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One class has the perception of difference, and is conversant with facts and surfaces; cities and persons; and the bringing certain things to pass;—the men of talent and action.Another class have the perception of identity, and are men of faith and philosophy, men of genius. Plotinus believes only in philosophers; Fenelon, in saints; Pindar and Byron, in poets.
Neither will he be betrayed to a book, and wrapped in a gown.
The studious class are their own victims; they are thin and pale, their feet are cold, their heads are hot, the night is without sleep, the day a fear of interruption,—pallor, squalor, hunger, and egotism.
He has a conception of beauty which the sculptor cannot embody.
Picture, statue, temple, railroad, steam-engine, existed first in an artist’s mind, without flaw, mistake, or friction, which impair the executed models.
The first had leaped to conclusions not yet ripe, and say more than is true; the others make themselves merry with the philosopher, and weigh man by the pound.—They believe that mustard bites the tongue, that pepper is hot, friction-matches are incendiary, revolvers to be avoided, and suspenders hold up pantaloons; that there is much sentiment in a chest of tea; and a man will be eloquent, if you give him good wine.
Are you tender and scrupulous,—you must and when he advised a young scholar perplexed with fore-ordination and free-will, to get well drunk.He drives his bargain in the street; but it occurs that he also is bought and sold.He sees the beauty of a human face, and searches the cause of that beauty, which must be more beautiful.The ward meetings, on election days, are not softened by any misgivings of the value of these ballotings. To the men of this world, to the animal strength and spirits, to the men of practical power, whilst immersed in it, the man of ideas appears out of his reason. Things always bring their own philosophy with them, that is, prudence.No man acquires property without acquiring with it a little arithmetic, also.In England, the richest country that ever existed, property stands for more, compared with personal ability, than in any other.After dinner, a man believes less, denies more; verities have lost some charm.After dinner, arithmetic is the only science; ideas are disturbing, incendiary, follies of young men, repudiated by the solid portion of society; and a man comes to be valued by his athletic and animal qualities. Pope was with Sir Godfrey Kneller one day, when his nephew, a Guinea trader, came in.“Nephew,” said Sir Godfrey, “you have the honor of seeing the two greatest men in the world.” “I don’t know how great men you may be,” said the Guinea man, “but I don’t like your looks.“The nerves,” says Cabanis, “they are the man.” My neighbor, a jolly farmer, in the tavern bar-room, thinks that the use of money is sure and speedy spending. Keep cool: it will be all one a hundred years hence.“For his part,” he says, “he puts his down his neck, and gets the good of it.” The inconvenience of this way of thinking is, that it runs into indifferentism, and then into disgust. Life’s well enough; but we shall be glad to get out of it, and they will all be glad to have us. Our meat will taste to-morrow as it did yesterday, and we may at last have had enough of it.