What is called chance is the instrument of Providence and the secret agent that counteracts what men call wisdom, and preserves order and regularity, and continuation in the whole, for ... I firmly believe, notwithstanding all our complaints, that almost every person upon earth tastes upon the totality more happiness than misery; and therefore if we could correct the world to our fancies, and with the best intentions imaginable, probably we should only produce more misery and confusion.
Shakespeare, with an improved education and in a more enlightened age, might easily have attained the purity and correction of Racine; but nothing leads one to suppose that Racine in a barbarous age would have attained the grandeur, force and nature of Shakespeare.
When the Prince of Piedmont [later Charles Emmanuel IV, King of Sardinia] was seven years old, his preceptor instructing him in mythology told him all the vices were enclosed in Pandora's box. "What! all!" said the Prince. "Yes, all." "No," said the Prince; "curiosity must have been without.
Pedants make a great rout about criticism, as if it were a science of great depth, and required much pains and knowledge--criticism however is only the result of good sense, taste and judgment--three qualities that indeed seldom are found together, and extremely seldom in a pedant, which most critics are.
My aversion to them...springs from the perniciousness of that sect to society-I hate Papists, as a man, not as a Protestant. If Papists were only enemies to the religion of other men, I should overlook their errors. As they are foes to liberty, I cannot forgive them.
King René of Anjou [(1409-80)]was a strange compound of amiable, great and trifling qualities. He was so excellent a sovereign as to acquire the surnom of the Good. He was brave in war, delighted in tournaments and wrote on them, instituted festivals and processions, partly religious and partly burlesque, was a fond husband, a romantic lover, a good painter for that age, and a true philosopher.
Old friends are the great blessings of one's later years. Half a word conveys one's meaning. They have a memory of the same events, have the same mode of thinking. I have young relations that may grow upon me, for my nature is affectionate, but can they grow To Be old friends?
Serendipity... You will understand it better by the derivation than by the definition. I once read a silly fairy tale, called 'The Three Princes of Serendip': as their Highnesses traveled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of.