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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Dr. Parr

  • [Samuel Parr, an English scholar and critic; born at Harrow-on-the-Hill, 1747; left Cambridge without a degree; master of different schools; prebendary of St. Paul’s; died 1825.]
  • No man can be a good critic who is not well versed in human nature.

    All human knowledge here is but methodized ignorance.

  • Goethe says, “The highest art lies in the knowledge of limitation, and in the power of self-isolation.” It was a saying of Socrates, when told by the Delphic oracle that he was the wisest man in all Greece, “’Tis because that I alone of all the Greeks know that I know nothing.” Horace Walpole wrote: “In all sciences the errors precede the truths, and it is better they should, first than last.”
  • Of the contest over the personality of Homer, Dr. Parr remarked with the enthusiasm of the literary partisan, “I for one would stick to Homer, even if he never existed.”
  • Dr. Parr prided himself on his Latin epitaphs, and said he meant to write Erskine’s; as he was an older man than the lord chancellor, the latter replied with a manner intended to be very complimentary, “It is a temptation to commit suicide.”