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BOOK - S H EL F
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In this busy age little time is found by those engaged in active pursuits to read thoroughly, or study deeply, the great works of the illustrious dead, or of those living writers whose fame seems sure.
Primarily then, for the use and enjoyment of busy people this book is made up principally from the writings of those whose work has become classic; in some instances, the selections gleaned from correspondence and journals present brief sketches of their lives.
Romance, Science, Philosophy, Religion and Art are touched in the selections comprising the result of many years of attentive reading. Many of the passages will probably be familiar; but as most of them have been selected from the works of writers long dead and neglected, perhaps, by the world in general, it may not only be a pleasure, but a profit as well, to have the reader's attention again called to them.
The current of many a life has been changed and its living made the better by a calm perusal of the philosophy of life. Such close observers of the great problem as "Thackeray, Hugo, Lever and Bulwer, who look on life from the standpoint of romance, are here grouped together with many of the serious and even pessimistic philosophers, such as Schopenhauer and Hume, as well as with Tyndall and Huxley, who deal with the matter from the cold uncompromising height of Science.
It is the personality of these authors I wish in evidence in my work, and not my own. It would be presumption on the part of any man, at this late day, to do more than call the attention of the reading public to their works. They are well able to speak for themselves, and, as they often do, teach us how to live as well as how to die!
BOOK - S H EL F 11411AI141SHAHAR
I have often thought that if the minds of men were laid open, we should see but little difference between that of the wise man and that of the fool. There are infi
The Difference nite reveries, numberless extravagancies, and a
Between the Wise perpetual train of vanities which pass through Man and the Fool
. both. The great difference is that the first knows how to pick and cull his thoughts for conversation, by suppressing some and communicating others; whereas the other lets them all indifferently fly out in words. This sort of discretion, however, has no place in private conversation between intimate friends. On such occasions the wisest men very often talk like the weakest; for indeed the talking with a friend is nothing else but thinking aloud.
Tully has therefore very justly exposed a precept delivered by some ancient writers, that a man should live with his enemy in such a manner, as might leave him room to become his friend; and with his friend in such Friends and a manner, that if he became his enemy, it should Enemies. not be in his power to hurt him. The first part of this rule, which regards our behaviour towards an enemy, is indeed very reasonable, as well as very prudential; but the latter part of it which regards our behaviour towards a friend, savours more of cunning than of discretion, and would cut a man off from the greatest pleasures of life, which are the freedoms of conversation with a bosom friend. Besides, that when a friend is turned into an enemy, and (as the son of Sirach calls him) a bewrayer of secrets, the world is just enough to accuse the perfidiousness of the friend, rather than the indiscretion of the person who confided in him.