Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
 
Studies
 
  Studies employed on low objects; the very naming of them is sufficient to turn them into raillery.
Joseph Addison.    
  1
 
  A man, groundly learned already, may take much profit himself in using by epitome to draw other men’s works, for his own memory sake, into shorter room.
Roger Ascham.    
  2
 
  Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment and disposition of business: for expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one: but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs, come best from those who are learned. To spend too much time in studies is sloth; to use them too much for ornament is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules is the humour of a scholar: they perfect nature, and are perfected by experience: for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience.  3
  Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them: for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation.
Francis Bacon: Essay LI., Of Studies.    
  4
 
  Let thy studies be free as thy thoughts and contemplations: but fly not only upon the wings of imagination; join sense unto reason, and experiment unto speculation, and so give life unto embryon thoughts and verities yet in their chaos…. And therefore, rather than to swell the leaves of learning by fruitless repetitions, to sing the same song in all ages, nor adventure at essays beyond the attempt of others, many would be content that some would write like Helmont or Paracelsus; and be willing to endure the monstrosity of some opinions for divers singular notions requiting such aberrations.
Sir Thomas Browne: Christian Morals, Pt. II., v.    
  5
 
  But amongst these exercises, or recreations of the mind within doors, there is none so general, so aptly to be applied to all sorts of men, so fit and proper to expel idleness and melancholy, as that of Study: Studia senectutem oblectant, adolescentiam alunt, secundas res ornant, adversis perfugiam et solatium præbant, domi delectant, &c. [Study is the delight of old age, the support of youth, the ornament of prosperity, the solace and refuge of adversity, the comfort of domestic life, &c.]: find the rest in Tully pro Archia Poeta.
Robert Burton: Anatomy of Melancholy.    
  6
 
  Is it asked, How can the labouring man find time for self-culture? I answer that, An earnest purpose finds time, or makes time. It seizes on spare moments, and turns fragments to golden account. A man who follows his calling with industry and spirit, and uses his earnings economically, will always have some portion of the day at command. And it is astonishing how fruitful of improvement a short season becomes when eagerly seized and faithfully used. It has often been observed that those who have the most time at their disposal profit by it the least. A single hour in the day steadily given to the pursuit of some interesting subject brings unexpected accumulations of knowledge.
W. Ellery Channing.    
  7
 
  It is a shameful thing to be weary of inquiry when what we search for is excellent.
Cicero.    
  8
 
  He that studies books alone will know how things ought to be; and he that studies men will know how things are.
Charles Caleb Colton: Lacon, Preface.    
  9
 
  Every truth has relation to some other. And we should try to write the facts of our knowledge so as to see them in their several bearings. This we do when we frame them into a system. To do so legitimately, we must begin by analysis and end with synthesis.
William Fleming.    
  10
 
  The intellectual husbandry is a goodly field, and it is the worst husbandry in the world to sow it with trifles.
Sir Matthew Hale.    
  11
 
  The labour of intellectual research resembles and exceeds the tumultuous pleasures of the chase, and the consciousness of overcoming a formidable obstacle, or of lighting on some happy discovery, gives all the enjoyment of a conquest, without those corroding reflections by which the latter must be impaired. Can we doubt that Archimedes, who was so absorbed in his contemplations as not to be diverted by the sacking of his native city, and was killed in the very act of meditating a mathematical theorem, did not, when he exclaimed eureka! eureka! I have found it! I have found it! feel a transport as genuine as was ever experienced after the most brilliant victory?
Robert Hall: Advantages of Knowledge to the Lower Classes.    
  12
 
  Things more secret than can be discerned by every man’s present conceit, without some deeper discourse and judgment.
Richard Hooker.    
  13
 
  The greater part of students are not born with abilities to construct systems, or advance knowledge; nor can have any hope beyond that of becoming intelligent hearers in the schools of art, of being able to comprehend what others discover, and to remember what others teach. Even those to whom Providence hath allotted greater strength of understanding can expect only to improve a single science. In every other part of learning they must be content to follow opinions which they are not able to examine; and even in that which they claim peculiarly as their own can seldom add more than some small particle of knowledge to the hereditary stock devolved to them from ancient times, the collective labour of a thousand intellects.
Dr. Samuel Johnson: Rambler, No. 121.    
  14
 
  Study is the bane of boyhood, the aliment of youth, the indulgence of manhood, and the restorative of old age.
Walter Savage Landor: Pericles and Aspasia (Cleone).    
  15
 
 
 
  In learning, little should be proposed to the mind at once; and that being fully mastered, proceed to the next adjoining part, yet unknown, simple unperplexed proposition.
John Locke.    
  16
 
  The mind once jaded by an attempt above its power either is disabled for the future, or else checks at any vigorous undertaking ever after.
John Locke.    
  17
 
  There is no occasion to oppose the ancients and the moderns, or to be squeamish on either side. He that wisely conducts his mind in the pursuit of knowledge will gather what lights he can from either.
John Locke.    
  18
 
  All who would study with advantage, in any art whatsoever, ought to betake themselves to the reading of some sure and certain books oftentimes over: for to read many books produceth confusion, rather than learning; like as those who dwell everywhere are not anywhere at home.
Martin Luther: Table-Talk.    
  19
 
  Strive, while improving your one talent, to enrich your whole capital as a man. It is in this way that you escape from the wretched narrow-mindedness which is the characteristic of every one who cultivates his speciality alone.
Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton.    
  20
 
  Those morning haunts are where they should be, at home; not sleeping, or concocting the surfeits of an irregular feast, but up and stirring, in winter often ere the sound of any bell awake men to labour, or to devotion; in summer as oft with the bird that first rouses, or not much tardier, to read good authors, or cause them to be read, till the attention be weary, or memory have its full fraught.
John Milton: An Apology for Smectymnuus.    
  21
 
  Beholding the bright countenance of truth in the quiet and still air of delightful studies.
John Milton.    
  22
 
  As in a man’s life, so in his studies, I think it is the most beautiful and humane thing in the world, so to mingle gravity with pleasure that the one may not sink into melancholy, nor the other rise up into wantonness.
Pliny.    
  23
 
  How fit is this retreat for uninterrupted study! Any one that sees it will own I could not have chosen a more likely place to converse with the dead in.
Alexander Pope.    
  24
 
  There is no study that is not capable of delighting us after a little application to it.
Alexander Pope.    
  25
 
  As the soil, however rich it may be, cannot be productive without culture, so the mind, without cultivation, can never produce good fruit.
Seneca.    
  26
 
  I remember to have heard a great painter say, “There are certain faces for certain painters, as well as certain subjects for certain poets.” This is as true in the choice of studies; and no one will ever relish an author thoroughly well who would not have been fit company for that author, had they lived at the same time. All others are mechanics in learning, and take the sentiments of writers like waiting-servants, who report what passed at their master’s table, but debase every thought and expression, for want of the air with which they were uttered.
Sir Richard Steele: Tatler, No. 173.    
  27
 
  A well-judging man will open his trunk-line of study in such a direction that, while habitually adhering to it, he may enjoy a ready access to such other fields of knowledge as are most nearly related to it.
Sir James Stephen.    
  28
 
  Spend not your time in that which profits not: for your labour and your health, your time and your studies, are very valuable; and it is a thousand pities to see a diligent and hopeful person spend himself in gathering cockle-shells and little pebbles, in telling sands upon the shores, and making garlands of useless daisies. Study that which is profitable, that which will make you useful to churches and commonwealths, that which will make you desirable and wise. Only I shall add this to you, that in learning there are variety of things as well as in religion: there is mint and cummin, and there are the weighty things of the law; so there are studies more and less useful, and everything that is useful will be required in its time: and I may in this also use the words of our blessed Saviour, “These things ought you to look after, and not to leave the other unregarded.” But your great care is to be in the things of God and of religion, in holiness and true wisdom, remembering the saying of Origen, “That the knowledge that arises from goodness is something that is more certain and more divine than all demonstration,” than all other learnings of the world.
Jeremy Taylor.    
  29
 
  Study gives strength to the mind, conversation grace; the first apt to give stiffness, the other suppleness.
Sir William Temple.    
  30
 
  Study detains the mind by the perpetual occurrence of something new, which may gratefully strike the imagination.
Dr. Isaac Watts.    
  31
 
  When two or three sciences are pursued at the same time, if one of them be dry, as logic, let another be more entertaining, to secure the mind from weariness.
Dr. Isaac Watts.    
  32
 
  Every scholar should acquaint himself with a superficial scheme of all the sciences, yet there is no necessity for every man of learning to enter into their difficulties and deep recesses.
Dr. Isaac Watts.    
  33
 
  Those who contemplate only the fragments or pieces of science dispersed in short unconnected discourses can never survey an entire body of truth, but must always view it as deformed and dismembered.
Dr. Isaac Watts.    
  34
 
  Now we deal much in essays, and unreasonably despise systematic learning; whereas our fathers had a just value for regularity and systems.
Dr. Isaac Watts.    
  35
 
  “Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability.” [Bacon’s Essay, Of Studies.] We should, then, cultivate, not only the corn-fields of our minds, but the pleasure-grounds also. Every faculty and every study, however worthless they may be, when not employed in the service of God,—however debased and polluted when devoted to the service of sin,—become ennobled and sanctified when directed, by one whose constraining motive is the love of Christ, towards a good object. Let not the Christian then think “scorn of the pleasant land.” That land is the field of ancient and modern literature,—of philosophy, in almost all its departments,—of the arts of reasoning and persuasion. Every part of it may be cultivated with advantage, as the Land of Canaan when bestowed upon God’s peculiar people. They were not commanded to let it lie waste, as incurably polluted by the abominations of its first inhabitants; but to cultivate it, and dwell in it, living in obedience to the divine laws, and dedicating its choicest fruits to the Lord their God.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Studies.    
  36
 
  It would have been well if Bacon had added some hints as to the mode of study: how books are to be chewed, and swallowed, and digested. For, besides inattentive readers, who measure their proficiency by the pages they have gone over, it is quite possible, and not uncommon, to read most laboriously, even so as to get by heart the words of a book, without really studying it at all; that is, without employing the thoughts on the subject.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Studies.    
  37
 
  One very useful precept for students is, never to remain long puzzling out any difficulty; but lay the book and the subject aside, and return to it some hours after, or next day; after having turned the attention to something else. Sometimes a person will weary his mind for several hours in some efforts (which might have been spared) to make out some difficulty, and next day, when he returns to the subject, will find it quite easy.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Studies.    
  38
 
  Always trust, therefore, for the overcoming of a difficulty, not to long-continued study after you have once got bewildered, but to repeated trials at intervals. It may be here observed that the student of any science or art should not only distinctly understand all the technical language and all the rules of the art, but also learn them by heart, so that they may be remembered as familiarly as the alphabet, and employed constantly and with scrupulous exactness. Otherwise, technical language will prove an encumbrance instead of an advantage, just as a suit of clothes would be if, instead of putting them on and wearing them, one should carry them about in his hands.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Studies.    
  39
 
  Neglect not, then, any of the advantages of intellectual cultivation which God’s providence has placed within your reach; nor think scorn of that pleasant land, and prefer wandering by choice in the barren wilderness of ignorance; but let the intellect which God has endowed you with be cultivated as a servant to Him, and then it will be, not a master, but a useful servant, to you.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Custom and Education.    
  40
 
  There is no business, no vocation whatever, which will not permit a man, who has an inclination, to give a little time every day to the studies of his youth.
Daniel Wyttenbach.    
  41
 
 
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