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A collection of thoughts and quotes by Nathaniel Hawthorne on life, romance, happiness, writing, death, humor, passion, empathy, solitude and love.

76 Profound Nathaniel Hawthorne Quotes To Keep Your Mind & Soul Wandering

Quick Facts

Famous As: American Novelist

Born On: July 4, 1804

Died On: May 19, 1864

Born In: Salem, Massachusetts, United States

Died At Age: 59

Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist, short story writer and well-known exponent of the genre of dark romance who rose to prominence in the 19th century and was considered among the noted authors of his time. He graduated from Bowdoin College in 1825 but according to his own admission, he was not a keen student. He worked as the editor of the magazine ‘American Magazine of Useful and Entertaining Things’ before taking up a job in the Boston Custom House. His first novel ‘Fanshawe’ was published in 1828 but Hawthorne was not satisfied by his efforts. Hawthorne’s forte when he started off was in short stories and his stories were published in several periodicals of the time. However, his first success as a novelist was with the novel ‘The Scarlet Letter’, published in 1850. His other notable works include ‘The House of the Seven Gables’, ‘The Marble Faun’, ‘The Romance of Monte Beni’, ‘The Blithedale Romance’ and other short story collections. Hawthorne was one of the noted thinkers of his time and his writings, novels, thoughts, short stories and books were very well received by his audience. Excerpts from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s books, short stories, novels and other writings have become popular quotations and are frequently quoted by people. Following is a collection of some famous sayings and quotations by Nathaniel Hawthorne which have been collected from a vast sea of his work.
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We dream in our waking moments, and walk in our sleep.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Easy reading is damn hard writing.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

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.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Death should take me while I am in the mood.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Love, whether newly born or aroused from a deathlike slumber, must always create sunshine, filling the heart so full of radiance, that it overflows upon the outward world.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house." [Notebook, Oct. 10, 1842]

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Oh, for the years I have not lived, but only dreamed of living.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

She could no longer borrow from the future to ease her present grief.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Let men tremble to win the hand of woman, unless they win along with it the utmost passion of her heart!

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Every individual has a place to fill in the world and is important in some respect, whether he chooses to be so or not.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

I have laughed, in bitterness and agony of heart, at the contrast between what I seem and what I am!

Nathaniel Hawthorne

We men of study, whose heads are in our books, have need to be straightly looked after! We dream in our waking moments, and walk in our sleep.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

She wanted—what some people want throughout life—a grief that should deeply touch her, and thus humanize and make her capable of sympathy.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

To do nothing is the way to be nothing.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

No summer ever came back, and no two summers ever were alike. Times change, and people change; and if our hearts do not change as readily, so much the worse for us.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Do anything, save to lie down and die!

Nathaniel Hawthorne

There is something truer and more real, than what we can see with the eyes, and touch with the finger.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

...if truth were everywhere to be shown, a scarlet letter would blaze forth on many a bosom...

Nathaniel Hawthorne

...happiness is not found in things you possess, but in what you have the courage to release...

Nathaniel Hawthorne

And there I sat, long long ago, waiting for the world to know me.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Shall we never never get rid of this Past? ... It lies upon the Present like a giant's dead body.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Hold thy peace, dear little Pearl!" whispered her mother. "We must not always talk in the market-place of what happens to us in the forest.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Our Creator would never have made such lovely days, and have given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above and beyond all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Be true! Be true! Be true! Show freely to the world, if not your worst, yet some trait whereby the worst may be inferred!

Nathaniel Hawthorne

What other dungeon is so dark as one's own heart! What jailer so in exorable as one's self!

Nathaniel Hawthorne

There are many things in this world that a child must not ask about.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

The sorrow that lay cold in her mother's heart... converted it into a tomb.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Happiness is a butterfly which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

It is a curious subject of observation and inquiry, whether hatred and love be not the same thing at bottom.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

All merely graceful attributes are usually the most evanescent.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

It [the scarlet letter] had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and enclosing her in a sphere by herself.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

She poured out the liquid music of her voice to quench the thirst of his spirit.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

It is very queer, but not the less true, that people are generally quite as vain, or even more so, of their deficiencies than of their available gifts.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

When an uninstructed multitude attempts to see with its eyes, it is exceedingly apt to be deceived.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Moonlight is sculpture.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

No, my little Pearl! Thou must gather thine own sunshine. I have none to give thee.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Love, whether newly born, or aroused frrom a deathlike slumber, must alwasy create a sunshine, filling the heart so full of radiance, that it overflows upon the outward world.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Depending upon one another's hearts, ye had still hoped that virtue were not all a dream. Now are ye undeceived. Evil is the nature of mankind.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

The fiend in his own shape is less hideous than when he rages in the breast of men.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Pleasant is a rainy winter's day, within doors! The best study for such a day, or the best amusement,—call it which you will,—is a book of travels, describing scenes the most unlike that sombre one

Nathaniel Hawthorne

We sometimes congratulate ourselves at the moment of waking from a troubled dream : it may be so at the moment after death.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

But, all this while, I was giving myself very unnecessary alarm. Providence had mediated better things for me than I could possibly imagine for myself.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

I find nothing so singular to life as that everything appears to lose its substance the instant one actually grapples with it.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us a wild-goose chase, and is never attained.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

In this republican country, amid the fluctuating waves of our social life, somebody is always at the drowning-point.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Be it sin or no, I hate the man!

Nathaniel Hawthorne

A hero cannot be a hero unless in a heroic world.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

A few feathery flakes are scattered widely through the air, and hover downward with uncertain flight, now almost alighting on the earth, now whirled again aloft into remote regions of the atmosphere.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

The fiend in his own shape is less hideous than when he rages in the breast of man.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

His stories are good to hear at night, because we can dream about them asleep; and good in the morning, too, because then we can dream about them awake. (Cowslip)

Nathaniel Hawthorne

A forced smile is uglier than a frown.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

In the depths of every heart there is a tomb and a dungeon, though the lights, the music, and the revelry above may cause us to forget their existence...

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Women derive a pleasure, incomprehensible to the other sex, from the delicate toil of the needle.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Or—but this more rarely happened—she would be convulsed with a rage of grief, and sob out her love for her mother, in broken words, and seem intent on proving that she had a heart, by breaking it.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

...Chillingworth was a striking evidence of man's faculty of transforming himself into a devil, if he will only, for a reasonable space of time, undertake a devil's office.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Cannot you conceive that another man may wish well to the world and struggle for its good on some other plan than precisely that which you have laid down?

Nathaniel Hawthorne

But this had been a sin of passion, not of principle, nor even purpose.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

I sometimes fancy," said Hilda, on whose susceptibility the scene always made a strong impression, "that Rome--mere Rome--will crowd everything else out of my heart.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

For, what other dungeon is so dark as one's own heart! What jailer so inexorable as one's self!

Nathaniel Hawthorne

The world owes all its onward impulses to men ill at ease. The happy man inevitably confines himself within ancient limits.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

To the untrue man, the whole universe is false--it is impalpable--it shrinks to nothing within his grasp.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

A dead man sits on all our judgment seats; and living judges do but search out and repeat his decisions. We read in dead men's books! We laugh a dead men's jokes, and cry at dead men's pathos!

Nathaniel Hawthorne

But year after year that summons, unheard but felt, was disobeyed. His one secret thought became like a chain binding down his spirit and like a serpent gnawing into his heart.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

...such loss of faith is ever one of the saddest results of sin.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

But it is a strange experience, to a man of pride and sensibility, to know that his interests are within the control of individuals who neither love nor understand him

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Is it a fact – or have I dreamt it – that, by means of electricity, the world of matter has become a great nerve, vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time?

Nathaniel Hawthorne

... for when a man's spirit has been thoroughly crushed, he may be peevish at small offenses, but never resentful of great ones.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Life, within doors, has few pleasanter prospects than a neatly-arranged and well-provisioned breakfast-table.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

We have yet to learn again the forgotten art of gayety.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

What other dungeon is so dark as one's heart! What jailor so inexorable as one's self.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Life is made up of marble and mud.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Words - so innocent and powerless, as they are standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

America is now wholly given over to a damned mob of scribbling women

Nathaniel Hawthorne