Quotes by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Robert Louis (Balfour) Stevenson (November 13 1850 - December 3 1894), was a Scottish novelist, poet, and travel writer, and a leading representative of Neo-romanticism in English literature. He was the man who "seemed to pick the right word up on the point of his pen, like a man playing spillikins", as G. K. Chesterton put it. He was also greatly admired by many authors such as Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, Vladimir Nabokov and others. Most modernist writers dismissed him, however, because he was popular and did not write within their narrow definition of literature. It is only recently that critics have begun to look beyond Stevenson's popularity and allow him a place in the canon. more

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Youth is the time to go flashing from one end of the world to the other to try the manners of different nations; to hear the chimes at midnight; to see the sunrise in town and country; to be converted at a revival; to circumnavigate the metaphysics, write halting verses, run a mile to see a fire, and wait all day long in the theatre to applaud Hernani.

An aim in life is the only fortune worth finding.
Some people swallow the universe like a pill; they travel on through the world, like smiling images pushed from behind.
Judge each day not by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.
You cannot run away from weakness; you must some time fight it out or perish; and if that be so, why not now, and where you stand?
Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.
Talk is by far the most accessible of pleasures. It costs nothing in money, it is all profit, it completes our education, founds and fosters our friendships, and can be enjoyed at any age and in almost any state of health.
I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.
Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.
To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.
When it comes to my own turn to lay my weapons down, I shall do so with thankfulness and fatigue, and whatever be my destiny afterward, I shall be glad to lie down with my fathers in honor. It is human at least, if not divine.
He travels best that knows when to return. Middleton For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.
Once you are married, there is nothing for you, not even suicide, but to be good.
Night is a dead monotonous period under a roof; but in the open world it passes lightly, with its stars and dews and perfumes, and the hours are marked by changes in the face of Nature. What seems a kind of temporal death to people choked between walls and curtains, is only a light and living slumber to the man who sleeps afield.
Everyone lives by selling something.
Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This is the verse you grave for me:
'Here he lies where he longed to be;
Here is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.
Our business in this world is not to succeed, but to continue to fail, in good spirits.
There is a fellowship more quiet even than solitude, and which, rightly understood, is solitude made perfect.
Books are good enough in their own way, but they are a mighty bloodless substitute for life.
The mark of a good action is that it appears inevitable in retrospect.
For God's sake give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself!
For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilization, and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints.
Marriage is one long conversation, checkered by disputes.
To be wholly devoted to some intellectual exercise is to have succeeded in life.
The very flexibility and ease which make men's friendships so agreeable while they endure, make them the easier to destroy and forget. And a man who has a few friends, or one who has a dozen (if there be any one so wealthy on this earth), cannot forget on how precarious a base his happiness reposes; and how by a stroke or two of fate --a death, a few light words, a piece of stamped paper, a woman's bright eyes --he may be left, in a month, destitute of all.
A friend is a present you give to yourself.
Give us grace and strength to forbear and to persevere. Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind, spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies.
There is no duty we so much underrated as the duty of being happy.
To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you ought to prefer is to have kept your soul alive.
It is the mark of a good action that it appears inevitable in retrospect.
To hold the same views at forty as we held at twenty is to have been stupefied for a score of years, and take rank, not as a prophet, but as an unteachable brat, well birched and none the wiser.
The truth that is suppressed by friends is the readiest weapon of the enemy.
It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive.
We live in an ascending scale when we live happily, one thing leading to another in an endless series.
If your morals make you dreary, depend upon it they are wrong. I do not say give them up, for they may be all you have; but conceal them like a vice, lest they should spoil the lives of better and simpler people.
Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.
Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall. Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day. Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, until the sun goes down. And this is all that life really means.
The saints are the sinners who keep on trying.
The cruelest lies are often told in silence. A man may have sat in a room for hours and not opened his mouth, and yet come out of that room a disloyal friend or a vile calumniator.
If a man loves the labor of his trade apart from any question of success or fame, the Gods have called him.
A faculty for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity.
In marriage, a man becomes slack and selfish, and undergoes a fatty degeneration of his moral being.
Every man has a sane spot somewhere.
No man is useless while he has a friend.
Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.
The world is full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.
Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind. Spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies. Bless us, if it may be, in all our innocent endeavors. If it may not, give us the strength to encounter that which is to come, that we be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath, and in all changes of fortune and down to the gates of death, loyal and loving one to another.
To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labor.
I have done my fiddling so long under Vesuvius that I have almost forgotten to play, and can only wait for the eruption and think it long of coming. Literally no man has more wholly outlived life than I. And still it's good fun.
The little rift between the sexes is astonishingly widened by simply teaching one set of catchwords to the girls and another to the boys.
The price we have to pay for money is sometimes liberty.
Most of our pocket wisdom is conceived for the use of mediocre people, to discourage them from ambitious attempts, and generally console them in their mediocrity.
All speech, written or spoken, is a dead language, until it finds a willing and prepared hearer.
To make our idea of morality center on forbidden acts is to defile the imagination and to introduce into our judgments of our fellow-men a secret element of gusto.
When I am grown to man's estate I shall be very proud and great. And tell the other girls and boys Not to meddle with my toys.
It is a golden maxim to cultivate the garden for the nose, and the eyes will take care of themselves.
So long as we are loved by others I should say that we are almost indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend.

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