Charles Dickens, fully Charles John Huffam Dickens
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way.
In the little world in which children have their existence, whosoever brings them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt as injustice.
Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts.
Ye men of gloom and austerity, who paint the face of Infinite Benevolence with an eternal frown, read in the everlasting book, wide open to your view, the lesson it would teach. Its pictures are not in black and somber hues, but bright and glowing tints; its music - save when ye drown it - is not in sights and groans, but songs and cheerful sounds. Listen to the million voices in the summer air, and find one dismal as your own.
While there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world quite so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.
When the dust of evening had come on, and not a sound disturbed the sacred stillness of the place, when the bright moon poured in her light on tomb and monument, on pillar, wall, and arch, and most of all (it seemed to them) upon her quiet grave - in that calm time, when all outward things and inward thoughts teem with assurances of immortality, and worldly hopes and fears are humbled in the dust before them, then, with tranquil and submissive hearts they turned away, and left the child with God.
What is meant by a "knowledge of the world" is simply an acquaintance with the infirmities of men.
The suspense - the fearful, acute suspense, of standing idly by while the life of one we dearly love is trembling in the balance; the racking thoughts that crowd upon the mind and make the heart beat violently, and the breath come thick; the desperate anxiety "to be doing something" to relieve the pain or lessen the danger which we have no power to alleviate; and the sinking of soul which the sad sense of our helplessness produces, what tortures can equal these, and what reflections or efforts can, in the full tide and fever of time, allay them.
We may neglect the wrongs which we receive, but be careful to rectify those which we are the cause of to others.
The sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose.
Shall we speak of the inspiration of a poet or a priest, and not for the heart impelled by love and self-devotion to the lowliest work in the lowliest way of life?
The first external revelations of the dry-rot in men is a tendency to lurk and lounge; to be at street corners without intelligible reason; to be going anywhere when met; to be about many places rather than any; to do nothing tangible but to have an intention of performing a number of tangible duties to-morrow or the day after.
Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many: not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some.
Minds, like bodies will often fall into a pimpled, ill-conditioned state from mere excess of comfort.
Novelties please less than they impress.
May I tell you why it seems to me a good thing for us to remember wrong that has been done to us? That we may forgive it.
It is an exquisite and beautiful thing in our nature, that, when the heart is touched and softened by some tranquil happiness or affectionate feeling, the memory of the dead comes over it most powerfully and irresistibly. It would seem almost as though our better thoughts and sympathies were charms, in virtue of which the soul is enabled to hold some vague and mysterious intercourse with the spirits of those whom we loved in life. Alas! how often and how long may these patient angels hover around us, watching for the spell which is so soon forgotten!
Industry is the soul of business and the keystone of prosperity.
In the destroyer’s steps there spring up bright creations that defy his power and his dark path becomes a way of light to heaven.
In any emergency in life there is nothing so strong and safe as the simple truth.
If ever household affections and loves are graceful things, they are graceful in the poor. The ties that bind the wealthy and the proud to home may be forged on earth, but those which link the poor man to his humble hearth are of the true metal and bear the stamp of heaven.
I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.