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C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
 
Sir Thomas Browne
 
        Sleep is a death, O make me try,
By sleeping, what it is to die:
And as gently lay my head
On my grave, as now my bed.
  1
  All things are artificial, for nature is the art of God.  2
  An argument from authority is but a weak kind of proof,—it being but a topical probation, and an inartificial argument depending on naked asseveration.  3
  And sure there is music even in the beauty, and the silent note which Cupid strikes, far sweeter than the sound of an instrument; for there is music wherever there is harmony, order, or proportion; and thus far we may maintain the music of the spheres.  4
  As reason is a rebel unto faith, so passion unto reason; as the propositions of faith seem absurd unto reason, so the theories of reason unto passion.  5
  As sins proceed they ever multiply, and like figures in arithmetic, the last stands for more than all that wept before it.  6
  Be charitable before wealth makes thee covetous.  7
  Be deaf unto the suggestions of tale-bearers, calumniators, pick-thank or malevolent detractors, who, while quiet men sleep, sowing the tares of discord and division, distract the tranquillity of charity and all friendly society. These are the tongues that set the world on fire—cankerers of reputation, and, like that of Jonah’s gourd, wither a good name in a single night.  8
  Be substantially great in thyself, and more than thou appearest unto others; and let the world be deceived in thee, as they are in the lights of heaven.  9
  Chain up the unruly legion of thy breast. Lead thine own captivity captive, and be Cæsar within thyself.  10
  Circles and right lines limit and close all bodies, and the mortal right-lined circle must conclude and shut up all.  11
  Do the devils lie? No; for then even hell could not subsist.  12
  God hath varied the inclinations of men according to the variety of actions to be performed.  13
  Grave-stones tell truth scarce forty years. Generations pass while families last not three oaks.  14
  He hath riches sufficient who hath enough to be charitable.  15
  He is like to be mistaken who makes choice of a covetous man for a friend, or relieth upon the reed of narrow and poltroon friendship. Pitiful things are only to be found in the cottages of such breasts; but bright thoughts, clear deeds, constancy, fidelity, bounty and generous honesty are the gems of noble minds, wherein (to derogate from none) the true, heroic English gentleman hath no peer.  16
  He who discommendeth others commendeth himself.  17
  He who must needs have company must needs have sometimes bad company. Be able to be alone; lose not the advantage of solitude and the society of thyself; nor be only content but delight to be alone and single with Omnipotency. He who is thus prepared, the day is not uneasy, nor the night black unto him. Darkness may bound his eyes, not his imagination. In his bed he may lie, like Pompey and his sons, in all quarters of the earth; may speculate the universe, and enjoy the whole world in the hermitage of himself.  18
  I could never divide myself from any man upon the difference of an opinion, or be angry with his judgment for not agreeing in that from which within a few days I might dissent myself.  19
  I envy no man that knows more than my self, but pity them that know.  20
 
 
  I had rather stand the shock of a basilisk than the fury of a merciless pen.  21
  I have loved my friends as I do virtue, my soul, my God.  22
  It in the common wonder of all men among so many millions of faces there should be none alike.  23
  It is a brave act of valor to contemn death; but where life is more terrible than death, it is then the truest valor to dare to live.  24
  It is we that are blind, not fortune; because our eye is too dim to discern the mystery of her effects, we foolishly paint her blind, and hoodwink the providence of the Almighty.  25
  Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible sun within us.  26
  Light is but the shadow of God.  27
  Man is a noble animal, splendid in ashes and pompous in the grave.  28
  Measure not thyself by thy morning shadow, but by the extent of thy grave; and reckon thyself above the earth by the line thou must be contented with under it.  29
  Men that look no further than their outsides, think health an appurtenance unto life, and quarrel with their constitutions for being sick; but I that have examined the parts of man, and know upon what tender filaments that fabric hangs, do wonder that we are not always so; and considering the thousand doors that lead to death, do thank my God that we can die but once.  30
  Miserable men commiserate not themselves; bowelless unto others, and merciless unto their own bowels.  31
  Nor do they speak properly who say that time consumeth all things; for time is not effective, nor are bodies destroyed by it.  32
  Now nature is not at variance with art, nor art with nature; they being both the servants of his providence. Art is the perfection of nature. Were the world now as it was the sixth day, there were yet a chaos. Nature hath made one world, and art another. In brief, all things are artificial; for nature is the art of God.  33
  Oblivion is not to be hired.  34
  Of all men, a philosopher should be no swearer; for an oath, which is the end of controversies in law, cannot determine any here, where reason only must induce.  35
  Persecution is a bad and indirect way to plant religion.  36
  Praise is a debt we owe unto the virtues of others, and due unto our own from all whom malice hath not made mutes or envy struck dumb.  37
  Scholars are men of peace; they bear no arms, but their tongues are sharper than Actius’s sword, their pens carry further, and give a louder report than thunder. I had rather stand in the shock of a basilisk than in the fury of a merciless pen.  38
  Sleep is death’s younger brother, and so like him, that I never dare trust him without my prayers.  39
  Some indeed have been so affectedly vain as to counterfeit immortality, and have stolen their death in hopes to be esteemed immortal.  40
  Suicide is not to fear death, but yet to be afraid of life. It is a brave act of valour to contemn death; but when life is more terrible than death, it is then the truest valour to dare to live; and herein religion hath taught us a noble example, for all the valiant acts of Curtius, Scarvola, or Codrus, do not parallel or match that one of Job.  41
  Surely there are in every man’s life certain rubs, doublings, and wrenches, which pass a while under the effects of chance, but at the last, well examined, prove the mere hand of God.  42
  There is music in the beauty, and the silent note which Cupid strikes, far sweeter than the sound of an instrument.  43
  There is no community or commonwealth of virtue; every man must study his own economy, and erect these rules unto the figure of himself.  44
  There is no man alone, because every man is a microcosm, and carries the whole world about him.  45
  There is no such thing as solitude, nor anything that can be said to be alone and by itself but God, who is His own circle, and can subsist by Himself.  46
  There is nothing strictly immortal but immortality.  47
  Think not thy time short in this world, since the world itself is not long. The created world is but a small parenthesis in eternity, and a short interposition, for a time, between such a state of duration as was before it and may be after it.  48
  Time antiquates antiquities, and hath an art to make dust of all things.  49
  Time sadly overcometh all things, and is now dominant, and sitteth upon a sphinx, and looketh unto Memphis and old Thebes, while his sister Oblivion reclineth semi-somnous on a pyramid, gloriously triumphing, making puzzles of Titanian erections, and turning old glories into dreams.  50
  To be nameless in worthy deeds exceeds an infamous history. The Canaanitish woman lives more happily without a name than Herodias with one; and who would not rather have been the penitent thief than Pilate?  51
  To me avarice seems not so much a vice as a deplorable piece of madness.  52
  We are somewhat more than ourselves in our sleep; and the slumber of the body seems to be but the waking of the soul. It is the ligation of sense, but the liberty of reason; and our waking conceptions do not match the fancies of our sleep.  53
  We censure others but as they disagree from that humor which we fancy laudable in ourselves, and commend others but for that wherein they seem to quadrate and consent with us.  54
  When we desire to confine our words, we commonly say they are spoken under the rose.  55
  Who can speak of eternity without a solecism, or think thereof without an ecstasy?  56
  Write thy wrongs in ashes.  57
  Yet forget not that “the whole world is a phylactery, and everything we see an item of the wisdom, power, or goodness of God.”  58
  All things are artificial; for nature is the art of God.  59
  Where we desire to be informed ’tis good to contest with men above ourselves, but to confirm and establish our opinions, ’tis best to argue with judgments below our own, that the frequent spoils and victories over their reasons may settle in ourselves an esteem and confirmed opinion of our own.  60
 
 
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