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Life is constantly weighing us in very sensitive scales, and telling every one of us precisely what his real weight is to the last grain of dust.
Life is the jailer, death the angel sent to draw the unwilling bolts and set us free.
Life may be given in many ways, and loyalty to truth be sealed as bravely in the closet as the field.
Light is the symbol of truth.
Literature, properly to called, draws its sap from the deep soil of human nature's common and everlasting sympathies, the gathered leaf-mould of countless generations, and not from any top dressing capriciously scattered over the surface.
Love lives on, and hath a power to bless when they who loved are hidden in the grave.
Maiden, when such a soul as thine is born, the morning stars their ancient music make.
Making one object, in outward or inward nature, more holy to a single heart is reward enough for a life; for the more sympathies we gain or awaken for what is beautiful, by so much deeper will be our sympathy for that which is most beautiful,--the human soul!
Many-sidedness of culture makes our vision clearer and keener in particulars.
Men have their intellectual ancestry, and the likeness of some one of them is forever unexpectedly flashing out in the features of a descendant, it may be after a gap of several centuries. In the parliament of the present every man represents a constituency of the past.
Men's thoughts and opinions are in a great degree vassals of him who invents a new phrase or re-applies an old epithet. The thought or feeling a thousand times repeated becomes his at last who utters it best.
Metaphor is no argument, though it be sometimes the gunpowder to drive one home, and imbed it in the memory.
Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle.
Moral supremacy is the only one that leaves monuments, and not ruins, behind it.
Most long lives resemble those threads of gossamer, the nearest approach to nothing unmeaningly prolonged, scarce visible pathways of some worm from his cradle to his grave.
Most men make the voyage of life as if they carried sealed orders which they were not to open till they were fairly in mid-ocean.
Most religion-mongers have bated their paradises with a bit of toasted cheese. They have tempted the body with large promises of possessions in their transmortal El Dorado. Sancho Panza will not quit his chimney-corner, but under promise of imaginary islands to govern.
Never to see a nation born
Hath been given to mortal man,
Unless to those who, on that summer morn,
Gazed silent when the great Virginian
Unsheathed the sword whose fatal flash
Shot union through the incoherent clash
Of our loose atoms, crystallizing them
Around a single will's unpliant stem
And making purpose of emotion rash.
Out of that scabbard sprang, as from its womb,
Nebulous at first but hardening to a star,
Through mutual share of sunburst and of gloom,
The common faith that made us what we are.
- [Washington, George]
No man can produce great things who is not thoroughly sincere in dealing with himself, who would not exchange the finest show for the poorest reality, who does not so love his work that he is not only glad to give himself for it, but finds rather a gain than a sacrifice in the surrender.
No sincere desire of doing good need make an enemy of a single human being; that philanthropy has surely a flaw in it which cannot sympathize with the oppressor equally as with the oppressed.
Not failure, but low aim, is crime.
Not suffering, but faint heart, is worst of woes.
O reputation! dearer far than life.
Old gold has a civilizing virtue which new gold must grow old to be capable of secreting.
One learns more metaphysics from a single temptation than from all the philosophers.
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