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


Imagination rules the world.

Napoleon I.

Imagination is the eye of the soul.


Imagination is the air of mind.


He waxes desperate with imagination.


The imagination never dies.


The incurable ills are the imaginary ills.

Marie Ebner-Eschenbach.

Imagination is the mightiest despot.


Keep the imagination sane—that is one of the truest conditions of communion with heaven.


The imagination is the secret and harrow of civilization. It is the very eye of faith.

Henry Ward Beecher.

  • This is the very coinage of your brain;
  • This bodiless creation ecstasy.
  • Shakespeare.

    We are all of us imaginative in some form or other; for images are the brood of desire.

    George Eliot.

    There comes a period of the imagination to each—a later youth—the power of beauty, the power of looks, of poetry.


    Science does not know its debt to imagination. Goethe did not believe that a great naturalist could exist without this faculty.


    The imagination is of so delicate a texture that even words wound it.


    An uncommon degree of imagination constitutes poetical genius.

    Dugald Stewart.

    He who has imagination without learning has wings but no feet.


    There is nothing more fearful than imagination without taste.


    Men speak from knowledge, women from imagination.


    Solitude is as needful to the imagination as society is wholesome for the character.


    The soul without imagination is what an observatory would be without a telescope.


    The lunatic, the lover, and the poet are of imagination all compact.


    A ray of imagination or of wisdom may enlighten the universe, and glow into remotest centuries.

    Bishop Berkeley.

    Women have much more heart and much more imagination than men; hence, fancy often allures them.


    Imagination is not thought, neither is fancy reflection; thought paceth like a hoary sage, but imagination hath wings as an eagle.


    But what is the imagination? Only an arm or weapon of the interior energy; only the precursor of the reason.


    Imagination disposes of everything; it creates beauty, justice, and happiness, which is everything in this world.


    Such is the power of imagination, that even a chimerical pleasure in expectation affects us more than a solid pleasure in possession.

    Henry Home.

    Imagination without culture is crippled and moves slowly; but it can be pure imagination, and rich also, as folk-lore will tell the vainest.


    The sound and proper exercise of the imagination may be made to contribute to the cultivation of all that is virtuous and estimable in the human character.

    John Abercrombie.

  • When I could not sleep for cold
  • I had fire enough in my brain,
  • And builded with roofs of gold
  • My beautiful castles in Spain!
  • Lowell.

    Imagining is in itself the very height and life of poetry, which, by a kind of enthusiasm or extraordinary emotion of the soul, makes it seem to us that we behold those things which the poet paints.


    The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless. Not being able to enlarge the one, let us contract the other; for it is from their difference alone that all the evils arise which render us really unhappy.


    Men as yet need some help to their imagination. There remains still room for a little illusion. It is better for men, it is better for women, that each somewhat idealize the other. Much is lost when life has lost its atmosphere, and is reduced to naked fact.

    Gail Hamilton.

    Imagination is that faculty which arouses the passions by the impression of exterior objects; it is influenced by these objects, and consequently it is in affinity with them; it is contagious; its fear or courage flies from imagination to imagination; the same in love, hate, joy, or grief: hence I conclude it to be a most subtle atmosphere.

    Lord John Russell.

    Imagination, where it is truly creative, is a faculty, and not a quality; it looks before and after, it gives the form that makes all the parts work together harmoniously toward a given end, its seat is in the higher reason, and it is efficient only as a servant of the will. Imagination, as it is too often misunderstood, is mere fantasy, the image-making power, common to all who have the gift of dreams.


    Imagination I understand to be the representation of an individual thought. Imagination is of three kinds: joined with belief of that which is to come; joined with memory of that which is past; and of things present.


    A vile imagination, once indulged, gets the key of our minds, and can get in again very easily, whether we will or no, and can so return as to bring seven other spirits with it more wicked than itself; and what may follow no one knows.


    Imagination is the organ through which the soul within us recognizes a soul without us; the spiritual eye by which the mind perceives and converses with the spiritualities of nature under her material forms; which tends to exalt even the senses into soul by discerning a soul in the objects of sense.

    H. N. Hudson.

  • Fancy can save or kill; it hath clos’d up
  • Wounds when the balsam could not, and without
  • The aid of salves:—to think hath been a cure.
  • For witchcraft then, that’s all done by the force
  • Of mere imagination.
  • Cartwright.

    In woman the imagination and fancy have such lively play that the homeliest principles assume forms of beauty. In intellectual pursuits she is destined to excel by her fine sensibilities, her nice observations, and exquisite taste; while man is appointed to investigate the laws of abstruse sciences, and perform in literature and art the bolder flights of genius.

    F. D. Fulton.

    The imagination acquires by custom a certain involuntary, unconscious power of observation and comparison, correcting its own mistakes, and arriving at precision of judgment, just as the outward eye is disciplined to compare, adjust, estimate, measure, the objects reflected on the back of its retina. The imagination is but the faculty of glassing images; and it is with exceeding difficulty, and by the imperative will of the reasoning faculty resolved to mislead it, that it glasses images which have no prototype in truth and nature.


    It is the divine attribute of the imagination, that it is irrepressible, unconfinable; that when the real world is shut out, it can create a world for itself, and with a necromantic power can conjure up glorious shapes and forms, and brilliant visions to make solitude populous, and irradiate the gloom of a dungeon.

    Washington Irving.

  • And as imagination bodies forth
  • The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
  • Turns them to shape and gives to airy nothing
  • A local habitation and a name.
  • Such tricks has strong imagination
  • That if he would but apprehend some joy,
  • It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
  • Or in the night imagining some fear,
  • How easy is a bush supposed a bear?
  • Shakespeare.