Arthur Helps, fully Sir Arthur Helps

Helps, fully Sir Arthur Helps

English Writer, Historian, Biographer and Dean of the Privy Council

Author Quotes

What a blessing this smoking is! Perhaps the greatest that we owe to the discovery of America.

When we consider the incidents of former days, and perceive, while reviewing the long line of causes, how the most important events of our lives originated in the most trifling circumstances; how the beginning of our greatest happiness or greatest misery is to be attributed to a delay, to an accident, to a mistake; we learn a lesson of profound humility.

You cannot expect that a friend should be like the atmosphere, which confers all manner of benefits upon you, and without which indeed it would be impossible to live, but at the same time is never in your way.

We talk of early prejudices, of the prejudices of religion, of position, of education; but in truth we only mean the prejudices of others. It is by the observation of trivial matters that the wise learn the influence of prejudice over their own minds at all times, and the wonderfully moulding power which those minds possess in making all things around conform to the idea of the moment. Let a man but note how often he has seen likenesses where no resemblance exists; admired ordinary pictures, because he thought they were from the hands of celebrated masters; delighted in the commonplace observations of those who had gained a reputation for wisdom; laughed where no wit was; and he will learn with humility to make allowance for the effect of prejudice in others.

Do not mistake energy for enthusiasm; the softest speakers are often the most enthusiastic of men.

It is a weak thing to tell half your story, and then ask your friend's advice--a still weaker thing to take it.

Resolve—and tell your wife of your good resolution. She will aid it all she can. Her step will be lighter and her hand will be busier all day, expecting the comfortable evening at home when you return. Household affairs will have been well attended to. A place for everything, and everything in its place, will, like some good genius, have made even an humble home the scene of neatness, arrangement, and taste. The table will be ready at the fireside. The loaf will be one of that order which says, by its appearance, You may come and cut again. The cups and saucers will be waiting for supplies. The kettle will be singing; and the children, happy with fresh air and exercise, will be smiling in their glad anticipation of that evening meal when father is at home, and of the pleasant reading afterwards.

The worst use that can be made of success is to boast of it.

Every happiness is a hostage to fortune.

It is an error to suppose that no man understands his own character. Most persons know even their failings very well, only they persist in giving them names different from those usually assigned by the rest of the world; and they compensate for this mistake by naming, at first sight, with singular accuracy, those very same failings in others.

Routine is not organization, any more than paralysis is order.

There are few who would need advisers, if they were only accustomed to appeal to themselves in their calmest, holiest moments. If, when embarrassed with doubt as to any course of action, they would turn aside from the immediate tumult of the world, and from the vain speaking of those who darken counsel by words without knowledge; and would then commune with their hearts alone, at night, the heavens their silent counselors, they would act not always in accordance with the wise men of this world, but with that wisdom which bringeth peace.

Everywhere I have sought rest and not found it, except sitting in a corner by myself with a little book.

It is better in some respects to be admired by those with whom you live, than to be loved by them. And this is not on account of any gratification of vanity, but because admiration is so much more tolerant than love.

Simple ignorance has in its time been complimented by the names of most of the vices, and of all the virtues.

There are no better cosmetics than a severe temperance and purity, modesty and humility, a gracious temper and calmness of spirit; and there is no true beauty without the signatures of these graces in the very countenance.

Extremely foolish advice is likely to be uttered by those who are looking at the laboring vessel from the land.

It is quite impossible to understand the character of a person from one action, however striking that action may be.

Strength is born in the deep silence of long-suffering hearts; not amid joy.

There are often two characters of a man--that which is believed in by people in general, and that which he enjoys among his associates. It is supposed, but vainly, that the latter is always a more accurate approximation to the truth, whereas in reality it is often a part which he performs to admiration: while the former is the result of certain minute traits, certain inflexions of voice and countenance, which cannot be discussed, but are felt as it were instinctively by his domestics and by the outer world. The impressions arising from these slight circumstances he is able to efface from the minds of his constant companions, or from habit they have ceased to observe them.

Few have wished for memory so much as they have longed for forgetfulness.

Keep your feet on the ground, but let your heart soar as high as it will. Refuse to be average or to surrender to the chill of your spiritual environment.

The accomplished hypocrite does not exercise his skill upon every possible occasion for the sake of acquiring facility in the use of his instruments. In all unimportant matters, who is more just, more upright, more candid, more honorable?

There is an honesty which is but decided selfishness in disguise. The man who will not refrain from expressing his sentiments and manifesting his feelings, however unfit the time, however inappropriate the place, however painful this expression may be, lays claim, forsooth, to our approbation as an honest man, and sneers at those of finer sensibilities as hypocrites.

Having once decided to achieve a certain task, achieve it at all costs of tedium and distaste. The gain in self-confidence of having accomplished a tiresome labor is immense.

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Helps, fully Sir Arthur Helps
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English Writer, Historian, Biographer and Dean of the Privy Council