The measure of choosing well, is, whether a man likes and finds good in what he has chosen.
We gain nothing by being with such as ourselves: we encourage each other in mediocrity.—I am always longing to be with men more excellent than myself.
Boys are capital fellows in their own way, among their mates; but they are unwholesome companions for grown people.
The good things of life are not to be had singly, but come to us with a mixture; like a schoolboy’s holiday, with a task affixed to the tail of it.
Ballads are the vocal portraits of the national mind.
The greatest pleasure I know is to do a good action by stealth, and to have it found out by accident.
A book reads the better which is our own, and has been so long known to us, that we know the topography of its blots, and dog’s ears, and can trace the dirt in it to having read it at tea with buttered muffins.
Man while he loves is never quite depraved.
So near are the boundaries of panegyric and invective, that a worn-out sinner is sometimes found to make the best declaimer against sin. The same high-seasoned descriptions which in his unregenerate state served to inflame his appetites, in his new province of a moralist will serve him (a little turned) to expose the enormity of those appetites in other men.
Presents, I often say, endear absents.
They are a piece of stubborn antiquity, compared with which Stonehenge is in its nonage. They date beyond the Pyramids.
Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.
The beggar is the only person in the universe not obliged to study appearance.
What a place to be in is an old library! It seems as though all the souls of all the writers that have bequeathed their labors to these Bodleians were reposing here, as in some dormitory or middle state. I do not want to handle, to profane the leaves, their winding-sheets. I could as soon dislodge a shade. I seem to inhale learning, walking amid their foliage; and the odor of their old moth-scented coverings is fragrant as the first bloom of those sciential apples which grew amid the happy orchard.
Nothing puzzles me more than time and space; and yet nothing troubles me less, as I never think about them.
Topics: The Universe
Why are we never quite at ease in the presence of a schoolmaster? Because we are conscious that he is not quite at his ease in ours. He is awkward, and out of place in the society of his equals. He comes like Gulliver from among his little people, and he cannot fit the stature of his understanding to yours.
Topics: Teachers, Teaching
My motto is: Contented with little, yet wishing for more.
Clap an extinguisher upon your irony if you are unhappily blessed with a vein of it.
A poor relation is the most irrelevant thing in nature, a piece of impertinent correspondence, an odious approximation, a haunting conscience, a preposterous shadow, lengthening in the noon-tide of our prosperity. He is known by his knock.
Were I Diogenes, I would not move out of a kilderkin into a hogshead, though the first had had nothing but small beer in it, and the second reeked claret.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- John Keats English Poet
- Daniel Defoe English Writer
- John Donne English Poet, Cleric
- Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie English Novelist, Biographer
- Geoffrey Chaucer English Poet
- Freeman Dyson American Physicist, Author
- J. K. Rowling English Novelist
- Walter Pater English Critic, Essayist
- Thomas Hood British Poet, Humorist
- Stephen Spender English Poet, Critic