Washington Irving Quotes

Washington Irving was one of the most beloved American authors of all time. A master of the short story and a celebrated wit, Irving’s stories and essays are as funny and insightful today as they were when he wrote them over two hundred years ago. Here are some of the best quotes from Washington Irving that will make you laugh, think, and maybe even see the world in a new light.

  • There is an endearing tenderness in the love of a mother to a son that transcends all other affections of the heart.

    Washington Irving
  • I’ve had it with you and your emotional constipation!

    Washington Irving
  • After all, it is the divinity within that makes the divinity without; and I have been more fascinated by a woman of talent and intelligence, though deficient in personal charms, than I have been by the most regular beauty.

    Washington Irving
  • The tongue is the only tool that gets sharper with use.

    Washington Irving
  • Rising genius always shoots out its rays from among the clouds, but these will gradually roll away and disappear as it ascends to its steady luster.

    Washington Irving
  • There is a serene and settled majesty to woodland scenery that enters into the soul and delights and elevates it, and fills it with noble inclinations.

    Washington Irving
  • They who drink beer will think beer.

    Washington Irving
  • Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

    Washington Irving
  • Honest good humor is the oil and wine of a merry meeting, and there is no jovial companionship equal to that where the jokes are rather small and laughter abundant.

    Washington Irving
  • There is in every true woman’s heart, a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity, but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.

    Washington Irving
  • Indeed, there is an eloquence in true enthusiasm that is not to be doubted.

    Washington Irving
  • Those men are most apt to be obsequious and conciliating abroad, who are under the discipline of shrews at home.

    Washington Irving
  • The idol of today pushes the hero of yesterday out of our recollection; and will, in turn, be supplanted by his successor of tomorrow.

    Washington Irving
  • There is a healthful hardiness about real dignity that never dreads contact and communion with others however humble.

    Washington Irving
  • The easiest thing to do, whenever you fail, is to put yourself down by blaming your lack of ability for your misfortunes.

    Washington Irving
  • Sweet is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow rays of the departing sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart.

    Washington Irving
  • There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.

    Washington Irving
  • Great minds have purposes; others have wishes.

    Washington Irving
  • A sharp tongue is the only edge tool that grows keener with constant use.

    Washington Irving
  • A father may turn his back on his child, brothers and sisters may become inveterate enemies, husbands may desert their wives, wives their husbands. But a mother’s love endures through all.

    Washington Irving
  • An inexhaustible good nature is one of the most precious gifts of heaven, spreading itself like oil over the troubled sea of thought, and keeping the mind smooth and equable in the roughest weather.

    Washington Irving
  • Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart.

    Washington Irving
  • The natural principle of war is to do the most harm to our enemy with the least harm to ourselves; and this of course is to be effected by stratagem.

    Washington Irving
  • He is the true enchanter, whose spell operates, not upon the senses, but upon the imagination and the heart.

    Washington Irving
  • A woman’s whole life is a history of the affections.

    Washington Irving
  • Marriage is the torment of one, the felicity of two, the strife and enmity of three.

    Washington Irving
  • I am always at a loss at how much to believe of my own stories.

    Washington Irving
  • A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles.

    Washington Irving
  • Some minds seem almost to create themselves, springing up under every disadvantage and working their solitary but irresistible way through a thousand obstacles.

    Washington Irving
  • A tart temper never mellows with age, and a sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use.

    Washington Irving
  • There is in every woman’s heart a spark of heavenly fire which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity, but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.

    Washington Irving
  • Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them.

    Washington Irving
  • Acting provides the fulfillment of never being fulfilled. You’re never as good as you’d like to be. So there’s always something to hope for.

    Washington Irving
  • It is not poverty so much as pretense that harasses a ruined man – the struggle between a proud mind and an empty purse – the keeping up of a hollow show that must soon come to an end.

    Washington Irving
  • The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal – every other affliction to forget: but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open – this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude.

    Washington Irving
  • Young lawyers attend the courts, not because they have business there, but because they have no business.

    Washington Irving
  • The natural effect of sorrow over the dead is to refine and elevate the mind.

    Washington Irving
  • One of the greatest and simplest tools for learning more and growing is doing more.

    Washington Irving
  • Whenever a man’s friends begin to compliment him about looking young, he may be sure that they think he is growing old.

    Washington Irving
  • There is certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse! As I have often found in traveling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one’s position, and be bruised in a new place.

    Washington Irving
  • Age is a matter of feeling, not of years.

    Washington Irving
  • Temper never mellows with age, and a sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use.

    Washington Irving
  • There is never jealousy where there is not strong regard.

    Washington Irving
  • Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.

    Washington Irving
  • Who ever hears of fat men heading a riot, or herding together in turbulent mobs? No – no, your lean, hungry men who are continually worrying society, and setting the whole community by the ears.

    Washington Irving
  • The land of literature is a fairy land to those who view it at a distance, but, like all other landscapes, the charm fades on a nearer approach, and the thorns and briars become visible.

    Washington Irving

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