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on trifles makes a great part of the account; trifles which, neglected, are nothing. How shameful such a weakness !
The pensionary De Wit being asked how he could transact such a variety of business without confusion, answered, that he never did but one thing at a time. Guard
your weak side from being known. If it be attacked, the best way is to join in the attack.
Francis I. consulting with his generals how to lead his army over the Alps, into Italy, Amerel, his fool, sprung from a corner, and advised him to consult rather how to bring it back.
The best practical rule of morality is, never to do but what we are willing all the world should know.
Solicitude in hiding failings makes them appear the greater. It is a safer and easier course, frankly to acknowledge them. A man owns that he is ignorant; we admire his modesty. He says he is old; we scarce think him so. He declares himself poor ; we do not believe it.
When you descant on the faults of others, consider whether
you be not guilty of the same. To gain knowledge of ourselves, the best way is to convert the imperfections of others into a mirror for discovering our own.
Apply yourself more to acquire knowledge than to show it. Men commonly take great pains to put off the little stock they have ; but they take little pains to acquire more.
Never suffer your courage to be fierce, your resolution obstinate, your wisdom cunning, nor your patience sullen.
To measure all reasons by our own, is a plain act of injustice : it is an encroachment on the common rights of mankind.
If you would teach secrecy to others, begin with yourself. How can you expect another will keep your secret, when yourself cannot ?
A man's fortune is more frequently made by his tongue, than by his virtues ; and more frequently crushed by it, than by his vices.
V. EVEN self interest is a motive for benevolence. There are none so low, but may have it in their power to return a good office.
To deal with a man, you must know his temper, by which you can lead him; or his ends, by which you can persuade him ; or his friends, by whom you can govern him.
The first ingredient in conversation is truth; the next, good sense ; the third, good humour; the last, wit.
The great error in conversation is, to be fonder of speaking than of hearing. Few show more complaisance than to pretend to hearken, intent all the while upon what they themselves have to say, not considering, that to seek one's own pleasure, so passionately, is not the way to please others.
To be an Englishman in London, a Frenchman in Paris, a Spaniard in Madrid, is no easy matter, and yet it is necessary.
A man entirely without ceremony has need of great merit. He who cannot bear a jest, ought never to make ore.
In the deepest distress, virtue is more illustrious than vice in its highest prosperity.
No man is so foolish but he may give good counsel at a time ; no man so wise but he may err, if he take no counsel but his own.
He whose ruling passion is love of praise, is a slave to every one who has a tongue for detraction.
Always to indulge our appetites, is to extinguish them. Abstain, that you may enjoy.
To have your enemy in your power, and yet to do him good, is the greatest heroism.
Modesty, were it to be recommended for nothing else, leaves a man at ease, by pretending to little ; whereas vain glory requires perpetual labour, to appear what one is not.
If we have sense, modesty best sets it off; if not, best hides the want.
When, even in the heat of dispute, I yield to my antagonist, my victory over myself is more illustrious than over him, had he yielded to me.
The refined luxuries of the table, besides enervating the body, poison that very pleasure they are intended to promote ; for, by soliciting the appetite, they exclude the greatest pleasure of taste, that which arises from the gratification of hunger.
VI.—The Fox and the Goat. A FOX and a Goat travelling together, in a very sultry day, found themselves exceedingly thirsty ; when looking round the country in order to discover a place where they might probably meet with water, they at length descrie a clear spring at the bottom of a well. They both eagerly descended : and having sufficiently allayed their thirst, began to consider how they should get out. Many expedients for that purpose, were mutually proposed and rejected.
At last the crafty Fox cried out with great joy-I have a thought just struck into my mind, which I am confident, will extricate us out of our difficulty : Do you, said he to the Goat, only rear yourself up upon your hind legs, and rest
your fore feet against the side of the well. In this posture, I will climb up to your head, from which I shall be able, with a spring, to reach the top ; and when I am once there, you are sensible it will be very easy for me to pull you out by the horns. The simple Goat liked the proposal well, and immediately placed himself as directed; by means of which, the Fox, without much difficulty, gained the top. And now, said the Goat, give me the assistance you promised. Thou old fool, replied the Fox, hadst thou but half as much brains as beard, thou wouldst never have believed that I would hazard my own life to save thine. However, I will leave with thee a piece of advice, which may be of service to thee hereafter, if thou shouldst have the good fortune to make thy escape : Never venture into a well again, before thou hast well considered how to get out of it.
VII.-The Fox and the Stork. THE Fox, though in general more inclined to roguery than wit, had once a strong inclination to play the wag
with his neighbour, the Stork. He accordingly invited her to dinner in great form ; but vhen it came upon the table, the Stork found it consisted entirely of different soups served up in broad shallow dishes, so that she could only dip in the end of her bill, but could not possibly satisfy her hunger. The Fox lapped it up very readily; and every now and then addressing himself to his guest, desired to know how she liked her entertainment; hoped that every thing was seasoned to her mind; and protested he was very sorry to see her eat so sparingly. The Stork perceiving she was played upon, took no notice of it, but pretended to like every
dish extremely; and, at parting, pressed the Fox so earnestly to return her visit, that he could not in civility refuse. The day arrived, and he repaired to his appointment; but to his great mortification, when dinner appeared, he found it composed of minced meat, served up in long narrow necked glasses ; so that he was only tantalized with the sight of what it was impossible for him to taste. The Stork thrust in her long bill, and helped herself very plentifully; then
turning to Reynard, who was eagerly licking the outside of a jar, where some sauce had been spilled-I am very glad, said she, smiling, that you seem to have so good an appetite; I hope you will make as hearty a dinner at my table, as I did the other day at yours. Reynard hung down his head, and looked very much displeased. Nay, nay, said the Stork, don't pretend to be out of humour about the matter; they that cannot take a jest should never make one.
VIII.—The Court of Death. DEATH, the king of terrors, was determined to choose a prime minister; and his pale courtiers, the ghastly train of diseases, were all summoned to attend; when each preferred his claim to the honour of this illustrious office. Fe. ver urged the numbers he had destroyed; cold Palsy set forth his pretensions, by shaking all his limbs; and Dropsy, by his swelled, unwieldly carcass. Gout hobbled up, and alleged his great power in racking every joint; and Asthma's inability to speak, was a strong, though silent argument in favour of his claim. Stone and Cholic pleaded their violence; Plague his rapid progress in destruction ; and Consumption, though slow, insisted that he was sure. In the midst of this contention, the court was disturbed with the noise of music, dancing, feasting, and revelry; when immediately entered a lady, with a bold lascivious air, and a flushed and jovial countenance : she was attended on one hand, by a troop of cooks and bacchanals; and on the other, by a train of wanton youths and damsels, who danced, halfnaked, to the softest musical instruments ; her name was INTEMPERANCE. She waved her hand, and thus addressed the crowd of diseases ; Give way, ye sickly band of pretenders, nor dare to vie with my superior merits in the service of this great monarch. Am I not your parent? the author of your beings ? do you not derive the power of shortening human life almost wholly from me? Who, then, so fit as myself for this important office? The grisly monarch grinned a smile of approbation, placed her at his right hand, and she immediately became his principal favourite and prime minister.
IX.—The Partial Judge. A FARMER came to a neighbouring lawyer, expressing great concern for an accident, which he said, had just happened. One of your oxen, continued he, has been gored by an unlucky bull of mine; and I should be glad to know
how I am to make you reparation. Thou art a very honest fellow, replied the Lawyer, and wilt not think it unreasonable, that I expect one of thy oxen in return. It is no more than justice, quoth the Farmer, to be sure : But, what did I say?- I mistake. It is your bull that has killed one of my oxen. Indeed ! says the Lawyer; that alters the case : I must inquire into the affair; and if-And if! said the Farmer-the business, I find, would have been concluded without an iF, had you been as ready to do justice to others as to exact it from them.
X.-The sick Lion, the Fox, and the Wolf. A LION, having surfeited himself with feasting too luxuriously, on the carcass of a wild boar, was seized with a violent and dangerous disorder. The beasts of the forest flocked, in great numbers, to pay their respects to him upon the occasion, and scarce one was absent except the Fox. The Wolf, an ill-natured and malicious beast, seized this opportunity to accuse the Fox of pride, ingratitude, and disaffection to his majesty. In the midst of this invective, the Fox entered; who, having heard part of the Wolf's accusation, and observed the Lion's countenance to be kindled into wrath, thus adroitly excused himself, and retorted upon his accuser :
I see many here, who, with mere lip service, have pretended to show you their loyalty ; but, for my part, from the moment I heard of your majesty's illness, neglecting useless compliments, I employed myself, day and night, to inquire, among the most learned physicians, an infallible remedy for your disease ; and have, at length, happily been informed of one. It is a plaster made of part of a wolf's skin, taken warm from his back, and laid to your majesty's stomach. This remedy was no sooner proposed, than it was determined that the experiment should be tried; and whilst the operation was performing, the Fox, with a sarcastic smile, whispered this useful maxim in the Wolf's ear: If you would be safe from harm yourself, learn for the future, not to méditate mischief against others.
XI.-Dishonesty punished. A USURER, having lost a hundred pounds in a bag, promised a reward of ten pounds to the person who should restore it. A man, having brought it to him, demanded the reward. The usurer, loth to give the reward, now that he had got the bag, alleged, after the bag was opened, that