Robert Louis Stevenson

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      Robert Louis Stevenson Quotes

To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying Amen
to what the world tells you you ought to prefer,
is to have kept your soul alive.
An Inland Voyage  (1878)

Mankind was never so happily inspired as when it made a cathedral.
An Inland Voyage  (1878)

Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on
in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like
a clock during a thunder-storm.
An Inland Voyage  (1878)

Of what shall a man be proud,
if he is not proud of his friends?
Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes  (1879). Dedication.

We are all travellers in... the wilderness of this world...
and the best that we find in our travels is an honest friend.
Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes  (1879). Dedication.

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.
I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.
Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes  (1879)

The cruellest lies are often told in silence.
Virginibus Puerisque  (1881)

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.
Virginibus Puerisque  (1881)

Man is a creature who lives not upon bread alone,
but principally by catchwords.
Virginibus Puerisque  (1881)

Matrimony at its lowest... no more than
a sort of friendship recognised by the police.
Virginibus Puerisque  (1881)

Once you are married, there is nothing left for you,
not even suicide, but to be good.
Virginibus Puerisque  (1881)

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.
Virginibus Puerisque  (1881)

For God's sake give me the young man who has
brains enough to make a fool of himself!
Virginibus Puerisque, &c.  (1881). Crabbed Age and Youth.

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.
Virginibus Puerisque, &c.  (1881). Crabbed Age and Youth.

Some people swallow the universe like a pill;
they travel on through the world, like smiling
images pushed from behind.
Virginibus Puerisque, &c.  (1881). Crabbed Age and Youth.

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 unteachable brat,
well birched and none the wiser.
Virginibus Puerisque, &c.  (1881). Crabbed Age and Youth.

A man finds he has been wrong at every preceding stage
of his career, only to deduce the astonishing conclusion
that he is at last entirely right.
Virginibus Puerisque, &c.  (1881). Crabbed Age and Youth.

Books are good enough in their own way,
but they are a mighty bloodless substitute for life.
Virginibus Puerisque, &c.  (1881). An Apology for Idlers.

Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business,
is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things.
Virginibus Puerisque, &c.  (1881). An Apology for Idlers.

It is better to lose health like a spendthrift
than to waste it like a miser.
Virginibus Puerisque, &c.  (1881). Æs Triplex.

We live in an ascending scale when we live happily,
one thing leading to another in an endless series.
Virginibus Puerisque, &c.  (1881). El Dorado.

To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive,
and the true success is to labour.
Virginibus Puerisque, &c.  (1881). El Dorado.

To be what we are, and to become what we are
capable of becoming, is the only end of life.
Familiar Studies of Men and Books  (1882)

Politics is perhaps the only profession
for which no preparation is thought necessary.
Familiar Studies of Men and Books  (1882)

The price we have to pay for money is paid in liberty.
Familiar Studies of Men and Books  (1882)

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.
New Arabian Nights  (1882). The Suicide Club.

I regard you with an indifference closely bordering on aversion.
New Arabian Nights  (1882). The Rajah's Diamond.

Fifteen men on the dead man's chest —
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
Treasure Island  (1883)

There is no foreign land. It is the traveller only that is foreign.
The Silverado Squatters  (1883)

The world is so full of a number of things,
I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.
A Child's Garden of Verses  (1885)

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.
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde  (1886)

I feel very strongly about putting questions;
it partakes too much of the style of the day of judgment.
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde  (1886)

She had an evil face, smoothed by hypocrisy;
but her manners were excellent.
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde  (1886)

Teacher, tender, comrade, wife,
A fellow-farer true through life.
Underwoods  (1887). XXV: My Wife.

Each has his own tree of ancestors,
but at the top of all sits Probably Arboreal.
Memories and Portraits  (1887)

There is only one difference between
a long life and a good dinner: that,
in the dinner, the sweets come last.
The Merry Men, &c.  (1887). Will o' the Mill.

Nothing like a little judicious levity.
The Wrong Box  (1889)

The truth that is suppressed by friends
is the readiest weapon of the enemy.
Father Damien: An Open Letter, &c.  (1890)

Vanity dies hard; in some obstinate cases it outlives the man.
The Wrecker  (1892)

Every one lives by selling something,
whatever be his right to it.
Across the Plains, &c.  (1892). Beggars.

If a man love the labour of any trade, apart from
any question of success or fame, the gods have called him.
Across the Plains, &c.  (1892). Letter to a Young Gentleman.

There is an idea abroad among moral people
that they should make their neighbors good.
One person I have to make good: myself. But
my duty to my neighbor is much more nearly
expressed by saying that I have to make him
happy if I may.
Across the Plains, &c.  (1892). A Christmas Sermon.

If your morals make you dreary,
depend upon it they are wrong.
Across the Plains, &c.  (1892). A Christmas Sermon.

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 honour. It is human
at least, if not divine.
—Letter to Charles Baxter, September 1894.
The Letters of Stevenson to his Family and Friends, 1899. Vol 2.

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?
The Amateur Emigrant  (1895)

Nothing more strongly arouses our disgust
than cannibalism.... And yet we ourselves
make much the same appearance in the eyes
of the Buddhist and the vegetarian...
we feed on babes, though not our own.
In the South Seas  (1896)

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.
Prayers Written at Vailima  (1896)

It is the mark of a good action that
it appears inevitable in the retrospect.
Reflections and Remarks on Human Life  (1898)

Our business in this world is not to succeed,
but to continue to fail, in good spirits.
Reflections and Remarks on Human Life  (1898)

But indeed, 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 the air, that emanation from the old trees,
that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.
Essays of Travel  (1905). Forest Notes.

It is a golden maxim to cultivate the garden for the nose,
and the eyes will take care of themselves.
Essays of Travel  (1905). The Ideal House.

The web, then, or the pattern: a web at once sensuous and
logical, an elegant and pregnant texture: that is style,
that is the foundation of the art of literature.
Essays in the Art of Writing  (1905)

We all know what Parliament is, and we are all ashamed of it.
Essays in the Art of Writing  (1905)

The obscurest epoch is today.
Essays in the Art of Writing  (1905)

All speech, written or spoken, is in a dead language
until it finds a willing and prepared hearer.
Lay Morals  (1911)

So long as we are loved by others,
I would almost say we are indispensable;
and no man is useless while he has a friend.
Lay Morals  (1911)

It is the habitual carriage of the umbrella that is the stamp
of Respectability. The umbrella has become the acknowledged
index of social position. . . . Crusoe was rather a moralist
than a pietist, and his leaf-umbrella is as fine an example
of the civilized mind striving to express itself under adverse
circumstances as we have ever met with.
Lay Morals and Other Papers  (1911). The Philosophy of Umbrellas.

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This page created on 12 May 2007 by Anniina Jokinen.

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