Page images

Such men, befooled by endless, vain conceits,
Caught in the meshes of the world's illusion,
Immersed in sensuality, descend
Down to the foulest hell of unclean spirits.*


[ocr errors]

Vain men delight in telling what honours have been done them, what great company they have kept, and the like, by which they plainly confess that these honours were more than their due, and such as their friends would not believe, if they had not been told; whereas a man truly proud thinks the honours below his merit, and scorns to boast.


Most men set the utmost value precisely on what other people think, and are more concerned about it than about what goes on in their own consciousness, which is the thing most immediately and directly present to them. They reverse the natural order.

[merged small][ocr errors]

In all we do, almost the first thing we think about is, what will people say; and nearly half the troubles and bothers of life may be traced to our anxiety on this score: it is the anxiety, which is at the bottom of all that feeling of self-importance, which is so often mortified because it is so very morbidly sensitive. It is solicitude about what others will say that underlies all our vanity and pretension, yes, and all our show and

Without it, there would not be a tenth part of the luxury which exists.t

swagger too.


* From Indian Wisdom by Monier Williams.
From The Wisdom of Life, translated by Saunders.


They don't make as good mirrors as they used to," remarked an old maid, as she observed a sunken eye, wrinkled face, and livid complexion in a new looking-glass she had just purchased.

He who imagines he can do without the world doceives himself much; but he who fancies the world cannot do without him is under a still greater deception.


There is one thing worse than ignorance, and that is conceit. We cannot drive common sense into the head of a conceited person.

Self-conceited people are always first to take a slight and always last to forget it.

Often but little rain falls from a thundering cloud.


Empty vessels make the greatest sound.

Deep rivers move with silent majesty; shallow brooks are noisy.

Straws swim upon the surface but pearls lie at the bottom.

It was

There's many a slip between the cup and the lip.

a just answer of Solon to Creesus, who showed him all his treasure ; “Yes, Sir, but if another should come with better iron than you, he would be master of all this gold.”

We rise in glory, as we sink in pride ;
Where boasting ends, there dignity begins.


No man's tune is unpleasing to himself.

If you have done a good deed, boast not of it.

Boast not thyself of to-morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.


Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.


Never sound the trumpet of your own praise.

Sink self-don't talk much of yourself.


Can he be fair, that withers at a blast ?
Or he be strong, that airy breath can cast?
Can he be wise, that knows not how to live?
Or he be rich, that nothing bath to give ?
Can he be young, that's feeble, weak and wan ?
So fair, strong, wise, so rich, so young is man.
So fair is man, that death (a parting blast)
Blasts his fair flower, and makes him earth at last.
So strong is man, that with a gasping breath
He totters, and bequeaths bis strength to death ;
So wise is man, that if with death he strive,
His wisdom cannot teach him how to live ;
So rich is man, that (all his debts being paid)
His wealth's the winding-sheet wherein he 's laid ;


is man, that, broke with care and sorrow,
He's old enough to-day, to die to-morrow;
Why braggest thou then, thou worm of five feet long?
Thou 'rt neither fair, nor strong, nor wise, nor rich,

nor yonng. -FRANCIS QUARLES.

“My own, my own"-oh! who shall dare

To set this seal of claim on earth;
When “ chance and change are everywhere,
On all and each of human birth?


Be taught, vain man, how fleeting all the joys,
Thy boasted grandeur and thy glittering store:
Death comes, and all thy fancied bliss destroys ;
Quick as a dream it fades, and is no more.


Alexander the Great, seeing Diogenes looking attentively at a large collection of human bones piled one upon another, asked the philosopher, what he was looking for. “I am searching,” said Diogenes, "for the bones of your father, and I cannot distinguish them from those of his slaves."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Vain man I is grandeur given to gay attire ?
Then let the butterfly thy pride upbraid :-
To friends, attendants, armies bought with hire ?
It is thy weakness that requires their aid:-
To palaces with gold and gems inlaid ?
They fear the thief and tremble in the storm:-
To hosts, through carnage who to conquest wade?
Behold the victor vanquisb’d by the worm !

Behold what deeds of woe the locust can perform!
True dignity is his, whose tranquil mind
Virtue has raised above the things below;
Who, overy hope and fear to Heaven resign'd,
Shrinks not, though Fortune aim her deadliest blow.


When I survey the wondrous cross

On which the Prince of Glory died,
My chiefest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.


Now hath arisen the star of day,
And with his rising let us pray,
That we throughout his course be freed
From sinful thought and hurtful deed.
O may the Lord our tongues restrain
From sounding strife and converse vain ;
And from His servants' eyesight hide
The toys of vanity and pride.


THE SENIOR WRANGLER. The Senior Wrangler, of a certain year, piping hot from the Senate House at Cambridge, went to the play at Drury-Lane ; it so happened, that a certain great personage entered at the same moment, on the other side of the house, but unobserved by the mathematician. The whole house testified their respect by a general rising and clapping of hands. Our astonished academic instantly exclaimed, to the no small amusement of his London friends, " Well, well, this is more than I expected : how is


« PreviousContinue »