God has so framed us as to make freedom of choice and action the very basis of all moral improvement, and all our faculties, mental and moral, resent and revolt against the idea of coercion.
Out of the same substances one stomach will extract nutriment, another poison; and so the same disappointments in life will chasten and refine one man's spirit, and embitter another's.
Unless a man has trained himself for his chance, the chance will only make him ridiculous.
Goodness is the only value that seems in this world of appearances to have any claim to be an end in itself. Virtue is its own reward.
People ask for criticism, but they only want praise.
We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.
I was miserable, of course, for I was seventeen, and so I swung into action and wrote a poem, and it was miserable, for that's how I thought poetry worked: you digested experience and shat literature.
Punctuality is a compliment you pay to the intelligent and a rebuke you administer to the stupid.
What are the precise characteristics of an epigram it is not easy to define. It differs from a joke, in the fact that the wit of the latter dies in the words, and cannot therefore be conveyed in another language; while an epigram is a wit of ideas, and hence is translatable. Like aphorisms, songs and sonnets, it is occupied with some single point, small and manageable; but whilst a song conveys a sentiment, a sonnet, a poetical, and an aphorism a moral reflection, an epigram expresses a contrast.
If truth is a value it is because it is true and not because it is brave to speak it.
Reverie is the groundwork of creative imagination; it is the privilege of the artist that with him is not as with other men an escape from reality, but the means by which he accedes to it.
What keeps persons down in the world, besides lack of capacity, is not a philosophical contempt of riches or honors, but thoughtlessness and improvidence, a love of sluggish torpor, and of present gratification. It is not from preferring virtue to wealth--the goods of the mind to those of fortune--that they take no thought for the morrow; but from want of forethought and stern self-command. The restless, ambitious man too often directs these qualities to an unworthy object; the contented man is generally deficient in the qualities themselves. The one is a stream that flows too often in a wrong channel, and needs to have its course altered, the other is a stagnant pool.
Imagination grows by exercise, and contrary to common belief, is more powerful in the mature than in the young.
The common idea that success spoils people making them vain, egotistic and self-complacent is erroneous; on the contrary, it makes them for the most part, humble, tolerant and kind. Failure makes people cruel and bitter.
What lasting progress was ever made in social reformation, except when every step was insured by appeals to the understanding and the will?
In the world a man lives in his own age; in solitude, in all the ages.
The countenance may be rightly defined as the title page which heralds the contents of the human volume, but like other title pages, it sometimes puzzles, often misleads, and often says nothing to the purpose.
What matters it that a soldier has a sword of dazzling finish, of the keenest edge, and finest temper, if he has never learned the art of fence.
Intercourse is after all manâ€™s best teacher. â€œKnow thyselfâ€ is an excellent maxim; but even self-knowledge cannot be perfected in closets and cloistersâ€”nor amid lake scenery, and on the sunny side of the mountains. Men who seldom mix with their fellow-creatures are almost sure to be one-sidedâ€”the victims of fixed ideas, that sometimes lead to insanity.
Who can achieve mastery over others unless he first achieves mastery over himself?
It is in vain to torment oneself over sufferings that one cannot alleviate.
The first law of success... is concentration: to bend all the energies to one point, and to go directly to that point, looking neither to the right nor the left.
With the civilized man contentment is a myth. From the cradle to the grave he is forever longing and striving after something better, an indefinable something, some new object yet unattained.
It is not true that suffering ennobles the character; happiness does that sometimes, but suffering, for the most part, makes men petty and vindictive.