Life Lessons – Proverbs, Wit and Wisdom from 1858

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At Work in the Fields
At Work in the Fields

Irish Miscellany

The guidance below is taken from a weekly Boston newspaper “Irish Miscellany” with an American-Irish readership. The paper sought to representing the interests of the Irish people throughout the world.

The Irish Miscellany newspaper published extracts from the Dublin Penny Journal along with many original essays, reviews, poetry and song lyrics by “Irishmen of great ability”.

Irish Miscellany June 1858
Irish Miscellany 1858

Life Lessons from 1858

The proverbs below reflect the sayings of the day in 1858. How many would still apply today?

The less a man does the more fuss he makes. A hen with one chicken does more scratching than if she had a family of fifteen.

Relieve misfortune quickly. A man is like an egg, the longer he is kept in hot water the harder he is when taken out.

Grief knits two hearts in closer bonds than happiness ever can; and common sufferings are far stronger links than common joys.

No dust affects the eye like gold dust, and no glasses like brandy glasses.

Countryside Cottage
Countryside Cottage

Women have more power in their looks than men have in their laws, and more power in their tears than men have in judgments.

The difference between war and peace has been well defined by one of the ancients — ‘In times of peace the sons bury their fathers; in times of war the fathers bury their sons.

Leave your grievances, as Napoleon did his letters, unopened for three weeks, and it is astonishing how few of them, by that time, will require answering

Fall in Christian soul, with the design of thy Saviour, who by elevating thy desires above the world, would elevate thee above the catastrophies of it.

Nature makes us poor only when we want necessaries, but custom gives the name of poverty to the want of superfluituries.

Generosity, wrong placed, becometh a vice; a princely mind will undo a private family.

Harsh words are like hailstones which, if melted, would fertilize the tender plants they batter down.

Many waste their mornings in anticipating their afternoons, in regretting their mornings.

‘This is a net gain,’ as the spider said when he caught the fly.

The road ambition travels is too narrow for friendship, too crooked for love, too rugged for honesty, and too dark for science.

The vanity of human life is like a river, constantly passing away, and yet constantly coming on.

Walking Home
Walking Home

The best way to discipline one’s heart against scandal, is to believe all stories too false which ought not to be true.

Spare moments are the gold dust of time. Of all the portions of our life spare moments are the most fruitful in good or evil. They are the gaps through which temptations find the easiest access to the garden of the soul.

An old Scotch preacher said of a young opponent, that he had “a great deal of the young man, not a little of the old man, very little of the new man.”

A great curse of English society is the folly, or, in many instances, rather the crime, of appearance-making. How many a ruined family might be well doing and happily circumstanced but for this folly! – how many a crime would never have been committed if it had not been for this social curse!

Jack your wife is not so pensive as she used to be ‘… ‘No she has left that off and turned ex-pensive’.

Young ladies are like arrows – they are all in a quiver till the beaux come and can’t go off without them.

A Busy Girl Working
At work

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