H. C. A. THIEME OF NIMEGUEN (HOLLAND)
TALBOT HOUSE, ARUNDEL STREET LONDON, W.C.
FRANCIS THORNTON BARRETT,
CHIEF LIBRARIAN, MITCHELL LIBRARY, GLASGOW,
THIS LITTLE BOOK,
WITH FRIENDLY GREETINGS,
Cynics may ask, how many have profited by the innumerable proverbs and maxims of prudence which have been current in the world time out of mind? They will say that their only use is to repeat them after some unhappy wight has "gone wrong." When, for instance, a man has played "ducks and drakes" with his money, the fact at once calls up the proverb which declares that "wilful waste leads to woful want"; but did not the "waster" know this well-worn saying from his early years downwards? What good, then, did it do him? Again, how many have been benefited by the saying of the ancient Greek poet, that "evil communications corrupt good manners"?—albeit they had it frequently before them in their school "copy-books." Are the maxims of morality useless, then, because they are so much disregarded?
When a man has reached middle-age he generally feels with tenfold force the truth of those "sayings of the wise" which he learned in his early years, and has cause to regret, as well as wonder, that he had not all along followed their wholesome teaching. For it is to the young, who are about to cross the threshold of active life, that such terse convincing sentences are more especially addressed, and, spite of the proverbial heedlessness of youth, there will be found many who are not deaf to this kind of instruction, if their moral environment be favourable. But, even after the spring-time of youth is past, there are occasions when the mind is peculiarly susceptible to the force of a pithy maxim, which may tend to the reforming of one's way of life. There is commonly more practical wisdom in a striking aphorism than in a round dozen of "goody" books—that is to say, books which are not good in the highest sense, because their themes are overlaid with commonplace and wearisome reflections.
May we not find the "whole duty of man" condensed into a few brief sentences, which have been expressed by thoughtful men in all ages and in countries far apart?—such as: "Love thy neighbour as thyself," "Do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you." The chief themes of all teachers of morality are: benevolence and beneficence; tolerance of the opinions of others; self-control; the acquisition of knowledge—that jewel beyond price; the true uses of wealth; the advantages of resolute, manly exertion; the dignity of labour; the futility of worldly pleasures; the fugacity of time; man's individual insignificance. They are never weary of inculcating taciturnity in preference to loquacity, and the virtues of patience and resignation. They iterate and reiterate the fact that true happiness is to be found only in contentment; and they administer consolation and infuse hope by reminding us that as dark days are followed by bright days, so times of bitter adversity are followed by seasons of sweet prosperity; and thus, like the immortal Sir Hudibras, when "in doleful dumps", we may "cheer ourselves with ends of verse, and sayings of philosophers."
In the following small selection of aphorisms, a considerable proportion are drawn from Eastern literature. Indian wisdom is represented by passages from the great epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana; the Panchatantra and the Hitopadesa, two Sanskrit versions of the famous collection of apologues known in Europe as the Fables of Bidpai, or Pilpay; the Dharma-sastra of Manu; Bharavi, Magha, Bhartrihari, and other Hindu poets. Specimens of the mild teachings of Buddha and his more notable followers are taken from the Dhammapada (Path of Virtue) and other canonical works; pregnant sayings of the Jewish Fathers, from the Talmud; Moslem moral philosophy is represented by extracts from Arabic and Persian writers (among the great poets of Persia are, Firdausi, Sa'di, Hafiz, Nizami, Omar Khayyam, Jami); while the proverbial wisdom of the Chinese and the didactic writings of the sages of Burmah are also occasionally cited.
The ordinary reader will probably be somewhat surprised to discover in the aphorisms of the ancient Greeks and Hindus several close parallels to the doctrines of the Old and New Testaments, and he will have reasoned justly if he conclude that the so-called "heathens" could have derived their spiritual light only from the same Source as that which inspired the Hebrew prophets and the Christian apostles.
Among English writers of aphorisms Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam, is pre-eminent, but none of his pithy sentences find place here, because they are procurable in many inexpensive forms, (e.g., Counsels from my Lord Bacon, 1892), and must be familiar to what is termed "the average general reader." The Enchiridion of Frances Quarles and the Resolves of Owen Feltham are, however, laid under contribution, as also Robert Chamberlain, an author who is probably unknown to many pluming themselves on their thorough acquaintance with English literature, some of whose aphorisms (published in 1638, under the title of Nocturnal Lucubrations) I have deemed worthy of reproduction.
In more modern times, with the sole exception of William Hazlitt, our country has produced no very successful writer of aphorisms. Colton's Lacon; or, Many Things in Few Words, Addressed to Those who Think, went through several editions soon after its first publication in 1820; it is described by Mr. John Morley—and not unfairly—as being "so vapid, so wordy, so futile as to have a place among those books which dispense with parody"; it is "an awful example to anyone who is tempted to try his hand at an aphorism." Mr. Morley is hardly less severe in speaking of the "Thoughts" in Theophrastus Such: "the most insufferable of all deadly-lively prosing in our sublunary world." However this may be, assuredly other works of the author of Adam Bede will be found to furnish many examples of admirable apothegms.
It only remains to add that, bearing in mind that a great collection of gravities commonly proves quite as wearisome reading as a large compilation of gaieties, or facetiae, I have confined my selection of "sayings of the wise" within the limits of a pocket-volume.
W. A. C.
BOOK OF WISE SAYINGS.
The enemies which rise within the body, hard to be overcome—thy evil passions—should manfully be fought: he who conquers these is equal to the conquerors of worlds.
If passion gaineth the mastery over reason, the wise will not count thee amongst men.
Knowledge is destroyed by associating with the base; with equals equality is gained, and with the distinguished, distinction.
Dost thou desire that thine own heart should not suffer, redeem thou the sufferer from the bonds of misery.
To friends and eke to foes true kindness show; No kindly heart unkindly deeds will do; Harshness will alienate a bosom friend. And kindness reconcile a deadly foe.
There is no greater grief in misery than to turn our thoughts back to happier times.
 Cf. Goldsmith:
O Memory! thou fond deceiver, Still importunate and vain; To former joys recurring ever, And turning all the past to pain.
We in reality only know when we doubt a little. With knowledge comes doubt.
In the hour of adversity be not without hope, for crystal rain falls from black clouds.
One common origin unites us all, but every sort of wood does not give the perfume of the lignum aloes.
I asked an experienced elder who had profited by his knowledge of the world, "What course should I pursue to obtain prosperity?" He replied, "Contentment—if you are able, practise contentment."
Every moment that a man may be in want of employment, than such I hold him to be far better who is forced to labour for nothing.
The foolish undertake a trifling act, and soon desist, discouraged; wise men engage in mighty works, and persevere.
Those who wish well towards their friends disdain to please them with words which are not true.
Reason is captive in the hands of the passions, as a weak man in the hands of an artful woman.
Like an earthen pot, a bad man is easily broken, and cannot readily be restored to his former situation; but a virtuous man, like a vase of gold, is broken with difficulty, and easily repaired.
The son who delights his father by his good actions; the wife who seeks only her husband's good; the friend who is the same in prosperity and adversity—these three things are the reward of virtue.
Let us not overstrain our abilities, or we shall do nothing with grace. A clown, whatever he may do, will never pass for a gentleman.
To abstain from speaking is regarded as very difficult. It is not possible to say much that is valuable and striking.
 Cf. James, III, 8.
Pagodas are, like mosques, true houses of prayer; 'Tis prayer that church bells waft upon the air; Kaaba and temple, rosary and cross, All are but divers tongues of world-wide prayer.
In no wise ask about the faults of others, for he who reporteth the faults of others will report thine also.
He that holds fast the golden mean, And lives contentedly between The little and the great, Feels not the wants that pinch the poor, Nor plagues that haunt the rich man's door, Embittering all his state.
Nothing is more becoming a man than silence. It is not the preaching but the practice which ought to be considered as the more important. A profusion of words is sure to lead to error.
Consider, and you will find that almost all the transactions of the time of Vespasian differed little from those of the present day. You there find marrying and giving in marriage, educating children, sickness, death, war, joyous holidays, traffic, agriculture, flatterers, insolent pride, suspicions, laying of plots, longing for the death of others, newsmongers, lovers, misers, men canvassing for consulship—yet all these passed away, and are nowhere.
The friendship of the bad is like the shade of some precipitous bank with crumbling sides, which, falling, buries him who is beneath.
His action no applause invites Who simply good with good repays; He only justly merits praise Who wrongful deeds with kind requites.
 Matt. V, 43, 44.
Death comes, and makes a man his prey, A man whose powers are yet unspent; Like one on gathering flowers intent, Whose thoughts are turned another way.
Begin betimes to practise good, Lest fate surprise thee unawares Amid thy round of schemes and cares; To-morrow's task to-day conclude.
 Eccles. IX, 10; XII, 1.
Let a man's talents or virtues be what they may, we feel satisfaction in his society only as he is satisfied in himself. We cannot enjoy the good qualities of a friend if he seems to be none the better for them.
It was a false maxim of Domitian that he who would gain the people of Rome must promise all things and perform nothing. For when a man is known to be false in his word, instead of a column, which he might be by keeping it, for others to rest upon, he becomes a reed, which no man will vouchsafe to lean upon. Like a floating island, when we come next day to seek it, it is carried from the place we left it in, and, instead of earth to build upon, we find nothing but inconstant and deceiving waves.
He is not dead who departs this life with high fame; dead is he, though living, whose brow is branded with infamy.
In the height of thy prosperity expect adversity, but fear it not. If it come not, thou art the more sweetly possessed of the happiness thou hast, and the more strongly confirmed. If it come, thou art the more gently dispossessed of the happiness thou hadst, and the more firmly prepared.
A prudent man will not discover his poverty, his self-torments, the disorders of his house, his uneasiness, or his disgrace.
Men are of three different capacities: one understands intuitively; another understands so far as it is explained; and a third understands neither of himself nor by explanation. The first is excellent, the second, commendable, and the third, altogether useless.
It is difficult to understand men, but still harder to know them thoroughly.
Worldly fame and pleasure are destructive to the virtue of the mind; anxious thoughts and apprehensions are injurious to the health of the body.
Alas, for him who is gone and hath done no good work! The trumpet of march has sounded, and his load was not bound on.
Human experience, like the stern-lights of a ship at sea, illumines only the path which we have passed over.
Man is an actor who plays various parts: First comes a boy, then out a lover starts; His garb is changed for, lo! a beggar's rags; Then he's a merchant with full money-bags; Anon, an aged sire, wrinkled and lean; At last Death drops the curtain on the scene.
 Cf. Shakspeare:
"All the world's a stage," etc.—As You Like It, Act II, sc. 7.
Through avarice a man loses his understanding, and by his thirst for wealth he gives pain to the inhabitants of both worlds.
Men soon the faults of others learn, A few their virtues, too, find out; But is there one—I have a doubt— Who can his own defects discern?
In learning, age and youth go for nothing; the best informed take the precedence.
Mention not a blemish which is thy own in detraction of a neighbour.
Affairs succeed by patience, and he that is hasty falleth headlong.
A man who has learnt little grows old like an ox: his flesh grows, but his knowledge does not grow.
Unsullied poverty is always happy, while impure wealth brings with it many sorrows.
Both white and black acknowledge women's sway, So much the better and the wiser too, Deeming it most convenient to obey, Or possibly they might their folly rue.
 Cf. Pope:
Would men but follow what the sex advise, All things would prosper, all the world grow wise.
We are never so much disposed to quarrel with others as when we are dissatisfied with ourselves.
No one is more profoundly sad than he who laughs too much.
The heaven that rolls around cries aloud to you while it displays its eternal beauties, and yet your eyes are fixed upon the earth alone.
This world is a beautiful book, but of little use to him who cannot read it.
Sorrows are like thunder-clouds: in the distance they look black, over our heads, hardly gray.
The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.
Health is the greatest gift, contentedness the best riches.
Great and unexpected successes are often the cause of foolish rushing into acts of extravagance.
Let none with scorn a suppliant meet, Or from the door untended spurn A dog; an outcast kindly treat; And so thou shalt be blest in turn.
Choose knowledge, if thou desirest a blessing from the Universal Provider; for the ignorant man cannot raise himself above the earth, and it is by knowledge that thou must render thy soul praiseworthy.
Good fortune is a benefit to the wise, but a curse to the foolish.
In this thing one man is superior to another, that he is better able to bear adversity and prosperity.
The rays of happiness, like those of light, are colourless when unbroken.
There are three things which, in great quantity, are bad, and, in little, very good: leaven, salt, and liberality.
Who aims at excellence will be above mediocrity; who aims at mediocrity will be far short of it.
Keep thy heart afar from sorrow, and be not anxious about the trouble which is not yet come.
If thy garments be clean and thy heart be foul, thou needest no key to the door of hell.
We ought never to mock the wretched, for who can be sure of being always happy?
To those who err in judgment, not in will, anger is gentle.
Not only is the old man twice a child, but also the man who is drunk.
Wrapt up in error is the human mind, And human bliss is ever insecure; Know we what fortune yet remains behind? Know we how long the present shall endure?
A wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it.
He who formerly was reckless and afterwards became sober brightens up this world like the moon when freed from clouds.
When a base fellow cannot vie with another in merit he will attack him with malicious slander.
If a man be not so happy as he desires, let this be his comfort—he is not so wretched as he deserves.
In conversation humour is more than wit, easiness, more than knowledge; few desire to learn, or to think they need it; all desire to be pleased, or, if not, to be easy.
Sir W. Temple.
The greatest men sometimes overshoot themselves, but then their very mistakes are so many lessons of instruction.
We may be as good as we please, if we please to be good.
The round of a passionate man's life is in contracting debts in his passion which his virtue obliges him to pay. He spends his time in outrage and acknowledgment, injury and reparation.
To reprehend well is the most necessary and the hardest part of friendship. Who is it that does not sometimes merit a check, and yet how few will endure one? Yet wherein can a friend more unfold his love than in preventing dangers before their birth, or in bringing a man to safety who is travelling on the road to ruin? I grant there is a manner of reprehending which turns a benefit into an injury, and then it both strengthens error and wounds the giver. When thou chidest thy wandering friend do it secretly, in season, in love, not in the ear of a popular convention, for oftentimes the presence of a multitude makes a man take up an unjust defence, rather than fall into a just shame.
I put no account on him who esteems himself just as the popular breath may chance to raise him.
He who seeks wealth sacrifices his own pleasure, and, like him who carries burdens for others, bears the load of anxiety.
Circumspection in calamity; mercy in greatness; good speeches in assemblies; fortitude in adversity: these are the self-attained perfections of great souls.
The best preacher is the heart; the best teacher is time; the best book is the world; the best friend is God.
A woman will not throw away a garland, though soiled, which her lover gave: not in the object lies a present's worth, but in the love which it was meant to mark.
Men who have not observed discipline, and have not gained treasure in their youth, perish like old herons in a lake without fish.
As drops of bitter medicine, though minute, may have a salutary force, so words, though few and painful, uttered seasonably, may rouse the prostrate energies of those who meet misfortune with despondency.
There are three whose life is no life: he who lives at another's table; he whose wife domineers over him; and he who suffers bodily affliction.
Let thy words between two foes be such that if they were to become friends thou shouldst not be ashamed.
An indiscreet man is more hurtful than an ill-natured one; for as the latter will only attack his enemies, and those he wishes ill to, the other injures indifferently both his friends and foes.
A man of quick and active wit For drudgery is more unfit, Compared to those of duller parts, Than running nags are to draw carts.
All affectation is the vain and ridiculous attempt of poverty to appear rich.
There never was, there never will be, a man who is always praised, or a man who is always blamed.
A good man's intellect is piercing, yet inflicts no wound; his actions are deliberate, yet bold; his heart is warm, but never burns; his speech is eloquent, yet ever true.
He who can feel ashamed will not readily do wrong.
A stranger who is kind is a kinsman; an unkind kinsman is a stranger.
The good to others kindness show, And from them no return exact; The best and greatest men, they know, Thus ever nobly love to act.
 Cf. Luke, VI, 34, 35.
Trees loaded with fruit are bent down; the clouds when charged with fresh rain hang down near the earth: even so good men are not uplifted through prosperity. Such is the natural character of the liberal.
The man who neither gives in charity nor enjoys his wealth, which every day increases, breathes, indeed, like the bellows of a smith, but cannot be said to live.
That energy which veils itself in mildness is most effective of its object.
Our writings are like so many dishes, our readers, our guests, our books, like beauty—that which one admires another rejects; so we are approved as men's fancies are inclined.... As apothecaries, we make new mixtures every day, pour out of one vessel into another; and as those old Romans robbed all cities of the world to set out their bad-cited Rome, we skim off the cream of other men's wits, pick the choice flowers of their tilled gardens, to set out our own sterile plots. We weave the same web still, twist the same rope again and again; or, if it be a new invention, 'tis but some bauble or toy, which idle fellows write, for as idle fellows to read.
 Ferriar has pointed out, in his Illustrations of Sterne, how these passages from Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy have been boldly plagiarised in the introduction to the fragment on Whiskers in Tristram Shandy: "Shall we for ever make new books as apothecaries make new mixtures, by only pouring out of one vessel into another? Are we for ever to be twisting and untwisting the same rope?" And Dr. Johnson, who was a great admirer of Burton, adopts the illustration of the plundering Romans in his Rambler, No. 143.
It is our follies that make our lives uncomfortable. Our errors of opinion, our cowardly fear of the world's worthless censure, and our eagerness after unnecessary gold have hampered the way of virtue, and made it far more difficult than, in itself, it is.
There is not half so much danger in the desperate sword of a known foe as in the smooth insinuations of a pretended friend.
Nothing is so oppressive as a secret; it is difficult for ladies to keep it long, and I know even in this matter a good number of men who are women.
All kinds of beauty do not inspire love: there is a kind of it which pleases only the sight, but does not captivate the affections.
Contentment consisteth not in heaping more fuel, but in taking away some fire.
It is difficult to personate and act a part long, for where truth is not at the bottom Nature will always be endeavouring to return, and will peep out and betray herself one time or other.
The truest characters of ignorance Are vanity, pride, and arrogance; As blind men use to bear their noses higher Than those that have their eyes and sight entire.
It is better to be well deserving without praise than to live by the air of undeserved commendation.
He travels safe and not unpleasantly who is guarded by poverty and guided by love.
Sir P. Sidney.
Never put thyself in the way of temptation: even David could not resist it.
Pride is a vice which pride itself inclines every man to find in others and overlook in himself.
By six qualities may a fool be known: anger, without cause; speech, without profit; change, without motive; inquiry, without an object; trust in a stranger; and incapacity to discriminate between friend and foe.
Men are not to be judged by their looks, habits, and appearances, but by the character of their lives and conversations. 'Tis better that a man's own works than another man's words should praise him.
Sir R. L'Estrange.
To exert his power in doing good is man's most glorious task.
Those who are skilled in archery bend their bow only when they are prepared to use it; when they do not require it they allow it to remain unbent, for otherwise it would be unserviceable when the time for using it arrived. So it is with man. If he were to devote himself unceasingly to a dull round of business, without breaking the monotony by cheerful amusements, he would fall imperceptibly into idiotcy, or be struck with paralysis.
Blinded by self-conceit and knowing nothing, Like elephant infatuate with passion, I thought within myself, I all things knew; But when by slow degrees I somewhat learnt By aid of wise preceptors, my conceit, Like some disease, passed off; and now I live In the plain sense of what a fool I am.
Time is the most important thing in human life, for what is pleasure after the departure of time? and the most consolatory, since pain, when pain has passed, is nothing. Time is the wheel-track in which we roll on towards eternity, conducting us to the Incomprehensible. In its progress there is a ripening power, and it ripens us the more, and the more powerfully, when we duly estimate it. Listen to its voice, do not waste it, but regard it as the highest finite good, in which all finite things are resolved.
All that we are is made up of our thoughts; it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speak or act with a pure thought, happiness will follow him, like a shadow that never leaves him.
Depend not on another, rather lean Upon thyself; trust to thine own exertions: Subjection to another's will gives pain; True happiness consists in self-reliance.
If the friendship of the good be interrupted, their minds admit of no long change; as when the stalks of a lotus are broken the filaments within them are more visibly cemented.
Anger that has no limit causes terror, and unseasonable kindness does away with respect. Be not so severe as to cause disgust, nor so lenient as to make people presume.
Be patient, if thou wouldst thy ends accomplish; for like patience is there no appliance effective of success, producing certainly abundant fruit of actions, never damped by failure, conquering all impediments.
As rain breaks through an ill-thatched house, passion breaks through an unreflecting mind.
Most men, even the most accomplished, are of limited faculties; every one sets a value on certain qualities in himself and others: these alone he is willing to favour, these alone will he have cultivated.
Poverty, we may say, surrounds a man with ready-made barriers, which if they do mournfully gall and hamper, do at least prescribe for him, and force on him, a sort of course and goal; a safe and beaten, though a circuitous, course. A great part of his guidance is secure against fatal error, is withdrawn from his control. The rich, again, has his whole life to guide, without goal or barrier, save of his own choosing, and, tempted, is too likely to guide it ill.
By Fate full many a heart has been undone, And many a sprightly rose made woe-begone; Plume thee not on thy lusty youth and strength: Full many a bud is blasted ere its bloom.
The best thing is to be respected, the next, is to be loved; it is bad to be hated, but still worse to be despised.
To be envied is a nobler fate than to be pitied.
He only does not live in vain Who all the means within his reach Employs—his wealth, his thought, his speech— T'advance the weal of other men.
If you injure a harmless person, the evil will fall back upon you, like light dust thrown up against the wind.
In the life of every man there are sudden transitions of feeling, which seem almost miraculous. At once, as if some magician had touched the heavens and the earth, the dark clouds melt into the air, the wind falls, and serenity succeeds the storm. The causes which produce these changes may have been long at work within us, but the changes themselves are instantaneous, and apparently without sufficient cause.
Man is an intellectual animal, therefore an everlasting contradiction to himself. His senses centre in himself, his ideas reach to the ends of the universe; so that he is torn in pieces between the two without the possibility of its ever being otherwise. A mere physical being or a pure spirit can alone be satisfied with itself.
The pure in heart, who fear to sin, The good, kindly in word and deed— These are the beings in the world Whose nature should be called divine.
If thou desirest that the pure in heart should praise thee, lay aside anger; be not a man of many words; and parade not thy virtues in the face of others.
A wise man takes a step at a time; he establishes one foot before he takes up the other: an old place should not be forsaken recklessly.
The fish dwell in the depths of the waters, and the eagles in the sides of heaven; the one, though high, may be reached with the arrow, and the other, though deep, with the hook; but the heart of man at a foot's distance cannot be known.
 Cf. Proverbs, XXV, 3.
The life of man is the incessant walk of nature, wherein every moment is a step towards death. Even our growing to perfection is a progress to decay. Every thought we have is a sand running out of the glass of life.
I have observed that as long as a man lives and exerts himself he can always find food and raiment, though, it may be, not of the choicest description.
There are no riches like the sweetness of content, nor poverty comparable to the want of patience.
'Tis not for gain, for fame, from fear That righteous men injustice shun, And virtuous men hold virtue dear: An inward voice they seem to hear, Which tells them duty must be done.
As far and wide the vernal breeze Sweet odours waft from blooming trees, So, too, the grateful savour spreads To distant lands of virtuous deeds.
In this world, however little happiness may have been our portion, yet have we no desire to die. Whether he can speak of life as cheerful and delicate, or as full of pain, anxiety, and sorrow, never yet have I seen one who wished to die.
When morning silvers the dark firmament, Why shrills the bird of dawning his lament? It is to show in dawn's bright looking-glass How of thy careless life a night is spent.
Be thou generous, and gentle, and forgiving; as God hath scattered upon thee, scatter thou upon others.
In the body restraint is good; good is restraint in speech; in thought restraint is good: good is restraint in all things.
Men say that everyone is naturally a lover of himself, and that it is right that it should be so. This is a mistake; for in fact the cause of all the blunders committed by man arises from this excessive self-love. For the lover is blinded by the object loved, so that he passes a wrong judgment upon what is just, good, and beautiful, thinking that he ought always to honour what belongs to himself, in preference to truth. For he who intends to be a great man ought to love neither himself nor his own things, but only what is just, whether it happens to be done by himself or by another.
A man eminent in learning has not even a little virtue if he fears to practise it. What precious things can be shown to a blind man when he holds a lamp in his hand?
The first forty years of our life give the text, the next thirty furnish the commentary upon it, which enables us rightly to understand the true meaning and connection of the text with its moral and its beauties.
Good actions lead to success, as good medicines to a cure: a healthy man is joyful, and a diligent man attains learning; a just man gains the reward of his virtue.
Purpose without power is mere weakness and deception; and power without purpose is mere fatuity.
Suffering is the necessary consequence of sin, just as when you eat a sour fruit a stomach complaint ensues.
Riches disclose in a man's character the bad qualities formerly concealed in his poverty.
Whate'er the work a man performs, The most effective aid to its completion— The most prolific source of true success— Is energy, without despondency.
Humility is a virtue all preach, none practise, and yet everybody is content to hear. The master thinks it good doctrine for his servant, the laity for the clergy, and the clergy for the laity.
Authority intoxicates, And makes mere sots of magistrates; The fumes of it invade the brain, And make men giddy, proud, and vain; By this the fool commands the wise, The noble with the base complies, The sot assumes the rule of wit, And cowards make the base submit.
No man learns to know his inmost nature by introspection, for he rates himself sometimes too low, and often too high, by his own measurement. Man knows himself only by comparing himself with other men; it is life that touches his genuine worth.
Increase in goodness as long as thou art here, that, when thou departest, in that thou mayest still be joyful. According to our words and deeds in this life will be the remembrance of us in the world.
Parents' affection is best shown by their teaching their children industry and self-denial.
There are three things to beware of through life: when a man is young, let him beware of his appetites; when he is middle-aged, of his passions; and when old, of covetousness, especially.
He who has given satisfaction to the best of his time has lived for ages.
I never yet found pride in a noble nature nor humility in an unworthy mind.
Worldly fame is but a breath of wind, that blows now this way, now that, and changes name as it changes sides.
True modesty and true pride are much the same thing. Both consist in setting a just value on ourselves—neither more nor less.
Never does a man portray his own character more vividly than in his manner of portraying another.
A foolish husband fears his wife; a prudent wife obeys her husband.
He who devises evil for another falls at last into his own pit, and the most cunning finds himself caught by what he had prepared for another. But virtue without guile, erect like the lofty palm, rises with greater vigour when it is oppressed.
Laughing is peculiar to man, but all men do not laugh for the same reason. There is the attic salt which springs from the charm in the words, from the flash of wit, from the spirited and brilliant sally. There is the low joke which arises from scurrility and idle conceit.
The woman who is resolved to be respected can make herself be so even amidst an army of soldiers.
Petty ambition would seem to be a mean craving after distinction.
It is an old observation that wise men grow usually wiser as they grow older, and fools more foolish.
Use law and physic only for necessity. They that use them otherwise abuse themselves into weak bodies and light purses. They are good remedies, bad businesses, and worse recreations.
In some dispositions there is such an envious kind of pride that they cannot endure that any but themselves should be set forth as excellent; so that when they hear one justly praised they will either openly detract from his virtues; or, if those virtues be, like a clear and shining light, eminent and distinguished, so that he cannot be safely traduced by the tongue, they will then raise a suspicion against him by a mysterious silence, as if there were something remaining to be told which overclouded even his brightest glory.
Every man thinks with himself, I am well, I am wise, and laughs at others; and 'tis a general fault amongst them all, that which our forefathers approved—diet, apparel, humours, customs, manners—we deride and reject in our time as absurd.
Repeated sin destroys the understanding And he whose reason is impaired repeats His sins. The constant practising of virtue Strengthens the mental faculties, and he Whose judgment stronger grows acts always right.
If you wish to know how much preferable wisdom is to gold, then observe: if you change gold you get silver for it, but your gold is gone; but if you exchange one sort of wisdom for another, you obtain fresh knowledge, and at the same time keep what you possessed before.
The man who listens not to the words of affectionate friends will give joy in the time of distress to his enemies.
It is a proverbial expression that every man is the maker of his own fortune, and we usually regard it as implying that every man by his folly or wisdom prepares good or evil for himself. But we may view it in another light, namely, that we may so accommodate ourselves to the dispositions of Providence as to be happy in our lot, whatever may be its privations.
Be very circumspect in the choice of thy company. In the society of thy equals thou shalt enjoy more pleasure; in the society of thy superiors thou shalt find more profit. To be the best of the company is the way to grow worse; the best means to grow better is to be the worst there.
Assume in adversity a countenance of prosperity, and in prosperity moderate thy temper.
Mark this! who lives beyond his means Forfeits respect, loses his sense; Where'er he goes, through the seven births, All count him knave: him women hate.
Be cautious in your intercourse with the great; they seldom confer obligations on their inferiors but from interested motives. Friendly they appear as long as it serves their turn, but they will render no assistance in time of actual need.
Man, though he be gray-headed when he comes back, soon gets a young wife. But a woman's time is short within which she can expect to obtain a husband. If she allows it to slip away, no one cares to marry her. She sits at home, speculating on the probability of her marriage.
Hearts are like tapers, which at beauteous eyes Kindle a flame of love that never dies; And beauty is a flame, where hearts, like moths, Offer themselves a burning sacrifice.
When thou utterest not a word thou hast laid thy hand upon it; when thou hast uttered it, it hath laid its hand on thee.
To the tongue which bringeth thee words without reason, the answer that best beseemeth thee is—silence.
The man who talketh much and never acteth will not be held in reputation by anyone.
Two sources of success are known: wisdom and effort; make them both thine own, if thou wouldst haply rise.
The worse the ill that fate on noble souls Inflicts, the more their firmness; and they arm Their spirits with adamant to meet the blow.
Opportunities lose not, for all delay is madness; 'Mid bitter sorrow patience show, for 'tis the key of gladness.
Man is the only animal with the powers of laughter, a privilege which was not bestowed on him for nothing. Let us then laugh while we may, no matter how broad the laugh may be, and despite of what the poet says about "the loud laugh that speaks the vacant mind." The mind should occasionally be vacant, as the land should sometimes lie fallow, and for precisely the same reason.
The man of affluence is not in fact more happy than the possessor of a bare competency, unless, in addition to his wealth, the end of his life be fortunate. We often see misery dwelling in the midst of splendour, whilst real happiness is found in humbler stations.
Love of money is the disease which renders us most pitiful and grovelling, and love of pleasure is that which renders us most despicable.
He who labours diligently need never despair. We can accomplish every thing by diligence and labour.
Lost money is bewailed with deeper sighs Than friends, or kindred, and with louder cries.
In one short verse I here express The sum of tomes of sacred lore: Beneficence is righteousness, Oppression's sin's malignant core.
A wound inflicted by arrows heals, a wood cut down by an axe grows, but harsh words are hateful—a wound inflicted by them does not heal. Arrows of different sorts can be extracted from the body, but a word-dart cannot be drawn out, for it is seated in the heart.
To address a judicious remark to a thoughtless man is a mere threshing of chaff.
All the blessings of a household come through the wife, therefore should her husband honour her.
Certain books seem to be written, not that we might learn from them, but in order that we might see how much the author knows.
All that is old is not therefore necessarily excellent; all that is new is not despicable on that account alone. Let what is really meritorious be pronounced so by the candid judge after due investigation; blockheads alone are influenced by the opinion of others.
One of the diseases of this age is the multitude of books. It is a thriftless and a thankless occupation, this writing of books: a man were better to sing in a cobbler's shop, for his pay is a penny a patch; but a book-writer, if he get sometimes a few commendations from the judicious, he shall be sure to reap a thousand reproaches from the malicious.
We rather confess our moral errors, faults, and crimes than our ignorance.
The angel grows up in divine knowledge, the brute, in savage ignorance, and the son of man stands hesitating between the two.
She is a wife who is notable in her house; she is a wife who beareth children; she is a wife whose husband is as her life; she is a wife who is obedient to her lord. The wife is half the man; a wife is man's dearest friend; a wife is the source of his religion, his worldly profit, and his love. He who hath a wife maketh offerings in his house. Those who have wives are blest with good fortune. Wives are friends, who, by their kind and gentle speech, soothe you in your retirement. In your distresses they are as mothers, and they are refreshment to those who are travellers in the rugged paths of life.
He that is ambitious of fame destroys it. He that increaseth not his knowledge diminishes it. He that uses the crown of learning as an instrument of gain will pass away.
While the slightest inconveniences of the great are magnified into calamities, while tragedy mouths out their sufferings in all the strains of eloquence, the miseries of the poor are entirely disregarded; and yet some of the lower ranks of people undergo more real hardships in one day than those of a more exalted station suffer in their whole lives.
It is impossible for those who are engaged in low and grovelling pursuits to entertain noble and generous sentiments. Their thoughts must always necessarily be somewhat similar to their employments.
The interval is immense between corporeal qualifications and sciences: the body in a moment is extinct, but knowledge endureth to the end of time.
If thou lackest knowledge, what hast thou then acquired? Hast thou acquired knowledge, what else dost thou want?
Be modest and simple in your deportment, and treat with indifference whatever lies between virtue and vice. Love the human race; obey God.
Bootless grief hurts a man's self, but patience makes a jest of an injury.
Poverty without debt is independence.
Just as the track of birds that cleave the air Is not discovered, nor yet the path of fish That skim the water, so the course of those Who do good actions is not always seen.
He who has wealth has friends; he who has wealth has relations; he who has wealth is a hero among the people; he who has wealth is even a sage.
Like a beautiful flower, full of colour but without scent, are the fine but fruitless words of him who does not act accordingly.
When men are doubtful of the true state of things, their wishes lead them to believe in what is most agreeable.
Most men the good they have despise, And blessings which they have not prize: In winter, wish for summer's glow, In summer, long for winter's snow.
The best conduct a man can adopt is that which gains him the esteem of others without depriving him of his own.
Whoso associates with the wicked will be accused of following their ways, though their principles may have made no impression upon him; just as if a person were in the habit of frequenting a tavern, he would not be supposed to go there for prayer, but to drink intoxicating liquor.
The loss of a much-prized treasure is only half felt when we have not regarded its tenure as secure.
The dull-hued turkey apes the gait Of lordly peacock, richly plumed; And thus the poetaster shows When he would fain his verse recite.
Knowledge acquired by a man of low degree places him on a level with a prince, as a small river attains the irremeable ocean; and his fortune is then exalted.
An evil-minded man is quick to see His neighbour's faults, though small as mustard seed; But when he turns his eyes towards his own, Though large as bilva fruit, he none descries.
Two persons die remorseful: he who possessed and enjoyed not, and he who knew but did not practise.
With regard to a secret divulged and kept concealed, there is an excellent proverb, that the one is an arrow still in our possession, the other is an arrow sent from the bow.
The thing we want eludes our grasp, Some other thing is given; sometimes Our wish is gained, and gifts unsought Are ours; these all are God's own work.
If a man conquer in battle a thousand times a thousand men, and if another conquer himself, he is the greater of conquerors.
 Cf. Prov. XVI, 32.
The man who is in the highest state of prosperity, and who thinks his fortune is most secure, knows not if it will remain unchanged till the evening.
Amongst all possessions knowledge appears pre-eminent. The wise call it supreme riches, because it can never be lost, has no price, and can at no time be destroyed.
The shadows of the mind are like those of the body. In the morning of life they all lie behind us, at noon we trample them under foot, and in the evening they stretch long, broad, and deepening before us.
He who is full of faith and modesty, who shrinks from sin, and is full of learning, who is diligent, unremiss, and full of understanding—he, being replete with these seven things, is esteemed a wise man.
If your foot slip, you may recover your balance, but if your tongue slip, you cannot recall your words.
A vacant mind is open to all suggestions, as the hollow mountain returns all sounds.
Women are ever masters when they like, And cozen with their kindness; they have spells Superior to the wand of the magicians; And from their lips the words of wisdom fall, Like softest music on the listening ear.
A man cannot possess anything that is better than a good wife, or anything that is worse than a bad one.
The wife of bad conduct—constantly pleased with quarrelling—she is known by wise men to be cruel Old Age in the form of a wife.
I have often thought that the cause of men's good or ill fortune depends on whether they make their actions fit with the times. A man having prospered by one mode of acting can never be persuaded that it may be well for him to act differently, whence it is that a man's Fortune varies, because she changes her times and he does not his ways.
By nature all men are alike, but by education very different.
Whilom, ere youth's conceit had waned, methought Answers to all life's problems I had wrought; But now, grown old and wise, too late I see My life is spent, and all my lore is nought.
Weak men gain their object when allied with strong associates: the brook reaches the ocean by the river's aid.
A swan is out of place among crows, a lion among bulls, a horse among asses, and a wise man among fools.
Whosoever does not persecute them that persecute him; whosoever takes an offence in silence; he who does good because of love; he who is cheerful under his sufferings—these are the friends of God, and of them the Scripture says, "They shall shine forth like the sun at noontide."
It is intolerable that a silly fool, with nothing but empty birth to boast of, should in his insolence array himself in the merits of others, and vaunt an honour which does not belong to him.
Ask not a man who his father was but make trial of his qualities, and then conciliate or reject him accordingly. For it is no disgrace to new wine, if only it be sweet, as to its taste, that it was the juice [or daughter] of sour grapes.
The sun opens the lotuses, the moon illumines the beds of water-lilies, the cloud pours forth its water unasked: even so the liberal of their own accord are occupied in benefiting others.
We blame equally him who is too proud to put a proper value on his own merit and him who prizes too highly his spurious worth.
Men are so simple, and yield so much to necessity, that he who will deceive may always find him that will lend himself to be deceived.
Obstinate silence implies either a mean opinion of ourselves, or a contempt for our company; and it is the more provoking, as others do not know to which of these causes to attribute it—whether humility or pride.
If thou desire not to be poor, desire not to be too rich. He is rich, not that possesses much, but he that covets no more; and he is poor, not that enjoys little, but he that wants too much. The contented mind wants nothing which it hath not; the covetous mind wants, not only what it hath not, but likewise what it hath.
Those noble men who falsehood dread In wealth and glory ever grow, As flames with greater brightness glow With oil in ceaseless flow when fed.
But like to flames with water drenched, Which, faintly flickering, die away, So liars day by day decay, Till all their lustre soon is quenched.
Watch over thy expenditure, for he who through vain glory spendeth uselessly what he hath on empty follies, will receive neither return nor praise from anyone.
If thou art a man, speak not much about thine own manliness, for not every champion driveth the ball to the goal.
The potter forms what he pleases with soft clay, so a man accomplishes his works by his own act.
No man of high and generous spirit is ever willing to indulge in flattery; the good may feel affection for others, but will not flatter them.
An ass will with his long ears fray The flies that tickle him away; But man delights to have his ears Blown maggots in by flatterers.
Books are pleasant, but if by being over-studious we impair our health and spoil our good humour, two of the best things we have, let us give it over. I, for my part, am one of those who think no fruit derived from them can recompense so great a loss.
He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.
If with a stranger thou discourse, first learn, By strictest observation, to discern If he be wiser than thyself, if so, Be dumb, and rather choose by him to know; But if thyself perchance the wiser be, Then do thou speak, that he may learn by thee.
Being continually in people's sight, by the satiety which it creates, diminishes the reverence felt for great characters.
There is a great difference between one who can feel ashamed before his own soul and one who is only ashamed before his fellow men.
By rousing himself, by earnestness, by restraint and control the wise man may make for himself an island which no flood can overwhelm.
The best way to make ourselves agreeable to others is by seeming to think them so. If we appear fully sensible of their good qualities they will not complain of the want of them in us.
To form a judgment intuitively is the privilege of few; authority and example lead the rest of the world. They see with the eyes of others, they hear with the ears of others. Therefore it is very easy to think as all the world now think; but to think as all the world will think thirty years hence is not in the power of every one.
Poesy is a beauteous damsel, chaste, honourable, discreet, witty, retired, and who keeps herself within the limits of propriety. She is a friend of solitude; fountains entertain her, meadows console her, woods free her from ennui, flowers delight her; in short, she gives pleasure and instruction to all with whom she communicates.
How can we learn to know ourselves? By reflection, never, but by our actions. Attempt to do your duty, and you will immediately find what is in you.
Man is supreme lord and master Of his own ruin and disaster, Controls his fate, but nothing less In ordering his own happiness: For all his care and providence Is too feeble a defence To render it secure and certain Against the injuries of Fortune; And oft, in spite of all his wit, Is lost by one unlucky hit, And ruined with a circumstance, And mere punctilio of a chance.
There is nothing in this world which a resolute man, who exerts himself, cannot attain.
Ere need be shown, some men will act, As trees may fruit without a flower; To some you speak with no result, As seeds may die, and yield no grain.
Seven things characterise the wise man, and seven the blockhead. The wise man speaks not before those who are his superiors, either in age or wisdom. He interrupts not others in the midst of their discourse. He replies not hastily. His questions are relevant to the subject, his answers, to the purpose. In delivering his sentiments he taketh the first in order first, the last, last. What he understands not he says, "I understand not." He acknowledges his error, and is open to conviction. The reverse of all this characterises the blockhead.
How absolute and omnipotent is the silence of the night! And yet the stillness seems almost audible. From all the measureless depths of air around us comes a half sound, a half whisper, as if we could hear the crumbling and falling away of the earth and all created things in the great miracle of nature—decay and reproduction—ever beginning, never ending—the gradual lapse and running of the sand in the great hour-glass of Time.
What avails your wealth, if it makes you arrogant to the poor?
All confidence is dangerous unless it is complete; there are few circumstances in which it is not better either to hide all or to tell all.
It is well that there is no one without a fault, for he would not have a friend in the world: he would seem to belong to a different species.
The mind alike, Vigorous or weak, is capable of culture, But still bears fruit according to its nature. 'Tis not the teacher's skill that rears the scholar: The sparkling gem gives back the glorious radiance It drinks from other light, but the dull earth Absorbs the blaze, and yields no gleam again.
One man envies the success in life of another, and hates him in secret; nor is he willing to give him good advice when he is consulted, except it be by some wonderful effort of good feeling, and there are, alas, few such men in the world. A real friend, on the other hand, exults in his friend's happiness, rejoices in all his joys, and is ready to afford him the best advice.
This body is a tent which for a space Does the pure soul with kingly presence grace; When he departs, comes the tent-pitcher, Death, Strikes it, and moves to a new halting-place.
Speak but little, and that little only when thy own purposes require it. Heaven has given thee two ears but only one tongue, which means: listen to two things, but be not the first to propose one.
The natural hostility of beasts is laid aside when flying from pursuers; so also when danger is impending the enmity of rivals is ended.
He who toils with pain will eat with pleasure.
A day of fortune is like a harvest-day, we must be busy when the corn is ripe.
The fame of good men's actions seldom goes beyond their own doors, but their evil deeds are carried a thousand miles' distance.
A subtle-witted man is like an arrow, which, rending little surface, enters deeply, but they whose minds are dull resemble stones dashing with clumsy force, but never piercing.
It is good to tame the mind, which is difficult to hold in, and flighty, rushing wheresoever it listeth: a tamed mind brings blessings.
The man who every sacred science knows, Yet has not strength to keep in check the foes That rise within him, mars his Fortune's fame, And brings her by his feebleness to shame.
What a rich man gives and what he consumes, that is his real worth.
He who does not think too much of himself is much more esteemed than he imagines.
It is a kind of policy in these days to prefix a fantastical title to a book which is to be sold; for as larks come down to a day-net, many vain readers will tarry and stand gazing, like silly passengers, at an antic picture in a painter's shop that will not look at a judicious piece.
With many readers brilliancy of style passes for affluence of thought: they mistake buttercups in the grass for immeasurable gold mines under the ground.
The doctrine that enters only into the ear is like the repast one takes in a dream.
Adorn thy mind with knowledge, for knowledge maketh thy worth.
Men hail the rising sun with glee, They love his setting glow to see, But fail to mark that every day In fragments bears their life away.
All Nature's face delight to view, As changing seasons come anew; None sees how each revolving year Abridges swiftly man's career.
The good man shuns evil and follows good; he keeps secret that which ought to be hidden; he makes his virtues manifest to all; he does not forsake one in adversity; he gives in season: such are the marks of a worthy friend.
No one hath come into the world for a continuance save him who leaveth behind him a good name.
 Cf. 29.
Gross ignorance produces a dogmatic spirit. He who knows nothing thinks he can teach others what he has himself just been learning. He who knows much scarcely believes that what he is saying is unknown to others, and consequently speaks with more hesitation.
When you see a man elated with pride, glorying in his riches and high descent, rising even above fortune, look out for his speedy punishment; for he is only raised the higher that he may fall with a heavier crash.
The ridiculous is produced by any defect that is unattended by pain, or fatal consequences; thus, an ugly and deformed countenance does not fail to cause laughter, if it is not occasioned by pain.
Happy the man who early learns the difference between his wishes and his powers.
There is nothing more pitiable in the world than an irresolute man vacillating between two feelings, who would willingly unite the two, and who does not perceive that nothing can unite them.
Beauty in a modest woman is like fire at a distance, or like a sharp sword: neither doth the one burn nor the other wound him that comes not too near them.
We are more sociable and get on better with people by the heart than the intellect.
A good man may fall, but he falls like a ball [and rebounds]; the ignoble man falls like a lump of clay.
Do not anxiously expect what is not yet come; do not vainly regret what is already past.
The way to subject all things to thyself is to subject thyself to reason; thou shalt govern many if reason govern thee. Wouldst thou be a monarch of a little world, command thyself.
If our inward griefs were written on our brows, how many who are envied now would be pitied. It would seem that they had their deadliest foe in their own breast, and their whole happiness would be reduced to mere seeming.
There are many who talk on from ignorance rather than from knowledge, and who find the former an inexhaustible fund of conversation.
Whoever brings cheerfulness to his work, and is ever active, dashes through the world's labours.
Grossness is not difficult to define: it is obtrusive and objectionable pleasantry.
Do not consider any vice as trivial, and therefore practise it; do not consider any virtue as unimportant, and therefore neglect it.
To bad as well as good, to all, A generous man compassion shows; On earth no mortal lives, he knows, Who does not oft through weakness fall.
The good extend their loving care To men, however mean or vile; E'en base Chandalas' dwellings share Th' impartial sunbeam's silver smile.
 Chandalas, or Pariahs, are the lowest, or of no caste.
Let a man accept with confidence valuable knowledge even from a person of low degree, good instruction regarding duty even from a humble man, and a jewel of a wife even from an ignoble family.
We cannot too soon convince ourselves how easily we may be dispensed with in the world. What important personages we imagine ourselves to be! We think that we alone are the life of the circle in which we move; in our absence, we fancy that life, existence, breath will come to a general pause, and, alas, the gap which we leave is scarcely perceptible, so quickly is it filled again; nay, it is often the place, if not of something better, at least for something more agreeable.
The friendships formed between good and evil men differ. The friendship of the good, at first faint like the morning light, continually increases; the friendship of the evil at the very beginning is like the light of midday, and dies away like the light of evening.
 In many parts of the East there is practically no twilight.
A hundred long leagues is no distance for him who would quench the thirst of covetousness; but a contented mind has no solicitude for grasping wealth.
The noble-minded dedicate themselves to the promotion of the happiness of others—even of those who injure them. True happiness consists in making happy.
A benefit given to the good is like characters engraven on a stone; a benefit given to the evil is like a line drawn on water.
The undertaking of a careless man succeeds not, though he use the right expedients: a clever hunter, though well placed in ambush, kills not his quarry if he falls asleep.
All love, at first, like generous wine, Ferments and frets until 'tis fine; But when 'tis settled on the lee, And from th' impurer matter free, Becomes the richer still the older, And proves the pleasanter the colder.
Safe in thy breast close lock up thy intents, For he that knows thy purpose best prevents.
Frugality should ever be practised, but not excessive parsimony.
He who receives a favour must retain a recollection of it for all time to come; but he who confers should at once forget it, if he is not to show a sordid and ungenerous spirit. To remind a man of a kindness conferred on him, and to talk of it, is little different from a reproach.
Pride not thyself on thy religious works, Give to the poor, but talk not of thy gifts: By pride religious merit melts away, The merit of thy alms, by ostentation.
The empty beds of rivers fill again; Trees leafless now renew their vernal bloom; Returning moons their lustrous phase resume; But man a second youth expects in vain.
 Cf. Job, XIV, 7.
Shall He to thee His aid refuse Who clothes the swan in dazzling white, Who robes in green the parrot bright, The peacocks decks in rainbow hues?
 Cf. Matt. VI, 25, 26.
A bad man is as much pleased as a good man is distressed to speak ill of others.
Every bird has its decoy, and every man is led and misled in his own peculiar way.
There is such a grateful tickling in the mind of man in being commended that even when we know the praises which are bestowed on us are not our due, we are not angry with the author's insincerity.
Too much to lament a misery is the next way to draw on a remediless mischief.
There is no remembrance which time doth not obliterate, nor pain which death doth not put an end to.
Look not mournfully into the Past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the Present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy Future, without fear, and with a manly heart.
Plans that are wise and prudent in themselves are rendered vain when the execution of them is carried on negligently and with imprudence.
Every man stamps his value on himself. The price we challenge for ourselves is given us. Man is made great or little by his own will.
Hath any wronged thee, be bravely revenged. Slight it, and the work's begun; forgive it, and 'tis finished. He is below himself that is not above an injury.
As gold is tried by the furnace, and the baser metal shown, so the hollow-hearted friend is known by adversity.
The rose does not bloom without thorns. True, but would that the thorns did not outlive the rose.
Truth from the mouth of an honest man and severity from a good-natured man have a double effect.
Most virgins marry, just as nuns The same thing the same way renounce; Before they've wit to understand The bold attempt, they take in hand; Or, having stayed and lost their tides, Are out of season grown for brides.
The fountain of content must spring up in the mind, and he who has so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition will waste his life in fruitless efforts, and multiply the griefs which he purposes to remove.
In all things, to serve from the lowest station upwards is necessary. To restrict yourself to a trade is best. For the narrow mind, whatever he attempts is still a trade; for the higher, an art; and the highest in doing one thing does all, or, to speak less paradoxically, in the one thing which he does rightly he sees the likeness of all that is done rightly.
Misanthropy ariseth from a man trusting another without having sufficient knowledge of his character, and, thinking him to be truthful, sincere, and honourable, finds a little afterwards that he is wicked, faithless, and then he meets with another of the same character. When a man experiences this often, and more particularly from those whom he considered his most dear and best friends, at last, having frequently made a slip, he hates the whole world, and thinks that there is nothing sound at all in any of them.
Pleasure, most often delusive, may be born of delusion. Pleasure, herself a sorceress, may pitch her tents on enchanted ground. But happiness (or, to use a more accurate and comprehensive term, solid well-being) can be built on virtue alone, and must of necessity have truth for its foundation.
Entangled in a hundred worldly snares, Self-seeking men, by ignorance deluded, Strive by unrighteous means to pile up riches. Then, in their self-complacency, they say, "This acquisition I have made to-day, That will I gain to-morrow, so much pelf Is hoarded up already, so much more Remains that I have yet to treasure up. This enemy I have destroyed, him also, And others in their turn, I will despatch. I am a lord; I will enjoy myself; I'm wealthy, noble, strong, successful, happy; I'm absolutely perfect; no one else In all the world can be compared to me. Now will I offer up a sacrifice, Give gifts with lavish hand, and be triumphant." Such men, befooled by endless vain conceits, Caught in the meshes of the world's illusion, Immersed in sensuality, descend Down to the foulest hell of unclean spirits.
 Cf. Luke, XII, 17-20; see also 291.
There needs no other charm, nor conjuror, To raise infernal spirits up, but Fear, That makes men pull their horns in, like a snail, That's both a prisoner to itself and jail; Draws more fantastic shapes than in the grains Of knotted wood, in some men's crazy brains, When all the cocks they think they are, and bulls, Are only in the insides of their skulls.
He that rectifies a crooked stick bends it the contrary way, so must he that would reform a vice learn to affect its mere contrary, and in time he shall see the springing blossoms of a happy restoration.
The more weakness the more falsehood; strength goes straight: every cannon ball that has in it hollows and holes goes crooked.
Learning dissipates many doubts, and causes things otherwise invisible to be seen, and is the eye of everyone who is not absolutely blind.
Very distasteful is excessive fame To the sour palate of the envious mind, Who hears with grief his neighbours good by name, And hates the fortune that he ne'er shall find.
A more glorious victory cannot be gained over another man than this, that when the injury began on his part the kindness should begin on ours.
Time, which gnaws and diminishes all things else, augments and increases benefits, because a noble action of liberality done to a man of reason doth grow continually by his generously thinking of it and remembering it.
Were all thy fond endeavours vain To chase away the sufferer's smart, Still hover near, lest absence pain His lonely heart.
For friendship's tones have kindlier power Than odorous fruit, or nectared bowl, To soothe, in sorrow's languid hour, The sinking soul.
The faults of others are easily perceived, but those of oneself are difficult to perceive; a man winnows his neighbour's faults like chaff, but his own fault he hides as a cheat hides the false dice from the gamester.
Education and morals will be found almost the whole that goes to make a good man.
Toil and pleasure, in their natures opposite, are yet linked together in a kind of necessary connection.
Enjoy thou the prosperity of others, Although thyself unprosperous; noble men Take pleasure in their neighbours' happiness.
Neither live with a bad man nor be at enmity with him; even as if you take hold of glowing charcoal it will burn you, if you take hold of cold charcoal it will soil you.
In the sandal-tree are serpents, in the water lotus flowers, but crocodiles also; even virtues are marred by the vicious—in all enjoyments there is something which impairs our happiness.
There is no pleasure of life sprouting like a tree from one root but there is some pain joined to it; and again nature brings good out of evil.
The manner of giving shows the character of the giver more than the gift itself. There is a princely manner of giving and accepting.
Perfect ignorance is quiet, perfect knowledge is quiet; not so the transition from the former to the latter.
Superstition is the religion of feeble minds; and they must be tolerated in an admixture of it in some trifling or enthusiastic shape or other; else you will deprive weak minds of a resource found necessary to the strongest.
Fair words without good deeds to a man in misery are like a saddle of gold clapped upon a galled horse.
There is a rabble among the gentry as well as the commonalty; a sort of plebeian heads whose fancy moves with the same wheel as these men—in the same level with mechanics, though their fortunes do sometimes gild their infirmities and their purses compound for their follies.
Sir Thomas Browne.
It is a common remark that men talk most who think least; just as frogs cease their quacking when a light is brought to the water-side.
Our time is like our money; when we change a guinea the shillings escape as things of small account; when we break a day by idleness in the morning, the rest of the hours lose their importance in our eyes.
Sir Walter Scott.
Vociferation and calmness of character seldom meet in the same person.
Wit and wisdom differ. Wit is upon the sudden turn, wisdom is in bringing about ends.
Real and solid happiness springs from moderation.
In all the world there is no vice Less prone t'excess than avarice; It neither cares for food nor clothing: Nature's content with little, that with nothing.
Beside the streamlet seated, mark how life glides on: That sign, how swift each moment goes, to me's enough. Behold this world's delights, and view its various pains: If not to you, the joy it shows to me's enough.
The lake no longer water holds— Off fly the fowls, the lilies stay: If friends are friends when wealth is gone, The lily's constancy they share.
Let us be well persuaded that everyone of us possesses happiness in proportion to his virtue and wisdom, and according as he acts in obedience to their suggestion.
All property which comes to hand by means of violence, or infamy, or baseness, however large it may be, is tainted and unblest. On the other hand, whatever is obtained by honest profit, small though it be, brings a blessing with it.
 See 44.
We should know mankind better if we were not so anxious to resemble one another.
Root out the love of self, as you might the autumn lotus with your hand.
Whoever has the seed of virtue and honour implanted in his breast will drop a sympathising tear on the woes of his neighbour.
Do naught to others which, if done to thee, would cause thee pain: this is the sum of duty.
 Cf. Matt. VII, 12.
A bad man, though raised to honour, always returns to his natural course, as a dog's tail, though warmed by the fire and rubbed with oil, retains its form.
 Cf. Arab proverb: "A dog's tail never can be made straight."
The man who cannot blush, and who has no feelings of fear, has reached the acme of impudence.
It is the usual consolation of the envious, if they cannot maintain their superiority, to represent those by whom they are surpassed as inferior to some one else.
Such as the chain of causes we call Fate, such is the chain of wishes: one links on to another; the whole man is bound in the chain of wishing for ever.
I do remember stopping by the way, To watch a potter thumping his wet clay; And with its all-obliterated tongue It murmured, "Gently, brother, gently, pray!"
If you only knew the evils which others suffer, you would willingly submit to those which you now bear.
Children form a bond of union than which the human heart finds none more enduring.
The sweetest pleasures soonest cloy, And its best flavour temperance gives to joy.
To our own sorrows serious heed we give, But for another's we soon cease to grieve.
Can anything be more absurd than that the nearer we are to our journey's end, we should lay in the more provision for it?
Set about whatever you intend to do; the beginning is half the battle.
All smatterers are more brisk and pert Than those who understand an art; As little sparkles shine more bright Than glowing coals that gave them light.
No prince, how great soever, begets his predecessors, and the noblest rivers are not navigable to the fountain.
The guilty man may escape, but he cannot be sure of doing so.
In everything you will find annoyances, but you ought to consider whether the advantages do not predominate.
Dreams in general take their rise from those incidents which have most occupied the thoughts during the day.
Sleeping, we image what awake we wish; Dogs dream of bones, and fishermen of fish.
 Cf. Arab proverb: "The dream of the cat is always about mice."
A man who does not endeavour to seem more than he is will generally be thought nothing of. We habitually make such large deductions for pretence and imposture that no real merit will stand against them. It is necessary to set off our good qualities with a certain air of plausibility and self-importance, as some attention to fashion is necessary.
There is nothing more beautiful than cheerfulness in an old face, and among country people it is always a sign of a well-regulated life.
From things which have been obtained after having been long desired men almost never derive the pleasure and delight which they had anticipated.
Seest thou good days? Prepare for evil times. No summer but hath its winter. He never reaped comfort in adversity that sowed not in prosperity.
Every man knows his own but not others' defects and miseries; and 'tis the nature of all men still to reflect upon themselves their own misfortunes, not to examine or consider other men's, not to confer themselves with others; to recount their own miseries but not their good gifts, fortunes, benefits which they have, to ruminate on their adversity, but not once to think on their prosperity, not what they have but what they want.
Some people, you would think, are made up of nothing but title and genealogy; the stamp of dignity defaces in them the very character of humanity, and transports them to such a degree of haughtiness that they reckon it below them to exercise good nature or good manners.
He alone is poor who does not possess knowledge.
It is not enough to know; we must apply what we know. It is not enough to will; we must also act.
Words of blame from those who are hostile to a great man cannot injure him. The moon is not hurt when barked at by a dog.
The value of three things is justly appreciated by all classes of men: youth, by the old; health, by the diseased; and wealth, by the needy.
As one might nurse a tiny flame, The able and far-seeing man, E'en with the smallest capital, Can raise himself to wealth.
By a husband wealth is accumulated; by a wife is its preservation.
It is very hard for the mind to disengage itself from a subject on which it has been long employed. The thoughts will be rising of themselves from time to time, though we have given them no encouragement, as the tossings and fluctuations of the sea continue several hours after the winds are laid.
Hypocrisy will serve as well To propagate a church as zeal; As persecution and promotion Do equally advance devotion: So round white stones will serve, they say, As well as eggs, to make hens lay.
Man differs from other animals particularly in this, that he is imitative, and acquires his rudiments of knowledge in this way; besides, the delight in imitation is universal.
The hooting fowler seldom takes much game. When a man has a project in his mind, digested and fixed by consideration, it is wise to keep it secret till the time that his designs arrive at their despatch and perfection. He is unwise who brags much either of what he will do or what he shall have, for if what he speaks of fall not out accordingly, instead of applause, a mock and scorn will follow him.
What is the most profitable? Fellowship with the good. What is the worst thing in the world? The society of evil men. What is the greatest loss? Failure in one's duty. Where is the greatest peace? In truth and righteousness. Who is the hero? The man who subdues his senses. Who is the best beloved? The faithful wife. What is wealth? Knowledge. What is the most perfect happiness? Staying at home.
If a man says that it is right to give every one his due, and therefore thinks within his own mind that injury is due from a just man to his enemies but kindness to his friends, he was not wise who said so, for he spoke not the truth, for in no case has it appeared to be just to injure any one.
 Cf. Matt. V, 43, 44.
Faith is like love, it cannot be forced. Therefore it is a dangerous operation if an attempt be made to introduce or bind it by state regulations; for, as the attempt to force love begets hatred, so also to compel religious belief produces rank unbelief.
We are like vessels tossed on the bosom of the deep; our passions are the winds that sweep us impetuously forward; each pleasure is a rock; the whole life is a wide ocean. Reason is the pilot to guide us, but often allows itself to be led astray by the storms of pride.
Empty is the house of a childless man; as empty is the mind of a bachelor; empty are all quarters of the world to an ignorant man; but poverty is total emptiness.
The wicked have no stability, for they do not remain in consistency with themselves; they continue friends only for a short time, rejoicing in each other's wickedness.
It is the natural disposition of all men to listen with pleasure to abuse and slander of their neighbour, and to hear with impatience those who utter praises of themselves.
A man ought not to return evil for evil, as many think, since at no time ought we to do an injury to our neighbour.
 Cf. Rom. XII, 19; 1 Thess. V, 15.
In all that belongs to man you cannot find a greater wonder than memory. What a treasury of all things! What a record! What a journal of all! As if provident Nature, because she would have man circumspect, had furnished him with an account-book, to carry always with him. Yet it neither burthens nor takes up room.
He who will not freely and sadly confess that he is much a fool is all a fool.
The man with hoary head is not revered as aged by the gods, but only he who has true knowledge; he, though young, is old.
No fathers and mothers think their own children ugly, and this self-deceit is yet stronger with respect to the offspring of the mind.
In thy apparel avoid singularity, profuseness, and gaudiness. Be not too early in the fashion, nor too late. Decency is half way between affectation and neglect. The body is the shell of the soul, apparel is the husk of that shell; the husk often tells you what the kernel is.
We have more faith in a well-written romance while we are reading it than in common history. The vividness of the representations in the one case more than counterbalances the mere knowledge of the truth of facts in the other.