William Hazlitt (1778–1830)
The true barbarian is he who thinks everything barbarous but his own tastes and prejudices.
A grave blockhead should always go about with a lively one--they shew one another off to the best advantage.
When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy, it ceases to be a subject of interest.
Envy among other ingredients has a mixture of the love of justice in it. We are more angry at undeserved than at deserved good-fortune.
One shining quality lends a lustre to another, or hides some glaring defect.
Our friends are generally ready to do everything for us, except the very thing we wish them to do.
We are not hypocrites in our sleep.
The humblest painter is a true scholar; and the best of scholars—the scholar of nature.
No one ever approaches perfection except by stealth, and unknown to themselves.
Poetry is the universal language which the heart holds with nature and itself. He who has a contempt for poetry, cannot have much respect for himself, or for anything else.
The poetical impression of any object is that uneasy, exquisite sense of beauty or power that cannot be contained within itself; that is impatient of all limit; that (as flame bends to flame) strives to link itself to some other image of kindred beauty or grandeur; to enshrine itself, as it were, in the highest forms of fancy, and to relieve the aching sense of pleasure by expressing it in the boldest manner.
He is to the great poet, what an excellent mimic is to a great actor. There is no determinate impression left on the mind by reading his poetry. . . . A great mind is one that moulds the minds of others.
He indeed cloys with sweetness; he obscures with splendour; he fatigues with gaiety. We are stifled on beds of roses.
A Whig is properly what is called a Trimmer—that is, a coward to both sides of the question, who dare not be a knave nor an honest man, but is a sort of whiffling, shuffling, cunning, silly, contemptible, unmeaning negation of the two.
There is no prejudice so strong as that which arises from a fancied exemption from all prejudice.
No wise man can have a contempt for the prejudices of others; and he should even stand in a certain awe of his own, as if they were aged parents and monitors. They may in the end prove wiser than he.
Belief is with them mechanical, voluntary: they believe what they are paid for—they swear to that which turns to account. Do you suppose, that after years spent in this manner, they have any feeling left answering to the difference between truth and falsehood?
There is not a more mean, stupid, dastardly, pitiless, selfish, spiteful, envious, ungrateful animal than the Public. It is the greatest of cowards, for it is afraid of itself.
Few things tend more to alienate friendship than a want of punctuality in our engagements. I have known the breach of a promise to dine or sup to break up more than one intimacy.
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