« ForrigeFortsett »
therefore appeared a second time before the people, but with no better success than before.
6. As he was going home with downcast eyes and full of confusion, he was met by his friend Satyrus, one of the best actors of the age; who being informed of the cause of his chagrin, told Demosthenes only to repeat some verses to him, which he immediately did.
7. Satyrus then repeated them after him, and gave them quite another grace, by the tone of voice, the gesture, and vivacity with which he spoke them, so that Demosthènes observed they had quite a different effect. This made him sensible of what he wanted, and he applied himself to the attainment of it.
8. His endeavours to correct the natural impediment in his speech, and to perfect himself in utterance, of the value of which his friend had made him so sensible, seem almost incredible, and demonstrate that indefatigable industry can overcome all difficulties.
9. He stammered to such a degree that he could-not pronounce certain letters at all, and among others that which began the name of the art he studied; and his breath was so short, that he could not utter a whole period without stopping. However, Demosthenes overcame all these obstacles by putting little pebbles into his mouth, and then repeating several verses without taking breath.
10. He would do this when he walked, and ascended very craggy and steep places, so that at last he could pronunce all the letters without hesitating, and speak the longest period without once taking breath. But this was not all; for he used to go to the sea shore, and speak his orations when the weather was most boisterous, in order to prepare himself, by the confused noise of the waves, for the uproar of the people, and the cries of tumultuous assemblies.
11. He had a large mirror, before which he used to declaim before he spoke in public; and as he had an ill habit of drawing up his shoulders, he hung a drawn sword over them with the point downwards. He was well paid for his trouble, since by these methods he carried the art of declaiming to the highest perfection of which it was capable.
12. His application to study, in other respects, was equal to the pains he took to conquer his natural defects. He had a room made under ground, that he might be remote from noise and disturbance, and this was to be seen many centuries afterwards. There he shut himself up for months together, and had half his head shaved that his ridiculous appearance might prevent him from going abroad.
13 It was there by the light of a smail lamp he composed those excellent harangues, which smelt as his enemies declared, of the oil, to insinuate they were too much laboured. It is very evident, replied he, yours did not cost you so much trouble.
14 Eschines, a rival orator, opposed the decree which bestowed a crown of gold upon Demosthenes. The cause was argued with the greatest eloquence on both sides, but Eschines was unsuccessful, and suffered exile for his rash attempt. When he was departing from Athens, Demosthenes ran after him, and prevailed upon him to accept of a sum of money to pay his expenses.
15. Eschines, astonished at his liberality, exclaimed, I have reason to regret my departure from a country where my enemies are so generous that I do not expect to find friends equal to them elsewhere. He afterwards established a school for eloquence at Rhodes, which was long celebrated.
16. He commenced his lessons by delivering to his auditors his own oration against Demosthenes, and that of Demosthenes which caused his banishment. They bestowed great praise upon his own, but when he came to that of Demosthenes, their acclamations redoubled. If such is your applause, said he, at my delivery, what would you have said if you had heard Demosthenes himself?
IME is more valuable to young people than to any others. They should not lose an' hour in forming their taste, their manners and their minds; for whatever they are to a certain degree, at eighteen, they will be more er less so, all the rest of their lives.
2. Nothing can be of greater service to a young man who has any degree of understanding, than an intimate conversation with one of riper years, who is not only able to advise, but who knows the manner of advising. By this mean, youth can enjoy the benefit of the experience of age; and that, at a time of life when such experience will be of more service to a man, than when he has lived long enough to acquire it of himself.
The kindnesses, which most men receive from others, are like traces drawn in the sand. The breath of every passion sweeps them away, and they are remembered no more. But injuries are like inscriptions on monuments of brass or pillars of marble, which endure, unimpaired, the revolutions of time.
4. View the groves in autumn, and observe the constant succession of falling leaves; in like manner the generations of men silently drop from the stage of life, and are blended with the dust from whence they sprang.
5. Perfect happiness is not the growth of a terrestrial soil; it buds in the gardens of the virtuous on earth, but blooms with unfading verdure only in the celestial regions.
6. He who would pass the latter part of his life with honour and decency, must, when he is young, consider that he shall one day be old: and remember, when he is old, that he has once been young.
7. He who governs his passions does more than he who commands armies. Socrates, being one day offended with his servant, said, "I would beat you, if I were not angry." 8. We too often judge of men by the splendour and not the merit of their actions. Alexander demanded of a pirate whom he had taken, by what right he infested the seas? By the same right, replied he, boldly, that you enslave the world. I am called a robber, because I have only one small vessel, but you are styled a conqueror, because you command great fleets and armies.
9. Beauty, as the flowery blossoms, soon fades; but the divine excellencies of the mind, like the medicinal virtues of the plant, remain in it when all those charms are withered.
10. There are two considerations which always embit er the heart of an avaricious man; the one is a perpetual thirst after more riches; the other, the prospect of leaving what he bath already acquired.
11. There cannot be a more glorious object in creation, than a human being, replete with benevolence, meditating in what manner he may render himself most acceptable to his Creator, by doing most good to his creatures.
12. A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong; which is but saying, in other words, thet he is wiser to day than he was yesterday.
13. Knowledge will not be acquired without pains and application. It is troublesome digging for deep, pure waters; but when once you come to the spring, they rise up and meet you.
14. The most unhappy effect of fashionable politeness is, that it teaches us the art of dispensing with the virtues which it imitates. Let us be educated to cherish the principles of benevolence and humanity, and we shall have politeness enough, or shall stand in no need of it.
15. If we should not have that which is accompanied by the graces, we should have that which bespeaks the honest We should stand in no need of man and the good citizen. having recourse to the falsehood of appearances.
16. Man is the only being endowed with the power of laughter, and perhaps he is the only one who deserves to be laughed at.
17. It is the great privilege of poverty to be happy unenvied, to be healthful without physio, and secure without a guard; to obtain from the bounty of nature, what the great and wealthy are compelled to procure by the help of artists, and the attendance of flatterers and spies
18. Prudence is a duty which we owe ourselves, and if we will be so much our own enemies as to neglect it, we are not to wonder if the world is deficient in discharging their duty to us; for when a man lays the foundation of his own ruin, others, too often, are apt to build upon it.
19. There are no principles but those of religion, to be depended on in cases of real distress; and these are able to encounter the worst emergencies, and to bear us up under all the changes and chances to which our lives are subject.
20. Riches without charity are worth nothing. They are a blessing only to him who makes them a blessing to others. 21. The tongue of a viper is less hurtful than that of a slanderer; and the gilded scales of a rattlesnake, less dreadful than the purse of the oppressor.
22. As benevolence is the most sociable of all the vir tues, so it is of the largest extent; for there is not any man, either so great or so little, but he is yet capable of giving and of receiving benefits.
23. When thou dost good, do it because it is good; not because men esteem it so. When thou avoidest evil, flee from it because it is evil; not because men speak against it. Be honest for the love of honesty, and thou shalt be uniformly so. He who doth it without principle is wavering.
24. Wish rather to be reproved by the wise, than to be applauded by him who hath no understanding. When they tell thee of a fault, they suppose thou canst improve; the other, when he praiseth thee, thinketh thee like unto himself.
25. Set on thy judgment above that of all the earth; neither condemn a falsehood, what agreeth not with thine own apprehension. Who gave thee the power of determining for others? or who took from the world the right of choice?
26. How many things have been rejected, which now are received as truth; how many, now received as truths, will in their turn be despised? Of what then can man be certain?
27. An immoderate desire of riches is a poison lodged in the soul. It contaminates and destroys every thing which was good in it. It is no sooner rooted there, than all virtue, all honesty, all natural affection fly before the face of it.
28. Drunkenness is but voluntary madness; it emboldens men to do all sorts of mischiefs; it both irritates wickedness and discovers it; it does not meiely make men vicious, but it shows them to be so.
29. Every man should mind his own business; for he who torments himself with other people's good or ill fortune will never be at rest.
30. To set about acquiring the habit of meditation and study late in life, is like getting into a go-cart with a grey beard, and learning to walk when we have lost the use of our legs. In general, the foundation of a happy old age must be laid in youth; and he who has not cultivated bis reason young, will be utterly unable to improve it when old.