Thomas De Quincey Quotes


 
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Best 59 Quotes by Thomas De Quincey – Page 1 of 2

“A promise is binding in the inverse ratio of the numbers to whom it is made.”

“Ah, reader! I would the gods had made thee rhythmical, that thou mightest comprehend the thousandth part of my labours in the evasion of cacophony.”

“All glories of flesh vanish, and this, the glory of infantine beauty seen in the mirror of memory, soonest of all.”

“Call for the grandest of all earthly spectacles, what is that? It is the sun going to his rest.”

“Cows are amongst the gentlest of breathing creatures; none show more passionate tenderness to their young when deprived of them; and, in short, I am not ashamed to profess a deep love for these quiet creatures.”

“Crocodiles, you will say, are stationary. Mr. Waterton tells me that the crocodile does not change,—that a cayman, in fact, or an alligator, is just as good for riding upon as he was in the time of the Pharaohs. That may be; but the reason is that the crocodile does not live fast—he is a slow coach. I believe it is generally understood among naturalists that the crocodile is a blockhead. It is my own impression that the Pharaohs were also blockheads.”

“Es del todo evidente que, a menos que se consiga hacer más lento el ritmo colosal a que avanzos (y no cabe esperarlo) o bien -lo cual, por fortuna, es más probable- que se le opongan fuerzas contrarias de magnitud equivalente, en el sentido de la religión o la filosofía profunda, con irradiación centrífuga opuesta a esta religiosa tormenta centrípeta que nos arrastra al vórtice de lo meramente humano, lo natural es que este tumulto tan caótico, librado a sí mismo, tienda de por sí al mal, en algunos espíritus a la locura y en otros a una reactivación del letargo carnal.”

“For my own part, without breach of truth or modesty, I may affirm, that my life has been, on the whole, the life of a philosopher: from my birth I was made an intellectual creature: and intellectual in the highest sense my pursuits and pleasures have been, even from my school-boy days. If opium-eating be a sensual pleasure, and if I am bound to confess that I have indulged in it to an excess, not yet recorded of any other man, it is no less true, that I have struggled against this fascinating enthralment with a religious zeal, and have, at length, accomplished what I never yet heard attributed to any other man ? have untwisted, almost to its final links, the accursed chain which fettered me. Such a self-conquest may reasonably be set off in counterbalance to any kind of degree of self-indulgence.”

“For tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally of coarse nerves, or are become so from wine-drinking, and are not susceptible of influence from so refined a stimulant, will always be the favourite beverage of the intellectual;”

“Guilt and misery shrink, by a natural instinct, from public notice: they court privacy and solitude: and even in their choice of a grave will sometimes sequester themselves from the general population of the churchyard, as if declining to claim fellowship with the great family of man; thus, in a symbolic language universally understood, seeking (in the affecting language of Mr. Wordsworth)
’ Humbly to express
A penitential loneliness.”

“In general, the rare persons who disgusted me in this world, have been persons flourishing socially and of good reputation, as for the masquerades I have met, and they are not few, I think of them all without exception with pleasure and kindness.”

“In many walks of life, a conscience is a more expensive encumbrance than a wife or a carriage.”

“It is most absurdly said, in popular language, of any man, that he is disguised in liquor; for, on the contrary, most men are disguised by sobriety.”

“Rarely do things perish from my memory that are worth remembering. Rubbish dies instantly. Hence it happens that passages in Latin or English poets, which I never could have read but once (and that thirty years ago), often begin to blossom anew when I am lying awake, unable to sleep.”

“The tyranny of the human face”

“They wheeled in mazes; I spelled the steps. They telegraped from afar; I read the signals. They conspired together; and on the mirrors of darkness my eye traced the plots. Theirs were the symbols; mine are the words.”

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Biographies and Biographic Sketches Quotes

“It is remarkable, however, that at the very lowest point of Kant's depression, when he became perfectly incapable of conversing with any rational meaning on the ordinary affairs of life, he was still able to answer correctly and distinctly, in a degree that was perfectly astonishing, upon any question of philosophy or of science, especially of physical geography, [Footnote: Physical Geography, in opposition to Political.] chemistry, or natural history. He talked satisfactorily, in his very worst state, of the gases, and stated very accurately different propositions of Kepler’s, especially the law of the planetary motions. And I remember in particular, that upon the very last Monday of his life, when the extremity of his weakness moved a circle of his friends to tears, and he sat amongst us insensible to all we could say to him, cowering down, or rather I might say collapsing into a shapeless heap upon his chair, deaf, blind, torpid, motionless,—even then I whispered to the others that I would engage that Kant should take his part in conversation with propriety and animation. This they found it difficult to believe. Upon which I drew close to his ear, and put a question to him about the Moors of Barbary. To the surprise of everybody but myself, he immediately gave us a summary account of their habits and customs; and told us by the way, that in the word Algiers, the g ought to be pronounced hard (as in the English word gear).”

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“Kant ate but once a day, and drank no beer. Of this liquor, (I mean the strong black beer,) he was, indeed, the most determined enemy. If ever a man died prematurely, Kant would say—’He has been drinking beer, I presume.”

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Confessions of an English Opium Eater Quotes

“A long, loud, and canorous peal of laughter.”

Confessions of an English Opium Eater

“At no time in my life have I been a person to hold myself polluted by the touch or approach of any creature that wore a human shape: on the contrary, from my very earliest youth it has been my pride to converse familiarly, more Socratico, with all human beings, man, woman, and child, that chance might fling my way; a practice …. which becomes a man who would be a philosopher.”

Confessions of an English Opium Eater

“But my way of writing is rather to think aloud, and follow my own humours, than much to consider who is listening to me; and, if I stop to consider what is proper to be said to this or that person, I shall soon come to doubt whether any part at all is proper.”

Confessions of an English Opium Eater

“But the stream of London, charity flows in a channel which, though deep and mighty, is yet noiseless and underground; not obvious or readily accessible to poor houseless wanderers: and it cannot be denied that the outside air and frame-work of London society is harsh, cruel, and repulsive.”

Confessions of an English Opium Eater

“But who are they? (opium-eaters) Reader, I am sorry to say, a very numerous class indeed. Of this I became convinced some years ago, by computing, at that time, the number of those in one small class of English society (the class of men distinguished for talents, or of eminent station), who were known to me, directly or indirectly, as opium-eaters; such for instance, as the eloquent and benevolent ___, the late dean of ___; Lord ___; Mr ___, the philosopher; a late under-secretary of state … Now, if one class, comparatively so limited, could furnish so many scores of cases (and that within the knowledge of one single inquirer), it was a natural inference, that the entire population of England would furnish a proportionable number.”

Confessions of an English Opium Eater

“For it happens that books are the only article of property in which I am richer than my neighbors.”

Confessions of an English Opium Eater

“For it seemed to me as if then first I stood at a distance and aloof from the uproar of life; as if the tumult, the fever, and the strife were suspended; a respite granted from the secret burthens of the heart; a sabbath of repose; a resting from human labours. Here were the hopes which blossom in the paths of life reconciled with the peace which is in the grave; motions of the intellect as unwearied as the heavens, yet for all anxieties a halcyon calm; a tranquillity that seemed no product of inertia, but as if resulting from mighty and equal antagonisms; infinite activities, infinite repose.”

Confessions of an English Opium Eater

“For the last year and a half this room had been my 'pensive citadel:' here I had read and studied through all the hours of the night: and, though true it was, that for the latter part of this time I, who was framed for love and gentle affections, had lost my gaiety and happiness, during the strife and fever of contention with my guardian; yet, on the other hand, as a boy, so passionately fond of books, and dedicated to intellectual pursuits, I could not fail to have enjoyed many happy hours in the midst of general dejection. I wept as I looked round on the chair, hearth, writing-table, and other familiar objects, knowing too certainly, that I looked upon them for the last time.”

Confessions of an English Opium Eater

“Here was the secret of happiness, about which philosophers had disputed for so many ages, at once discovered: happiness might now be bought for a penny, and carried in the waistcoat pocket; portable ecstacies might be had corked up in a pint bottle, and peace of mind could be sent down in gallons by the mail-coach.”

Confessions of an English Opium Eater

“How easily a man who has never been in any great distress, may pass through life without knowing, in his own person at least, anything of the possible goodness of the human heart ? or, as I must add with a sigh, of its possible vileness. So a thick curtain of manners is drawn over the features and expression of men's natures, that to the ordinary observer, the two extremities, and the infinite field of varieties which lie between them, are all confounded ? the vast and multitudinous line of differences expressed in the gamut or alphabet of elementary sounds.”

Confessions of an English Opium Eater

“I assured her that she would meet with immediate attention; and that English justice, which was no respecter of persons, would speedily and amply avenge her on the brutal ruffian who had plundered her little property. She promised me that she would; but she delayed taking steps the steps I pointed out from time to time: for she was timid and dejected to a degree which showed how deeply sorrow had taken hold of her young heart: and perhaps she thought justly that the most upright judge, and the most righteous tribunals, could do nothing to repair her heaviest wrongs.”

Confessions of an English Opium Eater

“I ran into pagodas, and was fixed for centuries at the summit or in secret rooms: I was the idol; I was the priest; I was worshipped; I was sacrificed. I fled from the wrath of Brama through all the forests of Asia: Vishnu hated me: Seeva laid wait for me. I came suddenly upon Isis and Osiris: I had done a deed, they said, which the ibis and the crocodile trembled at. I was buried for a thousand years in stone coffins, with mummies and sphinxes, in narrow chambers at the heart of eternal pyramids. I was kissed, with cancerous kisses, by crocodiles; and laid, confounded with all unutterable slimy things, amongst reeds and Nilotic mud.”

Confessions of an English Opium Eater

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