Thomas Carlyle Quotes

Most popular Thomas Carlyle Quotes

Be not the slave of Words.

words

Be not the slave to Words.
— Thomas Carlyle
Man is a tool-using animal.

mankind man the animal

Worship is transcendent wonder.

worship

Custom doth make dotards of us all.
— Thomas Carlyle
Silence is more eloquent than words.

silence

Every noble work is at first impossible.
— Thomas Carlyle
Wondrous is the strength of cheerfulness.
— Thomas Carlyle
Habit is the deepest law of human nature.
— Thomas Carlyle
Speech is of time, silence is of eternity.
— Thomas Carlyle
The universe is but one vast Symbol of God.
— Thomas Carlyle
Genius is the infinite art of taking pains.
— Thomas Carlyle
Oh, give us the soul who sings at his work.
— Thomas Carlyle
Not what I have but what I do is my kingdom.
— Thomas Carlyle

action

Thought once awakened does not again slumber.

thoughts

He that can work is a born King of something.

work

Music is well said to be the speech of angels.

music

Clever men are good, but they are not the best.
— Thomas Carlyle
No person is important enough to make me angry.
— Thomas Carlyle

anger

A mystic bond of brotherhood makes all men one.
— Thomas Carlyle
A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.
— Thomas Carlyle

love

The coldest word was once a glowing new metaphor.

metaphor

A vein of poetry exists in the hearts of all men.

poetry

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

books

Nothing is so terrible than activity without insight.
— Thomas Carlyle
A man's religion is the chief fact with regard to him.

religion

Just in ratio as knowledge increases, faith diminishes.
— Thomas Carlyle

knowledge

Silence is deep as Eternity; speech is shallow as Time.
— Thomas Carlyle
Happy the people whose annals are blank in history-books.
— Thomas Carlyle
All greatness is unconscious, or it is little and naught.
— Thomas Carlyle
The merit of originality is not novelty, it is sincerity.
— Thomas Carlyle
My whinstone house my castle is; I have my own four walls.
— Thomas Carlyle
A well-written Life is almost as rare as a well-spent one.

biography

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

head and heart

The history of the world is but the biography of great men.
— Thomas Carlyle

history

The true University of these days is a Collection of Books.

books college

Love is ever the beginning of knowledge as fire is of light.
— Thomas Carlyle
Worship of a hero is transcendent admiration of a great man.

heroism hero worship

Love is ever the beginning of Knowledge, as fire is of light.
— Thomas Carlyle
True humor springs not more from the head than from the heart.
— Thomas Carlyle
The true university of these days is a collection of good books.
— Thomas Carlyle
A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men.
— Thomas Carlyle

greatness

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

shortcomings

A poet without love were a physical and metaphysical impossibility.
— Thomas Carlyle
Show me the man you honor, and I will know what kind of man you are.
— Thomas Carlyle

character

A word spoken in season, at the right moment, is the matter of ages.
— Thomas Carlyle
Every new opinion, at its starting, is precisely in a minority of one.
— Thomas Carlyle

opinions

Every noble crown is, and on earth will forever be, a crown of thorns.
— Thomas Carlyle
Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness.
— Thomas Carlyle

business career determination work

Experience is the best of schoolmasters, only the school-fees are heavy.

experience

Great men are the commissioned guides of mankind, who rule their fellows.
— Thomas Carlyle
Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together.
— Thomas Carlyle
In every phenomenon the beginning remains always the most notable moment.

beginnings

Blessed is the man who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness.
— Thomas Carlyle
He who has a secret should not only hide it, but hide that he has it to hide.
— Thomas Carlyle

secrets

Love is not altogether a delirium, yet it has many points in common therewith.
— Thomas Carlyle
How much lies in laughter: the cipher-key wherewith we decipher the whole man!

laughter

Thought works in silence, so does virtue.  One might erect statues to silence.
— Thomas Carlyle

silence

Love is not altogether a delirium...yet has it many points in common therewith.

love

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

fortune

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

work

Hero-worship exists, has existed, and will forever exist, universally among mankind.

heroism hero worship

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

self-deception

There is no heroic poem in the world but is at bottom a biography, the life of a man.

poetry

The great law of culture is: Let each become all that he is created capable of being.
— Thomas Carlyle
The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder; a waif, a nothing, a no-man.

purpose of life

No sadder proof can be given by a man of his own littleness than disbelief in great men.
— Thomas Carlyle
No great man lives in vain.  The history of the world is but the biography of great men.

greatness

Wonder is the basis of Worship: the reign of wonder is perennial, indestructible in Man.

wonder

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

pain

No man who has once heartily and wholly laughed can be altogether and irreclaimably depraved.
— Thomas Carlyle
This is such a serious world that we should never speak at all unless we have something to say.
— Thomas Carlyle
Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one less rascal in the world.
— Thomas Carlyle
The three great elements of modern civilization: Gunpowder, Printing, and the Protestant Religion.

civilization

It is the first of all problems for man to find out what kind of work he is to do in this universe.
— Thomas Carlyle
A laugh, to be joyous, must flow from a joyous heart, for without kindness there can be no true joy.
— Thomas Carlyle
The fine arts once divorcing themselves from truth are quite certain to fall mad, if they do not die.
— Thomas Carlyle
Our grand business is not to see what lies dimly in the distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.
— Thomas Carlyle
The wealth of man is the number of things which he loves and blesses, which he is loved and blessed by.
— Thomas Carlyle

wealth

Nothing that was worthy in the past departs; no truth or goodness realized by man ever dies, or can die.
— Thomas Carlyle
Fame is no sure test of merit, but only a probability of such; it is an accident, not a property of a man.
— Thomas Carlyle
Men's hearts ought not to be set against one another, but set with one another, and all against evil only.
— Thomas Carlyle
All that man has done, thought, gained or been: it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of books.
— Thomas Carlyle
For Love is ever the beginning of Knowledge, as fire is of light; and works also more in the manner of fire.

love

Youth is to all the glad season of life, but often only by what it hopes, not by what it attains or escapes.
— Thomas Carlyle
All that Mankind has done, thought, gained or been: it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of Books.

books

In the huge mass of evil as it rolls and swells, there is ever some good working toward deliverance and triumph.
— Thomas Carlyle
He was...a man of an immense head and great jaws like a crocodile's, cast in a mold designed for prodigious work.

poets

The first duty for a man is still that of subduing Fear.  We must get rid of Fear; we cannot act at all till then.

fear

I should say sincerity, a deep, great, genuine sincerity, is the first characteristic of all men in any way heroic.

heroism sincerity

In every epoch of the world, the great event, parent of all others, is it not the arrival of a Thinker in the world?

thinking

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.

youth

The work of an unknown good man is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground greener.
— Thomas Carlyle

charity Giving

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

business

The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak, became a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong.
— Thomas Carlyle

attitude obstacles

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

God

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

unemployment

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

adversity prosperity

The philosopher is one to whom the highest has descended and the lowest has mounted up; who is the equal and kindly brother of all.
— Thomas Carlyle
No man lives without jostling and being jostled; in all ways he has to elbow himself through the world, giving and receiving offense.
— Thomas Carlyle
For all right judgment of any man or thing, it is useful, nay essential, to see their good qualities before pronouncing on their bad.
— Thomas Carlyle
Someone who is willing to work, and unable to find work, is perhaps the saddest sight that fortune's inequality exhibits under the sun.
— Thomas Carlyle
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
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

fortune

Each one of us...has he not a Life of his own to lead?  One life; a little gleam of Time between two Eternities; no second chance to us for evermore!

second chances

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

parenting

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

music

Everywhere the human soul stands between a hemisphere of light and another of darkness on the confines of two everlasting hostile empires—Necessity and Free Will.
— Thomas Carlyle
I grow daily to honor facts more and more, and theory less and less.  A fact, it seems to me, is a great thing—a sentence printed, if not by God, then at least by the Devil.
— Thomas Carlyle

facts

The illimitable, silent, never-resting thing called Time, rolling, rushing on, swift, silent, like an all-embracing ocean-tide, on which we and all the universe swim like exhalations, like apparitions which are, and then are not ...
— Thomas Carlyle

time

War is a quarrel between two thieves too cowardly to fight their own battle; therefore they take boys from one village and another village, stick them into uniforms, equip them with guns, and let them loose like wild beasts against each other.

war

Of Representative Assemblies may not this good be said: That contending parties in a country do thereby ascertain one another's strength? They fight there, since fight they must, by petition, Parliamentary eloquence, not by sword, bayonet and bursts of military cannon.