Best British Essays

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28K Carlyle"History ... is Philosophy teaching by Experience. ... the essence of innumerable Biographies. ... He who sees no world but that of courts and camps; and writes only how soldiers were drilled and shot, ... will pass for a more or less instructive Gazetteer ... [not] an Historian" 9K Carlyle "'Have you anything to say?' The Accused shook her head, without speech. Night's candles are burning out; and with her too Time is finishing, and it will be Eternity and Day. This Hall of Tinville's is dark, ill-lighted except where she stands. Silently she withdraws from it, to die." 11K Chesterton"It requires long years of plentitude and quiet, the slow growth of great parks, the seasoning of oaken beams, the dark enrichment of red wine in cellars and in inns, all the leisure and the life of England through many centuries, to produce at last the generous and genial fruit of English snobbishness. And it requires battery and barricade, songs in the streets, and ragged men dead for an idea, to produce and justify the terrible flower of French indecency." 12K Clutton-Brock "War: We are all men with the same power of making and destroying, with the same divine foresight mocked by the same animal blindness." 7K Clutton-Brock "Criticism ... becomes a treachery, for it implies that you are beginning to doubt these superiorities upon which your friendship is supposed to be based. ... It is because a man is your friend, and you like him so much and know him so well, that you are curious about him. You are in fact an expert upon him, ... because in the warmth of friendship his disguises melt away from him, and he shows himself to you just as he is." 5K Darwin"It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us." 25K Darwin "When we no longer look at an organic being as a savage looks at a ship, as something wholly beyond his comprehension; when we regard every production of nature as one which has had a long history; when we contemplate every complex structure and instinct as the summing up of many contrivances, each useful to the possessor, in the same way as any great mechanical invention is the summing up of the labour, the experience, the reason, and even the blunders of numerous workmen." 10K Dickens"The four greys skimmed along, as if they liked it quite as well as Tom did; the bugle was in as high spirits as the greys; the coachman chimed in sometimes with his voice; the wheels hummed cheerfully in unison; the brass-work on the harness was an orchestra of little bells; and thus, as they went clinking, jingling, rattling, smoothly on, the whole concern, from the buckles of the leaders' coupling-reins to the handle of the hind boot, was one great instrument of music." 26K Dowling "I turn to Hyperion, as a blind man to the warmth of the sun. Some qualities of the poem I can appreciate; but always in its presence I am weighed down by the consciousness that my deficiency in some perception debars me from undreamed of privileges." 11K Emerson"If, at any time, it comes into my head that a present is due from me to somebody, I am puzzled what to give, until the opportunity is gone. Flowers and fruits are always fit presents." 11K Galsworthy"The thought is that while evolution is necessary and desirable for those that survive, the struggle is hard for those that do not survive."

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