Tuesday, September 14, 2010

 

The Vanity of Human Hopes

Samuel Johnson, The Rambler 106 (Saturday, March 23, 1751):
No place affords a more striking conviction of the vanity of human hopes, than a publick library; for who can see the wall crouded on every side by mighty volumes, the works of laborious meditation, and accurate enquiry, now scarcely known but by the catalogue, and preserved only to encrease the pomp of learning, without considering how many hours have been wasted in vain endeavours, how often imagination has anticipated the praises of futurity, how many statues have risen to the eye of vanity, how many ideal converts have elevated zeal, how often wit has exulted in the eternal infamy of his antagonists, and dogmatism has delighted in the gradual advances of his authority, the immutability of his decrees, and the perpetuity of his power?
Georg Balthasar Probst (after Georg Daniel Heumann),
Bibliotheca B├╝loviana Academiae Georgiae Augustae donata



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