The drama is not a mere copy of nature, not a facsimile. It is the free running hand of genius, under the impression of its liveliest wit or most passionate impulses, a thousand times adorning or feeling all as it goes; and you must read it, as the healthy instinct of audiences almost always does, if the critics will let them alone, with a grain of allowance, and a tendency to go away with as much of it for use as is necessary, and the rest for the luxury of laughter, pity, or poetical admiration.
God made both tears and laughter, and both for kind purposes; for as laughter enables mirth and surprise to breathe freely, so tears enable sorrow to vent itself patiently. Tears hinder sorrow from becoming despair and madness; and laughter is one of the very privilegea of reason, being confined to the human species.
Topics: Laughter, Tears
Those who have lost an infant are never, in a way, without an infant.
The man who can be nothing but serious, or nothing but merry, is but half a man.
The groundwork of all happiness is health.
Sympathizing and selfish people are alike, both given to tears.
There are two worlds; the world that we can measure with line and
rule, and the world that we feel with our hearts and imagination.
Improvement is nature.
Affection, like melancholy, magnifies trifles; but the magnifying of the one is like looking through a telescope at heavenly objects; that of the other, like enlarging monsters with a microscope.
Topics: Affection, Love
Night’s deepest gloom is but a calm; that soothes the weary mind: The labored days restoring balm; the comfort of mankind.
It is a delicious moment, certainly, that of being well nestled in bed and feeling that you shall drop gently to sleep. The good is to come, not past; the limbs are tired enough to render the remaining in one posture delightful; the labor of the day is gone. A gentle failure of the perceptions creeps over you; the spirit of consciousness disengages itself once more, and with slow and hushing degrees, like a mother detaching her hand from that of a sleeping child, the mind seems to have a balmy lid closing over it, like the eye—it is closed—the mysterious spirit has gone to take its airy rounds.
Topics: Relaxation, Sleep
When moral courage feels that it is in the right, there is no personal daring of which it is incapable.
Some tears belong to us because we are unfortunate: others because we are humane: many because we are mortal.—But most are caused by our being unwise.—It is these last, only, that of necessity produce more.
The more we know of any one ground of knowledge, the further we see into the general domains of intellect.
If you ever have to support a flagging conversation, introduce the topic of eating.
The same people who can deny others everything are famous for refusing themselves nothing.
Colors are the smiles of nature.
Whatever evil befalls us, we ought to ask ourselves … how we can turn it into good. So shall we take occasion, from one bitter root, to raise perhaps many flowers.
He crossed words of which he knew nothing; and perhaps we all do as much every moment, over things of divinest meaning.
The person who can be only serious or only cheerful, is but half a man.
Leaves seem light, useless, idle, wavering, and changeable—they even dance; yet God has made them part of the oak.—So he has given us a lesson, not to deny stout-heartedness within, because we see lightsomeness without.
They who have lost an infant are never, as it were, without an infant child. Their other children grow up to manhood and womanhood, and suffer all the changes of mortality; but this one is rendered an immortal child, for death has arrested it with his kindly harshness, and blessed it into an eternal image of youth and innocence.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Matthew Arnold English Poet, Critic
- Edward Lear English Humorist, Illustrator
- Thomas Hood British Poet, Humorist
- A. E. Housman English Scholar, Poet
- Dante Gabriel Rossetti British Poet, Artist
- Christopher Hitchens Anglo-American Social Critic
- John Keats English Poet
- Anthony Burgess English Novelist, Critic
- George Meredith British Novelist, Poet
- Arthur Henry Hallam English Essayist, Poet