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Cambridge Pieces by Samuel Butler
page 2 of 65 (03%)
EAGLE, a magazine written and edited by members of St. John's
College, Cambridge, in the Lent Term, 1858, when Butler was in his
fourth and last year of residence.

[From the Eagle, Vol. 1, No. 1, Lent Term, 1858, p. 41.]

I sit down scarcely knowing how to grasp my own meaning, and give it
a tangible shape in words; and yet it is concerning this very
expression of our thoughts in words that I wish to speak. As I muse
things fall more into their proper places, and, little fit for the
task as my confession pronounces me to be, I will try to make clear
that which is in my mind.

I think, then, that the style of our authors of a couple of hundred
years ago was more terse and masculine than that of those of the
present day, possessing both more of the graphic element, and more
vigour, straightforwardness, and conciseness. Most readers will
have anticipated me in admitting that a man should be clear of his
meaning before he endeavours to give to it any kind of utterance,
and that having made up his mind what to say, the less thought he
takes how to say it, more than briefly, pointedly, and plainly, the
better; for instance, Bacon tells us, "Men fear death as children
fear to go in the dark"; he does not say, what I can imagine a last
century writer to have said, "A feeling somewhat analogous to the
dread with which children are affected upon entering a dark room, is
that which most men entertain at the contemplation of death."
Jeremy Taylor says, "Tell them it is as much intemperance to weep
too much as to laugh too much"; he does not say, "All men will
acknowledge that laughing admits of intemperance, but some men may
at first sight hesitate to allow that a similar imputation may be at
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