Archive for ‘1800s’



…we equally believed that those who stood against us held just as sacred convictions that were the opposite of ours, and we respected them as every man with a heart must respect those who give all for their belief.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Memorial Day,” (1884)



There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir; / We must rise and follow her, / When from every hill of flame / She calls and calls each vagabond by name.

Bliss Carman, “A Vagabond Song” (1896)



The world is governed more by appearance than reality, and therefore it is fully as necessary to seem to know something, as to know it in reality.

Daniel Webster, letter to Mr. Fuller (1803)


keep on

I keep on making what I can’t do yet in order to learn to be able to do it.

Vincent van Gogh, letter to Theo (1885)



I want to go about like the light-footed goats.

Johanna Spyri, Heidi (1880)



All words are pegs to hang ideas on.

Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit (1887)



Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.

George Eliot, Impressions of Theophrastus Such (1879)



Life is a long lesson in humility.

J. M. Barrie, The Little Minister (1891)



We do what we must, and call it by the best names we can…

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Experience” (1844)



It is one of my rules in life never to notice what I don’t understand.

Wilke Collins,  The Moonstone (1868)

Note: This quote was submitted by Anna Harris



Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views on men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.

Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad (1869)

Note: This quote was submitted by Anna Harris



If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?

Emily Dickinson, spoken to Thomas Wentworth Higginson and quoted in his Emily Dickinson’s Letters (1870)



All happiness depends on courage and work.

Honoré de Balzac, letter to M. Laurent-Jan (1849)


high and delicate art

The humorous story is American, the comic story is English, the witty story is French. The humorous story depends for its effect on the manner of the telling; the comic story and the witty story depend upon the matter. The humorous story may be spun out to great length, and may wander around as much as it please, and arrive nowhere in particular; but the comic and witty stories must be brief and end with a point. The humorous story bubbles gently along, the others burst. The humorous story is strictly a work of art—high and delicate art—and only an artist can tell it…The art of telling a humorous story—understand, I mean by word of mouth, not print—was created in America, and has remained at home.

Mark Twain, “How to Tell a Story” (1897)

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