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

Dr. Porson

  • [Richard Porson, an eminent Greek scholar; born in Norwich, England, Dec. 25, 1759; Greek professor at Cambridge, 1790 or 1792; died September, 1808.]
  • In some places he draws the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument.

  • From “Love’s Labor’s Lost,” V. 1; quoted in the “Letters to Travis,” of Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.”
  • Wit is in general the finest sense in the world. I had lived long before I discovered that wit was truth.

    When smoking began to go out of fashion, learning began to go out of fashion also.

  • WATSON: Life. He was very irregular in his habits of eating, dining one day heartily, and fasting the three following. Thus, when asked by a friend to stay to dinner, “Thank you, sir,” he replied, “I dined yesterday.”
  • He once offered to make a rhyme on any subject, and the Latin gerund was suggested. He immediately responded to the challenge:—
  • “When Dido found Æneas would not come,
  • She mourned in silence, and was di-do-dum.”
  • If I had a son, I should endeavor to make him familiar with French and German authors, rather than with the classics. Greek and Latin are only luxuries.

    Mr. Southey is a wonderful writer. His works will be read when Homer and Virgil are forgotten.

  • “And only then,” unnecessarily added Byron.—Ibid.
  • Of a volume of poems not remarkable for originality or elegance, he said, “They have much of Horace, and much of Virgil, but nothing Horatian and nothing Virgilian.”—Ibid.
  • A man once said to Porson, “My opinion of you is most contemptible.”—“I never knew an opinion of yours,” he retorted, “that was not contemptible.”—Ibid.
  • If I had a carriage, and met a well-dressed person on the road, I would always invite him in, and learn from him what I could.