The Life of Petrarch: Collected from Memoires Pour la Vie de Petrarch, Volume 2

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A. Finley and W.H. Hopkins, 1809

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Page 230 - I am sensible that in the disorders of the mind, as well as those of the body, discourses are not thought the most efficacious remedies : but I am persuaded also that the malady of the soul ought to be cured by spiritual applications.
Page 228 - Experience has taught me this, not books or arguments. I have seen many persons sustain great losses, poverty, exile, tortures, death, and even disorders that were worse than death, with courage ; but I have seen none whose heads have not been turned by power, riches, and honours. How often have we beheld those overthrown by good fortune, who could never be shaken by bad ! This made me wish to learn how to support a great fortune. You know the short time this work has taken. I have been less attentive...
Page 230 - ... the value of the gift. A small present may be the testimony of a great love. There is no good I do not wish you, and this is all I can offer toward it. I wish this little treatise may be of use to you. If it should not answer my hopes, I shall, however, be secure of pardon from your friendship.
Page 226 - I find nothing more uncertain or restless than the life of man. Nature has given to animals an excellent remedy under disasters, which is the ignorance of them. We seem better treated in intelligence, foresight, and memory. No doubt these are admirable presents ; but they often annoy more than they assist us. A prey to unuseful or distressing cares, we are tormented by the present, the past, and the future ; and, as if we feared we should not be miserable enough, we join, to the evil we suffer the...
Page 226 - ... cares, we are tormented by the present, the past, and the future; and, as if we feared we should not be miserable enough, we join to the evil we suffer the remembrance of a former distress and the apprehension of some future calamity. This is the Cerberus with three heads we combat without ceasing. Our life might be gay and happy if we would; but we eagerly seek subjects of affliction to render it irksome and melancholy.
Page 226 - ... the whole in error : nor do we suffer ourselves to possess one bright day without a cloud. Let us examine this matter with sincerity, and we shall agree that our distresses chiefly arise from ourselves. It is virtue alone which can render us superior to Fortune : we quit her standard, and the combat is no longer equal. Fortune mocks us ; she turns us on her. wheel ; she raises and abases us at her pleasure, but her power is founded on our weakness This is an old-rooted evil, but it is not incurable...
Page 373 - Suns their light from moons shall gain, And spring wither on each plain. Pensive, weeping, night and day, From this shore to that I fly, Changeful as the lunar ray ; And, when evening veils the sky, Then my tears might swell the floods, Then my sighs might bow the woods...
Page 229 - I doubt whether our ages can furnish an example of worse or better treatment from her than yourself. In the first part of your life you were blest with an admirable constitution and astonishing health and vigor: some years after we beheld you thrice abandoned by the physicians, who despaired of your life. The heavenly Physician, who was your sole resource, restored your health, but not your former strength. You were then called iron-footed, for your singular force and agility; you are now bent, and...
Page 227 - I know of; but to these we must join the consent of the soul, without which the best advice will be useless. What gratitude do we not owe to those great men who, though dead many ages before us, live with us by their works, discourse with us, are our masters and guides, and serve us as pilots in the navigation of life, where our vessel is agitated without ceasing by the storms of our passions ! It is here that true philosophy brings us to a safe port, by a sure and easy passage ; not like that of...
Page 228 - I 164 not discourse on these with my dear Azon? I would prepare for you, as in a little portable box, a friendly antidote against the poison of good and bad fortune. The one requires a rein to repress the sallies of a transported soul; the other a consolation to fortify the overwhelmed and afflicted spirit. Nature gave you, my friend, the heart of a king, but she gave you not a kingdom, of which therefore Fortune could not deprive you. But I doubt whether our ages can furnish an example of worse...

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