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386 Inspiring Quotes by Thomas Carlyle

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Thomas Carlyle.

Wikipedia Summary for Thomas Carlyle

Thomas Carlyle (4 December 1795 – 5 February 1881) was a Scottish historian, satirical writer, essayist, translator, philosopher, mathematician, and teacher. In his book On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and The Heroic in History (1841), he argued that the actions of the "Great Man" play a key role in history, claiming that "the history of the world is but the biography of great men". Other major works include The French Revolution: A History, 3 vols (1837) and The History of Friedrich II of Prussia, Called Frederick the Great, 6 vols (1858–65).

His 1837 history of The French Revolution was the inspiration for Charles Dickens' 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities, and remains popular today. Carlyle's 1836 Sartor Resartus is a notable philosophical novel.

A noted polemicist, Carlyle coined the term "the dismal science" for economics, in his essay "Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question", which satirically advocated for the reintroduction of slavery to the West Indies to highlight his perceived hypocrisy of British abolitionists' indifference to domestic child-labour and slave-like working conditions in contemporary factories. He also wrote articles for the Edinburgh Encyclopaedia.

Carlyle had once lost his faith in Christianity while attending the University of Edinburgh, later adopting a form deism or "restatement" of Christianity, according to Charles Frederick Harrald "a Calvinist without the theology".

In mathematics, he is known for the Carlyle circle, a method used in quadratic equations and for developing ruler-and-compass constructions of regular polygons.

silhouette of man standing on hill during starry night

Speech that leads not to action, still more that hinders it, is a nuisance on the earth.

--Thomas Carlyle

silhouette photo of trees during night time

The mystical bond of brotherhood makes all men brothers.

--Thomas Carlyle

adult black and white dog leaning on wooden fence

Poetry is the attempt which man makes to render his existence harmonious.

--Thomas Carlyle

black and white giraffe on brown grass field

Without oblivion, there is no remembrance possible. When both oblivion and memory are wise, when the general soul of man is clear, melodious, true, there may come a modern Iliad as memorial of the Past.

--Thomas Carlyle

dew drops on glass panel

The infinite, absolute character of Virtue has passed into a finite, conditional one; it is no longer a worship of the Beautiful and Good; but a calculation of the Profitable.

--Thomas Carlyle

yellow and white color illustration

Painful for a person is rebellious independence, only in loving companionship with his associates does a person feel safe: Only in reverently bowing down before the higher does a person feel exalted.

--Thomas Carlyle

solid background

God gave you that gifted tongue of yours, and set it between your teeth, to make known your true meaning to us, not to be rattled like a muffin man's bell.

--Thomas Carlyle


purple flowers under cloudy sky

All deep things are song. It seems somehow the very central essence of us, song; as if all the rest were but wrappages and hulls!

--Thomas Carlyle


brown, black, and white butterfly on purple petaled flower photo

Let him who would move and convince others, be first moved and convinced himself.

--Thomas Carlyle

closeup photography of brown and gray concrete bricks

Are not our greatest men as good as lost? The men that walk daily among us, warming us, feeding us, walk shrouded in darkness, mere mythic men.

--Thomas Carlyle


silhouette of man standing on rock while looking in sky

There is so much data available to us, but most data won't help us succeed.

--Thomas Carlyle

three people standing inside Big Ben building

Labor, wide as the earth, has its summit in heaven.

--Thomas Carlyle

solid background

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.

--Thomas Carlyle

man in black pants sitting on chair

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

--Thomas Carlyle


five children sitting on bench front of trees

The great soul of this world is just.

--Thomas Carlyle

solid background

Music is well said to be the speech of angels; in fact, nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine. It brings us near to the infinite.

--Thomas Carlyle

person holding yellow petaled flower

Man is emphatically a proselytizing creature.

--Thomas Carlyle




white and black bird

One monster there is in the world, the idle man.

--Thomas Carlyle


woman standing on beachfront

The world is a thing that a man must learn to despise, and even to neglect, before he can learn to reverence it, and work in it and for it.

--Thomas Carlyle

closeup photo of bird beside purple petal flowers

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

--Thomas Carlyle

pink tulips in close up photography

Ever, as before, does Madness remain a mysterious-terrific, altogether infernal boiling-up of the Nether Chaotic Deep, through this fair-painted Vision of Creation, which swims thereon, which we name the Real.

--Thomas Carlyle

white wall paint with black shadow

In no time whatever can small critics entirely eradicate out of living men's hearts a certain altogether peculiar collar reverence for Great Men -- genuine admiration, loyalty, adora-tion.

--Thomas Carlyle

silhouette of trees during nighttime

Genuine Work alone, what thou workest faithfully, that is eternal, as the Almighty Founder and World-Builder himself.

--Thomas Carlyle

silhouette photo of mountain during night time

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

--Thomas Carlyle

leafless tree on body of water during daytime

Unity, agreement, is always silent or soft-voiced; it is only discord that loudly proclaims itself.

--Thomas Carlyle

yellow sunflowers under white clouds and blue sky

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

--Thomas Carlyle




Bright orange to dark red gradient

No nobler feeling than this, of admiration for one higher than himself, dwells in the breast of man. It is to this hour, and at all hours, the vivifying influence in man's life.

--Thomas Carlyle

black Sony point-and-shoot camera on yellow surface

Innumerable are the illusions and legerdemain-tricks of custom: but of all of these, perhaps the cleverest is her knack of persuading us that the miraculous, by simple repetition, ceases to be miraculous.

--Thomas Carlyle

black and white photography of alarm clock displaying 1:37 time

The lightning spark of thought generated in the solitary mind awakens its likeness in another mind.

--Thomas Carlyle

silhouette of stones during golden hour

Is there no God, then, but at best an absentee God, sitting idle, ever since the first Sabbath, at the outside of his Universe?

--Thomas Carlyle

yellow flower field under clear sky

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

--Thomas Carlyle

white paint palette with black paint beside ink bottle and paint brush

Habit is the deepest law of human nature.

--Thomas Carlyle

silhouette of tree during sunset

The Builder of this Universe was wise, He plann'd all souls, all systems, planets, particles: The Plan He shap'd all Worlds and Æons by, Was-Heavens!-was thy small Nine-and-thirty Articles!

--Thomas Carlyle

close up photography of moon

Creation is great, and cannot be understood.

--Thomas Carlyle

dome tent with galaxy with stars

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

--Thomas Carlyle

chocolate

The true epic of our times is not "Arm's and the Man," but "Tools and the Man" -- an infinitely wider kind of epic.

--Thomas Carlyle

man playing soccer during daytime

The essence of humor is sensibility; warm, tender fellow-feeling with all forms of existence.

--Thomas Carlyle


yellow textile

Not our Logical, Mensurative faculty, but our Imaginative one is King over us; I might say, Priest and Prophet to lead us heavenward; or Magician and Wizard to lead us hellward.

--Thomas Carlyle

black and white abstract illustration

Evil and good are everywhere, like shadow and substance; inseparable (for men) yet not hostile, only opposed.

--Thomas Carlyle

sunset

A true delineation of the smallest man is capable of interesting the greatest man.

--Thomas Carlyle

woman sitting on rock facing plunge waterfalls

The glory of a workman, still more of a master workman, that he does his work well, ought to be his most precious possession; like the honor of a soldier, dearer to him than life.

--Thomas Carlyle


blue and white abstract painting

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

--Thomas Carlyle

women's black and pink monokini

Roguery is thought by some to be cunning and laughable: it is neither; it is devilish.

--Thomas Carlyle


person with black tattoo on left hand

Literature is the thought of thinking souls.

--Thomas Carlyle

full moon in the sky

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.

--Thomas Carlyle

brown grass field under blue sky and white clouds during daytime

Speech is too often not the art of concealing thought, but of quite stifling and suspending thought, so that there is none to conceal.

--Thomas Carlyle

None

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

--Thomas Carlyle

white and black satellite dish on brown field during night time

We are not altogether here to tolerate. We are here to resist, to control and vanquish withal.

--Thomas Carlyle


person in black top carrying brown wicker basket

To say that we have a clear conscience is to utter a solecism; had we never sinned we should have had no conscience. Were defeat unknown, neither would victory be celebrated by songs of triumph.

--Thomas Carlyle

yellow and white abstract painting

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.

--Thomas Carlyle

pink flower with green stem

Work is the grand cure of all the maladies and miseries that ever beset mankind.

--Thomas Carlyle

black pug puppy on white and pink textile

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

--Thomas Carlyle

man and woman kissing

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

--Thomas Carlyle

green ceramic mug beside book

History is a mighty dramos, enacted upon the theatre of times, with suns for lamps and eternity for a background.

--Thomas Carlyle

pink tulips in clear glass vase

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

--Thomas Carlyle


purple-petaled flower on selective focus photography

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

--Thomas Carlyle

yellow petaled flower screenshot

A Dandy is a clothes-wearing Man, a Man whose trade, office and existence consists in the wearing of clothes.

--Thomas Carlyle


blue and black abstract painting

Earnestness alone makes life eternity.

--Thomas Carlyle

brown houses in front of hill under starry night

There is precious instruction to be got by finding we were wrong.

--Thomas Carlyle

brown rocky mountain under blue sky during daytime

And yet without labour there were no ease, no rest, so much as conceivable.

--Thomas Carlyle

red and pink flowers

Great souls are always loyally submissive, reverent to what is over them: only small mean souls are otherwise.

--Thomas Carlyle

person holding brown leaf

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

--Thomas Carlyle

yellow sunflower in close up photography

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

--Thomas Carlyle

clear hour glass with brown frame

Stern accuracy in inquiring, bold imagination in describing, these are the cogs on which history soars or flutters and wobbles.

--Thomas Carlyle

snow covered pine trees

Well might the ancients make silence a god; for it is the element of all godhood, infinitude, or transcendental greatness, -- at once the source and the ocean wherein all such begins and ends.

--Thomas Carlyle


Arizona landscape

If time is precious, no book that will not improve by repeated readings deserves to be read at all.

--Thomas Carlyle

pink and white abstract painting

Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.

--Thomas Carlyle

calm body of water near alp mountains during nighttime

Misery which, through long ages, had no spokesman, no helper, will now be its own helper and speak for itself.

--Thomas Carlyle

brown pathway between green plants

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

--Thomas Carlyle

brown textile in close up image

Dinners are defined as 'the ultimate act of communion;' men that can have communion in nothing else, can sympathetically eat together, can still rise into some glow of brotherhood over food and wine.

--Thomas Carlyle

brown and white dog in close-up photography

Without kindness there can be no true joy.

--Thomas Carlyle

None

Not only was Thebes built by the music of an Orpheus; but without the music of some inspired Orpheus was no city ever built, no work that man glories in ever done.

--Thomas Carlyle

selective focus photography of red tulip

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.

--Thomas Carlyle

a couple holding hands with a wedding ring visible

For suffering and enduring there is no remedy, but striving and doing.

--Thomas Carlyle

purple flower in tilt shift lens

Speech is of time, silence is of eternity.

--Thomas Carlyle

turned on desk lamp beside pile of books

Variety is the condition of harmony.

--Thomas Carlyle

silhouette of mountain during sunset

There is no permanent place in this universe for evil... Evil may hide behind this fallacy and that, but it will be hunted from fallacy to fallacy until there is no more fallacy for it to hide behind.

--Thomas Carlyle

red rose

The hell of these days is the fear of not getting along, especially of not making money.

--Thomas Carlyle

Hey! I miss you

Society is founded on hero-worship.

--Thomas Carlyle

man wearing black jacket standing on street

Intellect is the soul of man, the only immortal part of him.

--Thomas Carlyle

red flowers under the blue sky

It is now almost my sole rule of life to clear myself of cants and formulas, as of poisonous Nessus shirts.

--Thomas Carlyle

blue sky and white clouds

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.

--Thomas Carlyle

landscape photo of mountain during nighttime

Of all your troubles, great and small, the greatest are the ones that don't happen at all.

--Thomas Carlyle

fine trees waving

Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you'll be able to see further.

--Thomas Carlyle


black textile on white textile

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

assorted books on wooden table

A man -- be the heavens ever praised! -- is sufficient for himself.

--Thomas Carlyle

telescope

Pain was not given thee merely to be miserable under; learn from it, turn it to account.

--Thomas Carlyle

orange flowers

The spiritual is the parent of the practical.

--Thomas Carlyle

photo of brown parquet

No mortal has a right to wag his tongue, much less to wag his pen, without saying something.

--Thomas Carlyle


shillouette photo of person standing at the peak

The all importance of clothes has sprung up in the intellect of the dandy without effort, like an instinct of genius; he is inspired with clothes, a poet of clothes.

--Thomas Carlyle




red rose illustration

What this country needs is a man who knows God other than by heresay.

--Thomas Carlyle

A white stripe pattern made up of concrete facade ribs

Enjoying things which are pleasant; that is not the evil; it is the reducing of our moral self to slavery by them that is.

--Thomas Carlyle

beige concrete wall

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

--Thomas Carlyle

black and white duck on brown wooden dock during daytime

A good book is the purest essence of a human soul.

--Thomas Carlyle


blue and white abstract painting

Parliament will train you to talk; and above all things to hear, with patience, unlimited quantities of foolish talk.

--Thomas Carlyle

black floor lamp at the corner

Battles, in these ages, are transacted by mechanism; with the slightest possible development of human individuality or spontaneity; men now even die, and kill one another, in an artificial manner.

--Thomas Carlyle

white

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.

--Thomas Carlyle

dew drops on glass panel

Fancy that thou deservest to be hangedthou wilt feel it happiness to be only shot: fancy that thou deservest to be hanged ina hair halter, it will be a luxury to die in hemp.

--Thomas Carlyle

four handheld gardening tools on rack

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

--Thomas Carlyle

yellow sunflower in close up photography

How, without clothes, could we possess the master organ, soul's seat and true pineal gland of the body social -- I mean a purse?

--Thomas Carlyle


purple and white petaled flower

Is man's civilization only a wrappage, through which the savage nature of him can still burst, infernal as ever?

--Thomas Carlyle

man in Burton shirt facing ocean

Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporter's gallery yonder, there sat a fourth estate more important far than they all.

--Thomas Carlyle

sunset

To the vulgar eye, few things are wonderful that are not distant.

--Thomas Carlyle

backdrop

We observe with confidence that the truly strong mind, view it as intellect or morality, or under any other aspect, is nowise the mind acquainted with its strength; that here the sign of health is unconsciousness.

--Thomas Carlyle

gray and brown hummingbird perching on yellow petaled flower

In idleness there is a perpetual despair.

--Thomas Carlyle

white and blue ice in water

There is but one temple in this Universe: The Body. We speak to God whenever we lay our hands upon it.

--Thomas Carlyle

silhouette of a person during sunset

There can be no acting or doing of any kind till it be recognized that there is a thing to be done; the thing once recognized, doing in a thousand shapes becomes possible.

--Thomas Carlyle

white rock formation on sea during daytime

What an enormous magnifier is tradition! How a thing grows in the human memory and in the human imagination, when love, worship, and all that lies in the human heart, is there to encourage it.

--Thomas Carlyle

purple and blue light illustration

Goethe's devil is a cultivated personage and acquainted with the modern sciences; sneers at witchcraft and the black art even while employing them, and doubts most things, nay, half disbelieves even his own existence.

--Thomas Carlyle



red flowers with water droplets

If there be not a religious element in the relations of men, such relations are miserable and doomed to ruin.

--Thomas Carlyle

black Corona typewriter on brown wood planks

Great is wisdom; infinite is the value of wisdom. It cannot be exaggerated; it is the highest achievement of man.

--Thomas Carlyle

selective focus photography of grey coin operated telescope

Caution is the lower story of prudence.

--Thomas Carlyle

white and blue building under clear sky

Fame, we may understand, is no sure test of merit, but only a probability of such: it is an accident, not a property, of a man; like light, it can give little or nothing, but at most may show what is given.

--Thomas Carlyle

selective focus photography of pink petaled flower

Rich as we are in biography, a well-written life is almost as rare as a well-spent one; and there are certainly many more men whose history deserves to be recorded than persons willing and able to record it.

--Thomas Carlyle

sunset

It is in general more profitable to reckon up our defeats than to boast of our attainments.

--Thomas Carlyle

purple lavender flower

In a different time, in a different place, it is always some other side of our common human nature that has been developing itself. The actual truth is the sum of all these.

--Thomas Carlyle






white tulip flower in close up photography

Biography is the most universally pleasant and profitable of all reading.

--Thomas Carlyle

black textile in close up photography

Authors are the vanguard in the march of mind, the intellectual backwoodsmen, reclaiming from the idle wilderness new territories for the thought and activity of their happier brethren.

--Thomas Carlyle

closeup photography of brown and gray concrete bricks

High Air-castles are cunningly built of Words, the Words well bedded also in good Logic-mortar; wherein, however, no Knowledge will come to lodge.

--Thomas Carlyle

white pampas grasses near body of water at daytime

A collection of books is the best of all universities.

--Thomas Carlyle

blue wooden door opened

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

--Thomas Carlyle

low angle photography of green and brown tree

All great peoples are conservative.

--Thomas Carlyle

person sitting on black surface looking to sky

Faith is loyalty to some inspired teacher, some spiritual hero.

--Thomas Carlyle

band performing on stage in front of people

An everlasting lodestar, that beams the brighter in the heavens the darker here on earth grows the night.

--Thomas Carlyle

aerial photography of forest

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

--Thomas Carlyle

orange and blue abstract painting

We remove mountains, and make seas our smooth highway; nothing can resist us. We war with rude Nature; and, by our resistless engines, come off always victorious, and loaded with spoils.

--Thomas Carlyle

man standing on cliff under white sky

Why did not somebody teach me the constellations, and make me at home in the starry heavens, which are always overhead, and which I don't half know to this day?

--Thomas Carlyle



yellow rose flower

What are your historical Facts still more your biographical Wilt thou know a man by stringing-together beadrolls of what thou namest Facts.

--Thomas Carlyle



person standing on rock formation during daytime

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

--Thomas Carlyle

white wall paint with black shadow

It is great, and there is no other greatness-to make one nook of God's Creation more fruitful, better, more worthy of God; to make some human heart a little wiser, manlier, happier-more blessed.

--Thomas Carlyle

man in white and black button up shirt holding lighted candle

Self-contemplation is infallibly the symptom of disease.

--Thomas Carlyle


assorted-color beach houses

Our very walking is an incessant falling; a falling and a catching of ourselves before we come actually to the pavement. It is emblematic of all things a man does.

--Thomas Carlyle

yellow and purple flower with white background

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

--Thomas Carlyle




photo of about to bloom lotus flower

Speech is silver, silence is golden.

--Thomas Carlyle

selective focus photography of pink petaled flower

To the wisest man, wide as is his vision. Nature remains of quite infinite depth, of quite infinite expansion and all experience thereof limits itself to some few computed centuries and measured square miles.

--Thomas Carlyle

blue sky with white clouds

What are your Axioms, and Categories, and Systems, and Aphorisms? Words, words.... Be not the slave of Words.

--Thomas Carlyle

men's white dress shirt

Tell a person they are brave and you help them become so.

--Thomas Carlyle

green lizard

A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.

--Thomas Carlyle

brown and gray mountains during daytime

Macaulay is well for awhile, but one wouldn't live under Niagara.

--Thomas Carlyle

pink rose in close up photography

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

--Thomas Carlyle

Clear blue ocean washing on the sandy shore on a clear day in Cancún

We do everything by custom, even believe by it; our very axioms, let us boast of free-thinking as we may, are oftenest simply such beliefs as we have never heard questioned.

--Thomas Carlyle

a woman sits on the end of a dock during daytime staring across a lake

On the whole, I would bid you stand up to your work, whatever it may be, and not be afraid of it; not in sorrows or contradictions to yield, but to push on towards the goal.

--Thomas Carlyle

full-bloomed red and white tulip flowers

All comes out even at the end of the day.

--Thomas Carlyle

red yellow and blue paint

A mystic bond of brotherhood makes all men one.

--Thomas Carlyle


silhouette of flying bird

Science has done much for us; but it is a poor science that would hide from us the great deep sacred infinitude of Nescience, on which all science swims as a mere superficial film.

--Thomas Carlyle

blue rose in close up photography

Once the mind has been expanded by a big idea, it will never go back to its original state.

--Thomas Carlyle

plain background

To each is given a certain inward talent, a certain outward environment or fortune; to each by wisest combination of these two, a certain maximum capacity.

--Thomas Carlyle

red flowers with water droplets

Success in life, in anything, depends upon the number of persons that one can make himself agreeable to.

--Thomas Carlyle

city lights from hill

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

--Thomas Carlyle

pink tulips on gray wooden surface

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

--Thomas Carlyle

three people standing inside Big Ben building

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

--Thomas Carlyle

white rose flower

Laissez-faire, supply and demand-one begins to be weary of all that. Leave all to egotism, to ravenous greed of money, of pleasure, of applause-it is the gospel of despair.

--Thomas Carlyle

man riding on white horse on the hill

The dead are all holy, even they that were base and wicked while alive. Their baseness and wickedness was not they, was but the heavy and unmanageable environment that lay round them.

--Thomas Carlyle

brown wooden hanging bridge surrounded by green trees during daytime

In the huge mass of evil as it rolls and swells, there is ever some good working toward deliverance and triumph.

--Thomas Carlyle

pink flower with green stem

Not what you possess but what you do with what you have, determines your true worth.

--Thomas Carlyle

four handheld gardening tools on rack

Naps are a way of traveling painlessly through time into the future.

--Thomas Carlyle

pink, red, and black digital wallpaper

The scandalous bronze-lacquer age of hungry animalisms, spiritual impotences, and mendacities, will have to run its course, till the pit follow it.

--Thomas Carlyle


man in black jacket sitting on chair

So here hath been dawning Another blue day; Think, wilt thou let it Slip useless away? Out of eternity This new day is born, Into eternity At night will return.

--Thomas Carlyle

landscape photography of mountain

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

--Thomas Carlyle

aerial photo of foggy mountains

Prayer is and remains always a native and deepest impulse of the soul of man.

--Thomas Carlyle

yellow flower field under clear sky

Laws themselves, political Constitutions, are not our Life; but only the house wherein our Life is led.

--Thomas Carlyle

person in black shoes standing on gray concrete floor

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.

--Thomas Carlyle


person standing on top of mountain

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

--Thomas Carlyle

sunset dirt road

Acorns are planted silently by some unnoticed breeze.

--Thomas Carlyle

landscape photography of waves and clouds

Democracy will prevail when men believe the vote of Judas as good as that of Jesus Christ.

--Thomas Carlyle

yellow sunflowers

The crash of the whole solar and stellar systems could only kill you once.

--Thomas Carlyle


pink petaled flower on white surface

The graceful minuet-dance of fancy must give place to the toilsome, thorny pilgrimage of understanding. On the transition from the age of romance to that of science.

--Thomas Carlyle

green trees on body of water during daytime

A person with half volition goes backwards and forwards, but makes no progress on even the smoothest of roads.

--Thomas Carlyle

Longer Version:

A man with a half volition goes backwards and forwards, and makes no way on the smoothest road; a man with a whole volition advances on the roughest, and will reach his purpose, if there be even a little worthiness in it. The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder - a 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.


adult black and white dog leaning on wooden fence

We are the miracle of miracles, the great inscrutable mystery of God.

--Thomas Carlyle

landscape photography of mountains with cloudy skies during golden hour

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

--Thomas Carlyle

yellow labrador retriever puppy sitting on floor

History is the essence of innumerable biographies.

--Thomas Carlyle

minimalist photography of open door

One life; a little gleam of Time between two Eternities; no second chance to us for evermore!

--Thomas Carlyle

white snow mountain

A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men.

--Thomas Carlyle

woman in black shirt standing on yellow flower field during daytime

A fair day's wages for a fair day's work.

--Thomas Carlyle

houses and trees during nighttime

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

--Thomas Carlyle

black pug puppy on green textile

The greatest mistake is to imagine that we never err.

--Thomas Carlyle


brown sands

Freedom is the one purport, wisely aimed at, or unwisely, of all man's struggles, toilings and sufferings, in this earth.

--Thomas Carlyle

boy and cat in front of moon

Intellect is not speaking and logicising; it is seeing and ascertaining.

--Thomas Carlyle


white-and-pink flowers

A battle is a terrible conjugation of the verb to kill: I kill, thou killest, he kills, we kill, they kill, all kill.

--Thomas Carlyle

man wearing knit cap on grey background

What, in the devil's name, is the use of respectability, with never so many gigs and silver spoons, if thou inwardly art the pitifulness of all men?

--Thomas Carlyle

purple-petaled flower on selective focus photography

The insignificant, the empty, is usually the loud; and after the manner of a drum, is louder even because of its emptiness.

--Thomas Carlyle

black pug puppy

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

--Thomas Carlyle

brown sand beach during daytime

Speech is great, but silence is greater.

--Thomas Carlyle

blue sky with stars during night time

Might and right do differ frightfully from hour to hour, but then centuries to try it in, they are found to be identical.

--Thomas Carlyle

gold round wall clock on white painted wall

How indestructibly the good grows, and propagates itself, even among the weedy entanglements of evil.

--Thomas Carlyle


clear liquid on leaf

The purpose of man is in action not thought.

--Thomas Carlyle

two clown fishes underwater

No country can find eternal peace and comfort where the vote of Judas Iscariot is as good as the vote of the Saviour of mankind.

--Thomas Carlyle

white beans on white background

Time has only a relative existence.

--Thomas Carlyle

purple flower field during daytime

The public is anold woman.Let her maunderand mumble.

--Thomas Carlyle

beach during daytime

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

--Thomas Carlyle

brown wooden board

They wrong man greatly who say he is to be seduced by ease. Difficulty, abnegation, martyrdom, death are the allurements that act on the heart of man.

--Thomas Carlyle

brown grass field under blue sky and white clouds during daytime

Our life is not really a mutual helpfulness; but rather, it's fair competition cloaked under due laws of war; it's a mutual hostility.

--Thomas Carlyle

man in blue jacket and blue pants carrying black and red backpack standing on snow covered

The Christian must be consumed by the conviction of the infinite beauty of holiness and the infinite damnability of sin.

--Thomas Carlyle

full-bloomed red and white tulip flowers

Violence does even justice unjustly.

--Thomas Carlyle

blue sky with stars during night time

The beginning of all wisdom is to look fixedly on clothes, or even with armed eyesight, till they become transparent.

--Thomas Carlyle

worm's eye view photography of pink cheery blossom tree

Coining "Dismal Science" as a nickname for Political Economy.

--Thomas Carlyle

man sitting on concrete brick with opened laptop on his lap

At worst, is not this an unjust world, full of nothing but beasts of prey, four-footed or two-footed?

--Thomas Carlyle

white oriental lily flower

Lives the man that can figure a naked Duke of Windlestraw addressing a naked House of Lords?

--Thomas Carlyle

None

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

--Thomas Carlyle

beach shore during day time

There is in man a higher than love of happiness; he can do without happiness, and instead thereof find blessedness.

--Thomas Carlyle

man in blue jacket and blue pants carrying black and red backpack standing on snow covered

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.

--Thomas Carlyle



person in black jacket standing on beach during daytime

Who is it that loves me and will love me forever with an affection which no chance, no misery, no crime of mine can do away? It is you, my mother.

--Thomas Carlyle

seashore during daytime

History of the world is the biography of the great man. And I said: The great man always act like a thunder. He storms the skies, while others are waiting to be stormed.

--Thomas Carlyle

grayscale photography of elephant

Teaching school is but another word for sure and not very slow destruction.

--Thomas Carlyle

pink flower with green stem

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

--Thomas Carlyle

clear drinking glass with beer on black table

Worship is transcendent wonder.

--Thomas Carlyle

purple and white petaled flower

For man is not the creature and product of Mechanism; but, in a far truer sense, its creator and producer.

--Thomas Carlyle

pink rose in close up photography

With stupidity and sound digestion, man may front much.

--Thomas Carlyle


empty brown concrete stairs beside green grass under starry sky long-exposure photography

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

--Thomas Carlyle

black and white abstract illustration

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

--Thomas Carlyle

green plant in tilt shift lens

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

--Thomas Carlyle

body of water during daytime

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!

--Thomas Carlyle

pink dahlia in bloom

Necessity dispenseth with decorum.

--Thomas Carlyle

bird in the sky

As there is no danger of our becoming, any of us, Mahometans (i.e. Muslim), I mean to say all the good of him I justly can.

--Thomas Carlyle


selective focus photo of iceberg on large body of water at winter

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

--Thomas Carlyle

brown textile

Habit and imitation -- there is nothing more perennial in us than these two. They are the source of all working, and all apprenticeship, of all practice, and all learning, in this world.

--Thomas Carlyle

aerial view of gray building on brown sand

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

--Thomas Carlyle

pink tulips in close up photography

Alas! while the body stands so broad and brawny, must the soul lie blinded, dwarfed, stupefied, almost annihilated? Alas! this was, too, a breath of God, bestowed in heaven, but on earth never to be unfolded!

--Thomas Carlyle

three people paddling in canoe

Endurance is patience concentrated.

--Thomas Carlyle


white and blue ice in water

In private life I never knew anyone interfere with other people's disputes but he heartily repented of it.

--Thomas Carlyle


clear hour glass beside pink flowers

May blessings be upon the head of Cadmus, the Phoenicians, or whoever it was that invented books.

--Thomas Carlyle

two children holding hands while walking in the middle of the fields

The first sin in our universe was Lucifer's self conceit.

--Thomas Carlyle

pink and blue painted wall

It is not honest inquiry that makes anarchy; but it is error, insincerity, half belief and untruth that make it.

--Thomas Carlyle

man in orange jacket and black pants doing snow ski during daytime

Skepticism means, not intellectual doubt alone, but moral doubt.

--Thomas Carlyle

Longer Version:

Skepticism, as I said, is not intellectual only; it is moral also; a chronic atrophy and disease of the whole soul. A man lives by believing something; not by debating and arguing about many things. A sad case for him when all that he can manage to believe is something he can button in his pocket, and with one or the other organ eat and digest! Lower than that he will not get.



man smiling while facing other person

Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains.

--Thomas Carlyle

silhouette of mountain during sunset

Isolation is the sum total of wretchedness to a man.

--Thomas Carlyle


silhouette photography of person in gray sailing boat in the middle of body of water

The depth of our despair measures what capability and height of claim we have to hope.

--Thomas Carlyle


leafless tree

There are female dandies as well as clothes-wearing men; and the former are as objectionable as the latter.

--Thomas Carlyle

rainbow

In a certain sense all men are historians.

--Thomas Carlyle

person behind fog glass

A lie should be trampled on and extinguished wherever found. I am for fumigating the atmosphere when I suspect that falsehood, like pestilence, breathes around me.

--Thomas Carlyle



green ceramic mug on wooden desk

Love not pleasure; love God. This is the Everlasting Yea, wherein all contradiction is solved.

--Thomas Carlyle

purple flowers under sunny sky

All work of man is as the swimmer's: a vast ocean threatens to devour him; if he front it not bravely, it will keep its word.

--Thomas Carlyle

person on road at sunset

No conquest can ever become permanent which does not show itself beneficial to the conquered as well as to the conquerors.

--Thomas Carlyle

worm's eye view of trees during night time

The eye sees what it brings the power to see.

--Thomas Carlyle

green trees on brown dried leaves during daytime

It is well said, in every sense, that a man's religion is the chief fact with regard to him.

--Thomas Carlyle


pink tulip flower

The mystery of a person, indeed, is ever divine to him that has a sense for the godlike.

--Thomas Carlyle

selective focus photography of pink petaled flower

We call that fire of the black thunder-cloud "electricity," and lecture learnedly about it, and grind the like of it out of glass and silk: but what is it? What made it? Whence comes it? Whither goes it?

--Thomas Carlyle


person on road at sunset

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

--Thomas Carlyle

white tulips with green leaves

The vulgarity of inanimate things requires time to get accustomed to; but living, breathing, bustling, plotting, planning, human vulgarity is a species of moral ipecacuanha, enough to destroy any comfort.

--Thomas Carlyle


black bird flying on white background

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

--Thomas Carlyle

black and gray textile in close up photography

Oblivion is the dark page, whereon Memory writes her light-beam characters, and makes them legible; were it all light, nothing could be read there, any more than if it were all darkness.

--Thomas Carlyle

green palm tree during daytime

The greatest of all heroes is One -- whom we do not name here! Let sacred silence meditate that sacred matter; you will find it the ultimate perfection of a principle extant throughout man's whole history on earth.

--Thomas Carlyle


closeup photography of brown and gray concrete bricks

Labor is life: from the inmost heart of the worker rises his God-given force, the sacred celestial life-essence breathed into him by Almighty God!

--Thomas Carlyle

silhouette of a woman with pink and purple sky

Action hangs, as it were, dissolved in speech, in thoughts whereof speech is the shadow; and precipitates itself therefrom. The kind of speech in a man betokens the kind of action you will get from him.

--Thomas Carlyle

four handheld gardening tools on rack

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

--Thomas Carlyle

sunset

Wonder is the basis of worship.

--Thomas Carlyle

pink tulips on gray wooden surface

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

--Thomas Carlyle


grassland landscape

Silence is the eternal duty of man.

--Thomas Carlyle


landscape photography of mountain hit by sun rays

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.

--Thomas Carlyle

silhouette of stones during golden hour

Also, what mountains of dead ashes, wreck and burnt bones, does assiduous pedantry dig up from the past time and name it History.

--Thomas Carlyle

silhouette of man and woman during sunset

The Orator persuades and carries all with him, he knows not how; the Rhetorician can prove that he ought to have persuaded and carried all with him.

--Thomas Carlyle

yellow sunflower in close up photography

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

--Thomas Carlyle

shallow focus photography of brown and black bird

A thought once awakened does not again slumber.

--Thomas Carlyle

white tulip flower in close up photography

The greatest event for the world is the arrival of a new and wise person.

--Thomas Carlyle

saguaro

The king is the man who can.

--Thomas Carlyle

sunset woman at beach

The barrenest of all mortals is the sentimentalist.

--Thomas Carlyle

purple flower

You can make even a parrot into a learned political economist -- all he must learn are the two words "supply" and "demand."

--Thomas Carlyle

body of water under clear blue sky painting

Little other than a red tape Talking-machine, and unhappy Bag of Parliamentary Eloquence.

--Thomas Carlyle

silhouette of man on top of hill overlooking lighted city at dawn

If those gentlemen would let me alone I should be much obliged to them. I would say, as Shakespeare would say... Sweet Friend, for Jesus sake forbear.

--Thomas Carlyle

blue and white abstract painting

With union grounded on falsehood and ordering us to speak and act lies, we will not have anything to do. Peace? A brutal lethargy is peaceable; the noisome is peaceable. We hope for a living peace, not a dead one!

--Thomas Carlyle


man wearing black jacket standing on street

Virtue is like health: the harmony of the whole man.

--Thomas Carlyle

yellow flower field under clear sky

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

--Thomas Carlyle

red wallpaper

Man, it is not thy works, which are mortal, infinitely little, and the greatest no greater than the least, but only the spirit thou workest in, that can have worth or continuance.

--Thomas Carlyle

mountains under starry sky during nighttime

We arc the miracle of miracles, the great inscrutable mystery of God.

--Thomas Carlyle

pink and white clouds

Midas-eared Mammonism, double-barrelled Dilettantism, and their thousand adjuncts and corollaries, are not the Law by which God Almighty has appointed this His universe to go.

--Thomas Carlyle

black and white photography of alarm clock displaying 1:37 time

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

--Thomas Carlyle

city lights from hill

Scarcely two hundred years back can Fame recollect articulately at all; and there she but maunders and mumbles.

--Thomas Carlyle

woman in white and multicolored floral shirt standing and smiling on yellow sunflower field

The devil has his elect.

--Thomas Carlyle

photography of white sky at golden hour

A stammering man is never a worthless one. Physiology can tell you why. It is an excess of sensibility to the presence of his fellow creature, that makes him stammer.

--Thomas Carlyle

worm's eye view photography of pink cheery blossom tree

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

--Thomas Carlyle

brown sand under blue sky during daytime

He who takes not counsel of the Unseen and Silent, from him will never come real visibility and speech.

--Thomas Carlyle

woman sitting on rock facing plunge waterfalls

The great silent man! Looking round on the noisy inanity of the world, -- words with little meaning, actions with little worth, -- one loves to reflect on the great Empire of Silence.

--Thomas Carlyle

yellow and black striped background

Of our thinking it is but the upper surface that we shape into articulate thought; underneath the region of argument and conscious discourse lies the region of meditation.

--Thomas Carlyle

white flowers in brown stem

Universal history, the history of what man has accomplished in this world, is at bottom the History of the Great Men who have worked here.

--Thomas Carlyle

pink flower with green stem

To be true is manly, chivalrous, Christian; to be false is mean, cowardly, devilish.

--Thomas Carlyle

black dog photography

No ghost was every seen by two pair of eyes.

--Thomas Carlyle


rainbow

It is through symbols that man consciously or unconsciously lives, works and has his being.

--Thomas Carlyle



white sand

Be a pattern to others, and then all will go well; for as a whole city is affected by the licentious passions and vices of great men, so it is likewise reformed by their moderation.

--Thomas Carlyle

saguaro

The actual well seen is ideal.

--Thomas Carlyle

person holding green plant during daytime

A crowd has the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.

--Thomas Carlyle

group of people inside the room in grayscale photo

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

--Thomas Carlyle

yellow sunflower under blue sky during daytime

Over the times thou hast no power... Solely over one man thou hast quite absolute power. Him redeem and make honest.

--Thomas Carlyle

purple textile with white line

Insurrection, never so necessary, is a most sad necessity; and governors who wait for that to instruct them are surely getting into the fatalest course.

--Thomas Carlyle

person walking on street while holding black umbrella near cars on road at nighttime

Work alone is noble.

--Thomas Carlyle

yellow and red color textile

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


yellow and white abstract painting

Terror itself, when once grown transcendental, becomes a kind of courage; as frost sufficiently intense, according to the poet Milton, will burn.

--Thomas Carlyle


shorebird on pier

Conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct.

--Thomas Carlyle

Longer Version:

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


shallow focus photography of snowflake

God Almighty never created a man half as wise as he looks.

--Thomas Carlyle

flying blue and green hummingbird

There is endless merit in a man's knowing when to have done.

--Thomas Carlyle

woman standing on cliff

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

--Thomas Carlyle

red tulip in bloom during daytime

Courtesy is the due of man to man; not of suit-of-clothes to suit-of-clothes.

--Thomas Carlyle

photo og calm body of water

Fire is the best of servants, but what a master!

--Thomas Carlyle

pink flower

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

--Thomas Carlyle

four men sitting beside table

Just in the ratio knowledge increases, faith decreases.

--Thomas Carlyle

person in black and white mask

Does not every true man feel that he is himself made higher by doing reverence to what is really above him?

--Thomas Carlyle

selective focus photo of woman holding sunflower surrounded by sunflowers

Happy the people whose annals are blank in the history books!

--Thomas Carlyle

green textile in close up image

In our wide world there is but one altogether fatal personage, the dunce, -- he that speaks irrationally, that sees not, and yet thinks he sees.

--Thomas Carlyle

Bryce Canyon National Park Sunrise Point at Utah

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

--Thomas Carlyle

pink cherry blossom tree under blue sky during daytime

The condition of the most passionate enthusiast is to be preferred over the individual who, because of the fear of making a mistake, won't in the end affirm or deny anything.

--Thomas Carlyle

yellow sunflower field under blue sky during daytime

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

--Thomas Carlyle


body of water under clear blue sky painting

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

--Thomas Carlyle

white stone woman sculpture

Great men are the modelers, patterns, and in a wide sense creators, of whatsoever the general mass of men contrived to do and attain.

--Thomas Carlyle

selective focus photo of woman holding sunflower surrounded by sunflowers

The goal of yesterday will be our starting-point to-morrow.

--Thomas Carlyle

turned on desk lamp beside pile of books

History is the distillation of rumour.

--Thomas Carlyle

yellow rose flower

Even in the meanest sorts of labor, the whole soul of a man is composed into a kind of real harmony the instant he sets himself to work.

--Thomas Carlyle

green and red flowers

Whose school-hours are all the days and nights of our existence.

--Thomas Carlyle

empty brown concrete stairs beside green grass under starry sky long-exposure photography

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

--Thomas Carlyle

blue boat on sand near body of water during daytime

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.

--Thomas Carlyle

pink flower with green stem

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

--Thomas Carlyle

person with black tattoo on left hand

Weak eyes are fondest of glittering objects.

--Thomas Carlyle

person in blue denim jeans and brown leather boots

There are but two ways of paying debt: Increase of industry in raising income, increase of thrift in laying out.

--Thomas Carlyle

white flowers in brown stem

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.

--Thomas Carlyle


brown wooden dock under night sky

Wise man was he who counselled that speculation should have free course, and look fearlessly towards all the thirty-two points of the compass, whithersoever and howsoever it listed.

--Thomas Carlyle


We wish you a perfect day!