S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
Ambition, that high and glorious passion, which makes such havoc among the sons of men, arises from a proud desire of honour and distinction, and, when the splendid trappings in which it is usually caparisoned are removed, will be found to consist of the mean materials of envy, pride, and covetousness. It is described by different authors as a gallant madness, a pleasant poison, a hidden plague, a secret poison, a caustic of the soul, the moth of holiness, the mother of hypocrisy, and, by crucifying and disquieting all it takes hold of, the cause of melancholy and madness.
Every other sin hath some pleasure annexed to it, or will admit of some excuse; but envy wants both: we should strive against it; for, if indulged in, it will be to us as a foretaste of hell upon earth.
Idleness is the badge of gentry, the bane of body and mind, the nurse of naughtiness, the stepmother of discipline, the chief author of all mischief, one of the seven deadly sins, the cushion upon which the devil chiefly reposes, and a great cause not only of melancholy, but of many other diseases: for the mind is naturally active; and if it be not occupied about some honest business, it rushes into mischief or sinks into melancholy.
As the rose-tree is composed of the sweetest flowers and the sharpest thorns; as the heavens are sometimes fair and sometimes overcast, alternately tempestuous and serene; so is the life of man intermingled with hopes and fears, with joys and sorrows, with pleasures and with pains.
Scoffs, calumnies, and jests are frequently the causes of melancholy. It is said that a blow with a word strikes deeper than a blow with a sword; and certainly there are many men whose feelings are more galled by a calumny, a bitter jest, a libel, a pasquil, a squib, a satire, or an epigram, than by any misfortune whatsoever.
At their first coming they are generally entertained by Pleasure and Dalliance, and have all the content that possibly may be given, so long as their money lasts; but when their means fail they are contemptibly thrust out at a back door headlong, and there left to Shame, Reproach, Despair.
Who is he that is now wholly overcome with idleness, or otherwise involved in a labyrinth of worldly care, troubles, and discontents, that will not be much lightened in his mind by reading of some enticing story, true or feigned, where, as in a glass, he shall observe what our forefathers have done; the beginnings, ruins, falls, periods of commonwealths, private mens actions, displayed to the life, &c. Plutarch therefore calls them, secundas mensas et bellaria, the second course and junkets, because they were usually read at noblemens feasts.
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.