The Scarlet Letter
It contributes greatly towards a man's moral and intellectual health, to be brought into habits of companionship with individuals unlike himself, who care little for his pursuits, and whose sphere and abilities he must go out of himself to appreciate.
It is a good lesson—though it may often be a hard one—for a man who has dreamed of literary fame, and of making for himself a rank among the world's dignitaries by such means, to step outside of the narrow circle in which his claims are recognized, and to find how utterly devoid of significance, beyond that circle, is all that he achieves, and all that he aims at.
The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue and happiness they might originally project, have invariably recognized it among the earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison.
Loss of faith is ever one of the saddest results of sin.
Heaven promotes its purposes without aiming at the stage-effect of what is called miraculous interposition.
Youthful men, not having taken a deep root, give up their hold of life so easily!
Good men ever interpret themselves too meanly.
When an uninstructed multitude attempts to see with its eyes, it is exceedingly apt to be deceived. When, however, it forms its judgment, as it usually does, on the intuitions of its great and warm heart, the conclusions thus attain are often so profound and so unerring, as to possess the character of truths supernaturally revealed.
It must needs be better for the sufferer to be free to show his pain, then to cover it all up in his heart.
It is the unspeakable misery of a false life, that it steals the pith and substance out of whatever realities there are around us, and which were meant by Heaven to be the spirit's joy and nutriment.
To the untrue man, the whole universe is false—it is impalpable—it shrinks to nothing within his grasp.
Crime is for the iron-nerved, who have their choice either to endure it, or, if it press too hard, to exert their fierce and savage strength for a good purpose, and fling it off at once!
It is to the credit of human nature, that, except where its selfishness is brought to play, it loves more readily than it hates. Hatred, by a gradual and quiet process, will even be transformed to love, unless the change be impeded by a continually new irritation of the original feeling of hostility.
The public is despotic in its temper; it is capable of denying common justice, when too strenuously demanded as a right; but quite as frequently it awards more than justice, when the appeal is made, as despots love to have it made, entirely to its generosity.
It is remarkable that persons who speculate the most boldly often conform with the most perfect quietude to the external regulations of society. The thought suffices them, without investing itself in the flesh and blood of action.
Let men tremble to win the hand of woman, unless they win along with it the utmost passion of her heart!
A lie is never good, even though death threaten on the other side!
Heaven would show mercy, hadst thou but the strength to take advantage of it.
The breach which guilt has once made into the human soul is never, in this mortal state, repaired.
No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.
...would have been sternly repressed, not only by the rigid discipline of law, but by the general sentiment which gives law its vitality.
It was an age when what we call talent had far less consideration than now, but the massive materials which produce stability and dignity of character a great deal more.
Change may be for good or ill, and is partly, perhaps, for both.
Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred!
It is a curious subject of observation and inquiry, whether hatred and love be not the same thing at bottom. Each, in its utmost development, supposes a high degree of intimacy and heart-knowledge; each renders one individual dependent for the food of his affections and spiritual life upon another; each leaves the passionate lover, or the no less passionate hater, forlorn and desolate by the withdrawal of his subject.