It is not easy to surround life with any circumstances in which youth will not be delightful; and I am afraid that, whether married or unmarried, we shall find the vesture of terrestrial existence more heavy and cumbrous the longer it is worn.
Inquisitive people are the funnels of conversation; they do not take anything for their own use, but merely to pass it on to others.
Whenever you commend, add your reasons for doing so; it is this which distinguishes the approbation of a man of sense from the flattery of sycophants and admiration of fools.
A favor well bestowed is almost as great an honor to him who confers it as to him who receives it.
Human life is too short to recompense the cares which attend the most private condition: therefore it is, that our souls are made, as it were, too big for it; and extend themselves in the prospect of a longer existence, in good fame, and memory of worthy actions, after our decease.
As ceremony is the invention of wise men to keep fools at a distance, so good-breeding is an expedient to make fools and wise men equal.
Allow no man to be so free with you as to praise you to your face.—Your vanity, by this means, will want its food, but at the same time your passion for esteem will be more fully gratified; men will praise you in their actions; where you now receive one compliment, you will then receive twenty civilities.
Topics: Praise, Flattery
Pleasure, when it is a man’s chief purpose, disappoints itself; and the constant application to it palls the faculty of enjoying it, and leaves the sense of our inability for that we wish, with a disrelish of everything else. Thus the intermediate seasons of the man of pleasure are more heavy than one would impose upon the vilest criminal.
A man endowed with great perfections, without good-breeding, is like one who has his pockets full of gold, but always wants change for his ordinary occasions.
This portable quality of good humor seasons all the parts and occurrences we meet with in such a manner that there are no moments lost, but they all pass with so much satisfaction that the heaviest of loads, when it is a load, that of time, is never felt by us.
Lies which are told out of arrogance and ostentation, a man should detect in his own defense, because he should not be triumphed over. Lies which are told out of malice he should expose, both for his own sake and that of the rest of mankind, because every man should rise against a common enemy; but the officious liar, many have argued, is to be excused, because it does some man good, and no man hurt.
Zeal for the public good is the characteristic of a man of honor and a gentleman, and must take place of pleasures, profits, and all other private gratifications. Whoever wants this motive, is an open enemy, or an inglorious neuter to mankind, in proportion to the misapplied advantages with which nature and fortune have blessed him.
In thee oppressors soothe their angry brow; in thee, th’ oppress’d forget tyrannic pow’r; in thee, the wretch condemn’d is equal to his judge; and the sad lover to his cruel fair; nay, all the shining glories men pursue, when thou art wanted, are but empty noise.
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