Washington Irving

Washington
Irving
1783
1859

American Essayist, Biographer and Historian

Author Quotes

It was the policy of the good old gentleman to make his children feel that home was the happiest place in the world; and I value this delicious home feeling as one of the choicest gifts a parent can bestow

No sooner does he hear any of this brothers mention reform or retrenchment, than up he jumps.

Sometimes he spent hours together in the great libraries of Paris, those catacombs of departed authors, rummaging among their hoards of dusty and obsolete works in quest of ghoul, feeding in the charnel house of decayed literature.

The grave buries every error, covers every defect, extinguishes every resentment. - From its peaceful bosom spring none but fond regrets and tender recollections. - Who can look down upon the grave of an enemy, and not feel a compunctious throb that he should have warred with the poor handful of dust that lies moldering before him.

The taste of the English in the cultivation of land, and in what is called landscape gardening, is unrivalled. They have studied nature intently, and discover an exquisite sense of her beautiful forms and harmonious combinations. Those charms which in other countries she lavishes in wild solitudes are here assembled round the haunts of domestic life. They seem to have caught her coy and furtive graces, and spread them, like witchery, about their rural abodes.

There is certainly something in angling that tends to produce a serenity of the mind.

True love will not brook reserve; it feels undervalued and outraged, when even the sorrows of those it loves are concealed from it.

It was to complete his marriage with Maimuna, the daughter of Al Hareth, the Helalite. He had become betrothed to her on his arrival at Mecca, but had post-poned the nuptials until after he had concluded the rites of pilgrimage. This was doubtless another marriage of policy, for Maimuna was fifty-one years of age, and a widow, but the connection gained him two powerful proselytes. One was Khaled Ibn al Waled, a nephew of the widow, an intrepid warrior who had come near destroying Mahomet at the battle of Ohod. He now became one of the most victorious champions of Islamism, and by his prowess obtained the appellation of The Sword of God. The other proselyte was Khaled's friend, Amru Ibn al Aass; the same who assailed Mahomet with poetry and satire at the commencement of his prophetic career ; who had been an ambassador from the Koreishites to the king of Abyssinia, to obtain the surrender of the fugitive Moslems, and who was henceforth destined with his sword to carry victoriously into foreign lands the faith he had once so strenuously opposed.

No, the love which survives the tomb is one of the noblest attributes of the soul. If it has its woes, it has likewise its delights; and when the overwhelming burst of grief is calmed into the gentle tear of recollection, when the sudden anguish and the convulsive agony over the present ruins of all that we most loved are softened away in pensive meditation on all that it was in the days of its loveliness - who would root out such a sorrow from the heart? Though it may sometimes throw a passing cloud over the bright hour of gaiety, or spread a deeper sadness over the hour of gloom, yet who would exchange it even for the song of pleasure, or the burst of revelry?

Strong and many are the claims made upon us by our mother Earth: the love of locality—the charm and attraction which some one homely landscape possesses to us, surpassing all stranger beauties, is a remarkable feature in the human heart. We who are not ethereal creatures, but of mixed and diverse nature; we who, when we look our clearest towards the skies, must still have our standing-ground of earth secure—it is strange what relations of personal love we enter into with the scenes of this lower sphere. How we delight to build our recollections upon some basis of reality—a place, a country, a local habitation: how the events of life, as we look back upon them, have grown into the well-remembered background of the places where they fell upon us! here is some sunny garden or summer lane beautified and canonized forever with the flood of a great joy; and here are dim and silent places, rooms always shadowed and dark to us, whatever they may be to others, where distress or death came once, and since then dwells for evermore.

The great British Library - an immense collection of volumes of all ages and languages, many of which are now forgotten, and most of which are seldom read: one of these sequestered pools of obsolete literature to which modern authors repair, and draw buckets full of classic lore, or pure English, undefiled wherewith to swell their own scanty rills of thought.

The tongue is the only instrument that gets sharper with use.

There is in every true woman's heart, a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity, but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.

Washington, in fact, had very little private life, but was eminently a public character.

In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market town or rural port, which by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly known by the name of Tarry Town.

It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet.

Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.

Such heaped up platters of cakes of various and almost indescribable kinds, known only to experienced Dutch housewives! There was the doughty doughnut, the tender oly koek, and the crisp and crumbling cruller; sweet cakes and short cakes, ginger cakes and honey cakes, and the whole family of cakes. And then there were apple pies, and peach pies, and pumpkin pies; besides slices of ham and smoked beef; and moreover delectable dishes of preserved plums, and peaches, and pears, and quinces; not to mention broiled shad and roasted chickens; together with bowls of milk and cream, all mingled higgledy-piggledy, pretty much as I have enumerated them, with the motherly teapot sending up its clouds of vapor from the midst-- Heaven bless the mark!

The idol of to-day pushes the hero of yesterday out of our recollection, and will, in turn, be supplanted by his successor of to-morrow.

The very difference of character in marriage produces a harmonious combination.

There is nothing in England that exercises a more delightful spell over my imagination than the lingerings of the holiday customs and rural games of former times. They recall the pictures my fancy used to draw in the May morning of life, when as yet I only knew the world through books, and believed it to be all that poets had painted it; and they bring with them the flavor of those honest days of yore, in which, perhaps with equal fallacy, I am apt to think the world was more home-bred, social, and joyous than at present.

What earnest worker, with hand and brain for the benefit of his fellowmen, could desire a more pleasing recognition of his usefulness than the monument of a tree, ever growing, ever blooming, and ever bearing wholesome fruit?

In the castle of Koraida was found a great quantity of pikes, lances, cuirasses, and other armor; and its lands were covered with flocks and herds and camels. In dividing the spoil each foot-soldier had one lot, each horseman three; two for his horse, and one for himself. A fifth part of the whole was set apart for the prophet. The most precious prize in the eyes of Mahomet was Rihana, daughter of Simeon, a wealthy and powerful Jew; and the most beautiful female of her tribe. He took her to himself, and, having converted her to the faith, added her to the number of his wives. But, though thus susceptible of the charms of the Israelitish women, Mahomet became more and more vindictive in his hatred of the men; no longer putting faith in their covenants, and suspecting them of the most insidious attempts upon his life.

I've had it with you and your emotional constipation!

O woman! thou knowest the hour when the good man of the house will return, when the heat and burden of the day are past; do not let him at such time, when he is weary with toil and jaded with discouragement, find upon his coming to his habitation that the foot which should hasten to meet him is wandering at a distance, that the soft hand which should wipe the sweat from his brow is knocking at the door of other houses.

Author Picture
First Name
Washington
Last Name
Irving
Birth Date
1783
Death Date
1859
Bio

American Essayist, Biographer and Historian