Arthur Helps, fully Sir Arthur Helps

Helps, fully Sir Arthur Helps

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

Author Quotes

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.

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.

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.

Man ceased to be an ape, vanquished the ape, on the day the first book was written.

The actor becomes an emotional athlete. The process is painful - my personal life suffers.

There is hardly a more common error than that of taking the man who has one talent, for a genius.

How to gain the advantages of society, without at the same time losing ourselves, is a question of no slight difficulty. The wise man often follows the crowd at a little distance, in order that he may not come suddenly upon it, nor become entangled with it, and that he may with some means of amusement maintain a clear and quiet pathway.

Mankind are apt to be strongly prejudicial in favor of whatever is countenanced by antiquity, enforced by authority, and race commends by custom.

The apparent foolishness of others is but too frequently our own ignorance.

They tell us that Pity is akin to Love; if so, Pity must be a poor relation.

A friend is one who does not laugh when you are in a ridiculous position.

I do not know of any sure way of making others happy as being so one's self.

Many know how to please, but know not when they have ceased to give pleasure.

The business of the head is to form a good heart, and not merely to rule an evil one, as is generally imagined.

Those who are successfully to lead their fellow-men, should have once possessed the nobler feelings. We have all known individuals whose magnanimity was not likely to be troublesome on any occasion; but then they betrayed their own interests by unwisely omitting the consideration, that such feelings might exist in the breasts of those whom they had to guide and govern: for they themselves cannot even remember the time when in their eyes justice appeared preferable to expediency, the happiness of others to self-interest, or the welfare of a State to the advancement of a party.

A great and frequent error in our judgment of human nature is to suppose that those sentiments and feelings have no existence, which may be only for a time concealed. The precious metals are not found at the surface of the earth, except in sandy places.

If you would understand your own age, read the works of fiction produced in it. People in disguise speak freely.

Men love to contradict their general character. Thus a man is of a gloomy and suspicious temperament, is deemed by all morose, and ere long finds out the general opinion. He then suddenly deviates into some occasional acts of courtesy. Why? Not because he ought, not because his nature is changed; but because he dislikes being thoroughly understood. He will not be the thing whose behavior on any occasion the most careless prophet can with certainty foretell.

The greatest luxury of riches is that they enable you to escape so much good advice.

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