On The Art of Reading eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 188 pages of information about On The Art of Reading.
in its fist, and occupies our age with passions as with troops that utterly plunder and harry it.  The love of money and the love of pleasure enslave us, or rather, as one may say, drown us body and soul in their depths.  For vast and unchecked wealth marches with lust of pleasure for comrade, and when one opens the gate of house or city, the other at once enters and abides.  And in time these two build nests in the hearts of men, and quickly rear a progeny only too legitimate:  and the ruin within the man is gradually consummated as the sublimities of his soul wither away and fade, and in ecstatic contemplation of our mortal parts we omit to exalt, and come to neglect in nonchalance, that within us which is immortal.’

I had a friend once who, being in doubt with what picture to decorate the chimney-piece in his library, cast away choice and wrote up two Greek words—­[Greek:  PSYCHES ’IATREION]; that is, the hospital—­the healing-place—­of the soul.

[Footnote 1:  ’Well! ... my education is at last finished:  indeed it would be strange, if, after five years’ hard application, anything were left incomplete.  Happily that is all over now; and I have nothing to do, but to exercise my various accomplishments.

’Let me see!—­as to French, I am mistress of that, and speak it, if possible, with more fluency than English.  Italian I can read with ease, and pronounce very well:  as well at least, and better, than any of my friends; and that is all one need wish for in Italian.  Music I have learned till I am perfectly sick of it.  But ... it will be delightful to play when we have company.  I must still continue to practise a little;—­the only thing, I think, that I need now to improve myself in.  And then there are my Italian songs! which everybody allows I sing with taste, and as it is what so few people can pretend to, I am particularly glad that I can.

’My drawings are universally admired; especially the shells and flowers; which are beautiful, certainly; besides this, I have a decided taste in all kinds of fancy ornaments.

’And then my dancing and waltzing! in which our master himself owned that he could take me no further! just the figure for it certainly; it would be unpardonable if I did not excel.

’As to common things, geography, and history, and poetry, and philosophy, thank my stars, I have got through them all! so that I may consider myself not only perfectly accomplished, but also thoroughly well-informed.

’Well, to be sure, how much have I fagged through—­; the only wonder is that one head can contain it all.’

I found this in a little book “Thoughts of Divines and Philosophers,” selected by Basil Montagu.  The quotation is signed ‘J.  T.’  I cannot trace it, but suspect Jane Taylor.]

[Footnote 2:  Samuel Daniel, “Epistle to the Lady Margaret, Countess of Cumberland.”]

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On The Art of Reading from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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