Quotations From THOMAS CARLYLE


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  • No great man lives in vain. The history of the world is but the biography of great men.
    Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Scottish essayist, historian. On Heroes and Hero-Worship, "The Hero as Divinity," (1841). In Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, "On History" (1839-1857), Carlyle wrote, "History is the essence of innumerable biographies."

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  • 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 (1795-1881), Scottish essayist, historian. Teufelsdr"ckh, in Sartor Resartus, bk. 2, ch. 9 (1833-1834).
  • 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 (1795-1881), Scottish essayist, historian. "Sir Walter Scott," vol. 4, Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (1839).
  • No man lives without jostling and being jostled; in all ways he has to elbow himself through the world, giving and receiving offence.
    Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Scottish essayist, historian. Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (1839-1857). Sir Walter Scott, first published in London and Westminster Review (Nov. 12, 1838).

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  • For man is not the creature and product of Mechanism; but, in a far truer sense, its creator and producer.
    Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Scottish essayist, historian. "Signs of the Times," no. 98, Edinburgh Review (1829).
  • 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.
    Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Scottish essayist, historian. Sartor Resartus, bk. 3, ch. 6 (1833-1834).
  • 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.
    Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Scottish essayist, historian. Sartor Resartus, bk. 2, ch. 4 (1833-1834).
  • Cash-payment never was, or could except for a few years be, the union-bond of man to man. Cash never yet paid one man fully his deserts to another; nor could it, nor can it, now or henceforth to the end of the world.
    Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Scottish essayist, historian. Past and Present, bk. 3, ch. 10 (1843).

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  • 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 (1795-1881), Scottish essayist, historian. Past and Present, bk. 4, ch. 4 (1843).

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  • Worship is transcendent wonder.
    Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Scottish essayist, historian. On Heroes and Hero-Worship, lecture 1, "The Hero as Divinity," (1841).
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