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...as good sense brought to a point; it ought to be neither enigmatical nor flat, neither a truism on the one hand, nor a riddle on the other. These wise sayings, said Bacon, the author of some of the wisest of them, are not only for ornament, but for action and business, having a point or edge, whereby knots in business are pierced and discovered. And he applauds Cicero's description of such sayings as saltpits,--that you may extract salt out of them, and sprinkle it where you will.They are the guiding oracles which man has found out for himself in that great business of ours, of learning how to be, to do, to do without, and to depart.Their range extends from prudential kitchen maxims, such as Franklin set forth in the sayings of Poor Richard about thrift in time and money, up to such great and high moralities of life as are the prose maxims of Goethe,--just as Bacon's Essays extend from precepts as to building and planting, up to solemn reflections on truth, death, and the vicissitudes of things. They cover the whole field of man as he is, and life as it is, not of either as they ought to be; friendship, ambition,... Morley, John
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