Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Robert Louis Stevenson, fully Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson

Scottish Novelist, Poet, Essayist and Travel Writer, known books include Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

"Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely till the sun goes down."

"Give us grace and strength to forbear and to preserve. Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind. Spare to us our friends and soften to us our enemies. Give us the strength to encounter that which is to come, that we may be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath and in all changes of fortune, and down to the gates of death, loyal and loving to one another."

"If your morals make you dreary, depend on it that they are wrong."

"Keep your fears to yourself but share your courage with others."

"No man is useless while he has a friend."

"Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace like the ticking of a clock during a thunderstorm."

"Restfulness is a quality for cattle; the virtues are all active, life is alert."

"Style is the essence of thinking."

"The correction of silence is what kills; when you know you have transgressed, and your friend says nothing and avoids your eye."

"The cruelest lies are often told in silence."

"The habit of being happy enables one to be freed, or largely freed, from the domination of outward conditions."

"The most beautiful adventures are not those we go to seek."

"There is one person whom it is my duty to make good and that is myself."

"To be honest, to be kind - to earn a little and spend a little less, to make upon the whole a family happier for his presence, to renounce when that shall be necessary and not be embittered, to keep a few friends, but these without capitulation - above all, on the same grim condition, to keep friends with himself - here is a task for all that a man has of fortitude and delicacy."

"To be rich in admiration and free from envy; to rejoice greatly in the good of others; to love with such generosity of heart that your love is still a dear possession in absence; these are the gifts of fortune which money cannot buy and without which money can buy nothing. He who has such a treasury of riches, being happy and valiant himself, in his own nature, will enjoy the universe as if it were his own estate; and help the man to whom he lends a hand to enjoy it with him."

"To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end in life."

"To hold the same views at forty as we held at twenty is to have been stupefied for a score of years and to take rank, not as a prophet, but as an unteachable brat, well birched and none the wiser."

"To miss the joy is to miss all."

"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labor."

"The saints are the sinners who keep trying."

"The obscurest epoch is today."

"A friend is a gift you give to yourself."

"A happy man or woman is a better thing to find than a five-pound note. He or she is a radiating focus of goodwill; and their entrance into a room is as though another candle had been lighted."

"All sorts of allowances are made for the illusions of youth; and none, or almost none, for the disenchantments of age."

"An aim in life is the only fortune worth the finding."

"An aspiration is a joy for ever, a possession as solid as a landed estate, a fortune which we can never exhaust and which gives us year by year a revenue of pleasure activity."

"Books are good enough in their own way, but they are a mighty bloodless substitute for life."

"Eventually, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences."

"Everyone lives by selling something."

"For God's sake give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself! As for the others, the irony of facts shall take it out of their hands, and make fools of them in downright earnest, ere the farce be over. "

"If a man lives to any considerable age, it can not be denied that he laments his imprudences, but I notice he often laments his youth a deal more bitterly and with a more genuine intonation."

"If a man loves the labor of his trade, apart from any question of success or fame, the gods have called him."

"In every part and corner of our life, to lose oneself is to be gainer; to forget is to be happy."

"It is better to emit a scream in the shape of a theory than to be entirely insensible to the jars and incongruities of life and take everything as it comes in a forlorn stupidity."

"It is the mark of a good action that it appears inevitable in retrospect."

"Marriage is one long conversation, checkered by disputes."

"The kingdom of heaven is of the childlike, of those who are easy to please, who love and who give pleasure."

"There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy."

"There is nothing more disenchanting to man than to be shown the springs and mechanisms of any art."

"The Vagabond - Give to me the life I love, Let the lave go by me, Give the jolly heaven above And the byway nigh me. Bed in the bush with stars to see, Bread I dip in the river - There's the life for a man like me, There's the life for ever. Let the blow fall soon or late, Let what will be o'er me; Give the face of earth around And the road before me. Wealth I seek not, hope nor love, Nor a friend to know me; All I seek, the heaven above And the road below me. Or let autumn fall on me Where afield I linger, Silencing the bird on tree, Biting the blue finger. White as meal the frosty field - Warm the fireside haven - Not to autumn will I yield, Not to winter even! Let the blow fall soon or late, Let what will be o'er me; Give the face of earth around, And the road before me. Wealth I ask not, hope nor love, Nor a friend to know me; All I ask, the heaven above And the road below me. "

"Strange as my circumstances were, the terms of this debate are as old and commonplace as man; much the same inducements and alarms cast the die for any tempted and trembling sinner; and it fell out with me, as it falls with so vast a majority of my fellows, that I chose the better part and was found wanting in the strength to keep to it. "

"Something In It - The sticks break, the stones crumble, The eternal altars tilt and tumble, Sanctions and tales dislimn like mist About the amazed evangelist. He stands unshook from age to youth Upon one pin-point of the truth."

"A faculty for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity."

"A birdie with a yellow bill hoped upon the window sill, cocked his shining eye and said: 'Ain't you 'shamed, you sleepy-'ead?"

"A child should always say what's true and speak when he is spoken to, and behave mannerly at table; at least as far as he is able."

"A good conscience is eight parts of courage."

"A hanging in a good quarrel is an easy death they say, though I could never hear of any that came back to say so."

"A little amateur painting in water-color shows the innocent and quiet mind."

"A friend is a gift you give yourself."

"A generous prayer is never presented in vain; the petition may be refused, but the petitioner is always, I believe, rewarded by some gracious visitation."