They are, as it were, train-bearers in the pageant of life, and hold a glass up to humanity, frailer than itself. We see ourselves at second-hand in them: they show us all that we are, all that we wish to be, and all that we dread to be. What brings the resemblance nearer is, that, as they imitate us, we, in our turn, imitate them. There is no class of society whom so many persons regard with affection as actors.
They are the only honest hypocrites, their life is a voluntary dream, a studied madness.
We must overact our part in some measure, in order to produce any effect at all.
The more we do, the more we can do; the more busy we are, the more leisure we have.
You know more of a road by having traveled it than by all the conjectures and descriptions in the world.
Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity is a greater. Possession pampers the mind; privation trains and strengthens it.
To be happy, we must be true to nature, and carry our age along with us.
Category: Age And Aging
The worst old age is that of the mind.
Category: Age And Aging
First impressions are often the truest, as we find (not infrequently) to our cost, when we have been wheedled out of them by plausible professions or studied actions. A man's look is the work of years; it is stamped on his countenance by the events of his whole life, nay, more, by the hand of nature, and it is not to be got rid of easily.
Defoe says that there were a hundred thousand country fellows in his time ready to fight to the death against popery, without knowing whether popery was a man or a horse.
If I have not read a book before, it is, for all intents and purposes, new to me whether it was printed yesterday or three hundred years ago.
Category: Books And Reading
The most sensible people to be met with in society are men of business and of the world, who argue from what they see and know, instead of spinning cobweb distinctions of what things ought to be.
There is an unseemly exposure of the mind, as well as of the body.
We are the creatures of imagination, passion, and self-will, more than of reason or even of self-interest. Even in the common transactions and daily intercourse of life, we are governed by whim, caprice, prejudice, or accident. The falling of a teacup puts us out of temper for the day; and a quarrel that commenced about the pattern of a gown may end only with our lives.
A full-dressed ecclesiastic is a sort of go-cart of divinity; an ethical automaton. A clerical prig is, in general, a very dangerous as well as contemptible character. The utmost that those who thus habitually confound their opinions and sentiments with the outside coverings of their bodies can aspire to, is a negative and neutral character, like wax-work figures, where the dress is done as much to the life as the man, and where both are respectable pieces of pasteboard, or harmless compositions of fleecy hosiery.