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

Though we speak nonsense, God will pick out the meaning of it.

Mountains are earth's undecaying monuments.

Of a bitter satirist it might be said that the person or thing on which his satire fell shriveled up as if the devil had spit on it.

Phoebe, I want thee much. Thou aft the only person in the world that ever was necessary to me. Other people have occasionally been more or less agreeable; but I think I was always more at ease alone than in anybody's company, till I knew thee. And now I am only myself when thou art within my reach. Thou art an unspeakably beloved woman. How couldst thou inflict such frozen agony upon me in that dream?

She named the infant `Pearl', as being of great price purchased with all she had.

Such has often been my apathy, when objects long sought, and earnestly desired, were placed within my reach.

The breath of peace was fanning her glorious brow, her head was bowed a very little forward, and a tress, escaping from its bonds, fell by the side of her pure white temple, and close to her just opened lips; it hung there motionless! no breath disturbed its repose! She slept as an angel might sleep, having accomplished the mission of her God.

The influential classes, and those who take upon themselves to be leaders of the people, are fully liable to all the passionate error that has ever characterized the maddest mob.

The sun, meanwhile, if not already above the horizon, was ascending nearer and nearer to its verge. A few clouds, floating high upward, caught some of the earliest light, and threw down its golden gleam on the windows of all the houses in the street, not forgetting the House of the Seven Gables, which--many such sunrises as it had witnessed--looked cheerfully at the present one. The reflected radiance served to show, pretty distinctly, the aspect and arrangement of the room which Hepzibah entered, after descending the stairs.

There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name. Come, devil; for to thee is this world given.

Thus content with an inner sphere which they inhabit together, it is not immediately that the outward world can obtrude itself upon their notice.

Great men need to be lifted upon the shoulders of the whole world, in order to conceive their great ideas or perform their great deeds. That is, there must be an atmosphere of greatness round about them. A hero cannot be a hero unless in an heroic world.

Here, dearest Eve, he exclaims, here is food. Well, answered she, with the germ of a housewife stirring within her, we have been so busy to-day that a picked-up dinner must serve.

I find myself at the extremity of a long beach. How gladly does the spirit leap forth, and suddenly enlarge its sense of being to the full extent of the broad, blue, sunny deep! A greeting and a homage to the Sea! I descend over its margin, and dip my hand into the wave that meets me, and bathe my brow. That far resounding roar is the Ocean's voice of welcome. His salt breath brings a blessing along with it.

Ideas, which grow up within the imagination and appear so lovely to it and of a value beyond whatever men call valuable, are exposed to be shattered and annihilated by contact with the practical.

In view of my previous weariness of office, and vague thoughts of resignation, my fortune somewhat resembled that of a person who should entertain an idea of committing suicide, and, altogether beyond his hopes, meet with the good hap to be murdered.

It is the unspeakable misery of a life so false as his, that it steals the pith and substance out of whatever realities there are around us, and which were meant by Heaven to be the spirit?s joy and nutriment. To the untrue man, the whole universe is false?it is impalpable?it shrinks to nothing within his grasp. And he himself in so far as he shows himself in a false light, becomes a shadow, or, indeed, ceases to exist.

Just where she had paused, the brook chanced to form a pool so smooth and quiet that it reflected a perfect image of her little figure, with all the brilliant picturesqueness of her beauty, in its adornment of flowers and wreathed foliage.... It was strange, the way in which Pearl stood, looking so steadfastly at them through the dim medium of the forest gloom, herself, meanwhile, all glorified with a ray of sunshine.

Man?s own youth is the world?s youth; at least, he feels as if it were, and imagines that the earth?s granite substance is something not yet hardened, and which he can mold into whatever shape he likes. So it was with Holgrave. He could talk sagely about the world?s old age, but never actually believed what he said; he was a young man still, and therefore looked upon the world?that gray-bearded and wrinkled profligate, decrepit, without being venerable?as a tender stripling, capable of being improved into all that it ought to be, but scarcely yet had shown the remotest promise of becoming. He had that sense, or inward prophecy, ?which a young man had better never have been born than not to have, and a mature man had better die at once than utterly to relinquish,?that we are not doomed to creep on forever in the old bad way, but that, this very now, there are the harbingers abroad of a golden era, to be accomplished in his own lifetime.

Had there been a Papist among the crowd of Puritans, he might have seen in this beautiful woman, so picturesque in her attire and mien, and with the infant at her bosom, an object to remind him of the image of Divine Maternity, which so many illustrious painters have vied with one another to represent; something which should remind him, indeed, but only by contrast, of that sacred image of sinless motherhood, whose infant was to redeem the world. Here, there was the taint of of deepest sin in the most sacred of quality of human life, working such effect, that the world was only the darker for this woman's beauty, and the more lost for the infant that she had borne.

Here, dearest Eve," he exclaims, "Here is food." "Well," answered she, with the germ of a housewife stirring within her, "we have been so busy to-day that a picked-up dinner must serve

I find nothing so singular to life as that everything appears to lose its substance the instant one actually grapples with it.

If a man, sitting all alone, cannot dream strange things, and make them look like truth, he need never try to write romances.

Is a little remarkable, that?though disinclined to talk overmuch of myself and my affairs at the fireside, and to my personal friends?an autobiographical impulse should twice in my life have taken possession of me, in addressing the public. The first time was three or four years since, when I favoured the reader?inexcusably, and for no earthly reason that either the indulgent reader or the intrusive author could imagine?with a description of my way of life in the deep quietude

It is to the credit of human nature that, except where its selfishness is brought into play, it loves more readily than it hates.

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