Thomas De Quincey, fully Thomas Penson De Quincey

Thomas De
Quincey, fully Thomas Penson De Quincey

English Author and Intellectual, known for "Confessions of an English Opium-Eater"

Author Quotes

Here was the secret of happiness, about which philosophers had disputed for so many ages, at once discovered; happiness might now be bought for a penny, and carried in the waistcoat-pocket; portable ecstasies might be had corked up in a pint-bottle; and peace of mind could be sent down by the mail.

Many a man has risen to eminence under the powerful reaction of his mind against the scorn of the unworthy, daily evoked by his personal defects, who, with a handsome person, would have sunk into the luxury of a careless life under the tranquilizing smiles of continual admiration.

Sometimes there might be heard murmurs of discontent: but far oftener expressions on the countenance, or uttered in words, of patience, hope, and tranquility. And taken generally, I must say, that, in this point at least, the poor are far more philosophic than the rich??that they show a more ready and cheerful submission to what they consider as irremediable evils, or irreparable losses.

There is first the literature of knowledge, and secondly, the literature of power. The function of the first is--to teach; the function of the second is--to move, the first is a rudder, the second an oar or a sail. The first speaks to the mere discursive understanding; the second speaks ultimately, it may happen, to the higher understanding or reason, but always through affections of pleasure and sympathy.

I cannot think that any man could ever tower upward into a very great philosopher unless he should begin or end with Christianity. - A great man may, by a rare possibility, be an infidel. - An intellect of the highest order must build on Christianity.

Matched against the master of ?ologies? in our days, the most accomplished of Grecians is becoming what the Master had become long since in competition with the political economist.

Surely everyone is aware of the divine pleasures which attend a wintry fireside; candles at four o'clock, warm hearthrugs, tea, a fair tea-maker, shutters closed, curtains flowing in ample draperies to the floor, whilst the wind and rain are raging audibly without.

There is such a thing as keeping the sympathies of love and admiration in a dormant state, or state of abeyance.

I stood checked for a moment - awe, not fear, fell upon me - and whist I stood, a solemn wind began to blow, the most mournful that ever ear heard. Mournful! That is saying nothing. It was a wind that had swept the fields of mortality for a hundred centuries.

Mathematics has not a foot to stand on which is not purely metaphysical.

Tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervous sensibilities will always be the favorite beverage of the intellectual.

Thou hast the keys of Paradise, oh just, subtle, and mighty opium!

I trust that it will prove, not merely an interesting record, but, in a considerable degree, useful and instructive. In that hope it is, that I have drawn it up: and that must be my apology for breaking through that delicate and honorable reserve, which, for the most part, restrains us from the public exposure of our own errors and infirmities.

Much has been accomplished; more than people are aware - so gradual has been the advance. How noiseless is the growth of corn! Watch it night and day for a week, and you will never see it growing; but return after two months, and you will find it all whitening for the harvest. Such, and so imperceptible in the stages of their motion are the victories of the press.

That memory is the book of judgment, from some opium experiences of mine, I can believe. I have, indeed, seen the same thing asserted in modern books, and accompanied by a remark which I am convinced is true, namely: that the dread book of account, which the Scriptures speak of is, in fact, the mind itself of each individual. Of this, at least, I feel assured - that there is no such thing as forgetting, possible to the mind; a thousand accidents may and will interpose a veil between our present consciousness and the secret inscriptions on the mind; accidents of the same sort will also rend away this veil; but whether veiled or unveiled, the inscription remains forever; just as the stars seem to withdraw before the common light of day; whereas, in fact, we all know that it is the light which is drawn over them as a veil, and that they are waiting to be revealed, when the obscuring daylight shall have withdrawn.

Though a great man may, by a rare possibility, be an infidel, yet an intellect of the highest order must build upon Christianity.

Ideas! There is no occasion for them; all that class of ideas which can be available in such a case has a language of representative feelings.

Nevertheless, in spite of such indications of humanity, he has ever since existed in my mind as the beatific vision of an immortal druggist, sent down on this earth on a special mission to myself.

The burden of the incommunicable.

To suppose a reader thoroughly indifferent to Kant, is to suppose him thoroughly unintellectual; and, therefore, though in reality he should happen not to regard him with interest, it is one of the fictions of courtesy to presume that he does.

If I could have foreseen the hurricane, the perfect hail-storm of affliction which soon fell upon me, well might I have been agitated. To this agitation the deep peace of the morning presented an affecting contrast, and in some degrees a medicine.

No progressive knowledge will ever medicine that dread misgiving of a mysterious and pathless power given to words of a certain import.

The French have been notorious through generations for their puerile affectation of Roman forms, models, and historic precedents.

Under our present enormous accumulation of books, I do affirm that a most miserable distraction of choice must be very generally incident to the times; that the symptoms of it are in fact very prevalent, and that one of the chief symptoms is an enormous 'gluttonism' for books.

If in this world there is one misery having no relief, it is the pressure on the heart from the Incommunicable. And if another Sphinx should arise to propose another enigma to man?saying, what burden is that which only is insupportable by human fortitude? I should answer at once: It is the burden of the Incommunicable

Author Picture
First Name
Thomas De
Last Name
Quincey, fully Thomas Penson De Quincey
Birth Date
Death Date

English Author and Intellectual, known for "Confessions of an English Opium-Eater"