25 Charles Mackay Quotes and Insights About Life

Look alive with our Charles Mackay quotes. 

Today we are focusing our attention on the brilliant Scottish poet Charles Mackay.

Mackay had an interesting career as a writer and rubbed elbows with some significant literary giants. 

Check out our Charles Mackay quotes below!

Who was Charles Mackay?

Charles Mackay was born in Perth, Scotland, on March 27, 1814. 

He had a successful career as a poet, journalist, novelist, songwriter, and anthologist. 

His most famous works are Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds

He was the son of George Mackay, a Navy lieutenant, and Amelia Cargill, who died when he was young. 

For this reason, Mackay was brought up by foster parents. 

Check out these interesting facts about Charles Mackay below:

  • Mackay earned a doctorate degree. 
  • Mackay was friends and colleagues with Charles Dickens.
  • Mackay would read his poems to live music in front of crowds. 

How did Charles Mackay become a writer?

Mackay studied languages in school and, after graduating, got a job as the private secretary to the famed ironmaster William Cockerill. 

He began writing for the French newspaper Courrier Belge in his spare time

Afterward, he appeared in the English newspaper The Telegraph

From there, his poetry and writings grew in popularity. 

Later, Mackay would write for several newspapers and eventually landed a spot as Assistant Editor. 

He worked alongside Charles Dickens, and they developed a friendship. 

What is Charles Mackay known for?

Mackay was celebrated as a poet, but he also published major anthologies. 

He wrote and chronicled various histories in Scotland, England, and the United States. 

Mackay was proud of his heritage and sought to keep his cultural language relevant. 

He is remembered for writing the Gaelic Etymology of the Languages of Western Europe and The Dictionary of Lowland Scotch

These works presented the idea that many of today’s English words can be traced back to Scottish Gaelic. 

To learn more, check out our Charles Mackay quotes below. 

Short Charles Mackay quotes about the madness of crowds. 

The Madness of Crowds was one of Mackays most popular published works. 

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Mackay had a talent for expression; these short quotes will remind you why. 

1. “Men of thought and men of action, clear the Way!” — Charles Mackay

2. “There’s a good time coming, boys! A good time coming.” — Charles Mackay

3. “Aid the dawning, tongue, and pen; Aid it, hopes of honest men!” — Charles Mackay

4. “If happy I and wretched he, Perhaps the king would change with me.” — Charles Mackay

5. “Some love to roam o’er the dark sea’s foam, Where the shrill winds whistle free.” — Charles Mackay

Famous Charles Mackay quotes about the nature of man

Mackay shared many opinions about human nature, as shown in the following quotes.

6. “War in men’s eyes shall be A monster of iniquity In the good time coming.” — Charles Mackay 

7. “There’s a midnight blackness changing into gray; Men of thought and men of action, clear the way.” — Charles Mackay

8. “Nations shall not quarrel then, To prove which is the stronger; Nor slaughter men for glory’s sake; Wait a little longer.” — Charles Mackay

9. “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.” — Charles Mackay

10. “Three causes especially have excited the discontent of mankind; and, by impelling us to seek remedies for the irremediable, have bewildered us in a maze of madness and error. These are death, toil, and the ignorance of the future.” — Charles Mackay

The top vividly beautiful quotes from the poet Charles Mackay

The following quotes show the skilled poetic writing of Mackay.

11. “Water is the mother of the vine, the nurse and fountain of fecundity, the adorner and refresher of the world.” — Charles Mackay

12. “But the sunshine aye shall light the sky, As round and round we run; And the truth shall ever come uppermost, And justice shall be done.” — Charles Mackay

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13. “He who has mingled in the fray of duty that the brave endure, must have made foes. If you have none, small is the work that you have done.” — Charles Mackay

14. “Truth and if mine eyes can bear its blaze, and trace its symmetries. Measure its distance, and its advent wait, I am no prophet, I but calculate.” — Charles Mackay

15. “There is no such thing as death. In nature nothing dies. From each sad remnant of decay, some forms of life arise so shall his life be taken away before he knoweth that he hath it.” — Charles Mackay

The best Charles Mackay quotes about the nation and the crown

Mackay’s work was critical of the separation between kings, nations, and common people. 

16. “Then where’s the difference? Let me see, betwixt my lord the king and me?” — Charles Mackay

17. “The king can drink the best of wine; so can I. And has enough when he would dine; so have I. And cannot order rain or shine; nor can I.” — Charles Mackay

18. “Nations, like individuals, cannot become desperate gamblers with impunity. Punishment is sure to overtake them sooner or later.” — Charles Mackay

19. “In reading The History of Nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities, their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do.” — Charles Mackay

20. “Money, again, has often been a cause of the delusion of the multitudes. Sober nations have all at once become desperate gamblers, and risked almost their existence upon the turn of a piece of paper.” — Charles Mackay

Charles Mackay quotes and sayings about nature and the ages 

Mackay was a master wordsmith who conjured colorful images in the minds of his readers. 

21. “An arrow may fly through the air and leave no trace; but an ill thought leaves a trail like a serpent.” — Charles Mackay

22. “There’s a fount about to stream, There’s a light about to beam, There’s a warmth about to glow, There’s a flower about to blow.” — Charles Mackay

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23. “Of all the offspring of Time, Error is the most ancient, and is so old and familiar an acquaintance, that Truth, when discovered, comes upon most of us like an intruder, and meets the intruder’s welcome.” — Charles Mackay

24. “Every age has its peculiar folly: Some scheme, project, or fantasy into which it plunges, spurred on by the love of gain, the necessity of excitement, or the force of imitation.” — Charles Mackay

25. “There is scarcely an occurrence in nature which, happening at a certain time, is not looked upon by some persons as a prognosticator either of good or evil.  The latter are in the greatest number, so much more ingenious are we in tormenting ourselves than in discovering reasons for enjoyment in the things that surround us.” — Charles Mackay

What can we learn from Charles Makay today?

Charles Mackay’s life was one of observation and expression. 

He observed the world around him and expressed what he saw. 

Mackay promoted action and believed in setting goals and actively working towards them. 

He also recognized that it was impossible to live your truth without receiving scorn from others. 

We are human beings, and making mistakes is part of our nature. 

When we see our mistakes as learning opportunities, they can become valuable teachers. 

Mackay notes, “No man is so wise but that he may learn some wisdom from his past errors, either of thought or action, and no society has made such advances as to be capable of no improvement from the retrospect of its past folly and credulity.”

All of us benefit from critically analyzing our thoughts and actions. 

We grow our ideas by trying them out in different situations. 

Charles Mackay understood this and celebrated those moments in life when we fall down. 

Do you have a favorite Charles Mackay quote?

Be sure to let us know in the comments section below. 

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