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L'homme ne sait à quel rang se mettre. Il est visiblement égaré et sent en lui des restes d'un état heureux, dont il est déchu, et qu'il ne peut retrouver. Il le cherche partout avec inquiétude et sans succès dans des ténèbres impenetrables.—Sa misère se conclut de sa grandeur, et sa grandeur se conclut de sa misère.-PASCAL.
P. 85, I. 1.
But soon 'tis past
This light, which is so heavenly in its lustre, and which is every where and on every thing when we look round us on our arrival here; which, while it lasts, never leaves us, rejoicing us by night as well as by day, and lighting up our very dreams; yet when it fades, fades so fast, and, when it goes, goes out for ever,—we may address it in the words of the Poet, words which we might apply so often in this transitory life: Too soon your value from your loss we learn.
Epistles in Verse, ii.
P. 85, l. 3.
like the stone
That sheds awhile a lustre all its own,
See “ Observations on a diamond that shines in the dark."
BOYLE'S WORKS, i. 789.
P. 85, l. 18.
Schooled and trained up to Wisdom from his birth; Cicero, in his Essay De Senectute, has drawn his images
from the better walks of life; and Shakspeare, in his Seven Ages, has done so too. But Shakspeare treats his subject satirically; Cicero as a philosopher. In the venerable portrait of Cato we discover no traces of “the lean and slippered Pantaloon.”
Every object has a bright and a dark side; and I have endeavoured to look at things as Cicero has done. By some, however, I may be thought to have followed too much my own dream of happiness; and in such a dream indeed I have often passed a solitary hour. It was Castle-building once; now it is no longer so. But whoever would try to realize it, would not perhaps repent of his endeavour.
P. 85, I. 20.
The day arrives, the moment wished and feared;
A Persian Poet has left us a beautiful thought on this subject, which the reader, if he has not met with it, will be glad to know, and, if he has, to remember.
Thee on thy Mother's knees, a new-born child,
For my version I am in a great measure indebted to Sir William Jones.
P. 87, I. 23.
“ These are my Jewels !”
The anecdote here alluded to, is related by Valerius Maximus, Lib. iv. c. 4.
P. 87, 1. 25.
“ Suffer these little ones to come to me !"
In our early Youth, while yet we live only among those we love, we love without restraint, and our hearts overflow in every look, word, and action. But when we enter the world and are repulsed by strangers, forgotten by friends, we grow more and more timid in our approaches even to those we love best.
How delightful to us then are the little caresses of children! All sincerity, all affection, they fly into our arms; and then, and then only, do we feel our first confidence, our first pleasure.
P. 88, 1. 1.
The brow engraven with the Thoughts of Years; This is a law of Nature. Age was anciently synonymous with power; and we may always observe that the old are held in more or less honour as men are more or less virtuous. “Shame,” says Homer, “bids the youth beware how he accosts the man of many years.” “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of an old man.”—Leviticus.
Among us, and wherever birth and possessions give rank and authority, the young and the profligate are seen continually above the old and the worthy: there Age can never find its due respect. But among many of the ancient nations it was otherwise; and they reaped the benefit of it. Rien ne maintient plus les maurs, qu'une extrême subordination des jeunes gens envers les vieillards. Les uns et les autres seront contenus, ceux-là par le respect qu'ils auront pour les vieillards, et ceux-ci par le respect qu'ils auront pour eux-mêmes.MONTESQUIEU.
P. 88, 1. 13.
Burns as they burn, and with congenial fire. How many generations have passed away, how many empires and how many languages, since Homer sung his verses to the Greeks! Yet the words which he uttered and which were only so much fleeting breath, remain entire to this day, and will now in all probability continue to delight and instruct mankind as long as the world endures.
P. 88, 1. 14.
Like Her most gentle, most unfortunate,
Before I went into Germany, I came to Brodegate in Leicestershire, to take my leave of that noble Lady Jane Grey, to whom I was exceeding much beholding. Her parents, the Duke and Duchess, with all the Household, Gentlemen and Gentlewomen, were hunting in the park. I found her in her chamber, reading Phædo Platonis in Greek, and that with as much delight as some gentlemen would read a merry tale in Boccace. After salutation, and duty done, with some other talk, I asked her, why she would lose such pastime in the park? Smiling, she answered me: “I wist, all their sport in the park is but a shadow to that pleasure which I find in Plato.”- ROGER ASCHAM.
P. 88, l. 19.
Then is the Age of AdmirationDante in his old age was pointed out to Petrarch when a boy; and Dryden to Pope.
Who does not wish that Dante and Dryden could have known the value of the homage that was paid them, and foreseen the greatness of their young admirers ?
P. 89, 1. 20.
And Milton's self
I began thus far to assent ... to an inward prompting which now grew daily upon me, that by labour and intent study, (which I take to be my portion in this life) joined with the strong propensity of nature, I might perhaps leave something so written to aftertimes, as they should not willingly let it die.—Milton.
P. 91, l. 21.
'twas at matin-time
Love and devotion are said to be nearly allied. Boccaccio fell in love at Naples in the church of St. Lorenzo; as Petrarch had done at Avignon in the church of St. Clair.
P. 92, l. 21.
Lovely before, oh, say how lovely now ! Is it not true, that the young not only appear to be, but