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There is a choice in books as in friends, and the mind sinks or rises to the level of its habitual society, is subdued, as Shakespeare says of the dyer's hand, to what it works in. 551 Lowell : Books and Libraries. Address. Chelsea,
Mass., Dec. 22, 1885. To have any chance of lasting, a book must satisfy, not merely some fleeting fancy of the day, but a constant longing and hunger of human nature. 552
Lowell: My Study Windows. Carlyle. What a sense of security in an old book which Time has criticised for us! 553 Lowell: My Study Windows. Library of Old
Authors. The debt which he owes to them is incalculable; they have guided him to truth; they have filled his mind with noble and graceful images; they have stood by him in all vicissitudes, comforters in sorrow, nurses in sickness, companions in solitude. These friendships are exposed to no danger from the occurrences by which other attachments are weakened or dissolved. Time glides on; fortune is inconstant; tempers are soured; bonds which seemed indissoluble are daily sundered by interest, by emulation, or by caprice. But no such cause can affect the silent converse which we hold with the highest of human intellects. 554
Macaulay : Essays. Lord Bacon. These are the old friends who are never seen with new faces, who are the same in wealth and in poverty, in glory and in obscurity. With the dead there is no rivalry. In the dead there is no change. 555
Macaulay : Essays. Lord Bacon. For books are as meats and viands are: some of good, some of evil substance. 556
Milton : Areopagitica. It is of greatest concernment in the church and commonwealth to have a vigilant eye how books demean themselves, as well as men, and therefore to confine, imprison, and do sharpest justice on them as malefactors, for books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them, to be as active as that soul whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve, as in a phial, the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I know they are as lively, as vigorously productive as those fabulous dragon's teeth, and, being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men; and yet, on the other hand, unless wariness be used, as good almost kill a man as kill a good book, Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image; but he who kills a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were, in the eye. 557
Milton : Areopagitica.
Many a man lives a burden to the earth; but a good book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life. It is true, no age can restore a life whereof, perhaps, there is no great loss; and revolutions of ages do not oft recover the loss of a rejected truth, for the want of which whole nations fare the worse. We should be wary, therefore, what persecution we raise against the living labors of public men, how we spill that seasoned life of man, preserved and stored up in books, since we see a kind of homicide may be thus committed, sometimes a martyrdom, and, if it extend to the whole impression, a kind of massacre, whereof the execution ends not in the slaying of an elemental life, but strikes at the ethereal and fifth essence, the breath of reason itself; slays an immortality rather than a life. 558
Milton : Areopagitica. Books are our most steadfast friends: they are our resource in loneliness; they go with us on our journeys; they await our return; they are our best company; they are a refuge in pain; they breathe peace upon our troubles; they await age as ministers of youth and cheer; they bring the whole world of men and things to our feet; they put us in the centre of the world; they summon us away from our narrow life to their greatness, from our ignorance to their wisdom, from our partial or distempered vision to their calm and universal verdicts. There may be something of discord in their mingled voices, but the undertone speaks for truth and virtue and faith. 539 Theodore Thornton Munger : On the Threshold.
VII. Reading. The books which help you most are those which make you think the most. The hardest way of learning is by easy reading: every man that tries it finds it so. But a great book that comes from a great thinker, - it is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth, with beauty too. It sails the ocean, driven by the winds of heaven, breaking the level sea of life into beauty where it goes, leaving behind it a train of sparkling loveliness, widening as the ship goes on. And what treasures it brings to every land, scattering the seeds of truth, justice, love, and piety, to bless the world in ages yet to come. 560 Theodore Parker : Lessons from the World of Matter
and the World of Men. There is nothing more fit to be looked at than the outside of a book. It is, as I may say from repeated experience, a pure and unmixed pleasure to have a goodly volume lying before you, and to know that you may open it if you please, and need not open it unless you please. It is a resource against ennui, if ennui should come upon you. 561 Love Peacock : Crotchet Castle. Ch. 7. The
Wear the old coat and buy the new book. 502
Austin Phelps : The Theory of Preaching. Books form a universal republic, a union of nations, or a society of Jesus, in a nobler sense, or a humane society, whereby a second or duplicate Europe arises, which, like London, lies in several counties and districts. As now, on the one side, the book-pollen flying everywhere brings the disadvantage that no people can any longer produce a bed of flowers true and unspotted with foreign colors; as now no state can be any longer formed purely, slowly, and by degrees from itself, but, like an Indian idol composed of different animals, must see the various members of the neighboring states mingled with its growth; so, on the other side, through the Ecumenic Council of the book world, the spirit of a provincial assembly can no longer slavishly enchain its people, and an invisible church frees it from the visible one. 563 Richter : Lerana. Frag. i. Ch. 3. Importance of
Education. No book is worth anything which is not worth much; nor is it serviceable until it has been read and re-read, and loved, and loved again, and marked so that you can refer to the passages you want in it, as a soldier can seize the weapon he needs in an armory.
564 Ruskin : Sesame and Lilies. Of Kings' Treasures.
Knowing I lov'd my books, le furnished me with volumes that I prize above my dukedom. 565
Shakespeare: The Tempest. Act i. Sc. 2. O sir, we quarrel in print by the book, as you have books for good manners. 566
Shakespeare : As You Like It. Act v. Sc. 4. Books are a finer world within the world. 567 Alexander Smith i Dreamthorp. Men of Letters.
Of works of art little can be said; their influence is profound and silent, like the influence of nature: they mould by contact; we drink them up like water, and are bettered, yet know not how. 568 Robert Louis Sterenson : Books Which Have
Influenced Ve. Books, like men, their authors, have no more than one way of coming into the world; but there are ten thousand to go out of it, and return no more. 569 Swift: A Tale of a Tub. The Epistle. Dedicatory.
For the rest, whatever we have got has been by infinite labor and search, and ranging through every corner of nature; the difference is, that, instead of dirt and poison, we have rather chosen to fill our hives with honey and wax, thus furnishing mankind with the two noblest of things, which are, sweetness and light.
570 Swift: The Battle of the Books. The Spider and the Bee.
That which, by a universal range, with a long search, much study, true judgment, and distinction of things, brings home honey and was. 571 Swift: The Battle of the Books. The Spider and the
Bee. Books, like proverbs, receive their chief value from the stamp and esteem of ages through which they have passed.
572 Sir William Temple : Ancient and Modern Learning.
Of all the needs a book has, the chief need is, that it be readable. 573
Anthony Trollope: Autobiography. Ch. 19. A small number of choice books are sufficient. 574 Voltaire : A Philosophical Dictionary. Books. Sec. 1. Books are made from books. 575 Voltaire: A Philosophical Dictionary. Books. Sec. 1.
It is with books as with men, a very small number play a great part; the rest are confounded with the multitude.
576 Voltaire : A Philosophical Dictionary. Books. Sec. 1,
You despise books, you whose whole lives are absorbed in the vanities of ambition, the pursuit of pleasure, or in indolence; but remember that all the known world, excepting only savage nations, is governed by books.
577 Voltaire: A Philosophical Dictionary. Books. Sec. 1.
Good books are the most precious of blessings to a people; bad books are among the worst of curses. 578 E. P. Whipple : Essays and Reviews. Romance of
Rascality. Precious and priceless are the blessings which books scatter around our daily paths. We walk, in imagination, with the noblest spirits, through the most sublime and enchanting regions. 579 E. P. Whipple : Literature and Life. Authors in
their Relations to Life. They are for company the best friends in doubts counsellors, in damps comforters, times prospective, the home travellers ship or horse, the busy mans best recreation, the opiate of idle weariness, the minds best ordinary, natures garden and seed-plot of immortality. 580
Bulstrode Whitelock : Yootamia. 1654. Books have their fate from the capacities of readers, or rather from their principles.
581 Thomas Wilson : Maxims of Piety and of Christianity. BORES — see Laughter, Talkativeness.
Description is always a bore, both to the describer and to the describee. 582 Disraeli (Earl of Beaconsfield): Home Letters..
Description is an acknowledged bore.
Letter xii. The bore is usually considered a harmless creature, or of that class of irrational bipeds who hurt only themselves. 584
Maria Edgeworth : Thoughts on Bores. All men are bores, except when we want them. There never was but one man whom I would trust with my latchkey.
585 IIolmes: The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table. Ch. 1.
Moral Maxims. Third Supplement. No. 92. We often boast that we are never bored, but yet we are so conceited that we do not perceive how often we bore others. 587 La Rochefoucauld : Reflections, or, Sentences and
Moral Marims. No. 141.
BORROWING - see Debt, Friends.
If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some, for he that goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing.
588 Benjamin Franklin : Poor Richard's Almanac.
Often the cockloft is empty in those whom Nature hath built many stories high. 589
Thomas Fuller : Andronicus, ad fin. I.
BRAVERY — see Courage.
A brave man never dies. 590
Owen Felltham : Resolves. Pt. i. Of Fame. A brave man inspires others to heroism, but his own courage is not diminished when it enters into other souls: it is stimulated and invigorated. 591
Washington Gladden : Things Old and New.
III. Nature and Spirit. Bravery has no place where it can avail nothing. 592 Johnson: Letters to and from the Late Samuel John
son. From Original MS. by Hester Lynch Piozzi, London, 1788. II. 350. (George Birkbeck Hill,
Editor.) Oh, that's a brave man! he writes brave verses, speaks brave words, swears brave oaths, and breaks them bravely, quite traverse, athwart the heart of his lover, as a puny tilter, that spurs his horse but on one side, breaks his staff like a noble goose; but all's brave that youth mounts and folly guides.
Shakespeare: As You Like It. Act iii. Sc. 4.