They are, as it were, train-bearers in the pageant of life, and hold a glass up to humanity, frailer than itself. We see ourselves at second-hand in them: they show us all that we are, all that we wish to be, and all that we dread to be. What brings the resemblance nearer is, that, as they imitate us, we, in our turn, imitate them. There is no class of society whom so many persons regard with affection as actors.
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- They are the only honest hypocrites, their life is a voluntary dream, a studied madness.
- We must overact our part in some measure, in order to produce any effect at all.
- There are persons who cannot make friends. Who are they? Those who cannot be friends. It is not the want of understanding or good nature, of entertaining or useful qualities, that you complain of: on the contrary, they have probably many points of attraction; but they have one that neutralizes all these –they care nothing about you, and are neither the better nor worse for what you think of them. They manifest no joy at your approach; and when you leave them, it is with a feeling that they can do just as well without you. This is not sullenness, nor indifference, nor absence of mind; but they are intent solely on their own thoughts, and you are merely one of the subjects they exercise them upon. They live in society as in a solitude.
- Poetry is the universal language which the heart holds with nature and itself. He who has a contempt for poetry, cannot have much respect for himself, or for anything else.
- A grave blockhead should always go about with a lively one — they show one another off to the best advantage.
- We grow tired of everything but turning others into ridicule, and congratulating ourselves on their defects.