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A. ABILITY - see Work.

Men who undertake considerable things, even in a regular way, ought to give us ground to presume ability. 1

Burke : Reflections on the Revolution in France. As we advance in life, we learn the limits of our abilities. 2 Froude : Short Studies on Great Subjects. Education.

The possession of great powers no doubt carries with it a contempt for mere external show. 3

Garfield : Oration on Miss Booth. The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.

4 Gibbon : Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Ch. 68.

There is great ability in knowing how to conceal one's ability.

La Rochefoucauld : Reflections. No. 245. Degrees infinite of lustre chere must always be, but the weakest among us has a gift, however seemingly trivial, which is peculiar to him, and which, worthily used, will be a gift also to his race forever.

Ruskin: Modern Painters. Pt. ii. Sec. i. Ch. 7. No man is the wiser for his learning. It may administer matter to work in, or objects to work upon; but wit and wisdom are born with a inan. 7

John Selden : Table Talk. Learning. The measure of capacity is the measure of sphere to either man or woman. 8

Elizabeth Oakes Smith: MS. ABSENCE

Absence is not of matter: the body does not make it. Absence quickens our love and elevates our affections. Absence is the invisible and incorporeal mother of ideal beauty. 9 Landor : Imaginary Conversations. Kosciusko

and Poniatowski.


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Among the defects of the bill, which were numerous, one provision was conspicuous by its presence, and one by its absence. 10 Lord John Russell : Letter to the Electors of London,

April 6, 1859, soliciting re-election. I dote on his very absence, and I wish them a fair departure. 11 Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice. Act i. Sc. 2.

Cassius and Brutus shone with pre-eminent lustre, for the very reason that their very images were not displayed. 12

Tacitus : Annals. Bk. iii. Ch. 76. ACCIDENTS

Chapter of accidents.

Lord Chesterfield : Letter, Feb. 16, 1753. ACHIEVEMENT

Many things difficult to design prove easy to performance. 14

Johnson : Rasselas. Ch. 13. ACQUAINTANCE.

'Tis a lamentable thing, I swear, that one has not the liberty of choosing one's acquaintance as one does one's clothes.

15 Congreve: The Way of the World. Act iii. Sc. 10. If a man is worth knowing at all, he is worth knowing well. 16 Alexander Smith : Dreamthorp. On the Writing

of Essays. ACTING see Stage, The.

No one knows better than myself, after all my association with artists of sculpture and painting, how truly my art comprehends all the others, and surpasses them in so far as the study of mind is more than matter. Victor Hugo makes one of his heroines, an actress, say: "My art endows me with a searching eye, a knowledge of the soul and the soul's workings, and, spite of all your skill, I read you to the depths." This is a truth more or less powerful as one is more or less gifted by the good God. 17 Charlotte Cushman : Letters and Memories of Her

Life. Ch. 8. Extract from a letter to Miss Elizabeth

Peabody of Boston. (Edited by Emma Stebbins.) Familiar comedy is often more powerful on the theatre than in the page; imperial tragedy is always less.

18 Johnson: Works. V. 122. (Oxford Edition, 1825.)

The delight of tragedy proceeds from our consciousness of fiction: if we thought murders and treasons real, they would please no more.

19 Johnson: Works. V. 121. (Oxford Edition, 1825.)
Play out the play.
20 Shakespeare: King Henry IV. Pt. i. Act ii. Sc. 4.

Hostess, clap to the doors; watch to-night, pray to-morrow, - Gallants, lads, boys, hearts of gold, all the titles of good fello uip come to you! What, shall we be merry ? Shall we have a play extempore?

21 Shakespeare: King IIenry IV. Pt. i. Act ii. Sc. 4.
To hold, as 't were, the mirror up to nature.

Shakespeare: Hamlet. Act iii. Sc. 2.
Acting is the moving picture of nature.

William Winter : Response to the toast,

The Visitors at the Green Room Club

Dinner, London, Eng., June, 1888. The finest achievements in the art of acting, if they live at all as subjects of popular knowledge, must live as pictures in the memory. 24 William Winter : The Stage Life of Mary Anderson.

ACTION - see Purpose, Speech, Training, Truth.

Given the love and the wisdom, life's code of action follows. 25 A. Bronson Alcott: Table Talk. II. Enterprise.

Socrates' Prayer. Action is but coarseneil thought, – thought become concrete, obscure, and unconscious. 26

Amiel : Journal, Dec. 30, 1850. (Mrs.

Humphrey Ward, Translator.) A perfect feeling eventuates in some form of action. Action is the right outlet of emotion.

27 Henry Ward Beecher : Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit. Poverty is a spur to action. 28

Bulwer-Lytton : Caxtoniana. Essay xxii.

Motive Power. Actions of the last age are like almanacs of the last year. 29

Sir John Denham : The Sophy. A Tragedy. Self-love is a principle of action; but among no class of human beings has Nature so profusely distributed this principle of life and action as through the whole sensitive family of genius. Isaac Disraeli : Literary Character of Men of

Genius. Ch. 15. Activity is contagious. 31 Emerson : Representative Men. Uses of Great Men.

Every man feels instinctively that all the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action. 32

Lowell : Rousseau and the Sentimentalists. No act, however long, is safe that does not match a thought that is still longer.

33 Parkhurst: Sermons. I. The Pattern in the Mount.



Every human action gains in honor, in grace, in all true magnificence, by its regard to things that are to come.

Ruskin: The Seven Lamps of Architecture. Ch. 6. Strong reasons make strong actions. 35

Shakespeare : King John. Act iii. Sc. 4. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action. 36

Shakespeare: IIamlet. Act iii. Sc. 2. Facility of action comes by habit. 37

Timothy Titcomb (.). G. Holland): Gold-Foil.

XV. Indolence and Industry. In every scheme involving human action there are three elements always to be taken in account, - time, place, and agency.

38 Lew Wallace: Ben-Hur. Bk. v. Ch. i. (Letter). ACTORS

see Acting, Stage, The. Dramatic genius, annihilating the limitation of time and space, frames the seasons of its own harvest, - hangs its Nemesis on the necks of events, and freights the very flash of its auguries with the rattling thunder-peals of their execution. 39

Parke Godwin : Address at the Reception of

Henry Irving by the New York Goethe

Society, March 15, 1888. In the midst of the just enthusiasm which a great actor or actress excites, so long as they exist to minister to our delight; – in the midst of that atmosphere of light and life they shed around them, it is a common subject of repining that such glory should be so transient; that an art requiring in its perfection such a rare combination of mental and external qualities, can leave behind no permanent monument of its own excellence, but must depend on the other fine arts for all it can claim of immortality. 40 Mrs. Jameson: Sketches of Art, Literature, and

Character. Pt. ii. Sec. iii. Dresden. Sketch

of Fanny Kemble. Oh, there be players that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely, that neither having the accent of Christians, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted and bellowed, that I have thought some of Nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably. 41

Shakespeare: Hamlet. Act iii. Sc. 2. The very age and body of the time, his form and pressure. 42

Shakespeare: Hamlet. Act iii. Sc. 2. Though it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve. 43

Shakespeare: Hamlet. Act iii. Sc. 2. Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if youi mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hands, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, the whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness.

Shakespeare: llamlet. Act iii. Sc. 2. Criticism . . . should be written for the public and not for the artist; and when I say the artist is wise to leave it unread, I do so because I conceive for him, in the conduct of his life, an ideal that far transcends all consideration of the press, - an ideal that makes his own conscience to be his tribunal, his love of art to be his inspiring impulse and sustaining cheer, and his sense of well-doing to be his sufficient reward. Huible and gentle, certainly, the true servant of art will ever be. But let him also be self-reliant when the emergency comes, proud in his conscious power, and satisfied in the knowledge that he has done his best.

45 William Winter : The Press and the Stage. Sec. XII.

The ordinary actor can obtain no effect without labor for it, and even then it excites no ardor of responsive feeling. Genius, on the other hand, conquers instantly by its intrinsic charm. 46 William Winter : The Stage Life of Mary Anderson.

Pauline. There is no richer or more abiding glory to be gained on earth than is secured in the exercise of ennobling influence upon humanity, and especially upon the development of the young; and this privilege is particularly within the reach of the actor. 47 William Winter: The Stage Life of Mary Anderson.


The power of the laborer must be equal to the power required by his task, or his labor will conquer nothing. Set an ass to carry an elephant's burden, and his back will be broken. The man of few brains cannot do the work of the man of many brains. 48 J. G. Holland : Plain Talks on Familiar Subjects.

1. lf-Help. Every tree and shrub is a distaff for holding, and every twig a spindle for spinning, the material with which God invests it. 49 Timothy Titcomb (J. G. Holland): Gold-Foil. I. An

Exordial Essay. ADEQUACY.

It is by presence of mind in untried emergencies that the native metal of a man is tested.

50 Lowell : My Study Windows. Abraham Lincoln.

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