Robert Louis Stevenson Quotes

The Robert Louis Stevenson quotes on this page are my favourite quotes from a man of great wisdom and insight.

Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish writer and poet who lived from 1850 to 1894, writing across a wide variety of genres, from travel articles and books, to poems for children and adventure stories like Kidnapped and Treasure Island.

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Stevenson suffered from ill health all his life and came close to death many times.

As an adult, he travelled the world with his family in search of a climate that would be good for his health and in 1890 settled in Samoa where he lived until his death.

Stevenson was an only child and was intelligent, perceptive and had a great imagination.

He was interested in everything and everyone and enjoyed getting to know people from all walks of life and from diverse cultures.

Robert Louis Stevenson, aged about 7

He was also incredibly optimistic and positive with a great love of life.

Writers are by nature introspective, thoughtful people and I guess it's all these qualities combined, together with his experienced travelling the world, which gave him the wisdom I think is evident in the quotes on this page.


Robert Louis Stevenson Quotes

'A friend is a gift you give yourself'.

'Absences are a good influence in love and keep it bright and delicate'.

'All human beings are commingled out of good and evil'.

'All speech, written or spoken, is a dead language, until it finds a willing and prepared hearer'.

'An aim in life is the only fortune worth finding'.

'Books are good enough in their own way, but they are a poor substitute for life'.

'Compromise is the best and cheapest lawyer'.

'Even if the doctor does not give you a year, even if he hesitates about a month, make one brave push and see what can be accomplished in a week'.

'Every heart that has beat strongly and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world, and bettered the tradition of mankind'.

'Every man has a sane spot somewhere'.

'Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences'.

'Everyone lives by selling something'.

'Fiction is to the grown man what play is to the child; it is there that he changes the atmosphere and tenor of his life'.

'For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move'.

'I am in the habit of looking not so much to the nature of a gift as to the spirit in which it is offered'.

'I never weary of great churches. It is my favorite kind of mountain scenery. Mankind was never so happily inspired as when it made a cathedral'.

'I regard you with an indifference closely bordering on aversion'.

'I've a grand memory for forgetting'.

'If a man loves the labour of his trade, apart from any question of success or fame, the gods have called him'.

'If your morals make you dreary, depend on it, they are wrong'.

'In marriage, a man becomes slack and selfish, and undergoes a fatty degeneration of his moral being'.

'It is better to lose health like a spendthrift than to waste it like a miser'.

'It is not likely that posterity will fall in love with us, but not impossible that it may respect or sympathize; so a man would rather leave behind him the portrait of his spirit than a portrait of his face'.

'It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit'.

'It is one thing to mortify curiosity, another to conquer it'.

'It is the mark of a good action that it appears inevitable in retrospect'.

'Judge each day not by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant'.

'Keep your eyes open to your mercies. The man who forgets to be thankful has fallen asleep in life'.

'Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others'.

'Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well'.

'Marriage is like life - it is a field of battle, not a bed of roses'.

'Marriage is one long conversation, chequered by disputes'.

'Marriage: A friendship recognized by the police'.

'Most of our pocket wisdom is conceived for the use of mediocre people, to discourage them from ambitious attempts, and generally console them in their mediocrity'.

'Nothing made by brute force lasts'.

'Nothing more strongly arouses our disgust than cannibalism, yet we make the same impression on Buddhists and vegetarians, for we feed on babies, though not our own'.

'Of what shall a man be proud, if he is not proud of his friends?'

'Old and young, we are all on our last cruise'.

'Once you are married, there is nothing left for you, not even suicide'.

'Our business in life is not to succeed, but to continue to fail in good spirits'.

'Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things'.

'Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary'.

'Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm'.

'So long as we love, we serve; so long as we are loved by others, I should say that we are almost indispensable; and no man is useless while he has a friend'.

'Talk is by far the most accessible of pleasures. It costs nothing in money, it is all profit, it completes our education, founds and fosters our friendships, and can be enjoyed at any age and in almost any state of health'.

'That man is a success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much'.

'The body is a house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passers-by to come and love us'.

'The cruelest lies are often told in silence'.

'The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean; not to affect your reader, but to affect him precisely as you wish'.

'The habit of being happy enables one to be freed, or largely freed, from the domination of outward conditions'.

'The price we have to pay for money is sometimes liberty'.

'The truth that is suppressed by friends is the readiest weapon of the enemy'.

'The world has no room for cowards'.

'The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings' ~ from A Child's Garden of Verses

'There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign'.

'There is an idea abroad among moral people that they should make their neighbors good. One person I have to make good: Myself. But my duty to my neighbor is much more nearly expressed by saying that I have to make him happy if I may'.

'There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world'.

'There is no progress whatever. Everything is just the same as it was thousands, and tens of thousands, of years ago. The outward form changes. The essence does not change'.

'There is only one difference between a long life and a good dinner: that, in the dinner, the sweets come last'.

'To be idle requires a strong sense of personal identity'.

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