DE QUINCEY, Thomas Quotes
(1785-1859), English author
Though a great man may, by a rare possibility, be an infidel, yet an intellect of the highest order must build upon Christianity.
Many a man has risen to eminence under the powerful reaction of his mind against the scorn of the unworthy, daily evoked by his personal defects, who, with a handsome person, would have sunk into the luxury of a careless life under the tranquilizing smiles of continual admiration.
I cannot think that any man could ever tower upward into a very great philosopher unless he should begin or end with Christianity.—A great man may, by a rare possibility, be an infidel.—An intellect of the highest order must build on Christianity.
The laughter of girls is, and ever was, among the delightful sounds of earth.
There, is first, the literature of knowledge; and, secondly, the literature of power. The function of the first is, to teach; of the second is, to move; the first is a rudder, the second an oar or a sail. The first speaks to the mere discursive understanding; the second speaks ultimately to the higher understanding or reason, but always through affections of pleasure and sympathy.
That memory is the book of judgment, from some opium experiences of mine, I can believe. I have, indeed, seen the same thing asserted in modern books, and accompanied by a remark which I am convinced is true, namely: that the dread book of account, which the Scriptures speak of is, in fact, the mind itself of each individual. Of this, at least, I feel assured—that there is no such thing as forgetting, possible to the mind; a thousand accidents may and will interpose a veil between our present consciousness and the secret inscriptions on the mind; accidents of the same sort will also rend away this veil; but whether veiled or unveiled, the inscription remains forever; just as the stars seem to withdraw before the common light of day; whereas, in fact, we all know that it is the light which is drawn over them as a veil, and that they are waiting to be revealed, when the obscuring daylight shall have withdrawn.
Much has been accomplished; more than people are aware—so gradual has been the advance. How noiseless is the growth of corn! Watch it night and day for a week, and you will never see it growing; but return after two months, and you will find it all whitening for the harvest. Such, and so imperceptible in the stages of their motion are the victories of the press.
Far better, and more cheerfully, I could dispense with some part of the downright necessaries of life, than with certain circumstances of elegance and propriety in the daily habits of using them.
Reserve is the truest expression of respect toward those who are its objects.