Thomas Carlyle
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Thomas Carlyle

Thomas Carlyle quotes
Thomas Carlyle was a philosopher, historian, translator, mathematician, teacher, speaker and writer of many essays and books. He was considered to be one of the most important social commentators of his time.

Born on 4th December 1795 in Ecclefechan, Scotland, Thomas was the eldest of nine children. His father James was a stonemason and stern Calvinist, he  wanted Thomas to enter the ministry. His father's strong character and purist way of life was to have a strong influence throughout his own life. Thomas attended local schools and then University of Edinburgh, where he excelled at mathematics and languages. His first occupation was teacher of mathematics and in 1816 he moved to a school at Krikcaldy where the Scottish preacher Edward Irving was teaching. They became great friends, "But for Irving, I had never known what communion of man with man means."

Thomas was not happy with teaching so returned to University to study law in 1819. He continued with a lonely life, attempting tutoring and journalism but was plagued with ill health (gastric problems, on-going for the rest of his life) and spiritual struggles. In 1821 he experienced a spiritual re-birth which cleared his doubts as to the beneficent organization of the universe, knowing that he was free to think and work without hindrance.  

Before moving to London in 1821, Edward Irving introduced one of his talented pupils to Thomas, Jane Welsh. They began corresponding and eventually married on 17th October 1826, making their first home in Edingburgh.  Thomas began writing for the Edinburgh Review and to have his writing published. The Foreign Review also published two of his essays on Goethe which led to Goethe corresponding with Thomas. He began working on 'Sartor Resartus,' which was first published as a series in a magazine and then became a successful book.

In 1834 after living for six years on a remote farm, the Carlyle’s moved to Chelsea, London. Another noteworthy lifelong friendship had developed the year before when Ralph Waldo Emerson visited Thomas, travelling from America to meet the author of Sartor Resartus. (London home is now a museum)

In London, Thomas struggled to make a living by refusing journalistic work, even rejecting The Times newspaper. He began to work on 'The French Revolution' and lent the first volume of his work to his friend, the philosopher John Stuart Mill, but by accident the manuscript was destroyed. This could have been perceived as a major disaster because of his financial circumstances and months of work lost, but Thomas consoled Mill, and set to work on re-writing his book. When completed in 1837 the book brought him many rewards, financial and by reputation, with praise from many well-known people at that time. Thomas continued to write and receive much acclaim for his work over the years.

With their financial problems eased and then cleared by receiving an anuity, the Carlyles became well-known and sought after for social gatherings.   With over 9,000 documented letters between the couple, their marriage was famous for being unhappy. The letters did show their love for each other, but they also frequent angry quarrels.  In 1866, Thomas traveled without Jane to receive a rectorship at the University of Edinburgh. While he was away Jane suddenly died from heart disease, it had a dramatic affect on him and he never really recovered from the loss. His writing dwindled and he became reclusive. 

Thomas died on 4th February 1881 and was buried, as he wished, beside his parents at Ecclefechan, although Westminster Abbey was offered. His final words were: "So, this is death. Well!"

Spiritual Quotes To Live By

Hector Macpherson
Carlyle’s genius was many-sided. He touched and ennobled the national life at all points. He lifted a whole generation of young men out of the stagnating atmosphere of materialism and dead orthodoxy into the region of the ideal. With the Master of Balliol, we believe that: ‘No English writer has done more to elevate and purify our ideas of life and to make us conscious that the things of the spirit are real, and that in the last resort there is no other reality.'


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Thomas Carlyle Quotes:  A   



A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.


A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder.


A man’s felicity consists not in the outward and visible blessing of fortune, but in the inward and unseen perfections and riches of the mind.


Adversity is the diamond dust Heaven polishes it's jewels with.

Adversity is the diamond dust Heaven polishes it's jewels with - Thomas Carlyle - Spiritual Quotes To Live By

All that mankind has done, thought or been: it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of books. 


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Thomas Carlyle Quotes:  C   



Conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct.


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Thomas Carlyle Quotes:  E   



Endurance is patience concentrated.


Every day that is born into the world comes like a burst of music and rings the whole day through, and you make of it a dance, a dirge, or a life march, as you will.

Every day that is born into the world comes like a burst of music and rings the whole day through, and you make of it a dance... - Thomas Carlyle - Spiritual Quotes To Live By

Everywhere in life, the true question is not what we gain, but what we do.


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Thomas Carlyle Quotes:  G   



Go as far as you can see...
When you get there, you’ll be able to see farther.


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Thomas Carlyle Quotes:  H   



He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.


History shows that the majority of people that have done anything great have passed their youth in seclusion.


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Thomas Carlyle Quotes:  I   



If you look deep enough you will see music... 
The heart of nature being everywhere music.


In books lies the soul of the whole past time.


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Thomas Carlyle Quotes:  L   



Let each become all that he was created capable of being.

Let each become all that he was created capable of being - Thomas Carlyle - Spiritual Quotes To Live By

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Thomas Carlyle Quotes:  M   



Music is well said to be the speech of Angels, infact, nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so Divine, it brings us near to the infinite.


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Thomas Carlyle Quotes:  N   



No great man lives in vain. The history of the world is but the biography of great men.


No pressure... No diamonds.

No pressure.. No diamonds - Thomas Carlyle - Spiritual Quotes To Live By

None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone.


Not what I have, but what I do, is my kingdom.


Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment.


Nothing stops the man who desires to achieve. Every obstacle is simply a course to develop his achievement muscle. It’s a strengthening of his power of accomplishment.


Nothing that was worthy in the past departs; no truth or goodness realised by man ever dies, or can die.


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Thomas Carlyle Quotes:  O   



Oh, give us the man who sings at his work.


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Thomas Carlyle Quotes:  S   



Show me the man you honour, and I will know what kind of man you are.


Silence is as deep as eternity.


Silence is more eloquent than words.


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Thomas Carlyle Quotes:  T   



The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none.


The greatest university of all is a collection of books.


The old cathedrals are good, but the great blue dome that hangs over everything is better.

The old cathedrals are good, but the great blue dome that hangs over everything is better - Thomas Carlyle - Spiritual Quotes To Live By

The outer passes away; the innermost is the same yesterday, today and forever.


The spiritual is the parent of the practical.


The work an unknown good man has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground green.


Thought is the parent of the deed.


To us also, through every star, through every blade of grass, is not God made visible if we will open our minds and our eyes.


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Thomas Carlyle Quotes:  W   



What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us.


Who is it that loves me and will love me forever, with affection that no chance, no misery, no crime of mine can do away?  It is you, my mother.

Who is it that loves me and will love me forever, with affection that no chance, no misery, no crime of mine can do away?  It is you, my mother - Thomas Carlyle - Spiritual Quotes To Live Bywith my mother (approx 1963)

Wonder is the basis of worship.


Wondrous is the strength of cheerfulness, and its power of endurance - the cheerful man will do more in the same time, will do better, will persevere in it longer than the sad of sullen.


Worship is transcendent wonder.




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