Washington Irving

Washington
Irving
1783
1859

American Essayist, Biographer and Historian

Author Quotes

It [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?

Jehennam is a region fraught with all kinds of horrors. The very trees have writhing serpents for branches, bearing for fruit the heads of demons. We forbear to dwell upon the particulars of this dismal abode, which are given with painful and often disgusting minuteness. It is described as consisting of seven stages, one below the other, and varying in the nature and intensity of torment. The first stage is allotted to Atheists, who deny creator and creation, and believe the world to be eternal. The second for Manicheans and others that admit two divine principles ; and for the Arabian idolaters of the era of Mahomet. The third is for the Brahmins of India ; the fourth for the Jews ; the fifth for Christians ; the sixth for the Magians or Ghebers of Persia ; the seventh for hypocrites, who profess without believing in religion. The fierce angel Thabeck, that is to say, the Executioner, presides over this region of terror. We must observe that the general nature of Jehennam, and the distribution of its punishments, have given rise to various commentaries and expositions among the Moslem doctors. It is maintained by some, and it is a popular doctrine, that none of the believers in Allah and his prophets will be condemned to eternal punishment. Their sins will be expiated by proportionate periods of suffering, varying from nine hundred to nine thousand years.

On mounting a rising ground, which brought the figure of his fellow-traveller in relief against the sky, gigantic in height, and muffled in a cloak, Ichabod was horror-struck on perceiving that he was headless!--but his horror was still more increased on observing that the head, which should have rested on his shoulders, was carried before him on the pommel of his saddle!

Such were the unlooked for prejudices which Columbus had to encounter at the very outset of his conference, and which certainly relish more of the convent than the university. To his simplest proposition, the spherical form of the earth, were opposed figurative texts of Scripture.

The love of a delicate female is always shy and silent. Even when fortunate, she scarcely breathes it to herself; but when otherwise, she buries it in the recesses of her bosom, and there lets it cower and brood among the ruins of her peace.

There is a certain artificial polish, a commonplace vivacity, acquired by perpetually mingling in the beau monde, which, in the commerce of the world, supplies the place of a natural suavity and good humor, but is purchased at the expense of all original and sterling traits of character. By a kind of fashionable discipline, the eye is taught to brighten, the lip to smile, and the whole countenance to irradiate with the semblance of friendly welcome, while the bosom is unwarmed by a single spark of genuine kindness and good will.

There is something nobly simple and pure in a taste for the cultivation of forest trees. It argues, I think, a sweet and generous nature to have his strong relish for the beauties of vegetation, and this friendship for the hardy and glorious sons of the forest. He who plants a tree looks forward to future ages, and plants for posterity. Nothing could be less selfish than this.

When friends grow cold, and the converse of intimates languishes into vapid civility and commonplace, books only continue the unaltered countenance of happier days, and cheer us with that true friendship which never deceived hope nor deserted sorrow.

It embarrasses me to think of all those years I was buying silk suits and alligator shoes that were hurting my feet; cars that I just parked, and the dust would just build up on them.

Kindness in women, not their beauteous looks, shall win my love.

One of the greatest and simplest tools for learning more and growing is doing more.

Surely happiness is reflective, like the light of heaven; and every countenance, bright with smiles, and glowing with innocent enjoyment, is a mirror transmitting to others the rays of a supreme and ever-shining benevolence.

The love of a mother is never exhausted; it never changes, it never tires. A father may turn his back on his child, brothers and sisters may become inveterate enemies, husbands may desert their wives, wives their husbands: but a mother’s love endures through all; in good repute, in bad repute, in the face of the world’s condemnation, a mother still loves on, and still hopes that her child may turn from his evil ways, and repent; still she remembers the infant smiles that once filled her bosom with rapture, the merry laugh, the joyful shout of his childhood, the opening promise of his youth; and she can never be brought to think him all unworthy.

There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse! As I have often found in traveling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position, and be bruised in a new place.

There rise authors now and then, who seem proof against the mutability of language, because they have rooted themselves in the unchanging principles of human nature.

When he hung over the death-bed of his infant son Ibrahim, resignation to the Will of God was exhibited in his conduct under this keenest of afflictions; and the hope of soon rejoining his child in paradise was his consolation. When he followed him to the grave, he invoked his spirit, in the awful examination of the tomb, to hold fast to the foundations of the faith, the Unity of God, and his own mission as a Prophet.

It falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart.

Language gradually varies, and with it fade away the writings of authors who have flourished their allotted time; otherwise, the creative powers of genius would overstock the world, and the mind would be completely bewildered in the endless mazes of literature.

Other men are known to posterity only through the medium of history, which is continually growing faint and obscure; but the intercourse between the author and his fellow-men is ever new, active, and immediate.

Sweet is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow rays of the departing sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart.

The man who talks everlastingly and promiscuously, and who seems to have an exhaustless magazine of sound, crowds so many words into his thoughts, that he always obscures, and very frequently conceals them.

There is a healthful hardiness about real dignity that never dreads contact and communion with others however humble.

There was one species of despotism under which he had long groaned, and that was petticoat government.

When the Gauls laid waste Rome, they found the senators clothed in their robes, and seated in stern tranquility in their curule chairs; in this manner they suffered death without resistance or supplication. Such conduct was in them applauded as noble and magnanimous; in the hapless Indians it was reviled as both obstinate and sullen. How truly are we the dupes of show and circumstances! How different is virtue, clothed in purple and enthroned in state, from virtue, naked and destitute, and perishing obscurely in a wilderness.

It has also been the peculiar lot of our country to be visited by the worst kind of English travelers.

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

American Essayist, Biographer and Historian