Reference > Quotations > James Wood, comp. > Dictionary of Quotations
James Wood, comp.  Dictionary of Quotations.  1899.
John Burroughs
  Footpaths give a private, human touch to the landscape that roads do not. They are sacred to the human foot. They have the sentiment of domesticity, and suggest the way to cottage doors and to simple, primitive times.  1
  It is not merely by virtue of the sunlight that falls now, and the rain and dew which it brings, that we continue here, but by virtue of the sunlight of æons of past ages.  2
  Men and communities in this world are often in the position of Arctic explorers, who are making great speed in a given direction, while the ice-floe beneath them is making greater speed in the opposite.  3
  Minorities lead and save the world, and the world knows them not till long afterwards.  4
  No man perhaps suspects how large and important the region of unconsciousness in him is; what a vast, unknown territory lies there back of his conscious will and purpose, and which is really the controlling power of his life.  5
  No surer does the Auldgarth bridge, that his father helped to build, carry the traveller over the turbulent water beneath it, than Carlyle’s books convey the reader over chasms and confusions, where before there was no way, or only an inadequate one.  6
  Nothing deepens and intensifies family traits like poverty and toil and suffering. It is the furnace heat that brings out the characters, the pressure that makes the strata perfect.  7
  One may summon his philosophy when he is beaten in battle, not till then.  8
  Some men are like nails, easily drawn; others are like rivets, not drawable at all.  9
  Temperament lies behind mood; back of the caprice of will lies the fate of character; back of both is the bias of family; back of that, the tyranny of race; still deeper, the power of climate, of soil, of geology, the whole physical and moral environment. Still we are free men only so far as we rise above these.  10
  The Carlyles were men who lavished their heart and conscience upon their work; they builded themselves, their days, their thoughts and sorrows, into their houses; they leavened the soil with the sweat of their rugged brows.  11
  The clouds treat the sea as if it were a mill-pond or a spring-run, too insignificant to make any exceptions to.  12
  The floating vapour is just as true an illustration of the law of gravity as the falling avalanche.  13
  The perfect flower of religion opens in the soul only when all self-seeking is abandoned.  14
  The ship that carries most sail is most buffeted by the winds and storms.  15
  The way to get rid of wretchedness is to despise it; to conquer the devil is to defy him; to gain heaven is to turn your back upon it, and be as unflinching as the gods themselves. Satan may be roasted in his own flames; Tophet may be exploded with its own sulphur.    Upon Carlyle’s teaching.  16
  Three thousand miles of ocean space are less impressive than three miles bounded by rugged mountain walls.  17
  We cannot abolish fate, but we can in a measure utilise it. The projectile force of the bullet does not annul or suspend gravity; it uses it.  18
  Whatever these two men (the Carlyles, father and son) touched with their hands in honest toil became sacred to them, a page out of their own lives. A silent, inarticulate kind of religion they put into their work.  19
  Wisdom will out; it is the one thing in this world that cannot be suppressed or annulled.  20
  You shall not shirk the hobbling Times to catch a ride on the sure-footed Eternities. “The times (as Carlyle says) are bad; very well, you are there to make them better.”  21
  Your born angler is like a hound that scents no game but that which he is in pursuit of.  22

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