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Preface to the American Edition.
Great truths bear to great men the relation at once of cause and effect. A sublime truth, once uttered and made a part of standard literature, becomes thereafter a perpetual spur to noble deeds. The maxims of the wise form part of a nation's intellectual coin, and, like other coin, serve both as the measure and the prolific source of intellectual wealth. Alexander the Great, it is said, constantly slept with Homer under his pillow. The ideal hero of the Iliad helped to make the real heroes of later Greece. Great ideas, in fact, usually precede and cause illustrious achievements. Hence it is that the literature of a people invariably contains within it that which has made the people what it is.
The object of the compiler of the present work was to collect into a narrow compass, and to arrange in a form convenient for reference and consultation, a choice collection of the remarkable utterances of the great among all nations, but chiefly of the great men among the AngloSaxon race. The American Edition has been enlarged and enriched by numerous extracts from the writings of
our own distinguished men. Among those eminent Americans whose choicest sayings have here been garnered, may be mentioned the names of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton, Ames, Wirt, Clay, Calhoun, Webster, Story, Jonathan Edwards, Archibald Alexander, Wayland, Channing, Irving, Cooper, Bryant, Longfellow, Everett, Prescott, Bancroft, Emerson, and many others.
The work, as thus enlarged and enriched, forms a mine of thought of inestimable value to every one. Το the young, particularly, it is of special value; as furnishing the means of storing the youthful mind with a fund of high and ennobling thoughts, such as have shaped the destinies of the great and good who have preceded them.
Abuse of Power.- Shakspeare.
THAT Man, that sits within a Monarch's heart,
As, in reproof of many tales devised,
Find pardon on my true submission.
Acquaintance. - Seneca.
IT is safer to affront some People than to oblige them; for the better a Man deserves, the worse they will speak of him.
we engage into a large Acquaintance and various familiarities. we set open our gates to the Invaders of most of our time: we expose our Life to a quotidian Ague of frigid Impertinences, which would make a wise Man tremble to think of. Now, as for being known much by sight, and pointed at, I cannot comprehend the Honour that lies in that: whatsoever it be, every Mountebank has it more than the best Doctor.
Acquaintance. Lord Bacon.
IT is good discretion not to make too much of any man at the first; because one cannot hold out that proportion.
Acquaintance. - La Rochefoucauld.
WHAT makes us like new Acquaintances is not so much any weariness of our old ones, or the pleasure of change, as disgust at not being sufficiently admired by those who know us too well, and the hope of being more so by those who do not know so much of us.
THAT which we acquire with the most difficulty we retain the longest; as those who have earned a fortune are usually more careful than those who have inherited one.
From the French.
THERE is no secret in the heart which our Actions do not disclose. The most consummate hypocrite cannot at all times conceal the workings of the Mind.
IT is hard to personate and act a part along; for where Truth is not at the bottom, Nature will always be endeavouring to return, and will peep out and betray herself one time or other.
DELIBERATE with Caution, but act with Decision; and yield with Graciousness, or oppose with Firmness.
Activity. — Longfellow.
Footprints on the sands of Time.
With a heart for any fate,
Adaptation. Lord Greville.
AS we should adapt the style of our writing to the Capacity of the Person it is addressed to, so should we our manner of acting; for as Persons of inferior Understandings will misconceive, and perhaps suspect some sophistry from an Elegance of Expression which they cannot comprehend, so Persons of inferior Sentiment will probably mistake the intention, or even suspect a fraud from a delicacy of acting which they want capacity to feel.
From the Latin.
HE alone is wise who can accommodate himself to all the contingencies of Life; but the fool contends, and is struggling, like a swimmer against the stream.
Adaptation. - Shakspeare.
To the latter end of a Fray, and the beginning of a Feast,
Adaptation. St. Evremond.
AS long as you are engaged in the World, you must comply with its maxims; because nothing is more unprofitable, than the Wisdom of those persons who set up for Reformers of the Age. 'Tis a part a man cannot act long, without offending his friends and rendering himself ridiculous.
THE Eagle of one House is the Fool in another.
Address. — Colton.
A MAN who knows the World, will not only make the most of every thing he does know, but of many things he does not know, and will gain more credit by his adroit mode of hiding his Ignorance, than the Pedant by his awkward attempt to exhibit his Erudition.
RELIGIOUS in mine error, I adore
The Sun, that looks upon his worshipper,
ADVERSITY has the effect of eliciting Talents, which, in prosperous Circumstances, would have lain dormant.
You were used
To say, Extremity was the trier of Spirits ;
SOME, bow'd and bent,