Currently getting press after the discovery of what appears to be a new novel, a romance novel, none less, Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) is established as a major figure in English literary
and social circle
s. Notable is the fact that he wrote Christian apologetics
both as a Anglican
and then as a Catholic
after his conversion.
The new novel, Basil Howe, is semi-autobiographical and was written in 1894, 11 years before his first published novel Napoleon of Notting Hill was released and before his conversion. Speculation suggests that the influence of his wife may have kept in unpublished during his life.
Discovered by Conlon , professor of English literature at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, the novel was among notebooks kept by Dorothy Collins, Chesterton's secretary, until her death in 1989 and then sold to the British Library in London, England.
The original title of the novel is unknown, so it has been renamed after the main character.
Because of his conversion from the anglican faith to the roman catholic faith and his many writings about both faiths, G. K. Chesterton has become somewhat of a football, in that different people present views of him that emphasise different aspects of him. The catholics love his later works, especially St. Thomas Aquinas while those coming from an english literature background play up his critical works.
A Chesterton bibliography follows. Many of the essays originally appeared in his weekly Daily News column and were republished as small collections or individually. Other essays were originally published in Nash Magazine, the Daily Herald.
- 1900 Greybeards at Play (poetry)
I love to see the little Stars
all dancing to one tune;
I think quite highly of the Sun
and kindly of the Moon
- 1900 The Wild Knight and Other Poems (poetry)
- 1901 The Defendant (essays)
Most probably we are in Eden still. It is only our eyes that have changed.
'My country, right or wrong,' is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, 'My mother, drunk or sober.'
- 1902 Twelve Types (essays)
A man building up an intellectual system has to build like Nehemiah, with the
sword in one hand and the trowel in the other. The imagination, the constructive
quality, is the trowel, and argument is the sword. A wide experience of actual
intellectual affairs will lead most people to the conclusion that logic is mainly
valuable as a weapon wherewith to exterminate logicians.
- 1903 Robert Browning (literary criticism and biography)
Existence has a value wholly inexpressible, and we are most truly compelled to
that sentiment not by any argument or triumphant justification of the cosmos, but
by a few of these momentary and immortal sights and sounds, a gesture, an old
song, a portrait, a piano, an old door.
- 1904 G.F. Watts (art criticism)
The new school of art and thought does indeed wear an air of audacity, and
breaks out everywhere into blasphemies, as if it required any courage to say a
blasphemy. There is only one thing that requires real courage to say, and that is a
- 1904 The Napoleon of Notting Hill (novel)
If you look at a thing nine hundred and ninety-nine times, you are perfectly safe;
if you look at it the thousandth time, you are in frightful danger of seeing it for the
- 1905 The Club of Queer Trades (short stories?)
Being good is a an adventure far more violent and daring than sailing around the
- 1905 Heretics (religion)
Take away the supernatural, and what remains is the unnatural
- 1906 Charles Dickens (biography and literary criticism)
The common mind means the mind of all the artists and heroes; or else it would
not be common. Plato had the common mind; Dante had the common mind.
Commonness means the quality common to the saint and the sinner, to the
philosopher and the fool; and it was this that Dickens grasped and developed. In
everybody there is a certain thing that loves babies, that fears death, that likes
sunlight: that thing enjoys Dickens. And everybody does not mean uneducated
crowds; everybody means everybody.
- 1907 The Man Who Was Thursday (novel)
The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always
objected to being governed at all.
- 1908 All Things Considered (essays)
Man is always something worse or something better than an animal; and a mere
argument from animal perfection never touches him at all. Thus, in sex no animal
is either chivalrous or obscene. And thus no animal ever invented anything so bad
as drunkenness - or so good as drink.
- 1908 Orthodoxy (religion)
Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It
is the democracy of the dead.
The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks
to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.
- 1908 Varied Types (essays)
We are learning to do a great many clever things. . . The next great task will be
to learn not to do them.
- 1909 George Bernard Shaw (philosophy, religion)
Something in the evil spirit of our time forces people always to pretend to have
found some material and mechanical explanation. . . It never crosses the modern
mind that perhaps a people is chiefly influenced by how that people has chosen to
- 1909 Tremendous Trifles (essays)
Misers get up early in the morning; and burglars, I am informed, get up the night
before. It is the great peril of our society that all its mechanism may grow more
fixed while its spirit grows more fickle. A man's minor actions and arrangements
ought to be free, flexible, creative; the things that should be unchangeable are his
principles, his ideals. But with us the reverse is true; our views change
constantly; but our lunch does not change.
- 1909 The Ball and the Cross ()
The world left to itself grows wilder than any creed. . . That is the only real
question - whether the Church is really madder than the world. Let the
rationalists run their own race, and let us see where they end. If the world has
some healthy balance other than God, let the world find it. Does the world find it?
Cut the world loose! Does the world stand on its own end? Does it stand, or does
- 1910 William Blake (biography, art criticism)
We all feel the riddle of the earth without anyone to point it out. The mystery of
life is the plainest part of it. The clouds and curtains of darkness, the confounding
vapors, these are the daily weather of this world. Whatever else we have grown
accustomed to, we have grown accustomed to the unaccountable. Every stone or
flower is a hieroglyphic of which we have lost the key; with every step of our
lives we enter into the middle of some story which we are certain to
- 1910 Alarms and Discursions ()
But the great towns have grown intolerable solely because of such suffocating
vulgarities and tyrannies. It is not humanity that disgusts us in the huge cities; it
is inhumanity. It is not that there are human beings; but that they are not treated
as such. We do not, I hope, dislike men and women; we only dislike their being
made into a sort of jam: crushed together so that they are not merely powerless
- 1910 What's Wrong With the World (essays)
Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and
A thing worth doing is worth doing badly.
- 1911 The Ballad of the White Horse (epic poem)
The wise men know what wicked things
Are written on the sky,
They trim sad Lamps, they touch sad strings,
Hearing the heavy purple wings,
Where the forgotten seraph kings
Still plot how God shall die.
- 1911 Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens aka Chesterton on Dickens (literary criticism)
The wise old fairy tales never were so silly as to say that the prince and the
princess lived peacefully ever afterwards. The fairy tales said that the prince and
the princess lived happily, and so they did. They lived happily, although it is very
likely that from time to time they threw the furniture at each other. Most
marriages, I think, are happy marriages; but there is no such thing as a contented
marriage. The whole pleasure of marriage is that it is a perpetual crisis.
- 1911 The Innocence of Father Brown (mystery)
Reason is always reasonable, even in the last limbo, in the lost borderland of
things. I know that people charge the Church with lowering reason, but it is just
the other way. Alone on earth, the Church makes reason really supreme. Alone on
earth, the Church affirms that God himself is bound by reason.
- 1912 A Miscellany of Men (essays)
I say you cannot really understand any myths till you have found that one of
them is not a myth. Turnip ghosts mean nothing if there are no real ghosts. Forged
bank-notes mean nothing if there are no real bank-notes. Heathen gods mean
nothing, and must always mean nothing to those of us that deny the Christian
God. When once a god is admitted is admitted, even a false god, the Cosmos
begins to know its place: which is second place. When once it is the real God, the
Cosmos falls down before Him.
- 1912 Manalive (novel)
This man's spiritual power has been precisely this, that he has distinguished
between custom and creed. He has broken the conventions, but he has kept the
- 1912 The Victorian Age in Literature (literary criticism)
You will find twenty allusions to Jekyll and Hyde in a day's newspaper reading.
You will also find that all such allusions suppose the two personalities to be
equal, neither caring for the other. Or more roughly, they think the book means
that man can be cloven into two creatures, good and evil. The whole stab of the
story is that man can't: because while evil does not care for good, good must care
for evil. Or, in other words, man cannot escape from God, because good is the
God in man; and insists on omniscience. This point, which is good psychology and
also good theology and also good art, has missed its main intention merely
because it was also good story-telling.
- 1912 Magic (play)
Conjurer: "Doctor, there are about a thousand reasons why I should not tell you
how I really did that trick. But one will suffice, because it is the most practical of
Doctor: "Well? And why shouldn't you tell me?"
Conjurer: "Because you wouldn't believe me if I did."
- 1914 The Barbarism of Berlin (politics)
- 1914 The Flying Inn (novel)
Mr. Mandragon the Millionaire, he wouldn't have wine or a wife,
He couldn't endure complexity; he lived the simple life;
He ordered his lunch by megaphone in manly, simple tones,
And used all motors for canvassing voters,
and twenty telephones;
Besides a dandy little machine,
Cunning and neat as ever was seen,
With a hundred pulleys and cranks between,
Made of iron and kept quite clean,
To hoist him out of his healthful bed on every day of his life,
And wash him and brush him and shave him and dress him
to live the Simple Life.
- 1914 The Wisdom of Father Brown (mystery)
What we all dread most," said the priest in a low voice, "is a maze with no
centre. That is why atheism is only a nightmare.
- 1915 Poems (poetry)
O God of earth and altar,
Bow down and hear our cry,
Our earthly rulers falter,
Our people drift and die;
The walls of gold entomb us,
The swords of scorn divide,
Take not thy thunder from us,
But take away our pride.
- 1915 Wine, Water, and Song (poetry)
Feast on wine or fast on water
And your honour shall stand sure,
God Almighty's son and daughter
He the valiant, she the pure;
If an angel out of heaven
Brings you other things to drink,
Thank him for his kind attentions,
Go and pour them down the sink.
- 1915 The Appetite of Tyranny (politics)
We are fighting to prevent a German future for Europe. We think it would be
narrower, nastier, less sane, less capable of liberty and of laughter, than any of
the worst parts of the European past.
- 1915 The Crimes of England (politics)
The Church had learnt, not at the end but at the beginning of her centuries, that
the funeral of God is always a premature burial.
- 1916 Divorce vs. Democracy (politics)
The rich do mainly believe in divorce. The poor do mainly believe in fidelity. But
the modern rich are powerful and the modern poor are powerless. Therefore for
years and decades past the rich have been preaching their own virtues. Now that
they have begun to preach their vices too, I think it is time to kick.
- 1917 Lord Kitchener (biography)
There is an English proverb which asks whether the mountain goes to Mahomet
or he to the mountain, and it may be a question whether his religion be the cause
or the effect of a certain spirit, vivid and yet strangely negative, which dwells in
such deserts. Walking among the olives of Gaza or looking on the Philistine plain,
such travellers may well feel that they are treading on cold volcanoes, as empty
as the mountains of the moon. But the mountain of Mahomet is not yet an extinct
- 1917 Utopia of Usurers (essays)
"I say that men have not been compelled by iron economic laws, but in the main
by the coarse and Christless cynicism of other men.
- 1917 A Short History of England (history)
To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.
- 1918 How to Help Annexation (politics)
- 1919 Irish Impressions (politics)
Not only is patriotism a part of practical politics, but it is more practical than any
- 1918 The Superstition of Divorce (morals)
The obvious effect of frivolous divorce will be frivolous marriage. If people can
be separated for no reason they will feel it all the easier to be united for no
- 1918 The Uses of Diversity (politics)
Materialism says the universe is mindless; and faith says it is ruled by the
highest mind. Neither will be satisfied with the new progressive creed, which
declares hopefully that the universe is half-witted.
- 1919 The New Jerusalem (criticism)
A wall is like a rule; and the gates are like the exceptions that prove the rule.
The man making it has to decide where his rule will run and where his exceptions
shall stand. He cannot have a city that is all gates any more than a house that is
all windows; nor is it possible to have a law that consists entirely of liberties.
- 1922 The Ballad of St. Barbara and Other Poems ()
The sages have a hundred maps to give
That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,
They rattle reason out through many a sieve
That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:
And all these things are less than dust to me
Because my name is Lazarus and I live.
- 1922 Eugenics and other Evils (essays)
The modern world is insane, not so much because it admits the abnormal as
because it cannot recover the normal.
- 1922 What I Saw in America (essays)
Then there was the question, 'Are you in favour of subverting the government of
the United States by force?' Against this I should write, 'I prefer to answer that
question at the end of my tour and not the beginning.' The inquisitor, in his more
than morbid curiosity, had then written down, 'Are you a polygamist?' The answer
to this is, 'No such luck' or 'Not such a fool,' according to our experience of the
- 1922 The Man Who Knew Too Much (mystery)
We're all really dependent in nearly everything, and we all make a fuss about
being independent in something.
- 1923 St. Francis of Assisi (history)
He understood down to its very depths the theory of thanks; and its depths are a
bottomless abyss. He knew that the praise of God stands on its strongest ground
when it stands on nothing.
- 1923 Fancies Versus Fads (essays)
Art is born when the temporary touches the eternal; the shock of beauty is when
the irresistible force hits the immovable post.
- 1924 The End of the Roman Road (criticism)
My conviction of the Roman background of all our arts and arms is a matter of
common sense and not of scholarship.
- 1925 The Superstitions of the Sceptic (speech)
Only at very slight moments, passing moments, has there been anything
resembling a really independent scepticism. The sceptics themselves have
always turned something else into a sacred object, into a superstition, and when
that thing was examined it was always found to be far narrower than the older
traditions that had been rejected.
- 1925 William Cobbett (biography)
What he (Cobbett) saw was the perishing of the whole English power of self-
support, the growth of cities that drain and dry up the countryside, the growth of
dense dependent populations incapable of finding their own food, the toppling
triumph of machines over men, the sprawling omnipotence of financiers over
patriots, the herding of humanity in nomadic masses whose very homes are
homeless, the terrible necessity of peace and the terrible probability of war; the
wealth that may mean famine and the culture that may mean despair; the bread of
Midas and the sword of Damocles. In a word, he saw what we see, but he saw it
when it was not there. And some cannot see it - even when it is there.
- 1925 Tales of the Long Bow (short stories)
These tales concern the doing of things recognised as impossible to do; impossible to believe;
and, as the weary reader may well cry aloud, impossible to read about.
The world is materialistic, but it isn't solid. It isn't hard or stern or ruthless in
pursuit of its purpose, or all the things that the newspapers and novels say it is;
and sometimes actually praise it for being. Materialism isn't like stone; it's like
mud, and liquid mud at that.
- 1925 The Everlasting Man (history)
When the world goes wrong, it proves rather that the Church is right. The Church
is justified, not because her children do not sin, but because they do.
The truth is that when critics have spoken of the local limitations of the Galilean,
it has always been a case of the local limitations of the critics.
- 1926 The Outline of Sanity (politics)
A pickpocket is obviously a champion of private enterprise. But it would perhaps
be an exaggeration to say that a pickpocket is a champion of private property. The
point about Capitalism and Commercialism, as conducted of late, is that they
have really preached the extension of business rather than the preservation of
belongings; and have at best tried to disguise the pickpocket with some of the
virtues of the pirate. The point about Communism is that it only reforms the
pickpocket by forbidding pockets.
- 1926 The Incredulity of Father Brown (mysteries)
It's the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense and
can't see things as they are.
- 1926 The Queen of Seven Swords (poems)
What are the flowers the garden guards not
And how but here should dreams return?
And how of hearths made cold with ruin
The wide wind-scattered ashes burn -
What is the home of the heart set free,
And where is the nesting of liberty,
And where from the world shall the world take shelter
And man be master, and not with Thee?
- 1927 The Catholic Church and Conversion (religion)
The Catholic Church is the only thing which saves a man from the degrading
slavery of being a child of his own age.
- 1927 The Collected Poems of G.K. Chesterton (poetry)
Oh, how I love Humanity,
With love so pure and pringlish,
And how I hate the horrid French,
Who never will be English!
- 1927 Gloria in Profundis (poem)
- 1927 The Judgment of Dr. Johnson (play)
He who has the impatience to interrupt the words of a another seldom has the
patience rationally to select his own.
- 1927 Robert Louis Stevenson (biography and criticism)
But most men know that there is a difference between the intense momentary
emotion called up by memory of the loves of youth, and the yet more
instantaneous yet more perfect pleasure of the memory of childhood. The former
is always narrow and individual, piercing the heart like a rapier; but the latter is
like a flash of lightning, for one split second revealing a whole varied landscape; it
is not the memory of a particular pleasure any more than of a particular pain, but
of a whole world that shone with wonder. The first is only a lover remembering
love; the second is like a dead man remembering life.
- 1927 The Secret of Father Brown (mysteries)
"There is a limit to human charity," said Lady Outram, trembling all over.
"There is," said Father Brown dryly; "and that is the real difference between
human charity and Christian charity. You must forgive me if I was not altogether
crushed by your contempt for my uncharitableness today; or by the lectures you
read me about pardon for every sinner. For it seems to me that you only pardon
the sins that you don't really think sinful. You only forgive criminals when they
commit what you don't regard as crimes, but rather as conventions. So you
tolerate a conventional duel, just as you tolerate a conventional divorce. You
forgive because there isn't anything to be forgiven."
- 1927 The Return of Don Quixote (novel)
"You can't really mean, Mr. Braintree," remonstrated the lady, "that you want
great men to be killed."
"Well, I think there's something in the idea," said Braintree. "Tennyson deserved
to be killed for writing the May-Queen, and Browning deserved to be killed for
rhyming 'promise' with 'from mice,' and Carlyle deserved to be killed for being
Carlyle; and Herbert Spencer deserved to be killed for writing 'The Man versus
The State"; and Dickens deserved to be killed for not killing Little Nell quick
enough, and. . ."
- 1927 Social Reform vs. Birth Control (essay)
Normal and real birth control is called self control.
- 1927 Culture and the Coming Peril (speech)
To put it shortly, the evil I am trying to warn you of is not excessive democracy,
it is not excessive ugliness, it is not excessive anarchy. It might be stated thus: It
is standardisation by a low standard.
- 1928 Do We Agree? (debate with George Bernard Shaw)
The Ten Commandments do, I think, correspond pretty roughly to the moral code
of every religion that is at all sane. These all reverence certain ideas about 'Thou
shalt not kill.' They all have a reverence for the commandment which says, 'Thou
shalt not covet thy neighbour's goods.' They reverence the idea that you must not
covet his house or his ox or his ass. It should be noted, too, that besides
forbidding us to covet our neighbour's property, this commandment also implies
that every man has a right to own some property.
- 1928 Generally Speaking (essays)
The statistician is trying to make a rigid and unchangeable chain out of elastic
- 1929 The Poet and the Lunatics (mysteries)
I doubt whether any truth can be told except in a parable
- 1929 Ubi Ecclesia (poem)
For the Sun is not lord but a servant
Of the secret sun we have seen:
The sun of the crypt and the cavern,
The crown of a secret queen:
Where things are not what they seem
But what they mean.
- 1929 Father Brown Omnibus (mysteries)
"Do you know what psychology means?" asked Flambeau with friendly surprise. "Psychology means being off your chump."
- 1929 The Thing: Why I am a Catholic (relegion)
These are the two marks of modern moral ideals. First, that they were borrowed
or snatched out of ancient or medieval hands. Second, that they wither very
quickly in modern hands.
The world really pays the supreme compliment to the Catholic Church in being
intolerant of her tolerating even the appearance of the evils which it tolerates in
- 1929 G.K.C. as M.C (criticism)
The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.
- 1930 The Grave of Arthur (poem)
A dream shall wail through the worm-shaped horn
'Dead is a King that never was born'
And a trumpet of truth from the Cross reply
"Dead is the King who shall not die'.
- 1930 Come to Think of It (essays)
It is not true that right and wrong changes. The particular concentration on a certain sort
of right changes; the relative toleration of a certain sort of wrong changes.
- 1930 The Resurrection of Rome (travel)
A fountain is itself a paradox. It is a sort of topsy-turvy prodigy to show that
water can fall upwards or flow uphill. . . It is water in a state of rebellion, or
least of resurrection.
- 1930 Four Faultless Felons (mysteries)
. . . and wherever I went, I should see petrol pumps instead of trees. That is the
logical end of your great progress of science and reason - and a damned illogical
end to a damned unreasonable progress. Every spot of England is to be covered
with petrol stations, so that people can travel about and see more petrol
- 1930 The Turkey and the Turk (play)
Two swords in crossing make the sign of the cross.
- 1931 All is Grist (essays)
This is a psychological age, which is the opposite of an intellectual age. It is not
a question of persuading men, but of suggesting how they are persuaded. It is an
age of Suggestion; that is, of appeal to the irrational part of man.
- 1932 Christendom in Dublin (religion)
Once remove the old arena of the theological quarrels, and you will throw open
the whole world to the most horrible, the most hopeless, the most endless, the
most truly interminable quarrels; the untheological quarrels.
- 1932 Sidelights on New London and Newer York (essays)
America has never been quite normal
- 1932 Chaucer (biography)
There is at the back of all our lives an abyss of light, more blinding and
unfathomable than any abyss of darkness; and it is the abyss of actuality, of
existence, of the fact that things truly are, and that we ourselves are incredibly
and sometimes almost incredulously real.
- 1933 All I Survey (essays)
A citizen can hardly distinguish between a tax and a fine, except that the fine is
generally much lighter.
- 1933 St. Thomas Aquinas (biography and religion)
To this question 'Is there anything?' St. Thomas begins by answering 'Yes'; if
he began by answering 'No', it would not be the beginning, but the end. That is
what some of us call common sense.
It is absurd for the Evolutionist to complain that it is unthinkable for an
admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing, and then pretend
that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into everything.
- 1934 Avowals and Denials (essays)
Of all modern phenomena, the most monstrous and ominous, the most manifestly
rotting with disease, the most grimly prophetic of destruction, the most clearly
and unmistakably inspired by evil spirits, the most instantly and awfully
overshadowed by the wrath of heaven, the most near to madness and moral
chaos, the most vivid with deviltry and despair, is the practice of having to listen
to loud music while eating a meal in a restaurant.
- 1935 The Scandal of Father Brown (mysteries)
"Surely," said Father Brown very gently, "it is not generous to make even God's
patience with us a point against him."
- 1935 The Well and the Shallows (religion)
Let all the babies be born; and then let us drown those we do not like.
- 1935 The Way of the Cross (religion)
(Regarding the mob which demanded Christ's death:) There is every shade of
every passion, or lack of passion, that may go to make up a huge human blunder
or crime; as if to emphasise the deeper doctrinal conception that every man has
his own quarrel with God.
- 1936 As I Was Saying (essays)
It is especially the educational film that threatens to darken and weaken the
human intelligence. . . A false film might be refuted in a hundred books, without
much affecting the million dupes who had never read the books but only seen the
- 1936 Autobiography (biography)
Religious liberty might be supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss
religion. In practice it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it.
- 1937 The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond (mysteries)
How many men have sold their souls to be admired by fools?
- 1938 The Coloured Lands (mixed)
For children are innocent and love justice; while most of us are wicked and
naturally prefer mercy.
- 1940 The End of the Armistice (essays)
In the lands of the new religions, rapidly turning into the new irreligions, there
had already sprung up a number of new tests and theories; of which the most
menacing was the new theory of Race.
- 1950 The Common Man (essays)
Progress has been merely the persecution of the Common Man. . . There is no
normal thing that cannot now be taken from the normal man.
- 1952 The Surprise (play)
Obedience. The most thrilling word in the world; a very thunderclap of a word.
Why do all these fools fancy that the soul is only free when it disagrees with the
common command? Even the mobs who rise to burn and destroy owe all their
grandeur and terror, and a sort of authority, not to their anger but to their
agreement. Why should disagreement make us feel free?
- 1953 A Handful of Authors (essays)
A man may enjoy humour all by himself; he may see a joke when no one else
sees it; he may see the point and avoid it. But wit is sword; it is meant to make
people feel the point as well as see it. All honest people saw the point of Mark
Twain's wit. Not a few dishonest people felt it.
- 1955 The Glass Walking-Stick (essays)
The refined people seem to think that there is something unpleasant and profane
about making a war religious. I should say that there ought to be no war except
religious war. If war is irreligious, it is immoral. No man ought ever to fight at all
unless he is prepared to put his quarrel before that invisible Court of Arbitration
with which all religion is concerned. Unless he thinks he is vitally, eternally,
cosmically in the right, he is wrong to fire off a pocket-pistol.
- 1958 Lunacy and Letters (essays)
Sceptics do not succeed in pulling up the roots of Christianity; but they do
succeed in pulling up the roots of every man's ordinary vine and fig tree, of every
man's kitchen garden. Secularists have not succeeded in wrecking divine things;
but Secularists have succeeded in wrecking secular things.
- 1961 Where All Roads Lead (essays)
If there were no God, there would be no atheists.
- 1965 The Spice of Life (essays)
Some sneer; some snigger; some simper;
In the youth where we laughed and sang,
And they will end with a whimper
But we will end with a bang
- 1972 Chesterton on Shakespeare (essays)
The dispute that goes on between Macbeth and his wife about the murder of
Duncan is almost word for word a dispute which goes on at any suburban
breakfast table about something else. It is merely a matter of changing 'Infirm of
purpose, give me the daggers' into 'Infirm of purpose, give me the postage
- 1975 The Apostle and the Wild Ducks (essays)
The most dangerous thing in the world is to be alive; one is always in danger of
one's life. But anyone who shrinks from that is a traitor to the great scheme and
experiment of being.
- 1984 The Spirit of Christmas (mixed)
The idea of embodying goodwill - that is, of putting it into a body - is the huge
and primal idea of the Incarnation. A gift of God that can be seen and touched is
the whole point of the epigram of the creed. Christ Himself was a Christmas
present. . . The Three Kings came to Bethlehem bringing gold and frankincense
and myrrh. If they had only brought Truth and Purity and Love there would have
been no Christian art and no Christian civilization.
- 1986 Daylight and Nightmare (short stories)
Each was bound by a chain; the heaviest chain ever tied to a man - it is called a
- 1990 Brave New Family (mixed)
A man has been lucky in marrying the women he loves. But he is luckier in loving
the woman he marries.
- 1997 Platitudes Undone (mixed)
Jackson: "Truth is one's own conception of things."
Chesterton: "The Big Blunder. All thought is an attempt to discover if one's own
conception is true or not."
- 2000 On Lying in Bed and Other Essays (essays)
Lost somewhere in the enormous plains of time, there wanders a dwarf who is
the image of God, who has produced on a yet more dwarfish scale an image of
creation. The pigmy picture of God we call Man; the pigmy picture of creation we
The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.