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


  • And this be the vocation fit,
  • For which the founder fashioned it;
  • High, high above earth’s life, earth’s labor
  • E’en to the heaven’s blue vault to soar.
  • To hover as the thunder’s neighbor,
  • The very firmament explore.
  • To be a voice as from above
  • Like yonder stars so bright and clear,
  • That praise their Maker as they move,
  • And usher in the circling year.
  • Tun’d be its metal mouth alone
  • To things eternal and sublime.
  • And as the swift wing’d hours speed on
  • May it record the flight of time!
  • Dear is my friend—yet from my foe, as from my friend, comes good:
  • My friend shows what I can do, and my foe what I should.
  • Does the pilgrim count the miles
  • When he travels to some distant shrine?
  • Far must thy researches go
  • Wouldst thou learn the world to know;
  • Thou must tempt the dark abyss
  • Wouldst thou prove what Being is;
  • Naught but firmness gains the prize,
  • Naught but fullness makes us wise,
  • Buried deep truth e’er lies.
  • Forever haltless hurries Time, the Durable to gain.
  • Be true, and thou shalt fetter Time with everlasting chain.
  • How the best state to know?—it is found out
  • Like the best woman;—that least talked about.
  • I have I have enjoyed earthly happiness,
  • I have lived and loved.
  • In a narrow circle the mind contracts.
  • Man grows with his expanded needs.
  • Joy is the mainspring in the whole
  • Of endless Nature’s calm rotation,
  • Joy moves the dazzling wheels that roll
  • In the great Time-piece of Creation.
  • Like a dart the present glances,
  • Silent stands the past sublime.
  • Not he who scorns the Saviour’s yoke
  • Should wear His cross upon the heart.
  • Spring flies, and with it all the train it leads;
  • And flowers, in fading, leave us but their seeds.
  • Sure of the Spring that warms them into birth,
  • The golden germs thou trustest to the Earth;
  • Heed’st thou as well to sow in Time the seeds
  • Of Wisdom for Eternity—good deeds?
  • The dignity of man into your hands is given;
  • Oh, keep it well, with you it sinks or lifts itself to heaven.
  • The zeal of friends it is that razes me,
  • And not the hate of enemies.
  • Threefold the stride of Time, from first to last!
  • Loitering slow, the Future creepeth.
  • To know thyself—in others self-concern;
  • Would’st thou know others? read thyself—and learn!
  • To-morrow comes, and we are where?
  • Then let us live to-day.
  • Wouldst thou wisely, and with pleasure,
  • Pass the days of life’s short measure,
  • From the slow one counsel take,
  • But a tool of him ne’er make;
  • Ne’er as friend the swift one know,
  • Nor the constant one as foe.
  • Your deeds are known,
  • In words that kindle glory from the stone.
  • A childlike mind in its simplicity practises that science of good to which the wise may be blind.

    A deep meaning often lies in old customs.

    A jest loses its point when he who makes it is the first to laugh.

    A merely fallen enemy may rise again, but the reconciled one is truly vanquished.

    A noble soul has no other merit than to be a noble soul.

    A noble soul spreads even over a face in which the architectonic beauty is wanting an irresistible grace, and often even triumphs over the natural disfavor.

    A pity about the people! they are brave enough comrades, but they have heads like a soapboiler’s.

    A sublime soul can rise to all kinds of greatness, but by an effort; it can tear itself from all bondage, to all that limits and constrains it, but only by strength of will. Consequently the sublime soul is only free by broken efforts.

    A virtuous name is the only precious good for which queens and peasants’ wives must contest together.

    Accursed be he who plays with the devil.

    Against stupidity the very gods fight unvictorious.

    An honest man you may form of windle-straws, but to make a rogue you must have grist.

    Arrow-swift the present sweepeth, and motionless forever stands the past.

    Art is the right hand of Nature. The latter has only given us being, the former has made us men.

    As freely as the firmament embraces the world, so mercy must encircle friend and foe. The sun pours forth impartially his beams through all the regions of infinity; heaven bestows the dew equally on every thirsty plant. Whatever is good and comes from on high is universal and without reserve; but in the heart’s recesses darkness dwells.

    As inclination changes, thus ebbs and flows the unstable tide of public judgment.

    Be noble-minded! Our own heart, and not other men’s opinions of us, forms our true honor.

    Be true, and thou shalt fetter time with everlasting chain.

    Brief is sorrow, and endless is joy.

    Cling to thy native land, for it is the land of thy fathers!

    Cowards have done good and kind actions, but a coward never pardoned.

    Culture, far from giving us freedom, only develops, as it advances, new necessities; the fetters of the physical close more tightly around us, so that the fear of loss quenches even the ardent impulse toward improvement, and the maxims of passive obedience are held to be the highest wisdom of life.

    Day follows on the murkiest night, and, when the time comes, the latest fruits will ripen.

    Deaf rage that hears no leader.

    Death is a mighty mediator. There all the flames of rage are extinguished, hatred is appeased, and angelic pity, like a weeping sister, bends with gentle and close embrace over the funeral urn.

    Disappointments are to the soul what a thunder-storm is to the air.

    Egotism erects its center in itself: love places it out of itself in the axis of the universal whole. Love aims at unity, egotism at solitude. Love is the citizen ruler of a flourishing republic, egotism is a despot an a devastated creation. Egotism sows for gratitude, love for the ungrateful. Love gives, egotism lends; and love does this before the throne of judicial truth, indifferent if for the enjoyment of the following moment, or with the view to a martyr’s crown—indifferent whether the reward is in this life or in the next.

    Emulation is a noble and just passion, full of appreciation.

    Eternity gives nothing back of what one leaves out of the minutes.

    Even in a righteous cause force is a fearful thing; God only helps when men can help no more.

    Ever building, building to the clouds, still building higher, and never reflecting that the poor narrow basis cannot sustain the giddy tottering column.

    Every great mind seeks to labor for eternity. All men are captivated by immediate advantages; great minds alone are excited by the prospect of distant good.

    Every man stamps his value on himself. The price we challenge for ourselves is given us. There does not live on earth the man, be his station what it may, that I despise myself compared with him. Man is made great or little by his own will.

    False fancy brings real misery.

    Fate hath no voice but the heart’s impulse.

    For every event is a judgment of God.

    For the world is only governed by self-interest.

    For time consecrates, and what is gray with age becomes religion.

    Formerly thy soul was great, ardent, vast; the entire circle of the universe found place in thy heart. O Charles, that thou hast become small, that thou hast become miserable, since thou lovest no one but thyself!

    Foster the beautiful, and every hour thou callest new flowers to birth.

    Freedom is only in the land of dreams, and the beautiful only blooms in song.

    From the moment fear begins I have ceased to fear.

    Futurity is impregnable to mortal ken: no prayer pierces through heaven’s adamantine walls. Whether the birds fly right or left, whatever be the aspect of the stars, the book of nature is a maze, dreams are a lie, and every sign a falsehood.

    Genuine morality is preserved only in the school of adversity, and a state of continuous prosperity may easily prove a quicksand to virtue.

    God helps the brave.

    Grace is the beauty of form under the influence of freedom.

    Gray hairs are death’s blossoms.

    Great souls suffer in silence.

    Happy child! the cradle is still to thee a vast space; but when thou art a man the boundless world will be too small for thee.

    He who neglects the present moment throws away all he has.

    Heaven and earth fight in vain against a dunce!

    Honor women! they entwine and weave heavenly roses in our earthly life.

    I am the last of my race. My name ends with me.

    I feel a host in this single arm.

    I know that we often tremble at an empty terror; yet the false fancy brings a real misery.

    If thou art something, bring thy soul and interchange with mine.

    If thou wouldest attain to thy highest, go look upon a flower; what that does willessly, that do thou willingly.

    If you wish to be like the gods on earth, to be free in the realms of the dead, pluck not the fruit from the garden! In appearance it may glisten to the eye; but the perishable pleasure of possession quickly avenges the curse of curiosity.

    Illusion is brief, but repentance is long.

    In days of yore nothing was holy but the beautiful.

    In the ardor of pursuit men soon forget the goal from which they start.

    Individual character is in the right that is in strict consistence with itself. Self-contradiction is the only wrong.

    Intellect—brain force.

    It is at the approach of extreme danger when a hollow puppet can accomplish nothing, that power falls into the mighty hands of nature, of the spirit giant-born, who listens only to himself, and knows nothing of compacts.

    It is base to filch a purse, daring to embezzle a million, but it is great beyond measure to steal a crown. The sin lessens as the guilt increases.

    It is not the mere station of life that stamps the value on us, but the manner in which we act our part.

    It is now as in the days of yore when the sword ruled all things.

    It is only through the morning gate of the beautiful that you can penetrate into the realm of knowledge. That which we feel here as beauty we shall one day know as truth.

    Keep true to the dreams of thy youth.

    Let him that sows the serpent’s teeth not hope to reap a joyous harvest. Every crime has, in the moment of its perpetration, its own avenging angel,—dark misgivings at the inmost heart.

    Let no man measure by a scale of perfection the meager product of reality in this poor world of ours.

    Let us not despair too soon, my friend. Men’s words are ever bolder than their deeds, and many a one who now appears resolute to meet every extremity with eager zeal, will on a sudden find in their breast a heart which he wot not of.

    Life is not the supreme good, but the supreme evil is to realize one’s guilt.

    Loitering slow, the future creepeth; arrow-swift, the present sweepeth; and motionless forever stands the past.

    Love can sun the realms of night.

    Man is an imitative creature, and whoever is foremost leads the herd.

    Man is created free, and is free, even though born in chains.

    Man must have some fears, hopes, and cares, for the coming morrow.

    Man—living, feeling man—is the easy sport of the overmastering present.

    Many a smiling face hides a mourning heart; but grief alone teaches us what we are.

    Modest humility is beauty’s crown.

    Most gladly would I give the blood-stained laurel for the first violet which March brings us, the fragrant pledge of the new-fledged year.

    Never the grave gives back what it has won!

    No, no! I do nature injustice. She gave us inventive faculty, and set us naked, and helpless on the shore of this great ocean,—the world; swim those who can, the heavy may go to the bottom.

    O God, how lovely still is life!

    O jealousy! thou magnifier of trifles.

    O love, the beautiful and brief!

    O, the eye’s light is a noble gift of heaven! All beings live from light; each fair created thing, the very plants, turn with a joyful transport to the light.

    Obedience is the Christian’s crown.

    Of all the possessions of this life fame is the noblest; when the body has sunk into the dust the great name still lives.

    Oh, pearl of all things, woman! Adored be the artist who created thee!

    One can advise comfortably from a safe port.

    Only the worm of conscience consorts with the owl. Sinners and evil spirits shun the light.

    Opposition always inflames the enthusiast, never converts him.

    Peace is rarely denied to the peaceful.

    Revenge is barren of itself; itself is the dreadful food it feeds on; its delight is murder, and its satiety, despair.

    Rigor pushed too far is sure to miss its aim, however good, as the bow snaps that is bent too stiffly.

    Secrecy is for the happy,—misery, hopeless misery, needs no veil; under a thousand suns it dares act openly.

    Seraphs share with thee knowledge; but art, O man, is thine alone!

    Song forbids victorious deeds to die.

    Sorrows must die with the joys they outnumber.

    Stern is the onlook of necessity. Not without a shudder may the hand of man grasp the mysterious urn of destiny.

    Still thou knowest that in the ardor of pursuit men lose sight of the goal from which they start.

    Strange customs do not thrive in foreign soil.

    Stubbornness is not firmness.

    That nation is worthless which does not joyfully stake everything on her honor.

    That which is so universal as death must be a benefit.

    The finer impulse of our nature.

    The first great law is to obey.

    The great happiness of life, I find, after all, to consist in the regular discharge of some mechanical duty.

    The lamp of genius burns quicker than the lamp of life.

    The lively Shadow-World of Song.

    The man who fears nothing is as powerful as he who is feared by everybody.

    The May of life only blooms once.

    The mind is the eyesight of the soul.

    The sin lessens in human estimation only as the guilt increases.

    The storm is master. Man, as a ball, is tossed twixt winds and billows.

    The very curse of an evil deed is that it must always continue to engender evil.

    The very plants turn with a joyful transport to the light.

    The voice of the majority is no proof of justice.

    The world knows the worst of me, and I can say that I am better than my fame.

    There are evil spirits who suddenly fix their abode in man’s unguarded breast, causing us to commit devilish deeds, and then, hurrying back to their native hell, leave behind the stings of remorse in the poisoned bosom.

    There are occasions when the general belief of the people, even though it be groundless, works its effect as sure as truth itself.

    There is a God to punish and avenge.

    There is a nobility in the world of manners.

    There is no solitude in nature.

    There is no such thing as chance; and what seems to us merest accident springs from the deepest source of destiny.

    Think with terror on the slow, the quiet power of time.

    Time consecrates; and what is gray with age becomes religion.

    Time is a blooming field; nature is ever teeming with life; and all is seed, and all is fruit.

    To be man’s tender mate was woman born, and in obeying nature she best serves the purpose of heaven.

    To one it is the mighty heavenly goddess; to another it is an excellent cow that furnishes him with milk.

    To rankling poison hast thou turned in me the milk of human kindness.

    To the fool-king belongs the world.

    Toil of science swells the wealth of art.

    To-morrow comes, and we are where? Then let us live to-day.

    Truth is more than a dream and a song.

    Vast, colossal destiny, which raises man to fame, though it may also grind him to powder!

    Virtue, though clothed in a beggar’s garb, commands respect.

    Votes should be weighed, not counted!

    We are one people and will act as one.

    We are too prone to find fault; let us look for some of the perfections.

    Weep, for the light is dead.

    Whatever lives, lives to die in sorrow. We engage our hearts, and grasp after the things of this world, only to undergo the pang of losing them.

    When the measured dance of the hours brings back the happy smile of spring, the buried dead is born again in the life-glance of the sun. The germs which perished to the eye within the cold breast of the earth spring up with joy in the bright realm of day.

    Who knows what may be slumbering in the background of time!

    Whoever fails to turn aside the ills of life by prudent forethought, must submit to fulfill the course of destiny.

    Wine invents nothing; it only tattles.

    With soft, persuasive prayers woman wields the sceptre of the life which she charmeth; she lulls the discord which roars and glows,—teaches the fierce powers which hate each other like fiends to embrace in the bonds of love, and draws together what are forever flying asunder.

    Without a home must the soldier go, a changeful wanderer, and can warm himself at no home-lit hearth.

    Yet have I ever heard it said that spies and tale-bearers have done more mischief in this world than poisoned bowl or the assassin’s dagger.

    Youth is too hasty with words.