The Best Nathaniel Hawthorne quotes

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Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804, in Salem Village, Massachusetts. After a brief stint in college, he started writing and publishing short stories and novels. Some of Hawthorne’s most well-known works include The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables. He passed away on May 19, 1864. Hawthorne is considered to be one of America’s greatest writers. His unique style and attention to detail have earned him a place in literary history.

Here are the most interesting Happiness, Dreams, Time, Human Beings, Life, World, Evil, Heart quotes from Nathaniel Hawthorne, and much more.


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About Nathaniel Hawthorne

birth of the author

July 4, 1804

death of the author

May 19, 1864

college of the author

Alma Mater:
Bowdoin College

award of the author

Notable Works:
Twice-Told Tales


Happiness is like a butterfly. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

Who can tell where happiness may come, or where, though an expected guest, it may never show its face? — 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

What we need for our happiness is often close at hand, if we knew but how to seek for it. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

happiness is like a butterfly Nathaniel Hawthorne quote

Happiness is not found in things you possess, but in what you have the courage to release. — Nathaniel Hawthorne


There is no such thing in man’s nature as a settled and full resolve either for good or evil, except at the very moment of execution. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

What is there so ponderous in evil, that a thumb’s bigness of it should outweigh the mass of things not evil, which were heaped into the other scale! — Nathaniel Hawthorne

Now are ye undeceived. Evil is the nature of mankind. Evil must be your only happiness. Welcome again, my children, to the communion of your race. — 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

ugliness without tact is horrible Nathaniel Hawthorne quote

Ugliness without tact is horrible. — Nathaniel Hawthorne


Life is made up of marble and mud. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

Sunlight is like the breath of life to the pomp of autumn. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

Shall we not spend our immortal life together? Surely, surely, we have ransomed one another, with all this woe! — Nathaniel Hawthorne

Life figures itself to me as a festal or funereal procession. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

life is made up of marble and mud Nathaniel Hawthorne quote

Life, within doors, has few pleasanter prospects than a neatly–arranged and well–provisioned breakfast–table. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

Most people are so constituted that they can only be virtuous in a certain routine; an irregular course of life demoralizes them. — 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

Why is Nathaniel Hawthorne important?

Nathaniel Hawthorne is regarded as one of the greatest fiction writers in American literature.

He was a skillful craftsman with an architectonic sense of form, as displayed in the tightly woven structure of his works, and a master of prose style, which he used to clearly reveal his characters’ psychological and moral depths


Insincerity in a man’s own heart must make all his enjoyments, all that concerns him, unreal; so that his whole life must seem like a merely dramatic representation. — 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

sunlight is like the breath of life to the pomp of autumn Nathaniel Hawthorne quote

The moment when a man’s head drops off is seldom or never, I am inclined to think, precisely the most agreeable of his life. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

All brave men love; for he only is brave who has affections to fight for, whether in the daily battle of life, or in physical contests. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

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

There is evil in every human heart, which may remain latent, perhaps, through the whole of life; but circumstances may rouse it to activity. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

In youth men are apt to write more wisely than they really know or feel and the remaInder of life may be not idly spent In realizIng and convIncIng themselves of the wisdom which they uttered long ago. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nobody will use other people’s experience, nor have any of his own till it is too late to use it. — Nathaniel Hawthorne


How is it possible to sayan unkind or irreverential word of Rome? The city of all time, and of all the world! — Nathaniel Hawthorne

The present is burdened too much with the past. We have not time, in our earthly existence, to appreciate what is warm with life, and immediately around us. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind. — 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

time flies over us but leaves its shadow behind Nathaniel Hawthorne quote

Would Time but await the close of our favorite follies, we should all be young men, all of us, and until Doom’s Day. — 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

Those with whom we can apparently become well acquainted in a few moments are generally the most difficult to rightly know and to understand. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

All merely graceful attributes are usually the most evanescent. — Nathaniel Hawthorne


A hero cannot be a hero unless in a heroic world. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

a hero cannot be a hero unless in a heroic world Nathaniel Hawthorne quote

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

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

The world surely has not another place like Oxford; it is a despair to see such a place and ever to leave it, for it would take a lifetime and more than one to comprehend and enjoy it satisfactorily. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

This world owes all its forward impulses to people ill at ease. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

Of all the events which constitute a person’s biography, there is scarcely one … to which the world so easily reconciles itself as to his death. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

there are many things in this world that a child must not ask about Nathaniel Hawthorne quote

The world, that grey–bearded and wrinkled profligate, decrepit, without being venerable. — 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

Labor is the curse of the world, and nobody can meddle with it without becoming proportionately brutalized. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

As the moral gloom of the world overpowers all systematic gaiety, even so was their home of wild mirth made desolate amid the sad forest. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

What is the voice of song when the world lacks the ear of taste? — Nathaniel Hawthorne

and there i sat long long ago waiting for the world to know me Nathaniel Hawthorne quote

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

Redundant Thematics

In Nathaniel Hawthorne Statements


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

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

The trees reflected in The river––They are unconscious of a spiritual world so near to Them. so are we. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

Every young sculptor seems to think that he must give the world some specimen of indecorous womanhood, and call it Eve, Venus, a Nymph, or any name that may apologize for a lack of decent clothing. — 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

What we call real estate–the solid ground to build a house on–is the broad foundation on which nearly all the guilt of this world rests. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

What was Nathaniel Hawthorne’s family like?

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s family had lived in Salem, Massachusetts, since the 1600s.

One ancestor was a magistrate who, in staunchly defending Puritanism, sentenced a Quaker woman to public whipping.

Another was a judge in the Salem witch trials.


Earth has one angel less and heaven one more, since yesterday. — Nathaniel Hawthorne


A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

Dream strange things and make them look like truth. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

a single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities Nathaniel Hawthorne quote

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

If a man, sitting all alone, cannot dream strange things, and make them look like truth, he need never try to write romances. — 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

We dream in our waking moments, and walk in our sleep. — 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

dream strange things and make them look like truth Nathaniel Hawthorne quote


What other dungeon is so dark as one’s own heart! What jailer so in exorable as one’s self! — Nathaniel Hawthorne

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

New England is quite as large a lump of earth as my heart can really take in. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

The heart of true womanhood knows where its own sphere is, and never seeks to stray beyond it! — 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

new england is quite as large a lump of earth as my heart can really take in Nathaniel Hawthorne quote

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

My wife is–in the strictest sense–my sole companion, and I need no other. There is no vacancy in my mind any more than in my heart. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

Wherever there is a heart and an intellect, the diseases of the physical frame are tinged with the peculiarities of these. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh it was. My very heart leapt with the sound. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

What did Nathaniel Hawthorne do for a living?

Nathaniel Hawthorne was a writer but struggled to make a living from his writing.

To make ends meet, he resorted to working as a customs officer in Boston, living briefly at the utopian commune Brook Farm, and serving as U. S.

The sorrow that lay cold in her mother’s heart… converted it into a tomb. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

the sorrow that lay cold in her mother s heart converted it into a tomb Nathaniel Hawthorne quote

My heart was a habitation large enough for many guests, but lonely and chill, and without a household fire. I longed to kindle one! It seemed not so wild a dream. — 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

Unquestionably we do stand by our national flag as stoutly as any people in the world; and I myself have felt the heart–throb at sight of it, as sensibly as other men. — 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

An unhappy gentleman, resolving to wed nothing short of perfection, keeps his heart and hand till both get so old and withered that no tolerable woman will accept them. — 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

What a sweet reverence is that when a young man deems his mistress a little more than mortal and almost chides himself for longing to bring her close to his heart. — 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

No fountain so small but that Heaven may be imaged in its bosom. — Nathaniel Hawthorne


Language,–human language,–after all is but little better than the croak and cackle of fowls, and other utterances of brute nature,–sometimes not so adequate. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

A human spirit may find no insufficiency of food fit for it, even in the Custom House. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

This dull river has a deep religion of its own; so, let us trust, has the dullest human soul, though, perhaps, unconsciously. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

A vast deal of human sympathy runs along the electric line of needlework, stretching from the throne to the wicker chair of the humble seamstress. — Nathaniel Hawthorne

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