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Nathaniel Hawthorne quotes

July 4, 1804 – May 19, 1864; American novelist and short story writer, author of The Scarlet Letter

Happiness is a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond your grasp, but which if you
will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

No man, for any considerable time, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude
without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Let men tremble to win the hand of woman, unless they win along with it the utmost passion
of her heart!
Nathaniel Hawthorne

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.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Easy reading is damn hard writing.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Love, whether newly born or aroused from a deathlike slumber, must always create sunshine,
filling the heart so full of radiance, that it overflows upon the outward world.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

What other dungeon is so dark as one's own heart! What jailer so inexorable as one's self!
Nathaniel Hawthorne

It is very queer, but not the less true, that people are generally quite as vain, or even more
so, of their deficiencies than of their available gifts.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

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.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

No summer ever came back, and no two summers ever were alike. Times change, and people
change; and if our hearts do not change as readily, so much the worse for us.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Oh, for the years I have not lived, but only dreamed of living.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

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.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

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.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

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.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

We men of study, whose heads are in our books, have need to be straightly looked after! We
dream in our waking moments, and walk in our sleep.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

To do nothing is the way to be nothing.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

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.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Trusting no man as his friend, he could not recognize his enemy when the latter actually
appeared.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

If we would know what heaven is before we come thither, let us retire into the depths of our
own spirits, and we shall find it there among holy thoughts and feelings.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Every individual has a place to fill in the world and is important in some respect, whether he
chooses to be so or not.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

What would a man do, if he were compelled to live always in the sultry heat of society, and
could never bathe himself in cool solitude?
Nathaniel Hawthorne

I want nothing to do with politicians. Their hearts wither away, and die out of their bodies.
Their consciences are turned to india-rubber, or to some substance as black as that, and
which will stretch as much.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

If a man, sitting all alone, cannot dream strange things, and make them look like truth, he 
need never try to write romances.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

We sometimes congratulate ourselves at the moment of waking from a troubled dream: it may
be so the moment after death.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

What we need for our happiness is often close at hand, if we knew but how to seek for it.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

There is so much wretchedness in the world, that we may safely take the word of any mortal
professing to need our assistance; and, even should we be deceived, still the good to
ourselves resulting from a kind act is worth more than the trifle by which we purchase it.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Happiness is not found in things you possess, but in what you have the courage to release.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

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.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nervous and excitable persons need to talk a great deal, by way of letting off their steam.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

It is because the spirit is inestimable that the lifeless body is so little valued.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

In youth men are apt to write more wisely than they really know or feel; and the remainder of
life may be not idly spent in realizing and convincing themselves of the wisdom which they
uttered long ago.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby
the worst may be inferred!
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Amid the seeming confusion of our mysterious world, individuals are so nicely adjusted to a
system, and systems to one another and to a whole, that, by stepping aside for a moment,
a man exposes himself to a fearful risk of losing his place forever.
Nathaniel Hawthorne