Quotations by Carlyle, Thomas


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

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
“Boswell’s Life of Johnson” (1832), Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (1849)
Added on 7-May-09 | Last updated 7-May-09
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

The thoughts they had were the parents of the actions they did; their feelings were the parents of their thoughts.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
“The Hero as Divinity,” On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History (1841)
Added on 19-Mar-10 | Last updated 19-Mar-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

The purse is any Highwayman’s who might meet me with a loaded pistol, but the Self is mine and God my Maker’s; it is not yours; and I will resist you to the death.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
“The Hero as King,” On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History (1841)
Added on 8-Apr-13 | Last updated 8-Apr-13
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

A man always is to be himself the judge of how much of his mind he will show to other men; even to those he would have work along with him. There are impertinent inquiries made: your rule is to leave the inquirer uninformed on that matter; not, if you can help it, misinformed; but precisely as dark as he was!

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
“The Hero as King,” On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History (1841)
Added on 16-Sep-13 | Last updated 16-Sep-13
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

Self-deception once yielded to, all other deceptions follow naturally more and more.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
“The Hero as King,” On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History (1841)
Added on 12-Nov-13 | Last updated 12-Nov-13
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

Manhood begins when we have in any way made truce with Necessity; begins even when we have surrendered to Necessity, as the most part only do; but begins joyfully and hopefully only when we have reconciled ourselves to Necessity; and thus, in reality, triumphed over it, and felt that in Necessity we are free.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
“Burns” (book review), Edinburgh Review, #96 (1828)
Added on 24-Dec-07 | Last updated 24-Dec-07
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

The tragedy of life is not so much what men suffer, but rather what they miss.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

The block of granite which was an obstacle in the path of the weak, becomes a steppingstone in the path of the strong.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

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

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

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

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
(Attributed)

This can also be found quoted as "one less rascal" and "one less scoundrel." I cannot find an original source for it.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

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.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
(Attributed)

Attributed in Tryon Edwards, A Dictionary of Thoughts (1891).
Added on 23-Sep-13 | Last updated 23-Sep-13
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

The best effect of any book is that it excites the reader to self-activity.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
(Attributed)

Quoted in James Wood (ed.), Dictionary of Quotations from Ancient and Modern, English and Foreign Sources (1893).
Added on 14-Apr-16 | Last updated 14-Apr-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

Every day that is born into the world comes like a burst of music, and rings itself all the way through; and thou shalt make of it a dance, a dirge, or a grand life-march as thou wilt.

Carlyle - a dance a dirge - wist_info quote

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
(Attributed)

Variant: "Every day that is born into the world comes like a burst of music and rings itself the way through, and you make of it a dance, a dirge, or a life-march, as thou wilt."

The earliest reference I can find to this is its quotation in (or perhaps adjacent to) Kate W. Hamilton, "Ariel Seaton's Rainy Day," The Ladies' Repository (Jan 1868).
Added on 27-Apr-16 | Last updated 27-Apr-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

His religion at best is an anxious wish — like that of Rabelais, a great Perhaps.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
Edinburgh Review, “Burns” (1828)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

In every object there is inexhaustible meaning; the eye sees in it what the eye brings means of seeing.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
History of the French Revolution, Vol. I (1837)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

The fine arts once divorcing themselves from truth are quite certain to fall mad, if they do not die.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
Latter Day Pamphlet, No. 8 (1850)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

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

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
London and Westminster Review, “Varnhagen von Ense’s Memoirs” (1838)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

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

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History (1840)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

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

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History, “The Heroic in History: (1840)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

Adversity is sometimes hard upon a man; but for one man who can stand prosperity there are a hundred that will stand adversity.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History, Lecture V, “The Hero as a Man of Letters” (1840)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

No iron chain, or outward force of any kind, could ever compel the soul of man to believe or disbelieve.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History, “The Hero as Priest” (1841)
Added on 7-Jan-09 | Last updated 7-Jan-09
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

Democracy means despair of ever finding any heroes to govern you, and contentedly putting up with the want of them.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
Past and Present (1843)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

Tell a man he is brave, and you help him to become so.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
Past and Present (1843)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

Every noble work is at first impossible.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
Past and Present, ch. 11 “Labour” (1843)
Added on 16-Feb-10 | Last updated 16-Feb-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

With Stupidity and sound Digestion man may front much.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
Sartor Resartus, 2.7 (1835)
Added on 4-Dec-14 | Last updated 4-Dec-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

Conviction … is worthless until it converts itself into Conduct.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
Sartor Resartus, 2.9 (1835)
Added on 21-Apr-09 | Last updated 21-Apr-09
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

Hast thou not Greek enough to understand thus much: the end of Man is an Action and not a Thought, though it were of the noblest.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
Sartor Resartus, Book 2, ch. 6 (1833-34)
Added on 18-Nov-13 | Last updated 18-Nov-13
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

The end of Man is an Action and not a Thought, though it were the noblest.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
Sartor Resartus, Book 2, ch. 6 (1836)
Added on 3-Jul-12 | Last updated 29-Jun-12
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

Trust not the heart of that man for whom old clothes are not venerable.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
Sartor Resartus, Book 3, ch. 6 (1833)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 12-Apr-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

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

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
The Age of Reason, “The Author’s Profession of Faith”
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

O poor mortals, how ye make this earth bitter for each other.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
The French Revolution: A History, 1.5.5 (1837)
Added on 6-Mar-12 | Last updated 12-May-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

Can there be a more horrible object in existence than an eloquent man not speaking the truth?

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
Address as Lord Rector of Edinburgh University (1866)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

The beginning of all is to have done with falsity — to eschew falsity as death eternal.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
Journal (23 Jun 1870)
Added on 4-Mar-10 | Last updated 4-Mar-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

I grow daily to honor facts more and more, and theory less and less.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
Letter to Emerson (29 Apr. 1836)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

The last quality, perseverance, I particularly respect: it is the very hinge of all virtues. — On looking over the world, the cause of nine parts in ten of the lamentable failures which occur in men’s undertakings & darken and degrade so much of their history, lies not in the want of talents or the will to use them, but in the vacillating and desultory mode of using them — in flying from object to object, in starting away at each little disgust, and thus applying the force which might conquer any one difficulty to a series of difficulties so large that no human force can conquer them. The smallest brook on earth, by continual running, has hollowed out for itself a considerable valley to flow in: the wildest tempest, by its occasional raging, over-turns a few cottages, uproots a few trees, and leaves after a short space no mark behind it. Commend me therefore to the Dutch virtue of perseverance! Without it all the rest are little better than fairy gold, which glitters in your purse, but when taken to the market proves to be — slate or cinders.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
Letter to John Carlyle (15 Mar 1822)
    (Source)
Added on 15-Jul-15 | Last updated 15-Jul-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

If Jesus Christ were to come today, people would not even crucify Him. They would ask Him to dinner, and hear what He had to say, and make fun of it.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
Quoted by Joseph Neuberg in a letter to his sister (12 Jan 1850)
Added on 21-Jan-16 | Last updated 21-Jan-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas