Page:Samuel Johnson (1911).djvu/93

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he cannot comprehend a series of argument, or transport the volatile spirit of wit without evaporation, he yet thinks himself able to treasure up the various incidents of a story, and pleases his hopes with the information which he shall give to some inferior society.

��WHETHER to be remembered in remote times be worthy of a wise man's wish, has not yet been satisfactorily decided; and indeed, to be long remembered can happen to so small a number, that the bulk of mankind has very little interest in the question. There is never room in the world for more than a certain quantity or measure of renown. The neces- sary business of life, the immediate pleasures or pains of every condition, leave us not leisure beyond a fixed portion for contempla- tions which do not forcibly influence our present welfare. When this vacuity is filled, no characters can be admitted into the circula- tion of fame, but by occupying the place of some that must be thrust into oblivion. The eye of the mind, like that of the body, can only extend its view to new objects, by losing sight of those which are now before it.

Reputation is therefore a meteor, which blazes a while and disappears for ever; and,

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