What better place to ponder famous writers’ words than the quotations on the walls at the Library of Congress (LOC)? The oldest of the three structures, the Jefferson Building, is located in Washington, DC. The Beaux Arts venue features sumptuous sculptures, paintings, and artwork.
But being a writer, I was most curious about the inscriptions and quotations engraved on the walls in the Great Hall.
Quotations make us stop and think.
Rene Descartes wrote “the reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.” So why not commence a conversation with great men of letters?
On These Walls
These inscriptions and quotes were chosen by Harvard University President Charles W. Eliot and Librarian of Congress Rand Spofford. Some of their choices now seem archaic but then so does the alphabet. I had to train my brain to turn what looked like the letter V into the letter U.
The quotes can be found on the gilt wall tablets above the windows as well as stretching around the circumference of the room.
I think they will make you ponder. Please share your thoughts in the comments section at the end of this article.
“The glory of every people arises from its authors.”Samuel Johnson
“The history of the world is the biography of great men.”Thomas Caryle
“Knowledge comes but wisdom lingers.”Alfred Lord Tennyson
“Books will speak plain when counselors blanch.”Francis Bacon
“Wisdom is the principal thing therefore get wisdom with all they getting get wisdom.”Proverbs 4:7 (King James version)
“Ignorance is the curse of God /Knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.”William Shakespeare (Henry VI)
“How charming is divine philosophy.”John Milton
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty.”John Keats
“There is but one temple in the universe and that is the body of man.”Novalis
“In books lies the soul of the whole past time.”Thomas Carlyle
“Words are also actions and actions are a kind of words.”Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Reading maketh the whole man / Conference a ready man / an writing an exact man.”Francis Bacon
“The true university of these days is a collection of books.”Thomas Caryle
“Science is organized knowledge.”Immanuel Kant
“Books must follow sciences and not sciences book.”Francis Bacon
“Nature is the art of God.”Dante Alighieri
“Too low they build who build beneath the stars.”Edward Young
Nature of Man Quotes
“There is no work of genius which has not been the delight of mankind.”James Russell Lowell
“It is the mind that makes the man and our vigor is in our immortal soul.”Ovid
“They are never alone that are accompanied with noble thoughts.”Sir Philip Sydney
“Tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.”William Shakespeare (As You Like It)
“The true shekinah is man.”Talmud
“Only the actions of the just smell sweet and blossom in the dust.”James Shirley
“Art is long and time is fleeting.”Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“Beholding the bright countenance of truth in the quiet and still air of delightful studies.”John Milton
“Man is one world and hath another to attend him.”George Herbert
“Glory is acquired by virtue but preserved by letters.”
“The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.”Diogenes