Quotes by: William Godwin
Extraordinary circumstances often bring along with them extraordinary strength. No man knows, till the experiment, what he is capable of effecting.
Religion is among the most beautiful and most natural of all things - that religion which 'sees God in clouds and hears Him in the wind,' which endows every object of sense with a living soul, which finds in the system of nature whatever is holy, mysterious and venerable, and inspires the bosom with sentiments of awe and veneration.
I was brought up in great tenderness, and though my mind was proud to independence, I was never led to much independence of feeling.
What is there so offensive to which habit has not the power to reconcile us?
The lessons of their early youth regulated the conduct of their riper years.
Without imagination, there can be no genuine ardor in any pursuit or for any acquisition, and without imagination, there can be no genuine morality, no profound feeling of other men's sorrow, no ardent and persevering anxiety for their interests.
Man is the only creature we know, that, when the term of his natural life is ended, leaves the memory of himself behind him.
I believe in this being, not because I have any proper or direct knowledge of His existence, but I am at a loss to account for the existence and arrangement of the visible universe, and, being left in the wide sea of conjecture without a clue from analogy or experience, I find the conjecture of a God easy, obvious, and irresistible.
There must be room for the imagination to exercise its powers; we must conceive and apprehend a thousand things which we do not actually witness.
The great model of the affection of love in human beings is the sentiment which subsists between parents and children.
Harshness and unkindness are relative. The appearance of them may be the fruits of the greatest kindness.
Tenderness is the name for a lover's most exquisite sensation; protection is implied in his most generous and heart-thrilling impulse.
I am an enemy to revolutions. I abhor, both from temper and from the clearest judgment I am able to form, all violent convulsions in the affairs of men.
There is an indescribable something that ties us to life. For this purpose, it is not necessary that we should be happy. Though our life be almost without enjoyment, we do not consent to part with it.
It is one of the oldest maxims of moral prudence: Do not, by aspiring to what is impracticable, lose the opportunity of doing the good you can effect!
It is the misfortune of those who are concerned in conducting human affairs that, however pure and capacious their own conceptions may be, they must accommodate themselves to the circumstances with which they are environed and use the instruments that are within their reach.
What is high birth to him to whom high birth has never been the theme of his contemplation? What is a throne to him who has never dreamed of a throne?
Duty is that mode of action which constitutes the best application of the capacity of the individual to the general advantage.
Government will not fail to employ education, to strengthen its hands, and perpetuate its institutions.
The soul of man is one of those subtle and evanescent substances that, as long as they remain still, the organ of sight does not remark; it must become agitated to become visible.
What can be more clear and sound in explanation, than the love of a parent to his child?
We covet experience; we have a secret desire to learn, not from cold prohibition, but from trial, whether those things, which are not without a semblance of good, are really so ill as they are described to us.
Every boy learns more in his hours of play than in his hours of labor. In school, he lays in the materials of thinking, but in his sports, he actually thinks: he whets his faculties, and he opens his eyes.
The diligent scholar is he that loves himself, and desires to have reason to applaud and love himself.