Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Thomas Carlyle

Scottish Essayist, Historian, Biographer and Philosopher

"A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men."

"A healthy hatred of scoundrels."

"A laugh, to be joyous, must flow from a joyous heart, for without kindness, there can be no true joy."

"A lie should be trampled on and extinguished wherever found.-I am for fumigating the atmosphere when I suspect that falsehood, like pestilence, breathes around me."

"A heavenly awe overshadowed and encompassed, as it still ought, and must, all earthly business whatsoever."

"A man cannot make a pair of shoes rightly unless he do it in a devout manner."

"A judicious man uses statistics, not to get knowledge, but to save himself from having ignorance foisted upon him."

"A man lives by believing something: not by debating and arguing about many things."

"A man must indeed be a hero to appear such in the eyes of his valet."

"A man perfects himself by working. Foul jungles are cleared away, fair seed-fields rise instead, and stately cities; and with the man himself first ceases to be a jungle, and foul unwholesome desert thereby. The man is now a man."

"A man ought to inquire and find out what he really and truly has an appetite for; what suits his constitution; and that, doctors tell him, is the very thing he ought to have in general. And so with books."

"A man with a half-volition goes backwards and forwards, and makes no way on the smoothest road; a man with a whole volition advances on the roughest, and will reach his purpose, if there be even a little wisdom in it."

"A man willing to work, and unable to find work, is perhaps the saddest sight that fortune's inequality exhibits under this sun."

"A man protesting against error is on the way towards uniting himself with all men that believe in truth."

"A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder."

"A man's perfection is his work."

"A man's felicity consists not in the outward and visible blessing of fortune, but in the inward and unseen perfections and riches of the mind."

"A noble book! All men's book! It is our first, oldest statement of the never-ending problem,-man's destiny, and God's ways with him here on earth; and all in such free-flowing outlines,-grand in its sincerity; in its simplicity and its epic melody."

"A man--be the heavens ever praised!--is sufficient for himself."

"A person usually has two reasons for doing something: a good reason and the real reason."

"A parliament speaking through reporters to Buncombe and the Twenty-seven millions, mostly fools."

"A silent, great soil; he was one of those who cannot but be in earnest; whom Nature herself has appointed to be sincere."

"A person who is gifted sees the essential point and leaves the rest as surplus."

"A pygmy standing on the outward crust of this small planet, his far-reaching spirit stretches outward to the infinite, and there alone finds rest."

"A person with half volition goes backwards and forwards, but makes no progress on even the smoothest of roads."

"A thinking man is the worst enemy the Prince of Darkness can have; every tune such an one announces himself, I doubt not there runs a shudder through the nether empire; and new emissaries are trained with new tactics to, if possible, entrap and hoodwink and handcuff him."

"A true delineation of the smallest man is capable of interesting the greatest man."

"A strong mind always hopes, and has always cause to hope."

"A well-written Life is almost as rare as a well-spent one."

"A vein of poetry exists in the hearts of all men."

"A very sea of thought; neither calm nor clear, if you will, yet wherein the toughest pearl-diver may dive to his utmost depth, and return not only with sea-wreck but with true orients."

"A wise man was he who counseled that speculation should have free course, and look fearlessly toward all the thirty-two points of the compass, whithersoever and howsoever it listed."

"Action hangs, as it were, dissolved in speech, in thoughts whereof speech is the shadow; and precipitates itself therefrom. The kind of speech in a man betokens the kind of action you will get from him."

"A witty statesman said, you might prove anything by figures."

"Acorns are planted silently by some unnoticed breeze."

"Adversity is sometimes hard upon a man; but for one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity."

"Aesop's Fly, sitting on the axle of the chariot, has been much laughed at for exclaiming: What a dust I do raise!"

"Adversity is the diamond dust Heaven polishes its jewels with."

"Alas! how many causes that can plead well for themselves in the courts of Westminster, and yet in the general court of the universe, and free soul of man, have no word to utter!"

"After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one."

"Affectation is the product of falsehood."

"Alas! while the body stands so broad and brawny, must the soul lie blinded, dwarfed, stupefied, almost annihilated? Alas! this was, too, a breath of God, bestowed in heaven, but on earth never to be unfolded!"

"Alas! we know that ideals can never be completely embodied in practice. Ideals must ever lie a great way off--and we will thankfully content ourselves with any not intolerable approximation thereto! Let no man, as Schiller says, too querulously measure by a scale of perfection the meager product of reality in this poor world of ours."

"All deep things are Song. It seems somehow the very central essence of us, Song; as if all the rest were but wrappages and hulls! The primal element of us; of us, and of all things. The Greeks fabled of Sphere-Harmonies: it was the feeling they had of the inner-structure of Nature that the soul of all her voices and utterances was perfect music. Poetry, therefore, we will call musical Thought. The poet is he who thinks in that manner. At bottom, it turns still on the power of intellect; it is man's sincerity and depth of vision that makes him Poet. See deep enough, and you see musically; the heart of Nature being everywhere music, if you can only reach it."

"All comes out even at the end of the day."

"All history . . . is an inarticulate Bible."

"All evil is like a nightmare; the instant you stir under it, the evil is gone."

"All great peoples are conservative."

"All greatness is unconscious, or it is little and naught."

"All history is a Bible--a thing stated in words by me more than once."