Times of general calamity and confusion have ever been productive of the greatest minds. The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace, and the brightest thunderbolt is elicited from the darkest storm.
The more any object is spiritualized, the more delightful it is. There is much delight in the tragical representation of those things which in reality would be sights full of amazement and horror. The ticklings of fancy are more delightful than the touches of sense. How does poetry insinuate and turn about the minds of men! Anacreon might take more delight in one of his odes than in one of his cups; Catullus might easily find more sweetness in one of his epigrams than in the lips of a Lesbia. Sappho might take more complacency in one of her verses than in her practices. The nearer anything comes to mental joy, the purer and choicer it is. It is the observation not only of Aristotle, but of every one almost, Some things delight merely because of their novelty; and that surely upon this account, because the mind, which is the spring of joy, is more fixed and intense upon such things. The rose-bud thus pleases more than the blown rose.
The march of intellect is proceeding at quick time; and if its progress be not accompanied by a corresponding improvement in morals and religion, the faster it proceeds, with the more violence will you be hurried down the road to ruin.