150+ Thomas Carlyle Quotes


Thomas Carlyle Quotes
Biography Author’s Book
Name: Thomas Carlyle Find on Amazon India: Link
Nationality: ScottishFind on Amazon: Link
Profession: Philosopher
Born: 04-Dec-1795 
Death: 05-Feb-1881

Silence is as deep as eternity, speech a shallow as time.

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.

Reform is not pleasant, but grievous; no person can reform themselves without suffering and hard work, how much less a nation.

Sarcasm I now see to be, in general, the language of the devil; for which reason I have long since as good as renounced it.

Science must have originated in the feeling that something was wrong.

No iron chain, or outward force of any kind, can ever compel the soul of a person to believe or to disbelieve.

Secrecy is the element of all goodness; even virtue, even beauty is mysterious.

No great man lives in vain. The history of the world is but the biography of great men.

Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.

Show me the person you honor, for I know better by that the kind of person you are. For you show me what your idea of humanity is.

Oh, give us the man who sings at his work.

Silence is more eloquent than words.

Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together.

Speech is human, silence is divine, yet also brutish and dead: therefore we must learn both arts.

Talk that does not end in any kind of action is better suppressed altogether.

Teach a parrot the terms ‘supply and demand’ and you’ve got an economist.

The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak, became a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong.

The courage we desire and prize is not the courage to die decently, but to live manfully.

Show me the man you honor, and I will know what kind of man you are.

Not brute force but only persuasion and faith are the kings of this world.

To reform a world, to reform a nation, no wise man will undertake; and all but foolish men know, that the only solid, though a far slower reformation, is what each begins and perfects on himself.

The cut of a garment speaks of intellect and talent and the color of temperament and heart.

No man lives without jostling and being jostled; in all ways he has to elbow himself through the world, giving and receiving offence.

No man who has once heartily and wholly laughed can be altogether irreclaimably bad.

No person is important enough to make me angry.

No pressure, no diamonds.

No sadder proof can be given by a man of his own littleness than disbelief in great men.

One must verify or expel his doubts, and convert them into the certainty of Yes or NO.

None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone.

Originality is a thing we constantly clamour for, and constantly quarrel with.

Not what I have, but what I do is my kingdom.

Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment.

Nothing is more terrible than activity without insight.

Nothing stops the man who desires to achieve. Every obstacle is simply a course to develop his achievement muscle. It’s a strengthening of his powers of accomplishment.

Nothing that was worthy in the past departs; no truth or goodness realized by man ever dies, or can die.

Of all acts of man repentance is the most divine. The greatest of all faults is to be conscious of none.

Old age is not a matter for sorrow. It is matter for thanks if we have left our work done behind us.

No violent extreme endures.

When the oak is felled the whole forest echoes with it fall, but a hundred acorns are sown in silence by an unnoticed breeze.

Thought is the parent of the deed.

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.

True humor springs not more from the head than from the heart. It is not contempt; its essence is love. It issues not in laughter, but in still smiles, which lie far deeper.

Under all speech that is good for anything there lies a silence that is better, Silence is deep as Eternity; speech is shallow as Time.

War is a quarrel between two thieves too cowardly to fight their own battle.

Weak eyes are fondest of glittering objects.

What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books.

Thought once awakened does not again slumber; unfolds itself into a System of Thought; grows, in man after man, generation after generation, – till its full stature is reached, and such System of Thought can grow no farther, but must give place to another.

When new turns of behavior cease to appear in the life of the individual, its behavior ceases to be intelligent.

No ghost was every seen by two pair of eyes.

Woe to him that claims obedience when it is not due; woe to him that refuses it when it is.

Wonder is the basis of worship.

Wondrous is the strength of cheerfulness, and its power of endurance – the cheerful man will do more in the same time, will do it; better, will preserve it longer, than the sad or sullen.

Work alone is noble.

Worship is transcendent wonder.

Writing is a dreadful labor, yet not so dreadful as Idleness.

Youth is to all the glad season of life; but often only by what it hopes, not by what it attains, or what it escapes.

What you see, but can’t see over is as good as infinite.

The outer passes away; the innermost is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

The end of man is action, and not thought, though it be of the noblest.

The eye sees what it brings the power to see.

The fearful unbelief is unbelief in yourself.

The first duty of man is to conquer fear; he must get rid of it, he cannot act till then.

The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.

The man of life upright has a guiltless heart, free from all dishonest deeds or thought of vanity.

The merit of originality is not novelty; it is sincerity.

The real use of gunpowder is to make all men tall.

The only happiness a brave person ever troubles themselves in asking about, is happiness enough to get their work done.

The difference between Socrates and Jesus? The great conscious and the immeasurably great unconscious.

The spiritual is the parent of the practical.

The true university of these days is a collection of books.

The work an unknown good man has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground green.

The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was.

There are good and bad times, but our mood changes more often than our fortune.

There is a great discovery still to be made in literature, that of paying literary men by the quantity they do not write.

This world, after all our science and sciences, is still a miracle wonderful, inscrutable, magical and more, to whosoever will think of it.

The old cathedrals are good, but the great blue dome that hangs over everything is better.

Foolish men imagine that because judgment for an evil thing is delayed, there is no justice; but only accident here below. Judgment for an evil thing is many times delayed some day or two, some century or two, but it is sure as life, it is sure as death.

He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.

Culture is the process by which a person becomes all that they were created capable of being.

Do the duty which lies nearest to you, the second duty will then become clearer.

Egotism is the source and summary of all faults and miseries.

Every day that is born into the world comes like a burst of music and rings the whole day through, and you make of it a dance, a dirge, or a life march, as you will.

Every new opinion, at its starting, is precisely in a minority of one.

Every noble work is at first impossible.

Conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct.

Everywhere the human soul stands between a hemisphere of light and another of darkness; on the confines of the two everlasting empires, necessity and free will.

Clever men are good, but they are not the best.

For all right judgment of any man or things it is useful, nay, essential, to see his good qualities before pronouncing on his bad.

For, if a good speaker, never so eloquent, does not see into the fact, and is not speaking the truth of that – is there a more horrid kind of object in creation?

Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains.

Go as far as you can see; when you get there you’ll be able to see farther.

Good breeding differs, if at all, from high breeding only as it gracefully remembers the rights of others, rather than gracefully insists on its own rights.

Happy the people whose annals are vacant.

He who could foresee affairs three days in advance would be rich for thousands of years.

Everywhere in life, the true question is not what we gain, but what we do.

A person who is gifted sees the essential point and leaves the rest as surplus.

No amount of ability is of the slightest avail without honor.

The three great elements of modern civilization, Gun powder, Printing, and the Protestant religion.

A laugh, to be joyous, must flow from a joyous heart, for without kindness, there can be no true joy.

A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.

A man cannot make a pair of shoes rightly unless he do it in a devout manner.

A man lives by believing something: not by debating and arguing about many things.

A man willing to work, and unable to find work, is perhaps the saddest sight that fortune’s inequality exhibits under this sun.

Conviction never so excellent, is worthless until it coverts itself into conduct.

A man’s felicity consists not in the outward and visible blessing of fortune, but in the inward and unseen perfections and riches of the mind.

Endurance is patience concentrated.

A strong mind always hopes, and has always cause to hope.

A well-written life is almost as rare as a well-spent one.

Adversity is the diamond dust Heaven polishes its jewels with.

All great peoples are conservative.

All that mankind has done, thought or been: it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of books.

Be not a slave of words.

Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness.

A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder.

Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure there is one less rascal in the world.

It is a strange trade that of advocacy. Your intellect, your highest heavenly gift is hung up in the shop window like a loaded pistol for sale.

It is a vain hope to make people happy by politics.

It is the heart always that sees, before the head can see.

It were a real increase of human happiness, could all young men from the age of nineteen be covered under barrels, or rendered otherwise invisible; and there left to follow their lawful studies and callings, till they emerged, sadder and wiser, at the age of twenty-five.

Laughter is one of the very privileges of reason, being confined to the human species.

Let each become all that he was created capable of being.

Long stormy spring-time, wet contentious April, winter chilling the lap of very May; but at length the season of summer does come.

Isolation is the sum total of wretchedness to a man.

Love is the only game that is not called on account of darkness.

Man’s unhappiness, as I construe, comes of his greatness; it is because there is an Infinite in him, which with all his cunning he cannot quite bury under the Finite.

Man is a tool-using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.

Man is, properly speaking, based upon hope, he has no other possession but hope; this world of his is emphatically the place of hope.

History shows that the majority of people that have done anything great have passed their youth in seclusion.

Men do less than they ought, unless they do all that they can.

Doubt, of whatever kind, can be ended by action alone.

Music is well said to be the speech of angels.

Narrative is linear, but action has breadth and depth as well as height and is solid.

Necessity dispenseth with decorum.

Love is not altogether a delirium, yet it has many points in common therewith.

If there be no enemy there’s no fight. If no fight, no victory and if no victory there is no crown.

Men seldom, or rather never for a length of time and deliberately, rebel against anything that does not deserve rebelling against.

I do not believe in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.

I don’t like to talk much with people who always agree with me. It is amusing to coquette with an echo for a little while, but one soon tires of it.

I don’t pretend to understand the Universe – it’s a great deal bigger than I am.

I grow daily to honour facts more and more, and theory less and less. A fact, it seems to me, is a great thing; a sentence printed, if not by God, then at least by the Devil.

In the long-run every Government is the exact symbol of its People, with their wisdom and unwisdom; we have to say, Like People like Government.

If an eloquent speaker speak not the truth, is there a more horrid kind of object in creation?

If what you have done is unjust, you have not succeeded.

History, a distillation of rumour.

In every phenomenon the beginning remains always the most notable moment.

I’ve got a great ambition to die of exhaustion rather than boredom.

In books lies the soul of the whole past time.

If you are ever in doubt as to whether to kiss a pretty girl, always give her the benefit of the doubt.

Imperfection clings to a person, and if they wait till they are brushed off entirely, they would spin for ever on their axis, advancing nowhere.

Humor has justly been regarded as the finest perfection of poetic genius.

Imagination is a poor matter when it has to part company with understanding.

If you look deep enough you will see music; the heart of nature being everywhere music.

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.


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