Great Thoughts From Master Minds

     A note for new visitors.  Most of the pages on this site are complete, but many are incomplete.  This is because I wanted to provide as much material as possible, even if only to whet the appetite, and will go back to complete the pages as time and circumstances allow.


     (I recently acquired a copy of the very first volume of “The Boy’s Own Paper” from 1879 and have added a few pages to this site containing extracts from this book.  Several of those pages are currently incomplete or need polishing, but I am publishing them now in order to provide fresh content.  They wll be polished and finished as time allows.  I hope you will find them of general interest)


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GREAT THOUGHTS are here to thrill and stir
          The pulses of each noble mind:
From high-souled poets, who confer
          Unmeasured wealth upon mankind;
From gracious thinkers, who rejoice
          To share with us their gathered lore -
Thinkers, whose free and mighty voice
          Has made us nobler than before;
From sages, too, inspired to tell
          Stories of chivalry and truth,
Which we weave a never-dying spell
          O’er the responsive mind of youth.
Here History unrolls her page,
          With records of the death of kings;
And golden maxims of the sage
          Bring counsel on their sounding wings.
Come, gentle readers, then, and bring
          Nothing of indolence or pride;
But dip your vases in the spring
          Which gently murmurs at your side.

This poem was written by the editor of Great Thoughts from Master Minds.   Vol. VIII.  No.183.  July 2nd 1887.


REAT THOUGHTS are our most precious and enduring treasures, and great thinkers are our truest benefactors.  “The debt,” writes Lord Macaulay, “which a man of liberal education owes to the great minds of former ages is incalculable.  They have guided him to truth.  They have filled his mind with noble and graceful images.  They have stood by him in all vicissitudes, comforters in sorrow, nurses in sickness, companions in solitude.  These friendships are exposed to no danger from the occurrences  by which other attachments are weakened or dissolved.  Time glides on; fortune is inconstant; tempers are soured; bonds which seemed indissoluble are daily sundered by interest, by emulation, or by caprice.  But no such cause can affect the silent converse which we hold with the highest of human intellects.  That placid intercourse is disturbed by no jealousies or resentments.  These are the old friends who are never seen with new faces; who are the same in wealth and in poverty, in glory and in obscurity.  With the dead there is no rivalry.  In the dead there is no change.  Plato is never sullen.  Cervantes is never petulant.  Demosthenes never comes unseasonably.  Dante never stays too long.” 

(Great Thoughts from Master Minds -  Volume III.  No. 60  February 21st, 1885.)


REAT THOUGHTS ennoble by bringing us into communion with superior spirits, and lending to us some faint reflection of their greatness and their splendour.  In reading passages from such authors as Milton, Bacon, and Newton, thoughts greater than the growth of our own minds are conveyed to them; and feelings more profound, sublime, or comprehensive, than our own unaided intellect could generate are enkindled.  We walk with giants, and instinctively bear ourselves more nobly than we should do without such companionship. 

(Great Thoughts from Master Minds - Vol. III  No. 62.  March 7th 1885.)


REAT THOUGHTS are amongst the chiefest blessings of our transitory life - there are none which breathe a purer fragrance, or have a heavenlier look.  They are companions which no misfortune can depress, no clime destroy, no enemy alienate, no despotism enslave: at home friends, abroad an introduction, in solitude a solace, in society an ornament, they are positively indispensable to happiness.  Without them what is man?  A splendid slave!  A stupid savage!  vacillating between the dignity of a creature formed for God and the degradation of the brutes who spring from the dust, and who return thither. 

(Great Thoughts from Master Minds - Vol. I  January to June 1884.  Page 273.)


REAT THOUGHTS not only dignify the soul, but also impart new grace and beauty to the body.  Hence J. Hain Friswell wisely says, that if man or woman wishes to realise the full power of personal beauty, it must be by cherishing noble thoughts and purposes, by having something to do, and something to live for, which is worthy of humanity, and which, by expanding the capacity of the soul, gives expansion and symmetry to the body which contains it.  It is very certain that all the benign affections - love, hope, pity, pure joy, and many other intellectual qualities - add to and call forth beauty.  On the other hand, meanness, fear, cowardice, wickedness, cunning, call forth the bad passions, and render us ugly.

(Great Thoughts from Master Minds - Vol.1   January to June 1884.  Page 145.)


Great Thoughts are the silent forces which mould our civilization to great issues.  Hence Edmund Burke once said:- “Tell me what are the prevailing sentiments that occupy the minds of your young men, and I will tell you what is to be the character of the next generation.”

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