Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
Bishop John Earle
  A child is a man in a small letter, yet the best copy of Adam; and he is happy whose small practice in the world can only write his character. He is Nature’s fresh picture newly drawn in oil, which time and much handling dims and defaces. His soul is yet a white paper, unscribbled with observations of the world, wherewith at length it becomes a blurred note-book. He is purely happy, because he knows no evil, nor hath made means by sin to be acquainted with misery. He arrives not at the mischief of being wise, nor endures evils to come by foreseeing them. He kisses and loves all, and when the smart of the rod is past, smiles on his beater. Nature and his parents alike dandle him, and entice him on with a bit of sugar to a draught of wormwood. He plays yet like a young prentice the first day, and is not come to his task of melancholy. All the language he speaks yet is tears, and they serve him well enough to express his necessity. His hardest labour is his tongue, as if he were loth to use so deceitful an organ; and he is best company with it when he can but prattle. We laugh at his foolish sports, but his game is our earnest; and his drums, rattles, and hobby-horses, but the emblems and mockings of men’s business. His father hath writ him as his own little story, wherein he reads those days of his life which he cannot remember, and sighs to see what innocence he has outlived. He is the Christian’s example, and the old man’s relapse; the one imitates his pureness, and the other falls into his simplicity. Could he put off his body with his little coat, he had got eternity without a burden, and exchanged but one heaven for another.
Bishop John Earle.    
  A young raw preacher is a bird not yet fledged, that hath hopped out of his nest to be chirping on a hedge, and will be struggling abroad at what peril soever. The pace of his sermon is a full career, and he runs wildly over hill and dale till the clock stop him. The labour of it is chiefly in his lungs; and the only thing he has made in it himself is the faces. His action is all passion, and his speech interjections. He has an excellent faculty in bemoaning the people, and spits with a very good grace. His style is compounded of twenty several men’s, only his body imitates some one extraordinary. He will not draw his handkerchief out of his place, nor blow his nose without discretion. His commendation is that he never looks upon book; and indeed he was never used to it. He preaches but once a year, though twice on Sunday; for the stuff is still the same, only the dressing a little altered; he has more tricks with a sermon than a tailor with an old cloak, to turn it, and piece it, and at last quite disguise it with a new preface. If he have waded further in his profession, and would show reading of his own, his authors are postils, and his school-divinity a catechism.
Bishop John Earle.    
  A pretender to learning is one that would make all others more fools than himself; for though he know nothing, he would not have the world know so much. He conceits nothing in learning but the opinion, which he seeks to purchase without it, though he might with less labour cure his ignorance than hide it. He is indeed a kind of scholar mountebank, and his art our delusion. He is tricked out in all the accoutrements of learning, and at the first encounter none passes better. He is oftener in his study than at his book, and you cannot pleasure him better than to deprehend him: yet he hears you not till the third knock, and then comes out very angry, as interrupted. You find him in his slippers, and a pen in his ear, in which formality he was asleep. His table is spread wide with some classic folio, which is as constant to it as the carpet, and hath lain open at the same page this half-year. His candle is always a longer sitter-up than himself, and the boast of his window at midnight. He walks much alone in the posture of meditation, and has a book before his face in the fields. His pocket is seldom without a Greek testament or Hebrew bible, which he opens only in the church, and that when some stander-by looks over. He has sentences for company—some scatterings of Seneca and Tacitus—which are good upon all occasions. If he reads anything in the morning, it comes out all at dinner; and as long as that lasts the discourse is his. He is a great plagiary of tavern wit, and comes to sermons only that he may talk of Austin. His parcels are the mere scrapings from company, yet he complains at parting what time he has lost. He is wonderfully capricious in giving judgment, and listens with a sour attention to what he understands not. He talks much of Scaliger, and Casaubon, and the Jesuits, and prefers some unheard-of Dutch name before them all. He has verses to bring in upon these and these hints, and it shall go hard but he will wind in his opportunity. He is critical in a language he cannot construe, and speaks seldom under Arminius in divinity. His business and retirement and caller away is his study, and he protests no delight to it comparable. He is a great nomenclator of authors, which he has read in general in the catalogue, and in particular in the title, and goes seldom so far as the dedication. He never talks of anything but learning, and learns all from talking. Three encounters with the same man pump him, and then he only puts in or gravely says nothing. He has taken pains to be an ass, though not to be a scholar, and is at length discovered and laughed at.
Bishop John Earle: Microcosmographie.    
  An attorney’s ancient beginning was a blue coat, since a livery, and his hatching under a lawyer; whence, though but pen-feathered, he hath now nested for himself, and with his hoarded pence purchased an office. Two desks and a quire of paper set him up, where he now sits in state for all comers. We can call him no great author, yet he writes very much, and with the infamy of the court is maintained in his libels. He has some snatch of a scholar, and yet uses Latin very hardly; and, lest it should accuse him, cuts it off in the midst, and will not let it speak out. He is, contrary to great men, maintained by his followers—that is, his poor country clients, that worship him more than their landlord; and be they never such churls, he looks for their courtesy.  4
  He first racks them soundly himself, and then delivers them to the lawyer for execution. His looks are very solicitous, importing much haste and despatch; he is never without his hands full of business, that is—of paper. His skin becomes at last as dry as his parchment, and his face as intricate as the most winding cause. He talks statutes as fiercely as if he had mooted seven years in the inns of court, when all his skill is stuck in his girdle, or in his office window. Strife and wrangling have made him rich, and he is thankful to his benefactor, and nourishes it. If he live in a country village, he makes all his neighbours good subjects: for there shall be nothing done but what there is law for. His business gives him not leave to think of his conscience; and when the time, or term, of his life is going out, for doomsday he is secure; for he hopes he has a trick to reverse judgment.
Bishop John Earle: Microcosmographie (The Attorney).    

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.