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The Sayings Of Great People

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lieorge III. 's sayings are, hke hi8 own mage, staniped on copper, poor in exression, but very strongly stamped. It was the same with Madame de Pompaour'a celebrated expression of recklessness: "Apres nous, le deluge," a sayng which has become part of history, partly from its truth, partly from its ivid expression of the selfishness and ecklessness which made it historica!. infl it is this nnn.litv nf rfrsnn n.l iveness whicli, when thc character so taniped is not poor, but has anything magnificent or noble in it, that makes a great saying take rank with a great leed. Louis XIV.'s dcclaration on bis leath bed to Madame de Maintenon, "I magitied it more difficult to die," as hough bis departure at least must have 1 í. Y ' 1 T V. '1 ÍM -' LA. f lili' I i í II t i i 1 ■ 1 n 1 'itt's grand farewellto power, when he cturned, dying, from Bath, "Fold up ,he map of Europo," are excellent specmens of the sort of sayings which, hough coHtaining no thonght at all, nothing but a great consciousness oi )ower, yet impress us more than the nost vivid wisdom or the most poignani wit. This is why dignity tells for so much in a sí ying of this kind. - for so much more, indeed, than even truth. 3urke's grand sentence on the hustings, when referring to the death of another candidate: "What shadovs we are, anc what shadows we pursue!" makes an pvpn irrontor iïnrtrnsiiinn nu t.lin ation than the other sentence: "1 do not know how to draw np an indictment against a whole people," not because it embodios half the political wisdom of ;he second sentence, but beo.iuse it recalls Burko and his soaringirnagination more impressively to the mïnd Even Lord Chesterfield, with all his thinness and superfioiality, makes his mark upon us directly he begins to delinéate himself. "There is a certain dignity to be kept up in pleasures, as vell as in buai ness, ' ' and ' 'Knowledge mav give weigh but accomplishments givo lustre, and jnany more people see tlian wcigh," paint so exactly a man thoughtfully anc consistently anxious aöout nppearances that tkey impress us almost as ruuch a one of Dr. Johnson's vivid self-portrait ures of a much nobler kind. Indeec they impress us not only almost as much but for ncarly the same reason, that b; imaging the man who lived in appeai anees, they throw up in stront reiiel on our minds the recollection of men t whom mere appearances wei'e naught. Sayings, however excellent, which d not convey in them any self-portraitur are seldom vividly associated with thei true authors. How many of our read ers will remember who it was that sak "Nothmg is certain but death and tax es;" or, "We must all hang together else we shall all hang separately," o even, "It is better to wear out than t rust out," which last does represent th enorgy of a certain kind of tempera ment, but energy so common that marks rather a cfass than an individual Benjamin Franklm said the two hrst sayings, and Bisliop Cumberland the last, but we should be surprised to find anyone in a company of literary men who could have pronounced on the spot to whom any one of the three was to be attributed. On the other hand, we seldom misappropriate sayings containing much less that it is worth while to remombcr, if only they vividly portray a memorable figure, - like Frederick the Great's indignant, "Wollt ihr immer leben?" ("Do you fellows want to live forever?") when his soldiers showed somo disinclination to being shot down, or Gambetta's peremptory, "II faudra ou se soumettre, ou se demettre," of Marshal MacMahon's "Government of Combat." Thus, the most impressive of all sayings are probably those of great rulers who contrived to embody the profonnd confidence they feit that a life of command was before them, in a few weighty words. Julius Csesar's "Veni, vïdi, vici," and his question to the skipper who feared for the loss of his boat, -'What dost thou fear, when Csesar is on boird?" or his disdainful apology for an unjust divorce, ."Caesar s wifo ought to be freo even from suspicion," are likely to be in everyone's mouth as long as the world lasts. And so, perhaps, isNapoleon's, "Isucceeded not Louis XIV., but Charlemagne,"and the same great ruan's remark'Imagination rules the world," and, I ought to havo died at Waterloo. " Bnt the most influential of all great sayings are those which combine great forco and weight of character with a precept, express or implied. Thus, Cavour's remarkable prophecy, written seven-and-twenty years before ts fr.lfillment, "In my dreams. I sce myself already Ministerjof theKingdomof Italy," - the most impressive of all precepts to havo faith in great national cravings, - or, again, nis expressire saying, "In politics, nothing is so absurd as rancor;" or, "I will have no state of siege; anyonc can govern with a state of siege,"' will do more to keep Italy united, to keep her governments statesmanlike, and to keep her people f ree, thanrealms of argument from men less memorable and less potent.


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