William Hazlitt - Life Quotes
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There is (so to speak) "a mighty stream of tendency" to good in the human mind, upon which all objects float and are imperceptibly borne along; and though in the voyage of life we meet with strong rebuffs, with rocks and quicksands, yet there is a "a tide in the affairs of men," a heaving and a restless aspiration of the soul, by means of which, "with sails and tackle torn," the wreck and scattered fragments of our entire being drift into the port and haven of our desires!
All that is worth remembering in life, is the poetry of it.
Our first of poets was one of our first of men. He was an eminent instance to prove that a poet is not another name for the slave of power and fashion … who merely aspire to make up the pageant and show of the day. There are persons in common life who … can so little bear to be left for any length of time out of the grand carnival and masquerade of pride and folly, that they will gain admittance to it at the expense of their characters … Milton was not one of these. He had lofty contemplative principle, and consciousness of inward power and worth, [not] to be tempted by such idle baits.
We are the creatures of imagination, passion, and self-will, more than of reason or even of self-interest. Even in the common transactions and daily intercourse of life, we are governed by whim, caprice, prejudice, or accident. The falling of a teacup puts us out of temper for the day; and a quarrel that commenced about the pattern of a gown may end only with our lives.
First impressions are often the truest, as we find (not unfrequently) to our cost when we have been wheedled out of them by plausible professions or actions. A man's look is the work of years, it is stamped on his countenance by the events of his whole life, nay, more, by the hand of nature, and it is not to be got rid of easily.