Tips for Use. Good words to inspire yourself or others. Incorporate into a business presentation or a motivational speech. Meaningful quote when the chances of success seem slim or when you are criticized (unjustly) for going against the odds. Here is the complete quote,
“In the reproof of chance
Lies the true proof of men: the sea being smooth,
How many shallow bauble boats dare sail
Upon her patient breast, making their way
With those of nobler bulk!”
Note: ‘Bauble’ stands for ‘insignificant’.
We tend to take quotes, aphorisms, proverbs or similar for granted – something that does not require explanations. Dr. Jonson came up with a rational and plausible explanation as follows,
“The excellence of aphorisms consists not so much in the expression of some rare and abstruse sentiment, as in the comprehension of some obvious and useful truths in a few words. We frequently fall into errour and folly, not because the true principles of action are not known, but because, for a time, they are not remembered; and he may therefore be justly numbered among the benefactors of mankind, who contracts the great rules of life into short sentences, that may be easily impressed on the memory, and taught by frequent recollection to recur habitually to the mind.” Samuel Johnson, The Idler #175
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In the play. Things are not going too well for the Greeks besieging Troy. Nestor follows up on inspiring words by Agamennon.