BOVEE, Christian Nestell Quotes
(1820-1904), American author and editor
Active natures are rarely melancholy. Activity and sadness are incompatible.
What man knows should find expression in what he does.—The chief value of superior knowledge is that it leads to a performing manhood.
Address makes opportunities; the want of it gives them.
The beauty seen, is partly in him who sees it.
To cultivate the sense of the beautiful, is one of the most effectual ways of cultivating an appreciation of the divine goodness.
We make way for the man who boldly pushes past us.
Books are embalmed minds.
Formerly when great fortunes were only made in war, war was a business; but now when great fortunes are only made by business, business is war.
Care admitted as a guest, quickly turns to be master.
They lose the world who buy it, with much care.
The cheerful live longest in years, and afterwards in our regards. Cheerfulness is the offshoot of goodness.
Many children, many cares; no children, no felicity.
It is our relation to circumstances that determines their influence over us. —The same wind that carries one vessel into port may blow another off shore.
It may almost be held that the hope of commercial gain has done nearly as much for the cause of truth, as even the love of truth itself.
What we call conscience, is, in many instances, only a wholesome fear of the constable.
One who is contented with what he has done will never become famous for what he will do.—He has lain down to die, and the grass is already growing over him.
The small courtesies sweeten life; the greater, ennoble it.
The more gross the fraud, the more glibly will it go down and the more greedily will it be swallowed, since folly will always find faith wherever impostors will find impudence.
The legitimate aim of criticism is to direct attention to the excellent.—The bad will dig its own grave, and the imperfect may safely be left to that final neglect from which no amount of present undeserved popularity can rescue it.
Partial culture runs to the ornate; extreme culture to simplicity.
The very cunning conceal their cunning; the indifferently shrewd boast of it.
There is no tyrant like custom, and no freedom where its edicts are not resisted.
Many an honest man practices on himself an amount of deceit, sufficient, if practiced on another, and in a little different way, to send him to the State prison.
No man is happy without a delusion of some kind.—Delusions are as necessary to our happiness as realities.
We trifle when we assign limits to our desires, since nature hath set none.
Dignity of position adds to dignity of character, as well as to dignity of carriage.—Give us a proud position, and we are impelled to act up to it.
A sound discretion is not so much indicated by never making a mistake, as by never repeating it.
Discretion is the salt, and fancy the sugar of life; the one preserves, the other sweetens it.
Dishonesty is a forsaking of permanent for temporary advantages.
Self-distrust is the cause of most of our failures. In the assurance of strength, there is strength, and they are the weakest, however strong, who have no faith in themselves or their own powers.
The perfection of dress is in the union of three requisites—in its being comfortable, cheap, and tasteful.
Earnestness is the devotion of all the faculties.—It is the cause of patience; gives endurance; overcomes pain; strengthens weakness; braves dangers; sustains hope; makes light of difficulties, and lessens the sense of weariness in overcoming them.
Economy before competence is meanness after it; therefore economy is for the poor; the rich may dispense with it.
The method of the enterprising is to plan with audacity, and execute with vigor; to sketch out a map of possibilities, and then to treat them as probabilities.
Great designs are not accomplished without enthusiasm of some sort.—It is the inspiration of everything great.— Without it no man is to be feared, and with it none despised.
It is only an error of judgment to make a mistake, but it argues an infirmity of character to adhere to it when discovered. The Chinese say, "The glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time you fall."
It is some compensation for great evils, that they enforce great lessons.
Example has more followers than reason.—We unconsciously imitate what pleases us, and approximate to the characters we most admire.—A generous habit of thought and action carries with it an incalculable influence.
The loveliest faces are to be seen by moonlight, when one sees half with the eye, and half with the fancy.
A failure establishes only this, that our determination to succeed was not strong enough.
Fame—a few words upon a tombstone, and the truth of those not to be depended on.
Good men have the fewest fears.—He who fears to do wrong has but one great fear; he has a thousand who has overcome it.
There is great beauty in going through life without anxiety or fear.—Half our fears are baseless, and the other half discreditable.
To cultivate a garden is to walk with God.
False friends are like our shadow, keeping close to us while we walk in the sunshine, but leaving us the instant we cross into the shade.
Kindred weaknesses induce friendships as often as kindred virtues.
Examples are few of men ruined by giving.—Men are heroes in spending—cravens in what they give.
Haste usually turns upon being late, and may be avoided by a habit like that of Lord Nelson, to which he ascribed his success in life, of always being ten minutes too early.
Hope is the best part of our riches.—What sufficeth it that we have the wealth of the Indies in our pockets, if we have not the hope of heaven in our souls?
How full or how empty our lives, depends, we say, on Providence. Suppose we say, more or less on improvidence.
Tranquil pleasures last the longest; we are not fitted to bear long the burden of great joys.
Kindness is a language the dumb can speak, and the deaf can hear and understand.
It is the passion that is in a kiss that gives to it its sweetness; it is the affection in a kiss that sanctifies it.
Four sweet lips, two pure souls, and one undying affection—these are love's pretty ingredients for a kiss.
What a man knows should find its expression in what he does; the value of superior knowledge is chiefly in that it leads to a performing manhood.
Next to faith in God, is faith in labor.
Hard workers are usually honest; industry lifts them above temptation.
The language denotes the man; a coarse or refined character finds its expression naturally in a coarse or refined phraseology.
Language was given us that we might say pleasant things to each other.
A profusion of fancies and quotations is out of place in a love-letter.—True feeling is always direct, and never deviates into by-ways to cull flowers of rhetoric.
Books only partially represent their authors; the writer is always greater than his work.
The selection of a subject is to the author what choice of position is to the general,—once skillfully determined, the battle is already half won. Of a few writers it may be said, that they are popular in despite of their subjects—but of a great many more, that they are popular because of them.
What is taken from the fortune, also, may haply be so much lifted from the soul. The greatness of a loss, as the proverb suggests, is determinable, not so much by what we have lost, as by what we have left.
Our first love, and last love is self-love.
It is ever the invisible that is the object of our profoundest worship. With the lover it is not the seen but the unseen that he muses upon.
In matters of love and appetite beware of surfeits. Nothing contributes so much to the duration of either as moderation in their gratification.
Bad manners are a species of bad morals; a conscientious man will not offend in that way.
The love of some men for their wivess like that of Alfieri for his horse. "My attachment for him," said he, "went so far as to destroy my peace every time that he had the least ailment; but my love for him did not prevent me from fretting and chafing him whenever he did not wish to go my way."
Melancholy sees the worst of things—things as they might be, and not as they are.—It looks upon a beautiful face, and sees but a grinning skull.
Merit is never so conspicuous as when coupled with an obscure origin, just as the moon never appears so lustrous as when it emerges from a cloud.
The best evidence of merit is the cordial recognition of it whenever and wherever it may be found.
Mind unemployed is mind unenjoyed.
Few minds wear out; more rust out.
The opinions of the misanthropical rest upon this very partial basis, that they adopt the bad faith of a few as evidence of the worthlessness of all.
It is only an error in judgment to make a mistake, but it shows infirmity of character to adhere to it when discovered.
There is a German proverb which says that "Take it easy," and "Live long," are brothers.
Tranquil pleasures last the longest.—We are not fitted to bear long the burden of great joys.
Adhesion to one idea is monomania; to a few it is slavery.
A mother's love is indeed the golden link that binds youth to age; and he is still but a child, however time may have furrowed his cheek, or silvered his brow, who can yet recall, with a softened heart, the fond devotion, or the gentle chidings, of the best friend that God ever gives us.
Motives are better than actions. Men drift into crime. Of evil they do more than they contemplate, and of good they contemplate more than they do.
Music is the fourth great material want of our nature,—first food, then raiment, then shelter, then music.
The highest excellence is seldom attained in more than one vocation. The roads leading to distinction in separate pursuits diverge, and the nearer we approach the one, the farther we recede from the other.
The language of the heart which comes from the heart and goes to the heart—is always simple, graceful, and full of power, but no art of rhetoric can teach it. It is at once the easiest and most difficult language,— difficult, since it needs a heart to speak it; easy, because its periods though rounded and full of harmony, are still unstudied.
A panic is a sudden desertion of us, and a going over to the enemy of our imagination.
Passion looks not beyond the moment of its existence.—Better, it says; the kisses of love today, than the felicities of heaven afar off.
The passions are like fire, useful in a thousand ways and dangerous only in one, through their excess.
The past is the sepulchre of our dead emotions.
Pleasure and pain spring not so much from the nature of things, as from our manner of considering them.—Pleasure especially, is never an invariable effect of particular circumstances.—Largely that is pleasure which is thought to be so.
In politics, merit is rewarded by the possessor being raised, like a target, to a position to be fired at.
We should not so much esteem our poverty as a misfortune, were it not that the world treats it so.
Poverty is only contemptible when it is felt to be so. Doubtless the best way to make our poverty respectable is to seem never to feel it as an evil.
In one important respect a man is fortunate in being poor. His responsibility to God is so much the less.
Words of praise, indeed, are almost as necessary to warm a child into a congenial life as acts of kindness and affection. Judicious praise is to children what the sun is to flowers.
Even when we fancy we have grown wiser, it is only, it may be, that new prejudices have displaced old ones.
The great obstacle to progress is prejudice.
The grandest of all laws is the law of progressive development.—Under it, in the wide sweep of things, men grow wiser as they grow older, and societies better.
Intellectually, as well as politically, the direction of all true progress is toward greater freedom, and along an endless succession of ideas.
He presents me with what is always an acceptable gift who brings me news of a great thought before unknown. He enriches me without impoverishing himself.
A good thought is a great boon for which God is first to be thanked; next, he who is the first to utter it; and then in a lesser but still a considerable degree, the friend who is the first to quote it to us.
Luminous quotations atone, by their interest, for the dullness of an inferior book, and add to the value of a superior work by the variety which they lend to its style and treatment.
To quote copiously and well requires taste, judgment and erudition, a feeling for the beautiful, an appreciation of the noble, and a sense of the profound.
Repose without stagnation is the state most favorable to happiness. "The great felicity of life," says Seneca, "is to be without perturbations."
An eager pursuit of fortune is inconsistent with a severe devotion to truth. The heart must grow tranquil before the thought can become searching.
The use we make of our fortune determines as to its sufficiency.—A little is enough if used wisely, and too much if expended foolishly.
In ambition, as in love, the successful can afford to be indulgent toward their rivals. The prize our own, it is graceful to recognize the merit that vainly aspired to it.
At the best, sarcasms, bitter irony, scathing wit, are a sort of sword-play of the mind. You pink your adversary, and he is forthwith dead; and then you deserve to be hung for it.
There is no sense of weariness like that which closes a day of eager and unintermitted pursuit of pleasure.—The apple is eaten and the core sticks in the throat.—Expectation has given way to ennui, and appetite to satiety.
Self-distrust is the cause of most of our failures.—In the assurance of strength there is strength; and they are the weakest, however strong, who have no faith in themselves or their powers.
Doubt whom you will, but never doubt yourself.
Sensitiveness is closely allied to egotism.—Indeed excessive sensitiveness is only another name for morbid self-consciousness.—The cure for it is to make more of our objects, and less of ourselves.
The body of a sensualist is the coffin of a dead soul.
Silence, when nothing need be said, is the eloquence of discretion.
Something of a person's character may be discovered by observing how he smiles.—Some people never smile; they only grin.
We may learn from children how large a part of our grievances is imaginary. But the pain is just as real.
Bad taste is a species of bad morals.
Tearless grief bleeds inwardly.
The greatest events of an age are its best thoughts. It is the nature of thought to find its way into action.
The busiest of living agents are certain dead men's thoughts; they are forever influencing the opinions and destinies of men.
We degrade life by our follies and vices, and then complain that the unhappiness which is only their accompaniment is inherent in the constitution of things.
Next to God we are indebted to women, first for life itself, and then for making it worth having.