Reference > Quotations > C.N. Douglas, comp. > Forty Thousand Quotations > Primary Author Index
C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
  A bodily disease which we look upon as whole and entire within itself, may, after all, be but a symptom of some ailment in the spiritual part.  1
  A grave, wherever found, preaches a short and pithy sermon to the soul.  2
  A man—poet, prophet, or whatever he may be—readily persuades himself of his right to all the worship that is voluntarily tendered.  3
  A singular fact, that, when man is a brute, he is the most sensual and loathsome of all brutes.  4
  A vast deal of human sympathy runs along the electric line of needlework, stretching from the throne to the wicker chair of the humble seamstress.  5
  All brave men love; for he only is brave who has affections to fight for, whether in the daily battle of life or in physical contests.  6
  An unhappy gentleman, resolving to wed nothing short of perfection, keeps his heart and hand till both get so old and withered that no tolerable woman will accept them.  7
  And what is more melancholy than the old apple-trees that linger about the spot where once stood a homestead, but where there is now only a ruined chimney rising out of a grassy and weed-grown cellar? They offer their fruit to every wayfarer—apples that are bitter-sweet with the moral of time’s vicissitude.  8
  At almost every step in life we meet with young men from whom we anticipate wonderful things, but of whom, after careful inquiry, we never hear another word. Like certain chintzes, calicoes, and ginghams, they show finely on their first newness, but cannot stand the sun and rain, and assume a very sober aspect after washing day.  9
  Can man be so age-stricken that no faintest sunshine of his youth may revisit him once a year? It is impossible. The moss on our time-worn mansion brightens into beauty; the good old pastor, who once dwelt here, renewed his prime and regained his boyhood in the genial breeze of his ninetieth spring. Alas for the worn and heavy soul, if, whether in youth or age, it has outlived its privilege of springtime sprightliness!  10
  Caresses, expressions of one sort or another, are necessary to the life of the affections as leaves are to the life of a tree. If they are wholly restrained love will die at the roots.  11
  Could the departed, whoever he may be, return in a week after his decease, he would almost invariably find himself at a higher or a lower point than he had formerly occupied on the scale of public appreciation.  12
  Death is so genuine a fact that it excludes falsehoods, or betrays its emptiness; it is a touchstone that proves the gold, and dishonors the baser metal.  13
  Death possesses a good deal of real estate, namely, the graveyard in every town.  14
  Earth has one angel less, and heaven one more since yesterday. Already, kneeling at the throne, she has received her welcome, and is resting on the bosom of her Saviour.  15
  Echo is the voice of a reflection in a mirror.  16
  Every crime destroys more Edens than our own.  17
  Every individual has a place to fill in the world, and is important in some respect, whether he chooses to be so or not.  18
  Generosity is the flower of justice.  19
  Genius, indeed, melts many ages into one, and thus effects something permanent, yet still with a similarity of office to that of the more ephemeral writer. A work of genius is but the newspaper of a century, or perchance of a hundred centuries.  20
  Great men need to be lifted upon the shoulders of the whole world, in order to conceive their great ideas or perform their great deeds; that is, there must be an atmosphere of greatness round about them. A hero cannot be a hero unless in an heroic world.  21
  Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us a wild-goose chase, and is never attained.  22
  “Here, dearest Eve,” he exclaims, “here is food.” “Well,” answered she, with the germ of a housewife stirring within her, “we have been so busy to-day that a picked-up dinner must serve.”  23
  His words had power because they accorded with his thoughts; and his thoughts had reality and depth because they harmonized with the life he had always lived. It was not mere breath that this preacher uttered; they were the words of life, because a life of good deeds and holy love was melted into them. Pearls, pure and rich, had been dissolved into the precious draught.  24
  If cities were built by the sound of music, then some edifices would appear to be constructed by grave, solemn tones,—others to have danced forth to light fantastic airs.  25
  If human love hath power to penetrate the veil—and hath it not?—then there are yet living here a few who have the blessedness of knowing that an angel loves them.  26
  If we take the freedom to put a friend under our microscope, we thereby insulate him from many of his true relations, magnify his peculiarities, inevitably tear him into parts, and, of course, patch him very clumsily together again. What wonder, then, should we be frightened by the aspect of a monster.  27
  In truth there is no such thing in man’s nature as a settled and full resolve either for good or evil, except at the very moment of execution.  28
  Insincerity in a man’s own heart must make all his enjoyments, all that concerns him, unreal; so that his whole life must seem like a merely dramatic representation.  29
  Is it a fact—or have I dreamt it—that by means of electricity the world of matter has become a great nerve, vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time? Rather, the round globe is a vast head, a brain, instinct with intelligence; or shall we say it is itself a thought, nothing but thought, and no longer the substance which we dreamed it.  30
  It (Catholicism) supplies a multitude of external forms in which the spiritual may be clothed and manifested.  31
  It is a suggestive idea to track those worn feet backward through all the paths they have trodden ever since they were the tender and rosy little feet of a baby, and (cold as they now are) were kept warm in his mother’s hand.  32
  It is my opinion that a man’s soul may be buried and perish under a dung-heap, or in a furrow of the field, just as well as under a pile of money.  33
  It is not strange that that early love of the heart should come back, as it so often does when the dim eye is brightening with its last light. It is not strange that the freshest fountains the heart has ever known in its wastes should bubble up anew when the life-blood is growing stagnant. It is not strange that a bright memory should come to a dying old man, as the sunshine breaks across the hills at the close of a stormy day; nor that in light of that ray, the very clouds that made the day dark should grow gloriously beautiful.  34
  It is very singular, how the fact of a man’s death often seems to give people a truer idea of his character, whether for good or evil, than they have ever possessed while he was living and acting among them. Death is so genuine a fact that it excludes falsehood or betray its emptiness; it is a touch-stone that proves the gold, and dishonors the baser metal.  35
  Keep the imagination sane—that is one of the truest conditions of communion with heaven.  36
  Labor is the curse of the world, and nobody can meddle with it without becoming proportionately brutified.  37
  Language,—human language,—after all, is but little better than the croak and cackle of fowls, and other utterances of brute nature,—sometimes not so adequate.  38
  Mankind are earthen jugs with spirits in them.  39
  Men of cold passions have quick eyes.  40
  Moonlight is sculpture; sunlight is painting.  41
  Most people are so constituted that they can only be virtuous in a certain routine; an irregular course of life demoralizes them.  42
  No fountain so small but that heaven may be imaged in its bosom.  43
  No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true.  44
  Nobody will use other people’s experience, nor have any of his own till it is too late to use it.  45
  Of a bitter satirist it might be said that the person or thing on which his satire fell shriveled up as if the devil had spit on it.  46
  Our most intimate friend is not he to whom we show the worst, but the best of our nature.  47
  So she poured out the liquid music of her voice to quench the thirst of his spirit.  48
  Some maladies are rich and precious and only to be acquired by the right of inheritance or purchased with gold.  49
  Sunlight is like the breath of life to the pomp of autumn.  50
  The best of us being unfit to die, what an inexpressible absurdity to put the worst to death!  51
  The breath of peace was fanning her glorious brow, her head was bowed a very little forward, and a tress, escaping from its bonds, fell by the side of her pure white temple, and close to her just opened lips; it hung there motionless! no breath disturbed its repose! She slept as an angel might sleep, having accomplished the mission of her God.  52
  The Christian faith is a grand cathedral with divinely pictured windows.  53
  The divine chemistry works in the subsoil.  54
  The greatest obstacle to being heroic is the doubt whether one may not be going to prove one’s self a fool; the truest heroism is to resist the doubt, and the profoundest wisdom to know when it ought to be resisted, and when to be obeyed.  55
  The heart of true womanhood knows where its own sphere is, and never seeks to stray beyond it!  56
  The inward pleasure of imparting pleasure—that is the choicest of all.  57
  The love of posterity is the consequence of the necessity of death. If a man were sure of living forever here, he would not care about his offspring.  58
  The world owes all its onward impulses to men ill at ease. The happy man inevitably confines himself within ancient limits.  59
  There is an alchemy of quiet malice by which women can concoct a subtle poison, from ordinary trifles.  60
  There is evil in every human heart which may remain latent, perhaps, through the whole of life; but circumstances may rouse it to activity.  61
  There is great incongruity in this idea of monuments, since those to whom they are usually dedicated need no such recognition to embalm their memory; and any man who does, is not worthy of one.  62
  There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October. The sunshine is peculiarly genial; and in sheltered places, as on the side of a bank, or of a barn or house, one becomes acquainted and friendly with the sunshine. It seems to be of a kindly and homely nature. And the green grass strewn with a few withered leaves looks the more green and beautiful for them. In summer or spring nature is farther from one’s sympathies.  63
  There is something more awful in happiness than in sorrow—the latter being earthly and finite, the former composed of the substance and texture of eternity, so that spirits still embodied may well tremble at it.   64
  Those with whom we can apparently become well acquainted in a few moments are generally the most difficult to rightly know and to understand.  65
  Thus we see, too, in the world that some persons assimilate only what is ugly and evil from the same moral circumstances which supply good and beautiful results the fragrance of celestial flowers to the daily life of others.  66
  Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind.  67
  To be left alone in the wide world with scarcely a friend,—this makes the sadness which, striking its pang into the minds of the young and the affectionate, teaches them too soon to watch and interpret the spirit-signs of their own hearts.  68
  Ugliness without tact is horrible.  69
  We are but shadows: we are not endowed with real life, and all that seems most real about us is but the thinnest substance of a dream,—till the heart be touched. That touch creates us—then we begin to be—thereby we are beings of reality and inheritors of eternity.  70
  We do ourselves wrong, and too meanly estimate the holiness above us, when we deem that any act or enjoyment good in itself, is not good to do religiously.  71
  We must not think too unkindly even of the east wind. It is not, perhaps, a wind to be loved, even in its benignest moods; but there are seasons when I delight to feel its breath upon my cheek, though it be never advisable to throw open my bosom and take it into my heart, as I would its gentle sisters of the south and west.  72
  We sometimes congratulate ourselves at the moment of waking from a troubled dream—it may be so the moment after death.  73
  What a sweet reverence is that when a young man deems his mistress a little more than mortal and almost chides himself for longing to bring her close to his heart.  74
  What is the voice of song, when the world lacks the ear to taste?  75
  What other dungeon is so dark as one’s own heart? What jailer so inexorable as one’s self?  76
  What we call real estate—the solid ground to build a house on—is the broad foundation on which nearly all the guilt of this world rests.  77
  What would a man do if he were compelled to live always in the sultry heat of society, and could never better himself in cool solitude?  78
  When scattered clouds are resting on the bosoms of hills, it seems as if one might climb into the heavenly region, earth being so intermixed with sky, and gradually transformed into it.  79
  Women are safer in perilous situations and emergencies than men, and might be still more so if they trusted themselves more confidingly to the chivalry of manhood.  80

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.