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STUDIES serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight is in privateness, and retiring; for ornament is in discourse; and for ability is in the judgment and disposition of business; for expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one ; but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs, come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies is sloth; to use them too much for ornament is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules is the humor of a scholar; they perfect nature, and are perfected by experience — for natural abilities are like natural plants that need pruning by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them, for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation.
Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts
made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books : else distilled books are, like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man; and, therefore, if a man write little, he had need of a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not. Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend.
SIR THOMAS MALLORY,
Ah, Sir Lancelot, there thou liest; thou wert never ,matched of none earthly knight's hands. And thou wert the courtliest knight that ever bare shield; and thou wert the truest friend to thy lover that ever bestrode horse; and thou wert the truest lover, of a sinful man, that ever loved woman; and thou wert the kindest man that ever stroke with sword; and thou wert the goodliest person that ever came among press of knights; and thou wert the meekest man and the gentlest that ever eat in hall among ladies; and thou wert the sternest knight to thy mortal foe that ever put spear in rest.
SWEFT IS THE ROSE.
SWEET is the rose, but grows upon a brere;
FULL little knowest thou that hast not tried
To fret thy soule with crosses and with cares ;
A KNIGHT there was, and that a worthy man,
This ilke worthy knight hadde been also
CATO'S SOLILOQUY ON IMMORTALITY.
It must be so. Plato, thou reasonest well !
Eternity! — thou pleasing dreadful thought !
it. Here will I hold. If there's a Power above us, — And that there is, all Nature cries aloud