Scottish Historical Novelist and Dramatist
"A cheerful temper spreads like the dawn, and all vapors disperse before it. Even the tear dries on the cheek, and the sigh sinks away half-breathed when the eye of benignity beams upon the unhappy."
"A sincere acquaintance with ourselves teaches us humility; and from humility springs that benevolence which compassionates the transgressors we condemn, and prevents the punishments we inflict from themselves partaking of crime, in being rather the wreaking of revenge than the chastisements of virtue."
"It depends on education to open the gates which lead to virtue or to vice, to happiness or to misery."
"Beauty of form affects the mind, but then it must not be the mere shell that we admire, but the thought that this shell is only the beautiful case adjusted to the shape and value of a still more beautiful pearl within. The perfection of outward loveliness is the soul shining through its crystalline covering."
"Happiness is a sunbeam which may pass through a thousand bosoms without losing a particle of its original ray; nay, when it strikes on a kindred heart, like the converged light on a mirror, it reflects itself with redoubled brightness. It is not perfected till it is shared."
"Magnanimity is above circumstance; and any virtue which depends on that is more of constitution than of principle."
"Our griefs, as well as our joys, owe their strongest colors to our imaginations. There is nothing so grievous to be borne that pondering upon it will not make it heavier; and there is no pleasure so vivid that the animation of fancy cannot enliven it."
"People do not always understand the motives of sublime conduct, and when they are astonished they are very apt to think they ought to be alarmed. The truth is none are fit judges of greatness but those who are capable of it."
"The doubts of love are never to be wholly overcome; they grow with its various anxieties, timidities, and tenderness, and are the very fruits of the reverence in which the admired object is beheld."
"The platform of the altar of love may be analyzed and explained; it is constructed of virtue, beauty, and affection. Such is the pyre, such is the offering; but the eternal spark must come from heaven, that lights the sacrifice."
"The virtues, like the muses, are always seen in groups. A good principle was never found solitary in any breast."
"Virtue is despotic; life, reputation, every earthly good, must be surrendered at her voice. The law may seem hard, but it is the guardian of what it commands: and is the only sure defence of happiness."
"When Alexander had subdued the world, and wept that none were left to dispute his arms, his tears were an involuntary tribute to a monarchy that he knew not - man’s empire over himself."
"Imparting knowledge is only lighting other men's candles at our lamp without depriving ourselves of any flame. "