"The original character, essentially such, is like a revolving Drummond light, raying away from itself all round it--everything islit by it, everything starts up to it (mark how it is with Hamlet), so that, in certain minds, there follows upon the adequate conception of such a character, an effect, in its way, akin to that which in Genesis attends upon the beginning of things."
"That author who draws a character, even though to common view incongruous in its parts, as the flying-squirrel, and, at differentperiods, as much at variance with itself as the caterpillar is with the butterfly into which it changes, may yet, in so doing, be not false but faithful to facts."
"Don't tell me what delusion he entertains regarding God, or what mountebank he follows in politics, or what he springs from, or what he submits to from his wife. Simply tell me how he makes his living. It is the safest and surest of all known tests. A man who gets his board and lodging on this ball in an ignominious way is inevitably an ignominious man."
"... the mass migrations now habitual in our nation are disastrous to the family and to the formation of individual character. It is impossible to create a stable society if something like a third of our people are constantly moving about. We cannot grow fine human beings, any more than we can grow fine trees, if they are constantly torn up by the roots and transplanted ..."
"Look, we're all the same; a man is a fourteen-room house--in the bedroom he's asleep with his intelligent wife, in the living-roomhe's rolling around with some bareass girl, in the library he's paying his taxes, in the yard he's raising tomatoes, and in the cellar he's making a bomb to blow it all up."
"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."
"There appears to be but two grand master passions or movers in the human mind, namely, love and pride. And what constitutes the beauty or deformity of a man's character is the choice he makes under which banner he determines to enlist himself. But there is a strong distinction between different degress in the same thing and a mixture of two contraries."