“Today Is Yesterday’s Pupil”

The 17th-century churchman Thomas Fuller (1608-1661) had a gift for pithy maxims:

  • Every horse thinks its own pack heaviest.
  • There is more pleasure in loving than in being beloved.
  • He that has a great nose, thinks everybody is speaking of it.
  • It is more difficult to praise rightly than to blame.
  • Eaten bread is forgotten.
  • A wise man may look ridiculous in the company of fools.
  • Bad excuses are worse than none.
  • A book that is shut is but a block.
  • Custom is the plague of wise men and the idol of fools.
  • A man is not good or bad for one action.
  • Unseasonable kindness gets no thanks.
  • ‘Tis skill, not strength, that governs a ship.
  • Abused patience turns to fury.
  • All things are difficult before they are easy.
  • Poor men’s reasons are not heard.
  • The more wit the less courage.
  • Travel makes a wise man better, and a fool worse.

And “Learning hath gained most by those books by which the printers have lost.” “Wit,” wrote Coleridge, “was the stuff and substance of Fuller’s intellect.”