BULWER-LYTTON, Edward George Quotes
(1803-1873), English novelist
There is so little to redeem the dry mass of follies and errors that make up so much of life, that anything to love or reverence becomes, as it were, a sabbath to the soul.
It is not by the gray of the hair that one knows the age of the heart.
The man who seeks one, and but one, thing in life may hope to achieve it; but he who seeks all things, wherever he goes, only reaps, from the hopes which he sows, a harvest of barren regrets.
Dream manfully and nobly, and thy dreams shall be prophets.
Say what we will, we may be sure that ambition is an error. Its wear and tear of heart are never recompensed; it steals away the freshness of life; it deadens our vivid and social enjoyments; it shuts our souls to our youth; and we are old ere we remember that we have made a fever and a labor of our raciest years.
Anger ventilated often hurries towards forgiveness; anger concealed often hardens into revenge.
If I were to deliver up my whole self to the arbitrament of special pleaders, today I might be argued into an atheist, and tomorrow into a pickpocket.
The real truthfulness of all works of imagination,—sculpture, painting, and written fiction, is so purely in the imagination, that the artist never seeks to represent positive truth, but the idealized image of a truth.
Art does not imitate nature, but founds itself on the study of nature—takes from nature the selections which best accord with its own intention, and then bestows on them that which nature does not possess, viz.: the mind and soul of man.
Art employs method for the symmetrical formation of beauty, as science employs it for the logical exposition of truth; but the mechanical process is, in the last, ever kept visibly distinct, while in the first it escapes from sight amid the shows of color and the shapes of grace.
Writers are the main landmarks of the past.
In belief lies the secret of all valuable exertion.
Of all the, virtues necessary to the completion of the perfect man, there is none more delicately implied and less ostentatiously vaunted than that of exquisite feeling or universal benevolence.
The past but lives in written words: a thousand ages were blank if books had not evoked their ghosts, and kept the pale unbodied shades to warn us from fleshless lips.
Books are but waste paper unless we spend in action the wisdom we get from thought.
"But" is a word that cools many a warm impulse, stifles many a kindly thought, puts a dead stop to many a brotherly deed.—No one would ever love his neighbor as himself if he listened to all the "buts" that could be said.
Nothing conveys a more inaccurate idea of a whole truth than a part of a truth so prominently brought forth as to throw the other parts into shadow.—This is the art of caricature, by the happy use of which you might caricature the Apollo Belvidere.
To dispense with ceremony is the most delicate mode of conferring a compliment.
He who distrusts the security of chance takes more pains to effect the safety which results from labor. To find what you seek in the road of life, the best proverb of all is that which says: "Leave no stone unturned."
To judge human character rightly a man may sometimes have very small experience provided he has a very large heart.
Childhood and genius have the same master-organ in common—inquisitiveness.—Let childhood have its way, and as it began where genius begins, it may find what genius finds.
Common sense is only a modification or talent.—Genius is an exaltation of it.—The difference is, therefore, in degree, not nature.
If we are truly prudent we shall cherish those noblest and happiest of our tendencies—to love and to confide.
It is an error to suppose that courage means courage in everything.—Most people are brave only in the dangers to which they accustom themselves, either in imagination or practice.
Whenever man commits a crime heaven finds a witness.
There is scarcely a good critic of books born in our age, and yet every fool thinks himself justified in criticising persons.
Curses are like young chickens, and still come home to roost.
A ballroom is nothing more or less than a great market place of beauty.—For my part, were I a buyer, I should like making my purchases in a less public mart.
Dandies, when first-rate, are generally very agreeable men.
Youth is in danger until it learns to look upon debts as furies.
Debt is to a man what the serpent is to the bird; its eye fascinates, its breath poisons, its coil crushes sinew and bone, its jaw is the pitiless grave.
The surest way of making a dupe is to let your victim suppose you are his.
It is the most beautiful truth in morals that we have no such thing as a distinct or divided interest from our race.—In their welfare is ours; and by choosing the broadest paths to effect their happiness, we choose the surest and shortest to our own.
Destiny is but a phrase of the weak human heart—the dark apology for every error.—The strong and virtuous admit no destiny.—On earth conscience guides; in heaven God watches.—And destiny is but the phantom we invoke to silence the one and dethrone the other.
Man must be disappointed with the lesser things of life before he can comprehend the full value of the greater.
In these days half our diseases come from the neglect of the body, and the over work of the brain.—In this railway age the wear and tear of labor and intellect go on without pause or self-pity.—We live longer than our forefathers; but we suffer more, from a thousand artificial anxieties and cares.—They fatigued only the muscles; we exhaust the finer strength of the nerves.
Dissimulation is often humble, often polished, grave, smooth, decorous; but it is rarely gay and jovial, a hearty laugher, or a merry, cordial, boon companion.
"If you are in doubt," says Talleyrand, "whether to write a letter or not—don't!"—And the advice applies to many doubts in life besides that of letter writing.
A gentleman's taste in dress is, upon principle, the avoidance of all things extravagant.—It consists in the quiet simplicity of exquisite neatness; but as the neatness must be a neatness in fashion, employ the best tailor; pay him ready money; and on the whole you will find him the cheapest.
The brave man wants no charms to encourage him to duty, and the good man scorns all warnings that would deter him from doing it.
The truest eloquence is that which holds us too mute for applause.
Emotion, whether of ridicule, anger, or sorrow, whether raised at a puppet-show, a funeral, or a battle, is your grandest of levelers.—The man who would be always superior should be always apathetic.
The emulation of a man of genius is seldom with his contemporaries. The competitors with whom his secret ambition seeks to vie are the dead.
Whatever the number of a man's friends, there will be times in his life when he has one too few; but if he has only one enemy, he is lucky indeed if he has not one too many.
Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm.—It is the real allegory of the tale of Orpheus; it moves stones, and charms brutes.—It is the genius of sincerity, and truth accomplishes no victories without it.
Do ye not laugh, O, listening friends, when men praise those dead whose virtues they discovered not when living?—It takes much marble to build the sepulchre.—How little of lath and plaster would have repaired the garret!
What we call eternity may be but an endless series of the transitions which men call deaths, abandonments of home, going ever to fairer scenes and loftier heights.—Age after age, the spirit—that glorious nomad—may shift its tent, carrying with it evermore its elements, activity and desire.
Evening is the delight of virtuous age; it seems an emblem of the tranquil close of a busy life—serene, placid, and mild, with the impress of the great Creator stamped upon it; it spreads its quiet wings over the grave, and seems to promise that all shall be peace beyond it.
Upon any given point, contradictory evidence seldom puzzles the man who has mastered the laws of evidence, but he knows little of the laws of evidence who has not studied the unwritten law of the human heart; and without this last knowledge a man of action will not attain to the practical, nor will a poet achieve the ideal.
If we could annihilate evil we should annihilate hope, and hope is the avenue of faith.
Life consists in the alternate process of learning and unlearning, but it is often wiser to unlearn than to learn.
We must remember how apt man is to extremes—rushing from credulity and weakness, to suspicion and distrust.
In the lexicon of youth, which fate reserves for a bright manhood, there is no such word as fail.
Strike from mankind the principle of faith, and men would have no more history than a flock of sheep.
A man who cannot win fame in his own age, will have a very small chance of winning it from posterity.—There may be some half dozen exceptions to this truth among myriads that attest it; but what man of common sense would invest any large amount of hope in so unpromising a lottery?
Fate is not the ruler, but the servant of Providence.
Thought presides over all.—Fate, that dead phantom, shall vanish from action, and providence alone be visible in heaven and on earth.
Fate! there is no fate.—Between the thought and the success God is the only agent.
There is no tongue that flatters like a lover's; and yet in the exaggeration of his feelings, flattery seems to him commonplace.
A fool flatters himself; the wise man flatters the fool.
There are many more fools in the world than there are knaves, otherwise the knaves could not exist.
Life that ever needs forgiveness has for its first duty to forgive.
One of the surest evidences of friendship that one can display to another, is telling him gently of a fault.—If any other can excel it, it is listening to such a disclosure with gratitude, and amending the error.
We are born for a higher destiny than that of earth.—There is a realm where the rainbow never fades, where the stars will be spread before us like islands that slumber on the ocean, and where the beings that now pass over before us like shadows, will stay in our presence forever.
The veil which covers the face of futurity is woven by the hand of mercy.
Gambling, in all countries, is the vice of the aristocracy.—The young find it established in the best circles, and enticed by the habits of others they are ruined when the habit becomes their own.
Every man who observes vigilantly, and resolves steadfastly, grows unconsciously into genius.
Nothing can constitute good breeding which has not good nature for its foundation.
Beside one deed of guilt, how blest is guileless woe!
Happiness and virtue rest upon each other; the best are not only the happiest, but the happiest are usually the best.
There is one way of attaining what we may term, if not utter, at least mortal happiness; it is by a sincere and unrelaxing activity for the happiness of others.
To be happy you must forget yourself.—Learn benevolence; it is the only cure of a morbid temper.
In these days, half our diseases come from the neglect of the body in the overwork of the brain. In this railway age, the wear and tear of labor and intellect go on without pause or self-pity. We live longer than our forefathers; but we suffer more from a thousand artificial anxieties and cares. They fatigued only the muscles, we exhaust the finer strength of the nerves.
There are two things in life, that a sage must preserve at every sacrifice, the coats of his stomach, and the enamel of his teeth.—Some evils admit of consolations, but there are no comforters for dyspepsia and the toothache.
If a good face is a letter of recommendation, a good heart is a letter of credit.
To judge human character rightly, a man may sometimes have very small experience, provided he has a very large heart.
When a person is down in the world, an ounce of help is better than a pound of preaching.
Hope warps judgment in council, but quickens energy in action.
The true proof of the inherent nobleness of our common nature is in the sympathy it betrays with what is noble wherever crowds are collected. Never believe the world is base; if it were so, no society could hold together for a day.
Trees that, like the poplar, lift upward all their boughs, give no shade and no shelter whatever their height. Trees the most lovingly shelter and shade us when, like the willow, the higher soar their summits, the lowlier droop their boughs.
Our ideas, like orange-plants, spread out in proportion to the size of the box which imprisons the roots.
To the thinker, the most trifling external object often suggests ideas, which extend, link after link, from earth to heaven.
It is not wisdom but ignorance that teaches men presumption.—Genius may sometimes be arrogant, but nothing is so diffident as knowledge.
Nothing short of an eternity could enable men to imagine, think, and feel, and to express all they have imagined, thought and felt.—Immortality, which is the spiritual desire, is the intellectual necessity.
On the imagination God sometimes paints, by dream and symbol, the likeness of things to come.—What the foolish-wise call fanaticism, belongs to the same part of us as hope.—Each is the yearning of the soul for the great "Beyond," which attests our immortality.
We are born for a higher destiny than that of earth.—There is a realm where the rainbow never fades, where the stars will be spread out before us like islands that slumber on the ocean, and where the beings that pass before us like shadows, will stay in our presence forever.
Man only of all earthly creatures, asks, "Can the dead die forever?"—and the instinct that urges the question is God's answer to man, for no instinct is given in vain.
No author ever drew a character consistent to human nature, but he was forced to ascribe to it many inconsistencies.
Of all the signs of a corrupt heart and a feeble head, the tendency of incredulity is the surest.—Real philosophy seeks rather to solve than to deny.
That life only is truly free which rules and suffices for itself.
Nothing ages like laziness.
What men want is not talent; it is purpose; in other words, not the power to achieve, but the will to labor.
A good man does good merely by living.
In families well ordered there is always one firm, sweet temper, which controls without seeming to dictate. The Greeks represented Persuasion as crowned.
We cannot think or act but the soul of some one who has passed before points the way.—The dead never die.
Innocence is but a poor substitute for experience.
The commerce of intellect loves distant shores. The small retail dealer trades only with his neighbor; when the great merchant trades he links the four quarters of the globe.
While the world lasts, the sun will gild the mountain-tops before it shines upon the plain.
In intoxication men betray their real characters.—So in prosperity there is a no less honest and truth-revealing intoxication than in wine.—The varnish of power brings forth at once the defects and the beauties of the human portrait.
A fine invention is nothing more than a fine deviation from, or enlargement on a fine model.—Imitation, if noble and general, insures the best hope of originality.
What right have we to pry into the secrets of others?—True or false, the tale that is gabbled to us, what concern is it of ours?
Irony is to the high-bred what billingsgate is to the vulgar; and when one gentleman thinks another gentleman an ass, he does not say it point-blank; he implies it in the politest terms he can invent.
We lose the peace of years when we hunt after the rapture of moments.
Kindness seems to come with a double grace and tenderness from the old.—It seems in them the hoarded and long purified benevolence of years, as if it had survived and conquered the baseness and selfishness of the ordeal it had passed—as if the winds which had broken the form, had swept in vain across the heart, and the frosts which had chilled the blood, and whitened the thin locks, had no power over the warm tide of the affections.
He fancies himself enlightened, because he sees the deficiencies of others; he is ignorant, because he has never reflected on his own.
Whatever our intellectual calling, no kind of knowledge is antagonistic to it.—All varieties of knowledge blend with, harmonize, and enrich the one kind of knowledge to which we attach our reputation.
All the knowledge that we mortals can acquire is not knowledge positive, but knowledge comparative, and subject to the errors and passions of humanity.
Every man of sound brain whom you meet knows something worth knowing better than yourself. A man, on the whole, is a better preceptor than a book. But what scholar does not allow that the dullest book can suggest to him a new and a sound idea?
What men want is not talent, it is purpose; in other words, not the power to achieve, but will to labor. I believe that labor judiciously and continuously applied becomes genius.
The Creator has gifted the whole universe with language, but few are the hearts that can interpret it. Happy those to whom it is no foreign tongue, acquired imperfectly with care and pain, but rather a native language, learned unconsciously from the lips of the great mother.
Law is never wise but when merciful, out mercy has conditions; and that which is mercy to the myriads, may seem hard to the one; and that which seems hard to the one, may be mercy when viewed by the eye that looks on through eternity.
Whatever you lend let it be your money, and not your name. Money you may get again, and, if not, you may contrive to do without it; name once lost you cannot get again, and, if you cannot contrive to do without it, you had better never have been born.
Personal liberty is the paramount essential to human dignity and human happiness.
Would you throughout life be up to the height of your century, always in the prime of man's reason, without crudeness and without decline, live habitually, while young, with persons older, and when old with persons younger than yourself.
There are two lives to each of us, the life of our actions, and the life of our minds and hearts.—History reveals men's deeds and their outward characters, but not themselves.—There is a secret self that has its own life, unpenetrated and unguessed.
In the literature of the world there is not one popular book which is immoral that continues to exist two centuries after it is produced; for in the heart of nations the false does not live so long, and the true is ethical to the end of time.
In science, read, by preference, the newest works; in literature, the oldest. The classic literature is always modern.
A good face is a letter of recommendation, as a good heart is a letter of credit.
It seems to me that the coming of love is like the coming of spring—the date is not to be reckoned by the calendar. It may be slow and gradual; it may be quick and sudden. But in the morning, when we wake and recognize a change in the world without, verdure on the trees, blossoms on the sward, warmth in the sunshine, music in the air, we say spring has come.
The love of man, in his mature years, is not so much a new emotion, as a revival and concentration of all his departed affections toward others.
It is astonishing how little one feels poverty when one loves.
The accents of love are all that is left of the language of paradise.
Hope nothing from luck, and the probability is that you will be so prepared, forewarned, and forearmed, that all shallow observers will call you lucky.
When the world has once got hold of a lie, it is astonishing how hard it is to get it out of the world. You beat it about the head, till it seems to have given up the ghost, and lo! the next day it is as healthy as ever.
There is certainly something of exquisite kindness and thoughtful benevolence in that rarest of gifts,—fine breeding.
What a rare gift is that of manners! How difficult to define; how much more difficult to impart!—Better for a man to possess them, than to have wealth, beauty, or talent; they will more than supply all.
There is no policy like politeness; and a good manner is the best thing in the world either to get a good name, or to supply the want of it.
Not the marriage of convenience, nor the marriage of reason, but the marriage of love.—All other marriage, with vows so solemn, with intimacy so close, is but acted falsehood and varnished sin.
Few natures can preserve through years the poetry of the first passionate illusion. That can alone render wedlock the seal that confirms affection, and not the mocking ceremonial that consecrates its grave.
Few of either sex are ever united to their first love.—Yet married people jog on and call each other "My dear" and "My darling," all the same.
Every great man exhibits the talent of organization or construction, whether it be in a poem, a philosophical system, a policy, or a strategy.—And without method there is no organization nor construction.
A mind once cultivated will not lie fallow for half an hour.
Out of the ashes of misanthropy benevolence rises again; we find many virtues where we had imagined all was vice, many actions of disinterested friendship where we had fancied all was calculation and fraud,—and so gradually, from the two extremes, we pass to the proper medium; and feeling that no human being is wholly good or wholly base, we learn that true knowledge of mankind which induces us to expect little and forgive much. The world cures alike the optimist and the misanthrope.
It is difficult to say who do you the most mischief, enemies with the worst intentions, or friends with the best.
Money never can be well managed if sought solely through the greed of money for its own sake. In all meanness there is a defect of intellect as well as of heart. And even the cleverness of avarice is but the cunning of imbecility.
Howsoever varied the courses of our life, whatsoever the phases of pleasure and ambition through which it has swept along, still, when in memory we would revive the times that were comparatively the happiest, those times will be found to have been the calmest.
Nothing really immoral is ever permanently popular.—There does not exist in the literature of the world a single popular book that is immoral, two centuries after it is produced; for in the heart of nations the false does not live so long, and the true is ethical to the end of time.
I was always an early riser. Happy the man who is! Every morning day comes to him with a virgin's love, full of bloom and freshness. The youth of nature is contagious, like the gladness of a happy child.
Nature's loving proxy, the watchful mother.
Music, once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit, and never dies. It wanders perturbedly through the halls and galleries of the memory, and is often heard again, distinct and living, as when it first displaced the wavelets of the air.
Nature—a thing which science and art never appear to see with the same eyes. If to an artist nature has a soul, why, so has a steam-engine. Art gifts with soul all matter that it contemplates; science turns all that is already gifted with soul into matter.
A good novel should be, and generally is, a magnifying or diminishing glass of life. It may lessen or enlarge what it reflects, but the general features of society are faithfully reproduced by it. If a man reads such works with intelligent interest, he may learn almost as much of the world from his library as from the clubs and drawing-rooms of St. James.
You see men of the most delicate frames engaged in active and professional pursuits who really have no time for idleness. Let them become idle,—let them take care of themselves, let them think of their health,—and they die! The rust rots the steel which use preserves.
The public man needs but one patron, namely, the lucky moment.
Extemporaneous speaking is, indeed, the groundwork of the orator's art; preparation is the last finish, and the most difficult of all his accomplishments. To learn by heart as a schoolboy, or to prepare as an orator, are two things, not only essentially different, but essentially antagonistic to each other; for the work most opposed to an effective oration is an elegant essay.
Oratory, like the drama, abhors lengthiness; like the drama, it must keep doing.—Beauties themselves, if they delay or distract the effect which should be produced on the audience, become blemishes.
The same refinement which brings us new pleasures, exposes us to new pains.
A chord, stronger or weaker, is snapped asunder in every parting, and time's busy fingers are not practised in re-splicing broken ties. Meet again you may; will it be in the same way? with the same sympathies? with the same sentiments? Will the souls, hurrying on in diverse paths, unite once more, as if the interval had been a dream? Rarely, rarely!
It is the excess and not the nature of our passions which is perishable. Like the trees which grow by the tomb of Protesilaus, the passions flourish till they reach a certain height, but no sooner is that height attained than they wither away.
"All the passions," says an old writer, "are such near neighbors, that if one of them is on fire the others should send for the buckets." Thus love and hate being both passions, the one is never safe from the spark that sets the other ablaze.
In strong natures, if resistance to temptation is of granite, so the passions that they admit are of fire.
What a mistake to suppose that the passions are strongest in youth! The passions are not stronger, but the control over them is weaker! They are more easily excited, they are more violent and apparent; but they have less energy, less durability, less intense and concentrated power than in maturer life.
Patience is the courage of the conqueror, the strength of man against destiny—of the one against the world, and of the soul against matter.—Therefore it is the courage of the gospel; and its importance, in a social view and to races and institutions, cannot be too earnestly inculcated.
There is one form of hope which is never unwise, and which certainly does not diminish with the increase of knowledge. In that form it changes its name, and we call it patience.
Take away the sword; states can be saved without it; bring the pen!
In the lexicon of youth, which fate reserves for a bright manhood, there is no such word as fail.
Every man who observes vigilantly, and resolves steadfastly, grows unconsciously into genius.
It is a maxim received among philosophers themselves, from the days of Aristotle down to those of Sir William Hamilton, that philosophy ceases where truth is acknowledged.
Sublime philosophy! thou art the patriarch's ladder, reaching heaven and bright with beckoning angels; but, alas' we see thee, like the patriarch, but in dreams, by the first step, dull slumbering on the earth.
Real philosophy seeks rather to solve than to deny. While we hear, every day, the small pretenders to science talk of the absurdities of alchemy, and the dream of the Philosopher's Stone, a more erudite knowledge is aware that by alchemists the greatest discoveries in science have been made, and much which still seems abstruse, had we the key to the mystic phraseology they were compelled to adopt, might open the way to yet more noble acquisitions.
A life of pleasure makes even the strongest mind frivolous at last.
The poet, whether in prose or verse, the creator, can only stamp his images forcibly on the page, in proportion as he has forcibly felt, ardently nursed, and long brooded over them.
At court one becomes a sort of humarant-eater, and learns to catch one's prey by one's tongue.
There is no policy like politeness; and a good manner is the best thing in the world, either to get a good name, or supply the want of it.
It is the misfortune of all miscellaneous political combinations, that with the purest motives of their more generous members are ever mixed the most sordid interests and the fiercest passions of mean confederates.
The great secrets of being courted, are, to shun others and to seem delighted with yourself.
Poverty is the wicked man's tempter, the good man's perdition, the proud man's curse, the melancholy man's halter.
As pauperism, in distinction from poverty, is dependence on other people for existence, and not on our own exertions, so there is a moral pauperism in the man who is dependent on others for that support of the moral life—self respect.
Power is so characteristically calm, that calmness in itself has the aspect of power, and forbearance implies strength.
How a little praise warms out of a man the good that is in him, as the sneer of contempt which he feels is unjust chills the ardor to excel.
Faith builds in the dungeon and the lazarhouse its sublimest shrines; and up, through roofs of stone, that shut out the eye of heaven, ascends the ladder where the angels glide to and fro—prayer.
The higher the character or rank, the less the pretence, because there is less to pretend to.
As a general rule, people who flagrantly pretend to anything are the reverse of that which they pretend to. A man who sets up for a saint is sure to be a sinner, and a man who boasts that he is a sinner is sure to have some feeble, maudlin, snivelling bit of saintship about him which is enough to make him a humbug.
In beginning the world, if you don't wish to get chafed at every turn, fold up your pride carefully, and put it under lock and key, and only let it out to air on grand occasions.—It is a garment all stiff brocade outside, and all grating sackcloth on the side next to the skin.—Even kings do not wear the dalmaticum except at a coronation.
What is the essence and the life of character? Principle, integrity, independence, or, as one of our great old writers has it, "That inbred loyalty unto virtue which can serve her without a livery."
A fresh mind keeps the body fresh. Take in the ideas of the day, drain off those of yesterday. As to the morrow, time enough to consider it when it becomes today.
Punctuality is the stern virtue of men of business, and the graceful courtesy of princes.
A couplet of verse, a period of prose, may cling to the rock of ages as a shell that survives a deluge.
Rank is a great beautifier.
In science, read, by preference, the newest works; in literature the oldest. The classic literature is always modern. New books revive and redecorate old ideas; old books suggest and invigorate new ideas.
Reading without purpose is sauntering, not exercise. More is got from one book on which the thought settles for a definite end in knowledge, than from libraries skimmed over by a wandering eye. A cottage flower gives honey to the bee, a king's garden none to the butterfly.
Philosophers have done wisely when they have told us to cultivate our reason rather than our feelings, for reason reconciles us to the daily things of existence; our feelings teach us to yearn after the far, the difficult, the unseen.
What a lovely bridge between old age and childhood is religion! How instinctively the world begins with prayer and worship on entering life, and how instinctively, on quitting life, the old man turns back to prayer and worship, putting himself again side by side with the little child.
Remorse is the echo of a lost virtue.
What is past is past.—There is a future left to all men who have the virtue to repent, and the energy to atone.
He who seeks repentance for the past, should woo the angel virtue for the future.
No reproach is like that we clothe in a smile, and present with a bow.
He whom God hath gifted with the love of retirement, possesses, as it were, an extra sense.
Revenge is a common passion; it is the sin of the uninstructed.—The savage deems it noble; but the religion of Christ, which is the sublime civilizer, emphatically condemns it. Why? Because religion ever seeks to ennoble man; and nothing so debases him as revenge.
Art and science have their meeting point in method.
He that fancies himself very enlightened, because he sees the deficiencies of others, may be very ignorant, because he has not studied his own.
"Know thyself," said the old philosophy.—"Improve thyself," saith the new. —Our great object in time is not to waste our passions and gifts on the things external that we must leave behind, but that we cultivate within us all that we can carry into the eternal progress beyond.
It is astonishing how well men wear when they think of no one but themselves.
The main reason why silence is so efficacious an element of repute is, first, because of that magnification which proverbially belongs to the unknown; and, secondly, because silence provokes no man's envy, and wounds no man's self-love.
The more a man desirous to pass at a value above his worth, and can, by dignified silence, contrast with the garrulity of trivial minds, the more will the world give him credit for the wealth he does not possess.
Society is a wall of very strong masonry, as it now stands; it may be sapped in the course of a thousand years, but stormed in a day—no! You dash your head against it—you scatter your brains, and you dislodge a stone. Society smiles in scorn, effaces the stain, and replaces the stone.
The mind profits by the wreck of every passion, and we may measure our road to wisdom by the sorrows we have undergone.
It seems to me as if not only the form but the soul of man was made to walk erect and look upon the stars.
The man who has acquired the habit of study, though for only one hour every day in the year, and keeps to the one thing studied till it is mastered, will be startled to see the progress he has made at the end of a twelvemonth.
The man who succeeds above his fellows is the one who, early in life, clearly discerns his object, and towards that object habitually directs his powers. Even genius itself is but fine observation strengthened by fixity of purpose. Every man who observes vigilantly and resolves steadfastly grows unconsciously into genius.
Open biographical volumes wherever you please, and the man who has no faith in religion is the one who hath faith in a nightmare and ghosts.
Of all the conditions to which the heart is subject, suspense is one that most gnaws and cankers into the frame. One little month of suspense, when it involves death, we are told by an eyewitness, is sufficient to plough fixed lines and furrows in a convict of five-and-twenty,—sufficient to dash the brown hair with gray, and to bleach the gray to white.
It may, indeed, be said that sympathy exists in all minds, as Faraday has discovered that magnetism exists in all metals; but a certain temperature is required to develop the hidden property, whether in the metal or the mind.
The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself.
He who would keep himself to himself should imitate the dumb animals, and drink water.
There is that in theatrical representation which awakens whatever romance belongs to our character.—The magic lights, the pomp of scene, the fair, false, exciting life that is detailed before us, crowding into some three short hours all our most busy ambition could desire all these appeals to our senses are not made in vain.—Our taste for castle-building and visions deepens upon us, and we chew a mental opium which stagnates the other faculties, but wakes that of the ideal.
Earnest men never think in vain though their thoughts may be errors.
He who esteems trifles for themselves is a trifler; he who esteems them for the conclusions to be drawn from them, or the advantage to which they can be put, is a philosopher.
One of the sublimest things in the world is plain truth.
As has been finely expressed, "Principle is a passion for truth," And as an earlier and homelier writer hath it, "The truths we believe in are the pillars of our world."
People who are very vain are usually equally susceptible; and they who feel one thing acutely, will so feel another.
Tell me not of the pain of falsehood to the slandered! There is nothing so agonizing to the fine skin of vanity as the application of a rough truth.
Vanity, indeed, is the very antidote to conceit; for while the former makes us all nerve to the opinion of others, the latter is perfectly satisfied with its opinion of itself.
One vice worn out makes us wiser than fifty tutors.
Never mind what a man's virtues are; waste no time in learning them. Fasten at once on his infirmities.
There is no society, however free and democratic, where wealth will not create an aristocracy.
There is one name which I can never utter without a reverence due to the religion which binds earth to heaven—a name cheered, beautified, exalted and hallowed—and that is the name of wife.
O woman! in ordinary cases so mere a mortal, how in the great and rare events of life dost thou swell into the angel!
A woman too often reasons from her heart; hence two-thirds of her mistakes and her troubles.
"Wonder," says Aristotle, "is the first cause of philosophy." This is quite as true in the progress of the individual as in that of the concrete mind; and the constant aim of philosophy is to destroy its parent.
That one vast thought of God which we call the world.
Ere yet we yearn for what is out of our reach, we are still in the cradle. When wearied out with our yearnings, desire again falls asleep—we are on the death-bed.
There is a time in the lives of most of us when, despondent of all joy in an earthly future, and tortured by conflicts between inclination and duty, we transfer all the passion and fervor of our troubled souls to enthusiastic yearnings for the divine love, looking to its mercy, and taking thence the only hopes that can cheer—the only strength that can sustain us.
Youth, with swift feet walks onward in the way; the land of joy lies all before his eyes.
The golden age never leaves the world; it exists still, and shall exist, till love, health, and poetry, are no more— but only for the young.
The frenzy of nations is the statesmanship of fate.