I have visited many countries, and have been in cities without number, yet never did I enter a town which could not produce ten or twelve little great men; all fancying themselves known to the rest of the world, and complimenting each other upon their extensive reputation.
This is that eloquence the ancients represented as lightning, bearing down every opposer; this the power which has turned whole assemblies into astonishment, admiration and awe- - that is described by the torrent, the flame, and every other instance of irresistible impetuosity.
She who makes her husband and her children happy, who reclaims the one from vice, and trains up the other to virtue, is a much greater character than the ladies described in romance, whose whole occupation is to murder mankind with shafts from their quiver or their eyes.
Man little knows what calamities are beyond his patience to bear till he tries them; as in ascending the heights of ambition, which look bright from below, every step we rise shows us some new and gloomy prospect of hidden disappointment; so in our descent from the summits of pleasure, though the vale of misery below may appear, at first, dark and gloomy, yet the busy mind, still attentive to its own amusement, finds, as we descend, something to flatter and to please. Still as we approach, the darkest objects appear to brighten, and the mortal eye becomes adapted to... Read more »
There is yet a silent agony in which the mind appears to disdain all external help, and broods over its distresses with gloomy reserve. This is the most dangerous state of mind; accidents or friendships may lessen the louder kinds of grief, but all remedies for this must be had from within, and there despair too often finds the most deadly enemy.
Filial obedience is the first and greatest requisite of a state; by this we become good subjects to our emperors, capable of behaving with just subordination to our superiors, and grateful dependents on heaven; by this we become fonder of marriage, in order to be capable of exacting obedience from others in our turn; by this we become good magistrates, for early submission is the truest lesson to those who would learn to rule. By this the whole state may be said to resemble one family.
Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high, Where once the sign-post caught the passing eye, Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts inspired, Where graybeard mirth and smiling toil retired, Where village statesmen talk'd with looks profound, And news much older than their ale went round.
Quality and title have such allurements that hundreds are ready to give up all their own importance, to cringe, to flatter, to look little, and to pall every pleasure in constraint, merely to be among the great, though without the least hopes of improving their understanding or sharing their generosity. They might be happier among their equals.
What cities, as great as this, have . . . promised themselves immortality! Posterity can hardly trace the situation of some. The sorrowful traveller wanders over the awful ruins of others. . . . Here stood their citadel, but now grown over with weeds; there their senate-house, but now the haunt of every noxious reptile; temples and theatres stood here, now only an undistinguished heap of ruins.