Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
  In short, to be a Bruce, Bonaparte, Luther, Knox, Demosthenes, Shakspeare, Milton, or Cromwell, a large brain is indispensably requisite. But to display skill, enterprise, and fidelity in the various professions of civil life—to cultivate with success the less arduous branches of philosophy—to excel in acuteness, taste, and felicity of expression—to acquire extensive erudition and refined manners—a brain of a moderate size is perhaps more suitable than one that is very large; for wherever the energy is intense, it is rare that delicacy, refinement, and taste are present in an equal degree. Individuals possessing moderate-sized brains easily find their proper sphere, and enjoy in it scope for all their energy. In ordinary circumstances they distinguish themselves, but they sink when difficulties accumulate around them. Persons with large brains, on the other hand, do not readily attain their appropriate place; common occurrences do not rouse or call them forth, and, while unknown, they are not trusted with great undertakings. Often, therefore, such men pine and die in obscurity. When, however, they attain their proper element, they are conscious of greatness, and glory in the expansion of their powers. Their mental energies rise in proportion to the obstacles to be surmounted, and blaze forth in all the magnificence of self-sustaining energetic genius, on occasions when feebler minds would sink in despair.
George Combe: System of Phrenology.    
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