Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel
Hawthorne
1804
1864

American Novelist, Short-Story Writer best known for novels The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables

Author Quotes

We must not think too unkindly even of the east wind. It is not, perhaps, a wind to be loved, even in its benignest moods; but there are seasons when I delight to feel its breath upon my cheek, though it be never advisable to throw open my bosom and take it into my heart, as I would its gentle sisters of the south and west.

When man is a brute, he is the most sensual and loathsome of all brutes.

Wouldst thou, then, have preferred the condition of a weak woman, exposed to all evil and capable of none?

What a strange, sad man is he! said the child, as if speaking partly to herself. In the dark night-time, he calls us to him, and holds thy hand and mine, as when we stood with him on the scaffold yonder! And in the deep forest, where only the old trees can hear, and the strip of sky see it, he talks with thee, sitting on a heap of moss! And he kisses my forehead, too, that the little brook would hardly wash it off! But here in the sunny day, and among all the people, he knows us not; nor must we know him! A strange, sad man is he, with is hand always over his heart!

When scattered clouds are resting on the bosoms of hills, it seems as if one might climb into the heavenly region, earth being so intermixed with sky, and gradually transformed into it.

Yes, poisonous thing! repeated Giovanni, beside himself with passion. Thou hast done it! Thou has blasted me! Thou hast filled my veins with poison! Thou hast made me as hateful, as ugly, as loathsome and deadly a creature as thyself ? a world's wonder of hideous monstrosity! Now, if our breath be happily as fatal to ourselves as to all others, let us join our lips in one kiss of unutterable hatred, and so die!

What a sweet reverence is that when a young man deems his mistress a little more than mortal and almost chides himself for longing to bring her close to his heart.

When the Artist rises high enough to achieve the Beautiful, the symbol by which he makes it perceptible to mortal senses becomes of little value in his eyes, while his spirit possesses itself in the enjoyment of the reality.

Yesterday I went out at about twelve, and visited the British Museum; an exceedingly tiresome affair. It quite crushes a person to see so much at once; and I wandered from hall to hall with a weary and heavy heart, wishing (Heaven forgive me!) that the Elgin marbles and the frieze of the Parthenon were all burnt into lime, and that the granite Egyptian statues were hewn and squared into building stones, and that the mummies had all turned to dust, two thousand years ago; and, in fine, that all the material relics of so many successive ages had disappeared with the generations that produced them. The present is burthened too much with the past.

What a terrible thing it is to try to let off a little bit of truth into this miserable humbug of a world!

When the friend shows his inmost heart to his friend; the lover to his best-beloved; when man does not vainly shrink from the eye of his Creator, loathsomely treasuring up the secret of his sin; then deem me a monster, for the symbol beneath which I have lived, and die! I look around me, and, lo! on every visage a black veil!

You are my evil spirit, you and the hard, coarse world! The leaden thoughts and the despondency that you fling upon me are my clogs, else I should long ago have achieved the task that I was created for.

What are the haughtiest of us but ephemeral aristocrats of a summer's day?

When we have left Rome, we are astonished by the discovery, by-and-by, that our heart-strings have mysteriously attached themselves to the Eternal City, and are drawing us thitherward again, as if it were more familiar, more intimately our home, than even the spot where we were born!

You are partly crazy, and partly imbecile; a ruin, a failure, as almost everybody is,--though some in less degree, or less perceptibly, than their fellows.

What is the Unpardonable Sin? asked the lime-burner; and then he shrank farther from his companion, trembling lest his question should be answered. It is a sin that grew within my own breast, replied Ethan Brand, standing erect with a pride that distinguishes all enthusiasts of his stamp. A sin that grew nowhere else! The sin of an intellect that triumphed over the sense of brotherhood with man and reverence for God, and sacrificed everything to its own mighty claims!

Wherever there is a heart and an intellect, the diseases of the physical frame are tinged with the peculiarities of these.

You can get assent to almost any proposition so long as you are not going to do anything about it.

What is the voice of song, when the world lacks the ear to taste?

While we fancy ourselves going straight forward, and attaining, at every step, an entirely new position of affairs, we do actually return to something long ago tried and abandoned, but which we now find etherealized, refined, and perfected to its ideal. The past is but a coarse and sensual prophecy of the present and the future.

You speculate on the luxury of wearing out a whole existence in bed, like an oyster in its shell, content with the sluggish ecstasy of inaction.

What we call real estate--the solid ground to build a house on--is the broad foundation on which nearly all the guilt of this world rests.

Who can say in fact that hate and love are not at the bottom if not two aspects of the same human passion? So much hate as love, if they reach a certain intensity, presuppose a mutual understanding of two hearts so deep that a human being is at the mercy of another for the life of his spirit, and it is for this that both the ' passionate lover as the relentless enemy of the reasons you feel faint if life is taken away from them the object of love or hatred.

Zealots have an idol, to which they consecrate themselves high priests, and deem it holy work to offer sacrifices of whatever is most precious.

What would a man do if he were compelled to live always in the sultry heat of society, and could never better himself in cool solitude?

Author Picture
First Name
Nathaniel
Last Name
Hawthorne
Birth Date
1804
Death Date
1864
Bio

American Novelist, Short-Story Writer best known for novels The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables