C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Architecture is the work of nations.


The architect must not only understand drawing, but music.


Architecture is frozen music!

Madame de Staël.

A Gothic church is a petrified religion.


Histories in blazonry and poems in stone.


The poetry of bricks and mortar.

Horace Greeley.

The architect built his great heart into those sculptured stones.


Spires whose “silent finger points to heaven.”


Greek architecture is the flowering of geometry.


  • A fabric huge
  • Rose, like an exhalation.
  • Milton.

  • Earth proudly wears the Parthenon
  • As the best gem upon her zone.
  • Emerson.

  • No workman steel, no pond’rous axes rung:
  • Like some tall palm the noiseless fabric sprung.
  • Bishop Heber.

    No person who is not a great sculptor or painter can be an architect. If he is not a painter or sculptor, he can only be a builder.


    Houses are built to live in, more than to look on; therefore let use be preferred before uniformity except where both may be had.


  • Thus when we view some well-proportion’d dome,
  • *****
  • No single parts unequally surprise,
  • All comes united to th’ admiring eyes.
  • Pope.

    If cities were built by the sound of music, then some edifices would appear to be constructed by grave, solemn tones,—others to have danced forth to light fantastic airs.


    We must note carefully what distinction there is between a healthy and a diseased love of change; for as it was in healthy love of change that the Gothic architecture rose, it was partly in consequence of diseased love of change that it was destroyed.


    An instinctive taste teaches men to build their churches in flat countries with spire-steeples, which, as they cannot be referred to any other object, point as with silent finger to the sky and stars.


    Architecture is the art which so disposes and adorns the edifices raised by man, for whatsoever uses, that the sight of them may contribute to his mental health, power, and pleasure.


    It was stated***that the value of architecture depended on two distinct characters:—the one, the impression it receives from human power; the other, the image it bears of the natural creation.


    Better the rudest work that tells a story or records a fact, than the richest without meaning. There should not be a single ornament put upon great civic buildings, without some intellectual intention.


    I would have, then, our ordinary dwelling-houses built to last, and built to be lovely; as rich and full of pleasantness as may be within and without:***with such differences as might suit and express each man’s character and occupation, and partly his history.


  • The hasty multitude
  • Admiring enter’d, and the work some praise,
  • And some the architect: his hand was known
  • In heaven by many a tower’d structure high,
  • Where scepter’d angels held their residence,
  • And sat as princes.
  • Milton.

    In designing a house and gardens, it is happy when there is an opportunity of maintaining a subordination of parts; the house so luckily placed as to exhibit a view of the whole design. I have sometimes thought that there was room for it to resemble an epic or dramatic poem.


    The Gothic cathedral is a blossoming in stone, subdued by the insatiable demand of harmony in man. The mountain of granite blooms into an eternal flower, with the lightness and delicate finish as well as the aerial proportions and perspective of vegetable beauty.


    Architecture exhibits the greatest extent of the difference from nature which may exist in works of art. It involves all the powers of design, and is sculpture and painting inclusively. It shows the greatness of man, and should at the same time teach him humility.


  • The hand that rounded Peter’s dome
  • And groined the aisles of Christian Rome,
  • Wrought in a sad sincerity:
  • Himself from God he could not free;
  • He builded better than he knew;
  • The conscious stone to beauty grew.
  • Emerson.

    Möller, in his Essay on Architecture, taught that the building which was fitted accurately to answer its end would turn out to be beautiful, though beauty had not been intended. I find the like unity in human structures rather virulent and pervasive.


    Grandeur***consists in form, and not in size: and to the eye of the philosopher, the curve drawn on a paper two inches long, is just as magnificent, just as symbolic of divine mysteries and melodies, as when embodied in the span of some cathedral roof.

    Charles Kingsley.

    Architecture is the printing-press of all ages, and gives a history of the state of the society in which it was erected, from the cromlech of the Druids, to those toy-shops of royal bad taste,—Carlton House and the Brighton Pavilion. The Tower and Westminster Abbey are glorious pages in the history of time, and tell the story of an iron despotism, and the cowardice of unlimited power.

    Lady Morgan.

    Therefore when we build, let us think that we build (public edifices) forever. Let it not be for present delight, nor for present use alone, let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, “See! this our fathers did for us.”