C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.
A man is not little when he finds it difficult to cope with circumstances, but when circumstances overmaster him.
A man may twist as he pleases, and do what he pleases, but he inevitably comes back to the track to which nature has destined him.
A man who is ignorant of foreign languages is also ignorant of his own language.
A man’s errors are what make him amiable.
A man’s manners are a mirror, in which he shows his likeness to the intelligent observer.
A man’s name is not like a mantle, which merely hangs about him, and which one perchance may safely twitch and pull, but a perfectly fitting garment, which like the skin has grown over and over him, at which one cannot rake and scrape without injuring the man himself.
A noble man is led by woman’s gentle words.
A resolution that is communicated is no longer within thy power; thy attentions become now the plaything of chance; he who would have his commands certainly carried out must take man by surprise.
A school of art or of anything else is to be looked on as a single individual, who keeps talking to himself for a hundred years, and feels an extreme satisfaction with his own circle of favorite ideas, be they ever so silly.
A useless life is but an early death.
A vain man can never be altogether rude. Desirous as he is of pleasing, he fashions his manners after those of others.
A well-bred carriage is difficult to imitate; for in strictness it is negative, and it implies a long-continued previous training.
A wife is a gift bestowed upon a man to reconcile him to the loss of paradise.
A wounded heart can with difficulty be cured.
Age makes us not childish, as some say; it finds us still true children.
Alas! sorrow from happiness is oft evolved.
Alas, that we should be so unwilling to listen to the still and holy yearnings of the heart! A god whispers quite softly in our breast, softly yet audibly; telling us what we ought to seek and what to shun.
All men would be masters of others, and no man is lord of himself.
All sects seem to me to be right in what they assert, and wrong in what they deny.
All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take firm root in our personal experience.
An actor should take lessons from a painter and a sculptor.
Art is a severe business; most serious when employed in grand and sacred objects. The artist stands higher than art, higher than the object. He uses art for his purposes, and deals with the object after his own fashion.
Art is based on a strong sentiment of religion,—on a profound and mighty earnestness; hence it is so prone to co-operate with religion.
As a man is, so is his God; therefore God was so often an object of mockery.
As his wife has been given to man as his best half, so night is the half of life, and by far the better part of life.
As to the value of conversions, God alone can judge. God alone can know how wide are the steps which the soul has to take before it can approach to a community with Him, to the dwelling of the perfect, or to the intercourse and friendship of higher natures.
At the end of life thoughts hitherto impossible come to the collected mind, like good spirits which let themselves down from the shining heights of the past.
Be always resolute with the present hour. Every moment is of infinite value; for it is the representative of eternity.
Beauty is at once the ultimate principle and the highest aim of art.
Beauty vanishes; virtue is lasting.
Behavior is a mirror in which every one shows his image.
Beloved brother, let us not forget that man can never get away from himself.
Beware of dissipating your powers; strive constantly to concentrate them. Genius thinks it can do whatever it sees others doing, but it is sure to repent of every ill-judged outlay.
Blood is a juice of rarest quality.
Change amuses the mind, but rarely profits.
Children, like dogs, have so sharp and fine a scent that they detect and hunt out everything—the bad before all the rest. They also know well enough how this or that friend stands with their parents; and as they practice no dissimulation whatever, they serve as excellent barometers by which to observe the degree of favor or disfavor at which we stand with their parents.
Correction does much, but encouragement does more. Encouragement after censure is as the sun after a shower.
Courage and modesty are the most unequivocal of virtues, for they are of a kind that hypocrisy cannot imitate; they too have this quality in common, that they are expressed by the same color.
Criticism is our weak point.
Death is a commingling of eternity with time; in the death of a good man, eternity is seen looking through time.
Devote each day to the object then in time, and every evening will find something done.
Dispel not the happy delusions of children.
Do the duty which lies nearest to thee.
Duty is the demand of the hour.
Each one sees what he carries in his heart.
Energy will do anything that can be done in this world; and no talents, no circumstances, no opportunities, will make a two-legged animal a man without it.
Enjoy what thou hast inherited from thy sires if thou wouldst possess it; what we employ not is an oppressive burden; what the moment brings forth, that only can it profit by.
Errors belong to libraries; truth, to the human mind.
Every author, in some degree, portrays himself in his works even be it against his will.
Every beginning is cheerful; the threshold is the place of expectation.
Every bird has its decoy, and every man is led and misled in his own peculiar way.
Every man bears something within him that, if it were publicly announced, would excite feelings of aversion.
Every reader reads himself out of the book that he reads; nay, has he a strong mind, reads himself into the book, and amalgamates his thoughts with the author’s.
Everything in the world may be endured, except only a succession of prosperous days.
Everything that happens to us leaves some trace behind; everything contributes imperceptibly to make us what we are.
Faith is a homely, private capital; as there are public savings-banks and poor funds, out of which in times of want we can relieve the necessities of individuals, so here the faithful take their coin in peace.
Few are open to conviction, but the majority of men are open to persuasion.
Few men of any modern nation have a proper sense of an æsthetical whole: they praise and blame by parts; they are charmed by passages. And who has greater reason to rejoice in this than actors, since the stage is ever but a patched and piecemeal matter?
Flowers are the beautiful hieroglyphics of nature, with which she indicates how much she loves us.
Fools and sensible men are equally innocuous. It is in the half fools and the half wise that the greatest danger lies.
For a strolling damsel a doubtful reputation bears.
For all guilt is avenged on earth.
For the nature of women is closely allied to art.
For to give is the business of the rich.
Forget not that the man who cannot enjoy his own natural gifts in silence, and find his reward in the exercise of them, will generally find himself badly off.
Generally speaking, an author’s style is a faithful copy of his mind. If you would write a lucid style, let there first be light in your own mind; and if you would write a grand style, you ought to have a grand character.
Gifts come from on high in their own peculiar forms.
Girls we love for what they are; young men for what they promise to be.
Go to the place where the thing you wish to know is native; your best teacher is there. Where the thing you wish to know is so dominant that you must breathe its very atmosphere, there teaching is most thorough, and learning is most easy. You acquire a language most readily in the country where it is spoken; you study mineralogy best among miners; and so with everything else.
Great passions are incurable diseases.
Great possessions and great want of them are both strong temptations.
Habit is the most imperious of all masters.
Happy the man who early learns the wide chasm that lies between his wishes and his powers!
Hatred is active, and envy passive disgust; there is but one step from envy to hate.
He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.
He who does not think too much of himself is much more esteemed than he imagines.
He who is firm in will molds the world to himself.
He who is resolute conquers grief.
He who is wise puts aside all claims which may dissipate his attention, and confining himself to one branch excels in that.
He who only tastes his error will long dwell with it, will take delight in it as in a singular felicity; while he who drains it to the dregs will, if he be not crazy, find it to be what it is.
He who rests satisfied in merely defending himself against sarcasm and abuse is always a loser.
He who serves the public is a poor animal; he worries himself to death and no one thanks him for it.
He who would reproach an author for obscurity should look into his own mind and see whether it is quite clear there. In the dusk the plainest writing is illegible.
How circumscribed is woman’s destiny!
How happy he who can still hope to lift himself from this sea of error! What we know not, that we are anxious to possess, and cannot use what we know.
How shall we learn to know ourselves? By reflection? Never; but only through action. Strive to do thy duty; then shalt thou know what is in thee.
Humor is one of the elements of genius—admirable as an adjunct; but as soon as it becomes dominant, only a surrogate for genius.
I always had an aversion to your apostles of freedom; each but sought for himself freedom to do what he liked.
I am fully convinced that the soul is indestructible, and that its activity will continue through eternity. It is like the sun, which, to our eyes, seems to set in night; but it has in reality only gone to diffuse its light elsewhere.
I am very anxious to please the public, particularly as it lives and lets live.
I can promise to be candid, but I cannot promise to be impartial.
I consider him of no account who esteems himself just as the popular breath may chance to raise him.
I hate all bungling as I do sin, but particularly bungling in politics, which leads to the misery and ruin of many thousands and millions of people.
I hate all explanations; they who make them deceive either themselves or the other party, generally both.
I hate every violent overthrow, because as much is destroyed as is gained by it.
I have observed that as long as one lives and bestirs himself, he can always find food and raiment, though it may not be of the choicest description.
I make presents to the mother, but think of the daughter.
I put no account on him who esteems himself just as the popular breath may chance to raise him.
I respect the man who knows distinctly what he wishes. The greater part of all the mischief in the world arises from the fact that men do not sufficiently understand their own aims. They have undertaken to build a tower, and spend no more labor on the foundation than would be necessary to erect a hut.
I reverence the individual who understands distinctly what he wishes; who unweariedly advances, who knows the means conducive to his object, and can seize and use them.
I will be lord over myself.
I will listen to any one’s convictions, but pray keep your doubts to yourself.
I will not be as those who spend the day in complaining of headache, and the night in drinking the wine that gives the headache.
If the world does improve on the whole, yet youth must always begin anew, and go through the stages of culture from the beginning.
If thou wouldst hear what seemly is and fit, inquire of noble woman; they can tell, who in life’s common usage hold their place by graceful deed and aptly chosen word.
If you have any faith, give me, for heaven’s sake, a share of it! Your doubts you may keep to yourself, for I have a plenty of my own.
If you would create something, you must be something.
Ill-humor is nothing more than an inward feeling of our own want of merit, a dissatisfaction with ourselves which is always united with an envy that foolish vanity excites.
In art, to express the infinite one should suggest infinitely more than is expressed.
In peace patriotism really consists only in this—that every one sweeps before his own door, minds his own business, also learns his own lesson, that it may be well with him in his own house.
In praising or loving a child, we love and praise not that which is, but that which we hope for.
In society every man is taken for what he gives himself out to be; but he must give himself out to be something. Better to be slightly disagreeable than altogether insignificant.
In the government of men, a great deal may be done by severity, more by love, but most of all by clear discernment and impartial justice, which pays no respect to persons.
Ingratitude is always a kind of weakness. I have never seen that clever men have been ungrateful.
Intercourse with women is the element of good manners.
It is belief in the Bible, the fruits of deep meditation, which has served me as the guide of my moral and literary life. I have found capital safely invested and richly productive of interest, although I have sometimes made a bad use of it.
It is commonly the personal character of a writer which gives him his public significance. It is not imparted by his genius. Napoleon said of Corneille, “Were he living I would make him a king;” but he did not read him. He read Racine, yet he said nothing of the kind of Racine.
It is delightful to transport one’s self into the spirit of the past, to see how a wise man has thought before us, and to what a glorious height we have at last reached.
It is impossible that beauty should ever distinctly appreciate itself.
It is much easier to meet with error than to find truth; error is on the surface, and can be more easily met with; truth is hid in great depths, the way to seek does not appear to all the world.
It is natural to man to regard himself as the object of the creation, and to think of all things in relation to himself, and the degree in which they can serve and be useful to him.
It is not always necessary that truth should be embodied; enough if it hover, spirit-like, around us and produce harmony, if it float through the aid like the sweetly solemn chiming of a minster bell.
It is one of heaven’s best gifts to hold such a dear creature in one’s arms.
It is only necessary to grow old to become more indulgent. I see no fault committed that I have not committed myself.
It is the fortunate who should extol fortune.
It matters little whether a man be mathematically or philologically or artistically cultivated, so he be but cultivated.
It never occurs to fools that merit and good fortune are closely united.
Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together.
Knowest thou the land where the lemon-trees flourish, where amid the shadowed leaves the golden oranges glisten,—a gentle zephyr breathes from the blue heavens, the myrtle is motionless, and the laurel rises high? Dost them know it well? Thither, thither, fain would I fly with thee, my beloved!
Let us not dream that reason can ever be popular. Passions, emotions, may be made popular; but reason remains ever the property of an elect few.
Literature is a fragment of a fragment. Of all that ever happened, or has been said, but a fraction has been written; and of this but little is extant.
Love and desire are the spirit’s wings to great deeds.
Make the most of time, it flies away so fast; yet method will teach you to win time.
Man believes himself always greater than he is, and is esteemed less than he is worth.
Man supposes that he directs his life and governs his actions, when his existence is irretrievably under the control of destiny.
Man, be he who he may, experiences a last piece of good fortune and a last day.
Mannerism is always longing to have done, and has no true enjoyment in work. A genuine, really great talent, on the other hand, has its greatest happiness in execution.
Manners form the great charm of women.
Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time.
Many young painters would never have taken their pencils in hand if they could have felt, known, and understood, early enough, what really a master like Raphael.
Men are so constituted that everybody undertakes what he sees another successful in, whether he has aptitude for it or not.
Men possessing small souls are generally the authors of great evils.
Men show their character in nothing more clearly than by what they think laughable.
Merely to breathe freely does not mean to live.
Miracle is the pet child of faith.
Moral epochs have their course as well as the seasons. We can no more hold them fast than we can hold sun, moon, and stars. Our faults perpetually return upon us; and herein lies the subtlest difficulty of self-knowledge.
Music, in the best sense, does not require novelty; nay, the older it is, and the more we are accustomed to it, the greater its effect.
My peace is gone, my heart is heavy.
National hatred is something peculiar. You will always find it strongest and most violent in the lowest degree of culture.
Nature goes on her way, and all that to us seems an exception is really according to order.
Nature knows no pause in progress and development, and attaches her curse on all inaction.
Necessity is cruel, but it is the only test of inward strength. Every fool may live according to his own likings.
No one would talk much in society if he only knew how often he misunderstands others.
No wonder we are all more or less pleased with mediocrity, since it leaves us at rest, and gives the same comfortable feeling as when one associates with his equals.
Nobody, they say, is a hero to his valet. Of course; for a man must be a hero to understand a hero. The valet, I dare say, has great respect for some person of his own stamp.
Nothing is more terrible than to see ignorance in action.
Nothing is so atrocious as fancy without taste.
Oesser taught me that the ideal of beauty is simplicity and tranquillity.
Of all thieves, fools are the worst; they rob you of time and temper.
Of the book of books most wondrous is the tender book of love.
Old age is never honored among us, but only indulged, as childhood is; and old men lose one of the most precious rights of man,—that of being judged by their peers.
On every mountain-height is rest.
One always has time enough, if one will apply it well.
One can be instructed in society; one is inspired only in solitude.
One man’s word is no man’s word; we should quietly hear both sides.
Only the heart without a stain knows perfect ease.
Our hands we open of our own free will, and the good flies, which we can never recall.
Our virtues and vices spring from one root.
Pain and pleasure, good and evil, come to us from unexpected sources. It is not there where we have gathered up our brightest hopes, that the dawn of happiness breaks. It is not there where we have glanced our eye with affright, that we find the deadliest gloom. What should this teach us? To bow to the great and only Source of light, and live humbly and with confiding resignation.
Passions are defects or virtues in the highest power.
People are always talking about originality; but what do they mean? As soon as we are born, the world begins to work upon us; and this goes on to the end. And after all, what can we call our own, except energy, strength, and will? If I could give an account of all that I owe to great predecessors and contemporaries, there would be but a small balance in my favor.
People may live as much retired from the world as they please; but sooner or later, before they are aware, they will find themselves debtor or creditor to somebody.
Piety is not an end, but a means of attaining the highest degree of culture, by perfect peace of mind. Hence it is to be observed that those who make piety an end and aim in itself for the most part become hypocrites.
Plunge boldly into the thick of life! each lives it, not to many is it known; and seize it where you will, it is interesting.
Properly speaking, we learn from those books only that we cannot judge. The author of a book that I am competent to criticise would have to learn from me.
Prudent and active men, who know their strength and use it with limit and circumspection, alone go far in the affairs of the world.
Rash combat often immortalizes man; if he should fall, he is renowned in song; but after-ages reckon not the ceaseless tears which the forsaken woman sheds. Poets tell us not of the many nights consumed in weeping, or of the dreary days wherein her anguished soul vainly yearns to call her loved one back.
Rash, inexperienced youth holds itself a chosen instrument, and allows itself unbounded license.
Reality surpasses imagination; and we see, breathing, brightening, and moving before our eyes sights dearer to our hearts than any we ever beheld in the land of sleep.
Reasonable men are the best dictionaries of conversation.
Religion is not in want of art; it rests on its own majesty.
Riches amassed in haste will dimmish; but those collected by hand and little by little will multiply.
Sceptics are yet the most credulous.
Self-love exaggerates our faults as well as our virtues.
Shakespeare is a great psychologist, and whatever can be known of the heart of man may be found in his plays.
Shakespeare is dangerous to young poets; they cannot but reproduce him, while they fancy that they produce themselves.
Sin writes histories, goodness is silent.
Smoothly and lightly the golden seed by the furrow is covered.
So then the year is repeating its old story again. We are come once more, thank God! to its most charming chapter. The violets and the Mayflowers are as its inscriptions or vignettes. It always makes a pleasant impression on us, when we open again at these pages of the book of life.
Some of our weaknesses are born in us, others are the result of education; it is a question which of the two gives us most trouble.
Sound and sufficient reason falls, after all, to the share of but few men, and those few men exert their influence in silence.
Superstition is the poetry of life. It is inherent in man’s nature; and when we think it is wholly eradicated, it takes refuge in the strangest holes and corners, whence it peeps out all at once, as soon as it can do it with safety.
Take life too seriously, and what is it worth? If the morning wake us to no new joys, if the evening bring us not the hope of new pleasures, is it worth while to dress and undress? Does the sun shine on me to-day that I may reflect on yesterday? That I may endeavor to foresee and to control what can neither be foreseen nor controlled—the destiny of to-morrow?
Talents are best nurtured in solitude; character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world.
That which history can give us best is the enthusiasm which it raises in our hearts.
The beautiful is a manifestation of secret laws of Nature, which, but for this appearance, had been forever concealed from us.
The best thing which we derive from history is the enthusiasm that it raises in us.
The childhood of immortality.
The Church has a good stomach; she has swallowed down whole countries, and has never known a surfeit; the Church alone can digest such ill-gotten wealth.
The company of chaste women is the proper atmosphere of good manners.
The confidant of my vices is my master, though he were my valet.
The decline of literature indicates the decline of the nation. The two keep pace in their downward tendency.
The destiny of any nation at any given time depends on the opinions of its young men under five-and-twenty.
The eternal feminine doth draw us on.
The first and last thing which is required of genius is the love of truth.
The flowers of life are but visionary. How many pass away and leave no trace behind! How few yield any fruit,—and the fruit itself, how rarely does it ripen! And yet there are towers enough; and is it not strange, my friend, that we should suffer the little that does really ripen to rot, decay, and perish unenjoyed?
The greatest difficulties lie where we are not looking for them.
The highest happiness, the purest joys of life, wear out at last.
The highest problem of any art is to cause by appearance the illusion of a higher reality.
The iron hand of necessity commands, and her stern decree is supreme law, to which the gods even must submit. In deep silence rules the uncounselled sister of eternal fate. Whatever she lays upon thee, endure; perform whatever she commands.
The little done vanishes from the sight of man, who looks forward to what is still to do.
The living, visible garment of God.
The march of intellect, which licks all the world into shape, has even reached the devil.
The miller imagines that the corn grows only to make his mill turn.
The misfortune in the state is, that nobody can enjoy life in peace, but that everybody must govern; and in art, that nobody will enjoy what has been produced, but that every one wants to reproduce on his own account.
The mob has nothing to lose, everything to gain.
The moment men obtain perfect freedom, that moment they erect a stage for the manifestation of their faults. The strong characters begin to go wrong by excess of energy; the weak by remissness of action.
The mortal race is far too weak not to grow dizzy on unwonted heights.
The most original modern authors are not so because they advance what is new, but simply because they know how to put what they have to say as if it had never been said before.
The old saying is expressed with depth and significance: “On the pinnacle of fortune man does not long stand firm.”
The passions are like those demons with which Afrasahiab sailed down the Orus. Our only safety consists in keeping them asleep. If they wake, we are lost.
The presence of the wretched is a burden to the happy; and alas! the happy still more so to the wretched.
The present moment is a powerful deity.
The public wishes itself to be managed like a woman; one must say nothing to it except what it likes to hear.
The rabble also vent their rage in words.
The rogue has everywhere the advantage.
The rose is wont with pride to swell, and ever seeks to rise.
The sea is flowing ever; the land retains it never.
The sickness of the heart is most easily got rid of by complaining and soothing confidence.
The smallest hair throws its shadow.
The society of woman is the element of good manners.
The style of writing required in the great world is distinguished by a free and daring grace, a careless security, a fine and sharp polish, a delicate and perfect taste; while that fitted for the people is characterized by a vigorous natural fulness, a profound depth of feeling, and an engaging naivete.
The summit charms us, the steps to it do not; with the heights before our eyes, we like to linger in the plain. It is only a part of art that can be taught; but the artist needs the whole. He who is only half instructed speaks much and is always wrong; who knows it wholly is content with acting and speaks seldom or late.
The theater has often been at variance with the pulpit; they ought not to quarrel. How much is it to be wished that in both the celebration of nature and of God were intrusted to none but men of noble minds.
The use of a thing is only a part of its significance. To know anything thoroughly, to have the full command of it in all its appliances, we must study it on its own account, independently of any special application.
The useful encourages itself; for the multitude produce it, and no one can dispense with it: the beautiful must be encouraged: for few can set it forth, and many need it.
The world cannot do without great men, but great men are very troublesome to the world.
The world could not exist if it were not simple. This ground has been tilled a thousand years, yet its powers remain ever the same; a little rain, a little sun, and each spring it grows green again.
The world sees only the reflection of merit; therefore when you come to know a really great man intimately, you may as often find him above as below his reputation.
There are few who have at once thought and capacity for action. Thought expands, but lames; action animates, but narrows.
There are men who never err, because they never propose anything rational.
There are three classes of readers; some enjoy without judgment; others judge without enjoyment; and some there are who judge while they enjoy, and enjoy while they judge. The latter class reproduces the work of art on which it is engaged. Its numbers are very small.
There is a courtesy of the heart; it is allied to love. From it springs the purest courtesy in the outward behavior.
There is a politeness of the heart; this is closely allied to love.
There is but one poetry,—true poetry.
There is no more lovely worship of God than that for which no image is required, but which springs up in our breast spontaneously when nature speaks to the soul, and the soul speaks to nature face to face.
There is no outward sign of courtesy that does not rest on a deep moral foundation.
There is nothing more fearful than imagination without taste.
There is nothing more frightful than for a teacher to know only what his scholars are intended to know.
There is nothing more pitiable in the world than an irresolute man, oscillating between two feelings, who would willingly unite the two, and who does not perceive that nothing can unite them.
Those only who know little, can be said to know anything. The greater the knowledge the greater the doubt.
Those who make use of devotion as a means and end generally are hypocrites.
Thou art in the end what thou art. Put on wigs with millions of curls, set thy foot upon ell-high rocks. Thou ablest ever—what thou art.
Thou speakest a word of great moment calmly.
Thou tremblest before anticipated ills, and still bemoanest what thou never losest.
Thus at Time’s humming loom I ply.
Time is itself an element.
To appreciate the noble is a gain which can never be torn from us.
To be active is the primary vocation of man.
To make a young couple love each other, it is only necessary to oppose and separate them.
To me the external existence of my soul is proved from my idea of activity. If I work incessantly until my death, nature will give me another form of existence when the present can no longer sustain my spirit.
To the man of thought almost nothing is really ridiculous.
To understand that the sky is everywhere blue, we need not go round the world.
True happiness springs from moderation.
True religion teaches us to reverence what is under us, to recognize humility and poverty, and, despite mockery and disgrace, wretchedness, suffering, and death, as things divine.
Truth is a torch, but a terrific one; therefore we all try to reach it with closed eyes, lest we should be scorched.
Unlimited activity, of whatever kind, must end in bankruptcy.
We are accustomed to see men deride what they do not understand, and snarl at the good and beautiful because it lies beyond their sympathies.
We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves.
We are not all equal, nor can we be so.
We are our own aptest deceiver.
We are surrounded by abysses, but the greatest of all depths is in our own heart, and an irresistible leaning leads us there. Draw thyself from thyself!
We are too good for pure instinct.
We know accurately only when we know little; with knowledge doubt increases.
We learn to treasure what is above this earth; we long for revelation, which nowhere burns more purely and more beautifully than in the New Testament.
We love a girl for very different things than understanding. We love her for her beauty, her youth, her mirth, her confidingness, her character, with its faults, caprices, and God knows what other inexpressible charms; but we do not love her understanding. Her mind we esteem (if it is brilliant), and it may greatly elevate her in our opinion; nay, more, it may enchain us when we already love. But her understanding is not that which awakens and inflames our passions.
We must be young to do great things.
We must not take the faults of our youth into our old age; for old age brings with it its own defects.
We should treat children as God does us, who makes us happiest when He leaves us under the influence of innocent delusions.
Were not the eye made to receive the rays of the sun, it could not behold the sun; if the peculiar power of God lay not in us, how could the godlike charm us?
What do people mean when they talk about unhappiness? It is not so much unhappiness as impatience that from time to time possesses men, and then they choose to call themselves miserable.
What have the Germans gained by their boasted freedom of the press, except the liberty of abusing each other as they like?
What I possess I would gladly retain; change amuses the mind, yet scarcely profits.
What in us the women leave uncultivated, children cultivate when we retain them near us.
What is the best government? That which teaches us to govern ourselves.
What is the true test of character, unless it be its progressive development in the bustle and turmoil, in the action and reaction of daily life?
What makes poetry? A full heart, brimful of one noble passion.
What men usually say of misfortunes, that they never come alone, may with equal truth be said of good fortune; nay, of other circumstances which gather round us in a harmonious way, whether it arise from a kind of fatality, or that man has the power of attracting to himself things that are mutually related.
What one has wished for in youth, in old age one has in abundance.
What reason would grope for in vain, spontaneous impulse ofttimes achieves at a stroke, with light and pleasureful guidance.
What sort of faults may we retain, nay, even cherish in ourselves? Those faults which are rather pleasant than offensive to others.
What we do not understand we do not possess.
What we wish for in youth comes in heaps to us in old age.
Whatever can be known of the heart of man may be found in Shakespeare’s plays.
Whatever we may say against such collections, which present authors in a disjointed form, they nevertheless bring about many excellent results. We are not always so composed, so full of wisdom, that we are able to take in at once the whole scope of a work according to its merits. Do we not mark in a book passages which seem to have a direct reference to ourselves? Young people especially, who have failed in acquiring a complete cultivation of mind, are roused in a praiseworthy way by brilliant passages.
Whatever we think out, whatever we take in hand to do, should be perfectly and finally finished, that the world, if it must alter, will only have to spoil it; we have then nothing to do but unite the severed, to recollect and restore the dismembered.
When two men quarrel, who owns the cooler head is the more to blame.
When we see the many grave-stones which have fallen in, which have been defaced by the footsteps of the congregation, which lie buried under the ruins of the churches, that have themselves crumbled together over them; we may fancy the life after death to be as a second life, into which man enters in the figure, or the picture, or the inscription, and lives longer there than when he was really alive. But this figure also, this second existence, dies out too, sooner or later. Time will not allow himself to be cheated of his rights with the monuments of men or with themselves.
Where a man has a passion for meditating without the capacity of thinking, a particular idea fixes itself fast, and soon creates a mental disease.
Where confidence is wanting, the most beautiful flower in the garland of love is missing.
Where there is much light, the shade is deepest.
Which is the best government? That which teaches self-government.
Wisdom is only found in truth.
Woe to falsehood! it affords no relief to the breast, like truth; it gives us no comfort, pains him who forges it, and like an arrow directed by a god flies back and wounds the archer.
Woman is mistress of the art of completely imbittering the life of the person on whom she depends.
Wood burns because it has the proper stuff for that purpose in it; and a man becomes renowned because he has the necessary stuff in him. Renown is not to be sought, and all pursuit of it is vain. A person may, indeed, by skillful conduct and various artificial means, make a sort of name for himself; but if the inner jewel is wanting, all is vanity, and will not last a day.
Words are good, but there is something better. The best is not to be explained by words. The spirit in which we act is the chief matter. Action can only be understood and represented by the spirit. No one knows what he is doing while he is acting rightly, but of what is wrong we are always conscious.
Wouldst thou ever roam abroad? See, what is good lies by thy side. Only learn to catch happiness, for happiness is ever by you.