Agnes Repplier

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People who pin their faith to a catchword never feel the necessity of understanding anything.

Agnes Repplier (1 April 185815 December 1950) was an American essayist born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her essays are esteemed for their scholarship and wit.

Quotes[edit]

  • It is in his pleasures that a man really lives; it is from his leisure that he constructs the true fabric of self.
    • in "Leisure" (July 1893)
  • The necessity of knowing a little about a great many things is the most grievous burden of our day. It deprives us of leisure on the one hand, and of scholarship on the other.
    • in "Lectures" (1894)
  • ...we ... know very well that we never learn unless we like our lesson, and never behave ourselves unless inspired by precept and example. The history of every nation is the heritage of its sons and daughters; and the story of its struggles, sufferings, misdeeds, and glorious atonements is the story that keeps alive in all our hearts that sentiment of patriotism, without which we are speeding swiftly on our path to national corruption and decay.
    • in "Old Wine and New" (May 1896)
  • ...why should our self-appointed instructors assume that because we do not chatter about a thing, we have never heard of it?
    • in "The Repeal of Reticence" (March 1914)
  • People who pin their faith to a catchword never feel the necessity of understanding anything.
    • in "Women and War" (May 1915)
  • Had the Pilgrim Fathers been met on Plymouth Rock by immigration officials; had their children been placed immediately in good free schools, and given the care of doctors, dentists, and nurses; had they found themselves in infinitely better circumstances than they had ever enjoyed in England, indulging in undreamed-of luxuries, and taught by kind-hearted philanthropists,—what pioneer virtues would they have developed, what sons would they have bred, what honours would history have accorded them? If our early settlers were masterful, they earned the right to mastery, and the price they paid for it was endurance. To the sacrifices which they made, to their high courage and heroic labours, we owe law, liberty, and well-being.
    • in "The Modest Immigrant" (1916)
  • We can reckon the cost of misdirected emotions by the price which the past has paid for them. We know the full significance of that irresponsible sympathy which ... admits no difference between attack and resistance, between a war of aggression and a war of defence; which confuses moral issues, ignores experience, and insults the intelligence of mankind. The reformer whose heart is in the right place, but whose head is elsewhere, represents a waste of force; and we can not afford any waste in the conservation of honour and goodness.
    • in "The Cost of Modern Sentiment" (1916)
  • The sentiment of to-day is social and philanthropic. ... [but] we must forever bear in mind that sentiment is subjective, and a personal thing. However exalted and however ardent, it cannot be accepted as a scale for justice, or as a test for truth.
    • in "The Cost of Modern Sentiment" (1916)
  • What the world asks now are state reforms and social reforms,—in other words, the reformation of our neighbours. What the Gospel asks, and has always asked, is the reformation of ourselves ... Mr. [G. K.] Chesterton spoke but the truth when he said that Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult, and not tried.
    • in "Consolations of the Conservative" (December 1919)
  • The sanguine assurance that men and nations can be legislated into goodness, that pressure from without is equivalent to a moral change within, needs a strong backing of inexperience. 'The will,' says Francis Thompson, 'is the lynch-pin of the faculties.' We stand or fall by its strength or its infirmity. Where there is no temptation, there is no virtue. Parental legislation for the benefit of the weak leaves them as weak as ever ... They may go to heaven in leading-strings, but they cannot conquer Apollyon on the way.
    • in "Consolations of the Conservative" from Points of Friction (1920)
  • War will pass when injustice passes. Never before, unless hope leaves the world.
    • in "Woman Enthroned" (1920)

External links[edit]