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


Ideals are the world’s masters.

J. G. Holland.

Ideality is the avant-courier of the mind.

Horace Mann.

Our ideals are our better selves.

A. Bronson Alcott.

To have greatly dreamed precludes low ends.


Ideals we do not make. We discover, not invent, them.

Charles H. Parkhurst.

Be true to your own highest convictions.

William Ellery Channing.

Without the ideal, the inexhaustible source of all progress, what would man be?

Mme. de Girardin.

When we idealize the real, we sacrifice to artistic fancy.


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


Ideality consists of the rainbow rays of intellect.

Alfred Mercier.

We build statues of snow, and weep to see them melt.

Walter Scott.

It is the vain endeavor to make ourselves what we are not that has strewn history with so many broken purposes and lives left in the rough.


What we need most is not so much to realize the ideal as to idealize the real.

F. H. Hedge.

Ideal beauty is a fugitive which is never located.

Madame Sévigné.

The ideal itself is but truth clothed in the forms of art.

Octave Feuillet.

The ideal is the flower-garden of the mind, and very apt to run to weeds unless carefully tended.

Mrs. Oliphant.

Every life has its actual blanks, which the ideal must fill up, or which else remain bare and profitless forever.

Julia Ward Howe.

The true ideal is not opposed to the real, nor is it any artificial heightening thereof, but lies in it; and blessed are the eyes that find it.


The ideal is the only absolute real; and it must become the real in the individual life as well, however impossible they may count it who never tried it.

George MacDonald.

God hides some ideal in every human soul. At some time in our life we feel a trembling, fearful longing to do some good thing. Life finds its noblest spring of excellence in this hidden impulse to do our best.

Robert Collyer.

All men need something to poetize and idealize their life a little—something which they value for more than its use, and which is a symbol of their emancipation from the mere materialism and drudgery of daily life.

Theodore Parker.

Most people carry an ideal man and woman in their head, and when the practical relations of the men and women of every day are discussed with reference only to these impossible ideals, we need not marvel at any ridiculous conclusions.

Mary Clemmer.

A large portion of human beings live not so much in themselves as in what they desire to be. They create what is called an ideal character, in an ideal form, whose perfections compensate in some degree for the imperfections of their own.


The situation that has not its duty, its ideal, was never yet occupied by man. Yes, here, in this poor, miserable, hampered, despicable actual, wherein thou even now standest, here or nowhere is thy ideal; work it put therefrom, and, working, believe, live, be free. Fool! the ideal is in thyself.


Alas! we know that ideals can never be completely embodied in practice. Ideals must ever lie a great way off—and we will thankfully content ourselves with any not intolerable approximation thereto! Let no man, as Schiller says, too querulously “measure by a scale of perfection the meager product of reality” in this poor world of ours.


Honor to the idealists, whether philosophers or poets. They have improved us by mingling with our daily pursuits great and transcendent conceptions. They have thrown around our sensual life the grandeur of a better, and drawn us up from contacts with the temporal and the selfish to communion with beauty and truth and goodness.


Every man has at times in his mind the ideal of what he should be, but is not. This ideal may be high and complete, or it may be quite low and insufficient; yet, in all men that really seek to improve, it is better than the actual character. Perhaps no one is so satisfied with himself that he never wishes to be wiser, better, and more holy.

Theodore Parker.