Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

gret, but with contentment and satisfaction. But what I do, and ever shall, regret, is the time which, while young, I lost in mere. idleness, and in doing nothing. . This is the common effect of the inconsideracy of youth, against which I beg you will be most carefully upon your guard. The value of moments, when cast up, is immense, if well employed ; if thrown away, their loss is irrecoverable. Every moment may be put to some use, and that with much more pleasure than if unemployed. Do not imagine that by the employment of time I mean an uninterrupted application to serious studies. No; pleasures are, at proper times, both as necessary and as useful; they fashion and form you for the world ; they teach you characters, and show you the human heart in its unguarded minutes. But then remember to make that use of them. I have known many people, from laziness of mind, go through both pleasure and business with equal inattention; neither enjoying the one, nor doing the other ; thinking themselves men of pleasure because they were mingled with those who were, and men of business, because they had business to do, though they did not do it. Whatever you do, do it to the purpose ; do it thoroughly, not superficially. Approfondissez; go to the bottom of things. Any thing half done, or half known, is, in my mind, neither done nor known at all. Nay worse, for it often misleads. There is hardly any place, or any company, where you may not gain knowledge, if you please; almost everybody knows some one thing, and is glad to talk upon that one thing. [Same date.]

PROPER INQUISITIVENESS.-Seek, and you will find, in this world as well as in the next. See every thing, inquire into every thing; and you may excuse your curiosity and the questions you ask, which otherwise might be thought impertinent by your manner of asking them; for most things depend a great deal upon the manner. As, for example, I am afraid that I am very troublesome with my questions ; but nobody can inform me so well as you; or something of that kind. [Same date.]

RELIGION TO BE RESPECTED.—But when you frequent places of public worship, as I would have you go to all the different ones you meet with, remember that, however erroneous, they are none of them objects of laughter and ridicule. Honest error is to be pitied, not ridiculed. The object of all the public worships in the world is the same; it is that great eternal Being who created every thing. The different manners of worship are by no means subjects of ridicule. Each sect thinks its own the best ; and I know no infallible judge, in this world, to decide which is the best. [Same date.]

USE A NOTE-BOOK.—Make the same in. quiries, wherever you are, concerning the revenues, the military establishment, the trade, the commerce, and the police of every country. And you would do well to keep a blank paper book, which the Germans call an album ; and there, instead of desiring, as they do, every fool they meet with to scribble something, write down all these things, as soon as they come to your knowledge from good authorities. [Same date.]

LORD CHESTERFIELD'S CARE.—I have now but one anxiety left, which is concerning you. I would have you be, what I know nobody is, perfect. As that is impossible, I would have you as near perfection as possible. I know nobody in a fairer way towards it than yourself, if you please. Never were so much pains taken for anybody's education as for yours; and never had anybody those opportunities of knowledge and improvement which you have had, and still have. I hope, I wish, I doubt, and I fear alternately. This only I am sure of, that you will prove either the greatest pain, or the greatest pleasure of, yours always truly. [Same date.]

PEDANTS.-Others, to show their learning, or often from the prejudices of a school education, where they hear of nothing else, are always talking of the ancients, as something more than men, and of the moderns as something less. They are never without a classic or two in their pockets; they stick to the old good sense; they read none of the modern trash; and will show you plainly that no improvement has been made, in any one art or science, these last seventeen hundred years. I would by no means have

disown your acquaintance with the ancients; but still less would I have you brag of an exclusive intimacy with them. Speak of the moderns without contempt, and of the ancients without idolatry; judge them all by their merits, but not by their ages; and if you happen to have an Elzevir classic in your pocket, neither show it nor mention it. [Bath, Feb. 22, 1748.]

you

BLINDNESS TO HEROISM.—Take into your consideration, if you please, cases seemingly analogous; but take them as helps only, not as guides. We are really so prejudiced by our educations that, as the ancients deified their heroes, we deify their madmen ; of which, with all due regard to antiquity, I take Leonidas and Curtius to have been two distinguished ones. And yet a solid pedant would, in a speech in

Parliament, relative to a tax of twopence in the pound, upon some commodity or other, quote those two heroes as examples of what we ought to do and suffer for our country. [Same date.]

INJUDICIOUS LEARNING.—I have known these absurdities carried so far by people of injudicious learning, that I should not be surprised if some of them were to propose, while we were at war with the Gauls, that a number of geese should be kept in the Tower, upon account of the infinite advantage which Rome received, in a parallel case, from a certain number of geese in the Capitol. This way of reasoning and this way of speaking will always form a poor politician and a puerile declaimer. [Same date.]

How “TO WEAR" LEARNING.–Wear your learning like your watch, in a private pocket; and do not pull it out and strike it, merely to show that you have one. If you are asked what o'clock it is, tell it, but do not proclaim it hourly and unasked, like the watchman. [Same date.]

THE GRACES.-A thousand little things, not separately to be defined, conspire to form these graces, this je ne sais quoi that always pleases. A pretty person, genteel motions, a proper de

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »