Jesus Christ belonged to the true race of prophets. He saw with open eye the mystery of the soul. Drawn by its severe harmony, ravished with its beauty, he lived in it and had his being there. Alone in all history, he estimated the greatness of man.
Good is positive. Evil is merely privative, not absolute: it is like cold, which is the privation of heat. All evil is so much death or nonentity. Benevolence is absolute and real. So much benevolence as a man hath, so much life hath he.
Philosophically considered, the universe is composed of Nature and the Soul. Strictly speaking, therefore, all that is separate from us, all which Philosophy distinguishes as the 'Not Me,' that is, both nature and art, all other men and my own body, must be ranked under this name, 'Nature.'
Only as far as the masters of the world have called in nature to their aid, can they reach the height of magnificence. This is the meaning of their hanging-gardens, villas, garden-houses, islands, parks, and preserves.
Wherever the invitation of men or your own occasions lead you, speak the very truth, as your life and conscience teach it, and cheer the waiting, fainting hearts of men with new hope and new revelation.
Every fact is related on one side to sensation, and, on the other, to morals. The game of thought is, on the appearance of one of these two sides, to find the other: given the upper, to find the under side.
Every industrious man, in every lawful calling, is a useful man. And one principal reason why men are so often useless is that they neglect their own profession or calling, and divide and shift their attention among a multiplicity of objects and pursuits.
In Scotland, there is a rapid loss of all grandeur of mien and manners; a provincial eagerness and acuteness appear; the poverty of the country makes itself remarked, and a coarseness of manners; and, among the intellectual, is the insanity of dialectics.
The imitator dooms himself to hopeless mediocrity. The inventor did it, because it was natural to him, and so in him it has a charm. In the imitator, something else is natural, and he bereaves himself of his own beauty, to come short of another man's.
Standing on the bare ground,--my head bathed by the blithe air and uplifted into infinite space,--all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or parcel of God."
We are students of words: we are shut up in schools, and colleges, and recitation -rooms, for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words, and do not know a thing."
The secret of fortune is joy in our hands. Welcome evermore to gods and men is the self-helping man. For him all doors are flung wide. Him all tongues greet, all honors crown, all eyes follow with desire. Our love goes out to him and embraces him because he did not need it."
Plato says that the punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the government, is, to live under the government of worse men; and the like regret is suggested to all the auditors, as the penalty of abstaining to speak,--that they shall hear worse orators than themselves.
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.
Polarity, or action and reaction, we meet in every part of nature; in darkness and light; in heat and cold; in the ebb and flow of water; in male and female; in the equation of quantity and quality; in the fluids of the animal body; in the systole an
All men are in some degree impressed by the face of the world; some men even to delight. This love of beauty is taste. Others have the same love in such success that, not content with admiring, they seek to embody it in new forms. The creation of beauty is art.
Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can offer with the cumulative force of a whole life's cultivation, but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous, half possession.
When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to leave the world a better place, to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.
I hate this shallow Americanism which hopes to get rich by credit, to get knowledge by raps on midnight tables, to learn the economy of the mind by phrenology, or skill without study, or mastery without apprenticeship.
To wade in marshes and sea margins is the destiny of certain bird, and they are so accurately made for this that they are imprisoned in those places. Each animal out of its habitat would starve. To the physician, each man, each woman, is an amplification of one organ. A soldier, a locksmith, a bank-clerk, and a dancer could not exchange functions. And thus we are victims of adaptation.
Nature may be as selfishly studied as trade. Astronomy to the selfish becomes astrology; psychology, mesmerism (with intent to show where aour spoons are gone); and anatomy and physiology become phrenology and palmistry.
In different hours, a man represents each of several of his ancestors, as if there were seven or eight of us rolled up in each man's skin, - seven or eight ancestors at least, and they constitute the variety of notes for that new piece of music which his life is.
For poetry was all written before time was, and whenever we are so finely organized that we can penetrate into that region where the air is music, we hear those primal warblings, and attempt to write them down, but we lose ever and anon a word, a verse, and substitute something of our own, and thus miswrite the poem.
Dear to us are those who love us... but dearer are those who reject us as unworthy, for they add another life; they build a heaven before us whereof we had not dreamed, and thereby supply to us new powers out of the recesses of the spirit, and urge us to new and unattempted performances.
Hence, the less government we have, the better,--the fewer laws, and the less confided power. The antidote to this abuse of formalGovernment, is, the influence of private character, the growth of the Individual; the appearance of the principal to supersede the proxy; the appearance of the wise man, of whom the existing government, is, it must be owned, but a shabby imitation.
Sleep takes off the costume of circumstance, arms us with terrible freedom, so that every will rushes to deed. A skillful man reads his dreams for his self-knowledge; yet not the details, but the quality. What part does he play in them - a cheerful, manly part, or a poor, drivelling part? However monstrous and grotesque their apparitions, they have a substantial truth.
The value of a dollar is to buy just things; a dollar goes on increasing in value with all the genius and all the virtue of the world. A dollar in a university is worth more than a dollar in a jail; in a temperate, schooled, law-abiding community than in some sink of crime, where dice, knives, and arsenic are in constant play.
And the glory of character is in affronting the horrors of depravity to draw thence new nobilities of power: as Art lives and thrills in new use and combining of contrasts, and mining into the dark evermore for blacker pits of night.
Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.
A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.
Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.
Dream delivers us to dream, and there is no end to illusion. Life is like a train of moods like a string of beads, and, as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue. . . .
Women stand related to beautiful nature around us, and the enamoured youth mixes their form with moon and stars, with woods and waters, and the pomp of summer. They heal us of awkwardness by their words and looks. We observe their intellectual influence on the most serious student. They refine and clear his mind: teach him to put a pleasing method into what is dry and difficult.
Almost all people descend to meet. All association must be a compromise, and, what is worst, the very flower and aroma of the flower of each of the beautiful natures disappears as they approach each other.
Great genial power, one would almost say, consists in not being original at all; in being altogether receptive; in letting the world do all, and suffering the spirit of the hour to pass unobstructed through the mind.
The idealism of Berkeley is only a crude statement of the idealism of Jesus, and that again is a crude statement of the fact thatall nature is the rapid efflux of goodness executing and organizing itself.
The best political economy is the care and culture of men; for, in these crises, all are ruined except such as are proper individuals, capable of thought, and of new choice and the application of their talent to new labor.
All things with which we deal preach to us. What is a farm but a mute gospel? The chaff and the wheat, weeds and plants, blight, rain, insects, sun,--it is a sacred emblem from the first furrow of spring to the last stack which the snow of winter overtakes in the fields.
Standing on the bare ground,--my head bathed by the blithe air and uplifted into infinite space,--all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or parcel of God.
Hence, instead of Man Thinking, we have the bookworm. Hence, the book-learned class, who value books, as such; not as related to nature and the human constitution, but as making a sort of Third Estate with the world and the soul. Hence, the restorers of readings, the emendators, the bibliomaniacs of all degrees.
In conversation the game is, to say something new with old words. And you shall observe a man of the people picking his way along, step by step, using every time an old boulder, yet never setting his foot on an old place.
How often we must remember the art of the surgeon, which, in replacing the broken bone, contents itself with releasing the parts from false position; they fly into place by the action of the muscles. On this art of nature all our arts rely.
All our progress is an unfolding, like the vegetable bud. You have first an instinct, then an opinion, then a knowledge, as the plant has root, bud, and fruit. Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason. It is vain to hurry it. By trusting it to the end it shall ripen into truth, and you shall know why you believe.
Man is a stream whose source is hidden. Our being is descending into us from we know not whence. The most exact calculator has noprescience that somewhat incalculable may not balk the very next moment. I am constrained every moment to acknowledge a higher origin for events than the will I call mine.
In the Fiji islands, it appears, cannibalism is now familiar. They eat thier own wives and children. We only devour widows' houses, and great merchants outwit and absorb the substance of small ones, and every man feeds on his neighbor's labor if he can. It is a milder form of cannibalism.
It is easy to carp at colleges, and the college, if he will wait for it, will have its own turn. Genius exists there also, but will not answer a call of a committee of the House of Commons. It is rare, precious, eccentric, and darkling.
It is a sign of our times, conspicuous to the coarsest observer, that many intelligent and religious persons withdraw themselves from the common labors and competitions of the market and the caucus, and betake themselves to a certain solitary and critical way of living, from which no solid fruit has yet appeared to justify their separation.
Nature will not let us fret and fume. She does not like our benevolence or our learning much better than she likes our frauds andwars. When we come out of the caucus, or the bank, or the abolition-convention, or the temperance-meeting, or the transcendental club, into the fields and woods, she says to us, "so hot? my little Sir.
Shallow men believe in luck, believe in circumstances: it was somebody's name, or he happened to be there at right time, or it was so then, and another day it would have been otherwise. Strong men believe in cause and effect.
Shall we then judge a country by the majority, or by the minority? By the minority, surely. 'Tis pedantry to estimate nations by the census, or by square miles of land, or other than by their importance to the mind of the time.
The craft with which the world is made runs also into the mind and character of men. No man is quite sane; each has a vein of folly in his composition, a slight determination of blood to the head, to make sure of holding him hard to some one point which Nature has taken to heart.
Every man takes care that his neighbor shall not cheat him. But a day comes when he begins to care that he does not cheat his neighbor. Then all goes well. He has changed his market cart into a chariot of the sun.
Another success is the post-office, with its educating energy augmented by cheapness and guarded by a certain religious sentimentin mankind; so that the power of a wafer or a drop of wax or gluten to guard a letter, as it flies over sea over land and comes to its address as if a battalion of artillery brought it, I look upon as a fine meter of civilization.
I wish that friendship should have feet, as well as eyes and eloquence. It must plant itself on the ground, before it vaults overthe moon. I wish it to be a little of a citizen, before it is quite a cherub.
It is not an arbitrary "decree of God," but in the nature of man, that a veil shuts down on the facts of to-morrow; for the soul will not have us read any other cipher than that of cause and effect. By this veil, which curtains events, it instructs the children of men to live in to-day.
Now that is the wisdom of a man, in every instance of his labor, to hitch his wagon to a star, and see his chore done by the gods themselves. That is the way we are strong, by borrowing the might of the elements. The forces of steam, gravity, galvanism, light, magnets, wind, fire, serve us day by day and cost us nothing.
If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.
Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.
The universe is represented in every one of it's particles. Everything is made of one hidden stuff. The world globes itself in a drop of dew. The true doctrine of omnipresence is that God appears with all His parts in every moss and cobweb.
The sea is masculine, the type of active strength. Look, what egg-shells are drifting all over it, each one, like ours, filled with men in ecstasies of terror, alternating with cockney conceit, as the sea is rough or smooth. Is this sad-colored circle an eternal cemetery?
I appeal now to the convictions of the communicants, and ask such persons whether they have not been occasionally conscious of a painful confusion of thought between the worship due to God and the commemoration due to Christ.
The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.
Only by the supernatural is a man strong--only by confiding in the divinity which stirs within us. Nothing is so weak as an egotist--nothing is mightier than we, when we are vehicles of a truth before which the state and the individual are alike ephemeral.
The near explains the far. The drop is a small ocean. A man is related to all nature. This perception of the worth of the vulgar is fruitful in discoveries. Goethe, in this very thing the most modern of the moderns, has shown us, as none ever did, the genius of the ancients.
To be rich is to have a ticket of admission to the masterworks and chief men of each race. It is to have the sea, by voyaging; to visit the mountains, Niagara, the Nile, the desert, Rome, Paris, Constantinople: to see galleries, libraries, arsenals, manufactories.
The good lawyer is not the man who has an eye to every side and angle of contingency, and qualifies all his qualifications, but who throws himself on your part so heartily, that he can get you out of a scrape.
Man was born to be rich, or grow rich by use of his faculties, by the union of thought with nature. Property is an intellectual production. The game requires coolness, right reasoning, promptness, and patience in the players.
No one can read the history of astronomy without perceiving that Copernicus, Newton, Laplace, are not new men, or a new kind of men, but that Thales, Anaximenes, Hipparchus, Empodocles, Aristorchus, Pythagorus, Oenipodes, had anticipated them.
Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
Language is a city, to the building of which every human being brought a stone; yet he is no more to be credited with the grand result than the acaleph which adds a cell to the coral reef which is the basis of the continent.
Sickness is poor-spirited, and cannot serve anyone; it must husband its resources to live. But health or fullness answers its own ends, and has to spare, runs over, and inundates the neighborhoods and creeks of other men's necessities.
More than the diamond Koh-i-noor, which glitters among their crown jewels, they prize the dull pebble which is wiser than a man, whose poles turn themselves to the poles of the world, and whose axis is parallel to the axis of the world. Now, their toys are steam and galvanism.
If man has good corn, or wood, or boards, or pigs to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles, or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad, hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.
We say love is blind, and the figure of Cupid is drawn with a bandage around his eyes. Blind - yes, because he does not see what he does not like; but the sharpest-sighted hunter in the universe is Love for finding what he seeks, and only that.
The world is his who can see through its pretension. What deafness, what stone-blind custom, what overgrown error you behold, is there only by sufferance,--by your sufferance. See it to be a lie, and you have already dealt it its mortal blow.
Truth gathers itself spotless and unhurt after all our surrenders and concealments and partisanship; never hurt by the treachery or ruin of its best defenders, whether Luther, or William Penn, or St. Paul.
The key to every man is his thought. Sturdy and defying though he look, he has a helm which he obeys, which is the idea after which all his facts are classified. He can only be reformed by showing him a new idea which commands his own.
There is no den in the wide world to hide a rogue. Commit a crime, and the earth is made of glass. Commit a crime, and it seems as if a coat of snow fell on the ground, such as reveals in the woods the track of every partridge and fox and squirrel and mole.
Nothing shall warp me from the belief that every man is a lover of truth. There is no pure lie, no pure malignity in nature. The entertainment of the proposition of depravity is the last profligacy and profanation. There is no skepticism, no atheism but that. Could it be received into common belief, suicide would unpeople the planet.
The angels are so enamored of the language that is spoken in heaven that they will not distort their lips with the hissing and unmusical dialects of men, but speak their own, whether their be any who understand it or not.
But wise men pierce this rotten diction and fasten words again to visible things; so that picturesque language is at once a commanding certificate that he who employs it, is a man in alliance with truth and God.
A just thinker will allow full swing to his scepticism. I dip my pen in the blackest ink, because I am not afraid of falling into my inkpot.... We are of different opinions at different hours, but we always may be said to be at heart on the side of truth.
The heroic soul does not sell its justice and its nobleness. It does not ask to dine nicely and to sleep warm. The essence of greatness is the perception that virtue is enough. Poverty is its ornament. It does not need plenty, and can very well abide its loss.
The trail of the serpent reaches into all the lucrative professions and practices of man. Each has its own wrongs. Each finds a tender and very intelligent conscience a disqualification for success. Each requires of the practitioner a certain shutting of the eyes, a certain dapperness and compliance, an acceptance of customs, a sequestration from the sentiments of generosity and love, a compromise of private opinion and lofty integrity.
All great masters are chiefly distinguished by the power of adding a second, a third, and perhaps a fourth step in a continuous line. Many a man has taken the first step. With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first.
Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being.
Do you love me? Means at last do you see the same truth I see? If you do, we are happy together; but when presently one of us passes into the perception of a new truth, we are divorced and the force of all nature cannot hold us to each other.
The hand that rounded Peter's dome, And groined the aisles of Christian Rome, Wrought in a sad sincerity; Himself from God he could not free; He builded better than he knew: The conscious stone to beauty grew.
Don't waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour's duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it.
Every rational creature has all nature for his dowry and estate. It is his, if he will. He may divest himself of it; he may creepinto a corner, and abdicate his kingdom, as most men do, but he is entitled to the world by his constitution.
Not out of those, on whom systems of education have exhausted their culture, comes the helpful giant to destroy the old or to build the new, but out of unhandselled savage nature, out of terrible Druids and Berserkirs, come at last Alfred and Shakespeare.
It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
Why should I cumber myself with regrets that the receiver is not capacious? It never troubles the sun that some of his rays fall wide and vain into ungrateful space, and only a small part on the reflecting planet. Let your greatness educate the crude and cold companion.
Each is liable to panic, which is exactly, the terror of ignorance surrendered to the imagination. Knowledge is the encourager, knowledge that takes fear out of the heart, knowledge and use, which is knowledge in practice. They can conquer who believe they can. It is he who has done the deed once who does not shrink from attempting again.
A man passes for that he is worth. What he is engraves itself on his face, on his form, on his fortunes, in letters of light. Concealment avails him nothing; boasting nothing. There is confession in the glances of our eyes; in our smiles; in salutations; and the grasp of hands.
All the fairy tales of Aladdin, or the invisible Gyges, or the talisman that opens kings' palaces, or the enchanted halls underground or in the sea, are only fictions to indicated the one miracle of intellectual enlargement.
Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
Talent finds its models, methods, and ends in society, exists for exhibition, and goes to the soul only for power to work. Genius is its own end, and draws its means and the style of its architecture from within.
Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear.
When I go into the garden with a spade and dig a bed I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover that I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands.
We have a great deal more kindness than is ever spoken. (Despite) all the selfishness that chills like east winds the world, the whole human family is bathed with an element of love like a fine ether... The effect of the indulgence of this human affection is a certain cordial exhilaration.
The one prudence in life is concentration; the one evil is dissipation: and it makes no difference whether our dissipations are coarse or fine; property and its cares, friends and a social habit, or politics, or music, or feasting. Everything is good which takes away one plaything and delusion more, and drives us home to add one stroke of faithful work.
We rail at trade, but the historian of the world will see that it was the principle of liberty; that it settled America, and destroyed feudalism, and made peace and keeps peace; that it will abolish slavery.
The conservative assumes sickness as a necessity, and his social frame is a hospital, his total legislation is for the present distress, a universe in slippers and flannels, with bib and papspoon, swallowing pills and herb-tea.
Sleep is not, death is not; Who seem to die Live. House you were born in, Friends of your spring-time, old man and young maid, Day's toil and it's guerdon, They are all vanishing, Fleeing to fables, Cannot be moored
Nothing is more disgusting than the crowing about liberty by slaves, as most men are, and the flippant mistaking for freedom of some paper preamble like a Declaration of Independence, or the statute right to vote, by those who have never dared to think or to act.
I suppose an entire cabinet of shells would be an expression of the whole human mind; a Flora of the whole globe would be so likewise, or a history of beasts; or a painting of all the aspects of the clouds. Everything is significant.
Success in your work, the finding a better method, the better understanding that insures the better performing is hat and coat, is food and wine, is fire and horse and health and holiday. At least, I find that any success in my work has the effect on my spirits of all these.
Society always consists, in greatest part, of young and foolish persons. The old, who have seen through the hypocrisy of the courts and statesmen, die, and leave no wisdom to their sons. They believe their own newspaper, as their fathers did at their age.
Our people are slow to learn the wisdom of sending character instead of talent to Congress. Again and again they have sent a man of great acuteness, a fine scholar, a fine forensic orator, and some master of the brawls has crunched him up in his hands like a bit of paper.
Meek young men grow up in libraries, believing it their duty to accept the views which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon, have given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke, and Bacon were only young men in libraries, when they wrote these books.
We fetch fire and water, run about all day among the shops and markets, and get our clothes and shoes made and mended, and are thevictims of these details, and once in a fortnight we arrive perhaps at a rational moment.
What terrible questions we are learning to ask! The former men believed in magic, by which temples, cities, and men were swallowed up, and all trace of them gone. We are coming on the secret of a magic which sweeps out of men's minds all vestige of theism and beliefs which they and their fathers held and were framed upon.
Murder in the murderer is no such ruinous thought as poets and romancers will have it; it does not unsettle him, or fright him from his ordinary notice of trifles; it is an act quite easy to be contemplated.
By fate, not option, frugal Nature gave One scent to hyson and to wall-flower, One sound to pine-groves and to water-falls, One aspect to the desert and the lake. It was her stern necessity : all things Are of one pattern made; bird, beast, and flower, Song, picture, form, space, thought, and character Deceive us, seeming to be many things, And are but one.
You must elect your work; you shall take what your brains can, and drop all the rest. Only so can that amount of vital force accumulate which can make the step from knowing to doing. No matter how much faculty of idle seeing a man has, the step from knowing to doing is rarely taken. It is a step out of a chalk circle of imbecility into fruitfulness.
A man is known by the books he reads, by the company he keeps, by the praise he gives, by his dress, by his tastes, by his distastes, by the stories he tells, by his gait, by the notion of his eye, by the look of his house, of his chamber; for nothing on earth is solitary but every thing hath affinities infinite.
Wise men read very sharply all your private history in your look and gait and behavior. The whole economy of nature is bent on expression. The tell-tale body is all tongues. Men are like Geneva watches with crystal faces which expose the whole movement.
Genius is the naturalist or geographer of the supersensible regions, and draws their map; and, by acquainting us with new fields of activity, cools our affection for the old. These are at once accepted as the reality, of which the world we have conversed with is the show.
It is said that when manners are licentious, a revolution is always near: the virtue of woman being the main girth and bandage ofsociety; because a man will not lay up an estate for children any longer than whilst he believes them to be his own.
The Bhagavad-Gita is an empire of thought and in its philosophical teachings Krishna has all the attributes of the full-fledged montheistic deity and at the same time the attributes of the Upanisadic absolute.
Tis the good reader that makes the good book; in every book he finds passages which seem confidences or asides hidden from all else and unmistakenly meant for his ear; the profit of books is according to the sensibility of the reader; the profoundest thought or passion sleeps as in a mine, until it is discovered by an equal mind and heart.
Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our own spontaneous expression with good humored inflexibility whether the whole cry of voices is on the other side.
Good poetry could not have been otherwise written than it is. The first time you hear it, it sounds rather as if copied out of some invisible tablet in the Eternal mind than as if arbitrarily composed by the poet.
It is in the stomach of plants that development begins, and ends in the circles of the universe. 'Tis a long scale from the gorilla to the gentleman,--from the gorilla to Plato, Newton, Shakespeare,--to the sanctities of religion, the refinements of legislation, the summit of science, art, and poetry. The beginnings are slow and infirm, but it is an always accelerated march.
In youth, we clothe ourselves with rainbows, with hope & love, & go as brave as the zodiack. In age we put out another sort of perspiration; gout, fever, rheumatism, caprice, doubt, fretting, and avarice.
Science was false by being unpoetical. It assumed to explain a reptile or a mollusk, and isolated it-which is hunting for life in graveyards. Reptile or mollusk or man or angel only exists in system, in relation.
In the great books of India, an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence, which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the questions that exercise us.
The rage for road building is beneficent for America, where vast distance is so main a consideration in our domestic politics andtrade, inasmuch as the great political promise of the invention is to hold the Union staunch, whose days already seem numbered by the mere inconvenience of transporting representatives, judges and officers across such tedious distances of land and water.
O, when I am safe in my sylvan home, I mock at the pride of Greece and Rome; And when I am stretch'd beneath the pines When the evening star so holy shines, I laugh at the lore and pride of man, At the Sophist's schools, and the learned clan; For what are they all in their high conceit, When man in the bush with God may meet?
All conservatives are such from personal defects. They have been effiminated by position of nature, born halt and blind, through luxury of their parents, and can only, like invalids, act on the defensive.
Tobacco, coffee, alcohol, hashish, prussic acid, strychnine, are weak dilutions; the surest poison is time. This cup which nature puts to our lips, has a wonderful virtue, surpassing that of any other draught. It opens the senses, adds power, fills us with exalted dreams, which we call hope, love, ambition, science; especially it creates a craving for larger draughts of itself.
Out of love and hatred, out of earnings and borrowings and leadings and losses; out of sickness and pain; out of wooing and worshipping; out of traveling and voting and watching and caring; out of disgrace and contempt, comes our tuition in the serene and beautiful laws.
Say, what other metre is it Than the meeting of the eyes? Nature poureth into nature Through the channels of that feature Riding on the ray of sight, Fleeter far than whirlwinds go, Or for service, or delight, Hearts to hearts their meaning show.
The characteristic of genuine heroism is its persistency. All men have wandering impulses, fits and starts of generosity. But when you have resolved to be great, abide by yourself, and do not weakly try to reconcile yourself with the world. The heroic cannot be the common, nor the common the heroic.
To this military attitude of the soul we give the name of Heroism... It is a self-trust which slights the restraints of prudence, in the plenitude of its energy and power to repair the harms it may suffer. The hero is a mind of such balance that no disturbances can shake his will...
Undoubtedly we have no questions to ask which are unanswerable. We must trust the perfection of the creation so far, as to believe that whatever curiosity the order of things has awakened in our minds, the order of things can satisfy. Every man's condition is a solution in hieroglyphic to those inquiries he would put. He acts it as life, before he apprehends it as truth.
One more royal trait properly belongs to the poet. I mean his cheerfulness, without which no man can be a poet,--for beauty is his aim. He loves virtue, not for its obligation, but for its grace; he delights in the world, in man, in woman, for the lovely light that sparkles from them. Beauty, the spirit of joy and hilarity, he sheds over the universe.
Some eyes threaten like a loaded and levelled pistol, and others are as insulting as hissing or kicking; some have no more expression than blueberries, while others are as deep as a well which you can fall into.
An eye can threaten like a loaded and levelled gun, or it can insult like hissing or kicking; or, in its altered mood, by beams of kindness, it can make the heart dance for joy. ... One of the most wonderful things in nature is a glance of the eye; it transcends speech; it is the bodily symbol of identity.
If we could have any security against moods! If the profoundest prophet could be holden to his words, and the hearer who is readyto sell all and join the crusade, could have any certificate that to-morrow his prophet shall not unsay his testimony!
Work and thou canst escape the reward; whether the work be fine or course, planting corn or writing epics, so only it be honest work, done to thine own approbation, it shall earn a reward to the senses as well as to the thought.
Hume's doctrine was that the circumstances vary, the amount of happiness does not; that the beggar cracking fleas in the sunshine under a hedge, and the duke rolling by in his chariot, the girl equipped for her first ball, and the orator returning triumphant from the debate, had different means, but the same quantity of pleasant excitement.
Man Thinking must not be subdued by his instruments. Books are for the scholar's idle times. When he can read God directly, the hour is too precious to be wasted in other men's transcripts of their readings.
The earth is a machine which yields almost gratuitous service to every application of intellect. Every plant is a manufacturer of soil. In the stomach of the plant development begins. The tree can draw on the whole air, the whole earth, on all the rolling main. The plant is all suction-pipe,--imbibing from the ground by its root, from the air by its leaves, with all its might.
The imitator dooms himself to hopeless mediocrity. The inventor did it because it was natural to him, and so in him it has a charm. In the imitator something else is natural, and he bereaves himself of his own beauty, to come short of another man's.
Be yourself; no base imitator of another, but your best self. There is something which you can do better than another. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that. Do the things at which you are great, not what you were never made for.
Another sort of false prayers are our regrets. Discontent is the way of self-reliance: it is infirmity of will. Regret calamities, if you can thereby help the sufferer; if not, attend your own work, and already the evil begins to be repaired.
There are dull and bright, sacred and profane, coarse and fine egotists. It is a disease that, like influenza, falls on all constitutions. In the distemper known to physicians as chorea, the patient sometimes turns round, and continues to spin slowly in one spot. Is egotism a metaphysical varioloid of this malady?
The men who carry their points do not need to inquire of their constituents what they should say, but are themselves the country which they represent: nowhere are its emotions or opinions so instant and so true as in them; nowhere so pure from a selfish infusion.
Nothing is arbitrary, nothing is insulated in beauty. It depends forever on the necessary and the useful. The plumage of the bird, the mimic plumage of the insect, has a reason for its rich colors in the constitution of the animal. Fitness is so inseparable an accompaniment of beauty, that it, has been taken for it.
I would have the studies elective. Scholarship is to be created not by compulsion, but by awakening a pure interest in knowledge. The wise instructor accomplishes this by opening to his pupils precisely the attractions the study has for himself. The marking is a system for schools, not for the college; for boys, not for men; and it is an ungracious work to put on a professor.
The growth of the intellect is spontaneous in every expansion. The mind that grows could not predict the times, the means, the mode of that spontaneity. God enters by a private door into every individual.
We shall one day learn to supersede politics by education. What we call our root-and-branch reforms of slavery, war, gambling, intemperance, is only medicating the symptoms. We must begin higher up, namely, in education.
Man is a shrewd inventor, and is ever taking the hint of a new machine from his own structure, adapting some secret of his own anatomy in iron, wood, and leather, to some required function in the work of the world.
The way of Providence is a little rude. The habit of snake and spider, the snap of the tiger and other leapers and bloody jumpers, the crackle of the bones of his prey in the coil of the anaconda-these are in the system, and our habits are like theirs.
Do you see that kitten chasing so prettily her own tail? If you could look with her eyes, you might see her surrounded with hundreds of figures performing complex dramas, with tragic and comic issues, long conversations, many characters, many ups and downs of fate.
In our large cities, the population is godless, materialized,--no bond, no fellow-feeling, no enthusiasm. These are not men, but hungers, thirsts, fevers, and appetites walking. How is it people manage to live on,--so aimless as they are? After their peppercorn aims are gained, it seems as if the lime in their bones alone held them together, and not any worthy purpose.
But only that soul can be my friend which I encounter on the line of my own march, that soul to which I do not decline, and which does not decline me, but, native of the same celestial latitude, repeats in its own all my experience.
Expediency of literature, reason of literature, lawfulness of writing down a thought, is questioned; much is to say on both sides,and, while the fight waxes hot, thou, dearest scholar, stick to thy foolish task, add a line every hour, and between whiles add a line.
Coal lay in ledges under the ground since the Flood, until a laborer with pick and windlass brings it to the surface. We may well call it black diamonds. Every basket is power and civilization. For coal is a portable climate.
Every individual man has a bias which he must obey, and...it is only as he feels and obeys this that he rightly develops and attains his legitimate power in the world. It is his magnetic needle, which points always in one direction to his proper path.... He is never happy nor strong until he finds it, keeps it.
Power is what they want, not candy-power to execute their design, power to give legs and feet, form and actuality to their thought; which, to a clear-sighted man, appears the end for which the universe exists, and all its resources might be well applied.
There is one topic peremptorily forbidden to all well-bred, to all rational mortals, namely, their distempers. If you have not slept or if you have slept or if you have head ache or sciatica or leprosy or thunder-stroke, I beseech you, by all angels, to hold your peace and not pollute the morning.
The world is upheld by the veracity of good men: they make the earth wholesome. They who lived with them found life glad and nutritious. Life is sweet and tolerable only in our belief in such society.
In excited conversation we have glimpses of the universe, hints of power native to the soul, far-darting lights and shadows of an Andes landscape, such as we can hardly attain in lone meditation. Here are oracles sometimes profusely given, to which the memory goes back in barren hours.
Henceforth, please God, forever I forego the yolk of men's opinions. I will be light-hearted as a bird and live with God. I find him in the bottom of my heart, and I hear continually his voice therein.
Instead of feeling a poverty when we encounter a great man, let us treat the new comer like a travelling geologist, who passes through our estate, and shows us good slate, or limestone, or anthracite, in our brush pasture.
The etymologist finds the deadest word to have been once a brilliant picture. Language is fossil poetry. As the limestone of the continent consists of infinite masses of the shells of animalcules, so language is made up of images or tropes, which now, in their secondary use, have long ceased to remind us of their poetic origin.
My son, a perfect little boy of five years and three months, had ended his earthly life. You can never sympathize with me; you can never know how much of me such a young child can take away. A few weeks ago I accounted myself a very rich man, and now the poorest of all.
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.
The compensations of calamity are made apparent to the understanding also, after long intervals of time. A fever, a mutilation, a cruel disappointment, a loss of wealth, a loss of friends, seems at the moment unpaid loss, and unpayable. But the sure years reveal the deep remedial force that underlies all facts.
Art is the need to create; but in its essence, immense and universal, it is impatient of working with lame or tied hands, and of making cripples and monsters, such as all pictures and statues are. Nothing less than the creation of man and nature is its end.
Come, see the north-wind's masonry, Out of an unseen quarry evermore Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer Curves his white bastions with projected roof Round every windward stake, or tree, or door. Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work So fanciful, so savage, naught cares he For number or proportion.
Alas for America as I must so often say, the ungirt, the diffuse, the profuse, procumbent, one wide ground juniper, out of which no cedar, no oak will rear up a mast to the clouds! It all runs to leaves, to suckers, to tendrils, to miscellany. The air is loaded with poppy, with imbecility, with dispersion, & sloth.
An expense of ends to means is fate;Morganization tyrannizing over character. The menagerie, or forms and powers of the spine, is a book of fate: the bill of the bird, the skull of the snake, determines tyrannically its limits.
I find the Englishman to be him of all men who stands firmest in his shoes. They have in themselves what they value in their horses, mettle and bottom. mettle: spirited bottom: capacity to endure strain
The truth, the hope, of any time must be sought in the minorities. Michael Angelo was the conscience of Italy. We grow free with his name, and find it ornamental now, but in his own day his friends were few.
Then, though I prize my friends, I cannot afford to talk with them and study their visions, lest I lose my own. It would indeed give me a certain household joy to quit this lofty seeking, this spiritual astronomy, or search of stars, and come down to warm sympathies with you; but then I know well I shall mourn always the vanishing of my mighty gods.
Happy will that house be in which the relations are formed from character; after the highest, and not after the lowest order; the house in which character marries, and not confusion and a miscellany of unavowable motives.
The poet alone knows astronomy, chemistry, vegetation, and animation, for he does not stop at these facts, but employs them as signs. He knows why the plain, or meadow of space, was strown with these flowers we call suns, and moons, and stars; why the deep is adorned with animals, with men, and gods; for, in every word he speaks he rides on them as the horses of thought.
Daughter of heaven and earth, coy Spring, With sudden passion languishing, Teaching barren moors to smile, Painting pictures mile on mile, Holds a cup of cowslip wreaths Whence a smokeless incense breathes.
The pulpit and the press have many commonplaces denouncing the thirst for wealth, but if men should take these moralists at their word, and leave off aiming to be rich, the moralists would rush to rekindle at all hazards this love of power in the people, lest civilization should be undone.
Nature is sanative, refining, elevating. How cunningly she hides every wrinkle of her inconceivable antiquity under roses, and violets, and morning dew! Every inch of the mountains is scarred by unimaginable convulsions, yet the new day is purple with the bloom of youth and love.
I like my boy with his endless sweet soliloquies and iterations and his utter inability to conceive why I should not leave all my nonsense, business, and writing and come to tie up his toy horse, as if there was or could be any end to nature beyond his horse. And he is wiser than we when [he] threatens his whole threat "I will not love you."
By virtue of this science the poet is the Namer, or Language-maker, naming things sometimes after their appearance, sometimes after their essence, and giving to every one its own name and not another's, thereby rejoicing the intellect, which delights in detachment or boundary.
We begin with friendships, and all our youth is a reconnoitering and recruiting of the holy fraternity they shall combine for thesalvation of men. But so the remoter stars seem a nebula of united light, yet there is no group which a telescope will not resolve; and the dearest friends are separated by impassable gulfs.
It is so wonderful to our neurologists that a man can see without his eyes, that it does not occur to them that is just as wonderful that he should see with them; and that is ever the difference between the wise and the unwise: the latter wonders at what is unusual, the wise man wonders at the usual.
A man should not go where he cannot carry his whole sphere or society with him,Mnot bodily, the whole circle of his friends, but atmospherically. He should preserve in a new company the same attitude of mind and reality of relation, which his daily associates draw him to, else he is shorn of his best beams, and will be an orphan in the merriest club.
The rule for hospitality and Irish "help," is, to have the same dinner every day throughout the year. At last, Mrs. O'Shaughnessylearns to cook it to a nicety, the host learns to carve it, and the guests are well served.
But the nomads were the terror of all those whom the soil or the advantages of the market had induced to build towns. Agriculture therefore was a religious injunction, because of the perils of the state from nomadism.
Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore it if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.
To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart, is true for all men - that is genius... Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist... What I must do, is all that concerns me; not what the people think... Nothing can bring you peace but yourself; nothing, but the triumph of principles.
We fill the hands and nurseries of our children with all manner of dolls, drums and horses, withdrawing their eyes from the plain face and... Nature, the sun and moon, the animals, the water and stones, which should be their toys.
The Roman rule was, to teach a boy nothing that he could not learn standing. The old English rule was, "All summer in the field, and all winter in the study." And it seems as if a man should learn to plant, or to fish, or to hunt, that he might secure his subsistence at all events, and not be painful to his friends and fellow men.
The secret of poetry is never explained - is always new. We have not got farther than mere wonder at the delicacy of the touch, & the eternity it inherits. In every house a child that in mere play utters oracles, & knows not that they are such. 'Tis as easy as breath. 'Tis like this gravity, which holds the Universe together, & none knows what it is.
In my utter impotence to test the authenticity of the report of my senses, to know whether the impressions they make on me correspond with outlying objects, what difference does it make, whether Orion is up there in heaven, or some god paints the image in the firmament of the soul?
The horseman serves the horse, The neat-herd serves the neat, The merchant serves the purse, The eater serves his meat; 'Tis the day of the chattel, Web to weave, and corn to grind, Things are in the saddle, And ride mankind.
Hither rolls the storm of heat; I feel its finer billows beat Like a sea which me infolds; Heat with viewless fingers moulds, Swells, and mellows, and matures, Paints, and flavors, and allures, Bird and brier inly warms, Still enriches and transforms, Gives the reed and lily length, Adds to oak and oxen strength, Transforming what it doth infold, Life out of death, new out of old.
Each man too is a tyrant in tendency, because he would impose his idea on others; and their trick is their natural defence. Jesuswould absorb the race; but Tom Paine or the coarsest blasphemer helps humanity by resisting this exuberance of power.
A good form strikes all eyes pleasantly, long before they have any science on the subject; and a beautiful face sets twenty hearts in palpitation, prior to all consideration of the mechanical proportions of the features and head.
The thief steals from himself. The swindler swindles himself. For the real price is knowledge and virtue, whereof wealth and credit are signs. These signs, like paper money, may be counterfeited or stolen, but that which they represent, namely, knowledge and virtue, cannot be counterfeited or stolen.
Every man has a choice between love of truth and love of repose. Love of repose brings him a solid reputation and peaceful life; love of truth keeps him in suspense. A man who loves truth respects the highest law of his being.
It is commonly said by farmers, that a good pear or apple costs no more time or pains to rear, than a poor one; so I would have no work of art, no speech, or action, or thought, or friend, but the best.
Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain. The mind does not create what it perceives, anymore than the eye creates the rose.
I like the church, I like a cowl, I love a prophet of the soul; And on my heart monastic aisles Fall like sweet strains or pensive smiles; Yet not for all his faith can see, Would I that cowled churchman be.
The worthless and offensive members of society, whose existence is a social pest, invariably think themselves the most ill-used people alive, and never get over their astonishment at the ingratitude and selfishness of their contemporaries.
Do not be caught by the sensational in nature, as a coarse red-faced sunset, a garrulous waterfall, or a fifteen thousand foot mountain... avoid prettiness - the word looks much like pettiness - and there is but little difference between them.
It seems as if nature, in regarding the geologic night behind her, when, in five or six millenniums, she had turned out five or six men, as Homer, Phidias, Menu, and Columbus, was no wise discontented with the result. These samples attested the virtue of the tree.
Do not tell me of my obligation to put all poor men in good situations. Are they my poor? I tell thee, thou foolish philanthropist, that I grudge the dollar, the dime, the cent, I give to such men as do not belong to me and to whom I do not belong
It has come to be practically a sort of rule in literature that a man, having once shown himself capable of original writing, is entitled thenceforth to steal from the writings of others at discretion.
Be not the slave of your own past - plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with new self-respect, with new power, and with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.
Milton says, that the lyric poet may drink wine and live generously, but the epic poet, he who shall sing of the gods, and their descent unto men, must drink water out of a wooden bowl. For poetry is not "Devil's wine," but God's wine.
The vocabulary of an omniscient man would embrace words and images excluded from polite conversation. What would be base, or even obscene, to the obscene, becomes illustrious, spoken in a new connexion of thought.
It is commonly observed that a sudden wealth, like a prize drawn in a lottery or a large bequest to a poor family, does not permanently enrich. They have served no apprenticeship to wealth, and with the rapid wealth come rapid claims which they do not know how to deny, and the treasure is quickly dissipated.
The preamble of thought, the transition through which it passes from the unconscious to the conscious, is action. Only so much do I know, as I have lived. Instantly we know whose words are loaded with life, and whose not.
The mark of the man of the world is absence of pretension. He does not make a speech; he takes a low business-tone, avoids all brag, is nobody, dresses plainly, promises not at all, performs much, speaks in monosyllables, hugs his fact.
But I go with my friend to the shore of our little river, and with one stroke of the paddle, I leave the village politics and personalities, yes, and the world of villages and personalities behind, and pass into a delicate realm of sunset and moonlight, too bright almost for spotted man to enter without novitiate and probation.
The German intellect wants the French sprightliness, the fine practical understanding of the English, and the American adventure; but it has a certain probity, which never rests in a superficial performance, but asks steadily, To what end? A German public asks for a controlling sincerity.
If I quake, what matters it what I quake at? Our proper vice takes form in one or another shape, according to the sex, age, or temperament of the person, and, if we are capable of fear, will readily find terrors.
The Times are the masquerade of the eternities; trivial to the dull, tokens of noble and majestic agents to the wise; the receptacle in which the Past leaves its history; the quarry out of which the genius of today is building up the Future.
I learn immediately from any speaker how much he has already lived, through the poverty or the splendor of his speech. Life lies behind us as the quarry from whence we get tiles and copestones for the masonry of today. This is the way to learn grammar. Colleges and books only copy the language which the field and the work-yard made.
The good news is that the moment you decide that what you know is more important than what you have been taught to believe, you will have shifted gears in your quest for abundance. Success comes from within, not from without.
To me, however, the question of the times resolved itself into a practical question of the conduct of life. How shall I live? We are incompetent to solve the times. Our geometry cannot span the huge orbits of the prevailing ideas, behold their return, and reconcile their opposition. We can only obey our own polarity.
As the traveler who has lost his way, throws his reins on his horse's neck, and trusts to the instinct of the animal to find his road, so must we do with the divine animal who carries us through this world
The voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks. See the line from a sufficient distance, and it straightens itself to the average tendency. Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. Act singly, and what you have already done singly will justify you now. Greatness appeals to the future.
In strict science, all persons underlie the same condition of an infinite remoteness. Shall we fear to cool our love by mining forthe metaphysical foundation of this elysian temple? Shall I not be as real as the things I see? If I am, I shall not fear to know them for what they are.
Rude poets of the tavern hearth, squandering your unquoted mirth, which keeps the ground, and never soars, while jake retorts, and reuben roars; tough and screaming, as birch-bark, goes like bullet to its mark; while the solid curse and jeer never balk the waiting ear.
A lady with whom I was riding in the forest said to me that the woods always seemed to her to wait, as if the genii who inhabit them suspend their deeds until the wayfarer had passed onward; a thought which poetry has celebrated in the dance of the fairies, which breaks off on the approach of human feet.
For each thorn, there's a rosebud... For each twilight - a dawn... For each trial - the strength to carry on, For each storm cloud - a rainbow... For each shadow - the sun... For each parting - sweet memories when sorrow is done.
Spring still makes spring in the mind When sixty years are told: Love wakes anew this throbbing heart, And we are never old Over the winter glaciers I see the summer glow And through the wind-piled snowdrift The warm rosebuds below.
O friend, my bosom said, Through thee alone the sky is arched. Through thee the rose is red; All things through thee take nobler form, And look beyond the earth, The mill-round of our fate appears A sun-path in thy worth. Me too thy nobleness has taught To master my despair; The fountains of my hidden life Are through thy friendship fair.
We are never without a pilot. When we know not how to steer, and dare not hoist a sail, we can drift. The current knows the way, though we do not. The ship of heaven guides itself, and will not accept a wooden rudder.
To laugh often and much to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children to leave the world a better placevto know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
If thou fill thy brain with Boston and New York, with fashion and covetousness, and wilt stimulate thy jaded senses with wine and French coffee, thou shalt find no radiance of wisdom in the lonely waste of the pinewoods
No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution; the only wrong is what is against it.
As long as all that is said is said against me, I feel a certain sublime assurance of success, but as soon as honied words of praise are spoken for me, I feel as one that lies unprotected before his enemies.
Whatever course you decide upon there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires....courage.
Nature wishes that woman should attract man, yet she often cunningly moulds into her face a little sarcasm, which seems to say, 'Yes, I am willing to attract, but to attract a little better kind of a man than any I yet behold
I would put myself in the attitude to look in the eye an abstract truth, and I cannot. I blench and withdraw on this side and on that. I seem to know what he meant who said, No man can see God face to face and live.
The populace think that your rejection of popular standards is a rejection of all standard, and mere antinomianism; and the bold sensualist will use the name of philosophy to gild his crimes. But the law of consciousness abides.
Thought and knowledge are natures in which apparatus and pretension avail nothing. Gowns, and pecuniary foundations, though of towns of gold, can never countervail the least sentence or syllable of wit. Forget this, and out American colleges will recede in their public importance whilst they grow richer every year.
We are students of words: we are shut up in schools, and colleges, and recitation -rooms, for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words, and do not know a thing.
Misunderstood! It is a right fool's word. Is it so bad then to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other. It undergoes continual changes; it is barbarous, it is civilized, it is christianized, it is rich, it is scientific; but this change is not amelioration. For every thing that is given, something is taken.
I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.
To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars.
Nature is not always tricked in holiday attire, but the same scene which yesterday breathed perfume and glittered as for the frolic of the nymphs, is overspread with melancholy today. Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.
If he had the earth for his pasture and the sea for his pond, he would be a pauper still. He only is rich who owns the day. There is no king, rich man, fairy or demon who possesses such power as that.Mentioned inSixty Days and Counting, by Kim Stanley Robinson
Life is a train of moods like a string of beads; and as we pass through them they prove to be many colored lenses, which paint the world their own hue, and each shows us only what lies in its own focus.
The first steps in Agriculture, Astronomy, Zoology, (those first steps which the farmer, the hunter, and the sailor take,) teach that nature's dice are always loaded; that in her heaps and rubbish are concealed sure and useful results.
Books are the best of things if well used; if abused, among the worst. They are good for nothing but to inspire. I had better never see a book than be warped by its attraction clean out of my own orbit, and made a satellite instead of a system.
All minds quote. Old and new make the warp and woof of every moment. There is no thread that is not a twist of these two strands. By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote. We quote not only books and proverbs, but arts, sciences, religion, customs, and laws; nay, we quote temples and houses, tables and chairs, by imitation.
The word unto the prophet spoken Was writ on tablets yet unbroken: The word by seers or sibyls told, In groves of oak or fanes of gold, Still floats upon the morning wind, Still whispers to the willing mind.
A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud. I am arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and equal, that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness with which one chemical atom meets another.
Man begins life helpless. The babe is in paroxysms of fear the moment its nurse leaves it alone, and it comes so slowly to any power of self-protection that mothers say the salvation of the life and health of a young child is a perpetual miracle.
The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them.
Self-trust is the first secret of success, the belief that if you are here the authorities of the universe put you here, and for cause, or with some task strictly appointed you in your constitution, and so long as you work at that you are well and successful
Only the great generalizations survive. The sharp words of the Declaration of Independence, lampooned then and since as 'glittering generalities,' have turned out blazing ubiquities that will burn forever and ever.
Nature is a language and every new fact one learns is a new word; but it is not a language taken to pieces and dead in the dictionary, but the language put together into a most significant and universal sense. I wish to learn this language--not that I may know a new grammar, but that I may read the great book which is written in that tongue.
Slavery is no scholar, no improver; it does not love the whistle of the railroad; it does not love the newspaper, the mailbag, a college, a book or a preacher who has the absurd whim of saying what he thinks; it does not increase the white population; it does not improve the soil; everything goes to decay.
Announced by all the trumpets of the sky, Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields, Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven, And veils the farmhouse at the garden's end. The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed In a tumultuous privacy of storm.
There are people who have an appetite for grief; pleasure is not strong enough and they crave pain. They have mithridatic stomachs which must be fed on poisoned bread, natures so doomed that no prosperity can sooth their ragged and dishevelled desolation.
Yet some natures are too good to be spoiled by praise, and wherever the vein of thought reaches down into the profound, there is no danger from vanity. Solemn friends will warn them of the danger of the head's being turned by the flourish of trumpets, but they can afford to smile.
As men get on in life, they acquire a love for sincerity, and somewhat less solicitude to be lulled or amused. In the progress ofthe character, there is an increasing faith in the moral sentiment, and a decreasing faith in propositions.
What art can paint or gild any object in after life with the glow which nature gives to the first baubles of childhood? St. Peter's cannot have the magical power over us that the red and gold covers of our first picture-book possessed.
Doubt not, O poet, but persist. Say 'It is in me, and shall out.' Stand there, balked and dumb, stuttering and stammering, hissed and hooted, stand and strive, until at last rage draw out of thee that dream-power which every night shows thee is thine own; a power transcending all limit and privacy, and by virtue of which a man is the conductor of the whole river of electricity.
When its errands are noble and adequate, a steamboat bridging the Atlantic between Old and New England, and arriving at its ports with the punctuality of a planet, is a step of man into harmony with nature.
All inquiry into antiquity, all curiosity respecting the Pyramids, the excavated cities, Stonehenge, the Ohio Circles, Mexico, Memphis,--is the desire to do away this wild, savage, and preposterous There and Then, and introduce in its place the Here and Now.
Great geniuses have the shortest biographies. Their cousins can tell you nothing about them. They lived in their writings, and sotheir house and street life was trivial and commonplace. If you would know their tastes and complexions, the most admiring of their readers most resembles them.
But the best read naturalist who lends an entire and devout attention to truth, will see that there remains much to learn of his relation to the world, and that it is not to be learned by any addition or subtraction or other comparison of known quantities, but is arrived at by untaught sallies of the spirit, by a continual self-recovery, and by entire humility.
The lover never sees personal resemblances in his mistress to her kindred or to others. His friends find in her a likeness to hermother, or her sisters, or to persons not of her blood. The lover sees no resemblance except to summer evenings and diamond mornings, to rainbows and the song of birds.
To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature. Most persons do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing. The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and heart of the child.
Nature is no sentimentalist, - does not cosset or pamper us. We must see that the world is rough and surly, and will not mind drowning a man or a woman; but swallows your ship like a grain of dust. The cold, inconsiderate of persons, tingles your blood, benumbs your feet, freezes a man like an apple. The diseases, the elements, fortune, gravity, lightning, respect no persons.
So each man, like each plant, has his parasites. A strong, astringent, bilious nature has more truculent enemies than the slugs and moths that fret my leaves. Such a one has curculios, borers, knife-worms; a swindler ate him first, then a client, then a quack, then smooth, plausible gentlemen, bitter and selfish as Moloch.
How can he [today's writer] be honored, when he does not honor himself; when he loses himself in the crowd; when he is no longer the lawgiver, but the sycophant, ducking to the giddy opinion of a reckless public.
There is in nature a parallel unity which corresponds to the unity in the mind and makes it available. This methodizing mind meets no resistance in its attempts. The scattered blocks, with which it strives to form a symmetrical structure, fit. This design following after finds with joy that like design went before. Not only man puts things in a row, but things belong in a row.
The intellect,-that is miraculous! Who has it, has the talisman: his skin and bones, though they were of the color of night, are transparent, and the everlasting stars shine through, with attractive beams.
Society is infested by persons who, seeing that the sentiments please, counterfeit the expression of them. These we call sentimentalists - talkers who mistake the description for the thing, saying for having.
Besides, our action on each other, good as well as evil, is so incidental and at random, that we can seldom hear the acknowledgments of any person who would thank us for a benefit, without some shame and humiliation. We can rarely strike a direct stroke, but must be content with an oblique one; we seldom have the satisfaction of yielding a direct benefit, which is directly received.
A man cannot speak but he judges himself. With his will or against his will he draws his portrait to the eye of his companions by every word. Every opinion reacts on him who utters it. It is a threadball thrown at a mark, but the other end remains on the thrower
But man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time.
The land is the appointed remedy for whatever is false and fantastic in our culture. The continent we inhabit is to be physic andfood for our mind, as well as our body. The land, with its tranquilizing, sanative influences, is to repair the errors of a scholastic and traditional education, and bring us to just relations with men and things.
Everything teaches transition, transference, metamorphosis: therein is human power, in transference, not in creation; & therein is human destiny, not in longevity but in removal. We dive & reappear in new places.
An imaginative book renders us much more service at first, by stimulating us through its tropes, than afterward, when we arrive atthe precise sense of the author. I think nothing is of any value in books, excepting the transcendental and extraordinary.
Whoever is open, loyal, true; of humane and affable demeanour; honourable himself, and in his judgement of others; faithful to his word as to law, and faithful alike to God and man....such a man is a true gentleman.
Never mind the ridicule, never mind the defeat: up again, old heart!-it seems to say,-there is victory yet for all justice; and the true romance which the world exists to realize, will be the transformation of genius into practical power.
The solar system has no anxiety about its reputation, and the credit of truth and honesty is as safe; nor have I any fear that a skeptical bias can be given by leaning hard on the sides of fate, of practical power, or of trade, which the doctrine of Faith cannot down-weigh.
When a thought of Plato becomes a thought to me,--when a truth that fired the soul of Pindar fires mine, time is no more. When I feel that we two meet in a perception, that our two souls are tinged with the same hue, and do as it were run into one, why should I measure degrees of latitude, why should I count Egyptian years?
A man makes inferiors his superiors by heat; self control is the rule. Anger is an uncontrollable feeling that betrays what you are when you are not yourself. Anger is that powerful internal force that blows out the light of reason. Know this to be the enemy: it is anger, born of desire.
There is no teaching until the pupil is brought into the same state or principle in which you are; a transfusion takes place; he is you, and you are he; then is a teaching; and by no unfriendly chance or bad company can he ever lose the benefit.
Wisdom will never let us stand with any man on an unfriendly footing. We refuse sympathy and intimacy with people, as if we waited for some better sympathy or intimacy to come. But whence and when: Tomorrow will be like today. Life wastes itself while we are preparing to live.
I knew a witty physician who found theology in the biliary duct, and used to affirm that if there was a disease in the liver, the man became a Calvinist, and if that organ was sound, he became a Unitarian.
So use all that is called Fortune. Most men gamble with her, and gain all, and lose all, as her wheel rolls. But do thou leave as unlawful these winnings, and deal with Cause and Effect, the Chancellors of God.
Courage charms us, because it indicates that a man loves an idea better than all things in the world, that he is thinking neither of his bed, nor his dinner, nor his money, but will venture all to put in act the invisible thought of his mind.
The lessons of science should be experimental also. The sight of a planet through a telescope is worth all the course on astronomy; the shock of the electric spark in the elbow outvalues all theories; the taste of the nitrous oxide, the firing of an artificial volcano, are better than volumes of chemistry.
In our Mechanics' Fair, there must be not only bridges, ploughs, carpenter's planes, and baking troughs, but also some few finer instruments,--rain-gauges, thermometers, and telescopes; and in society, besides farmers, sailors, and weavers, there must be a few persons of purer fire kept specially as gauges and meters of character; persons of a fine, detecting instinct, who note the smallest accumulations of wit and feeling in the bystander.
A poet is no rattlebrain, saying what comes uppermost, and, because he says every thing, saying, at last, something good; but a heart in unison with his time and country. There is nothing whimsical or fantastic in his production, but sweet and sad earnest, freighted with the weightiest convictions, and pointed with the most determined aim which any man or class knows of in his times.
The world is filled with the proverbs and acts and winkings of a base prudence, which is a devotion to matter, as if we possessedno other faculties than the palate, the nose, the touch, the eye and ear; a prudence which adores the Rule of Three, which never subscribes, which never gives, which seldom lends, and asks but one question of any project,--Will it bake bread?
Consider what you have in the smallest chosen library. A company of the wisest and wittiest men that could be picked out of all civil countries, in a thousand years, have set in best order the results of their learning and wisdom.
A beautiful person among the Greeks, was thought to betray by this sign some secret favor of the immortal gods; and we can pardonpride, when a woman possesses such a figure that wherever she stands, or moves, or leaves a shadow on the wall, or sits for a portrait to the artist, she confers a favor on the world.
Life is girt all round with a zodiac of sciences, the contributions of men who have perished to add their point of light to our sky. ... These road-makers on every hand enrich us. We must extend the area of life and multiply our relations. We are as much gainers by finding a property in the old earth as by acquiring a new planet.
The energetic action of the times develops individualism, and the religious appear isolated. I esteem this a step in the right direction. Heaven deals with us on no representative system. Souls are not saved in bundles.
The vegetable life does not content itself with casting from the flower or the tree a single seed, but it fills the air and earth with a prodigality of seeds, that, if thousands perish, thousands may plant themselves, that hundreds may come up, that tens may live to maturity; that, at least one may replace the parent.