Robert L. Stevenson (1850-1894)

“The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean; not to affect your reader, but to affect him precisely as you wish.”

“To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.”

“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”

“So long as we love, we serve; so long as we are loved by others, I should say that we are almost indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend.”

“Most of our pocket wisdom is conceived for the use of mediocre people, to discourage them from ambitious attempts, and generally console them in their mediocrity.”

“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.”

“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.”

“You cannot run away from a weakness; you must some time fight it out or perish; and if that be so, why not now, and where you stand?”

“Absences are a good influence in love and keep it bright and delicate.”

“The cruelest lies are often told in silence.”

“To forget oneself is to be happy.”

“An aim in life is the only fortune worth finding.”

“Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well.”

“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.”

“The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that”

“To be rich in admiration and free from envy, to rejoice greatly in the good of others, to love with such generosity of heart that your love is still a dear possession in absence or unkindness – these are the gifts which money cannot buy”

“Everybody, sooner or later, sits down to a banquet of consequences.”

“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”

“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming is the only end of life.”

“It is perhaps a more fortunate destiny to have a taste for collecting shells than to be born a millionaire”

“To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying “Amen” to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to keep your soul alive.”

“Marriage: A friendship recognized by the police.”

“The Devil, can sometimes do a very gentlemanly thing.”

“You can kill the body but not the spirit.”

“All human beings are commingled out of good and evil.”

“Our business in this world is not to succeed, but to continue to fail in good spirits.”

“There is only one difference between a long life and a good dinner: that, in the dinner, the sweets come last.”

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

“Youth is wholly experimental.”

“I am in the habit of looking not so much to the nature of a gift as to the spirit in which it is offered.”

“For God’s sake, give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself”

“To be idle requires a strong sense of personal identity.”

“All speech, written or spoken, is a dead language, until it finds a willing and prepared hearer.”

“Quiet minds can’t be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.”

“There is no progress whatever. Everything is just the same as it was thousands, and tens of thousands, of years ago. The outward form changes. The essence does not change.”

“Wine is bottled poetry.”

“Books are good enough in their own way, but they are a mighty bloodless substitute for life.”

“Some people swallow the universe like a pill; they travel on through the world, like smiling images pushed from behind.”

“The body is a house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passers-by to come and love us.”

“It’s a pleasant thing to be young, and have ten toes.”

“Many’s the long night I’ve dreamed of cheese – toasted, mostly.”

“Marriage is one long conversation, checkered by disputes.”

“Marriage is like life – it is a field of battle, not a bed of roses.”

“If we take matrimony at it’s lowest, we regard it as a sort of friendship recognised by the police.”

“We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.”

“A friend is a gift you give yourself.”

“Books are good enough in their own way, but they are a poor substitute for life.”

“Talk is by far the most accessible of pleasures. It costs nothing in money, it is all profit, it completes our education, founds and fosters our friendships, and can be enjoyed at any age and in almost any state of health.”

“When it comes to my own turn to lay my weapons down, I shall do so with thankfulness and fatigue, and whatever be my destiny afterward, I shall be glad to lie down with my fathers in honor. It is human at least, if not divine.”

“Night is a dead monotonous period under a roof; but in the open world it passes lightly, with its stars and dews and perfumes, and the hours are marked by changes in the face of Nature. What seems a kind of temporal death to people choked between walls and curtains, is only a light and living slumber to the man who sleeps afield.”

“If you keep on drinking rum, the world will soon be quit of a very dirty scoundrel.”

“Make the most of the best and the least of the worst.”

“Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall. Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day. Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down. And this is all life really means.”

“Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business, is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things.”

“I regard you with an indifference closely bordering on aversion.”

“To love is the great amulet that makes this world a garden.”

“We must accept life for what it actually is – a challenge to our quality without which we should never know of what stuff we are made, or grow to our full stature.”

“The mark of a good action is that it appears inevitable in retrospect.”

“He who knoweth the precepts by heart, but faileth to practice them, is like unto one who lighteth a lamp and then shutteth his eyes.”

“To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labor.”

“In the law of God, there is no statute of limitations.”

“Once you are married, there is nothing left for you, not even suicide.”

“I never weary of great churches. It is my favorite kind of mountain scenery. Mankind was never so happily inspired as when it made a cathedral.”

“There is a fellowship more quiet even than solitude, and which, rightly understood, is solitude made perfect.”

“I hate cynicism a great deal worse than I do the devil; unless perhaps the two were the same thing.”

“You mightn’t happen to have a piece of cheese about you, now? No? Well, many’s the long night I’ve dreamed of cheese – toasted, mostly.”

“There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.”

“An aspiration is a joy forever, a possession as solid as a landed estate.”

“The correction of silence is what kills; when you know you have transgressed, and your friend says nothing, and avoids your eye.”

“Not every man is so great a coward as he thinks he is – nor yet so good a Christian.”

“A generous prayer is never presented in vain; the petition may be refused, but the petitioner is always, I believe, rewarded by some gracious visitation.”

“To hold the same views at forty as we held at twenty is to have been stupefied for a score of years, and take rank, not as a prophet, but as an non-teachable brat, well birched and none the wiser.”

“To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you ought to prefer is to have kept your soul alive.”

“If your morals make you dreary, depend upon it, they are wrong.”

“When a torrent sweeps a man against a boulder, you must expect him to scream, and you need not be surprised if the scream is sometimes a theory.”

“We live in an ascending scale when we live happily, one thing leading to another in an endless series.”

“Give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself.”

“Give us grace and strength to forbear and to persevere. Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind, spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies.”

“A child should always say what’s true,

And speak when he is spoken to;

And behave mannerly at table,

At least as far as he is able.”

“I’ve a grand memory for forgetting.”

“Peace is the one condition of survival in this nuclear age.”

“In marriage, a man becomes slack and selfish, and undergoes a fatty degeneration of his moral being.”

“It is better to be a fool, than to be dead.”

“If a man loves the labour of his trade, apart from any question of success or fame, the gods have called him.”

“Dead men don’t bite.”

“Every one lives by selling something.”

“To be wholly devoted to some intellectual exercise is to have succeeded in life.”

“The world has no room for cowards.”

“Every man has a sane spot somewhere”

“The world is so full of a number of things man sure should all be as happy as kings.”

“The habit of being happy enables one to be freed, or largely freed, from the domination of outside conditions.”

“The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”

“To make our idea of morality center on forbidden acts is to defile the imagination and to introduce into our judgments of our fellow-men a secret element of gusto.”

“The truth that is suppressed by friends is the readiest weapon of the enemy.”

“No man is useless who has a friend, and if we are loved we are indispensable.”

“It is better to lose health like a spendthrift than to waste it like a miser.”

“It is one thing to mortify curiosity, another to conquer it.”

“It is the mark of a modest man to accept his friendly circle ready-made from the hands of opportunity.”

“Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.”

“By the time a man gets into the seventies his continued existence is a mere miracle.”

“A man who has been three years biting his nails on a desert island can’t expect to appear as sane as you and me.”

“There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.”

“Every man is his own doctor of divinity in the last resort.”

“You can forgive people who do not follow you through a philosophical disquisition; but to find your wife laughing when you had tears in your eyes, or staring when you were in a fit of laughter, would go some way towards a dissolution of the marriage.”

“The price we have to pay for money is sometimes liberty.”

“It is the mark of a good action that it appears inevitable in retrospect. what may be called a phenomenon, no matter in what sphere.”

“Of what shall a man be proud, if he is not proud of his friends?”

“I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both, and I believe they both get paid in the end, but the fools first.”

“His friends were those of his own blood or those whom he had known the longest; his affections, like ivy, were the growth of time, they implied no aptness in the object.”

“Let any man speak long enough, he will get believers”

“The existence of a man is so small a thing to take, so mighty a thing to employ.”

“I find it useful to remember, everyone lives by selling something.”

“We all know what parliament is, and we are all ashamed of it.”

“Man is a creature who lives not upon bread alone, but primarily by catchwords.”

“Truth in spirit, not truth to the letter, is the true veracity.”

“It is the mark of a good action that it appears inevitable in retrospect.”

“Nothing like a little judicious levity.”

“No human being ever spoke of scenery for above two minutes at a time, which makes me suspect that we hear too much of it in literature.”

“Courage, the footstool of the Virtues, upon which they stand.”

“Every one lives by selling something, whatever be his right to it.”

“If your morals make you dreary, depend upon it they are wrong. I do not say “give them up,” for they may be all you have; but conceal them like a vice, lest they should spoil the lives of better and simpler people.”

“You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.”

“A friend is a present you give to yourself.”

“There is but one art, to omit.”

“A faculty for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity.”

“There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it behooves all of us not to talk about the rest of us.”

“I feel very strongly about putting questions; it partakes too much of the style of the day of judgment.”

“The obscurest epoch is to-day.”

“No man is useless while he has a friend.”

“Thanks, when they are expressed, are often more embarrassing than welcomed.”

“If you wish the pick of men and women, take a good bachelor and a good wife.”

 

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