S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
Wherever men are assembled in societies, and are not swallowed up in sloth or most debasing passion, there the great elements of our nature are in action; and much as in this day, to look upon the face of life, it appears to be removed from all poetry, we cannot but believe that, in the very heart of our most civilized lifein our cities, in each great metropolis of commerce, in the midst of the most active concentration of all those relations of being which seem most at war with imaginationthere the materials which imagination seeks in human life are yet to be found. It were much to be wished, therefore, for the sake both of our literature and of our life, that imagination would again be content to dwell with life; that we had less of poetry, and more of strengthand that imagination were again to be found, as it used to be, one of the elements of life itself,a strong principle of our nature, living in the midst of our affections and passions, blending with, kindling, invigorating, and exalting them all.
Since the revelation of Christianity all moral thought has been sanctified by religion. Religion has given to it a purity, a solemnity, a sublimity which even amongst the noblest of the heathen we shall look for in vain. The knowledge that shone by fits and dimly on the eyes of Socrates and Plato, that rolled in vain to find the light, has descended over many lands into the huts where poor men lie; and thoughts are familiar there, beneath the low and smoking roofs, higher far than ever flowed from Grecian sage meditating among the magnificence of his pillared temples.
Professor John Wilson: Recreations of Christopher North.