Quotes by Charles Dickens
Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Charles Dickens. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.
Wikipedia Summary for Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime and, by the 20th century, critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories are widely read today.
Born in Portsmouth, Dickens left school to work in a factory when his father was incarcerated in a debtors' prison. Despite his lack of formal education, he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas, hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed readings extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children's rights, education and other social reforms.
Dickens's literary success began with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers. Within a few years he had become an international literary celebrity, famous for his humour, satire and keen observation of character and society. His novels, most of them published in monthly or weekly instalments, pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction, which became the dominant Victorian mode for novel publication. Cliffhanger endings in his serial publications kept readers in suspense. The instalment format allowed Dickens to evaluate his audience's reaction, and he often modified his plot and character development based on such feedback. For example, when his wife's chiropodist expressed distress at the way Miss Mowcher in David Copperfield seemed to reflect her disabilities, Dickens improved the character with positive features. His plots were carefully constructed and he often wove elements from topical events into his narratives. Masses of the illiterate poor would individually pay a halfpenny to have each new monthly episode read to them, opening up and inspiring a new class of readers.
His 1843 novella A Christmas Carol remains especially popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. Oliver Twist and Great Expectations are also frequently adapted and, like many of his novels, evoke images of early Victorian London. His 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities (set in London and Paris) is his best-known work of historical fiction. The most famous celebrity of his era, he undertook, in response to public demand, a series of public reading tours in the later part of his career.
The term Dickensian is used to describe something that is reminiscent of Dickens and his writings, such as poor social or working conditions, or comically repulsive characters.
Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, it is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress.
A loving heart is the truest wisdom.
The aim of talk should be like the aim of a flying arrow -- to hit the mark; but to this end there must be a mark to hit, that is, there must be a listener.
Remember, to the last, that while there is life there is hope.
Change begets change. Nothing propagates so fast.
Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some.
There is something in sickness that breaks down the pride of manhood.
No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.
Never close your lips to those whom you have already opened your heart.
Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.
There are only two styles of portrait painting; the serious and the smirk.
We forge the chains we wear in life.
Life is made of ever so many partings welded together.
An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.
Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many-not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has many not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
The one serviceable, safe, certain, remunerative, attainable quality in every study, and every pursuit is the quality of attention.
The New Year, like an infant heir to the whole world, was waited for, with welcomes, presents, and rejoicings.
How beautiful you are! You are more beautiful in anger than in repose. I don't ask you for your love; give me yourself and your hatred; give me yourself and that pretty rage; give me yourself and the enchanting scorn; it will be enough for me.
Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but I hope into a better shape.
I am the only child of parents who weighed, measured, and priced everything; for whom what could not be weighed, measured, and priced, had no existence.
Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
Time was with most of us, when Christmas Day, encircling all our limited world like a magic ring, left nothing out for us to miss or seek; bound together all our home enjoyments, affections, and hopes; grouped everything and everyone round the Christ.
You will be surprised that he proposed seven times, once in a hackney-coach once in a boat once in a pew once on a donkey at Tunbridge Wells and the rest on his knees.
Credit is a system whereby a person who can't pay, gets another person who can't pay, to guarantee that he can pay.
'Did you ever taste beer?' 'I had a sip of it once,' said the small servant. 'Here's a state of things!' cried Mr. Swiveller--'.She never tasted it -- it can't be tasted in a sip!'
Walter, she said, looking full upon him with her affectionate eyes, like you, I hope for better things. I will pray for them, and believe that they will arrive.
Are you thankful for not being young?'
'Yes, sir. If I was young, it would all have to be gone through again, and the end would be a weary way off, don't you see?.
I would like to be going all over the kingdom...and acting everywhere. There's nothing in the world equal to seeing the house rise at you, one sea of delightful faces, one hurrah of applause!
Still his philanthropy was of that gunpowderous sort that the difference between it and animosity was hard to determine.
I looked at the stars, and considered how awful it would be for a man to turn his face up to them as he froze to death, and see no help or pity in all the glittering multitude.
The shadows of our own desires stand between us and our better angels, and thus their brightness is eclipsed.
Cincinnati is a beautiful city; cheerful, thriving, and animated. I have not often seen a place that commends itself so favourably and pleasantly to a stranger at the first glance as this does.
My daughter, there are times of moral danger when the hardest virtuous resolution to form is flight, and when the most heroic bravery is flight.
For not an orphan in the wide world can be so deserted as the child who is an outcast from a living parent's love.
A silent look of affection and regard when all other eyes are turned coldly away-the consciousness that we possess the sympathy and affection of one being when all others have deserted us-is a hold, a stay, a comfort, in the deepest affliction, which no wealth could purchase, or power bestow.
Try to do unto others as you would have them do to you, and do not be discouraged if they fail sometimes. It is much better that they should fail than you should.
Welcome, old aspirations, glittering creatures of an ardent underneath the holly! We know you, and have not outlived you yet. Welcome, old projects, and old loves, however fleeting, to your nooks among the steadier lights that burn around us.
An inebriated elderly gentleman in the last depths of shabbiness... played the calm and virtuous old men.
When the Attorney-General ceased, a buzz arose in the court as if a cloud of great blue-flies were swarming about the prisoner, in anticipation of what he was soon to become.
They are so filthy and bestial that no honest man would admit one into his house for a water-closet doormat.
Have you ever had the sensation of looking at someone for the first time and ever so quickly the past and future seem to fuse ? Does that not mean something ? That we felt so much, so deeply, before even speaking?
Ah, Miss, hope is an excellent thing for such as has the spirits to bear it! said Mrs Wickam, shaking her head. My own spirits is not equal to it, but I don't owe it any grudge. I envys them that is so blest!
This reminds me, Godmother, to ask you a serious question. You are as wise as wise can be (having been brought up by the fairies), and you can tell me this: Is it better to have had a good thing and lost it, or never to have had it?
There ain't a gen'lm'n in all the land -- nor yet sailing upon all the sea -- that can love his lady more than I love her.
And this is the eternal law. For, Evil often stops short at istelf and dies with the doer of it! but Good, never.
Many a time of an evening, when I sat alone looking at the fire, I thought, after all, there was no fire like the forge fire and the kitchen fire at home.
I believe the spreading of Catholicism to be the most horrible means of political and social degradation left in the world.
I confess I have yet to learn that a lesson of the purest good may not be drawn from the vilest evil.
There's a young man hid with me, in comparison with which young man I am a Angel. That young man hears the words I speak. That young man has a secret way pecooliar to himself, of getting at a boy, and at his heart, and at his liver.
It was the momentary yielding of a nature that had been disappointed from the dawn of its perceptions, but had not quite given up all its hopeful yearnings yet.
Love is not a feeling to pass away
Like the balmy breath of a Summer's day...
Love is not a passion of earthly mould
As a thirst for honour, or fame, or gold.
It was one of those hot, silent nights, when people sit at windows, listening for the thunder which they know will shortly break; when they recall dismal tales of hurricanes and earthquakes; and of lonely travelers on open plains, and lonely ships at sea, struck by lightning.
A heart well worth winning, and well won. A heart that, once won, goes through fire and water for the winner, and never changes, and is never daunted.
Would you, do you, my dear? rejoined the Captain ... I don't know. It's difficult navigation. She's very hard to carry on with, my dear. You never can tell how she'll head, you see. She's full one minute, and round upon you next.
The miserable man was a man of that confined stolidity of mind that he could not discuss my prospects without having me before him.
Every man, however obscure, however far removed from the general recognition, is one of a group of men impressible for good, and impressible for evil, and it is in the nature of things that he cannot really improve himself without in some degree improving other men.
His philanthropy was of that gunpowderous sort that the difference between it and animosity was hard to determine.
We thought that, perhaps, said I, hesitating, it is right to begin with the obligations of home, sir; and that, perhaps, while those are overlooked and neglected, no other duties can possibly be substituted for them.
And it was not until I began to think, that I began fully to know how wrecked I was, and how the ship in which I had sailed was gone to pieces.
It being a part of Mrs. Pipchin's system not to encourage a child's mind to develop and expand itself like a young flower, but to open it by force like an oyster.
Martin took the same course, thinking as he went, that perhaps the free and independent citizens, who in their moral elevation, owned the colonel for their master, might render better homage to the goddess, Liberty, in nightly dreams upon the oven of a Russian Serf.
When I have heard him talking to Papa during the sittings for the picture, I have sat wondering whether it could be that he has no belief in anybody else, because he has no belief in himself.
Shall we speak of the inspiration of a poet or a priest, and not of the heart impelled by love and self-devotion to the lowliest work in the lowliest way of life?
He had a certain air of being a handsome man -- which he was not; and a certain air of being a well-bred man -- which he was not. It was mere swagger and challenge; but in this particular, as in many others, blustering assertion goes for proof, half over the world.
We must meet reverses boldly, and not suffer them to frighten us, my dear. We must learn to act the play out. We must live misfortune down, Trot!
Newman cast a despairing glance at his small store of fuel, but, not having the courage to say no-a word which in all his life he never had said at the right time, either to himself or anyone else-gave way to the proposed arrangement.
I have no learning, and you have much,' said Milly; 'I am not used to think, and you are always thinking. May I tell you why it seems to me a good thing for us, to remember wrong that has been done us?'
'That we may forgive it.
When we came within sight of the sea, the waves on the horizon, caught at intervals above the rolling abyss, were like glimpses of another shore with towers and buildings.
Unless we learn to do our duty to those whom we employ, they will never learn to do their duty to us.
I am no more annoyed when I think of the expression, than I should be annoyed by a man's opinion of a picture of mine, who had no eye for pictures; or of a piece of music of mine, who had no ear for music.
A most excellent man, though I could have wished his trousers not quite so tight in some places and not quite so loose in others.
He spoke in hard and angry earnest, if a man ever did, replied the girl, shaking her head. He is an earnest man when his hatred is up. I know many who do worse things; but I'd rather listen to them all a dozen times, than to that Monks once.
His face was stern, and much flushed. If he were really not in the habit of drinking rather more than was exactly good for him, he might have brought action against his countenance for libel, and have recovered heavy damages.
We know, Mr. Weller -- we, who are men of the world -- that a good uniform must work its way with the women, sooner or later.
Ecod, you may say what you like of my father, then, and so I give you leave, said Jonas. I think it's liquid aggravation that circulates through his veins, and not regular blood.
It is well for a man to respect his own vocation whatever it is and to think himself bound to uphold it and to claim for it the respect it deserves.
Mr Lorry asks the witness questions:
Ever been kicked?
Might have been.
Frequently? No. Ever kicked down stairs?
Decidedly not; once received a kick at the top of a staircase, and fell down stairs of his own accord.
I am well aware that I am the 'umblest person going... My mother is likewise a very 'umble person. We live in a 'umble abode.
He knew more of my intended career than I knew myself. I should be well enough educated for my destiny if I could hold my own with average young man in prosperous circumstances.
I think the Romans must have aggravated one another very much, with their noses. Perhaps, they became the restless people they were, in consequence.
Look round and round upon this bare bleak plain, and see even here, upon a winter's day, how beautiful the shadows are! Alas! It is the nature of their kind to be so. The loveliest things in life... are but shadows; and they come and go, and change and fade away, as rapidly as these.
Apprehension of a painful or disagreeable recognition made me tremble. I am confident that it took no distinctness of shape, and that it was the revival for a few minutes of the terror of childhood.
Long may it remain in this mixed world a question not easy of decision, which is the more beautiful evidence of the Almighty's goodness, the soft white hand formed for the ministrations of sympathy and tenderness, or the rough hard hand which the heart softens, teaches, and guides in a moment.
I recollected one story there was in the village, how that on a certain night in the year (it might be that very night for anything I knew), all the dead people came out of the ground and sat at the heads of their own graves till morning.
Some of the craftiest scoundrels that ever walked this earth ... will gravely jot down in diaries the events of every day, and keep a regular debtor and creditor account with heaven, which shall always show a floating balance in their own favour.
I remember him as something left behind upon the road of life--as something I have passed, rather than have actually been--and almost think of him as of someone else.
Dreams are the bright creatures of poem and legend, who sport on earth in the night season, and melt away in the first beam of the sun, which lights grim care and stern reality on their daily pilgrimage through the world.
I cannot help it; reason has nothing to do with it; I love her against reason-but who would as soon love me for my own sake, as she would love the beggar at the corner.
And I am quite serious when I say that I do not believe there are, on the whole earth besides, so many intensified bores as in these United States.
Peggotty! repeated Miss Betsey, with some indignation. Do you mean to say, child, that any human being has gone into a Christian church, and got herself named Peggotty?
I made a compact with myself that in my person literature should stand by itself, of itself, and for itself.
Nothing is discovered without God's intention and assistance, and I suppose every new knowledge of His works that is conceded to man to be distinctly a revelation by which men are to guide themselves.
The meagre lighthouse all in white, haunting the seaboard, as if it were the ghost of an edifice that had once had colour and rotundity, dripped melancholy tears after its late buffeting by the waves.
Herbert said of himself, with his eyes fixed on the fire, that he thought he must have committed a felony and forgotten the details of it, he felt so dejected and guilty.
It was a good thing to have a couple of thousand people all rigid and frozen together, in the palm of one's hand.
And though the merriment was rather boisterous, still it came from the heart and not from the lips; and this is the right sort of merriment, after all.
Affery, like greater people, had always been right in her facts, and always wrong in the theories she deduced from them.
The dreams of childhood -- it's airy fables, its graceful, beautiful, humane, impossible adornments of the world beyond; so good to be believed in once, so good to be remembered when outgrown.
Annual income is £ 20, the cost is 19, you will feel happiness. If annual income of £ 20, the cost is £ 20.6, you will see suffering.
There is something good in all weathers. If it doesn't happen to be good for my work today, it's good for some other man's today... and will come around for me tomorrow.
I am what you designed me to be. I am your blade. You cannot now complain if you also feel the hurt.
Women can always put things in fewest words. Except when it's blowing up; and then they lengthens it out.
Let me see you ride a donkey over my green again, and as sure as you have a head upon your shoulders, I'll knock your bonnet off, and tread upon it!
A brisk, bright, blue-eyed fellow, a very neat figure and rather under the middle size, never out of the way and never in it.
Constancy in love is a good thing; but it means nothing, and is nothing, without constancy in every kind of effort.
And I am bored to death with it. Bored to death with this place, bored to death with my life, bored to death with myself.
I have broken where I should have bent; and have mused and brooded, when my spirit should have mixed with all God's great creation. The men who learn endurance, are they who call the whole world, brother. I have turned from the world, and I pay the penalty.
It was darkly rumoured that the butler, regarding him with favour such as that stern man had never shown before to mortal boy, had sometimes mingled porter with his table beer to make him strong.
He describes it as a large apartment, with a red brick floor and a capacious chimney; the ceiling garnished with hams, sides of bacon, and ropes of onions.
He was consious of a thousand odours floating in the air, each one connected with a thousand thoughts, and hopes, and joys, and cares, long, long, forgotten.
It is required of every man, the ghost returned, that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and, if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death.
Come in, -- come in! and know me better, man! I am the Ghost of Christmas Present. Look upon me! You have never seen the like of me before!
I believe that virtue shows quite as well in rags and patches as she does in purple and fine linen,... even if Gargery and Boffin did not speak like gentlemen, they were gentlemen.
I wish I were the Commander in Chief in India... I should do my utmost to exterminate the Race upon whom the stain of the late cruelties rested.
Black are the brooding clouds and troubled the deep waters, when the Sea of Thought, first heaving from a calm, gives up its Dead.
The air came laden with the fragrance it caught upon its way, and the bees, upborne upon its scented breath, hummed forth their drowsy satisfaction as they floated by.
The one great principle of the English law is, to make business for itself. There is no other principle distinctly, certainly, and consistently maintained through all its narrow turnings.
In fine weather the old gentelman is almost constantly in the garden; and when it is too wet to go into it, he will look out the window at it, by the hour together. He has always something to do there, and you will see him digging, and sweeping, and cutting, and planting, with manifest delight.
In particular, there was a butler in a blue coat and bright buttons, who gave quite a winey flavour to the table beer; he poured it out so superbly.
Quotes by Charles Dickens are featured in:
Words Of Wisdom Quotes
Short Love Quotes