"There are moods in which we court suffering, in the hope that here, at least, we shall find reality, sharp peaks and edges of truth. But it turns out to be scene-painting and counterfeit. The only thing grief has taught me, is to know how shallow it is."
"The persons who constitute the natural aristocracy, are not found in the actual aristocracy, or, only on its edge; as the chemicalenergy of the spectrum is found to be greatest just outside of the spectrum."
"Society gains nothing whilst a man, not himself renovated, attempts to renovate things around him; he has become tediously good insome particular but negligent or narrow in the rest; and hypocrisy and vanity are often the disgusting result."
"For all our penny-wisdom, for all our soul-destroying slavery to habit, it is not to be doubted that all men have sublime thoughts; that all men value the few real hours of life; they love to be heard; they love to be caught up into the vision of principles. We mark with light in the memory the few interviews we have had, in the dreary years of routine and of sin, with souls that made our souls wiser; that spoke what we thought; that told us what we knew; that gave us leave to be what we only were."
"In our Mechanics' Fair, there must be not only bridges, ploughs, carpenter's planes, and baking troughs, but also some few finer instruments,--rain-gauges, thermometers, and telescopes; and in society, besides farmers, sailors, and weavers, there must be a few persons of purer fire kept specially as gauges and meters of character; persons of a fine, detecting instinct, who note the smallest accumulations of wit and feeling in the bystander."
"That only which we have within, can we see without. If we meet no gods, it is because we harbor none. If there is grandeur in you,you will find grandeur in porters and sweeps. He only is rightly immortal, to whom all things are immortal."
"So each man, like each plant, has his parasites. A strong, astringent, bilious nature has more truculent enemies than the slugs and moths that fret my leaves. Such a one has curculios, borers, knife-worms; a swindler ate him first, then a client, then a quack, then smooth, plausible gentlemen, bitter and selfish as Moloch."
"The magnanimous know very well that they who give time, or money, or shelter, to the stranger--so it be done for love, and not forostentation--do, as it were, put God under obligation to them, so perfect are the compensations of the universe."
"Cities force growth and make men talkative and entertaining, but they make them artificial. What possesses interest for us is thenatural of each, his constitutional excellence. This is forever a surprise, engaging and lovely; we cannot be satiated with knowing it, and about it; and it is this which the conversation with Nature cherishes and guards."
"And the glory of character is in affronting the horrors of depravity to draw thence new nobilities of power: as Art lives and thrills in new use and combining of contrasts, and mining into the dark evermore for blacker pits of night."