"In accumulating property for ourselves or our posterity, in founding a family or a state, or acquiring fame even, we are mortal; but in dealing with truth we are immortal, and need fear no change nor accident. The oldest Egyptian or Hindoo philosopher raised a corner of the veil from the statue of the divinity; and still the trembling robe remains raised, and I gaze upon as fresh a glory as he did, since it was I in him that was then so bold, and it is he in me that now reviews the vision. No dust has settled on that robe; no time has elapsed since that divinity was revealed. That time which we really improve, or which is improvable, is neither past, present, nor future."
"I love to weigh, to settle, to gravitate toward that which most strongly and rightfully attracts me;Mnot hang by the beam of the scale and try to weigh less,--not suppose a case, but take the case that is; to travel the only path I can, and that on which no power can resist me. It affords me no satisfaction to commence to spring an arch before I have got a solid foundation."
"I desire to speak somewhere without bounds; like a man in a waking moment, to men in their waking moments; for I am convinced thatI cannot exaggerate enough even to lay the foundation of a true expression."
"To some extent, mythology is only the most ancient history and biography. So far from being false or fabulous in the common sense,it contains only enduring and essential truth, the I and you, the here and there, the now and then, being omitted. Either time or rare wisdom writes it."
"As for the tenets of the Brahmans, we are not so much concerned to know what doctrines they held, as that they were held by any. We can tolerate all philosophies.... It is the attitude of these men, more than any communication which they make, that attracts us."
"This fond reiteration of the oldest expressions of truth by the latest posterity, content with slightly and religiously retouchingthe old material, is the most impressive proof of a common humanity."
"When we come down into the distant village, visible from the mountain-top, the nobler inhabitants with whom we peopled it have departed, and left only vermin in its desolate streets. It is the imagination of poets which puts those brave speeches into the mouths of their heroes."
"No man with a genius for legislation has appeared in America. They are rare in the history of the world. There are orators, politicians, and eloquent men, by the thousand; but the speaker has not yet opened his mouth to speak who is capable of settling the much-vexed questions of the day. We love eloquence for its own sake, and not for any truth which it may utter, or any heroism it may inspire. Our legislators have not yet learned the comparative value of free trade and of freedom, of union, and of rectitude, to a nation."
"They who know of no purer sources of truth, who have traced up its stream no higher, stand, and wisely stand, by the Bible and theConstitution, and drink at it there with reverence and humility; but they who behold where it comes trickling into this lake or that pool, gird up their loins once more, and continue their pilgrimage toward its fountain-head."