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American short story writer and essayist
(1783 - 1859)
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What earnest worker, with hand and brain for the benefit of his fellowmen, could desire a more pleasing recognition of his usefulness than the monument of a tree, ever growing, ever blooming, and ever bearing wholesome fruit?
      - [Arbor Day]

When friends grow cold, and the converse of intimates languishes into vapid civility and commonplace, books only continue the unaltered countenance of happier days, and cheer us with that true friendship which never deceived hope nor deserted sorrow.
      - [Books]

When the Gauls laid waste Rome, they found the senators clothed in their robes, and seated in stern tranquillity in their curule chairs; in this manner they suffered death without resistance or supplication. Such conduct was in them applauded as noble and magnanimous; in the hapless Indians it was reviled as both obstinate and sullen. How truly are we the dupes of show and circumstances! How different is virtue, clothed in purple and enthroned in state, from virtue, naked and destitute, and perishing obscurely in a wilderness.
      - [Circumstance]

Whenever a man's friends begin to compliment him about looking young, he may be sure that they think he is growing old.
      - [Aging]

Who can look down upon the grave even of an enemy, and not feel a compunctious throb, that he should ever have warred with the poor handful of earth that lies mouldering before him!
      - [Enemies]

With every exertion, the best of men can do but a moderate amount of good; but it seems in the power of the most contemptible individual to do incalculable mischief.
      - [Evil : Exertion]

Young lawyers attend the courts not because they have business there but because they have no business anywhere else.
      - [Lawyers]

The almighty dollar, that great object of universal devotion throughout our land, seems to have no genuine devotees in these peculiar villages.
      - Creole Village--In Wolfert's Roost,
        appeared in "Knickerbocker Magazine", Nov., 1836

Here's to your good health, and your family's good health, and may you all live long and prosper.
      - Rip Van Winkle,
        (from The Sketch Book) as used by Joseph Jefferson

[The following Tale was found among the papers of the late Diedrich Knickerbocker, an old gentleman of New York, who was curious in the Dutch history of the province, and the manners of the descendants from its primitive settlers. His historical researches, however, did not lie so much among books as among men; for the former are lamentably scanty on his favorite topics; whereas he found the old burghers, and still more their wives, rich in that legendary lore, so invaluable to true history. . . .]
      - Rip Van Winkle,
        (from The Sketch Book)
        [Books (First Lines)]

There was one species of despotism under which he had long groaned, and that was petticoat government.
      - Rip Van Winkle,
        (from The Sketch Book)

There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse; as I have found in travelling in a stage-coach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position and be bruised in a new place.
      - Tales of a Traveller (preface) [Change]

In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market town or rural port, which by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly known by the name of Tarry Town.
      - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,
        (from The Sketch Book)
        [Books (First Lines)]

The moon of the whip-poor-will from the hillside; the boding cry of the tree-toad, that harbinger of storm; the dreary hooting of the screechowl.
      - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,
        (from The Sketch Book)

I was always fond of visiting new scenes, and observing strange characters and manners. Even when a mere child I began my travels, and made many tours of discovery into foreign parts and unknown regions of my native city, to the frequent alarm of my parents, and the emolument of the town-crier.
      - The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.
        [Books (First Lines)]

His very faults smack of the raciness of his good qualities.
      - The Sketch Book--John Bull [Faults]

No sooner does he hear any of this brothers mention reform or retrenchment, than up he jumps.
      - The Sketch Book--John Bull [Government]

They who drink beer will think beer.
      - quoted by
        The Sketch Book--Stratford-on-Avon

As I sat on a sunny bank
  On Christmas day in the morning
    I spied three ships come sailing in.
      - The Sketch Book--The Sunny Bank

History fades into fable; fact becomes clouded with doubt and controversy; the inscription moulders from the tablet: the statue falls from the pedestal. Columns, arches, pyramids, what are they but heaps of sand; and their epitaphs, but characters written in the dust?
      - The Sketch Book--Westminster Abbey [Ruin]

Man passes away; his names perishes from record and recollection; his history is as a tale that is told, and his very monument becomes a ruin.
      - The Sketch Book--Westminster Abbey [Man]

The idol of to-day pushes the hero of yesterday out of our recollection, and will, in turn, be supplanted by his successor of to-morrow.
      - The Sketch Book--Westminster Abbey

Free livers on a small scale; who are prodigal within the compass of a guinea.
      - The Stout Gentleman [Eating]

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