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should all have been worshipping him, and his portrait would have been more flattered.
I think all lines of the human face have something either touching or grand, unless they seem to come from low passions.
There is no killing the suspicion that deceit has once begotten.
Father, it is a great gift of the gods to be born with a hatred and contempt of all injustice and meanness. Yours is a higher lot, never to have lied and truckled, than to have shared honours won by dishonour. There is strength in scorn, as there was in the martial fury by which men became insensible to wounds.
It is strange this life of men possessed with fervid beliefs that seem like madness to their fellow-beings.
You talk of substantial good, Tito! Are faithfulness, and love, and sweet grateful memories, no good ? Is it no good that we should keep our silent promises on which others build because they believe in our love and truth? Is it no good that a just life should be justly honoured ? Or, is it good that we should harden our hearts against all the wants and hopes of those who have depended on us? What good can belong to men who have such souls ? To talk cleverly, perhaps, and find soft couches for themselves, and live and die with their base selves as their best companions.
It is only a poor sort of happiness, my Lillo, that could ever come by caring very much about our own narrow pleasures. We can only have the highest happiness, such as goes along with being a great man, by having wide thoughts, and much feeling for the rest of the world as well as ourselves; and this sort of happiness often brings so much pain with it, that we can only tell it from pain by its being what we would choose before everything else, because our souls see it is good. There are so many things wrong and difficult in the world, that no man can he great—he can hardly keep himself from wickedness—unless he gives up thinking much about pleasure or rewards, and gets strength to endure what is hard and painful. My father had the greatness that belongs to integrity ; he chose poverty and obscurity rather than falsehood. And there was Fra Girolamo—you know why I keep to-morrow sacred ; he had the greatness which belongs to a life spent in struggling against powerful wrong, and in trying to raise men to the highest deeds they are capable of. And so, my Lillo, if you mean to act nobly and seek to know the best things God has put within reach of men, you must learn to fix your mind on that end, and not on what will happen to you because of it. And remember, if you were to choose something lower, and make it the rule of your life to seek your own pleasure and escape from what is disagreeable, calamity might come just the same ; and it would be calamity falling on a base mind, which is the one form of sorrow that has no balm in it, and that may well make a man say,—' It would have been better for me if I had never been born,'
Thou art not like the herd of thy sex, my Romola : thou art such a woman as the immortal poets had a vision of when they sang the lives of the heroes— tender but strong, like thy voice, which has been to me instead of the light in the years of my blindness.
Blindness acts like a dam, sending the streams of thought backward along the already-travelled channels and hindering the course onward.
Yes, inanis'-hollow, empty-is the epithet justly bestowed on Fame. . . . Inanis ? yes, if it is a lying fame ; but not if it is the just meed of labour and a great purpose.
It is too often the 'palma sine pulvere,' the prize of glory without the dust of the race, that young ambition covets. But what says the Greek ? ' In the morning of life, work ; in the mid-day, give counsel ; in the evening, pray.'
What hired amanuensis can be equal to the scribe who loves the words that grow under his hand, and to whom an error or indistinctness in the text is more painful than a sudden darkness or obstacle across his path ?
And even these mechanical printers who threaten to make learning a base and vulgar thingeven they must depend on the manuscript over which we scholars have bent with that insight into the poet's meaning which is closely akin to the mens divinior of the poet himself ; unless they would flood the world with grammatical falsities and inexplicable anomalies that would turn the very fountain of Parnassus into a deluge of poisonous mud.
'for men,' says Epictetus, "are disturbed not by things themselves, but by their opinions or thoughts concerning those things. And again,' Whosoever will be free, let him not desire or dread that which it is in the power of others either to deny or inflict : otherwise, he is a slave.'
In the vain laughter of folly wisdom hears half its applause.
What is that grosser, narrower light by which men behold merely the petty scene around them, compared with that far-stretching, lasting light which spreads over centuries of thought, and over the life of nations, and makes clear to us the minds of the immortals who have reaped the great harvest and left us to glean in their furrows ?
Fra Girolamo is a man to make one understand that there was a time when the monk's frock was a symbol of power over inen's minds rather than over the keys of women's cupboards.
· No amount of wishing will fill the Arno, or turn a plum into an orange.
He who bids for nuts and news, may chance to find them hollow.
When the towers fall, you know it is an ill business for the small nest-builders.
The wine and the sun will make vinegar without any shouting to help them.
The Golden Age can always come back as long as men are born in the form of babies, and don't come into the world in cassock or furred mantle.
The loss of Constantinople was the gain of the whole civilized world.
Old men's eyes are like old men's memories ; they are strongest for things a long way off.
We Florentines mostly use names as we do prawns, and strip them of all flourishes before we trust them to our throats.
I am of the same mind as Farinata degli Uberti : if any man asks me what is meant by siding with a party, I say, as he did, “ To wish ill or well, for the sake of past wrongs or kindnesses.'