WHIPPLE, Edwin Percy Quotes
(1819-1886), American essayist
In activity we must find our joy as well as glory; and labor, like everything else that is good, is its own reward.
Nothing, says Goethe, is so terrible as activity without insight.—Look before you leap is a maxim for the world.
All history shows the power of blood over circumstances, as agriculture shows the power of the seeds over the soil.
Books are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time.
God is glorified, not by our groans but by our thanksgivings; and all good thought and good action claim a natural alliance with good cheer.
Lord Chatham and Napoleon were as much actors as Garrick or Talma.—An imposing air should always be taken as evidence of imposition.—Dignity is often a veil between us and the real truth of things.
The eye observes only what the mind, the heart, the imagination are gifted to see; and sight must be reinforced by insight before souls can be discerned as well as manners; ideas as well as objects; realities and relations as well as appearances and accidental connections.
Everybody knows that fanaticism is religion caricatured, and yet, with many, contempt of fanaticism is regarded as a sign of hostility to religion.
There is a very large and very knowing class of misanthropes who rejoice in the name of grumblers, persons who are so sure that the world is going to ruin that they resent every attempt to comfort them as an insult to their sagacity, and accordingly seek their chief consolation in being inconsolable, and their chief pleasure in being displeased.
A large portion of human beings live not so much in themselves as in what they desire to be.—They create an ideal character the perfections of which compensate in some degree for imperfections of their own.
Irony is an insult conveyed in the form of a compliment; insinuating the most galling satire under the phraseology of panegyric; placing its victim naked on a bed of briers and thistles, thinly covered with rose-leaves; adorning his brow with a crown of gold, which burns into his brain; teasing and fretting, and riddling him through and through, with incessant discharges of hot shot from a masked battery; laying bare the most sensitive and shrinking nerves of his mind, and then blandly touching them with ice, or smilingly pricking them with needles.
Knowledge, like religion, must be "experienced" in order to be known.
Felicity, not fluency of language, is a merit.
Nothing lives in literature but that which has in it the vitality of creative art; and it would be safe advice to the young to read nothing but what is old.
An imposing air should always be taken as an evidence of imposition.—Dignity is often a veil between us and the real truth of things.
No language can fitly express the meanness, the baseness, the brutality, with which the world has ever treated its victims of one age and boasts of them in the next. Dante is worshiped at that grave to which he was hurried by persecution. Milton, in his own day, was "Mr. Milton, the blind adder, that spit his venom on the king's person"; and soon after, "the mighty orb of song." These absurd transitions from hatred to apotheosis, this recognition just at the moment when it becomes a mockery, saddens all intellectual history.
Nature does not capriciously scatter her secrets as golden gifts to lazy pets and luxurious darlings, but imposes tasks when she presents opportunities, and uplifts him whom she would inform. The apple that she drops at the feet of Newton is but a coy invitation to follow her to the stars.
We all originally came from the woods; it is hard to eradicate from any of us the old taste for the tattoo and the war-paint; and the moment that money gets into our pockets, it somehow or another breaks out in ornaments on our person, without always giving refinement to our manners.
Even in social life, it is persistency which attracts confidence more than talents and accomplishments.
A politician weakly and amiably in the right, is no match for a politician tenaciously and pugnaciously in the wrong.—You cannot, by tying an opinion to a man's tongue, make him the representative of that opinion; and at the close of any battle for principles, his name will be found neither among the dead, nor the wounded, but among the missing.
The strife of politics tends to unsettle the calmest understanding, and ulcerate the most benevolent heart.—There are no bigotries or absurdities too gross for parties to create or adopt under the stimulus of political passions.
The invention of printing added a new element of power to the race. From that hour the brain and not the arm, the thinker and not the soldier, books and not kings, were to rule the world; and weapons, forged in the mind, keen-edged and brighter than the sunbeam, were to supplant the sword and the battle-ax.
The wise men of old have sent most of their morality down the stream of time in the light skiff of apothegm or epigram.
As men neither fear nor respect what has been made contemptible, all honor to him who makes oppression laughable as well as detestable.—Armies cannot protect it then; and walls that have remained impenetrable to cannon have fallen before a roar of laughter or a hiss of contempt.
Any style formed in imitation of some model must be affected and straight-laced.
As the grave grows nearer my theology is growing strangely simple, and it begins and ends with Christ as the only Saviour of the lost.
A thought embodied and embrained in fit words walks the earth a living being.
Every great originating mind produces in some way a change in society; every great originating mind, whose exercise is controlled by duty, effects a beneficial change. This effect may be immediate, may be remote. A nation may be in a tumult today for a thought which the timid Erasmus placidly penned in his study more than two centuries ago.
What a man does with his wealth depends upon his idea of happiness. Those who draw prizes in life are apt to spend tastelessly, if not viciously; not knowing that it requires as much talent to spend as to make.
The saddest failures in life are those that come from not putting forth the power and will to succeed.