ROBERT WILSON LYND QUOTES

Irish essayist (1879-1949)

Robert Wilson Lynd quote

There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before.

ROBERT WILSON LYND, The Blue Lion and Other Essays

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It is almost impossible to remember how tragic a place this world is when one is playing golf.

ROBERT WILSON LYND, Searchlights and Nightingales

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The belief in the possibility of a short decisive war appears to be one of the most ancient and dangerous of human illusions.

ROBERT WILSON LYND, Searchlights and Nightingales

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The great pleasure of ignorance is, after all, the pleasure of asking questions. The man who has lost this pleasure or exchanged it for the pleasure of dogma, which is the pleasure of answering, is already beginning to stiffen.

ROBERT WILSON LYND, The Pleasure of Ignorance

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We cannot get happiness by striving after it, and yet with an effort we can impart it.

ROBERT WILSON LYND, Irish & English: Portraits and Impressions

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It is doubtful if even experience of riches and success is as intense among those who have experienced nothing else as among those who have also experienced poverty and failure. There is little romance in wealth to those who have been born wealthy and whose families have been wealthy for generations.

ROBERT WILSON LYND, The Little Angel: A Book of Essays

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This is woman's great benevolence, that she will become a martyr for beauty, so that the world may have pleasure.

ROBERT WILSON LYND, Irish & English: Portraits and Impressions

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Most human beings are quite likeable if you do not see too much of them.

ROBERT WILSON LYND, The Peal of Bells

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On the whole, however, the critic is far less of a professional faultfinder than is sometimes imagined. He is first of all a virtue-finder, a singer of praise. He is not concerned with getting rid of dross except in so far as it hides the gold. In other words, the destructive side of criticism is purely a subsidiary affair. None of the best critics have been men of destructive minds. They are like gardeners whose business is more with the flowers than with the weeds.

ROBERT WILSON LYND, The Art of Letters

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It is as though each of us investigated and made his own only a tiny circle of facts. Knowledge outside the day's work is regarded by most men as gewgaw. Still we are constantly in reaction against our ignorance. We rouse ourselves at intervals and speculate.

ROBERT WILSON LYND, The Pleasure of Ignorance

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The art of writing history is the art of emphasizing the significant facts at the expense of the insignificant. And it is the same in every field of knowledge. Knowledge is power only if a man knows what facts not to bother about.

ROBERT WILSON LYND, The Orange Tree: A Volume of Essays

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The poet with hair down his shoulders, whom the streets call after on his way, is endued with a kind of daring that many a brave general might envy.

ROBERT WILSON LYND, Irish & English: Portraits and Impressions

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Tags: poetry


The last spectacle of which Christian men are likely to grow tired is a harbour. Centuries hence there may be jumping-off places for the stars, and our children's children's and so forth children may regard a ship as a creeping thing scarcely more adventurous than a worm. Meanwhile, every harbour gives us a sense of being in touch, if not with the ends of the universe, with the ends of the earth.

ROBERT WILSON LYND, "The Herring Fleet", The Pleasure of Ignorance

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There are some people who want to throw their arms round you simply because it is Christmas; there are other people who want to strangle you simply because it is Christmas.

ROBERT WILSON LYND, "On Christmas", The Book of This and That

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We forget that Socrates was famed for wisdom not because he was omniscient but because he realized at the age of seventy that he still knew nothing.

ROBERT WILSON LYND, The Pleasure of Ignorance

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It makes all the difference whether you hear an insect in the bedroom or in the garden. In the garden the voice of the insect soothes; in the bedroom it irritates. In the garden it is the hum of spring; in the bedroom it seems to belong to the same school of music as the buzz of the dentist's drill or the saw-mill.

ROBERT WILSON LYND, "The Hum of Insects", The Pleasure of Ignorance

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Keats, it must be remembered, was a sensualist. His poems ... reveal him as a man not altogether free from the vulgarities of sensualism, as well as one who was able to transmute it into perfect literature.

ROBERT WILSON LYND, "Keats", Old and New Masters

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Most of us can remember a time when a birthday -- especially if it was one's own -- brightened the world as if a second sun had risen.

ROBERT WILSON LYND, The Peal of Bells

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Swinburne was an absurd character. He was a bird of showy strut and plumage. One could not but admire his glorious feathers; but, as soon as he began to moult ... one saw how very little body there was underneath.

ROBERT WILSON LYND, "Swinburne", Old and New Masters

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Tags: Algernon Charles Swinburne


When people complain of the decay of manners they have in mind not the impudent abbreviations of the crowd, but the decline in bowing and scraping and in speaking of one's employer as "the master." What the rich mean by the good manners of the poor is usually not civility, but servility.

ROBERT WILSON LYND, "The Importance of Bad Manners"

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