Robert Louis Stevenson

Stevenson was born Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson in Edinburgh, Scotland.  His parents were both
very religious; Robert gave up the religion of his parents while studying at Edinburgh University,
but the teaching that he received as a child continued to influence him.  Although ill with
tuberculosis from childhood, Stevenson had a full life.  He began his education as an engineer but,
despite his family history, he showed little aptitude and soon switched to studying law, but he
never practiced law.  He ended his life as a tribal leader (called by his tribe Tusitala, meaning
"storyteller" in Samoan) and plantation owner at his residence "Vailima" in Samoa,
all this in addition to his literary career.

 thinkers home

As yesterday is history, and tomorrow may never come, I have resolved from this day on, I will do all the business I can honestly, have all the fun I can reasonably, do all the good I can willingly, and save my digestion by thinking pleasantly.


The world has no room for cowards.  We must all be ready somehow to toil, to suffer, to die.  And yours is not the less noble because no drum beats before you when you go out to your daily battlefields, and no crowds shout your coming when you return from your daily victory and defeat.

      
To be wealthy, a rich nature is the first requisite and money but the second.  To be of a quick and healthy blood, to share in all honorable curiosities, to be rich in admiration and free from envy, to rejoice greatly in the good of others, to love with such generosity of heart that your love is still a dear possession in absence or unkindness—these are the gifts of fortune which money cannot buy, and without which money can buy nothing.
  
Give us grace and strength to persevere.  Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind. Spare to us our friends and soften to us our enemies.  Give us the strength to encounter that which is to come, that we may be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath and in all changes of fortune, and down to the gates of death, loyal and loving to one another.
   

If your morals make you dreary, depend on it , they are wrong.


It is perhaps a more fortunate destiny to have a taste for collecting shells than to be born a millionaire.

 

Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.

 

 

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.

 
You cannot run away from a weakness; you must sometimes
fight it out or perish.  And if that be so, why not now, and where you stand?
   
 
There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.
 

Books are good enough in their own way,
but they are a mighty bloodless substitute for life.

 

 
I never weary of great churches.  It is my favourite
kind of mountain scenery.  Humankind was never so
happily inspired as when it made a cathedral.
 

Our business in this world is not to succeed,
but to continue to fail in good spirits.

 

There is a fellowship more quiet even than solitude,
and which, rightly understood, is solitude made perfect. 

 
It is the mark of a good action that it appears inevitable in retrospect.
 

 

To be wholly devoted to some intellectual exercise is to have succeeded in life. 

 

The cruelest lies are often told in silence.  One may have
sat in a room for hours and not opened his mouth, and yet
come out of that room a disloyal friend or a vile calumniator. 

 

For God's sake give me the young person who has
brains enough to make a fool of him or herself!

 

The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at
your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you.  Then do not
grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that
daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things of life.

  

Things looked at patiently from one side after another
generally end by showing a side that is beautiful.

 

So long as we love, we serve; so long as we are loved by others,
I should say that we are almost indispensable;
and no people are useless while they have friends.

 

He is not dead, this friend; not dead,
Gone some few, trifling steps ahead,
And nearer to the end;
So that you, too, once past the bend,
Shall meet again, as face to face, this friend
You fancy dead.

 

Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened,
but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace,
like a clock during a thunderstorm.

 

Do not forget that even as "to work is to worship"
so to be cheery is to worship also, and to be happy
is the first step to being pious.

 
  

If you teach people to keep their eyes upon what others think of them,
unthinkingly to lead the lives and hold the principles of the majority
of their contemporaries, you must discredit in their own eyes the
authoritative voices of their own souls.  They may be docile citizens;
they will never be men and women.  It is ours, on the other hand,
to disregard this babble and chattering of other people better and
worse than we are, and to walk straight before us by what light we have.
They may be right; but so, before heaven, are we.  They may know;
but we know also, and by that knowledge we must stand or fall.
There is such a thing as loyalty to one's own better self; and from those
who have not that, God help me, how am I to look for loyalty to others?

   

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