I would rather not be engaged. When people are engaged, they begin to thin of being married soon...and I should like everything to go on for a long while just as it is.
Oh, may I join the choir invisible Of those immortal dead who live again In minds made better by their presence; live.
A man is seldom ashamed of feeling that he cannot love a woman so well when he sees a certain greatness in her: nature having intended greatness for men.
Deep unspeakable suffering may well be called a baptism, a regeneration, the initiation into a new state.
Signs are small measurable things, but interpretations are illimitable, and in girls of sweet, ardent nature, every sign is apt to conjure up wonder, hope, belief, vast as a sky, and coloured by a diffused thimbleful of matter in the shape of knowledge.
Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person,
having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words.
What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined for life ... to strengthen each other ... to be at one with each other in silent unspeakable memories.
You must mind and not lower the Church in people's eyes by seeming to be frightened about it for such a little thing.
Gossip is a sort of smoke that comes from the dirty tobacco-pipes of those who diffuse it; it proves nothing but the bad taste of the smoker.
For what we call illusions are often, in truth, a wider vision of past and present realities--a willing movement of a man's soul with the larger sweep of the world's forces--a movement towards a more assured end than the chances of a single life.
Rome -- the city of visible history, where the past of a whole hemisphere seems moving in funeral procession with strange ancestral images and trophies gathered from afar.
The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see nothing but sand. The angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.
Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love that makes life and nature harmonize.
You are lonely; I love you; I want you to consent to be my wife; I will wait, but I want you to promise that you will marry me -- no one else.
Sympathetic people often don't communicate well, they back reflected images which hide their own depths.
For there is no despair so absolute as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed, to have despaired and to have recovered hope.
The business of life shuts us up within the environs of London and within sight of human advancement, which I should be so very glad to believe in without seeing.
He has got no good red blood in his body, said Sir James.
No. Somebody put a drop under a magnifying glass, and it was all semicolons and parentheses, said Mrs. Cadwallader.
When he turned his head quickly his hair seemed to shake out light, and some persons thought they saw decided genius in this coruscation. Mr. Casaubon, on the contrary, stood rayless.
I've been turning it over in after-dinner speeches, but it looks awkward-it's not what people are used to-it wants a good deal of Latin to make it go down.
It is curious what patches of hardness and tenderness lie side by side in men's dispositions. I suppose he has some test by which he finds out whom Heaven cares for.
Can any man or woman choose duties? No more than they can choose their birthplace or their father and mother.
History, we know, is apt to repeat itself, and to foist very old incidents upon us with only a slight change of costume.
He loved also to think, I did it! And I believe the only people who are free from that weakness are those who have no work to call their own.
To act with doubleness towards a man whose own conduct was double, was so near an approach to virtue that it deserved to be called by no meaner name than diplomacy.
It is very difficult to be learned; it seems as if people were worn out on the way to great thoughts, and can never enjoy them because they are too tired.
A man carries within him the germ of his most exceptional action; and if we wise people make eminent fools of ourselves on any particular occasion, we must endure the legitimate conclusion that we carry a few grains of folly to our ounce of wisdom.
There is a great deal of unmapped country within us.
There is a great deal of unmapped country within us which would have to be taken into account in an explanation of our gusts and storms.
There's no work so tirin' as danglin' about an' starin' an' not rightly knowin' what you're goin' to do next; and keepin' your face i' smilin' order like a grocer o' market-day for fear people shouldna think you civil enough.
Bodily haste and exertion usually leave our thoughts very much at the mercy of our feelings and imagination.
It is always your heaviest bore who is astonished at the tameness of modern celebrities: naturally; for a little of his company has reduced them to a state of flaccid fatigue.
Hath she her faults? I would you had them too. They are the fruity must of soundest wine; Or say, they are regenerating fire Such as hath turned the dense black element Into a crystal pathway for the sun.
The beginning of hardship is like the first taste of bitter food--it seems for a moment unbearable; yet, if there is nothing else to satisfy our hunger, we take another bite and find it possible to go on.
We are overhasty to speak as if God did not manifest himself by our silent feeling, and make his love felt through ours.
It is the favourite stratagem of our passions to sham a retreat, and to turn sharp round upon us at the moment we have made up our minds that the day is our own.
For the fragment of a life, however typical, is not the sample of an even web: promises may not be kept, and an ardent outset may be followed by declension; latent powers may find their long-awaited opportunity; a past error may urge a grand retrieval.
Human feeling is like the mighty rivers that bless the earth: it does not wait for beauty -- it flows with resistless force and brings beauty with it.
It is only a poor sort of happiness that could ever come by caring very much about our own pleasures. We can only have the highest happiness such as goes along with being a great man, by having wide thoughts and much feeling for the rest of the world as well as ourselves.
Mankind is not disposed to look narrowly into the conduct of great victors when their victory is on the right side.
Indefinite visions of ambition are weak against the ease of doing what is habitual or beguilingly agreeable.
Man may content himself with the applause of the world and the homage paid to his intellect, but woman's heart has holier idols.
I wonder if any other girl thinks her father the best man in the world!
Nonsense, child; you'll think your husband better.
Impossible, said Mary, relapsing into her usual tone; husbands are an inferior class of men, who require keeping in order.
For there is no creature whose inward being is so strong that it is not greatly determined by what lies outside it.
The Vicar's talk was not always inspiriting: he had escaped being a Pharisee, but he had not escaped that low estimate of possibilities which we rather hastily arrive at as an inference from our own failure.
Subtract from the New Testament the miraculous and highly impossible, and what will be the remainder?
I like to read about Moses best, in th' Old Testament. He carried a hard business well through, and died when other folks were going to reap the fruits; a man must have courage to look after his life so, and think what'll come f it after he's dead and gone.
People talk of their motives in a cut and dried way. Every woman is supposed to have the same set of motives, or else to be a monster. I am not a monster but I have not felt exactly what other women feel, or say they feel, for fear of being thought unlike others.
But most of us are apt to settle within ourselves that the man who blocks our way is odious, and not to mind causing him a little of the disgust which his personality excites in ourselves.
One couldn't carry on life comfortably without a little blindness to the fact that everything has been said better than we can put it ourselves.
How will you find good? It is not a thing of choice; it is a river that flows from the foot of the Invisible Throne and flows by the path of obedience.
Each thought is a nail that is driven In structures that cannot decay; And the mansion at last will be given To us as we build it each day.
There was no gleam, no shadow, for the heavens, too, were one still, pale cloud; no sound or motion in anything but the dark river that flowed and moaned like an unresting sorrow.
The tendency toward good in human nature has a force which no creed can utterly counteract, and which insures the ultimate triumph of that tendency over all dogmatic perversions.
Fred dislikes the idea going into the ministry partly because he doesn't like feeling obligated to look serious, and he centers his doubts on what people expect of a clergyman.
The poverty of our imagination is no measure of say the world's resources. Our posterity will no doubt get fuel in ways that we are unable to devise for them.
He was at a starting point which makes many a man's career a fine subject for betting, if there were any gentlemen given to that amusement who could appreciate the complicated probabilities of an arduous purpose.
An ingenious web of probabilities is the surest screen a wise man can place between himself and the truth.
One way of getting an idea of our fellow-countrymen's miseries is to go and look at their pleasures.
We have all got to exert ourselves a little to keep sane, and call things by the same names as other people call them by.
He had the superficial kindness of a good-humored, self-satisfied nature, that fears no rivalry, and has encountered no contrarieties.
Religion can only change when the emotions which fill it are changed; and the religion of personal fear remains nearly at the level of the savage.
Of what use, however, is a general certainty that an insect will not walk with his head hindmost, when what you need to know is the play of inward stimulus that sends him hither and thither in a network of possible paths?
I have nothing to tell except travellers' stories, which are always tiresome, like the description of a play which was very exciting to those who saw it.
Expenditure -- like ugliness and errors -- becomes a totally new thing when we attach our own personality to it, and measure it by that wide difference which is manifest (in our own sensations) between ourselves and others.
There are answers which, in turning away wrath, only send it to the other end of the room.
There are answers which, in turning away wrath, only send it to the other end of the room, and to have a discussion coolly waived when you feel that justice is all on your own side is even more exasperating in marriage than in philosophy.
She was no longer struggling against the perception of facts, but adjusting herself to their clearest perception.
It was one of those dangerous moments when speech is at once sincere and deceptive -- when feeling, rising high above its average depth, leaves flood-marks which are never reached again.
There is no compensation for the woman who feels that the chief relation of her life has been no more than a mistake. She has lost her crown. The deepest secret of human blessedness has half whispered itself to her, and then forever passed her by.
When a man has seen the woman whom he would have chosen if he had intended to marry speedily, his remaining a bachelor will usually depend on her resolution rather than on his.
What business has an old bachelor like that to marry?' said Sir James. 'He has one foot in the grave.' 'He means to draw it out again, I suppose.
You may try -- but you can never imagine what it is to have a man's force of genius in you, and yet to suffer the slavery of being a girl.
Enveloped in a common mist, we seem to walk in clearness ourselves, and behold only the mist that enshrouds others.
His faith wavered, but not his speech: it is the lot of every man who has to speak for the satisfaction of the crowd, that he must often speak in virtue of yesterday's faith, hoping it will come back to-morrow.
Everybody liked better to conjecture how the thing was, than simply to know it; for conjecture soon became more confident than knowledge, and had a more liberal allowance for the incompatible.
The human soul is hospitable, and will entertain conflicting sentiments and contradictory opinions with much impartiality.
The commonest man, who has his ounce of sense and feeling, is conscious of the difference between a lovely, delicate woman and a coarse one. Even a dog feels a difference in her presence.
Religious ideas have the fate of melodies, which, once set afloat in the world, are taken up by all sorts of instruments, some of them woefully coarse, feeble, or out of tune, until people are in danger of crying out that the melody itself is detestable.
It is well known to all experienced minds that our firmest convictions are often dependent on subtle impressions for which words are quite too coarse a medium.
With a single drop of ink for a mirror, the Egyptian sorcerer undertakes to reveal to any chance comer far-reaching visions of the past. This is what I undertake to do for you, reader.
Trouble always seems heavier when it is only one's thought and not one's bodily activity that is employed about it.
Art is the nearest thing to life; it is a mode of amplifying experience and extending our contact with our fellow men beyond the bounds of our personal lot.
Consequences are unpitying. Our deeds carry their terrible consequences, quite apart from any fluctuations that went before--consequences that are hardly ever confined to ourselves. And it is best to fix our minds on that certainty, instead of considering what may be the elements of excuse for us.
When we are young we think our troubles a mighty business -- that the world is spread out expressly as a stage for the particular drama of our lives and that we have a right to rant and foam at the mouth if we are crossed. I have done enough of that in my time.
On the contrary, having the amiable vanity which knits us to those who are fond of us, and disinclines us to those who are indifferent, and also a good grateful nature, the mere idea that a woman had a kindness towards him spun little threads of tenderness from out his heart towards hers.
In the love of a brave and faithful man there is always a strain of maternal tenderness; he gives out again those beams of protecting fondness which were shed on him as he lay on his mother's knee.
Things don't happen because they're bad or good, else all eggs would be addled or none at all, and at the most it is but six to the dozen. There's good chances and bad chances, and nobody's luck is pulled only by one string.
As to memory, it is known that this frail faculty naturally lets drop the facts which are less flattering to our self-love -- when it does not retain them carefully as subjects not to be approached, marshy spots with a warning flag over them.
There's truth in wine, and there may be some in gin and muddy beer; but whether it's truth worth my knowing, is another question.
The rich ate and drank freely, accepting gout and apoplexy as things that ran mysteriously in respectable families.
When we are treated well, we naturally begin to think that we are not altogether unmeritous, and that it is only just we should treat ourselves well, and not mar our own good fortune.
John considered a young master as the natural enemy of an old servant, and young people in general as a poor contrivance for carrying on the world.
To fear the examination of any proposition apears to me an intellectual and a moral palsy that will ever hinder the firm grasping of any substance whatever.
I easily sink into mere absorption of what other minds have done, and should like a whole life for that alone.
I can't bear fishing. I think people look like fools sitting watching a line hour after hour-or else throwing and throwing, and catching nothing.
'Tis God gives skill, but not without men's hand: He could not make Antonio Stradivarius's violins without Antonio.
There's things to put up wi' in ivery place, an' you may change an' change an' not better yourself when all's said an' done.
Even those who call themselves 'intimate' know very little about each other -- hardly ever know just how a sorrow is felt, and hurt each other by their very attempts at sympathy or consolation. We can bear no hand on our bruises.
No matter whether failure came A thousand different times, For one brief moment of success, Life rang its golden chimes.
It is for art to present images of a lovelier order than the actual, gently winning the affections, and so determining the taste.
There are natures in which, if they love us, we are conscious of having a sort of baptism and consecration.
When you get me a good man made out of arguments, I will get you a good dinner with reading you the cookery book.
Shall we, because we walk on our hind feet, assume to ourselves only the privilege of imperishability?
All honour and reverence to the divine beauty of form! Let us cultivate it to the utmost in men, women and children -- in our gardens and in our houses. But let us love that other beauty too, which lies in no secret of proportion but in the secret of deep human sympathy.
What mortal is there of us, who would find his satisfaction enhanced by an opportunity of comparing the picture he presents to himself of his doings, with the picture they make on the mental retina of his neighbours? We are poor plants buoyed up by the air-vessels of our own conceit.
It is always good to know, if only in passing, charming human beings. It refreshes one like flowers and woods and clear brooks.
Do we not wile away moments of inanity or fatigued waiting by repeating some trivial movement or sound, until the repetition has bred a want, which is incipient habit?
It's them as take advantage that get advantage I' this world, I think: folks have to wait long enough afore it's brought to 'em.
Life's a vast sea
That does its mighty errand without fail,
Painting in unchanged strength though waves are changing.
The most solid comfort one can fall back upon is the thought that the business of one's life is to help in some small way to reduce the sum of ignorance, degradation and misery on the face of this beautiful earth.
Life is very difficult. It seems right to me sometimes that we should follow our strongest feelings; but then such feelings continually come across the ties that all our former life has made for us, -- the ties that have made others dependent on us, -- and would cut them in two.
Speech is often barren; but silence also does not necessarily brood over a full nest.
Speech is often barren; but silence also does not necessarily brood over a full nest. Your still fowl, blinking at you without remark, may all the while be sitting on one addled egg; and when it takes to cackling will have nothing to announce but that addled delusion.
As soon as we lay ourselves entirely at His feet, we have enough light given us to guide our own steps; as the foot-soldier who hears nothing of the councils that determine the course of the great battle he is in, hears plainly enough the word of command that they must themselves obey.
They say fortune is a woman and capricious. But sometimes she is a good woman, and gives to those who merit.
Certainly the determining acts of her life were not ideally beautiful. They were the mixed result of young and novel impulse struggling amidst the conditions of an imperfect social state, in which great feelings will often take the aspect of error, and great faith the aspect of illusion.
One's own faults are always a heavy chain to drag through life and one can't help groaning under the weight now and then.
I hold it a blasphemy to say that a man ought not to fight against authority: there is no great religion and no great freedom that has not done it, in the beginning.
The vainest woman is never thoroughly conscious of her beauty till she is loved by the man who sets her own passion vibrating in return.
The sublime delight of truthful speech to one who has the great gift of uttering it, will make itself felt even through the pangs of sorrow.
Imagination is a licensed trespasser: it has no fear of dogs, but may climb over walls and peep in at windows with impunity.
How should all the apparatus of heaven and earth make poetry for a mind that had no movements of awe and tenderness, no sense of fellowship which thrills from the near to the distant, and back again from the distant to the near?
Love has a way of cheating itself consciously, like a child who plays at solitary hide-and-seek; it is pleased with assurances that it all the while disbelieves.
If you like to swallow him, for his sister's sake, you may; but I've no sauce that will make him go down.
There is so much to read and the days are so short! I get more hungry for knowledge every day, and less able to satisfy my hunger.
Blessed influence of one true loving human soul on another! Not calculable by algebra, not deducible by logic, but mysterious, effectual, mighty as the hidden process by which the tiny seed is quickened, and bursts forth into tall stem and broad leaf, and glowing tasseled flower.
There's nothing but what's bearable as long as a man can work.... The square o' four is sixteen, and you must lengthen your lever in proportion to your weight, is as true when a man's miserable as when he's happy; and the best o' working is, it gives you a grip hold o' things outside your own lot.
Surely there was something taught her by this experience of great need; and she must be learning a secret of human tenderness and long-suffering, that the less erring could hardly know?
No anguish I have had to bear on your account has been too heavy a price to pay for the new life into which I have entered in loving you.
I think there is more than enough literature of the criticizing sort...To read much of it seems to me seriously injurious: it accustoms men and women to formulate opinions instead of receiving deep impressions, and to receive deep impressions is the foundation of all true mental power.
The beauty of a lovely woman is like music.
The beauty of a lovely woman is like music ... the rounded neck, the dimpled arm, move us by something more than their prettiness -- by their close kinship with all we have known of tenderness and peace.
In the multitude of middle-aged men who go about their vocations in a daily course determined for them much in the same way as the tie of their cravats, there is always a good number who once meant to shape their own deeds and alter the world a little.
Genius consisting neither in self-conceit nor in humilty, but in a power to making or do, not anything in general, but something in particular.
When the commonplace We must all die tranfors itself suddenly into the acute consciousness I must die -- and soon, then death grapples us, and his fingers are cruel; afterwards, he may come to fold us in his arms as our mother did, and our last moment of dim earthly discerning may be like the first.
Only those who know the supremacy of the intellectual life--the life which has a seed of ennobling thought and purpose within it--can understand the grief of one who falls from that serene activity into the absorbing soul-wasting struggle with worldly annoyances.
It is strange how deeply colors seem to penetrate one, like scent. I suppose that is the reason why gems are used as spiritual emblems in the Revelation of St John. They look like fragments of heaven. I think the emerald is more beautiful than any of them.
Character is not cut in marble -- it is not something solid and unalterable. It is something living and changing, and may become diseased as our bodies do.
Oh may I join the choir invisible Of those immortal dead who live again In minds made better by their presence.
Sane people did what their neighbors did, so that if any lunatics were at large, one might know and avoid them.
Unhappily the habit of being offensive 'without meaning it' leads usually to a way of making amends which the injured person cannot but regard as a being amiable without meaning it.
It so often happens that others are measuring us by our past self while we are looking back on that self with a mixture of disgust and sorrow.
The idea of duty -- that recognition of something to be lived for beyond the mere satisfaction of self -- is to the moral life what the addition of a great central ganglion is to animal life.
He had no ideal world of dead heroes; he knew little of the life of men in the past; he must find the beings to whom he could cling with loving admiration among those who came within speech of him.
Keep true, never be ashamed of doing right.
Keep true, never be ashamed of doing right, decide on what you think is right and stick to it.
The mother's love is at first an absorbing delight, blunting all other sensibilities; it is an expansion of the animal existence.
Well, well, my boy, if good luck knocks at your door, don't you put your head out at window and tell it to be gone about its business, that's all.
The perpetual mourner -- the grief that can never be healed -- is innocently enough felt to be wearisome by the rest of the world. And my sense of desolation increases. Each day seems a new beginning -- a new acquaintance with grief.
Of new acquaintances one can never be sure because one likes them one day that it will be so the next. Of old friends one is sure that it will be the same yesterday, today, and forever.
I cherish my childish loves -- the memory of that warm little nest where my affections were fledged.
Our sense of duty must often wait for some work which shall take the place of dilettanteism sic and make us feel that the quality of our action is not a matter of indifference.
A human being in this aged nation of ours is a very wonderful hole, the slow creation of long interchanging influences; and charm is a result of two such wholes, the one loving and the one loved.
How lovely the little river is, with its dark changing wavelets! It seems to me like a living companion while I wander along the bank, and listen to its low, placid voice.
Oh, sir, the loftiest hopes on earth Draw lots with meaner hopes: heroic breasts, Breathing bad air, run risk of pestilence; Or, lacking lime-juice when they cross the Line, May languish with the scurvy.
News is often dispersed as thoughtlessly and effectively as that pollen which the bees carry off (having no idea how powdery they are) when they are buzzing in search of their particular nectar.
If you are not proud of your cellar, there is no thrill of satisfaction in seeing your guest hold up his wineglass to the light and look judicial.
Deeds are the pulse of Time, his beating life, And righteous or unrighteous, being done, Must throb in after-throbs till Time itself Be laid in stillness, and the universe Quiver and breathe upon no mirror more.
It is because sympathy is but a living again through our own past in a new form, that confession often prompts a response of confession.
Nature has the deep cunning which hides itself under the appearance of openness, so that simple people think they can see through her quite well, and all the while she is secretly preparing a refutation of their confident prophecies.
What should I do--how should I act now, this very day ... What she would resolve to do that day did not yet seem quite clear, but something that she could achieve stirred her as with an approaching murmur which would soon gather distinctness.
The worst service, I fancy, that anyone can do for truth, is to set silly people writing on its behalf.
It is, I fear, but a vain show of fulfilling the heathen precept, ''Know thyself,'' and too often leads to a self- estimate which will subsist in the absence of that fruit by which alone the quality of the tree is made evident.
Letter-writing I imagine is counted as 'work' from which you must abstain, and I scribble this letter simply from the self-satisfied notion that you will like to hear from me. You see, I have asked no questions, which are the torture-screws of correspondence. Hence you have nothing to answer.
Society never made the preposterous demand that a man should think as much about his own qualifications for making a charming girl happy as he thinks of hers for making himself happy. As if a man could choose not only his wife but his wife's husband!
Fine old Christmas, with the snowy hair and ruddy face, had done his duty that year in the noblest fashion, and had set off his rich gifts of warmth and color with all the heightening contrast of frost and snow.
In our spring-time every day has its hidden growths in the mind, as it has in the earth when the little folded blades are getting ready to pierce the ground.
It is possible to have a strong self-love without any self-satisfaction, rather with a self-discontent which is the more intense because one's own little core of egoistic sensibility is a supreme care.
I know forgiveness is a man's duty, but, to my thinking, that can only mean as you're to give up all thoughts o' taking revenge: it can never mean as you're t' have your old feelings back again, for that's not possible.
God, immortality, duty -- how inconceivable the first, how unbelievable the second, how peremptory and absolute the third.
Life is so complicated a game that the devices of skill are liable to be defeated at every turn by air-blown chances, incalculable as the descent of thistle-down.
The best part of a woman's love is worship; but it is hard to her to be sent away with her precious spikenard rejected, and her long tresses, too, that were let fall, ready to soothe the wearied feet.
When one is five-and-twenty, one has not chalk-stones at one's finger-ends that the touch of a handsome girl should be entirely indifferent.
Ingenious philosophers tell you, perhaps, that the great work of the steam-engine is to create leisure for mankind. Do not believe them; it only creates a vacuum for eager thought to rush in.
To most mortals there is a stupidity which is unendurable and a stupidity which is altogether acceptable -- else, indeed, what would become of social bonds?
Of a truth, Knowledge is power, but it is a power reined by scruple, having a conscience of what must be and what may be.
Leisure is gone, -- gone where the spinning-wheels are gone, and the pack-horses, and the slow wagons, and the peddlers, who brought bargains to the door on sunny afternoons.
I only thought of myself, and I made you grieve. It hurts me now to think of your grief. You must not grieve anymore for me. It is better_it shall be better with me because I have known you.
Those old stories of visions and dreams guiding men have their truth; we are saved by making the future present to ourselves.
My childhood was full of deep sorrows -- colic, whooping-cough, dread of ghosts, hell, Satan, and a Deity in the sky who was angry when I ate too much plumcake.
The difficult task of knowing another soul is not for young gentlemen whose consciousness is chiefly made up of their own wishes.
Nature has her language, and she is not unveracious; but we don't know all the intricacies of her syntax just yet, and in a hasty reading we may happen to extract the very opposite of her real meaning.
We are poor plants buoyed up by the air-vessels of our own conceit: alas for us, if we get a few pinches that empty us of that windy self-subsistence.
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