"Even in my own writings I cannot always recover the meaning of my former ideas; I know not what I meant to say, and often get into a regular heat, correcting and putting a new sense into it, having lost the first and better one. I do nothing but come and go. My judgement does not always forge straight ahead; it strays and wanders."
". . . Most of the occasions for the troubles of the world are grammatical."
"Oh, a friend! How true is that old saying, that the enjoyment of one is sweeter and more necessary than that of the elements of water and fire!"
"I seek in books only to give myself pleasure by honest amusement; or if I study, I seek only the learning that treats of the knowledge of myself and instructs me in how to die well and live well."
"Our own peculiar human condition is that we are as fit to be laughed at as able to laugh."
"If others surpass you in knowledge, in charm, in strength, in fortune, you have other causes to blame for it; but if you yield to them in stoutness of heart you have only yourself to blame."
"There is no desire more natural than the desire for knowledge."
"I have a vocabulary all my own. I “pass the time” when it is wet and disagreeable. When it is fine I do not wish to pass it; I ruminate it and hold on to it. We should hasten over the bad, and settle upon the good."