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John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

Page 431

Edward Gibbon. (1737–1794) (continued)
    On the approach of spring I withdraw without reluctance from the noisy and extensive scene of crowds without company, and dissipation without pleasure.
          Memoirs. Vol. i. p. 116.
    I was never less alone than when by myself. 1
          Memoirs. Vol. i. p. 117.
Thomas Paine. (1737–1809)
    And the final event to himself [Mr. Burke] has been, that, as he rose like a rocket, he fell like the stick.
          Letter to the Addressers.
    These are the times that try men’s souls.
          The American Crisis. No. 1.
    The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related, that it is difficult to class them separately. One step above the sublime makes the ridiculous, and one step above the ridiculous makes the sublime again. 2
          Age of Reason. Part ii. note.
John Wolcot. (1738–1819)
    What rage for fame attends both great and small!
Better be damned than mentioned not at all.
          To the Royal Academicians.
    No, let the monarch’s bags and others hold
The flattering, mighty, nay, al-mighty gold. 3
          To Kien Long. Ode iv.
    Care to our coffin adds a nail, no doubt,
And every grin so merry draws one out.
          Expostulatory Odes. Ode xv.
Note 1.
Never less alone than when alone.—Samuel Rogers: Human Life. [back]
Note 2.
Probably this is the original of Napoleon’s celebrated mot, “Du sublime au ridicule il n’y a qu’un pas” (From the sublime to the ridiculous there is but one step). [back]
Note 3.
See Jonson, Quotation 15. [back]