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

Castles in the Air

A sigh can shatter a castle in the air.

W. R. Alger.

No tribute is laid on castles in the air.


Leave glory to great folks. Ah, castles in the air cost a vast deal to keep up!


  • Leaving the wits the spacious air,
  • With license to build castles there.
  • Swift.

    Charming Alnaschar visions! it is the happy privilege of youth to construct you.


    Thus we build on the ice, thus we write on the waves of the sea; the waves roaring pass away, the ice melts, and away goes our palace, like our thoughts.


    If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.


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


    Happy season of virtuous youth, when shame is still an impassable barrier, and the sacred air-cities of hope have not shrunk into the mean clay hamlets of reality; and man, by his nature, is yet infinite and free.


    In all assemblies, though you wedge them ever so close, we may observe this peculiar property, that over their heads there is room enough; but how to reach it is the difficult point. To this end the philosopher’s way in all ages has been by erecting certain edifices in the air.