"What I mean by the Muse is that unimpeded clearness of the intuitive powers, which a perfectly truthful adherence to every admonition of the higher instincts would bring to a finely organized human being.... Should these faculties have free play, I believe they will open new, deeper and purer sources of joyous inspiration than have yet refreshed the earth."
"The ability to think straight, some knowledge of the past, some vision of the future, some skill to do useful service, some urge to fit that service into the well-being of the community,--these are the most vital things education must try to produce."
"Thus the reader who hath most truly considered and digested the sentiments which he reads must be a man of the best taste and mustfind most pleasure in the perusal of authors worth the reading. It is but to preserve candor enough to keep up an impartial attention and, instead of being actuated by a false shame of ignorance, to know when properly to confess myself a learner, and I have it in my power (as far as my capacity will reach) to command any knowledge that is extant in the whole universe."
"The present century has not dealt kindly with the farmer. His legends are all but obsolete, and his beliefs have been pared away by the professors at colleges of agriculture. Even the farm- bred bards who twang guitars before radio microphones prefer "I'm Headin' for the Last Roundup" to "Turkey in the Straw" or "Father Put the Cows Away."
"Gowns, and pecuniary foundations, though of towns of gold, can never countervail the least sentence or syllable of wit. Forget this, and our American colleges will recede in their public importance, whilst they grow richer every year."
"Colleges, in like manner, have their indispensable office,--to teach elements. But they can only highly serve us, when they aim not to drill, but to create; when they gather from far every ray of various genius to their hospitable halls, and, by the concentrated fires, set the hearts of their youth on flame."
"I learn immediately from any speaker how much he has already lived, through the poverty or the splendor of his speech. Life lies behind us as the quarry from whence we get tiles and copestones for the masonry of today. This is the way to learn grammar. Colleges and books only copy the language which the field and the work-yard made."
"The spirit only can teach. Not any profane man, not any sensual, not any liar, not any slave can teach, but only he can give, whohas; he only can create, who is. The man on whom the soul descends, through whom the soul speaks, alone can teach. Courage, piety, love, wisdom, can teach; and every man can open his door to these angels, and they shall bring him the gift of tongues. But the man who aims to speak as books enable, as synods use, as the fashion guides, and as interest commands, babbles. Let him hush."
"I look on trade and every mechanical craft as education also. But let me discriminate what is precious herein. There is in each ofthese works an act of invention, an intellectual step, or short series of steps taken; that act or step is the spiritual act; all the rest is mere repetition of the same a thousand times."
"It is contended that those who have been bred at Eton, Harrow, Rugby, and Westminster, that the public sentiment within each of those schools is high-toned and manly; that, in their playgrounds, courage is universally admired, meanness despised, manly feelings and generous conduct are encouraged: that an unwritten code of honor deals to the spoiled child of rank, and to the child of upstart wealth an even-handed justice, purges their nonsense out of both, and does all that can be done to make them gentlemen."
"Man is endogenous, and education is his unfolding. The aid we have from others is mechanical, compared with the discoveries of nature in us. What is thus learned is delightful in the doing, and the effect remains."
"[T]he most artful method [of courtship] would be this, to tell her that what she doth not possess is useless and contemptible, that weakness and imperfection is the perfection of a woman, that I am stark mad in love with ignorance; and thus shall I allure her by calling her [a] fool."
"I loved reading, and had a great desire of attaining knowledge; but whenever I asked questions of any kind whatsoever, I was always told, "such things were not proper for girls of my age to know."... For "Miss must not enquire too far into things, it would turn her brain; she had better mind her needlework, and such things as were useful for women; reading and poring on books would never get me a husband."