Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Born: July 4, 1804
  • Died: May 19, 1864
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Novelist

53

Quotes

19

Citations

130

Concepts

0

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Quotes
Quote Topics Cited
At no great distance from the Minnesota lay the strangest-looking craft I ever saw. It was a platform of iron, so nearly on a level with the water that the swash of the waves broke over it, under the impulse of a very moderate breeze; and on this platform was raised a circular structure, likewise of iron, and rather broad and capacious, but of no great height. It could not be called a vessel at all; it was a machine,—and I have seen one of somewhat similar appearance employed in cleaning out the docks; or, for lack of a better similitude, it looked like a gigantic rat-trap. It was ugly, questionable, suspicious, evidently mischievous,—nay, I will allow myself to call it devilish; for this was the new war-fiend, destined, along with others of the same breed, to annihilate whole navies and batter down old supremacies…. A storm of cannon shots damages them no more than a handful of dried peas. We saw the shot marks made by the great artillery of the Merrimack on the outer casing of the iron tower; they were about the breadth and depth of shallow saucers, almost imperceptible dents, with no corresponding bulge on the interior surface…. Nothing, however, can exceed the confidence of the officers in this new craft. It was pleasant to see their benign exultation in her powers of mischief, and the delight with which they exhibited the circumvolutory movement of the tower, the quick thrusting forth of the immense guns to deliver their ponderous missiles and then the immediate recoil, and the security behind the closed port-holes. Military & Veterans
Good Heavens! What liberties I have been taking with one of the potentates of the earth, and the man on whose conduct more important consequences depend than on that of any other historical personage of the century! But with whom is an American citizen entitled to take a liberty, if not with his own chief magistrate? However, lest the above allusions to President Lincoln's little peculiarities (already well known to the country and to the world) should be misinterpreted, I deem it proper to say a word or two, in regard to him, of unfeigned respect and measurable confidence. He is evidently a man of keen faculties, and, what is still more to the purpose, of powerful character. As to his integrity, the people have that intuition of it which is never deceived. Before he actually entered upon his great office, and for a considerable time afterwards, there is no reason to suppose that he adequately estimated the gigantic task about to be imposed on him, or, at least, had any distinct idea how it was to be managed; and I presume there may have been more than one veteran politician who proposed to himself to take the power out of President Lincoln's hands into his own, leaving our honest friend only the public responsibility for the good or ill success of the career. The extremely imperfect development of his statesmanly qualities, at that period, may have justified such designs. But the president is teachable by events, and had now spent a year in a very arduous course of education; he has a flexible mind, capable of much expansion, and convertible towards far loftier studies and activities than those of his early life; and if he came to Washington a backwoods humorist, he has already transformed himself into as good a statesman (to speak moderately) as his prime minister. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
Great men need to be lifted upon the shoulders of the whole world, in order to conceive their great ideas or perform their great deeds. That is, there must be an atmosphere of greatness round about them. A hero cannot be a hero unless in an heroic world. Leaders & Leadership
I shall not pretend to be an admirer of old John Brown any farther than sympathy with Whittier's excellent ballad about him may go; nor did I expect ever to shrink so unutterably from any apothegm of a sage, whose happy lips have uttered a hundred golden sentences, as from that saying, (perhaps falsely attributed to so honored a source,) that the death of this blood-stained fanatic has "made the Gallows as venerable as the Cross!" Nobody was ever more justly hanged. He won his martyrdom fairly, and took it firmly. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I will allow myself to call it devilish; for this was the new war fiend, destined, along with others of the same breed, to annihilate whole navies and batter down old supremacies. Defense & National Security
It is a strange thing in human life, that the greatest errors both of men and women often spring from their sweetest and most generous qualities; and so, undoubtedly, thousands of warm-hearted, sympathetic, and impulsive persons have joined the Rebels, not from any real zeal from the cause, but because, between two conflicting loyalties, they chose that which necessarily lay nearest the heart. There never existed any other Government against which treason was so easy Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true. Public Relations & Image
Now, at that juncture, and, in fact, up to the present moment, there was, and is, a most fierce and bitter outcry, and detraction loud and low, against General McClellan, accusing him of sloth, imbecility, cowardice, treasonable purposes, and, in short, utterly denying his ability as a soldier, and questioning his integrity as a man. Nor was this to be wondered at; for when before, in all history, do we find a general in command of half a million of men, and in presence of an enemy inferior in numbers and no better disciplined than his own troops, leaving it still debatable, after the better part of a year, whether he is a soldier or no? The question would seem to answer itself in the very asking. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
One terrible idea occurs in reference to this matter [the Civil War]. Even supposing the war should end to-morrow, and the army melt into the mass of the population within the year, what an incalculable preponderance will there be of military titles and pretensions for at least half a century to come! Every country-neighborhood will have its general or two, its three or four colonels, half a dozen majors, and captains without end,—besides non-commissioned officers and privates, more than the recruiting offices ever knew of,—all with their campaign stories, which will become the staple of fireside-talk forevermore. Military merit, or rather, since that is not so readily estimated, military notoriety, will be the measure of all claims to civil distinction. One bullet-headed general will succeed another in the Presidential chair; and veterans will hold the offices at home and abroad, and sit in Congress and the State legislatures Detriments & Qualifications ;Public Office: Benefits
Railroads ... are positively the greatest blessing that the ages have wrought out for us. They give us wings; they annihilate the toil and dust of pilgrimage; they spiritualize travel. Transportation
Shall we never, never get rid of this Past? It lies upon the Present like a giant's dead body History
The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue and happiness they might originally project, have invariably recognized it among their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison. Happiness & Unhappiness ;Development & Growth
The greatest obstacle to being heroic is the doubt whether one may not be going to prove one's self a fool; the truest heroism is, to resist the doubt; and the profoundest wisdom, to know when it ought to be resisted, and when to be obeyed. Leaders & Leadership ;Human Nature
The greatest obstacle to being heroic is the doubt whether one may not be going to prove one's self a fool; the truest heroism is, to resist the doubt; and the profoundest wisdom, to know when it ought to be resisted, and when to be obeyed. Leaders & Leadership
The world owes all its onward impulses to men ill at ease. The happy man inevitably confines himself within ancient limits. Human Nature
What we call real estate--the solid ground to build a house on--is the broad foundation on which nearly all the guilt of this world rests. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
When Nature gives a young man no other utilizable faculty, she must be understood as intending him for a soldier. Military & Veterans
Whoever may be benefited by the results of this war, it will not be the present generation of negroes. War & Peace ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
You can get assent to almost any proposition so long as you are not going to do anything about it. Management & Managing Government
A hero cannot be a hero unless in a heroic world.
A pure hand needs no glove to cover it.
A stale article, if you dip it in a good, warm, sunny smile, will go off better than a fresh one that you've scowled upon.
A woman's chastity consists, like an onion, of a series of coats.
Accuracy is the twin brother of honesty; inaccuracy, of dishonesty.
All brave men love; for he only is brave who has affections to fight for, whether in the daily battle of life, or in physical contests. Life ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Caresses, expressions of one sort or another, are necessary to the life of the affections as leaves are to the life of a tree. If they are wholly restrained, love will die at the roots. Life ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Relationships
Easy reading is damn hard writing.
Every individual has a place to fill in the world and is important in some respect whether he chooses to be so or not. Respect
Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us a wild-goose chase, and is never attained. Follow some other object, and very possibly we may find that we have caught happiness without dreaming of it. Happiness & Unhappiness
Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. Inspiration ;Happiness & Unhappiness
In our nature, however, there is a provision, alike marvelous and merciful, that the sufferer should never know the intensity of what he endures by its present torture, but chiefly by the pang that rankles after it. Nature
It contributes greatly towards a man's moral and intellectual health, to be brought into habits of companionship with individuals unlike himself, who care little for his pursuits, and whose sphere and abilities he must go out of himself to appreciate. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
Life is made up of marble and mud. Life
Love, whether newly born, or aroused from a deathlike slumber, must always create sunshine, filling the heart so full of radiance, this it overflows upon the outward world. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Romantic
Moonlight is sculpture. Nature
Mountains are earth's undecaying monuments. Nature
My fortune somewhat resembled that of a person who should entertain an idea of committing suicide, and, altogether beyond his hopes, meet with the good hap to be murdered.
No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.
Nobody has any conscience about adding to the improbabilities of a marvelous tale.
Nobody, I think, ought to read poetry, or look at pictures or statues, who cannot find a great deal more in them than the poet or artist has actually expressed. Their highest merit is suggestiveness. Literature, Writers & Writing
Our Creator would never have made such lovely days, and have given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above and beyond all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal.
Our most intimate friend is not he to whom we show the worst, but the best of our nature. Friendship
Religion and art spring from the same root and are close kin. Economics and art are strangers. Religion & God ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Selfishness is one of the qualities apt to inspire love. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Sunlight is painting. Nature
The greatest obstacle to being heroic is the doubt whether one may not be going to prove one's self a fool; the truest heroism is to resist the doubt; and the profoundest wisdom, to know when it ought to be resisted, and when it be obeyed.
The only sensible ends of literature are, first, the pleasurable toil of writing; second, the gratification of one's family and friends; and lastly, the solid cash. Families, Children & Parenting
Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind. Time
We must not always talk in the market-place of what happens to us in the forest.
We sometimes congratulate ourselves at the moment of waking from a troubled dream; it may be so the moment after death. Death
What other dungeon is so dark as one's own heart! What jailer so inexorable as one's self!
What we call real estate - the solid ground to build a house on - is the broad foundation on which nearly all the guilt of this world rests.
Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them. Communication & Communications