Washington Irving Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 75 quotes)
Such was the Arab of the desert, the dweller in tents, in whom was fulfilled the prophetic destiny of his ancestor Ishmael. " He will be a wild man ; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him." Nature had fitted him for his destiny. His form was light and meagre, but sinewy and active, and capable oi sustaining great fatigue and hardship. He was temper- ate and even abstemious, requiring but little food, and that of the simplest kind. His mind, like his body, was light and agile. He eminently possessed the intellectual attributes of the Shemitic race, penetrating sagacity, sub- tle wit, a ready conception, and a brilliant imagination. His sensibilities were quick and acute, though not last- ing ; a proud and daring spirit was stamped on his sal- low visage and flashed from his dark and kindling eye. He was easily aroused by the appeals of eloquence, and charmed by the graces of poetry. Speaking a language copious in the extreme, the words of which have been com- pared to gems and flowers, he was naturally an orator ; but he delighted in proverbs and apothegms, rather than in sustained flights of declamation, and was prone to con-vey his ideas in the oriental style, by apologue and parable.
A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.
Brought up, as Mahomet was, in the house of the guardian of the Caaba, the ceremonies and devotions connected with the sacred edifice may have given an early bias to his mind, and inclined it to those speculations in matters of religion by which it eventually became engrossed. Though his Moslem biographers would fain persuade us his high destiny was clearly foretold in his childhood by signs and prodigies, yet his education appears to have been as much neglected as that of ordinary Arab children ; for we find that he was not taught either to read or write. He was a thoughtful child, however ; quick to observe, prone to meditate on all that he observed, and possessed of an imagination fertile, daring, and expansive. The yearly influx of pilgrims from distant parts made Mecca a receptacle for all kinds of floating knowledge, which he appears to have imbibed with eagerness and retained in a tenacious memory ; and as he increased in years, a more extended sphere of observation was gradually opened to him.
All these, however, were mere terrors of the night, phantoms of the mind that walk in darkness; and though he had seen many spectres in his time, and been more than once beset by Satan in divers shapes, in his lonely pre-ambulations, yet daylight put an end to all these evils; and he would have passed a pleasent life of it, in despite of the devil and all his works, if his path had not been crossed by a being that causes more perplexity to mortal man than ghosts, goblins, and the whole race of witches put together, and that was - a woman.
There, in a gloomy street not far from the monastic walls of the Sorbonne, he pursued his favorite speculations. Sometimes he spent hours in the great libraries of Paris, those catacombs of departed authors, rummaging among their hoards of dusty and obsolete works in quest of food for his unhealthy appetite. He was, in a manner, a literary ghoul, feeding in the charnel-house of decayed literature.