Nathaniel Hawthorne Quotes


The present is burdened too much with the past. We have not time in our earthly existence to appreciate what is warm with life and immediately around us.

One picture in ten thousand perhaps ought to live in the applause of mankind from generation to generation until the colors fade and blacken out of sight or the canvas rot entirely away.

Such has often been my apathy when objects long sought and earnestly desired were placed within my reach.

I find nothing so singular to life as that everything appears to lose its substance the instant one actually grapples with it.

Trusting no man as his friend he could not recognize his enemy when the latter actually appeared.

Selfishness is one of the qualities apt to inspire love.

When an uninstructed multitude attempts to see with its eyes it is exceedingly apt to be deceived.

I love my mother but there has been ever since my boyhood a sort of coldness of intercourse between us such as is apt to come between people of strong feelings.

Love whether newly born or aroused from a deathlike slumber must always create sunshine filling the heart so full of radiance this it overflows upon the outward world.

Love whether newly born or aroused from a deathlike slumber must always create sunshine filling the heart so full of radiance that it overflows upon the outward world.

Life within doors has few pleasanter prospects than a neatly-arranged and well-provisioned breakfast-table.

Cupid in these latter times has probably laid aside his bow and arrow and uses fire-arms -- a pistol -- perhaps a revolver.

The love of science to rival the love of woman in its depth and absorbing energy.

Earth has one angel less and heaven one more since yesterday.

On Andrew Jackson: "His native strength compelled every man to be his tool that came within his reach; and the more cunning the individual might be it served only to make him a sharper tool.

The world owes all its onward impulses to men ill at ease. The happy man inevitably confines himself within ancient limits.

Do anything save to lie down and die!

The best of us being unfit to die what an unexpressible absurdity to put the worst to death.

What a happy and holy fashion it is that those who love one another should rest on the same pillow.

Honesty and wisdom are such a delightful pastime at another person's expense!

Cannot you conceive that another man may wish well to the world and struggle for its good on some other plan than precisely that which you have laid down?

I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.

I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house."[Notebook Oct. 10 1842]

Sunlight is like the breath of life to the pomp of autumn.

All merely graceful attributes are usually the most evanescent.

Accuracy is the twin brother of honesty inaccuracy of dishonesty

Death was too definite an object to be wished for or avoided.

All have some artificial badge which the world and themselves among the first learn to consider as a genuine characteristic.

A stale article if you dip it in a good warm sunny smile will go off better than a fresh one that you've scowled upon.

Articulate words are a harsh clamor and dissonance. When man arrives at his highest perfection he will again be dumb.

His stories are good to hear at night because we can dream about them asleep; and good in the morning too because then we can dream about them awake. (Cowslip)

Let the attempt be made at whatever risk.

You can get assent to almost any proposition so long as you are not going to do anything about it.

Caresses expressions of one sort or another are necessary to the life of the affections as leaves are to the life of a tree. If they are wholly restrained love will die at the roots.

All brave men love; for he only is brave who has affections to fight for whether in the daily battle of life or in physical contests.

all brave men love; for he only is brave who has affections to fight for.

And there I sat long long ago waiting for the world to know me.

We sometimes congratulate ourselves at the moment of waking from a troubled dream; it may be so the moment after death.

Some maladies are rich and precious and only to be acquired by the right of inheritance or purchased with gold.

Those with whom we can apparently become well acquainted in a few moments are generally the most difficult to rightly know and to understand.

Man is a wretch without woman; but woman is a monster-and thank Heaven an almost impossible and hitherto imaginary monster--without man as her acknowledged principal!

Language -human language -after all is but little better than the croak and cackle of fowls and other utterances of brute nature -sometimes not so adequate.

Nobody has any conscience about adding to the improbabilities of a marvelous tale.

My fortune somewhat resembled that of a person who should entertain an idea of committing suicide and altogether beyond his hopes meet with the good hap to be murdered.

I sometimes fancy " said Hilda on whose susceptibility the scene always made a strong impression "that Rome--mere Rome--will crowd everything else out of my heart.

In this republican country amid the fluctuating waves of our social life somebody is always at the drowning-point.

As the moral gloom of the world overpowers all systematic gaiety even so was their home of wild mirth made desolate amid the sad forest.

Families are always rising and falling in America.

If a man sitting all alone cannot dream strange things and make them look like truth he need never try to write romances.

There is an alchemy of quiet malice by which women can concoct a subtle poison from ordinary trifles.

But all this while I was giving myself very unnecessary alarm. Providence had mediated better things for me than I could possibly imagine for myself.

No summer ever came back and no two summers ever were alike. Times change and people change; and if our hearts do not change as readily so much the worse for us.

Happiness is a butterfly which when pursued is always just beyond your grasp but which if you will sit down quietly may alight upon you.

If cities were built by the sound of music then some edifices would appear to be constructed by grave solemn tones --others to have danced forth to light fantastic airs.

Sleeping or waking we hear not the airy footsteps of the strange things that almost happen.

The moment when a man's head drops off is seldom or never I am inclined to think precisely the most agreeable of his life.

A bodily disease which we look upon as whole and entire within itself may after all be but a symptom of some ailment in the spiritual part.

I have laughed in bitterness and agony of heart at the contrast between what I seem and what I am!

Would Time but await the close of our favorite follies we should all be young men all of us and until Doom's Day.

Our Creator would never have made such lovely days and have given us the deep hearts to enjoy them above and beyond all thought unless we were meant to be immortal.

This above all: be true be true be true.

Like all other music it breathed passion and pathos and emotions high or tender in a tongue native to the human heart wherever educated.

Depending upon one another's hearts ye had still hoped that virtue were not all a dream. Now are ye undeceived. Evil is the nature of mankind.

...if truth were everywhere to be shown a scarlet letter would blaze forth on many a bosom...

If human love hath power to penetrate the veil--and hath it not?--then there are yet living here a few who have the blessedness of knowing that an angel loves them.

Let the black flower blossom as it may!

Death is so genuine a fact that it excludes falsehoods or betrays its emptiness; it is a touchstone that proves the gold and dishonors the baser metal.

What in the name of common-sense had I to do with any better society than I had always lived in?

Our most intimate friend is not he to whom we show the worst but the best of our nature.

Of all the events which constitute a person's biography there is scarcely one ... to which the world so easily reconciles itself as to his death.

What is there so ponderous in evil that a thumb's bigness of it should outweigh the mass of things not evil which were heaped into the other scale!

But year after year that summons unheard but felt was disobeyed. His one secret thought became like a chain binding down his spirit and like a serpent gnawing into his heart.

A man's bewilderment is the measure of his wisdom.

No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.

What we call real estate - the solid ground to build a house on - is the broad foundation on which nearly all the guilt of this world rests

A singular fact that when man is a brute he is the most sensual and loathsome of all brutes.

Happiness is like a butterfly...

Happiness is like a butterfly - the more you chase the more subtle but if you stop moving and quietly wait for it to land on you.

It is my opinion that a man's soul may be buried and perish under a dung-heap or in a furrow field just as well as under a pile of money.

The marble keeps merely a cold and sad memory of a man who would else be forgotten. No man who needs a monument ever ought to have one.

No fountain so small but that Heaven may be imaged in its bosom.

When scattered clouds are resting on the bosoms of hills it seems as if one might climb into the heavenly region earth being so intermixed with sky and gradually transformed into it.

She could no longer borrow from the future to ease her present grief.

Never was there a dingier uglier less picturesque city than London ... it is really wonderful that so much brick and stone for centuries together should have been built up with so poor a result.

Is it a fact-or have I dreamt it-that by means of electricity the world of matter has become a great nerve vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time?

Women are safer in perilous situations and emergencies than men and might be still more so if they trusted themselves more confidingly to the chivalry of manhood.

The world that grey-bearded and wrinkled profligate decrepit without being venerable.

What would a man do if he were compelled to live always in the sultry heat of society and could never bathe himself in cool solitude?

Time flies over us but leaves its shadow behind.

But she named the infant "Pearl " as being of great price-purchased with all she had-her mother's only treasure!

Bees are sometimes drowned in the honey which they collectso some writers are lost in their collected learning.

It [the scarlet letter] had the effect of a spell taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity and enclosing her in a sphere by herself.

The only sensible ends of literature are first the pleasurable toil of writing; second the gratification of one's family and friends; and lastly the solid cash.

That old woman taught me my catechism!" said the young man; and there was a world of meaning in this simple comment.

The Christian faith is a grand cathedral with divinely pictured windows.

It [Catholicism] supplies a multitude of external forms in which the spiritual may be clothed and manifested.

A vast deal of human sympathy runs along the electric line of needlework stretching from the throne to the wicker chair of the humble seamstress.

The calmer thought is not always the right thought just as the distant view is not always the truest view

A woman's chastity consists like an onion of a series of coats.

When he is cheerful--when the sun shines into his mind--then I venture to peep in just as far as the light reaches but no further. It is holy ground where the shadow falls!

The divine chemistry works in the subsoil.

Now are ye undeceived. Evil is the nature of mankind. Evil must be your only happiness. Welcome again my children to the communion of your race.

My heart was a habitation large enough for many guests but lonely and chill and without a household fire. I longed to kindle one! It seemed not so wild a dream.

The inward pleasure of imparting pleasure - that is the choicest of all.

Every individual has a place to fill in the world and is important in some respect whether he chooses to be so or not.

There is no greater bugbear than a strong willed relative in the circle of his own connections.

Men of cold passions have quick eyes.

The sorrow that lay cold in her mother's heartconverted it into a tomb.

The sorrow that lay cold in her mother's heart... converted it into a tomb.

Words - so innocent and powerless as they are as standing in a dictionary how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.

I have come to see the nonsense of trying to describe fine scenery.

Writing can come naturally to some. Still when it comes to good writing this is true: Easy reading is damn hard writing.

Keep the imagination sane--that is one of the truest conditions of communion with heaven.

My wife is - in the strictest sense - my sole companion and I need no other. There is no vacancy in my mind any more than in my heart.

The traveller knows not who may be concealed by the innumerable trunks and the thick boughs overhead; so that with lonely footsteps he may yet be passing through an unseen multitude.

Insincerity in a man's own heart must make all his enjoyments all that concerns him unreal; so that his whole life must seem like a merely dramatic representation.

We sometimes congratulate ourselves...

This greatest mortal consolation which we derive from the transitoriness of all things-from the right of saying in every conjuncture "This too will pass away.

Just as there comes a warm sunbeam into every cottage window so comes a lovebeam of God's care and pity for every separate need.

Most people are so constituted that they can only be virtuous in a certain routine; an irregular course of life demoralizes them.

A pure hand needs no glove to cover it.

Every crime destroys more Edens than our own

A high truth indeed fairly finely and skilfully wrought out brightening at every step and crowning the final development of a work of fiction may add an artistic glory but is never

The love of posterity is the consequence of the necessity of death. If a man were sure of living forever here he would not care about his offspring.

it is a curious subject of observation and inquiry whether hatred and love be not the same thing at bottom.

Labor is the curse of the world and nobody can meddle with it without becoming proportionately brutalized.

A human spirit may find no insufficiency of food fit for it even in the Custom House.

To do nothing is the way to be nothing.

Wherever there is a heart and an intellect the diseases of the physical frame are tinged with the peculiarities of these.

The greatest possible mint of style is to make the words absolutely disappear into the thought.

What other dungeon is so dark as one's own heart! What jailer so inexorable as one's self!

Oh for the years I have not lived but only dreamed of living.

A few feathery flakes are scattered widely through the air and hover downward with uncertain flight now almost alighting on the earth now whirled again aloft into remote regions of the atmosphere.

Many writers lay very great stress upon some definite moral purpose at which they profess to aim their works.

In the depths of every heart there is a tomb and a dungeon though the lights the music and the revelry above may cause us to forget their existence...

If we would know what heaven is before we come thither let us retire into the depths of our own spirits and we shall find it there among holy thoughts and feelings.

Then might I exemplify how an influence beyond our control lays its strong hand on every deed which we do and weaves its consequences into an iron tissue of necessity. (Wakefield)

There is great incongruity in this idea of monuments since those to whom they are usually dedicated need no such recognition to embalm their memory; and any man who does is not worthy of one.

We do ourselves wrong and too meanly estimate the holiness above us when we deem that any act or enjoyment good in itself is not good to do religiously.

This dull river has a deep religion of its own; so let us trust has the dullest human soul though perhaps unconsciously.

Not yet hardened many young die good.

I do detest all offices - all at least that are held on a political tenure.

Easy reading is damn hard writing.

There is no such thing in man's nature as a settled and full resolve either for good or evil except at the very moment of execution.

Every young sculptor seems to think that he must give the world some specimen of indecorous womanhood and call it Eve Venus a Nymph or any name that may apologize for a lack of decent clothing.

Death possesses a good deal of real estate namely the graveyard in every town.

There is evil in every human heart which may remain latent perhaps through the whole of life; but circumstances may rouse it to activity.

Echo is the voice of a reflection in a mirror.

Religion and art spring from the same root and are close kin. Economics and art are strangers.

What is the voice of song when the world lacks the ear of taste?

Who can tell where happiness may come or where though an expected guest it may never show its face?

Nobody I think ought to read poetry or look at pictures or statues who cannot find a great deal more in them than the poet or artist has actually expressed. Their highest merit is suggestiveness.

As a general rule Providence seldom vouchsafes to mortals any more than just that degree of encouragement which suffices to keep them at a reasonably full exertion of their powers.

London is like the grave in one respect -- any man can make himself at home there; and whenever a man finds himself homeless elsewhere he had better either die or go to London.

Mankind are earthen jugs with spirits in them.

This world owes all its forward impulses to people ill at ease.

I heard a neigh. Oh such a brisk and melodious neigh it was. My very heart leapt with the sound.

Mountains are earth's undecaying monuments.

New England is quite as large a lump of earth as my heart can really take in.

We must not always talk in the market-place of what happens to us in the forest.

Generosity is the flower of justice.

Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world if not your worst yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred!

...Chillingworth was a striking evidence of man's faculty of transforming himself into a devil if he will only for a reasonable space of time undertake a devil's office.

She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom.

Come therefore and let us fling mud at them!

Unquestionably we do stand by our national flag as stoutly as any people in the world; and I myself have felt the heart-throb at sight of it as sensibly as other men.

Life figures itself to me as a festal or funereal procession.

The fiend in his own shape is less hideous than when he rages in the breast of men.

There is something truer and more real than what we can see with the eyes and touch with the finger.

A grave wherever found preaches a short and pithy sermon to the soul.

Nervous and excitable persons need to talk a great deal by way of letting off their steam.

An unhappy gentleman resolving to wed nothing short of perfection keeps his heart and hand till both get so old and withered that no tolerable woman will accept them.

The greatest obstacle to being heroic is the doubt whether one may going to prove one's self a fool.

Shall we never never get rid of this Past? ... It lies upon the Present like a giant's dead body.

I wish I had the gift of making rhymes for methinks there is poetry in my head and heart since I have been in love with you.

No my little Pearl! Thou must gather thine own sunshine. I have none to give thee.

Though we speak nonsense God will pick out the meaning of it.

Ugliness without tact is horrible.

What a sweet reverence is that when a young man deems his mistress a little more than mortal and almost chides himself for longing to bring her close to his heart.

Salt is white and pure - there is something holy in salt.

...happiness is not found in things you possess but in what you have the courage to release...

It loves more readily than it hates.

It is to the credit of human nature that except where its selfishness is brought into play it loves more readily than it hates.

A hero cannot be a hero unless in a heroic world.

Let men tremble to win the hand of woman unless they win along with it the utmost passion of her heart!

It is because the spirit is inestimable that the lifeless body is so little valued.

Nobody will use other people's experience nor have any of his own till it is too late to use it.

Romance and poetry ivy lichens and wallflowers need ruin to make them grow.

Some illusions...are the shadows of great truths.

The present is burthened too much with the past.

Strength is incomprehensible by weakness and therefore the more terrible.

She poured out the liquid music of her voice to quench the thirst of his spirit.

Or-but this more rarely happened-she would be convulsed with a rage of grief and sob out her love for her mother in broken words and seem intent on proving that she had a heart by breaking it.

If the truth were to be known everyone would be wearing a scarlet letter of one form or another.

Dream strange things and make them look like truth.

There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings as now in October.

She wanted"?what some people want throughout life"?a grief that should deeply touch her and thus humanize and make her capable of sympathy.

Death should take me while I am in the mood.

Moonlight is sculpture.

We dream in our waking moments and walk in our sleep.

Life is made up of marble and mud.

The thing you set your mind on is the thing you ultimately become.

There are many things in this world that a child must not ask about.

The trees reflected in the river - they are unconscious of a spiritual world so near to them. So are we.

We men of study whose heads are in our books have need to be straightly looked after! We dream in our waking moments and walk in our sleep.

The world surely has not another place like Oxford; it is a despair to see such a place and ever to leave it for it would take a lifetime and more than one to comprehend and enjoy it satisfactorily.

A man--poet prophet or whatever be may be--readily persuades himself of his right to all the worship that is voluntarily tendered.

Sunlight is painting.

But this had been a sin of passion not of principle nor even purpose.

We go all wrong by too strenuous a resolution to go right.

How is it possible to sayan unkind or irreverential word of Rome? The city of all time and of all the world!

The heart of true womanhood knows where its own sphere is and never seeks to stray beyond it!

What we need for our happiness is often close at hand if we knew but how to seek for it.