Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

William De Witt Hyde

American College President at Bowdoin College

"Education: To be at home in all lands and ages; to count Nature as a familiar acquaintance and Art an intimate friend; to gain a standard for the appreciation of other men's work and the criticism of one's own; to carry the keys of the world's library in one's pocket, and feel its resources behind one in whatever task he undertakes; to make hosts of friends among the men of one's own age who are the leaders in all walks of life; to lose oneself in general enthusiasms and co-operate with others for common ends."

"Christianity of this simple, vital sort is the world's salvation. Criticized by enemies and caricatured by friends; fossilized in the minds of the aged, and forced on the tongues of the immature; mingled with all manner of exploded superstition, false philosophy, science that is not so, and history that never happened; obscured under absurd rites; buried in incredible creeds; professed by hypocrites; discredited by sentimentalists; evaporated by mystics; stereotyped by literalists; monopolized by sacerdotalists; it has lived in spite of all the grave-clothes its unbelieving disciples have tried to wrap around it, and holds the keys of eternal life."

"He who is least in need of the morrow will meet the morrow most pleasantly."

"Live in the active voice, rather than passive. Think more about what you happen than what is happening to you."

"Love has no desire to deceive, and hence no fear of being disbelieved."

"The temperate man is the strong man."

"To be at home in all lands and all ages; to count Nature a familiar acquaintance, and Art an intimate friend; to gain a standard for the appreciation of other men's work and the criticism of your own; to carry the keys of the world's library in your pocket, and feel its resources behind you in whatever task you undertake; to make hosts of friends among the men of your own age who are to be leaders in all walks of life; to lose yourself in generous enthusiasms and cooperate with others for common ends; to learn manners from students who are gentlemen, and form character under professors who are Christians, -- this is the offer of the college for the best four years of your life."

"Truth.?Things exist in precise and definite relations. Events take place according to fixed and immutable laws. Truth is the perception of things just as they are. Between truth and falsehood there is no middle ground. Either a fact is so, or it is not. Truth, says Ruskin, is the one virtue of which there are no degrees. There are some faults slight in the sight of love, some errors slight in the estimation of wisdom; but truth forgives no insult, and endures no stain. Truth does not always lie upon the surface of things. It requires hard, patient toil to dig down beneath the superficial crust of appearance to the solid rock of fact on which truth rests. To discover and declare truth as it is, and facts as they are, is the vocation of the scholar. Not what he likes to think, not what other people will be pleased to hear, not what will be popular or profitable; but what as the result of careful investigation, painstaking inquiry, prolonged reflection he has learned to be the fact;?this, nothing less and nothing more, the scholar must proclaim. Truth is fidelity to fact; it plants itself upon reality; and hence it speaks with authority. The truthful man is one whom we can depend upon. His word is as good as his bond. He sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. The truthful man brings truth and man together. THE VIRTUE. Veracity has two foundations: one reverence for truth; the other regard for one's fellow-men.?Ordinarily these two motives coincide and re-enforce each other. The right of truth to be spoken, and the benefit to men from hearing it, are two sides of the same obligation."

"The lazy man is the slave of his own feelings. His body is his master; not his servant. He is the slave of circumstances."

"The habit of seeking to realize the highest capacities and widest relationships of our nature in every act is conscientiousness. Conscience is our consciousness of the ideal in conduct and character. Conscience is the knowledge of our duty, coupled as that knowledge always is with the feeling that we ought to do it.?Knowledge of any kind calls up some feeling appropriate to the fact known. Knowledge that a given act would realize my ideal calls up the feeling of dissatisfaction with myself until that act is performed; because that is the feeling appropriate to the recognition of an unrealized yet attainable ideal. Conscience is not a mysterious faculty of our nature. It is simply thought and feeling, recognizing and responding to the fact of duty, and reaching out toward virtue and excellence."

"Unsatisfied desire is the characteristic feature of human life. That is the common fact out of which both pessimism and optimism are constructed. Dwell on the impossibility of ever getting a state of complete and permanent satisfaction with what you have, and you become a pessimist. Dwell on the opportunity for endless growth and conquest which this same fact makes possible, and you become an optimist."

"The world we live in is a world of mingled good and evil. Whether it is chiefly good or chiefly bad depends on how we take it. To look at the world in such a way as to emphasize the evil is the art of pessimism. To look at it in such a way as to bring out the good, and throw the evil into the background, is the art of optimism. The facts are the same in either case. It is simply a question of perspective and emphasis."

"We ought to look round for people to eat and drink with, before we look for something to eat and drink: to feed without a friend is the life of a lion and a wolf."