Quotes by John Ruskin
And besides; the problem of land, at its worst, is a bye one; distribute the earth as you will, the principal question remains inexorable, --Who is to dig it? Which of us, in brief word, is to do the hard and dirty work for the rest, and for what pay?
No small misery is caused by overworked and unhappy people‚ in the dark views which they necessarily take up themselves‚ and force upon others‚ of work itself.
My entire delight was in observing without being myself noticed‚— if I could have been invisible‚ all the better.'' I was absolutely interested in men and their ways‚ as I was interested in marmots and chamois‚ in tomtits and trout. If only they would stay still and let me look at them‚ and not get into their holes and up their heights! ''The living inhabitation of the world — the grazing and nesting in it‚ — the spiritual power of the air‚ the rocks‚ the waters‚ to be in the midst of it‚ and rejoice and wonder at it‚ and help it if I could‚ — happier if it needed no help of mine‚ — this was the essential love of 'Nature' in me‚ this the root of all that I have usefully become‚ and the light of all that I have rightly learned.
For certainly it is excellent discipline for an author to feel that he must say all he has to say in the fewest possible words, or his reader is sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words, or his reader will certainly misunderstand them.
For when we are interested in the beauty of a thing, the oftener we can see it the better; but when we are interested only by the story of a thing, we get tired of hearing the same tale told over and over again, and stopping always at the same point — we want a new story presently, a newer and better one — and the picture of the day, and novel of the day, become as ephemeral as the coiffure or the bonnet of the day. Now this spirit is wholly adverse to the existence of any lovely art. If you mean to throw it aside to-morrow, you can never have it to-day.
Of all the 'bête,' clumsy, blundering, boggling, baboon-blooded stuff I ever saw on a human stage, that thing last night beat — as far as the acting and story went — and of all the affected, sapless, soulless, beginningless, endless, topless, bottomless, topsiturviest, tuneless and scrannelpipiest — tongs and boniest — doggerel of sounds I ever endured the deadliness of, that eternity of nothing was the deadliest, so far as the sound went. I never was so relieved, so far as I can remember in my life, by the stopping of any sound — not excepting railway whistles — as I was by the cessation of the cobbler’s bellowing.
In great states‚ children are always trying to remain children‚ and the parents wanting to make men and women of them. In vile states‚ the children are always wanting to be men and women‚ and the parents to keep them children.
A little group of wise hearts is better than a wilderness full of fools.
Labour without joy is base. Labour without sorrow is base. Sorrow without labour is base. Joy without labour is base.
What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we 'do.'
There is but one question ultimately to be asked respecting every line you draw, Is it right or wrong? If right, it most assuredly is not a "free" line, but an intensely continent, restrained and considered line; and the action of the hand in laying it is just as decisive, and just as "free" as the hand of a first-rate surgeon in a critical incision.
Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts—the book of their deeds, the book of their words, and the book of their art. Not one of these books can be understood unless we read the two others; but of the three, the only quite trustworthy one is the last. The acts of a nation may be triumphant by its good fortune; and its words mighty by the genius of a few of its children: but its art, only by the general gifts and common sympathies of the race.
Ask a great money-maker what he wants to do with his money, — he never knows. He doesn't make it to do anything with it. He gets it only that he 'may' get it. "What will you make of what you have got?" you ask. "Well, I'll get more," he says. Just as at cricket, you get more runs. There's no use in the runs, but to get more of them than other people is the game. So all that great foul city of London there, — rattling, growling, smoking, stinking, — a ghastly heap of fermenting brickwork, pouring out poison at every pore, — you fancy it is a city of work? Not a street of it! It is a great city of play; very nasty play and very hard play, but still play.
Engraving is, in brief terms, the Art of Scratch.
Punishment is the last and least effective instrument in the hands of the legislator for the prevention of crime.
Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the 'heart' of man go together.
The greatest efforts of the race have always been traceable to the love of praise, as its greatest catastrophes to the love of pleasure.
Your honesty is 'not' to be based either on religion or policy. Both your religion and policy must be based on 'it.' Your honesty must be based, as the sun is, in vacant heaven; poised, as the lights in the firmament, which have rule over the day and over the night.
You talk of the scythe of Time‚ and the tooth of Time: I tell you‚ Time is scytheless and toothless; it is we who gnaw like the worm — we who smite like the scythe. It is ourselves who abolish — ourselves who consume: we are the mildew‚ and the flame.
There is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
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