N. 1. The land of everyday, commonplace things; 2. The online compendium of 393 public-domain essays.


Joseph Addison

(1672–1719) / 6 essays

Wit and humor, as have a tendency to expose vice and folly, furnish useful diversions.

Francis Bacon

(1561–1626) / 6 essays

There be so many false points of praise, that a man may justly hold it a suspect.

W. N. P. Barbellion

(1889–1919) / 3 essays

My life [is a] struggle with ill-health and ambition, and I have mastered neither.

Hilaire Belloc

(1870–1953) / 8 essays

Time can take only what is ripe, but Death comes always too soon.

Arthur Benson

(1862–1925) / 3 essays

The worth of experience is not measured by what is called success, but rather resides in a fullness of life

Isabella Bird

(1831–1904) / 1 essays

I have found a dream of beauty at which one might look all one’s life and sigh.

Nellie Bly

(1864–1922) / 2 essays

It is only after one is in trouble that one realizes how little sympathy and kindness there are in the world.

Thomas Browne

(1605–1682) / 5 essays

Where life is more terrible than death, it is then the truest valor to dare to live.

Fanny Burney

(1752–1840) / 4 essays

What strange ideas are taken from mere book-reading.

Margaret Cavendish

(1623–1673) / 5 essays

If tranquility lives in an honest mind the mind dwells in peace.

G. K. Chesterton

(1874–1936) / 3 essays

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.

Mary Chudleigh

(1656–1710) / 1 essays

The fear of death is the occasional cause of the greatest part of…mean dishonorable actions.

Elizabeth Clinton

(1575–1638) / 1 essays

The mothers then that refuse to nurse their owne children, doe they not despise God’s providence?

Charles Colton

(1780–1832) / 3 essays

We owe almost all of our knowledge not to those who have agreed, but to those who have differed.

Anna Julia Cooper

(1858–1964) / 1 essays

Nothing natural can be wholly unworthy.

Susan Fenimore Cooper

(1813–1894) / 2 essays

Of the infinite variety of fruits which spring from the bosom of the earth, the trees of the wood are the greatest in dignity.

William Cornwallis

(1579–1614) / 2 essays

It is easier to think well than to do well; and no trial to have handsome dapper conceits run invisibly in a brain.

Abraham Cowley

(1618–1667) / 4 essays

It is a hard and nice subject for a man to write of himself.

William Cowper

(1731–1800) / 4 essays

Uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life. Security is an insipid thing.

Thomas Culpeper

(1626–1697) / 1 essays

Though [essays] may gather some honey from the best flowers of wit and learning, they have a limitation from none.

Thomas De Quincey

(1785–1859) / 8 essays

All is finite in the present; and even that finite is infinite in its velocity of flight towards death.

Maria Edgeworth

(1767–1849) / 0 essays

Some people talk of morality, and some of religion, but give me a little snug property.

T. S. Eliot

(1888–1965) / 1 essays

Knowledge is invariably a matter of degree: you cannot put your finger upon even the simplest datum and say this we know.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803–1882) / 4 essays

Our being is descending into us from we know not whence.

Sui Sin Far

(1865–1914) / 1 essays

I have no nationality and am not anxious to claim any. Individuality is more than nationality.

Owen Felltham

(1602–1668) / 2 essays

We begin to be miserable, when we are totally bent on some one temporal object.

Sigmund Freud

(1856–1939) / 1 essays

My main object is to collect everyday material and utilize it scientifically.

Margaret Fuller

(1810–1850) / 1 essays

None can sympathize with thoughts like mine, who are permanently ensnared in the meshes of sect or party.

Katharine Fullerton Gerould

(1879–1944) / 3 essays

Common sense has a deal of caution in it; and do we not, somewhere in the world, need rashness?

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

(1860–1935) / 2 essays

There is nothing in maternity, nothing in the natural relation of the sexes which should make the female the servant of the male.

Oliver Goldsmith

(1735–1774) / 3 essays

From the highest to the lowest, this people seem fond of sights and monsters.

Louise Imogen Guiney

(1861–1920) / 12 essays

It is diverting to study…how many indispensables man can live without.

Gail Hamilton

(1838–1896) / 5 essays

Manhood discovers what childhood can never divine,—that the sorrows of life are superficial, and the happiness…structural.

Jane Ellen Harrison

(1850–1928) / 2 essays

Anyone who cares passionately for abstract discussion, be his hair never so gray,…is in spirit young.

Eliza Haywood

(1693–1756) / 3 essays

To know ourselves, is agreed by all to be the most useful Learning.

William Hazlitt

(1778–1830) / 28 essays

In art, in taste, in life, in speech, you decide from feeling, and not from reason.

James Howell

(1594–1666) / 2 essays

Excuse me that I trouble you thus with these rambling meditations.

William Dean Howells

(1837–1920) / 1 essays

The soul… is the supernal criticism of the deeds done in the body.

David Hume

(1711–1776) / 1 essays

Learning has been as great a Loser by being shut up in Colleges and Cells, and secluded from the World.

Leigh Hunt

(1784–1859) / 13 essays

The test of seeing and hearing… is in the ideas we realize, and the pleasure we derive.

Thomas Henry Huxley

(1825–1895) / 2 essays

A small beginning has led us to a great ending.

Edward Hyde

(1609–1674) / 1 essays

There is nothing worthier of an honest man than to have contention with nobody.

L. P. Jacks

(1860–1955) / 1 essays

The richest and most significant experiences of man…are the least patient of verbal reproduction.

Harriet Jacobs

(1813–1897) / 2 essays

There are wrongs which even the grave does not bury.

Jerome K. Jerome

(1859–1927) / 4 essays

One we discover how to appreciate the timeless values in our daily experiences, we can enjoy the best things in life.

Samuel Johnson

(1709–1784) / 5 essays

Every diversity of art or nature…may supply matter to him whose only rule is to avoid uniformity.

Yoshida Kenko

(1283–1350) / 1 essays

It is a fine thing when a man who thoroughly understands a subject is unwilling to open his mouth.

Caroline Kirkland

(1801–1864) / 2 essays

The wildflowers of Michigan deserve a poet of their own.

Charles Lamb

(1775–1834) / 19 essays

The mighty future is as nothing, being every thing! The past is every thing, being nothing.

Walter Savage Landor

(1775–1864) / 1 essays

A man’s vanity tells him what is honor, a man’s conscience what is justice.

Vernon Lee

(1856–1935) / 10 essays

I know few things more odious than the chilly, draughty, emptiness of a place without a history.

Don Marquis

(1878–1937) / 1 essays

The best good that you can possibly achieve is not good enough if you have to strain yourself all the time to reach it.

Edward Sanford Martin

(1856–1939) / 1 essays

It does a comfortable sufferer good to get his head out of his conveniences sometimes and complain.

Harriet Martineau

(1802–1876) / 5 essays

My chief object in life shall be the cultivation of my intellectual powers, with a view to the instruction of others.

Alice Meynell

(1847–1922) / 22 essays

More candid is the author who has no world, but turns that appeal inwards to his own heart.

A. A. Milne

(1882–1956) / 12 essays

There is a crispness about celery that is of the essence of October.

Michel de Montaigne

(1533–1592) / 50 essays

I seek out change indiscriminately and tumultuously. My style and my mind alike go roaming.

Hannah More

(1745–1833) / 7 essays

If all accomplishments could be bought at the price of a single virtue, the purchase would be infinitely dear.

Christopher Morley

(1890–1957) / 3 essays

The real purpose of books is to trap the mind into doing its own thinking.

Elisabeth Morris

(1870–1964) / 10 essays

Ground your happiness in a nice dove tailing of eager conviction with tolerant in difference, and you are safe for a lifetime.

William Osler

(1849–1919) / 1 essays

The strength of a student of men is…to study men, their habits…their vices, virtues, and peculiarities.

Ann Plato

(1820–?) / 6 essays

The graves before me…are thickly deposited. The marble that speak the names, bid us prepare for Death.

Agnes Repplier

(1855–1950) / 7 essays

It has been wisely said that we cannot really love anybody at whom we never laugh.

Grace Little Rhys

(1865–1929) / 4 essays

Eyes and mind soon become accustomed to a miracle that happens every day and in time notice no more.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

(4–65) / 4 essays

That which was bitter to bear is pleasant to have borne; it is natural to rejoice at the ending of one’s ills.

Alexander Smith

(1830–1867) / 15 essays

In my book there is little more life than there is in the market-place on the days when there is no market.

Richard Steele

(1672–1729) / 3 essays

When a man has no design but to speak plain truth, he may say a great deal in a very narrow compass.

Edith Stein

(1891–1942) / 5 essays

My longing for truth was a single prayer.

Robert Lewis Stevenson

(1850–1894) / 6 essays

A happy man or woman is a better thing to find than a five-pound note.

Jonathan Swift

(1667–1745) / 4 essays

It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.

William Temple

(1628–1699) / 4 essays

The first ingredient in conversation is truth, the next good sense, the third good humor, and the fourth wit.

H. M. Tomlinson

(1873–1958) / 6 essays

It is better to obey the mysterious direction … when it points to a new road, however strange that road may be.

Mark Twain

(1835–1910) / 2 essays

The adoption of cremation would relieve us of a muck of threadbare burial-witticisms.

Edith Wharton

(1862–1937) / 3 essays

True originality consists not in a new manner but in a new vision.

Mary Wollstonecraft

(1759–1797) / 5 essays

We must have an object to refer our reflections to, or they will seldom go below the surface.


(1876–1938) / 1 essays

To my innermost consciousness the phenomenal universe is a royal mantle, vibrating with His divine breath.

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Essayist of the Month
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William Hazlitt was born on April 10, 1778

Most Popular Essays
  1. “A modest proposal”

  2. Jonathan Swift

  3. “On lying in bed”

  4. G. K. Chesterton

  5. “On laziness”

  6. Christopher Morley

  7. “On running after one’s hat”

  8. G. K. Chesterton

  9. “Description of a desert”

  10. Ann Plato

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“The Bound God”

Grace Little Rhys

That huge and helpless sleeper became to me as the God in the soul of man that was struggling in its sleep, trying to free itself, trying to rise from the earth.


Grace Little Rhys

We should be more grateful to the flowers did we realize this gift of theirs; they are the lamps of the daytime, unspeakably bright.

“An Essay on Essays”

Katharine Fullerton Gerould

A good essay is neither intoxicant nor purge nor anodyne; it is a mental stimulant.


Edith Wharton

There is no explanation of the crowding of the other department [stores] except the fact that woman, however valiant, however tried, however suffering and however self-denying, must eventually, in the long run, and at whatever cost to her pocket and her ideals, begin to shop again.

“Harems and Ceremonies”

Edith Wharton

To occidental travelers the most vivid impression produced by a first contact with the Near East is the surprise of being in a country where the human element increases instead of diminishing the delight of the eye. Nothing is as democratic in appearance as a society of which the whole structure hangs on the whim of one man.


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