Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Thomas Hardy

English Novelist, Poet and Victorian Realist

"She had the hard, half-apathetic expression of one who deems anything possible at the hands of Time and Chance except, perhaps, fair play."

"She was at that modulating point between indifference and love, at the stage called having a fancy for. It occurs once in the history of the most gigantic passions, and it is a period when they are in the hands of the weakest will."

"She was of the stuff of which great men's mothers are made. She was indispensable to high generation, hated at tea parties, feared in shops, and loved at crises."

"Silent? ah, he is silent! He can keep silence well. That man's silence is wonderful to listen to."

"Smile out; but still suffer: the paths of love are rougher than thoroughfares of stones."

"So each had a private little sun for her soul to bask in; some dream, some affection, some hobby, or at least some remote and distant hope."

"So little cause for carolings of such ecstatic sound was written on terrestrial things afar or nigh around, that I could think there trembled through His happy good-night air some blessed Hope, whereof he knew and I was unaware."

"So zestfully canst thou sing? And all this indignity, with God's consent, on thee! Blinded ere yet a-wing."

"Some folk want their luck buttered."

"Some women's love of being loved is insatiable; and so, often, is their love of loving; and in the last case they may find that they can't give it continuously to the chamber-officer appointed by the bishop's license to receive it."

"Somebody might have come along that way who would have asked him his trouble, and might have cheered him by saying that his notions were further advanced than those of his grammarian. But nobody did come, because nobody does; and under the crushing recognition of his gigantic error Jude continued to wish himself out of the world."

"Sometimes a woman's love of being loved gets the better of her conscience, and though she is agonized at the thought of treating a man cruelly, she encourages him to love her while she doesn't love him at all. Then, when she sees him suffering, her remorse sets in, and she does what she can to repair the wrong."

"Sometimes I feel I don't want to know anything more about [history] than I know already. [...] Because what's the use of learning that I am one of a long row only--finding out that there is set down in some old book somebody just like me, and to know that I shall only act her part; making me sad, that's all. The best is not to remember that your nature and you past doings have been kist like thousands' and thousands', and that your coming life and doings 'll be like thousands' and thousands'. [...] I shouldn't mind learning why--why the sun do shine on the just and the unjust alike, [...] but that's what books will not tell me."

"That cold accretion called the world, which, so terrible in the mass, is so unformidable, even pitiable, in its units."

"That man's silence is wonderful to listen to."

"The beautiful things of the earth become more dear as they elude pursuit."

"The beauty or ugliness of a character lay not only in its achievements, but in its aims and impulses; its true history lay, not among things done, but among things willed."

"The bower we shrined to Tennyson, / Gentlemen, / Is roof-wrecked; damps there drip upon / Sagged seats, the creeper-nails are rust,/ The spider is sole denizen."

"The business of the poet and the novelist is to show the sorriness underlying the grandest things and the grandeur underlying the sorriest things."

"The excessive regard of parents for their children, and their dislike of other people's is, like class feeling, patriotism, save-your-soul-ism, and other virtues, a mean exclusiveness at bottom."

"The figure near at hand suffers on such occasions, because it shows up its sorriness without shade; while vague figures afar off are honored, in that their distance makes artistic virtues of their stains. In considering what Tess was not, he overlooked what she was, and forgot that the defective can be more than the entire."

"The Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything."

"The instinctive act of humankind was to stand and listen, and learn how the trees on the right and the trees on the left wailed or chaunted to each other in the regular antiphonies of a cathedral choir; how hedges and other shapes to leeward then caught the note, lowering it to the tenderest sob; and how the hurrying gust then plunged into the south, to be heard no more."

"The long, laborious road, dry, empty, and white. It was quite open to the heath on each side, and bisected that vast dark surface like the parting-line on a head of black hair, diminishing and bending away on the furthest horizon."

"The offhand decision of some commonplace mind high in office at a critical moment influences the course of events for a hundred years."

"The place became full of a watchful intentness now; for when other things sank brooding to sleep the heath appeared slowly to awake and listen. Every night its Titanic form seemed to await something; but it had waited thus, unmoved, during so many centuries, through the crises of so many things, that it could only be imagined to await one last crisis—the final overthrow."

"The rambler who, for old association's sake, should trace the forsaken coach-road running almost in a meridional line from Bristol to the south shore of England, would find himself during the latter half of his journey in the vicinity of some extensive woodlands, interspersed with apple-orchards."

"The resolution to avoid an evil is seldom framed till the evil is so far advanced as to make avoidance impossible"

"The Roman Road runs straight and bare as the pale parting-line in hair across the heath."

"The schoolmaster was leaving the village, and everybody seemed sorry."

"The sky was clear -- remarkably clear -- and the twinkling of all the stars seemed to be but throbs of one body, timed by a common pulse."

"The social molds civilization fits us into have no more relation to our actual shapes than the conventional shapes of the constellations have to real star patterns."

"The sudden disappointment of a hope leaves a scar which the ultimate fulfillment of that hope never entirely removes."

"The value of old age depends upon the person who reaches it. To some men of early performance it is useless. To others, who are late to develop, it just enables them to finish the job."

"Their lives were ruined, he thought; ruined by the fundamental error of their matrimonial union: that of having based a permanent contract on a temporary feeling ."

"There are accents in the eye which are not on the tongue, and more tales come from pale lips than can enter an ear. It is both the grandeur and the pain of the remoter moods that they avoid the pathway of sound."

"There are disappointments which wring us, and there are those which inflict a wound whose mark we bear to our graves. Such are so keen that no future gratification of the same desire can ever obliterate them: they become registered as a permanent loss of happiness."

"There is a condition worse than blindness, and that is, seeing something that isn't there."

"There is a good deal too strange to be believed, nothing is too strange to have happened."

"There is always an inertia to be overcome in striking out a new line of conduct -- not more in ourselves, it seems, than in circumscribing events, which appear as if leagued together to allow no novelties in the way of amelioration."

"There was a change in Boldwood's exterior from its former impassibleness; and his face showed that he was now living outside his defences for the first time, and with a fearful sense of exposure."

"There's a friendly tie of some sort between music and eating."

"There's not a modest maiden elf but dreads the final Trumpet, lest half of her should rise herself, and half some sturdy strumpet!"

"This hobble of being alive is rather serious, don’t you think so?"

"This horrible stone entity was fashioned as if covered with a wrinkled hide; it had short, erect ears, eyes starting from their sockets, and its fingers and hands were seizing the corners of its mouth, which they thus seemed to pull open to give free passage to the water it vomited."

"This is the weather the cuckoo likes and so do I."

"Though a good deal is too strange to be believed, nothing is too strange to have happened."

"Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change"

"Tis because we be on a blighted star, and not a sound one, isn't it Tess?"

"To discover evil in a new friend is to most people only an additional experience."