More from and about
Thomas Carlyle
(biographical info at bottom of page)

  

The person who cannot wonder is but a pair
of spectacles behind which there is no eye.

   

If Jesus Christ were to come today, people would not even crucify him. They would ask him to dinner, and hear what he had to say, and make fun of it.

      
Wondrous is the strength of cheerfulness, and its power of endurance - the cheerful man will do more in the same time, will do it better, will preserve it longer, than the sad or sullen.
  
War is a quarrel between two thieves too cowardly to fight their own battle; therefore they take boys from one village and another village, stick them into uniforms, equip them with guns, and let them loose like wild beasts against one other.
   

Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together; that at length they may emerge, full-formed and majestic, into the daylight of Life, which they are thenceforth to rule. Not William the Silent only, but all the considerable men I have known, and the most undiplomatic and unstrategic of these, forbore to babble of what they were creating and projecting. Nay, in thy own mean perplexities, do thou thyself but hold thy tongue for one day: on the morrow, how much clearer are thy purposes and duties; what wreck and rubbish have those mute workmen within thee swept away, when intrusive noises were shut out! Speech is too often not, as the Frenchman defined it, the art of concealing Thought; but of quite stifling and suspending Thought, so that there is none to conceal. Speech too is great, but not the greatest. As the Swiss Inscription says: Sprechen ist silbern, Schweigen ist golden (Speech is silver, Silence is golden); or as I might rather express it: Speech is of Time, Silence is of Eternity.
  
  
Music is well said to be the speech of angels; in fact, nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine. It brings us near to the infinite.

     

A person usually has two reasons for doing something, a good reason and the real reason.

   

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Have a purpose in life, and having it, throw into your work
such strength of mind and muscle as God has given you.

   

This world, after all our science and sciences, is still a miracle;
wonderful, magical and more, to whosoever will think of it.

   

Wonder is the basis of worship.

   
    
Thomas Carlyle, the son of a stonemason, was born in Ecclefechan in Scotland, in 1795.  Brought up as a strict Calvinist, he was educated at the village school, Annan Academy and Edinburgh University, where he studied arts and mathematics.  After graduating in 1813 he became a teacher at Kirkcaldy.

Carlyle moved to Edinburgh in 1818 where he was commissioned to write several articles for the Edinburgh Encyclopedia and for the Edinburgh Review.  Carlyle also began translating German writers such as Goethe and Schiller and writing original work such as The Life of Schiller (1825).

After marrying Jane Baillie Welsh in 1826, Carlyle moved to London where he became a close friend of the philosopher, John Stuart Mill.  As well as contributing articles for Mill's Westminster Review, "Sartor Resartus" appeared in Fraser's Magazine (1833-34). Carlyle also published several books including The French Revolution (1837), On Heroes, Hero Worship and the Heroic in History (1841) and Past and Present (1843).

Carlyle's books and articles inspired social reformers such as John Ruskin, Charles Dickens, John Burns, Tom Mann and William Morris.  However, although he had originally held progressive political views, Carlyle became increasingly conservative in the late 1840s.  This is reflected in the right-wing, anti-democratic attitudes expressed in his collected essays Latter Day Pamphlets (1850) and his admiration for strong leaders illustrated by his six-volume History of Frederick the Great (1858-1865) and The Early Kings of Norway (1875).  In the last few years of his life, Carlyle's writing was confined to letters to The Times.  Thomas Carlyle died in 1881.
  

  

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