Quotes by Thomas Carlyle

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Thomas Carlyle (December 4, 1795 - February 5, 1881) was a Scottish essayist, satirist, and historian, whose work was hugely influential during the Victorian era. Coming from a strictly Calvinist family, Carlyle was expected by his parents to become a preacher. However, while at the University of Edinburgh he lost his Christian faith. Nevertheless Calvinist values remained with him throughout his life. This combination of a religious temperament with loss of faith in traditional Christianity made Carlyle's work appealing to many Victorians who were grappling with scientific and political changes that threatened the traditional social order. more

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Show me the man you honor, and I will know what kind of a man you are. It shows me what your ideal of manhood is, and what kind of a man you long to be.

Only the person of worth can recognize the worth in others.
The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong.
If you look deep enough you will see music; the heart of nature being everywhere music.
The heart always sees before than the head can see.
The first duty of man is to conquer fear; he must get rid of it, he cannot act till then.
Silence is as deep as eternity, speech a shallow as time.
History shows that the majority of people that have done anything great have passed their youth in seclusion.
To us also, through every star, through every blade of grass, is not God made visible if we will open our minds and our eyes.
Everywhere in life, the true question is not what we gain, but what we do.
Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacle s, discouragement s, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.
The history of the world is but the biography of great men.
Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains.
Doubt, of whatever kind, can be ended by action alone.
The fearful unbelief is unbelief in yourself.
The king is the man who can.
Love is not altogether a delirium, yet it has many points in common therewith.
The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder -- waif, a nothing, a no man. Have a purpose in life, and, having it, throw such strength of mind and muscle into your work as God has given you.
A person usually has two reasons for doing something: a good reason and the real reason.
The true university of these days is a collection of books.
A person who is gifted sees the essential point and leaves the rest as surplus.
The depth of our despair measures what capability and height of claim we have to hope.
What we become depends on what we read after all the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is the collection of books.
The battle that never ends is the battle of belief against unbelief.
The illimitable, silent, never-resting thing called Time, rolling, rushing on, swift, silent, like an all-embracing ocean-tide, on which we and all the universe swim like exhalations, like apparitions which are, and then are not: this is forever very literally a miracle; a thing to strike us dumb, for we have no word to speak about it.
There is often more spiritual force in a proverb than in whole philosophical systems.
The purpose of man is in action not thought.
The merit of originality is not novelty; it is sincerity.
For suffering and enduring there is no remedy, but striving and doing.
Weak eyes are fondest of glittering objects.
Every noble work is at first impossible.
The most unhappy of all men is the man who cannot tell what he is going to do, who has got no work cut-out for him in the world, and does not go into it. For work is the grand cure of all the maladies and miseries that ever beset mankind,honest work, which you intend getting done.
No person was every rightly understood until they had been first regarded with a certain feeling, not of tolerance, but of sympathy.
Isolation is the sum total of wretchedness to a man.
If you do not wish a man to do a thing, you had better get him to talk about it; for the more men talk, the more likely they are to do nothing else.
One is hardly sensible of fatigue while he marches to music.
Let one who wants to move and convince others, first be convinced and moved themselves. If a person speaks with genuine earnestness the thoughts, the emotion and the actual condition of their own heart, others will listen because we all are knit together by the tie of sympathy.
No good book or good thing of any kind shows it best face at first. No the most common quality of in a true work of art that has excellence and depth, is that at first sight it produces a certain disappointment.
Silence is more eloquent than words.
The person who cannot laugh is not only ready for treason, and deceptions, their whole life is already a treason and deception.
Ill-health, of body or of mind, is defeat. Health alone is victory. Let all men, if they can manage it, contrive to be healthy!
Nothing that was worthy in the past departs; no truth or goodness realized by man ever dies, or can die.
The greatest of all faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.
Let each become all that he was created capable of being.
If there be no enemy there's no fight. If no fight, no victory and if no victory there is no crown.
Do the duty which lies nearest to you, the second duty will then become clearer.
The eternal stars shine out as soon as it is dark enough.
The three great elements of modern civilization, Gun powder, Printing, and the Protestant religion.
Today is not yesterday: we ourselves change; how can our works and thoughts, if they are always to be the fittest, continue always the same? Change, indeed is painful; yet ever needful; and if memory have its force and worth, so also has hope.
By nature man hates change; seldom will he quit his old home till it has actually fallen around his ears.
The true past departs not, no truth or goodness realized by man ever dies, or can die; but all is still here, and, recognized or not, lives and works through endless change.
After all manner of professors have done their best for us, the place we are to get knowledge is in books. The true university of these days is a collection of books.
The best effect of any book, is that it excites the reader to self-activity.
The most fearful unbelief is unbelief in your self.
In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.
I don't pretend to understand the Universe -- it's a great deal bigger than I am.
Men's hearts ought not to be set against one another, but set with one another, and all against evil only.
The tragedy of life is not so much what men suffer, but rather what they miss.
Not what I have, but what I do is my kingdom.
Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what clearly lies at hand.

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