The last act crowns the play.
Doing is the great thing. For if, resolutely, people do what is right, in time they come to like doing it.
Every duty which we omit, obscures some truth which we should have known.
When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.
Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.
The finer the nature, the more flaws will show through the clearness of it; and it is a law of this universe that the best things shall be seldomest seen in their best forms.
Nothing is ever done beautifully which is done in rivalship; or nobly, which is done in pride.
Our duty is to preserve what the past has had to say for itself, and to say for ourselves what shall be true for the future.
Modern education has devoted itself to the teaching of impudence, and then we complain that we can no longer control our mobs.
In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it. They must not do too much of it. And they must have a sense of success in it.
Three forms of asceticism have existed in this weak world.—Religious asceticism, being the refusal of pleasure and knowledge for the sake, as supposed, of religion; seen chiefly in the middle ages.—Military asceticism, being the refusal of pleasure and knowledge for the sake of power; seen chiefly in the early days of Sparta and Rome.—And monetary asceticism, consisting in the refusal of pleasure and knowledge for the sake of money; seen in the present days of London and Manchester.
It is excellent discipline for an author to feel that he must say all that he has to say in the fewest possible words, or his readers is sure to skip them.
Topics: Writing, Writers, Authors & Writing
The enormous influence of novelty—the way in which it quickens observation, sharpens sensation, and exalts sentiment—is not half enough taken note of by us, and is to me a very sorrowful matter. And yet, if we try to obtain perpetual change, change itself will become monotonous; and then we are reduced to that old despair, “If water chokes, what will you drink after it?” The two points of practical wisdom in the matter are, first, to be content with as little novelty as possible at a time; and secondly, to preserve, as much as possible, the sources of novelty.
What do we, as a nation, care about books? How much do you think we spend altogether on our libraries, public or private, as compared with what we spend on our horses?
Topics: Literature, Libraries
I have been more and more convinced, the more I think of it, that, in general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes. All the other passions do occasional good; but whenever pride puts in its word, everything goes wrong; and what it might really be desirable to do, quietly and innocently, it is mortally dangerous to do proudly.
Once thoroughly our own knowledge ceases to give us pleasure.
The names of great painters are like passing bells.—In Velasquez you hear sounded the fall of Spain; in Titian, that of Venice; in Leonardo, that of Milan; in Raphael, that of Rome.—And there is profound justice in this; for in proportion to the nobleness of power is the guilt of its use for purposes vain or vile; and hitherto the greater the art the more surely has it been used, and used solely, for the decoration of pride, or the provoking of sensuality.
The buckling on of the knight’s armor by his lady’s hand was not a mere caprice of romantic fashion. It is the type of an eternal truth that the soul’s armor is never well set to the heart unless a woman’s hand has braced it, and it is only when she braces it loosely that the honor of manhood fails.
The secret of language is the secret of sympathy and its full charm is possible only to the gentle.
Touching plagiarism in general, it is to be remembered that all men who have sense and feeling are being continually helped; they are taught by every person whom they meet and enriched by everything that falls in their way. The greatest is he who has been oftenest aided; and, if the attainments of all human minds could be traced to their real sources, it would be found that the world had been laid most under contribution by the men of most original power, and that every day of their existence deepened their debt, to their race, while it enlarged their gifts to it.
The common practice of keeping up appearances with society is a mere selfish struggle of the vain with the vain.
Man’s only true happiness is to live in hope of something to be won by him. Reverence something to be worshipped by him, and love something to be cherished by him, forever.
Topics: Humanity, Humankind
An unimaginative person can neither be reverent or kind.
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