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Rather King Than Majority

John Stuart Mill (1806–73). On Liberty. Vol. 25, pp. 195-203 of The Harvard Classics
"Democracy" has not always been the choice of oppressed people. The tyranny of the majority is a recognized evil as harmful as the misrule of a king. And rather than exchange a lesser evil for a greater, a rule by king has often been preferred to a republic.

Chapter I Introductory
THE SUBJECT of this Essay is not the so-called Liberty of the Will, so unfortunately opposed to the misnamed doctrine of Philosophical Necessity; but Civil, or Social Liberty: the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual. A question seldom stated, and hardly ever discussed, in general terms, but which profoundly influences the practical controversies of the age by its latent presence, and is likely soon to make itself recognized as the vital question of the future. It is so far from being new, that, in a certain sense, it has divided mankind, almost from the re…
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"Is That a Dagger I See Before Me?"

William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Tragedy of Macbeth. Vol. 46, pp. 357-365 of The Harvard Classics
Macbeth, spurred on by the ambitious and crafty Lady Macbeth, committed murder to secure the crown of Scotland. But he paid dearly for his gain. Ghostly guests appeared at his banquet and threatened him with dire threats. (Shakespeare's Globe Theatre burned June 29, 1613.)

Act III Scene IV [The same. Hall in the palace] A banquet prepar’d. Enter MACBETH, LADY MACBETH, ROSS, LENNOX, Lords, and Attendants
Macb.  You know your own degrees; sit down. At first
And last, the hearty welcome.
Lords.        Thanks to your Majesty.
Macb.  Ourself will mingle with society
And play the humble host.
Our hostess keeps her state, 1 but in best time
We will require her welcome.
Lady M.  Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends,
For my heart speaks they are welcome.

Pages from the Pampas Book of Etiquette

Charles Robert Darwin (1809–1882). The Voyage of the Beagle. Vol. 29, pp. 51-60 of The Harvard Classics
A very definite etiquette is followed by a stranger on the vast plains of South America. "Ave Maria" is the common salutation. If the stranger is on horseback, he does not alight until invited to do so by his host. Once in the house, the stranger must converse a while before asking shelter for the night.

Chapter III
[…]
  At night we came to the house of Don Juan Fuentes, a rich landed proprietor, but not personally known to either of my companions. On approaching the house of a stranger, it is usual to follow several little points of etiquette: riding up slowly to the door, the salutation of Ave Maria is given, and until somebody comes out and asks you to alight, it is not customary even to get off your horse: the formal answer of the owner is, “sin pecado concebida”—that is, conceived without sin. Having entered the house, some general conversation is kept up for a few m…

Do You Take Poison Daily?

Francis Bacon. (1561–1626). Essays, Civil and Moral. Vol. 3 pp. 22-26 of The Harvard Classics
There is a human trait most poisonous to a man's blood. Man seeks to avoid it because he knows that it lies like a curse upon him. Just what is the poisonous human failing? Who are most subject to it? Bacon tells you in one of his best essays. (Francis Bacon enrolled at Cambridge University, June 27, 1576.)

IX Of Envy
THERE be none of the affections which have been noted to fascinate or bewitch, but love and envy. They both have vehement wishes; they frame themselves readily into imaginations and suggestions; and they come easily into the eye, especially upon the presence of the objects; which are the points that conduce to fascination, if any such thing there be. We see likewise the Scripture calleth envy an evil eye; and the astrologers call the evil influences of the stars evil aspects; so that still there seemeth to be acknowledged, in the act of envy, an ejaculation 1 or irradiation of…

In the Lair of the Green-Eyed Monster

Beowulf. Vol. 49, pp. 45-50 of The Harvard Classics
At the bottom of the ocean was the home of the monster who had desolated the king's halls. Beowulf, bravest of warriors, descended beneath the waves to fight the beast. The king's men, waiting above, saw the waves become colored with blood. Hero or monster - who had won?

XXI
[...]
BEOWULF spake, bairn of Ecgtheow:
“Sorrow not, sage! It beseems us better
friends to avenge than fruitlessly mourn them.
Each of us all must his end abide
in the ways of the world; so win who may
glory ere death! When his days are told,
that is the warrior’s worthiest doom.
Rise, O realm-warder! Ride we anon,
and mark the trail of the mother of Grendel.
No harbor shall hide her—heed my promise!—
enfolding of field or forested mountain
or floor of the flood, let her flee where she will!
But thou this day endure in patience,
as I ween thou wilt, thy woes each one.”
Leaped up the graybeard: God he thanked,
mighty Lord, for the man’s brave words.

Advice to Virgins from a Wise Man

Robert Herrick (1591–1674), Selected Poetry Vol. 40, pp. 334-340 of The Harvard Classics
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today, to-morrow will be dying?" Herrick was only a humble country minister with a wealth of wisdom and a keen appreciation of life, which he expressed in lyrics of wonderful beauty and melody.

Cherry-Ripe
CHERRY-RIPE, ripe, ripe, I cry,
Full and fair ones; come and buy.
If so be you ask me where
They do grow, I answer: There
Where my Julia’s lips do smile;
There’s the land, or cherry-isle,
Whose plantations fully show
All the year where cherries grow.

Had No Right Hand

Stories from the Thousand and One Nights. Vol. 16, pp. 120-133 of The Harvard Classics
A handsome young man was seen to eat only with his left hand, which was contrary to the customs of Arabia. The youth, when urged, told why he used only his left hand, and revealed a story of love and adventure and the lover's need for gold - all happening in ancient Cairo.

Nights 24–32 The Story Told by the Christian Broker
KNOW, O King of the age, that I came to this country with merchandise, and destiny stayed me among your people. I was born in Cairo, and am one of its Copts, and there I was brought up. My father was a broker; and when I had attained to manhood, he died, and I succeeded to his business; and as I was sitting one day, lo, a young man of most handsome aspect, and clad in a dress of the richest description, came to me, riding upon an ass, and when he saw me, saluted me; whereupon I rose to him, to pay him honour, and he produced a handkerchief containing some sesame, and said, What …