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George Eliot Quotes GEORGE ELIOT QUOTES


George Eliot (1819-1880)

English Victorian novelist

It's but little good you'll do a-watering the last year's crop.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

You know nothing about Hope, that immortal, delicious maiden forever courted forever propitious, whom fools have called deceitful, as if it were Hope that carried the cup of disappointment, whereas it is her deadly enemy, Certainty, whom she only escapes by transformation.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

Animals are such agreeable friends -- they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.

GEORGE ELIOT, Mr. Gilfil's Love Story

It's them as take advantage that get advantage i' this world.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

Best friend, my well-spring in the wilderness!

GEORGE ELIOT, The Spanish Gypsy: Book III

The happiest women, like the happiest nations, have no history.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss

A maggot must be born i' the rotten cheese to like it.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

In old days there were angels who came and took men by the hand and led them away from the city of destruction. We see no white-winged angels now. But yet men are led away from threatening destruction: a hand is put into theirs, which leads them forth gently towards a calm and bright land, so that they look no more backward; and the hand may be a little child's.

GEORGE ELIOT, Silas Marner

In every parting there is an image of death.

GEORGE ELIOT, Scenes of Clerical Life

We hand folks over to God's mercy, and show none ourselves.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

For what is love itself, for the one we love best? An enfolding of immeasurable cares which yet are better than any joys outside our love.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

Effective magic is transcendent nature.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

We are all humiliated by the sudden discovery of a fact which has existed very comfortably and perhaps been staring at us in private while we have been making up our world entirely without it.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand.

GEORGE ELIOT, Silas Marner

Even success needs its consolations.

GEORGE ELIOT, letter to J. W. Cross, Jun. 3, 1876

Family likeness has often a deep sadness in it.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

An ingenious web of probabilities is the surest screen a wise man can place between himself and the truth.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

O the anguish of that thought that we can never atone to our dead for the stinted affection we gave them, for the light answers we returned to their plaints or their pleadings, for the little reverence we showed to that sacred human soul that lived so close to us, and was the divinest thing God had given us to know!

GEORGE ELIOT, Amos Barton

It is with men as with trees: if you lop off their finest branches, into which they were pouring their young life-juice, the wounds will be healed over with some rough boss, some odd excresence; and what might have been a grand tree expanding into liberal shade, is but a whimsical misshapen trunk. Many an irritating fault, many an unlovely oddity, has come of a hard sorrow, which has crushed and maimed the nature just when it was expanding into plenteous beauty; and the trivial erring life which we visit with our harsh blame, may be but as the unsteady motion of a man whose best limb is withered.

GEORGE ELIOT, Mr. Gilfil's Love Story

What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined for life--to strengthen each other in all labour, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.

GEORGE ELIOT, Janet's Repentance

In the man whose childhood has known caresses there is always a fibre of memory that can be touched to gentle issues.

GEORGE ELIOT, Janet's Repentance

Our dead are never dead to us until we have forgotten them.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

The inexorable ticking of the clock is like the throb of pain to sensations made keen by sickening fear. And so it is with the great clockwork of nature. Daisies and buttercups give way to the brown waving grasses, tinged with the warm red sorrel; the waving grasses are swept away, and the meadows lie like emeralds set in the bushy hedgerows; the tawny-tipped corn begins to bow with the weight of the full ear; the reapers are bending amongst it, and it soon stands in sheaves; then, presently the patches of yellow stubble lie side by side with streaks of dark-red earth, which the plough is turning up in preparation for the new-thrashed seed. And this passage from beauty to beauty, which to the happy is like the flow of a melody, measures for many a human heart the approach of foreseen anguish--seems hurrying on the moment when the shadow of dread will be followed up by the reality of despair.

GEORGE ELIOT, Mr. Gilfil's Love Story

What is opportunity to the man who can't use it? An unfecundated egg, which the waves of time wash away into nonentity.

GEORGE ELIOT, Amos Barton

Nature has her language, and she is not unveracious; but we don't know all the intricacies of her syntax just yet, and in a hasty reading we may happen to extract the very opposite of her real meaning.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

Perhaps there is no time in a summer's day more cheering, than when the warmth of the sun is just beginning to triumph over the freshness of the morning--when there is just a lingering hint of early coolness to keep off languor under the delicious influence of warmth.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

I might mention all the divine charms of a bright spring day, but if you had never in your life utterly forgotten yourself in straining your eyes after the mounting lark, or in wandering through the still lanes when the fresh-opened blossoms fill them with a sacred silent beauty like that of fretted aisles, where would be the use of my descriptive catalogue?

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

Deep, unspeakable suffering may well be called a baptism, a regeneration, the initiation into a new state.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

Nice distinctions are troublesome. It is so much easier to say that a thing is black, than to discriminate the particular shade of brown, blue, or green, to which it really belongs. It is so much easier to make up your mind that your neighbour is good for nothing, than to enter into all the circumstances that would oblige you to modify that opinion.

GEORGE ELIOT, Amos Barton

Worldly faces never look so worldly as at a funeral. They have the same effect of grating incongruity as the sound of a coarse voice breaking the solemn silence of the night.

GEORGE ELIOT, Janet's Repentance

Among all the many kinds of first love, that which begins in childish companionship is the strongest and most enduring: when passion comes to unite its force to long affection, love is at its spring-tide.

GEORGE ELIOT, Mr. Gilfil's Love Story

The wrong that rouses our angry passions finds only a medium in us; it passes through us like a vibration, and we inflict what we have suffered.

GEORGE ELIOT, Janet's Repentance

I've seen pretty clear, ever since I was a young un, as religion's something else besides notions. It isn't notions sets people doing the right things--it's feelings. It's the same with the notions in religion as it is with math'matics--a man may be able to work problems straight off in's head as he sits by the fire and smokes his pipe; but if he has to make a machine or a building, he must have a will and a resolution, and love something else better than his own ease.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

In the love of a brave and faithful man there is always a strain of maternal tenderness; he gives out again those beams of protecting fondness which were shed on him as he lay on his mother's knee.

GEORGE ELIOT, Mr. Gilfil's Love Story

Human longings are perversely obstinate; and to the man whose mouth is watering for a peach, it is of no use to offer the largest vegetable marrow.

GEORGE ELIOT, Mr. Gilfil's Love Story

Religious ideas have the fate of melodies, which, once set afloat in the world, are taken up by all sorts of instruments, some of them woefully coarse, feeble, or out of tune, until people are in danger of crying out that the melody itself is detestable.

GEORGE ELIOT, Janet's Repentance

Thoughts are so great--aren't they, sir? They seem to lie upon us like a great flood.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

Animals are such agreeable friends--they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.

GEORGE ELIOT, Mr. Gilfil's Love Story

What mortal is there of us, who would find his satisfaction enhanced by an opportunity of comparing the picture he presents to himself of his doings, with the picture they make on the mental retina of his neighbours? We are poor plants buoyed up by the air-vessels of our own conceit.

GEORGE ELIOT, Amos Barton

There's folks 'ud stand on their heads and then say the fault was i' their boots.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

We mustn't be in a hurry to fix and choose our own lot; we must wait to be guided.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

It seems to me as a woman's face doesna want flowers; it's almost like a flower itself.... It's like when a man's singing a good tune, you don't want t' hear bells tinkling and interfering wi' the sound.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

All passion becomes strength when it has an outlet.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

There are few of us that are not rather ashamed of our sins and follies as we look out on the blessed morning sunlight, which comes to us like a bright-winged angel beckoning us to quit the old path of vanity that stretches its dreary length behind us.

GEORGE ELIOT, Mr. Gilfil's Love Story

Some folks' tongues are like the clocks as run on strikin', not to tell you the time o' the day, but because there's summat wrong i' their own inside.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

The idea of duty, that recognition of something to be lived for beyond the mere satisfaction of self, is to the moral life what the addition of a great central ganglion is to animal life. No man can begin to mould himself on a faith or an idea without rising to a higher order of experience: a principle of subordination, of self-mastery, has been introduced into his nature; he is no longer a mere bundle of impressions, desires, and impulses.

GEORGE ELIOT, Janet's Repentance

That adoration which a young man gives to a woman whom he feels to be greater and better than himself, is hardly distinguishable from religious feeling. What deep and worthy love is so? whether of woman or child, or art or music. Our caresses, our tender words, our still rapture under the influence of autumn sunsets, or pillared vistas, or calm majestic statues, or Beethoven symphonies, all bring with them the consciousness that they are mere waves and ripples in an unfathomable ocean of love and beauty; our emotion in its keenest moment passes from expression into silence, our love at its highest flood rushes beyond its object, and loses itself in the sense of divine mystery.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

Folks as have no mind to be o' use have allays the luck to be out o' the road when there's anything to be done.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

History, we know, is apt to repeat itself, and to foist very old incidents upon us with only a slight change of costume.

GEORGE ELIOT, Janet's Repentance

It's them as take advantage that get advantage i' this world, I think: folks have to wait long enough afore it's brought to 'em.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

There's nothing but what's bearable as long as a man can work.... The square o' four is sixteen, and you must lengthen your lever in proportion to your weight, is as true when a man's miserable as when he's happy; and the best o' working is, it gives you a grip hold o' things outside your own lot.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

The nature o' things doesn't change, though it seems as if one's own life was nothing but change.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

It's the silliest lie a sensible man like you ever believed, to say a woman makes a house comfortable. It's a story got up, because the women are there, and something must be found for 'em to do. I tell you there isn't a thing under the sun that needs to be done at all, but what a man can do better than a woman, unless it's bearing children, and they do that in a poor make-shift way; it had better ha' been left to the men.... I tell you, a woman 'ull bake you a pie every week of her life, and never come to see that the hotter th' oven the shorter the time.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

When God makes his presence felt through us, we are like the burning bush: Moses never took any heed what sort of bush it was--he only saw the brightness of the lord.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

Our deeds determine us as much as we determine our deeds.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

Hatred is like fire--it makes even light rubbish deadly.

GEORGE ELIOT, Janet's Repentance

The beauty of a lovely woman is like music ... the rounded neck, the dimpled arm, move us by something more than their prettiness--by their close kinship with all we have known of tenderness and peace.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

Trouble's made us kin.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

Any coward can fight a battle when he's sure of winning; but give me the man who has pluck to fight when he's sure of losing.

GEORGE ELIOT, Janet's Repentance

Our thoughts are often worse than we are, just as they are often better than we are.

GEORGE ELIOT, Mr. Gilfil's Love Story

I know forgiveness is a man's duty, but, to my thinking, that can only mean as you're to give up all thoughts o' taking revenge: it can never mean as you're t' have your old feelings back again, for that's not possible.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

The best fire doesna flare up the soonest.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

So much of our early gladness vanishes utterly from our memory: we can never recall the joy with which we laid our heads on our mother's bosom or rode on our father's back in childhood; doubtless that joy is wrought up into our nature, as the sunlight of long-past mornings is wrought up in the soft mellowness of the apricot; but it is gone forever from our imagination, and we can only believe in the joy of childhood.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

When we are suddenly released from an acute absorbing bodily pain, our heart and senses leap out in new freedom; we think even the noise of streets harmonious, and are ready to hug the tradesman who is wrapping up our change.

GEORGE ELIOT, Janet's Repentance

When our life is a continuous trial, the moments of respite seem only to substitute the heaviness of dread for the heaviness of actual suffering; the curtain of cloud seems parted an instant only that we may measure all its horror as it hangs low, black, and imminent, in contrast with the transient brightness; the waterdrops that visit the parched lips in the desert bear with them only the keen imagination of thirst.

GEORGE ELIOT, Janet's Repentance

Don't tell me about God having made such creatures to be companions for us! I don't say but He might make Eve to be a companion for Adam in Paradise--there was no cooking to be spoilt there, and no other woman to cackle with and make mischief; though you see what mischief she did as soon as she'd an opportunity.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

Ah, I often think it's wi' th' old folks as it is wi' the babies; they're satisfied wi' looking, no matter what they're looking at. It's God A'mighty's way o' quietening 'em, I reckon, afore they go to sleep.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

There is no sort of wrong deed of which a man can bear the punishment alone: you can't isolate yourself, and say that the evil which is in you shall not spread. Men's lives are as thoroughly blended with each other as the air they breathe: evil spreads as necessarily as disease.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

I've had my say out, and I shall be the' easier for't all my life. There's no pleasure i' living, if you're to be corked up forever, and only dribble your mind out by the sly, like a leaky barrel.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

A man can never do anything at variance with his own nature. He carries within him the germ of his most exceptional action; and if we wise people make eminent fools of ourselves on any particular occasion, we must endure the legitimate conclusion that we carry a few grains of folly to our ounce of wisdom.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

I'm not denyin' the women are foolish: God Almighty made 'em to match the men.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

Love is such a simple thing when we have only one-and-twenty summers and a sweet girl of seventeen trembles under our glance, as if she were a bud first opening her heart with wondering rapture to the morning. Such young unfurrowed souls roll to meet each other like two velvet peaches that touch softly and are at rest; they mingle as easily as two brooklets that ask for nothing but to entwine themselves and ripple with ever-interlacing curves in the leafiest hiding-places.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

As to people saying a few idle words about us, we must not mind that, any more than the old church steeple minds the rooks cawing about it.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

It's easy to find reasons why other folks should be patient.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

The beginning of hardship is like the first taste of bitter food--it seems for a moment unbearable; yet, if there is nothing else to satisfy our hunger, we take another bite and find it possible to go on.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

College mostly makes people like bladders--just good for nothing but t'hold the stuff as is poured into 'em.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

It's a strange thing to think of a man as can lift a chair with his teeth, and walk fifty mile on end, trembling and turning hot and cold at only a look from one woman out of all the rest i' the world. It's a mystery we can give no account of.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

As for farming, it's putting money into your pocket wi' your right hand and fetching it out wi' your left. As fur as I can see, it's raising victual for other folks, and just getting a mouthful for yourself and your children as you go along.... It's more than flesh and blood 'ull bear sometimes, to be toiling and striving, and up early and down late, and hardly sleeping a wink when you lie down for thinking as the cheese may swell, or the cows may slip their calf, or the wheat may grow green again i' the sheaf--and after all, at th' end o' the year, it's like as if you'd been cooking a feast and had got the smell of it for your pains.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

There's a deal in a man's inward life as you can't measure by the square, and say, 'Do this and that'll follow,' and, 'Do that and this'll follow.' There's things go on in the soul, and times when feelings come into you like a rushing mighty wind, as the scripture says, and part your life in two a'most, so as you look back on yourself as if you was somebody else. Those are things as you can't bottle up in a 'do this' and 'do that;' and I'll go so far with the strongest Methodist ever you'll find. That shows me there's deep speritial things in religion. You can't make much out wi' talking about it, but you feel it.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

It's well we should feel as life's a reckoning we can't make twice over; there's no real making amends in this world, any more nor you can mend a wrong subtraction by doing your addition right.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

There is no despair so absolute as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow, when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed, to have despaired and to have recovered hope.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

Trouble comes to us all in this life: we set our hearts on things which it isn't God's will for us to have, and then we go sorrowing.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

It is a sad weakness in us, after all, that the thought of a man's death hallows him anew to us; as if life were not sacred too--as if it were comparatively a light thing to fail in love and reverence to the brother who has to climb the whole toilsome steep with us, and all our tears and tenderness were due to the one who is spared that hard journey.

GEORGE ELIOT, Janet's Repentance

It cuts one sadly to see the grief of old people; they've no way o' working it off; and the new spring brings no new shoots out on the withered tree.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

I can't abide to see men throw away their tools i' that way, the minute the clock begins to strike, as if they took no pleasure i' their work, and was afraid o' doing a stroke too much.... I hate to see a man's arms drop down as if he was shot, before the clock's fairly struck, just as if he'd never a bit o' pride and delight in's work. The very grindstone 'ull go on turning a bit after you loose it.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

Poor dog! I've a strange feeling about the dumb things as if they wanted to speak, and it was a trouble to 'em because they couldn't. I can't help being sorry for the dogs always, though perhaps there's no need. But they may well have more in them than they know how to make us understand, for we can't say half what we feel, with all our words.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

Well, well, my boy, if good luck knocks at your door, don't you put your head out at window and tell it to be gone about its business, that's all.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

A foreman, if he's got a conscience, and delights in his work, will do his business as well as if he was a partner. I wouldn't give a penny for a man as 'ud drive a nail in slack because he didn't get extra pay for it.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

I found it better for my soul to be humble before the mysteries o' God's dealings, and not be making a clatter about what I could never understand.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

Blessed influence of one true loving human soul on another! Not calculable by algebra, not deducible by logic, but mysterious, effectual, mighty as the hidden process by which the tiny seed is quickened, and bursts forth into tall stem and broad leaf, and glowing tasseled flower.

GEORGE ELIOT, Janet's Repentance

You must learn to deal with the odd and even in life, as well as in figures.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

We look at the one little woman's face we love, as we look at the face of our mother earth, and see all sorts of answers to our own yearnings.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

There are various orders of beauty, causing men to make fools of themselves in various styles.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

I don't remember ever being see-saw, when I'd made my mind up that a thing was wrong. It takes the taste out o' my mouth for things, when I know I should have a heavy conscience after 'em. I've seen pretty clear, ever since I could cast up a sum, as you can never do what's wrong without breeding sin and trouble more than you can ever see. It's like a bit o' bad workmanship--you never see th' end o' the mischief it'll do. And it's a poor look-out to come into the world to make your fellow creatures worse off instead o' better.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

Surely, surely the only one true knowledge of our fellow man is that which enables us to feel with him--which gives us a fine ear for the heart-pulses that are beating under the mere clothes of circumstance and opinion.

GEORGE ELIOT, Janet's Repentance

I began to see all this weighing and sifting what this text means and that text means, and whether folks are saved all by God's grace, or whether there goes an ounce o' their own will to't, was no part o' real religion at all. You may talk o' these things for hours on end, and you'll only be all the more coxy and conceited for't.

GEORGE ELIOT, Adam Bede

The blessed work of helping the world forward happily does not wait to be done by perfect men; and I should imagine that neither Luther nor John Bunyan, for example, would have satisfied the modern demand for an ideal hero, who believes nothing but what is true, feels nothing but what is exalted, and does nothing but what is graceful. The real heroes of God's making, are quite different: they have their natural heritage of love and conscience which they drew in with their mother's milk; they know one or two of those deep spiritual truths which are only to be won by long wrestling with their own sins and their own sorrows; they have earned faith and strength so far as they have done genuine work; but the rest is dry barren theory, blank prejudice, vague hearsay. Their insight is blended with mere opinion; their sympathy is perhaps confined in narrow conduits of doctrine, instead of flowing forth with the freedom of a stream that blesses every weed in its course; obstinacy or self-assertion will often interfuse itself with their grandest impulses; and their very deeds of self-sacrifice are sometimes only the rebound of a passionate egoism.

GEORGE ELIOT, Janet's Repentance

It is the moment when our resolution seems about to become irrevocable--when the fatal iron gates are about to close upon us--that tests our strength. Then, after hours of clear reasoning and firm conviction, we snatch at any sophistry that will nullify our long struggles, and bring us the defeat that we love better than victory.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss

Veracity is a plant of paradise, and the seeds have never flourished beyond the walls.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

Joy is the best wine.

GEORGE ELIOT, Silas Marner

Justice is like the kingdom of God--it is not without us as a fact, it is within us as a great yearning.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

A supreme love, a motive that gives a sublime rhythm to a woman's life, and exalts habit into partnership with the soul's highest needs, is not to be had where and how she wills: to know that high initiation, she must often tread where it is hard to tread, and feel the chill air, and watch through darkness. It is not true that love makes things easy: it makes us choose what is difficult.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

The responsibility of tolerance lies with those who have the wider vision.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss

What are a handful of reasonable men against a crowd with stones in their hands?

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

Life is measured by the rapidity of change, the succession of influences that modify the being.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

Satan was a blunderer ... who made a stupendous failure. If he had succeeded, we should all have been worshipping him, and his portrait would have been more flattering.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

There is a chill air surrounding those who are down in the world, and people are glad to get away from them, as from a cold room.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss

There is heroism even in the circles of hell for fellow-sinners who cling to each other in the fiery whirlwind and never recriminate.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

Memory, when duly impregnated with ascertained facts, is sometimes surprisingly fertile.

GEORGE ELIOT, Silas Marner

Nature has the deep cunning which hides itself under the appearance of openness, so that simple people think they can see through her quite well, and all the while she is secretly preparing a refutation of their confident prophecies.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss

No soul is desolate as long as there is a human being for whom it can feel trust and reverence.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

The sublime delight of truthful speech to one who has the great gift of uttering it, will make itself felt even through the pangs of sorrow.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

There is no killing the suspicion that deceit has once begotten.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

Perfect love has a breath of poetry which can exalt the relations of the least-instructed human beings.

GEORGE ELIOT, Silas Marner

If the past is not to bind us ... we should have no law but the inclination of the moment.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss

A woman's lot is made for her by the love she accepts.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

The great river-courses which have shaped the lives of men have hardly changed; and those other streams, the life-currents that ebb and flow in human hearts, pulsate to the same great needs, the same great loves and terrors. As our thought follows close in the slow wake of the dawn, we are impressed with the broad sameness of the human lot, which never alters in the main headings of its history--hunger and labour, seed-time and harvest, love and death.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

Old men's eyes are like old men's memories; they are strongest for things a long way off.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

I think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always have plenty of music. It seems to infuse strength into my limbs, and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go on without effort, when I am filled with music. At other times one is conscious of carrying a weight.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss

It is a fact perhaps kept a little too much in the background, that mothers have a self larger than their maternity, and that when their sons have become taller than themselves, and are gone from them to college or into the world, there are wide spaces of their time which are not filled with praying for their boys, reading old letters, and envying yet blessing those who are attending to their shirt-buttons.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

Life is so complicated a game that the devices of skill are liable to be defeated at every turn by air-blown chances, incalculable as the descent of thistle-down.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

There is something sustaining in the very agitation that accompanies the first shocks of trouble, just as an acute pain is often a stimulus, and produces an excitement which is transient strength. It is in the slow, changed life that follows--in the time when sorrow has become stale, and has no longer an emotive intensity that counteracts its pain--in the time when day follows day in dull unexpectant sameness, and trial is a dreary routine--it is then that despair threatens; it is then that the peremptory hunger of the soul is felt, and eye and ear are strained after some unlearned secret of our existence, which shall give to endurance the nature of satisfaction.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss

The higher life begins for us ... when we renounce our own will to bow before a Divine law.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

Often the soul is ripened into fuller goodness while age has spread an ugly film, so that mere glances can never divine the preciousness of the fruit.

GEORGE ELIOT, Silas Marner

The mother's love is at first an absorbing delight, bluntint all other sensibilities; it is an expansion of the animal existence; it enlarges the imagined range for self to move in: but in after years it can only continue to be joy on the same terms as other long-lived love--that is, by much suppression of self, and power of living in the experience of another.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

Our deeds are like children that are born to us; they live and act apart from our own will. Nay, children may be strangled, but deeds never: they have an indestructible life both in and out of our consciousness.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

The light can be a curtain as well as the darkness.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

The pride of the body is a barrier against the gifts that purify the soul.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

That famous ring that pricked its owner when he forgot duty and followed desire--I wonder if it pricked very hard when he set out on the chase, or whether it pricked but lightly then, and only pierced to the quick when the chase had long been ended, and hope folding her wings, looked backward and became regret?

GEORGE ELIOT, Silas Marner

If we use common words on a great occasion, they are the more striking, because they are felt at once to have a particular meaning, like old banners, or everyday clothes, hung up in a sacred place.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss

What to one man is the virtue which he has sunk below the possibility of aspiring to, is to another the backsliding by which he forfeits his spiritual crown.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

I love not to be choked with other men's thoughts.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

It always seemed to me a sort of clever stupidity only to have one sort of talent--almost like a carrier pigeon.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss

Vague memories hang about the mind like cobwebs.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

Speech is often barren; but silence also does not necessarily brood over a full nest.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

The worst of all hobbies are those that people think they can get money at. They shoot their money down like corn out of a sack then.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss

No man is matriculated to the art of life till he has been well tempted.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

The prevarication and white lies which a mind that keeps itself ambitiously pure is as uneasy under as a great artist under the false touches that no eye detects but his own, are worn as lightly as mere trimmings when once the actions have become a lie.

GEORGE ELIOT, Silas Marner

The purifying influence of public confession springs from the fact, that by it the hope in lies is forever swept away, and the soul recovers the noble attitude of simplicity.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

If we only look far enough off for the consequence of our actions, we can always find some point in the combination of results by which those actions can be justified: by adopting the point of view of a Providence who arranges results, or of a philosopher who traces them, we shall find it possible to obtain perfect complacency in choosing to do what is most agreeable to us in the present moment.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss

Quick souls have their intensest life in the first anticipatory sketch of what may or will be, and the pursuit of their wish is the pursuit of that paradisiacal vision which only impelled them, and is left farther and farther behind, vanishing forever even out of hope in the moment which is called success.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

There are but two sorts of government: one where men show their teeth at each other, and one where men show their tongues and lick the feet of the strongest.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

It is the way with half the truth amidst which we live, that it only haunts us and makes dull pulsations that are never born into sound.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

In our spring-time every day has its hidden growths in the mind, as it has in the earth when the little folded blades are getting ready to pierce the ground.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

To see an enemy humiliated gives a certain contentment, but this is jejune compared with the highly blent satisfaction of seeing him humiliated by your benevolent action or concession on his behalf. That is the sort of revenge which falls into the scale of virtue.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss

Life was never anything but a perpetual see-saw between gravity and jest.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

The disappointments of life can never, any more than its pleasures, be estimated singly; and the healthiest and most agreeable of men is exposed to that coincidence of various vexations, each heightening the effect of the other, which may produce in him something corresponding to the spontaneous and externally unaccountable moodiness of the morbid and disagreeable.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

Wit is a form of force that leaves the limbs at rest.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

It is seldom that the miserable can help regarding their misery as a wrong inflicted by those who are less miserable.

GEORGE ELIOT, Silas Marner

There are moments when our passions speak and decide for us ... like a fire kindled within our being to which everything else in us is mere fuel.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them. How can we ever be satisfied without them until our feelings are deadened?

GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss

Jealousy is never satisfied with anything short of an omniscience that would detect the subtlest fold of the heart.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss

So our lives glide on: the river ends we don't know where, and the sea begins, and then there is no more jumping ashore.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

Necessity does the work of courage.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

Marriage must be a relation either of sympathy or of conquest.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

The devil tempts us not--'tis we tempt him,
Beckoning his skill with opportunity.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

Human beliefs, like all other natural growths, elude the barriers of system.

GEORGE ELIOT, Silas Marner

Our life is determined for us--and it makes the mind very free when we give up wishing, and only think of bearing what is laid upon us, and doing what is given us to do.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss

All things except reason and order are possible with a mob.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

I'll tell you what's the greatest power under heaven, and that is public opinion--the ruling belief in society about what is right and what is wrong, what is honourable and what is shameful. That's the steam that is to work the engines.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

Every man's work, pursued steadily, tends to become an end in itself, and so to bridge over the loveless chasms of his life.

GEORGE ELIOT, Silas Marner

There is no compensation for the woman who feels that the chief relation of her life has been no more than a mistake. She has lost her crown. The deepest secret of human blessedness has half whispered itself to her, and then forever passed her by.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

It is always chilling in friendly intercourse, to say you have no opinion to give. And if you deliver an opinion at all, it is mere stupidity not to do it with an air of conviction and well-founded knowledge. You make it your own in uttering it, and naturally get fond of it.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss

It belongs to every large nature, when it is not under the immediate power of some strong unquestioning emotion, to suspect itself, and doubt the truth of its own impressions, conscious of possibilities beyond its own horizon.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

The only failure a man ought to fear is failure in cleaving to the purpose he sees to be best.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

I desire no future that will break the ties of the past.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss

All who remember their childhood remember the strange vague sense, when some new experience came, that everything else was going to be changed, and that there would be no lapse into the old monotony.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

You want to find out a mode of renunciation that will be an escape from pain. I tell you again, there is no such escape possible except by perverting or mutilating one's nature.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss

To an old memory like mine the present days are but as a little water poured on the deep.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

There's nothing kills a man so soon as having nobody to find fault with but himself.

GEORGE ELIOT, Silas Marner

Ignorance is not so damnable as humbug, but when it prescribes pills it may happen to do more harm.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

No one who has ever known what it is to lose faith in a fellow-man whom he has profoundly loved and reverenced, will lightly say that the shock can leave the faith in the Invisible Goodness unshaken. With the sinking of high human trust, the dignity of life sinks too; we cease to believe in our own better self, since that also is part of the common nature which is degraded in our thought; and all the finer impulses of the soul are dulled.

GEORGE ELIOT, Romola

It is a wonderful subduer, this need of love--this hunger of the heart--as peremptory as that other hunger by which Nature forces us to submit to the yoke, and change the face of the world.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Mill on the Floss

I reverence the law, but not where it is a pretext for wrong, which it should be the very object of law to hinder.... I hold it blasphemy to say that a man ought not to fight against authority: there is no great religion and no great freedom that has not done it.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

People are so ridiculous with their illusions, carrying their fool's caps unawares, thinking their own lies opaque while everybody else's are transparent, making themselves exceptions to everything, as if when all the world looked yellow under a lamp they alone are rosy.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

There are new eras in one's life that are equivalent to youth--are something better than youth.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

If I laugh at you, O fellow-men! if I trace with curious interest your labyrinthine self-delusions, note the inconsistencies in your zealous adhesions, and smile at your helpless endeavours in a rashly chosen part, it is not that I feel myself aloof from you: the more intimately I seem to discern your weaknesses, the stronger to me is the proof that I share them. How otherwise could I get the discernment?--for even what we are averse to, what we vow not to entertain, must have shaped or shadowed itself within us as a possibility before we can think of exorcising it. No man can know his brother simply as a spectator. Dear blunderers, I am one of you.

GEORGE ELIOT, Theophrastus Such

If youth is the season of hope, it is often so only in the sense that our elders are hopeful about us; for no age is so apt as youth to think its emotions, partings, and resolves are the last of their kind. Each crisis seems final, simply because it is new.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

What we call our despair is often only the painful eagerness of unfed hope.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact--from calling on us to look through a heap of millet-seed in order to be sure that there is no pearl in it.

GEORGE ELIOT, Theophrastus Such

A human life, I think, should be well rooted in some spot of native land, where it may get the love of tender kinship for the face of earth, for the labours men go forth to, for the sounds and accents that haunt it, for whatever will give that early home a familiar unmistakeable difference amidst the future widening of knowledge: a spot where the definiteness of early memories may be inwrought with affection, and kindly acquaintance with all neighbours, even to the dogs and donkeys, may spread not by sentimental effort and reflection, but as a sweet habbit of the blood. At five years old, mortals are not prepared to be citizens of the world, to be stimulated by abstract nouns, to soar above preference into impartiality; and that prejudice in favour of milk with which we blindly begin, is a type of the way body and soul must get nourished at least for a time. The best introduction to astronomy is to think of the nightly heavens as a little lot of stars belonging to one's own homestead.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

Though I am not endowed with an ear to seize those earthly harmonies, which to some devout souls have seemed, as it were, the broken echoes of the heavenly choir--I apprehend that there is a law in music, disobedience whereunto would bring us in our singing to the level of shrieking maniacs or howling beasts.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

Rome: the city of visible history, where the past of a whole hemisphere seems moving in funeral procession with strange ancestral images and trophies gathered from afar.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

I cherish my childish loves--the memory of that warm little nest where my affections were fledged.

GEORGE ELIOT, Theophrastus Such

There is a great deal of unmapped country within us which would have to be taken into account in an explanation of our gusts and storms.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

Upon my word, I think the truth is the hardest missile one can be pelted with.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

If troubles were put up to market, I'd sooner buy old than new. It's something to have seen the worst.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

Among the blessings of love there is hardly one more exquisite than the sense that in uniting the beloved life to ours we can watch over its happiness, bring comfort where hardship was, and over memories of privation and suffering open the sweetest fountains of joy.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

It is worth repeating that powerful imagination is not falsw outward vision, but intense inward representation, and a creative energy constantly fed by susceptibility to the veriest minutiæ of experience, which it reproduces and constructs in fresh and fresh wholes; not the habitual confusion of provable fact with the fictions of fancy and transient inclination, but a breadth of ideal association which informs every material object, every incidental fact with far-reaching memories and storied residues of passion, bringing into new light the less obvious relations to human existence.

GEORGE ELIOT, Theophrastus Such

Pain must enter into its glorified life of memory before it can turn into compassion.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Things don't happen because they're bad or good, else all eggs would be addled or none at all, and at the most it is but six to the dozen. There's good chances and bad chances, and nobody's luck is pulled only by one string.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

Obligation may be stretched till it is no better than a brand of slavery stamped on us when we were too young to know its meaning.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Much of our waking experience is but a dream in the daylight.

GEORGE ELIOT, Theophrastus Such

What can still that hunger of the heart which sickens the eye for beauty, and makes sweet-scented ease an oppression?

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

Young love-making--that gossamer web! Even the points it clings to--the things whence its subtle interlacings are swung--are scarcely perceptible: momentary touches of finger-tips, meetings of rays from blue and dark orbs, unfinished phrases, lightest changes of cheek and lip, faintest tremors. The web itself is made of spontaneous beliefs and indefinable joys, yearnings of one life towards another, visions of completeness, indefinite trust.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

The human heart finds nowhere shelter but in human kind.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Spanish Gypsy

The soul of man, when it gets fairly rotten, will bear you all sorts of poisonous toad-stools, and no eye can see whence came the seed thereof.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Children demand that their heroes should be fleckless, and easily believe them so: perhaps a first discovery to the contrary is hardly a less revolutionary shock to a passionate child than the threatened downfall of habitual beliefs which makes the world seem to totter for us in maturer life.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

They say fortune is a woman and capricious. But sometimes she is a good woman, and gives to those who merit.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

What believer sees a disturbing omission or infelicity? The text, whether of prophet or of poet, expands for whatever we can put into it, and even his bad grammar is sublime.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Great Love has many attributes, and shrines
For varied worshippers, but his force divine
Shows most its many-named fulness in the man
Whose nature multitudinously mixed--
Each ardent impulse grappling with a thought--
Resists all easy gladness, all content
Save mystic rapture, where the questioning soul
Flooded with consciousness of good that is
Finds life one bounteous answer.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Spanish Gypsy

There is no human being who having both passions and thoughts does not think in consequences of his passions--does not find images rising in his mind which soothe the passion with hope or sting it with dread.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Those who have been indulged by fortune and have always thought of calamity as what happens to others, feel a blind incredulous rage at the reversal of their lot, and half believe that their wild cries will alter the course of the storm.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

I don't see how a man is to be good for much unless he has some one woman to love him dearly.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

It must be sad to outlive aught we love.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Spanish Gypsy

The very truth hath a colour from the disposition of the utterer.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

We are all of us imaginative in some form or other, for images are the brood of desire.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

There comes a terrible moment to many souls when the great movements of the world, the larger destinies of mankind, which have lain aloof in newspapers and other neglected reading, enter like an earthquake into their own lives--when the slow urgency of growing generations turns into the tread of an invading army or the dire clash of civil war, and grey fathers know nothing to seek for but the corpses of their blooming sons, and girls forget all vanity to make lint and bandages which may serve for the shattered limbs of their betrothed husbands.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

Our words have wings, but fly not where we would.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Spanish Gypsy

I have always been thinking of the different ways in which Christianity is taught, and whenever I find one way that makes it a wider blessing than any other, I cling to that as the truest--I mean that which takes in the most good of all kinds, and brings in the most people as sharers in it. It is surely better to pardon too much, than to condemn too much.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Life is like our game of whist ... I don't enjoy the game much, but I like to play my cards well, and see what will be the end of it.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

In courtship everything is regarded as provisional and preliminary, and the smallest sample of virtue or accomplishment is taken to guarantee delightful stores which the broad leisure of marriage will reveal. But the door-sill of marriage once crossed, expectation is concentrated on the present. Having once embarked on your marital voyage, it is impossible not to be aware that you make no way and that the sea is not within sight--that, in fact, you are exploring an enclosed basin.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

The saints were cowards who stood by to see
Christ crucified: they should have flung themselves
Upon the Roman spears, and died in vain--
The grandest death, to die in vain--for love
Greater than sways the forces of the world!

GEORGE ELIOT, The Spanish Gypsy

Our consciences are not all of the same pattern.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

When you've been used to doing things, and they've been taken away from you, it's as if your hands had been cut off, and you felt the fingers as are of no use to you.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

Let thy chief terror be of thine own soul:
There, 'mid the throng of hurrying desires
That trample o'er the dead to seize their spoil,
Lurks vengeance, footless, irresistible
AS exhaltations laden with slow death,
And o'er the fairest troop of captured joys
Breathes pallid pestilence.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

There is no sorrow I have thought more about than that--to love what is great, and try to reach it, and yet to fail.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Strong souls
Live like fire-hearted suns to spend their strength
In farthest striving action; breathe more free
In mighty anguish than in trivial ease.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Spanish Gypsy

Failure after long perseverance is much grander than never to have a striving good enough to be called a failure.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

It is strange how deeply colours seem to penetrate one, like scent.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Pity the laden one; this wandering woe
May visit you and me.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Fairy folk a-listening
Hear the seed sprout in the spring,
And for music to their dance
Hear the hedgerows wake from trance,
Sap that trembles into buds
Sending little rhythmic floods
Of fairy sound in fairy ears.
Thus all beauty that appears
Has birth as sound to finer sense
And lighter-clad intelligence.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

Things are achieved when they are well begun.
The perfect archer calls the deer his own
While yet the shaft is whistling.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Spanish Gypsy

Are there many situations more sublimely tragic than the struggle of the soul with the demand to renounce a work which has been all the significance of its life--a significance which is to vanish as the waters which come and go where no man has need of them?

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

I'd sooner have one real grief on my mind than twenty false. It's better to know one's robbed than to think one's going to be murdered.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

Our deeds are fetters that we forge ourselves.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

It is a common sentence that Knowledge is power; but who hath duly considered or set forth the power of Ignorance? Knowledge slowly builds up what Ignorance in an hour pulls down. Knowledge, through patient and frugal centuries, enlarges discovery and makes record of it; Ignorance, wanting its day's dinner, lights a fire with the record, and gives a flavour to its one roast with the burnt souls of many generations.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

Vengeance is just:
Justly we rid the earth of human fiends
Who carry hell for pattern in their souls.
But in high vengeance there is noble scorn:
It tortures not the torturer, nor gives
Iniquitous payment for iniquity.
The great avenging angel does not crawl
To kill the serpent with a mimic fang;
He stands erect, with sword of keenest edge
That slays like lightning.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Spanish Gypsy

Here was a man who now for the first time found himself looking into the eyes of death--who was passing through one of those rare moments of experience when we feel the truth of a commonplace, which is as different from what we call knowing it, as the vision of waters upon the earth is different from the delirious vision of the water which cannot be had to cool the burning tongue. When the commonplace 'We must all die' transforms itself suddenly into the acute consciousness 'I must die--and soon,' then death grapples us, and his fingers are cruel; afterwards, he may come to fold us in his arms as our mother did, and our last moment of dim earthly discerning may be like the first.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Oh, sir, the loftiest hopes on earth
Draw lots with meaner hopes: heroic breasts,
Breathing bad air, run risk of pestilence;
Or, lacking lime-juice when they cross the Line,
May languish with the scurvy.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Deeds are the pulse of Time, his beating life,
And righteous or unrighteous, being done,
Must throb in after-throbs till Time itself
Be laid in stillness, and the universe
Quiver and breathe upon no mirror more.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

Resolve will melt no rocks. But it can scale them.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Spanish Gypsy

To men who only aim at escaping felony, nothing short of the prisoner's dock is disgrace.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

The right to rebellion is the right to seek a higher rule, and not to wander in mere lawlessness.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

Our deeds still travel with us from afar,
And what we have been makes us what we are.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Thought
Has joys apart, even in blackest woe,
And seizing some fine thread of verity
Knows momentary godhead.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Spanish Gypsy

Promise was a pretty maid,
But being poor she died unwed.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

In the chequered area of human experience the seasons are all mingled as in the golden age: fruit and blossom hang together; in the same moment the sickle is reaping and the seed is sprinkled; one tends the green cluster and another treads the wine-press. Nay, in each of our lives harvest and spring-time are continually one, until Death himself gathers us and sows us anew in his invisible fields.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

The right word is always a power, and communicates its definiteness to our action.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Wise books
For half the truths they hold are honoured tombs.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Spanish Gypsy

The memory has as many moods as the temper, and shifts its scenery like a diorama.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Looking at your life as a debt may seem the dreariest view of things at a distance; but it cannot really be so. What makes life dreary is the want of motive; but once beginning to act with the penitential, loving purpose you have in your mind, there will be unexpected satisfactions--there will be newly-opening needs--continually coming to carry you on from day to day. You will find your life growing like a plant.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

Will not a tiny speck very close to our vision blot out the glory of the world, and leave only a margin by which we see the blot? I know no speck so troublesome as self.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Truth has rough flavours if we bite it through.

GEORGE ELIOT, Armgart

I think what we call the dulness of things is a disease in ourselves. Else how could any one find an intense interest in life? And many do.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

The mind that is too ready at contempt and reprobation is, I may say, as a clenched fist that can give blows, but is shut up from receiving and holding ought that is precious.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

It is in those acts called trivialities that the seeds of joy are forever wasted, until men and women look round with haggard faces at the devastation their own waste has made, and say, the earth bears no harvest of sweetness--calling their denial knowledge.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Religion can only change when the emotions which fill it are changed; and the religion of personal fear remains nearly at the level of the savage.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Man finds his pathways: at first they were foot-tracks, as those of the beast in the wilderness; now they are swift and invisible: his thought dives through the ocean, and his wishes thread the air: has he found all the pathways yet? What reaches him, stays with him, rules him: he must accept it, not knowing its pathway.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

There's truth in wine, and there may be some in gin and muddy beer; but whether it's truth worth my knowing, is another question.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

Who can know how much of his most inward life is made up of the thoughts he believes other men to have about him, until that fabric of opinion is threatened with ruin?

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

It is as useless to fight against the interpretations of ignorance as to whip the fog.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Your trouble's easy borne when everybody gives it a lift for you.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

When gratitude has become a matter of reasoning there are many ways of escaping from its bonds.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Life would be no better than candlelight tinsel and daylight rubbish if our spirits were not touched by what has been.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

News is often dispersed as thoughtlessly and effectively as that pollen which the bees carry off (having no idea how powdery they are) when they are buzzing in search of their particular nectar.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

That sort of reputation which precedes performance [is] often the larger part of a man's fame.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

The world is full of hopeful analogies and handsome dubious eggs called possibilities.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

It's all one web, sir. The prosperity of the country is one web.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.

GEORGE ELIOT, "Janet's Repentance", Scenes of Clerical Life

Excessive literary production is a social offense.

GEORGE ELIOT, letter to Alex Main, Sep. 11, 1871

In all failures, the beginning is certainly the half of the whole.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Man thinks
Brutes have no wisdom, since they know not his:
Can we divine their world?

GEORGE ELIOT, The Spanish Gypsy

Vanity is as ill at ease under indifference as tenderness is under a love which it cannot return.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

The devil tempts us not--'tis we tempt him,
Reckoning his skill with opportunity.

GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt

Sane people did what their neighbors did, so that if any lunatics were at large, one might know and avoid them.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

Selfish. A judgment readily passed by those who have never tested their own power of sacrifice.

GEORGE ELIOT, Silas Marner

No evil dooms us hopelessly except the evil we love, and desire to continue in, and make no effort to escape from.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

The stars are golden fruit upon a tree
All out of reach.

GEORGE ELIOT, The Spanish Gypsy

Wit is brief and sudden, and sharply defined as a crystal; it does not make pictures, it is not fantastic; but it detects an unsuspected analogy or suggests a startling or confounding inference. Every one who has had the opportunity of making the comparison will remember the effect produced on him by some witticisms is closely akin to the effect produced on him by subtle reasoning which lays open a fallacy or absurdity, and there are persons whose delight in such reasoning always manifests itself in laughter.

GEORGE ELIOT, Essays

Humor is of earlier growth than Wit, and it is in accordance with this earlier growth that it has more affinity with the poetic tendencies, while Wit is more nearly allied to the ratiocinative intellect. Humor draws its materials from situations and characteristics; Wit seizes on unexpected and complex relations.

GEORGE ELIOT, Essays

After all, the true seeing is within.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

In Rome it seems as if there were so many things which are more wanted in the world than pictures.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch

A kind Providence furnishes the limpest personality with a little gum or starch in the form of tradition.

GEORGE ELIOT, Middlemarch


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