Reference > Quotations > C.N. Douglas, comp. > Forty Thousand Quotations > Primary Author Index
C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
        A feeling of sadness and longing,
  That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
  As the mist resembles the rain.
        A handful of red sand from the hot clime
  Of Arab deserts brought,
Within this glass becomes the spy of Time,
  The minister of Thought.
        A Lady with a lamp shall stand
In the great history of the land,
      A noble type of good,
      Heroic womanhood.
        A life of honor and of worth
Has no eternity on earth,—
    ’Tis but a name—
And yet its glory far exceeds
That base and sensual life which leads
    To want and shame.
        A millstone and the human heart are driven ever round,
If they have nothing else to grind, they must themselves be ground.
        A storm-cloud lurid with lightning,
And a cry of lamentation,
Repeated and again repeated,
Deep and loud
As the reverberation
Of cloud answering unto cloud,
Swells and rolls away in the distance,
As if the sheeted
Lightning retreated,
Baffled and thwarted by the wind’s resistance.
        After a day of cloud and wind and rain
Sometimes the setting sun breaks out again,
  And, touching all the darksome woods with light,
Smiles on the fields until they laugh and sing,
Then like a ruby from the horizon’s ring,
  Drops down into the night.
        Ah yes, the sea is still and deep,
All things within its bosom sleep!
A single step, and all is o’er,
A plunge, a bubble, and no more.
        Ah, the souls of those that die
Are but sunbeams lifted higher.
        Ah! nothing is too late
Till the tired heart shall cease to palpitate.
        Ah! vainest of all things
Is the gratitude of kings.
        Ah! what would the world be to us,
  If the children were no more?
We should dread the desert behind us
  Worse than the dark before.
        Alas! to-day I would give everything
To see a friend’s face, or hear a voice
That had the slightest tone of comfort in it.
        All are architects of Fate,
  Working in these walls of Time;
Some with massive deeds and great,
  Some with ornaments of rhyme.
        All is of God. If He but wave His hand,
  The mists collect, the rains fall thick and loud;
Till, with a smile of light on sea and land,
  Lo! He looks back from the departing cloud.
Angels of life and death alike are His;
  Without His leave their pass no threshold o’er;
Who, then, would wish or dare, believing this,
  Against His messengers to shut the door?
        All things are symbols: the external shows
Of Nature have their image in the mind,
As flowers and fruits and falling of the leaves.
                    All things must change
To something new, to something strange.
        All your strength is in your union,
All your danger is in discord.
                                And as I read
I hear the crowing cock, I hear the note
Of lark and linnet, and from every page
Rise odors of ploughed field or flowery mead.
        And fast through the midnight dark and drear,
  Through the whistling sleet and snow,
Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept
  Towards the reef of Norman’s Woe.
        And in the wreck of noble lives
Something immortal still survives.
        And the bright faces of my young companions
Are wrinkled like my own, or are no more.
        And the maize-field grew and ripened,
Till it stood in all the splendor
Of its garments green and yellow.
        And the night shall be filled with music,
  And the cares that infest the day
Shall fold their tents like the Arabs,
  And as silently steal away.
        And the smith his iron measures hammered to the anvil’s chime;
Thanking God, whose boundless wisdom makes the flowers of poesy bloom
In the forge’s dust and cinders, in the tissues of the loom.
        And thy deep eyes, amid the gloom,
Shine like jewels in a shroud.
        And, as she looked around, she saw how Death, the consoler,
Laying his hand upon many a heart, had healed it forever.
        Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
        As pleasant songs, at morning sung,
The words that dropped from his sweet tongue
Strengthened our hearts; or, heard at night,
Made all our slumbers soft and light.
        As unto the bow the cord is,
So unto the man is woman;
Though she bends him she obeys him
Though she draws him, yet she follows,
Useless each without the other!
        Be still, sad heart, and cease repining,
Behind the clouds the sun is shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all;
Into each life some rain must fall,—
Some days must be dark and dreary.
                        Be thy sleep
Silent as night is, and as deep.
                  Beholding the moon rise
Over the pallid sea and the silvery mist of the meadows:
Silently one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossom’d the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.
        Bell, thou soundest merrily,
When, the bridal party
  To the church doth hie!
Bell, thou soundest solemnly,
When, on Sabbath morning,
  Fields deserted lie!
        Beloved country! banish’d from thy shore,
A stranger in this prison-house of clay,
The exil’d spirit weeps and sighs for thee!
Heavenward the bright perfections I adore direct.
        Build me straight, O worthy Master!
  Staunch and strong, a goodly vessel
That shall laugh at all disaster,
  And with wave and whirlwind wrestle!
        Buried was the bloody hatchet;
Buried was the dreadful war-club;
Buried were all warlike weapons,
And the war-cry was forgotten.
Then was peace among the nations.
        But noble souls, through dust and heat,
Rise from disaster and defeat
  The stronger.
        But thou dost make the very night itself
Brighter than day.
        Came the Spring with all its splendor,
All its birds and all its blossoms,
All its flowers, and leaves, and grasses.
        Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear
  Has grown familiar with your song;
I hear it in the opening year,
  I listen, and it cheers me long.
        Come back! ye friendships long departed!
That like o’erflowing streamlets started,
And now are dwindled, one by one,
To stony channels in the sun!
Come back! ye friends, whose lives are ended,
Come back, with all that light attended,
Which seemed to darken and decay
When ye arose and went away!
        Dead he is not, but departed—for the artist never dies.
        Death never takes one alone, but two!
Whenever he enters in at a door,
Under roof of gold or roof of thatch,
He always leaves it upon the latch,
And comes again ere the year is o’er,
Never one of a household only.
        Decide not rashly. The decision made
Can never be recalled. The Gods implore not,
Plead not, solicit not; they only offer
Choice and occasion, which once being passed
Return no more. Dost thou accept the gift?
        Do you ne’er think what wondrous beings these?
Do you ne’er think who made them, and who taught
The dialect they speak, where melodies
  Alone are the interpreters of thought?
Whose household words are songs in many keys,
Sweeter than instrument of man e’er caught!
        Don’t cross the bridge till you come to it,
Is a proverb old, and of excellent wit.
        Down sank the great red sun, and in golden, glimmering vapors
Veiled the light of his face, like the Prophet descending from Sinai.
        Down to the Plymouth Rock, that had been to their feet as a doorstep
Into a world unknown the corner-stone of a nation!
        Even the blackest of them all, the crow,
Renders good service as your man-at-arms,
Crushing the beetle in his coat of mail,
And crying havoc on the slug and snail.
                            Evening came.
The setting sun stretched his celestial rods of light
Across the level landscape, and, like the Hebrews
In Egypt, smote the rivers, brooks, and ponds,
And they became as blood.
        Far off I hear the crowing of the cocks,
And through the opening door that time unlocks
Feel the fresh breathing of To-morrow creep.
        Feeling is deep and still; and the word that floats on the surface
Is as the tossing buoy, that betrays where the anchor is hidden.
                    For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.
        For bells are the voice of the church;
They have tones that touch and search
  The hearts of young and old.
        For his heart was in his work, and the heart
Giveth grace unto every art.
        For I am weary, and am overwrought
With too much toil, with too much care distraught,
And with the iron crown of anguish crowned.
Lay thy soft hand upon my brow and cheek,
        O peaceful Sleep!
        For voices pursue him by day,
  And haunt him by night,—
And he listens, and needs must obey,
  When the Angel says: “Write!”
        God sent His Singers upon earth
With songs of sadness and of mirth,
That they might touch the hearts of men,
And bring them back to Heaven again.
        Good-night! good-night! as we so oft have said
  Beneath this roof at midnight, in the days
  That are no more, and shall no more return.
Thou hast but taken up thy lamp and gone to bed;
  I stay a little longer, as one stays
  To cover up the embers that still burn.
        Gorgeous flowerets in the sunlight shining,
  Blossoms flaunting in the eye of day,
Tremulous leaves, with soft and silver lining,
  Buds that open only to decay.
        Hail to the King of Bethlehem,
Who weareth in His diadem
The yellow crocus for the gem
    Of His authority!
        He is dead, the sweet musician!
*        *        *        *        *
He has moved a little nearer
To the Master of all music.
        He loved the twilight that surrounds
  The border-land of old romance;
  Where glitter hauberk, helm, and lance,
And banner waves, and trumpet sounds,
And ladies ride with hawk on wrist,
  And mighty warriors sweep along,
Magnified by the purple mist,
  The dusk of centuries and of song.
        Her cap of velvet could not hold
The tresses of her hair of gold,
That flowed and floated like the stream,
And fell in masses down her neck.
                    Her silver voice
Is the rich music of a summer bird,
Heard in the still night, with its passionate cadence.
        How beautiful is youth! how bright it gleams
With its illusions, aspirations, dreams!
Book of Beginnings, Story without End,
Each maid a heroine, and each man a friend!
          How far the gulf-stream of our youth
May flow into the Arctic region of our lives,
Where little else than life itself survives.
        How in the turmoil of life can love stand,
Where there is not one heart, and one mouth and one hand.
        I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
    And wild and sweet
    The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
        I heard the trailing garments of the Night
Sweep through her marble halls.
        I hope, as no unwelcome guest,
At your warm fireside, when the lamps are lighted,
To have my place reserved among the rest,
Nor stand as one unsought and uninvited!
        I like that ancient Saxon phrase which calls
The burial ground, God’s Acre! It is just;
It consecrates each grave within its walls,
And breathes a benison o’er the sleeping dust.
*        *        *        *        *
Into its furrows shall we all be cast,
In the sure faith, that we shall rise again
At the great harvest, when the archangel’s blast
Shall winnow, like a fan, the chaff and grain.
        I saw the long line of the vacant shore,
  The sea-weed and the shells upon the sand,
  And the brown rocks left bare on every hand,
As if the ebbing tide would flow no more.
        I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me
That my soul cannot resist;
A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.
        I see their scattered gravestones gleaming white
Through the pale dusk of the impending night.
O’er all alike the imperial sunset throws
Its golden lilies mingled with the rose;
We give to each a tender thought and pass
Out of the graveyards with their tangled grass.
        If thou art worn and hard beset
With sorrows, that thou wouldst forget,
If thou wouldst read a lesson, that will keep
Thy heart from fainting, and thy soul from sleep,
Go to the woods and hills! No tears
Dim the sweet look that Nature wears.
            In December ring
    Every day the chimes;
    Loud the gleemen sing
In the streets their merry rhymes.
    Let us by the fire
    Ever higher
Sing them till the night expire!
        In the elder days of Art,
  Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part;
  For the gods see everywhere.
        It is a dream, sweet child! a waking dream,
A blissful certainty, a vision bright,
Of that rare happiness, which even on earth
Heaven gives to those it loves.
            It is Lucifer,
The son of mystery;
And since God suffers him to be,
He, too, is God’s minister,
And labors for some good
By us not understood.
        Is it, O man, with such discordant noises,
  With such accursed instruments as these,
Thou drownest Nature’s sweet and kindly voices,
  And jarest the celestial harmonies?
        It was Autumn, and incessant
  Piped the quails from shocks and sheaves,
And, like living coals, the apples
  Burned among the withering leaves.
        Janus am I; oldest of potentates!
Forward I look and backward and below
I count—as god of avenues and gates—
The years that through my portals come and go.
I block the roads and drift the fields with snow,
I chase the wild-fowl from the frozen fen;
My frosts congeal the rivers in their flow,
My fires light up the hearths and hearts of men.
        Joy, and Temperance, and Repose,
Slam the door on the doctor’s nose.
        Just above yon sandy bar,
  As the day grows fainter and dimmer,
Lonely and lovely, a single star
  Lights the air with a dusky glimmer.
        Kind messages, that pass from land to land;
  Kind letters, that betray the heart’s deep history,
In which we feel the pressure of a hand,—
  One touch of fire,—and all the rest is mystery!
        Leaving us heirs to amplest heritages
Of all the best thoughts of the greatest sages,
And giving tongues unto the silent dead!
        Let nothing disturb thee,
Nothing affright thee;
All things are passing;
God never changeth;
Patient endurance
Attaineth to all things;
Who God possesseth
In nothing is wanting;
Alone God sufficeth.
        Let one unceasing, earnest prayer
Be, too, for light,—for strength to bear
Our portion of the weight of care,
That crushes into dumb despair
    One half the human race.
        Let us then be up and doing,
  With a heart for any fate,
Still achieving, still pursuing,
  Learn to labor and to wait.
        Life is real, life is earnest,
  And the grave is not its goal;
Dust them art, to dust returnest,
  Was not spoken of the soul.
        Like two cathedral towers these stately pines
      Uplift their fretted summits tipped with cones;
      The arch beneath them is not built with stores,
  Not Art but Nature traced these lovely lines,
  And carved this graceful arabesque of vines;
      No organ but the wind here sighs and moans,
      No sepulchre conceals a martyr’s bones,
  No marble bishop on his tomb reclines.
Enter! the pavement, carpeted with leaves,
      Gives back a softened echo to thy tread!
  Listen! the choir is singing; all the birds,
In leafy galleries beneath the eaves,
      Are singing! listen, ere the sound be fled,
  And learn there may be worship without words.
        Lives of great men all remind us
  We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us
  Footprints on the sands of time;—
Footprints, that perhaps another,
  Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwreck’d brother,
  Seeing, shall take heart again.
        Love keeps the cold out better than a cloak.
It serves for food and raiment.
            Many ghosts, and forms of fright,
Have started from their graves to-night;
They have driven sleep from mine eyes away.
        May-flowers blooming around him,
Fragrant, filling the air with a strange and wonderful sweetness.
        Merrily, merrily whirled the wheels of the dizzying dances
Under the orchard-trees and down the path to the meadows;
Old folk and young together, and children mingled among them.
        Midnight! the outpost of advancing day!
  The frontier town and citadel of night!
        Morn on the mountain, like a summer bird,
Lifts up her purple wing, and in the vales
The gentle wind, a sweet and passionate wooer,
Kisses the blushing leaf.
                    My designs and labors
And aspirations are my only friends.
              My own thoughts
Are my companions.
        Nature is a revelation of God;
Art a revelation of man.
                    Nature paints not
In oils, but frescoes the great dome of heaven
With sunsets, and the lovely forms of clouds
And flying vapors.
                        Night after night,
He sat and bleared his eyes with books.
        No one is so accursed by fate,
No one so utterly desolate,
    But some heart, though unknown,
    Responds unto his own.
                              No tears
Dim the sweet look that Nature wears.
        Noble souls, through dust and heat,
Rise from disaster and defeat
The stronger;
And conscious still of the divine
Within them, lie on earth supine
No longer.
        Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
  Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
  Finds us farther than to-day.
*        *        *        *        *
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
  Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, act, in the living Present!
  Heart within, and God o’erhead!
        Not in the clamor of the crowded street,
Not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng,
But in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.
        Nothing that is can pause or stay;
The moon will wax, the moon will wane,
The mist and cloud will turn to rain,
The rain to mist and cloud again,
  To-morrow be to-day.
        Now to rivulets from the mountains
  Point the rods of fortune-tellers;
Youth perpetual dwells in fountains,
  Not in flasks, and casks, and cellars.
        O beautiful, awful Summer day,
What hast thou given, what taken away?
Life and death, and love and hate,
Homes made happy or desolate,
Hearts made sad or gay.
        O child! O new-born denizen
Of life’s great city! on thy head
The glory of the morn is shed,
Like a celestial benison!
Here at the portal thou dost stand,
And with thy little hand
Thou openest the mysterious gate
Into the future’s undiscovered land.
        O friend! O best of friends! Thy absence more
Than the impending night darkens the landscape o’er.
        O holy Night! from thee I learn to bear
  What man has borne before!
Thou layest thy finger on the lips of Care,
  And they complain no more.
        O holy trust! endless sense of rest!
  Like the beloved John
To lay his head upon the Saviour’s breast,
  And thus to journey on!
        O lost days of delight, that are wasted in doubting and waiting!
O lost hours and days in which we might have been happy!
        O lovely eyes of azure,
Clear as the waters of a brook that run
Limpid and laughing in the summer sun!
        O peaceful Sleep! until from pain released
I breathe again uninterrupted breath!
Ah, with what subtile meaning did the Greek
Call thee the lesser mystery, at the feast
Whereof the greater mystery is death.
        O summer day beside the joyous sea!
O summer day so wonderful and white,
So full of gladness and so full of pain!
Forever and forever shalt thou be
To some the gravestone of a dead delight,
To some the landmark of a new domain.
        O thou sculptor, painter, poet,
  Take this lesson to thy heart;
That is best which lieth nearest;
  Shape from that thy work of art.
        O weary hearts! O slumbering eyes!
O drooping souls, whose destinies
Are fraught with fear and pain,
Ye shall be loved again.
        O ye dead Poets, who are living still
Immortal in your verse, though life be fled,
And ye, O living Poets, who are dead
Though ye are living, if neglect can kill,
Tell me if in the darkest hours of ill,
With drops of anguish falling fast and red
From the sharp crown of thorns upon your head.
Ye were not glad your errand to fulfill?
        O, fear not in a world like this,
  And thou shalt know ere long,—
Know how sublime a thing it is
  To suffer and be strong.
        O, though oft oppressed and lonely,
  All my fears are laid aside,
If I but remember only
  Such as these have lived and died!
                    Oh, sleep! sweet sleep!
Whatever form thou takest, thou art fair,
Holding unto our lips thy goblet filled
Out of Oblivion’s well, a healing draught!
        Oh, there is something in that voice that reaches
The innermost recesses of my spirit!
        Other hope had she none, nor wish in life, but to follow
Meekly, with reverent steps, the sacred feet of her Saviour.
        Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee,
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,
Our faith triumphant o’er our fears,
Are all with thee,—are all with thee!
        Our lives are rivers gliding free
To that unfathom’d, boundless sea,
    The silent grave!
Thither all earthly pomp and boast
Roll, to be swallow’d up and lost
    In one dark wave.
        Our pleasures and our discontents,
Are rounds by which we may ascend.
        Out of the bosom of the Air,
  Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
  Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
    Silent, and soft, and slow
    Descends the snow.
        Patience; accomplish thy labor; accomplish thy work of affection!
Sorrow and silence are strong, and patient endurance is godlike.
Therefore accomplish thy labor of love, till the heart is made godlike,
Purified, strengthened, perfected, and rendered more worthy of heaven.
        Perhaps there lives some dreamy boy, untaught
In schools, some graduate of the field or street,
Who shall become a master of the art,
An admiral sailing the high seas of thought
Fearless and first, and steering with his fleet
For lands not yet laid down in any chart.
        Safe from temptation, safe from sin’s pollution,
She lives, whom we call dead.
        Sail forth into the sea of life,
O gentle, loving, trusting wife,
And safe from all adversity
Upon the bosom of that sea
Thy comings and thy goings be!
For gentleness and love and trust
Prevail o’er angry wave and gust;
And in the wreck of noble lives
Something immortal still survives.
        Sail on, O Ship of State!
Sail on, O Union, strong and great.
        Saint Augustine! well hast thou said,
  That of our vices we can frame
A ladder, if we will but tread
  Beneath our feet each deed of shame.
        Sang in tones of deep emotion,
Songs of love and songs of longing.
        Sculpture is more divine, and more like Nature,
That fashions all her works in high relief,
And that is Sculpture. This vast ball, the Earth,
Was moulded out of clay, and baked in fire;
Men, women, and all animals that breathe
Are statues, and not paintings.
        Sculpture is more than painting. It is greater
To raise the dead to life than to create
Phantoms that seem to live.
        See yonder fire! It is the moon
Slow rising o’er the eastern hill.
It glimmers on the forest tips,
And through the dewy foliage drips
In little rivulets of light,
And makes the heart in love with night.
        Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing,
Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
So on the ocean of life we pass and speak one another,
Only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.
        Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.
        Skilful alike with tongue and pen,
He preached to all men everywhere
The Gospel of the Golden Rule,
The New Commandment given to men,
Thinking the deed, and not the creed,
Would help us in our utmost need.
        So many ghosts, and forms of fright,
Have started from their graves to-night,
They have driven sleep from mine eyes away;
I will go down to the chapel and pray.
        So Nature deals with us, and takes away
  Our playthings one by one, and by the hand
  Leads us to rest so gently, that we go,
Scarce knowing if we wish to go or stay,
  Being too full of sleep to understand
How far the unknown transcends the what we know.
        So when a great man dies,
  For years beyond our ken,
The light he leaves behind him lies
  Upon the paths of men.
        Softly the evening came. The sun from the western horizon
Like a magician extended his golden wand o’er the landscape;
Twinkling vapors arose; and sky and water and forest
Seemed all on fire at the touch, and melted and mingled together.
        Something the heart must have to cherish,
  Must love, and joy, and sorrow learn;
Something with passion clasp, or perish,
  And in itself to ashes burn.
        *  *  *  Songs of that high art
Which, as winds do in the pine,
Find an answer in each heart.
        Spake full well, in language quaint and olden,
One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine,
When he called the flowers, so blue and golden,
Stars, that in earth’s firmament do shine.
        Standing with reluctant feet,
Where the brook and river meet,
Womanhood and childhood fleet!
        Still achieving, still pursuing,
  Learn to labor and to wait.
        Strange to me now are the forms I meet
When I visit the dear old town;
But the native air is pure and sweet,
And the trees that o’ershadow each well-known street,
As they balance up and down,
Are singing the beautiful song,
Are sighing and whispering still:
“A boy’s will is the wind’s will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.”
        Such songs have power to quiet
  The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
  That follows after prayer.
        Sweet April! many a thought
  Is wedded unto thee, as hearts are wed;
Nor shall they fail, till, to its autumn brought,
  Life’s golden fruit is shed.
        Sweet is the air with the budding haws, and the valley stretching for miles below
Is white with blossoming cherry-trees, as if just covered with lightest snow.
        Talk not of wasted affection, affection never was wasted;
If it enrich not the heart of another, its waters, returning
Back to their springs, like the rain, shall fill them full of refreshment;
That which the fountain sends forth returns again to the fountain.
                    That beautiful season
*  *  *  the Summer of All-Saints!
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.
        That was the first sound in the song of love!
Scarce more than silence is, and yet a sound
Hands of invisible spirits touch the strings
Of that mysterious instrument, the soul,
And play the prelude of our fate. We hear
The voice prophetic, and are not alone.
        The air is full of farewells to the dying,
And mournings for the dead.
        The bells themselves are the best of preachers,
Their brazen lips are learned teachers,
From their pulpits of stone, in the upper air,
Sounding aloft, without crack or flaw,
Shriller than trumpets under the Law,
Now a sermon and now a prayer.
        The counterfeit and counterpart
Of Nature reproduced in art.
        The course of my long life hath reached at last,
In fragile bark o’er a tempestuous sea,
The common harbor, where must rendered be,
Account of all the actions of the past.
        The day is cold, and dark, and dreary,
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.
        The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.
        The day is ending,
The night is descending;
The marsh is frozen,
The river dead.
        The emigrant’s way o’er the western desert is mark’d by
Camp-fires long consum’d and bones that bleach in the sunshine.
        The flash of his keen black eyes
Forerunning the thunder.
        The gentle wind, a sweet and passionate wooer,
Kisses the blushing leaf.
        The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart,
When the full river of feeling overflows;—
The happy days unclouded to their close;
The sudden joys that out of darkness start
As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
        The hooded clouds, like friars,
  Tell their beads in drops of rain.
        The life of woman is full of woe,
Toiling on and on and on,
With breaking heart, and tearful eyes,
The secret longings that arise,
Which this world never satisfies!
Some more, some less, but of the whole
Not one quite happy, no, not one!
                    The light upon her face
Shines from the windows of another world.
Saints only have such faces.
        The lovely town was white with apple-blooms,
  And the great elms o’erhead
Dark shadows wove on their ærial looms,
  Shot through with golden thread.
        The low desire, the base design
That makes another’s virtues less.
        The night is calm and cloudless,
  And still as still can be,
And the stars come forth to listen
  To the music of the sea.
They gather, and gather, and gather,
  Until they crowd the sky,
And listen, in breathless silence,
  To the solemn litany.
        The nightingales among the sheltering boughs
Of populous and many-nested trees
Shall teach me how to woo thee, and shall tell me
By what resistless charms or incantations
They won their mates.
        The Nile, forever new and old,
Among the living and the dead,
Its mighty, mystic stream has rolled.
                    The nimble lie
Is like the second-hand upon a clock;
We see it fly; while the hour-hand of truth
Seems to stand still, and yet it moves unseen,
And wins, at last, for the clock will not strike
Till it has reached the goal.
        The pleasant books, that silently among
Our household treasures take familiar places,
And are to us as if a living tongue
Spake from the printed leaves or pictured faces!
        The poor too often turn away unheard,
From hearts that shut against them with a sound
That will be heard in heaven.
        The rising moon has hid the stars,
Her level rays, like golden bars
  Lie on the landscape green,
  With shadows brown between,
And silver white the river gleams,
As if Diana, in her dreams,
  Had dropt her silver bow
  Upon the meadows low.
        The song on its mighty pinions
Took every living soul, and lifted it gently to heaven.
        The sparrows chirped as if they still were proud
Their race in Holy Writ should mentioned be.
        The sun is set; and in his latest beams
Yon little cloud of ashen gray and gold,
Slowly upon the amber air unrolled,
The falling mantle of the Prophet seems.
        The sunshine falls, the shadows grow more dreary,
And I am near to fall, infirm and weary.
        The surest pledge of a deathless name
  Is the silent homage of thoughts unspoken.
          The swallow is come!
  The swallow is come!
O, fair are the seasons, and light
  Are the days that she brings,
  With her dusky wings,
And her bosom snowy white!
        The tide rises, the tide falls,
The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;
*        *        *        *        *
The little waves, with their soft, white hands,
Efface the footprints in the sands,
  And the tide rises, the tide falls.
        The twilight is sad and cloudy,
  The wind blows wild and free,
And like the wings of sea-birds
  Flash the white caps of the sea.
        The wind is rising; it seizes and shakes
The doors and window-blinds, and makes
Mysterious moanings in the halls;
The convent-chimneys seem almost
The trumpets of some heavenly host,
Setting its watch upon our walls!
        Then come the wild weather, come sleet or come snow,
We will stand by each other, however it blow.
Oppression, and sickness, and sorrow, and pain
Shall be to our true love as links to the chain.
        Then fell upon the house a sudden gloom,
  A shadow on those features fair and thin;
And softly, from that hushed and darkened room,
  Two angels issued, where but one went in.
        Then from the neighboring thicket the mocking-bird, wildest of singers,
Swinging aloft on a willow spray that hung o’er the water,
Shook from his little throat such floods of delirious music,
That the whole air and the woods and the waves seemed silent to listen.
        There are two angels that attend unseen
Each one of us, and in great books record
Our good and evil deeds. He who writes down
The good ones, after every action closes
His volume, and ascends with it to God.
The other keeps his dreadful day-book open
Till sunset, that we may repent; which doing,
The record of the action fades away,
And leaves a line of white across the page.
Now if my act be good, as I believe it,
It cannot be recalled. It is already
Sealed up in heaven, as a good deed accomplished.
The rest is yours.
        There is a Reaper whose name is Death,
  And with his sickle keen,
He reaps the bearded grain at a breath,
  And the flowers that grow between.
        There is no Death! What seems so is transition;
  This life of mortal breath
Is but a suburb of the life elysian,
  Whose portal we call death.
        There is no flock, however watched and tended,
  But one dead lamb is there!
There is no fireside, howsoe’er defended,
  But has one vacant chair.
        There is no light in earth or heaven
  But the cold light of stars;
And the first watch of night is given
  To the red planet Mars.
        There’s a brave fellow! There’s a man of pluck!
A man who’s not afraid to say his say,
Though a whole town’s against him.
        There’s not a ship that sails the ocean,
But every climate, every soil,
Must bring its tribute, great or small,
And help to build the wooden wall!
                        These faces in the mirrors
Are but the shadows and phantoms of myself.
        These grains of gold are not grains of wheat!
These bars of silver thou canst not eat;
These jewels and pearls and precious stones
Cannot cure the aches in thy bones,
Nor keep the feet of death one hour
From climbing the stairways of thy tower.
        They, the holy ones and weakly,
  Who the cross of suffering bore,
Folded their pale hands so meekly,
  Spake with us on earth no more!
                    They who go
Feel not the pain of parting; it is they
Who stay behind that suffer.
        This is the forest primeval.
        This is the place. Stand still, my steed,
Let me review the scene,
And summon from the shadowy Past
The forms that once have been.
                Thou shalt learn
The wisdom early to discern
True beauty in utility.
        Thoughts so sudden, that they seem
The revelations of a dream.
        Thousands of toiling hands
  Where theirs have ceased from their labours,
Thousands of aching brains
  Where theirs are no longer busy.
Thousands of weary feet
  Where theirs have completed their journey,
Thousands of throbbing hearts
  Where theirs are at rest for ever.
        Three Silences there are: the first of speech,
The second of desire, the third of thought.
        Thus at the flaming forge of life
  Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
  Each burning deed and thought!
                    Time has laid his hand
Upon my heart, gently, not smiting it,
But as a harper lays his open palm
Upon his harp, to deaden its vibrations.
                Time rides with the old
At a great pace. As travellers on swift steeds
See the near landscape fly and flow behind them,
While the remoter fields and dim horizons
Go with them, and seem wheeling round to meet them,
So in old age things near us slip away,
And distant things go with us.
        ’Tis the cessation of our breath.
Silent and motionless we lie;
And no one knoweth more than this.
                            To be left alone
And face to face with my own crime, had been just retribution.
                    To be strong
Is to be happy!
        To-morrow! the mysterious, unknown guest,
  Who cries to me: “Remember Barmecide,
And tremble to be happy with the rest.”
  And I make answer: “I am satisfied;
I dare not ask; I know not what is best;
  God hath already said what shall betide.”
        Trust no future, howe’er pleasant;
  Let the dead past bury its dead;
Act,—act in the living present,
  Heart within, and God o’erhead!
        ’Twas but a dream—let it pass—let it vanish like so many others!
What I thought was a flower is only a weed, and is worthless.
        Under a spreading chestnut tree
  The village smithy stands;
The smith a mighty man is he,
  With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
  Are strong as iron bands.
        Very hot and still the air was,
Very smooth the gliding river,
Motionless the sleeping shadows.
        We see but dimly through the mists and vapors;
  Amid these earthly damps,
What seem to us but sad, funereal tapers
  May be heaven’s distant lamps.
        Welcome, my old friend,
Welcome to a foreign fireside.
        What shall I say to you? What can I say
Better than silence is?
        Whatever hath been written shall remain,
Nor be erased nor written o’er again:
The unwritten only still belong to thee:
Take heed, and ponder well what that shall be.
        Whatever poet, orator, or sage
May say of it, old age is still old age.
        Whene’er a noble deed is wrought,
Whene’er is spoken a noble thought,
Our hearts, in glad surprise,
To higher levels rise.
        Where, twisted round the barren oak,
  The summer vine in beauty clung,
And summer winds the stillness broke,
  The crystal icicle is hung.
              Within her heart was his image,
Cloth’d in the beauty of love and youth, as last she beheld him,
Only more beautiful made by his death-like silence and absence.
                    Within her tender eye
The heaven of April, with its changing light.
        White swan of cities, slumbering in thy nest
  So wonderfully built among the reeds
  Of the lagoon, that fences thee and feeds,
As sayeth thy old historian and thy guest!
                                Who dares
To say that he alone has found the truth?
                  Work is my recreation,
The play of faculty; a delight like that
Which a bird feels in flying, or a fish
In darting through the water,—
Nothing more.
        World-wide apart, and yet akin,
As showing that the human heart
Beats on forever as of old.
        Write on your doors the saying wise and old,
“Be bold! be bold!” and everywhere—“Be bold;
Be not too bold!” Yet better the excess
Than the defect; better the more than less;
Better like Hector in the field to die,
Than like a perfumed Paris turn and fly.
        Yea, music is the Prophet’s art;
  Among the gifts that God hath sent,
  One of the most magnificent!
        Yes, we must ever be friends; and of all who offer you friendship
Let me be ever the first, the truest, the nearest and dearest!
                        You know I say,
Just what I think, and nothing more nor less,
And, when I pray, my heart is in my prayer.
I cannot say one thing and mean another:
If I can’t pray, I will not make believe!
  A boy’s will is the wind’s will.  243
  A face that had a story to tell. How different faces are in this particular! Some of them speak not. They are books in which not a line is written, save perhaps a date.  244
  A life that is worth writing at all is worth writing minutely.  245
  A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years’ study of books.  246
  A tender heart, a will inflexible.  247
  A thought often makes us hotter than a fire.  248
  A torn jacket is soon mended; but hard words bruise the heart of a child.  249
  A word that has been said may be unsaid; it is but air. But when a deed is done, it cannot be undone, nor can our thoughts reach out to all the mischiefs that may follow.  250
  Ah, how wonderful is the advent of the spring,—the great annual miracle of the blossoming of Aaron’s rod, repeated on myriads and myriads of branches!  251
  Ah, to build, to build! that is the noblest art of all the arts.  252
  Alas! it is not till time with reckless hand has torn out half the leaves from the book of human life, to light the fires of passion with from day to day, that man begins to see that the leaves which remain are few in number, and to remember faintly at first, and then more clearly, that upon the early pages of that book was written a story of happy influence which he would fain read over again.  253
  All sense of hearing and of sight enfold in the serene delight and quietude of sleep.  254
  All the means of action, the shapeless masses—the materials—lie everywhere about us. What we need is the celestial fire to change the flint into transparent crystal, bright and clear. That fire is genius!  255
  All was ended now, the hope and the fear and the sorrow, all the aching of heart, the restless, unsatisfied longing, all the dull, deep pain, and constant anguish of patience.  256
  Ambition’s cradle oftenest is its grave.  257
  And the wind plays on those great sonorous harps, the shrouds and masts of ships.  258
  And when the echoes had ceased, like a sense of pain was the silence.  259
  Art is Long, and Time is fleeting.  260
  Art is power.  261
  Art is the child of Nature; yes, her darling child, in whom we trace the features of the mother’s face.  262
  Art is the gift of God, and must be used unto His glory.  263
  As the evening twilight fades away, the sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.  264
  As the heart is, so is love to the heart. It partakes of its strength or weakness, its health or disease.  265
  As turning the logs will make a dull fire burn, so change of studies a dull brain.  266
  As unto the bow the string is, so unto the man is woman; though she bends him, she obeys him; though she draws him, yet she follows, useless each without the other.  267
  At my feet the city slumbered.  268
  Authors have a greater right than any copyright, though it is generally unacknowledged or disregarded, They have a right to the reader’s civility. There are favorable hours for reading a book, as for writing it, and to these the author has a claim. Yet many people think that when they buy a book they buy with it the right to abuse the author.  269
  Authors must not, like Chinese soldiers, expect to win victories by turning somersets in the air.  270
  Ballads are the gypsy children of song, born under green hedgerows, in the leafy lanes and by-paths of literature, in the genial summer-time.  271
  Believe me, every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and oftentimes we call a man cold when he is only sad.  272
  Beneath me flows the Rhine, and, like the stream of time, it flows amid the ruins of the past. I see myself therein, and know that I am old. Thou, too, shalt be old. Be wise in season. Like the stream of thy life runs the stream beneath us. Down from the distant Alps, out into the wide world, it bursts away, like a youth from the house of his fathers. Broad-breasted and strong, and with earnest endeavors, like manhood, it makes itself a way through these difficult mountain-passes. And at length in old age, it falters, and its steps are weary and slow, and it sinks into the sand, and through its grave passes into the great ocean, which is its eternity.  273
  Books are sepulchres of thought.  274
  Critics are sentinels in the grand army of letters, stationed at the corners of newspapers and reviews, to challenge every new author.  275
  Darkness of slumber and death, forever sinking and sinking.  276
  Day, like a weary pilgrim, had reached the western gate of heaven, and Evening stooped down to unloose the latchets of his sandal shoon.  277
  Death brings us again to our friends. They are waiting for us, and we shall not be long. They have gone before us, and are like the angels in heaven. They stand upon the borders of the grave to welcome us with the countenance of affection which they wore on earth,—yet more lovely, more radiant, more spiritual.  278
  Defeat may be victory in disguise.  279
  Don Quixote thought he could have made beautiful bird-cages and toothpicks if his brain had not been so full of ideas of chivalry. Most people would succeed in small things if they were not troubled with great ambitions.  280
  Doubtless criticism was originally benignant, pointing out the beauties of a work rather than its defects. The passions of men have made it malignant, as the bad heart of Procrustes turned the bed, the symbol of repose, into an instrument of torture.  281
  Emblems of our own great resurrection, emblems of the bright and better land.  282
  Enthusiasm begets enthusiasm.  283
  Even cities have their graves!  284
  Even He who died for us upon the cross, in the last hour, in the unutterable agony of death, was mindful of His mother, as if to teach us that this holy love should be our last worldly thought—the last point of earth from which the soul should take its flight for heaven.  285
  Every dew-drop and rain-drop had a whole heaven within it.  286
  Every great poem is in itself limited by necessity, but in its suggestions unlimited and infinite.  287
  Every human heart is human.  288
  Every man has a paradise around him until he sins, and the angel of an accusing conscience drives him from his Eden. And even then there are holy hours, when this angel sleeps, and man comes back, and with the innocent eyes of a child looks into his lost paradise again.  289
  Fair words gladden so many a heart.  290
  Fame comes only when deserved, and then is as inevitable as destiny, for it is destiny.  291
  Fear is the virtue of slaves; but the heart that loveth is willing.  292
  Feet that run on willing errands!  293
  Footprints on the sands of time.  294
  For next to being a great poet is the power of understanding one.  295
  From labor there shall come forth rest.  296
  Glorious indeed is the world of God around us, but more glorious the world of God within us. There lies the Land of Song; there lies the poet’s native land.  297
  God had sifted three kingdoms to find the wheat for this planting.  298
  God’s illumined promise.  299
  Great men stand like solitary towers in the city of God, and secret passages running deep beneath external nature, give their thoughts intercourse with higher intelligences, which strengthens and consoles them, and of which the labourers on the surface do not even dream.  300
  He has his Rome, his Florence, his whole glowing Italy, within the four walls of his library. He has in his books the ruins of an antique world, and the glories of a modern one.  301
  He spake well who said that graves are the footprints of angels.  302
  He the sweetest of all singers.  303
  He used words as mere stepping-stones, upon which, with a free and youthful bound, his spirit crosses and recrosses the bright and rushing stream of thought.  304
  Her face had a wonderful fascination in it. It was such a calm, quiet face, with the light of a rising soul shining so peacefully through it. At times it wore an expression of seriousness, of sorrow even; and then seemed to make the very air bright with what the Italian poets so beautifully call the “lampeggiar dell’ angelico riso,”—the lightning of the angelic smile.  305
  His heart was in his work, and the heart giveth grace unto every art.  306
  His thoughts are like mummies, embalmed in spices and wrapped about with curious envelopments; but, within, those thoughts themselves are kings.  307
  History casts its shadow far into the land of song.  308
  Home-keeping hearts are happiest.  309
  Hospitality sitting with gladness.  310
  How absolute and omnipotent is the silence of night! And yet the stillness seems almost audible! From all the measureless depths of air around us comes a half-sound, a half-whisper, as if we could hear the crumbling and falling away of earth and all created things, in the great miracle of nature, decay and reproduction, ever beginning, never ending,—the gradual lapse and running of the sand in the great hour-glass of Time.  311
  How beautiful it was, falling so silently, all day long, all night long, on the mountains, on the meadows, on the roofs of the living, on the graves of the dead!  312
  How beautiful the silent hour, when morning and evening thus sit together, hand in hand, beneath the starless sky of midnight!  313
  How like they are to human things!  314
  How wonderful is the human voice! It is indeed the organ of the soul! The intellect of man sits enthroned visibly upon his forehead and in his eye; and the heart of man is written upon his countenance. But the soul reveals itself in the voice only, as God revealed himself to the prophet of old, in “the still, small voice,” and in a voice from the burning bush. The soul of man is audible, not visible. A sound alone betrays the flowing of the eternal fountain, invisible to man!  315
  I dislike an eye that twinkles like a star. Those only are beautiful, which, like the planets, have a steady, lambent light—are luminous, but not sparkling.  316
  I hear the wind among the trees playing celestial symphonies.  317
  I love these rural dances—from my heart I love them. This world, at best, is full of care and sorrow; the life of a poor man is so stained with the sweat of his brow, there is so much toil and struggling and anguish and disappointment here below, that I gaze with delight on a scene where all those are laid aside and forgotten, and the heart of the toil-worn peasant seems to throw off its load.  318
  I should think your tongue had broken its chain!  319
  I venerate old age; and I love not the man who can look without emotion upon the sunset of life, when the dusk of evening begins to gather over the watery eye, and the shadows of twilight grow broader and deeper upon the understanding.  320
  If I am not worth the wooing, I surely am not worth the winning.  321
  If spring came but once in a century, instead of once a year, or burst forth with the sound of an earthquake, and not in silence, what wonder and expectation there would be in all hearts to behold the miraculous change! But now the silent succession suggests nothing but necessity. To most men only the cessation of the miracle would be miraculous, and the perpetual exercise of God’s power seems less wonderful than its withdrawal would be.  322
  If we could read the secret history of our enemies we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.  323
  If we love one another, nothing, in truth, can harm us, whatever mischances may happen.  324
  If you once understand an author’s character, the comprehension of his writings becomes easy.  325
  In character, in manners, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.  326
  In the mouths of many men soft words are like roses that soldiers put into the muzzles of their muskets on holidays.  327
  In this world a man must either be anvil or hammer.  328
  It is a very indiscreet and troublesome ambition which cares so much about fame; about what the world says of us; to be always looking in the faces of others for approval; to be always anxious about the effect of what we do or say; to be always shouting, to hear the echoes of our own voices.  329
  It is by the vicar’s skirts that the devil climbs into the belfry.  330
  It is curious to note the old sea-margins of human thought! Each subsiding century reveals some new mystery; we build where monsters used to hide themselves.  331
  It is difficult to know at what moment love begins; it is less difficult to know it has begun. A thousand heralds proclaim it to the listening air, a thousand messengers betray it to the eye. Tone, act, attitude and look, the signals upon the countenance, the electric telegraph of touch—all these betray the yielding citadel before the word itself is uttered, which, like the key surrendered, opens every avenue and gate of entrance, and renders retreat impossible.  332
  It is folly to pretend that one ever wholly recovers from a disappointed passion. Such wounds always leave a scar. There are faces I can never look upon without emotion, there are names I can never hear spoken without almost starting.  333
  It is the Indian summer. The rising sun blazes through the misty air like a conflagration. A yellowish, smoky haze fills the atmosphere, and a filmy mist lies like a silver lining on the sky. The wind is soft and low. It wafts to us the odor of forest leaves, that hang wilted on the dripping branches, or drop into the stream. Their gorgeous tints are gone, as if the autumnal rains had washed them out. Orange, yellow and scarlet, all are changed to one melancholy russet hue. The birds, too, have taken wing, and have left their roofless dwellings. Not the whistle of a robin, not the twitter of an eavesdropping swallow, not the carol of one sweet, familiar voice. All gone. Only the dismal cawing of a crow, as he sits and curses that the harvest is over; or the chit-chat of an idle squirrel, the noisy denizen of a hollow tree, the mendicant friar of a large parish, the absolute monarch of a dozen acorns.  334
  It seems impossible they should ever grow to be men, and drag the heavy artillery along the dusty road of life.  335
  Know how sublime a thing it is to suffer and be strong.  336
  Learn to labor and to wait.  337
  Let the dead past bury its dead!  338
  Let us be merciful as well as just.  339
  Let us then be what we are, and speak what we think, and in all things keep ourselves loyal to truth, and the sacred professions of friendship.  340
  Life hath quicksands; life hath snares.  341
  Life is the gift of God, and is divine.  342
  Like a river down the gutter roars the rain, the welcome rain!  343
  Like black hulks the shadows of the great trees ride at anchor on the billowy sea of grass.  344
  Like Dian’s kiss, unasked, unsought, love gives itself, but is not bought.  345
  Look not mournfully into the past,—it comes not back again; wisely improve the present,—it is thine; go forth to meet the shadowy future without fear, and with a manly heart.  346
  Look, then, into thine heart and write!  347
  Love gives itself, but is not bought.  348
  Love is a bodily shape; and Christian works are no more than animate faith and love, as flowers are the animate springtide.  349
  Love is ever busy with his shuttle, is ever weaving into life’s dull warp bright, gorgeous flowers, and scenes Arcadian.  350
  Make not thyself the judge of any man.  351
  Man is unjust, but God is just; and finally justice triumphs.  352
  Many have genius, but, wanting art, are forever dumb. The two must go together to form the great poet, painter, or sculptor.  353
  Many readers judge of the power of a book by the shock it gives their feelings,—as some savage tribes determine the power of their muskets by their recoil; that being considered best which fairly prostrates the purchaser.  354
  Men of genius are often dull and inert in society, as the blazing meteor when it descends to the earth is only a stone.  355
  Men should soon make up their minds to be forgotten, and look about them, or within them, for some higher motive in what they do than the approbation of men, which is fame, namely, their duty; that they should be constantly and quietly at work, each in his sphere, regardless of effects, and leaving their fame to take care of itself.  356
  Mercy more becomes a magistrate than the vindictive wrath which men call justice.  357
  Morality without religion is only a kind of dead reckoning,—an endeavor to find our place on a cloudy sea by measuring the distance we have run, but without any observation of the heavenly bodies.  358
  Most people would succeed in small things if they were not troubled with great ambitions.  359
  Music is the universal language of mankind.  360
  Nature alone is permanent.  361
  Nature is a revelation of God.  362
  Nature with folded hands seemed there, kneeling at her evening prayer.  363
  Never idle a moment, but thrifty and thoughtful of others.  364
  No literature is complete until the language in which it is written is dead.  365
  Noble by birth, yet nobler by great deeds.  366
  None but yourself who are your greatest foe.  367
  Nothing is too late till the tired heart shall cease to palpitate.  368
  Nothing now is left but a majestic memory.  369
  Nothing with God can be accidental.  370
  O beautiful, awful summer day, what hast thou given, what taken away?  371
  O day of rest! how beautiful, how fair, how welcome to the weary and the old! day of the Lord! and truce of earthly care! day of the Lord, as all our days should be.  372
  O precious evenings! all too swiftly sped!  373
  Oh, how beautiful is love! Even thou that sneerest and laughest in cold indifference or scorn if others are near thee,—thou too must acknowledge its truth when thou art alone, and confess that a foolish world is prone to laugh in public at what in private it reveres as one of the highest impulses of our nature; namely, love.  374
  Oh, how short are the days! How soon the night overtakes us!  375
  Oh, what a glory doth this world put on for him who, with a fervent heart, goes forth under the bright and glorious sky!  376
  On her cheek blushes the richness of an autumn sky with ever-shifting beauty.  377
  One-half of the world must sweat and groan that the other half may dream.  378
  “Patience!”  *  *  *  “have faith and thy prayer will be answered!”  379
  Patient endurance is Godlike.  380
  People of a lively imagination are generally curious, and always so when a little in love.  381
  Perhaps the greatest lesson which the lives of literary men teach us is told in a single word: Wait!  382
  Prayer is innocence’s friend; and willingly flieth incessant ’twixt the earth and the sky, the carrier-pigeon of heaven.  383
  Resolve, and thou art free.  384
  Round about what is lies a whole mysterious world of what might be—a psychological romance of possibilities and things that do not happen. By going out a few minutes sooner or later, by stopping to speak with a friend at a corner, by meeting this man or that, or by turning down this street instead of the other, we may let slip some great occasion of good, or avoid some impending evil, by which the whole current of our lives would have been changed. There is no possible solution to the dark enigma but the one word “Providence.”  385
  Silence and solitude, the soul’s best friends.  386
  Simplicity is the character of the spring of life, costliness becomes its autumn; but a neatness and purity, like that of the snow-drop or lily of the valley, is the peculiar fascination of beauty, to which it lends enchantment, and gives what amiability is to the mind.  387
  Sit in revery, and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle sea-shore of the mind.  388
  So much to pardon, so much to pity, so much to admire!  389
  Softly the evening came. The sun from the western horizon, like a magician, extended his golden wand o’er the landscape.  390
  Some critics are like chimney-sweepers; they put out the fire below, and frighten the swallows from their nests above; they scrape a long time in the chimney, cover themselves with soot, and bring nothing away but a bag of cinders, and then sing from the top of the house as if they had built it.  391
  Some feelings are quite untranslatable; no language has yet been found for them. They gleam upon us beautifully through the dim twilight of fancy, and yet when we bring them close to us, and hold them up to the light of reason, lose their beauty all at once, as glow worms which gleam with such a spiritual light in the shadows of evening, when brought in where the candles are lighted, are found to be only worms like so many others.  392
  Some must follow, and some command, though all are made of clay!  393
  Sometimes we may learn more from a man’s errors than from his virtues.  394
  Speaking words of endearment where words of comfort availed not.  395
  Still achieving, still pursuing, learn to labor and to wait.  396
  Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week.  397
  Tales that have the rime of age.  398
  That unfathomed, boundless sea, the silent grave!  399
  The air is full of farewells to the dying and mournings for the dead.  400
  The air of summer was sweeter than wine.  401
  The architect built his great heart into those sculptured stones.  402
  The atmosphere breathes rest and comfort, and the many chambers seem full of welcome.  403
  The babbling day has touched the hem of night’s garment, and, weary and still, drops asleep in her bosom.  404
  The belfries of all Christendom now roll along the unbroken song of peace on earth, good will to men!  405
  The blossoms of passions, gay and luxuriant flowers, are brighter and fuller of fragrance; but they beguile us and lead us astray, and their odor is deadly.  406
  The day is dark and cold and dreary; it rains, and the wind is never weary.  407
  The day is done, and the darkness falls from the wings of night.  408
  The day is done; and slowly from the scene the stooping sun upgathers his spent shafts, and puts them back into his golden quiver!  409
  The everyday cares and duties, which men call drudgery, are the weights and counterpoises of the clock of time; giving its pendulum a true vibration and its hands a regular motion; and when they cease to hang upon its wheels, the pendulum no longer swings, the hands no longer move, the clock stands still.  410
  The first pressure of sorrow crushes out from our hearts the best wine; afterwards the constant weight of it brings forth bitterness,—the taste and stain from the lees of the vat.  411
  The glory of Him who hung His masonry pendent on nought, when the world He created.  412
  The greatest firmness is the greatest mercy.  413
  The greatest grace of a gift, perhaps, is that it anticipates and admits of no return.  414
  The hearts of some women tremble like leaves at every breath of love which reaches them, and they are still again. Others, like the ocean, are moved only by the breath of a storm, and not so easily lulled to rest.  415
  The heaven of poetry and romance still lies around us and within us.  416
  The history of the past is a mere puppet-show. A little man comes out and blows a little trumpet, and goes in again. You look for something new, and lo! another little man comes out, and blows another little trumpet, and goes in again. And it is all over.  417
  The hooded clouds, like friars, tell their beads in drops of rain.  418
  The human voice is the organ of the soul.  419
  The intellect of man sits enthroned visibly upon his forehead and in his eye, and the heart of man is written on his countenance; but the soul reveals itself in the voice only.  420
  The joy of meeting not unmixed with pain.  421
  The language spoken by angels.  422
  The laws of nature are just, but terrible. There is no weak mercy in them. Cause and consequence are inseparable and inevitable. The elements have no forbearance. The fire burns, the water drowns, the air consumes, the earth buries. And perhaps it would be well for our race if the punishment of crimes against the laws of man were as inevitable as the punishment of crimes against the laws of nature,—were man as unerring in his judgments as nature.  423
  The leaves of memory seem to make a mournful rustle in the dark.  424
  The little I have seen of the world teaches me to look upon the errors of others in sorrow, not in anger. When I take the history of one poor heart that has sinned and suffered, and represent to myself the struggles and temptations it has passed through, the brief pulsations of joy, the feverish inquietude of hope and fear, the pressure of want, the desertion of friends, I would fain leave the erring soul of my fellow-man with Him from whose hand it came.  425
  The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.  426
  The mighty hopes that make us men.  427
  The mind of the scholar, if you would have it large and liberal, should come in contact with other minds. It is better that his armor should be somewhat bruised by rude encounters, even, than hang forever rusting on the wall.  428
  The motives and purposes of authors are not always so pure and high, as, in the enthusiasm of youth, we sometimes imagine. To many the trumpet of fame is nothing but a tin horn to call them home, like laborers from the field, at dinner-time, and they think themselves lucky to get the dinner.  429
  The natural alone is permanent.  430
  The passing years had drunk a portion of the light from her eyes, and left their traces on her cheeks, as birds that drink at lakes leave their footprints on the margin. But the pleasant smile reminded him of the bygone days.  431
  The pen became a clarion.  432
  The pleasant books, that silently among our household, treasures take familiar places.  433
  The rays of happiness, like those of light, are colorless when unbroken.  434
  The secret studies of an author are the sunken piers upon which is to rest the bridge of his fame, spanning the dark waters of oblivion. They are out of sight, but without them no superstructure can stand secure.  435
  The setting of a great hope is like the setting of the sun. The brightness of our life is gone.  436
  The shadows of the mind are like those of the body. In the morning of life they all lie behind us; at noon we trample them under foot; and in the evening they stretch long, broad, and deepening, before us.  437
  The soul never grows old.  438
  The star of the unconquered will.  439
  The strength of criticism lies only in the weakness of the thing criticised.  440
  The sun stands, at midnight, blood-red, on the mountains of the North.  441
  The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well, and doing well whatever you do without a thought of fame. If it comes at all it will come because it is deserved, not because it is sought after.  442
  The thoughts of God in the heavens.  443
  The twilight that surrounds the border-land of old romance.  444
  The world loves a spice of wickedness.  445
  The young may die, but the old must!  446
  Then stars arise, and the night is holy.  447
  There is no death! What seems so is transition.  448
  There is no fireside, howsoe’er defended, but has one vacant chair!  449
  There is nothing holier in this life of ours than the first consciousness of love, the first fluttering of its silken wings.  450
  There is nothing perfectly secure but poverty.  451
  These stars of earth, these golden flowers.  452
  They who live in history only seemed to walk the earth again.  453
  This country is not priest-ridden, but press-ridden.  454
  This is the field and acre of our God; this is the place where human harvests grow.  455
  This is the forest primeval.  456
  Thou driftest gently down the tides of sleep.  457
  Thou hast betrayed thy secret as a bird betrays her nest, by striving to conceal it.  458
  Thus came the lovely spring, with a rush of blossoms and music, flooding the earth with flowers and the air with melodies vernal.  459
  ’Tis sweet to stammer one letter of the Eternal’s language; on earth it is called forgiveness.  460
  Thy voice is a celestial melody.  461
  Time has a doomsday book, upon whose pages he is continually recording illustrious names. But as often as a new name is written there, an old one disappears. Only a few stand in illuminated characters never to be effaced.  462
  Time has laid his hand upon my heart gently, not smiting it; but as a harper lays his open palm upon his harp, to deaden its vibrations.  463
  Time is the Life of the Soul.  464
  To be infatuated with the power of one’s own intellect is an accident which seldom happens but to those who are remarkable for the want of intellectual power. Whenever Nature leaves a hole in a person’s mind, she generally plasters it over with a thick coat of self-conceit.  465
  To be left alone, and face to face with my own crime, had been just retribution.  466
  To sleep—there is a drowsy mellifluence in the very word that would almost serve to interpret its meaning—to shut up the senses and hoodwink the soul; to dismiss the world; to escape from one’s self; to be in ignorance of our own existence; to stagnate upon the earth; just breathing out the hours, not living them—“doing no mischief, only dreaming of it;” neither merry nor melancholy, something between both, and better than either. Best friend of frail humanity, and, like all other friends, it is best estimated in its loss.  467
  To the poetic mind all things are poetical.  468
  To-day, to-morrow, every day, to thousands the end of the world is close at hand. And why should we fear it? We walk here, as it were, in the crypts of life; at times, from the great cathedral above us, we can hear the organ and the chanting choir; we see the light stream through the open door, when some friend goes up before us; and shall we fear to mount the narrow staircase of the grave that leads us out of this uncertain twilight into life eternal?  469
  War is a terrible trade; but in the cause that is righteous sweet is the smell of powder.  470
  We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.  471
  We may build more splendid habitations, fill our rooms with paintings and with sculptures, but we cannot buy with gold the old associations.  472
  We waste our best years in distilling the sweetest flowers of life into potions which, after all, do not immortalize, but only intoxicate.  473
  Weak minds make treaties with the passions they cannot overcome, and try to purchase happiness at the expense of principle; but the resolute will of a strong man scorns such means, and struggles nobly with his foe to achieve great deeds.  474
  Welcome, Disappointment! Thy hand is cold and hard, but it is the hand of a friend. Thy voice is stern and harsh, but it is the voice of a friend. Oh, there is something sublime in calm endurance, something sublime in the resolute, fixed purpose of suffering without complaining, which makes disappointment oftentimes better than success!  475
  Well has it been said that there is no grief like the grief which does not speak.  476
  What a glorious thing human life is,  *  *  *  and how glorious man’s destiny!  477
  What child has a heart to sing in this capricious clime of ours, when spring comes sailing in from the sea, with wet and heavy cloud-sails and the misty pennon of the east-wind nailed to the mast.  478
  What heart has not acknowledged the influence of this hour, the sweet and soothing hour of twilight, the hour of love, the hour of adoration, the hour of rest, when we think of those we love only to regret that we have not loved them more dearly, when we remember our enemies only to forgive them.  479
  What is time? The shadow on the dial, the striking of the clock, the running of the sand—day and night, summer and winter, months, years, centuries—these are but arbitrary and outward signs, the measure of time, not time itself. Time is the life of the soul.  480
  What rapturous flights of sound! what thrilling, pathetic chimes! what wild, joyous revelry of passion! what an expression of agony and woe! All the feelings of suffering and rejoicing humanity sympathized with and finding a voice in those tones.  481
  What seem to us but dim funereal tapers may be heaven’s distant lamps.  482
  When she had passed, it seemed like the ceasing of exquisite music.  483
  When she passed it seemed like the ceasing of exquisite music.  484
  Where should the scholar live? In solitude, or in society? in the green stillness of the country, where he can hear the heart of Nature beat, or in the dark, gray town where he can hear and feel the throbbing heart of man?  485
  Winter giveth the fields, and the trees so old, their beards of icicles and snow.  486
  With many readers brilliancy of style passes for affluence of thought; they mistake buttercups in the grass for immeasurable mines of gold under ground.  487
  Wondrous strong are the spells of fiction.  488
  Writ in the climate of heaven, and in the language spoken by angels.  489
  Your supper is like the Hidalgo’s dinner; very little meat, and a great deal of table-cloth.  490
  Youth comes but once in a lifetime.  491

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