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.

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.

Those who never philosophized until they met with disappointments, have mostly become disappointed philosophers.

A great many wise sayings have been uttered about the effects of solitary retirement; but the motives which impel men to seek it are not more various than the effects which it produces on different individuals. One thing is certain, that those who can with truth affirm that they are never less alone than when alone, might generally add that they never feel more lonely than when not alone.

In a balanced organization, working towards a common objective, there is success.

Men of much depth of mind can bear a great deal of counsel; for it does not easily deface their own character, nor render their purposes indistinct.

The living together for three long, rainy days in the country has done more to dispel love than all the perfidies in love that have ever been committed.

Thoughts there are, not to be translated into any language, and spirits alone can read them.

A man's action is only a picture book of his creed.

In a quarrel between two friends, if one of them, even the injured one, were in the retirement of his chamber, to consider himself as the hired advocate of the other at the court of wronged friendship; and were to omit all the facts which told in his own favour, to exaggerate all that could possibly be said against himself, and to conjure up from his imagination a few circumstances of the same tendency; he might with little effort make a good case for his former friend. Let him be assured, that whatever the most skillful advocate could say, his poor friend really believes and feels; and then, instead of wondering at the insolence of such a traitor walking about in open day, he will pity his friend's delusion, have some gentle misgivings as to the exact propriety of his own conduct, and perhaps sue for an immediate reconciliation.

Men rattle their chains--to manifest their freedom.

The man of the house can destroy the pleasure of the household, but he cannot make it. That rests with the woman, and it is her greatest privilege.

War may be the game of kings, but, like the games at ancient Rome, it is generally exhibited to please and pacify the people.

A mixture of admiration and pity is one of the surest recipes for affection.

In the world of mind, as in that of matter, we always occupy a position. He who is continually changing his point of view will see more, and that too more clearly, than one who, statue-like, forever stands upon the same pedestal; however lofty and well-placed that pedestal may be.

Misery appears to improve the intellect, but this is only because it dismisses fear.

The noblest works, like the temple of Solomon, are brought to perfection in silence.

We all admire the wisdom of people who come to us for advice.

Almost all human affairs are tedious. Everything is too long. Visits, dinners, concerts, plays, speeches, pleadings, essays, sermons, are too long. Pleasure and business labour equally under this defect, or, as I should rather say, this fatal superabundance.

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