John Dryden (quotes)

  • Love is love’s reward.
  • Merit challenges envy.
  • Dead men tell no tales.
  • War is a trade of kings.
  • And plenty makes us poor.
  • Virtue is her own reward.
  • War is the trade of kings.
  • Pride – Lord of human kind
  • My love’s a noble madness.
  • Hushed as midnight silence.
  • Order is the greatest grace.
  • All heiresses are beautiful.
  • The winds are out of breath.
  • Music is inarticulate poesy.
  • Not to ask is not be denied.
  • Pity melts the mind to love.
  • Sweet is pleasure after pain.
  • Honor is but an empty bubble.
  • The wretched have no friends.
  • Ill fortune seldom comes alone.
  • All delays are dangerous in war.
  • Possess your soul with patience.
  • Beware the fury of a patient man.
  • Thou strong seducer, Opportunity!
  • Dancing is the poetry of the foot.
  • Politicians neither love nor hate.
  • But how can finite grasp Infinity?
  • There is a proud modesty in merit.
  • Lucky men are favorites of Heaven.
  • By education most have been misled.
  • But love’s a malady without a cure.
  • Whatever is, is in its causes just.
  • Drinking is the soldier’s pleasure.
  • Secret guilt is by silence revealed.
  • None but the brave deserve the fair.
  • Self-defense is Nature’s eldest law.
  • I learn to pity woes so like my own.
  • Secret guilt by silence is betrayed.
  • Second thoughts, they say, are best.
  • All habits gather by unseen degrees.
  • Repartee is the soul of conversation.
  • A happy genius is the gift of nature.
  • Desire of greatness is a godlike sin.
  • We by art unteach what Nature taught.
  • A lazy frost, a numbness of the mind.
  • Even victors are by victories undone.
  • Jealousy is the jaundice of the soul.
  • Deathless laurel is the victor’s due.
  • Take the goods the gods provide thee.
  • Among our crimes oblivion may be set.
  • Beware of the fury of the patient man.
  • Never was patriot yet, but was a fool.
  • Joy rul’d the day, and Love the night.
  • I am as free as nature first made man.
  • For they conquer who believe they can.
  • Resolved to ruin or to rule the state.
  • Home is the sacred refuge of our life.
  • Successful crimes alone are justified.
  • Zeal, the blind conductor of the will.
  • And thus the child imposes on the man.
  • Words are but pictures of our thoughts.
  • freedom, first delight of human kind!
  • They found the new Messiah by the star.
  • To so perverse a sex all grace is vain.
  • Repentance is the virtue of weak minds.
  • Bankrupt of life, yet prodigal of ease.
  • The blushing beauties of a modest maid.
  • For all have not the gift of martyrdom.
  • Either be wholly slaves or wholly free.
  • Better one suffer than a nation grieve.
  • Love either finds equality or makes it.
  • Let cheerfulness on happy fortune wait.
  • Repentance is but want of power to sin.
  • Cousin Swift, you will never be a poet.
  • For Art may err, but Nature cannot miss.
  • Genius must be born, it can’t be taught.
  • Men are but children of a larger growth.
  • They think too little who talk too much.
  • God never made his work for man to mend.
  • To die is landing on some distant shore.
  • All objects lose by too familiar a view.
  • Dying bless the hand that gave the blow.
  • Mighty things from small beginnings grow.
  • Griefs assured are felt before they come.
  • He is a perpetual fountain of good sense.
  • They live too long who happiness outlive.
  • For they can conquer who believe they can.
  • Silence in times of suffering is the best.
  • Few know the use of life before ’tis past.
  • Old age creeps on us ere we think it nigh.
  • Love is not in our choice but in our fate.
  • What passion cannot music raise and quell!
  • Restless at home, and ever prone to range.
  • All the learn’d are cowards by profession.
  • For every inch that is not fool, is rogue.
  • To draw true beauty shows a master’s hand.
  • All empire is no more than power in trust.
  • My hands are guilty, but my heart is free.
  • She feared no danger, for she knew no sin.
  • The conscience of a people is their power.
  • He wants worth who dares not praise a foe.
  • Tomorrow do thy worst, I have lived today.
  • Boldness is a mask for fear, however great.
  • War seldom enters but where wealth allures.
  • And love’s the noblest frailty of the mind.
  • The bravest men are subject most to chance.
  • Imitators are but a servile kind of cattle.
  • All authors to their own defects are blind.
  • With how much ease believe we what we wish!
  • Whistling to keep myself from being afraid.
  • None are so busy as the fool and the knave.
  • The first is the law, the last prerogative.
  • She deserves / More worlds than I can lose.
  • To live at ease, and not be bound to think.
  • Treason is greatest where trust is greatest.
  • Nothing to build, and all things to destroy.
  • He made all countries where he came his own.
  • Theirs was the giant race, before the flood.
  • All, as they say, that glitters is not gold.
  • Reason saw not, till Faith sprung the Light.
  • Learn to write well, or not to write at all.
  • My right eye itches, some good luck is near.
  • And torture one poor word ten thousand ways.
  • Kings fight for empires, madmen for applause.
  • Be slow to resolve, but quick in performance.
  • Light sufferings give us leisure to complain.
  • As one that neither seeks, nor shuns his foe.
  • Rhyme is the rock on which thou art to wreck.
  • If passion rules, how weak does reason prove!
  • Or hast thou known the world so long in vain?
  • The greater part performed achieves the less.
  • Ev’n wit’s a burthen, when it talks too long.
  • Ill writers are usually the sharpest censors.
  • Ye moon and stars, bear witness to the truth.
  • Blown roses hold their sweetness to the last.
  • Genius must be born, and never can be taught.
  • And virtue, though in rags, will keep me warm
  • The trumpet’s loud clangor Excites us to arms.
  • And, dying, bless the hand that gave the blow.
  • For age but tastes of pleasures youth devours.
  • They first condemn that first advised the ill.
  • Ill news is wing’d with fate, and flies apace.
  • Swift was the race, but short the time to run.
  • The Jews, a headstrong, moody, murmuring race.
  • They that possess the prince possess the laws.
  • He who would search for pearls must dive below.
  • Sure there’s contagion in the tears of friends.
  • Courage from hearts and not from numbers grows.
  • New vows to plight, and plighted vows to break.
  • When Misfortune is asleep, let no one wake her.
  • Humility and resignation are our prime virtues.
  • Accurst ambition, how dearly I have bought you.
  • A thing well said will be wit in all languages.
  • Long pains, with use of bearing, are half eased.
  • Interest makes all seem reason that leads to it.
  • I never saw any good that came of telling truth.
  • But dying is a pleasure / When living is a pain.
  • The trumpet’s loud clangour / Excites us to arms.
  • Her wit was more than man, her innocence a child.
  • Parting is worse than death; it is death of love!
  • Who, for false quantities, was whipped at school.
  • Better shun the bait, than struggle in the snare.
  • The scum that rises upmost, when the nation boils.
  • A knock-down argument; ’tis but a word and a blow.
  • Thus all below is strength, and all above is grace.
  • Youth should watch joys and shoot them as they fly.
  • The true Amphitryon is the Amphitryon where we dine.
  • Could swell the soul to rage, or kindle soft desire.
  • Tis well an old age is out, And time to begin a new.
  • Welcome as kindly showers to the long parched earth.
  • Trust reposed in noble natures obliges them the more.
  • I am resolved to grow fat, and look young till forty.
  • We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.
  • Love is a passion Which kindles honor into noble acts.
  • Thou tyrant, tyrant Jealousy, Thou tyrant of the mind!
  • When beauty fires the blood, how love exalts the mind!
  • He who trusts secrets to a servant makes him his master
  • They say everything in the world is good for something.
  • For your ignorance is the mother of your devotion to me.
  • Revenge, revenge, Timotheus cries, See the Furies arise!
  • Keen appetite And quick digestion wait on you and yours.
  • A mob is the scum that rises utmost when the nation boils
  • Woman’s honor is nice as ermine; it will not bear a soil.
  • While yet a young probationer, / And candidate of heaven.
  • Pains of love be sweeter far than all other pleasures are.
  • He who would pry behind the scenes oft sees a counterfeit.
  • He raised a mortal to the skies; / She drew an angel down.
  • A mob is the scum that rises up most when the nation boils
  • Wit will shine Through the harsh cadence of a rugged line.
  • He who proposes to be an author should first be a student.
  • A satirical poet is the check of the laymen on bad priests.
  • He who purposes to be an author, should first be a student.
  • No king nor nation one moment can retard the appointed hour.
  • There is a pleasure in being mad, which none but madmen know.
  • As poetry is the harmony of words, so music is that of notes.
  • My whole life Has been a golden dream of love and friendship.
  • Confidence is the feeling we have before knowing all the facts
  • The glorious lamp of heaven, the radiant sun, Is Nature’s eye.
  • Happy, happy, happy pair! None but the brave deserves the fair.
  • Shame on the body for breaking down while the spirit perseveres.
  • Satire is a kind of poetry in which human vices are reprehended.
  • From Harmony, from heav’nly Harmony. This universal Frame began.
  • Those wanting wit affect gravity and go by the name of solid men
  • Virtue in distress, and vice in triumph make atheists of mankind.
  • It’s a hard world, neighbors, if a man’s oath must be his master.
  • The sooner you treat your son as a man, the sooner he will be one.
  • The lovely Thais by his side, / Sat like a blooming Eastern bride.
  • For danger levels man and brute And all are fellows in their need.
  • One cannot say he wanted wit, but rather that he was frugal of it.
  • Happy the man, and happy he alone, he, who can call today his own.
  • Virgil and Horace [were] the severest writers of the severest age.
  • A man is to be cheated into passion, but to be reasoned into truth.
  • He who trusts a secret to his servant makes his own man his master.
  • Let grace and goodness be the principal loadstone of thy affections.
  • Here lies my wife: here let her lie! Now she’s at rest, and so am I.
  • Death ends our woes, and the kind grave shuts up the mournful scene.
  • I am to be married within these three days; married past redemption.
  • Reason is a crutch for age, but youth is strong enough to walk alone.
  • So poetry, which is in Oxford made An art, in London only is a trade.
  • An ugly woman in a rich habit set out with jewels nothing can become.
  • Rich the treasure, Sweet the pleasure,- Sweet is pleasure after pain.
  • Having mourned your sin, for outward Eden lost, find paradise within.
  • Be secret and discreet; the fairy favors are lost when not concealed.
  • When rattling bones together fly, / From the four corners of the sky.
  • Bacchus’ blessings are a treasure, Drinking is the soldier’s pleasure
  • The secret pleasure of a generous act Is the great mind’s great bribe.
  • Men’s virtues I have commended as freely as I have taxed their crimes.
  • We must beat the iron while it is hot, but we may polish it at leisure.
  • When bounteous autumn rears her head, he joys to pull the ripened pear.
  • To tame the proud, the fetter’d slave to free, These are imperial arts.
  • Heroic poetry has ever been esteemed the greatest work of human nature.
  • Old as I am, for ladies’ love unfit, The power of beauty I remember yet.
  • Music, Music for a while Shall all your cares beguile. Alexander’s Feast
  • Pleasure never comes sincere to man; but lent by heaven upon hard usury.
  • So over violent, or over civil that every man with him was God or Devil.
  • Fortune confounds the wise, And when they least expect it turns the dice.
  • In pious times, ere priestcraft did begin, before polygamy was made a sin
  • All flowers will droop in the absence of the sun that waked their sweets.
  • Truth is the foundation of all knowledge and the cement of all societies.
  • And, wide as his command, / Scattered his Maker’s image through the land.
  • All things are subject to decay and when fate summons, monarchs must obey.
  • For mysterious things of faith, rely on the proponent, Heaven’s authority.
  • Far more numerous are those as such; who think to little and talk to much.
  • For secrets are edged tools, And must be kept from children and from fools.
  • When a man’s life is under debate, The judge can ne’er too long deliberate.
  • Chaucer followed Nature everywhere, but was never so bold to go beyond her.
  • Thoughts cannot form themselves in words so horrid As can express my guilt.
  • To breed up the son to common sense is evermore the parent’s least expense.
  • Pity only on fresh objects stays, but with the tedious sight of woes decays.
  • Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas.
  • A narrow mind begets obstinacy; we do not easily believe what we cannot see.
  • Such subtle Covenants shall be made,Till Peace it self is War in Masquerade.
  • A coward is the kindest animal; ‘Tis the most forgiving creature in a fight.
  • More liberty begets desire of more; The hunger still increases with the store
  • It is sufficient to say, according to the proverb, that here is God’s plenty.
  • If you are for a merry jaunt, I will try, for once, who can foot it farthest.
  • Love is a child that talks in broken language, yet then he speaks most plain.
  • Reason to rule but mercy to forgive: the first is law; the last, prerogative.
  • He was exhaled; his great Creator drew His spirit, as the sun the morning dew.
  • A brave man scorns to quarrel once a day; Like Hectors in at every petty fray.
  • Uncertain whose the narrowest span,–the clown unread, or half-read gentleman.
  • Of all the tyrannies on human kind the worst is that which persecutes the mind.
  • Many things impossible to thought have been by need to full perfection brought.
  • Much malice mingled with a little wit Perhaps may censure this mysterious writ.
  • Murder may pass unpunishd for a time, But tardy justice will oertake the crime.
  • Ever a glutton, at another’s cost, But in whose kitchen dwells perpetual frost.
  • Prodigious actions may as well be done, by weaver’s issue, as the prince’s son.
  • Satire among the Romans, but not among the Greeks, was a bitter invective poem.
  • For truth has such a face and such a mien, as to be loved needs only to be seen.
  • I saw myself the lambent easy light Gild the brown horror, and dispel the night.
  • Present joys are more to flesh and blood Than a dull prospect of a distant good.
  • The World to Bacon does not only owe it’s present knowledge, but its future too.
  • To die for faction is a common evil, But to be hanged for nonsense is the devil.
  • To see and to be seen, in heaps they run; / Some to undo, and some to be undone.
  • For all the happiness mankind can gain Is not in pleasure, but in rest from pain.
  • Nor is the people’s judgment always true: the most may err as grossly as the few.
  • Death only this mysterious truth unfolds, The mighty soul how small a body holds.
  • The Fates but only spin the coarser clue; The finest of the wool is left for you.
  • When I consider life, ’tis all a cheat yet, fool’d by hope, men favour the deceit
  • Riches cannot rescue from the grave, which claims alike the monarch and the slave.
  • An hour will come, with pleasure to relate Your sorrows past, as benefits of Fate.
  • Death in itself is nothing; but we fear to be we know not what, we know not where.
  • Forgiveness to the injured does belong; but they ne’er pardon who have done wrong.
  • These are the effects of doting age,–vain doubts and idle cares and over caution.
  • Roused by the lash of his own stubborn tail our lion now will foreign foes assail.
  • Farewell, too little, and too lately known, Whom I began to think and call my own.
  • The soft complaining flute, In dying notes, discovers The woes of hopeless lovers.
  • To take up half on trust, and half to try, Name it not faith but bungling bigotry.
  • The perverseness of my fate is such that he’s not mine because he’s mine too much.
  • During his office, treason was no crime. / The sons of Belial had a glorious time.
  • He has not learned the first lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear.
  • Content with poverty, my soul I arm; And virtue, though in rags, will keep me warm.
  • I am devilishly afraid, that’s certain; but … I’ll sing, that I may seem valiant.
  • Presence of mind and courage in distress, Are more than arrives to procure success?
  • Take not away the life you cannot give: For all things have an equal right to live.
  • All humane things are subject to decay, And, when fate summons, Monarchs must obey.
  • Fool, not to know that love endures no tie, And Jove but laughs at lovers’ perjury.
  • I have a soul that like an ample shield Can take in all, and verge enough for more.
  • Farewell, too little and too lately known, / Whom I began to think and call my own.
  • He look’d in years, yet in his years were seen A youthful vigor, and autumnal green.
  • For present joys are more to flesh and blood than a dull prospect of a distant good.
  • The love of liberty with life is given, And life itself the inferior gift of Heaven.
  • The fool of nature stood with stupid eyes And gaping mouth, that testified surprise.
  • And write whatever Time shall bring to pass With pens of adamant on plates of brass.
  • Who thinks all Science, as all Virtue, vain; Who counts Geometry and numbers Toys…
  • A lively faith will bear aloft the mind, and leave the luggage of good works behind.
  • Look around the inhabited world; how few know their own good, or knowing it, pursue.
  • Did wisely from expensive sins refrain, / And never broke the Sabbath, but for gain.
  • The thought of being nothing after death is a burden insupportable to a virtuous man.
  • Plots, true or false, are necessary things, To raise up commonwealths and ruin kings.
  • An horrible stillness first invades our ear, And in that silence we the tempest fear.
  • But ’tis the talent of our English nation, Still to be plotting some new reformation.
  • I trade both with the living and the dead, for the enrichment of our native language.
  • Government itself at length must fall To nature’s state, where all have right to all.
  • Errors like straws upon the surface flow: Who would search for pearls must dive below
  • Set all things in their own peculiar place, and know that order is the greatest grace.
  • Love reckons hours for months, and days for years; and every little absence is an age.
  • Luxurious kings are to their people lost, They live like drones, upon the public cost.
  • Youth, beauty, graceful action, seldom fail:/ But common interest always will prevail.
  • And he, who servilely creeps after sense, Is safe, but ne’er will reach an excellence.
  • So softly death succeeded life in her, She did but dream of heaven, and she was there.
  • At home the hateful names of parties cease, And factious souls are wearied into peace.
  • Plots, true or false, are necessary things, to raise up commonwealths, and ruin kings.
  • And this unpolished rugged verse I chose / As fittest for discourse and nearest prose.
  • But Shakespeare’s magic could not copied be; Within that circle none durst walk but he.
  • Fattened in vice, so callous and so gross, he sins and sees not, senseless of his loss.
  • Mankind is ever the same, and nothing lost out of nature, though everything is altered.
  • How easy ’tis, when Destiny proves kind, With full-spread sails to run before the wind!
  • If we from wealth to poverty descend, Want gives to know the flatterer from the friend.
  • Heaven be thanked, we live in such an age, When no man dies for love, but on the stage.
  • Him of the western dome, whose weighty sense Flows in fit words and heavenly eloquence.
  • Bets at first were fool-traps, where the wise like spiders lay in ambush for the flies.
  • Great wits are sure to madness near allied, and thin partitions do their bounds divide.
  • Great wits are sure to madness near allied – And thin partitions do their bounds divide
  • True fops help nature’s work, and go to school – to file and finish God Almighty’s fool
  • So sicken waning moons too near the sun,/ And blunt their crescents on the edge of day.
  • An horrid stillness first invades the ear, / And in that stillness we the tempest fear.
  • He trudged along unknowing what he sought, And whistled as he went, for want of thought.
  • When I consider life, it is all a cheat. Yet fooled with hope, people favor this deceit.
  • Only man clogs his happiness with care, destroying what is with thoughts of what may be.
  • So the false spider, when her nets are spread, deep ambushed in her silent den does lie.
  • But wild Ambition loves to slide, not stand, And Fortune’s ice prefers to Virtue’s land.
  • The good we have enjoyed from Heaven’s free will, and shall we murmur to endure the ill?
  • But far more numerous was the herd of such, Who think too little, and who talk too much.
  • She knows her man, and when you rant or swear, / Can draw you to her with a single hair.
  • Bold knaves thrive without one grain of sense, But good men starve for want of impudence.
  • Truth is never to be expected from authors whose understanding is warped with enthusiasm.
  • Beggared by fools! whom still he found too late, He had his jest, but they had his estate
  • Time and death shall depart and say in flying Love has found out a way to live, by dying.
  • Fortune’s unjust; she ruins oft the brave, and him who should be victor, makes the slave.
  • Maintain your post: That’s all the fame you need; For ’tis impossible you should proceed.
  • Who climbs the grammar-tree, distinctly knows Where noun, and verb, and participle grows.
  • For those whom God to ruin has design’d, He fits for fate, and first destroys their mind.
  • Fame then was cheap, and the first comer sped; And they have kept it since by being dead.
  • By viewing Nature, Nature’s handmaid, art, makes mighty things from small beginnings grow.
  • Revealed religion first informed thy sight, and reason saw not till faith sprung to light.
  • Freedom which in no other land will thrive, Freedom an English subject’s sole prerogative.
  • Fowls, by winter forced, forsake the floods, and wing their hasty flight to happier lands.
  • If you have lived, take thankfully the past. Make, as you can, the sweet remembrance last.
  • He trudged along, unknowing what he sought, and whistled as he went, for want of a thought
  • Witness ye days and nights, and all ye hours, / That danced away with down upon your feet.
  • Of seeming arms to make a short essay, / Then hasten to be drunk, the business of the day.
  • Dreams are but interludes, which fancy makes; When monarch reason sleeps, this mimic wakes.
  • For, Heaven be thank’d, we live in such an age, when no man dies for love, but on the stage
  • And that one hunting, which the Devil design’d For one fair female, lost him half the kind.
  • Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow; he who would search for pearls must dive below.
  • Love works a different way in different minds, the fool it enlightens and the wise it blinds.
  • For what can power give more than food and drink, To live at ease, and not be bound to think?
  • And all to leave, what with this toil he won, / To that unfeathered, two-legged thing, a son.
  • She, though in full-blown flower of glorious beauty, Grows cold even in the summer of her age.
  • Love taught him shame, and shame with love at strife Soon taught the sweet civilities of life.
  • Like pilgrims to th’ appointed place we tend; The World’s an Inn, and Death the journey’s end.
  • Not Heav’n itself upon the past has pow’r; But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.
  • The people’s prayer, the glad diviner’s theme, The young men’s vision, and the old men’s dream!
  • Good sense and good nature are never separated; and good nature is the product of right reason.
  • For lawful power is still superior found, When long driven back, at length it stands the ground.
  • Those who write ill, and they who ne’er durst write, Turn critics out of mere revenge and spite.
  • Tis Fate that flings the dice, And as she flings Of kings makes peasants, And of peasants kings.
  • Even kings but play; and when their part is done, some other, worse or better, mounts the throne.
  • He invades authors like a monarch; and what would be theft in other poets is only victory in him.
  • The people’s prayer, the glad diviner’s theme, / The young men’s vision, and the old men’s dream!
  • God’s pampered people whom, debauched with ease, / No king could govern, nor no God could please.
  • Well may they boast themselves an ancient Nation; For they were bred e’er manners were in fashion
  • Damn’d neuters, in their middle way of steering, Are neither fish, nor flesh, nor good red herring.
  • Time, place, and action may with pains be wrought, But Genius must be born; and never can be taught
  • Nature meant me a wife, a silly harmless household Dove, fond without art; and kind without deceit.
  • That gloomy outside, like a rusty chest, contains the shoring treasure of a soul resolved and brave.
  • The elephant is never won by anger; nor must that man who would reclaim a lion take him by the teeth.
  • One of the greatest, most noble, and most sublime poems which either this age or nation has produced.
  • Fought all his battles o’er again; / And thrice he routed all his foes; and thrice he slew the slain.
  • There’s a proud modesty in merit; averse from asking, and resolved to pay ten times the gifts it asks.
  • No government has ever been, or can ever be, wherein time-servers and blockheads will not be uppermost.
  • Nature meant for me a wife, a silly harmless household Dove, fond without art; and kind without deceit.
  • You see through love, and that deludes your sight, As what is straight seems crooked through the water.
  • Good Heaven, whose darling attribute we find is boundless grace, and mercy to mankind, abhors the cruel.
  • He loved me well: so well he could but die – To show he loved me better than his life; he lost it for me
  • Every age has a kind of universal genius, which includes those that live in it to some particular studies
  • Every age has a kind of universal genius, which inclines those that live in it to some particular studies.
  • ‘Tis a good thing to laugh at any rate; and if a straw can tickle a man, it is an instrument of happiness.
  • I am reading Jonson’s verses to the memory of Shakespeare; an insolent, sparing, and invidious panegyric…
  • How happy the lover, How easy his chain, How pleasing his pain, How sweet to discover He sighs not in vain.
  • The commendation of adversaries is the greatest triumph of a writer, because it never comes unless extorted.
  • not judging truth to be in nature better than falsehood, but setting a value upon both according to interest.
  • I’m a little wounded, but I am not slain; I will lay me down to bleed a while. Then I’ll rise and fight again.
  • Reason to rule, mercy to forgive: The first is law, the last prerogative. Life is an adventure in forgiveness.
  • With ravished ears / The monarch hears, / Assumes the god, / Affects to nod, / And seems to shake the spheres.
  • Errors like straws upon the surface flow, Who would search for pearls to be grateful for often must dive below.
  • Beauty is nothing else but a just accord and mutual harmony of the members, animated by a healthful constitution.
  • It is madness to make fortune the mistress of events, because by herself she is nothing and is ruled by prudence.
  • When he spoke, what tender words he used! So softly, that like flakes of feathered snow, They melted as they fell.
  • Fool that I was, upon my eagle’s wings I bore this wren, till I was tired with soaring, and now he mounts above me.
  • When we view elevated ideas of Nature, the result of that view is admiration, which is always the cause of pleasure.
  • Fortune, that with malicious joyDoes man her slave oppress,Proud of her office to destroy,Is seldom pleasd to bless.
  • I maintain, against the enemies of the stage, that patterns of piety, decently represented, may second the precepts.
  • I am as free as nature first made man, Ere the base laws of servitude began, When wild in woods the noble savage ran.
  • What precious drops are those, Which silently each other’s track pursue, Bright as young diamonds in their faint dew?
  • If thou dost still retain the same ill habits, the same follies, too, still thou art bound to vice, and still a slave.
  • Fool that I was, upon my eagle’s wings / I bore this wren till I was tired with soaring, / And now he mounts above me.
  • What I have left is from my native spring; I’ve still a heart that swells, in scorn of fate, And lifts me to my banks.
  • If you be pungent, be brief; for it is with words as with sunbeams – the more they are condensed the deeper they burn.
  • Virgil, above all poets, had a stock which I may call almost inexhaustible, of figurative, elegant, and sounding words.
  • I’m a little wounded but I’m not slain; I will lay me down for to bleed awhile, Then I’ll rise and fight with you again
  • Fortune, that with malicious joy, Does man her slave oppress, Proud of her office to destroy, Is seldom pleas’d to bless
  • I am as free as nature first made man, / Ere the base laws of servitude began, / When wild in woods the noble savage ran.
  • Men are but children of a larger growth, Our appetites as apt to change as theirs, And full as craving too, and full as vain.
  • If one must be rejected, one succeed, make him my lord within whose faithful breast is fixed my image, and who loves me best.
  • Ah, how sweet it is to love! Ah, how gay is young Desire! And what pleasing pains we prove When we first approach Love’s fire!
  • But when to sin our biased nature leans, The careful Devil is still at hand with means; And providently pimps for ill desires.
  • Better to hunt in fields for health unbought than fee the doctor for a nauseous draught. The wise for cure on exercise depend;
  • I feel my sinews slackened with the fright, and a cold sweat trills down all over my limbs, as if I were dissolving into water.
  • Great souls forgive not injuries till time has put their enemies within their power, that they may show forgiveness is their own.
  • Shakespeare was naturally learned; he needed not the spectacles of the books to read nature; he looked inward, and found her there.
  • The propriety of thoughts and words, which are the hidden beauties of a play, are but confusedly judged in the vehemence of action.
  • We can never be grieved for their miseries who are thoroughly wicked, and have thereby justly called their calamities on themselves.
  • With odorous oil thy head and hair are sleek; And then thou kemb’st the tuzzes on thy cheek: Of these, my barbers take a costly care.
  • Raw in the fields the rude militia swarms, Mouth without hands; maintained at vast expense, In peace a charge, in war a weak defence.
  • Every language is so full of its own proprieties that what is beautiful in one is often barbarous, nay, sometimes nonsense, in another.
  • Dreams are but interludes that fancy makes… Sometimes forgotten things, long cast behind Rush forward in the brain, and come to mind.
  • Jealousy’s a proof of love, But ’tis a weak and unavailing medicine; It puts out the disease and makes it show, But has no power to cure.
  • Discover the opinion of your enemies, which is commonly the truest; for they will give you no quarter, and allow nothing to complaisance.
  • Seas are the fields of combat for the winds; but when they sweep along some flowery coast, their wings move mildly, and their rage is lost.
  • He is the very Janus of poets; he wears almost everywhere two faces; and you have scarce begun to admire the one, ere you despise the other.
  • Democracy is essentially anti-authoritarian–that is, it not only demands the right but imposes the responsibility of thinking for ourselves.
  • Sure there is none but fears a future state; And when the most obdurate swear they do not, Their trembling hearts belie their boasting tongues.
  • Welcome, thou kind deceiver! Thou best of thieves; who, with an easy key, Dost open life, and, unperceived by us, Even steal us from ourselves.
  • Happy the man, and happy he alone, he who can call today his own; he who, secure within, can say, tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.
  • I am resolved to grow fat and look young till forty, and then slip out of the world with the first wrinkle and the reputation of five-and-twenty.
  • If all the world be worth thy winning. / Think, oh think it worth enjoying: / Lovely Thaïs sits beside thee, / Take the good the gods provide thee.
  • They who would combat general authority with particular opinion, must first establish themselves a reputation of understanding better than other men
  • They, who would combat general authority with particular opinion, must first establish themselves a reputation of understanding better than other men.
  • Faith is to believe what you do not yet see: the reward for this faith is to see what you believe. Thus all below is strength, and all above is grace.
  • For my part, I can compare her (a gossip) to nothing but the sun; for, like him, she knows no rest, nor ever sets in one place but to rise in another.
  • Virtue without success is a fair picture shown by an ill light; but lucky men are favorites of heaven; all own the chief, when fortune owns the cause.
  • None, none descends into himself, to find The secret imperfections of his mind: But every one is eagle-ey’d to see Another’s faults, and his deformity.
  • Shakespeare was the Homer, or father of our dramatic poets;Jonson was theVirgil, the pattern of elaborate writing; I admire him, but I love Shakespeare.
  • The province of the soul is large enough to fill up every cranny of your time, and leave you much to answer for if one wretch be damned by your neglect.
  • My heart’s so full of joy, That I shall do some wild extravagance Of love in public; and the foolish world, Which knows not tenderness, will think me mad.
  • Inspire the Vocal Brass, Inspire; The World is past its Infant Age: Arms and Honour, Arms and Honour, Set the Martial Mind on Fire, And kindle Manly Rage.
  • I strongly wish for what I faintly hope; like the daydreams of melancholy men, I think and think in things impossible, yet love to wander in that golden maze.
  • And nobler is a limited command, Given by the love of all your native land, Than a successive title, long and dark, Drawn from the mouldy rolls of Noah’s Ark.
  • By education most have been misled; So they believe, because they were bred. The priest continues where the nurse began, And thus the child imposes on the man.
  • Imitation pleases, because it affords matter for inquiring into the truth or falsehood of imitation, by comparing its likeness or unlikeness with the original.
  • Thus, while the mute creation downward bend Their sight, and to their earthly mother ten, Man looks aloft; and with erected eyes Beholds his own hereditary skies.
  • Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten.
  • Youth, beauty, graceful action seldom fail: But common interest always will prevail; And pity never ceases to be shown To him who makes the people’s wrongs his own.
  • Railing and praising were his usual themes; and both showed his judgment in extremes. Either over violent or over civil, so everyone to him was either god or devil.
  • When I consider life, ’tis all a cheat; Yet, fooled with hope, men favour the deceit; Trust on, and think tomorrow will repay. Tomorrow’s falser than the former day.
  • When I consider life, ’tis all a cheat. Yet, fooled by hope, men favour the deceit; trust on, and think to-morrow will repay: to-morrow’s falser than the former day.
  • Truth is the object of our understanding, as good is of our will; and the understanding can no more be delighted with a lie than the will can choose an apparent evil.
  • Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you don’t let other people spend it for you.
  • The poorest of the sex have still an itch To know their fortunes, equal to the rich. The dairy-maid inquires, if she shall take The trusty tailor, and the cook forsake.
  • Railing in other men may be a crime, But ought to pass for mere instinct in him: Instinct he follows and no further knows, For to write verse with him is to transprose.
  • Sculptors are obliged to follow the manners of the painters, and to make many ample folds, which are unsufferable hardness, and more like a rock than a natural garment.
  • [T]he Famous Rules which the French call, Des Trois Unitez , or, The Three Unities, which ought to be observ’d in every Regular Play; namely, of Time, Place, and Action.
  • Desire of power, on earth a vicious weed, Yet, sprung from high, is of celestial seed: In God ’tisglory; and when men aspire, ‘Tis but a spark too much of heavenly fire.
  • Some of our philosophizing divines have too much exalted the faculties of our souls, when they have maintained that by their force mankind has been able to find out God.
  • From plots and treasons Heaven preserve my years, But save me most from my petitioners. Unsatiate as the barren womb or grave; God cannot grant so much as they can crave.
  • None would live past years again, Yet all hope pleasure in what yet remain; And, from the dregs of life, think to receive, What the first sprightly running could not give.
  • Better to hunt in fields, for health unbought, Than fee the doctor for a nauseous draught, The wise, for cure, on exercise depend; God never made his work for man to mend.
  • For granting we have sinned, and that the offence Of man is made against Omnipotence, Some price that bears proportion must be paid, And infinite with infinite be weighed.
  • Then we upon our globe’s last verge shall go, And view the ocean leaning on the sky: From thence our rolling Neighbours we shall know, And on the Lunar world securely pry.
  • The fortitude of a Christian consists in patience, not in enterprises which the poets call heroic, and which are commonly the effects of interest, pride and worldly honor.
  • While I am compassed round With mirth, my soul lies hid in shades of grief, Whence, like the bird of night, with half-shut eyes, She peeps, and sickens at the sight of day.
  • A woman’s counsel brought us first to woe, And made her man his paradise forego, Where at heart’s ease he liv’d; and might have been As free from sorrow as he was from sin.
  • A man may be capable, as Jack Ketch’s wife said of his servant, of a plain piece of work, a bare hanging; but to makea malefactordiesweetly was only belonging toher husband.
  • Men met each other with erected look, The steps were higher that they took; Friends to congratulate their friends made haste, And long inveterate foes saluted as they pass’d.
  • From harmony, from heavenly harmony / This universal frame began: / From harmony to harmony / Through all the compass of the notes it ran, / The diapason closing full in Man.
  • Trust on and think To-morrow will repay; To-morrow’s falser than the former day; Lies worse; and while it says, we shall be blest With some new Joys, cuts off what we possest.
  • Go miser go, for money sell your soul. Trade wares for wares and trudge from pole to pole, So others may say when you are dead and gone. See what a vast estate he left his son.
  • Not sharp revenge, nor hell itself can find, A fiercer torment than a guilty mind, Which day and night doth dreadfully accuse, Condemns the wretch, and still the charge renews.
  • …So when the last and dreadful hour This crumbling pageant shall devour, The trumpet shall be heard on high, The dead shall live, the living die, And Music shall untune the sky
  • And that the Scriptures, though not everywhere Free from corruption, or entire, or clear, Are uncorrupt, sufficient, clear, entire In all things which our needful faith require.
  • Beauty, like ice, our footing does betray; Who can tread sure on the smooth, slippery way: Pleased with the surface, we glide swiftly on, And see the dangers that we cannot shun.
  • Moderate sorrow Fits vulgar love, and for a vulgar man: But I have lov’d with such transcendent passion, I soar’d, at first, quite out of reason’s view, And now am lost above it.
  • Seek not to know what must not be reveal, for joy only flows where fate is most concealed. A busy person would find their sorrows much more; if future fortunes were known before!
  • Our vows are heard betimes! and Heaven takes care To grant, before we can conclude the prayer: Preventing angels met it half the way, And sent us back to praise, who came to pray.
  • By viewing nature, nature’s handmaid art, Makes mighty things from small beginnings grow: Thus fishes first to shipping did impart, Their tail the rudder, and their head the prow.
  • The brave man seeks not popular applause, Nor, overpower’d with arms, deserts his cause; Unsham’d, though foil’d, he does the best he can, Force is of brutes, but honor is of man.
  • Let grace and goodness be the principal loadstone of thy affections. For love which hath ends, will have an end; whereas that which is founded on true virtue, will always continue.
  • The winds that never moderation knew, Afraid to blow too much, too faintly blew; Or out of breath with joy, could not enlarge Their straighten’d lungs or conscious of their charge.
  • What, start at this! when sixty years have spread. Their grey experience o’er thy hoary head? Is this the all observing age could gain? Or hast thou known the world so long in vain?
  • Good sense and good-nature are never separated, though the ignorant world has thought otherwise. Good-nature, by which I mean beneficence and candor, is the product of right reason.
  • The unhappy man, who once has trail’d a pen, Lives not to please himself, but other men; Is always drudging, wastes his life and blood, Yet only eats and drinks what you think good.
  • The gods, (if gods to goodness are inclined If acts of mercy touch their heavenly mind), And, more than all the gods, your generous heart, Conscious of worth, requite its own desert!
  • Calms appear, when Storms are past; Love will have his Hour at last: Nature is my kindly Care; Mars destroys, and I repair; Take me, take me, while you may, Venus comes not ev’ry Day.
  • Our souls sit close and silently within, And their own web from their own entrails spin; And when eyes meet far off, our sense is such, That, spider-like, we feel the tenderest touch.
  • Our souls sit close and silently within, And their own webs from their own entrails spin; And when eyes meet far off, our sense is such, That, spider-like, we feel the tenderest touch
  • If by the people you understand the multitude, the hoi polloi, ’tis no matter what they think; they are sometimes in the right, sometimes in the wrong; their judgment is a mere lottery.
  • All, all of a piece throughout; / Thy chase had a beast in view; / Thy wars brought nothing about; / Thy lovers were all untrue. / ‘Tis well an old age is out, / And time to begin a new.
  • Be fair, or foul, or rain, or shine, The joys I have possessed, in spite of fate, are mine. Not heaven itself upon the past has power; But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.
  • Let Fortune empty her whole quiver on me, I have a soul that, like an ample shield, Can take in all, and verge enough for more; Fate was not mine, nor am I Fate’s: Souls know no conquerors.
  • The end of satire is the amendment of vices by correction; and he who writes honestly is no more an enemy to the offender than the physician to the patient when he prescribes harsh remedies.
  • Fiction is of the essence of poetry as well as of painting; there is a resemblance in one of human bodies, things, and actions which are not real, and in the other of a true story by fiction.
  • He with a graceful pride, While his rider every hand survey’d, Sprung loose, and flew into an escapade; Not moving forward, yet with every bound Pressing, and seeming still to quit his ground.
  • Imagining is in itself the very height and life of poetry, which, by a kind of enthusiasm or extraordinary emotion of the soul, makes it seem to us that we behold those things which the poet paints.
  • Love and Time with reverence use, Treat them like a parting friend: Nor the golden gifts refuse Which in youth sincere they send: For each year their price is more, And they less simple than before.
  • Bacchus ever fair and young, Drinking joys did first ordain. Bachus’s blessings are a treasure, Drinking is the soldier’s pleasure, Rich the treasure, Sweet the pleasure- Sweet is pleasure after pain.
  • Affability, mildness, tenderness, and a word which I would fain bring back to its original signification of virtue,–I mean good-nature,–are of daily use; they are the bread of mankind and staff of life.
  • As when the dove returning bore the mark Of earth restored to the long labouring ark; The relics of mankind, secure at rest, Oped every window to receive the guest, And the fair bearer of the message bless’d.
  • A good conscience is a port which is landlocked on every side, where no winds can possibly invade. There a man may not only see his own image, but that of his Maker, clearly reflected from the undisturbed waters.
  • God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, and conscience. Man is properly self-governed only when he is guided rightly and governed by his Maker, divine Truth and Love.
  • A fiery soul, which, working out its way, Fretted the pygmy-body to decay, And o’er-inform’d the tenement of clay. A daring pilot in extremity; Pleas’d with the danger, when the waves went high He sought the storms.
  • Since a true knowledge of nature gives us pleasure, a lively imitation of it, either in poetry or painting, must produce a much greater; for both these arts are not only true imitations of nature, but of the best nature.
  • The tariff issue is a bit different from that of taxes – although a tariff-free zone in cyberspace for electronic transmissions makes sense, the same is not true for taxes – there is no reason for cyberspace to be a tax haven,
  • What judgment I had increases rather than diminishes; and thoughts, such as they are, come crowding in so fast upon me, that my only difficulty is to choose or reject; to run them into verse or to give them the other harmony of prose.
  • If the faults of men in orders are only to be judged among themselves, they are all in some sort parties; for, since they say the honour of their order is concerned in every member of it, how can we be sure that they will be impartial judges?
  • Criticism is now become mere hangman’s work, and meddles only with the faults of authors ; nay, the critic is disgusted less with their absurdities than excellence ; and you cannot displease him more than in leaving him little room for his malice.
  • Three poets, in three distant ages born, Greece, Italy, and England did adorn. The first in loftiness of thought surpass’d; The next, in majesty; in both the last. The force of Nature could no further go; To make a third, she join’d the former two.
  • The people have a right supreme To make their kings, for Kings are made for them. All Empire is no more than Pow’r in Trust, Which when resum’d, can be no longer just. Successionm for the general good design’d, In its own wrong a Nation cannot bind.
  • If this were the last day of your life, my friend Tell me, what do you think you would do then? Stand up to the blow, that fate has struck upon you? Make the most of all you still have coming to you? or Lay down on the ground and let the tears flow f
  • And after hearing what our Church can say, If still our reason runs another way, That private reason ’tis more just to curb, Than by disputes the public peace disturb; For points obscure are of small use to learn, But common quiet is mankind’s concern.
  • Doeg, though without knowing how or why, Made still a blundering kind of melody; Spurr’d boldly on, and dash’d through thick and thin, Through sense and nonsense, never out nor in; Free from all meaning whether good or bad, And in one word, heroically mad.
  • A farce is that in poetry which grotesque (caricature) is in painting. The persons and actions of a farce are all unnatural, and the manners false, that is, inconsistent with the characters of mankind; and grotesque painting is the just resemblance of this.
  • Virgil is so exact in every word, that none can be changed but for a worse; nor any one removed from its place, but the harmony will be altered. He pretends sometimes to trip; but it is only to make you think him in danger of a fall, when he is most secure.
  • We find few historians who have been diligent enough in their search for truth; it is their common method to take on trust what they help distribute to the public; by which means a falsehood once received from a famed writer becomes traditional to posterity.
  • The longest tyranny that ever sway’d Was that wherein our ancestors betray’d Their free-born reason to the Stagirite [Aristotle], And made his torch their universal light. So truth, while only one suppli’d the state, Grew scarce, and dear, and yet sophisticate.
  • That, if the Gentiles, (whom no Law inspir’d,) By Nature did what was by Law requir’d; They, who the written Rule and never known, Were to themselves both Rule and Law alone: To Natures plain Indictment they shall plead; And, by their Conscience, be condemn’d or freed.
  • Arts and sciences in one and the same century have arrived at great perfection; and no wonder, since every age has a kind of universal genius, which inclines those that live in it to some particular studies; the work then, being pushed on by many hands, must go forward.
  • Since every man who lives is born to die, And none can boast sincere felicity, With equal mind, what happens, let us bear, Nor joy nor grieve too much for things beyond our care. Like pilgrims to the’ appointed place we tend; The world’s an inn, and death the journey’s end.
  • How blessed is he, who leads a country life, Unvex’d with anxious cares, and void of strife! Who studying peace, and shunning civil rage, Enjoy’d his youth, and now enjoys his age: All who deserve his love, he makes his own; And, to be lov’d himself, needs only to be known.
  • For thee, sweet month; the groves green liveries wear. If not the first, the fairest of the year; For thee the Graces lead the dancing hours, And Nature’s ready pencil paints the flowers. When thy short reign is past, the feverish sun The sultry tropic fears, and moves more slowly on.
  • Mere poets are sottish as mere drunkards are, who live in a continual mist, without seeing or judging anything clearly. A man should be learned in several sciences, and should have a reasonable, philosophical and in some measure a mathematical head, to be a complete and excellent poet.
  • Thou spring’st a leak already in thy crown, A flaw is in thy ill-bak’d vessel found; ‘Tis hollow, and returns a jarring sound, Yet thy moist clay is pliant to command, Unwrought, and easy to the potter’s hand: Now take the mould; now bend thy mind to feel The first sharp motions of the forming wheel.
  • There is an inimitable grace in Virgil’s words, and in them principally consists that beauty which gives so inexpressible a pleasure to him who best understands their force. This diction of his, I must once again say, is never to be copied; and since it cannot, he will appear but lame in the best translation.
  • Of no distemper, of no blast he died, But fell like autumn fruit that mellow’d long,- Even wonder’d at, because he dropp’d no sooner. Fate seem’d to wind him up for fourscore years, Yet freshly ran he on ten winters more; Till like a clock worn out with eating time, The wheels of weary life at last stood still.
  • Imagination in a poet is a faculty so wild and lawless that, like a high ranging spaniel, it must have clogs tied to it, lest it outrun the judgment. The great easiness of blank verse renders the poet too luxuriant. He is tempted to say many things which might better be omitted, or, at least shut up in fewer words.
  • Want is a bitter and a hateful good, Because its virtues are not understood; Yet many things, impossible to thought, Have been by need to full perfection brought. The daring of the soul proceeds from thence, Sharpness of wit, and active diligence; Prudence at once, and fortitude it gives; And, if in patience taken, mends our lives.
  • Softly sweet, in Lydian measures, Soon he sooth’d his soul to pleasures. War, he sung, is toil and trouble; Honour but an empty bubble; Never ending, still beginning, Fighting still, and still destroying. If all the world be worth the winning, Think, oh think it worth enjoying: Lovely Thais sits beside thee, Take the good the gods provide thee.
  • How easy it is to call rogue and villain, and that wittily! But how hard to make a man appear a fool, a blockhead, or a knave, without using any of those opprobrious terms! Tosparethegrossness ofthenames, and to dothe thing yet moreseverely, isto drawa full face, and tomake the nose and cheeks stand out, and yet not to employ any depth of shadowing.
  • Let those find fault whose wit’s so very small, They’ve need to show that they can think at all; Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow; He who would search for pearls, must dive below. Fops may have leave to level all they can; As pigmies would be glad to lop a man. Half-wits are fleas; so little and so light, We scarce could know they live, but that they bite.
  • He was the man who of all modern, and perhaps ancient poets, had the largest and most comprehensive soul. . . . He was naturally learn’d; he needed not the spectacles of books to read Nature; he looked inwards, and found her there. . . . He is many times flat, insipid; his comic wit degenerating in to clenches, his serious swelling into bombast. But he is always great, when some occasion is presented to him.
  • In pious times, ere priest-craft did begin, Before polygamy was made a sin; When man, on many, multipli’d his kind, Ere one to one was cursedly confin’d: When Nature prompted, and no Law deni’d Promiscuous use of concubine and bride; Then, Israel’s monarch, after Heaven’s own heart, His vigorous warmth did variously impart To wives and slaves: and, wide as his command, Scatter’d his Maker’s image through the land.
  • When I consider life, ‘t is all a cheat. Yet fool’d with hope, men favour the deceit; Trust on, and think to-morrow will repay. To-morrow ‘s falser than the former day; Lies worse, and while it says we shall be blest With some new joys, cuts off what we possest. Strange cozenage! none would live past years again, Yet all hope pleasure in what yet remain; And from the dregs of life think to receive What the first sprightly running could not give.
  • From harmony, from heavenly harmony, This universal frame began: When nature underneath a heap Of jarring atoms lay, And could not heave her head, The tuneful voice was heard from high, ‘Arise, ye more than dead!’ Then cold, and hot, and moist, and dry, In order to their stations leap, And Music’s power obey. From harmony, from heavenly harmony, This universal frame began: From harmony to harmony Through all the compass of the notes it ran, The diapason closing full in Man.
  • When the Sun sets, shadows, that shew’d at Noon But small, appear most long and terrible; So, when we think Fate hovers o’er our Heads, Our apprehensions shoot beyond all bounds, Owls, Ravens, Crickets seem the watch of death, Nature’s worst Vermine scare her God-like Sons. Ecchoes the very leavings of a Voice, Grow babling Ghosts, and call us to our Graves: Each Mole-hill thought swells to a huge Olympus, While we fantastick Dreamers heave and puff, And sweat with an Imagination’s weight…
  • Is it not evident, in these last hundred years (when the Study of Philosophy has been the business of all the Virtuosi in Christendome) that almost a new Nature has been revealed to us? that more errours of the School have been detected, more useful Experiments in Philosophy have been made, more Noble Secrets in Opticks, Medicine, Anatomy, Astronomy, discover’d, than in all those credulous and doting Ages from Aristotle to us? So true it is that nothing spreads more fast than Science, when rightly and generally cultivated.
  • It is almost impossible to translate verbally and well at the same time; for the Latin (a most severe and compendious language) often expresses that in one word which either the barbarity or the narrowness of modern tongues cannot supply in more. …But since every language is so full of its own proprieties that what is beautiful in one is often barbarous, nay, sometimes nonsense, in another, it would be unreasonable to limit a translator to the narrow compass of his author’s words; it is enough if he choose out some expression which does not vitiate the sense.

John Keats (quotes)

  • The air is all softness.
  • Load every rift with ore.
  • You are always new to me.
  • Death is Life’s high meed.
  • I always made an awkward bow.
  • Asleep in lap of legends old.
  • Health is my expected heaven.
  • Beauty is truth, truth beauty
  • To stay youthful, stay useful.
  • Wine is only sweet to happy men.
  • All writing is a form of prayer.
  • That queen of secrecy, the violet.
  • I want a brighter word than bright
  • I have so much of you in my heart.
  • A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
  • To silence gossip, don’t repeat it.
  • A hope beyond the shadow of a dream.
  • Stop and consider! life is but a day
  • I find I cannot exist without Poetry
  • Knowledge enormous makes a god of me.
  • Philosophy will clip an angel’s wings.
  • aching time! O moments big as years!
  • The poetry of the earth is never dead.
  • There is a budding morrow in midnight.
  • A quote about drinking is a joy forever
  • Hear ye not the hum Of mighty workings?
  • There is a budding tomorrow in midnight.
  • Love is my religion – I could die for it.
  • Alas! when passion is both meek and wild!
  • What is more gentle than a wind is summer?
  • That which is creative must create itself.
  • Here lies one whose name was writ in water.
  • Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time.
  • Scenery is fine – but human nature is finer.
  • My creed is love and you are its only tenet.
  • I will clamber through the clouds and exist.
  • Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget…
  • Of love, that fairest joys give most unrest.
  • The silver, snarling trumpets ‘gan to chide.
  • Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold.
  • The thought, the deadly thought of solitude.
  • Time, that aged nurse, Rocked me to patience.
  • My chest of books divide amongst my friends–
  • The excellence of every Art is its intensity.
  • The poppies hung Dew-dabbled on their stalks.
  • The day is gone, and all its sweets are gone!
  • Pensive they sit, and roll their languid eyes.
  • And how they kist each other’s tremulous eyes.
  • Thou art a dreaming thing, A fever of thyself.
  • A moment’s thought is passion’s passing knell.
  • All clean and comfortable I sit down to write.
  • Literary men are . . . a perpetual priesthood.
  • The days of peace and slumberous calm are fled.
  • My imagination is a monastery and I am its monk.
  • cruelty, / To steal my Basil-pot away from me!
  • Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced.
  • Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success…
  • My love is selfish. I cannot breathe without you.
  • Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips, bidding adieu
  • Ever let thy Fancy roam, Pleasure never is at home
  • Works of genius are the first things in the world.
  • A man’s life of any worth is a continual allegory.
  • But were there ever any Writhed not at passed joy?
  • I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest.
  • I have loved the principle of beauty in all things.
  • It keeps eternal whisperings around desolate shores
  • The genius of Shakespeare was an innate university.
  • for a life of Sensations rather than of Thoughts!
  • What the imagination seizes as beauty must be truth.
  • My friends should drink a dozen of Claret on my Tomb.
  • Where soil is, men grow, Whether to weeds or flowers.
  • Dancing music, music sad, Both together, sane and mad…
  • If something is not beautiful, it is probably not true.
  • Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter.
  • Many a time I have been half in love with easeful Death.
  • Soft closer of our eyes! Low murmur of tender lullabies!
  • And sure in language strange she said, / I love thee true.
  • I think I shall be among the English Poets after my death.
  • Pleasure is oft a visitant; but pain Clings cruelly to us.
  • Now a soft kiss – Aye, by that kiss, I vow an endless bliss.
  • Point me out the way / To any one particular beauteous star.
  • The creature has a purpose, and his eyes are bright with it.
  • Open afresh your rounds of starry folds, Ye ardent Marigolds.
  • I must choose between despair and Energy──I choose the latter.
  • There is nothing stable in the world; uproar’s your only music.
  • There is not a fiercer hell than the failure in a great object.
  • The grandeur of the dooms We have imagined for the mighty dead.
  • They swayed about upon a rocking horse, And thought it Pegasus.
  • Everything that reminds me of her goes through me like a spear.
  • On a lone winter evening, when the frost Has wrought a silence.
  • Sudden a thought came like a full-blown rose, Flushing his brow.
  • Music’s golden tongue Flatter’d to tears this aged man and poor.
  • So let me be thy choir, and make a moan Upon the midnight hours.
  • Oh what can ail thee, knight-at-arms, Alone and palely loitering?
  • And shade the violets, That they may bind the moss in leafy nets.
  • I wish to believe in immortality-I wish to live with you forever.
  • You are always new, the last of your kisses was ever the sweetest.
  • What shocks the virtuous philosopher, delights the chameleon poet.
  • A poet without love were a physical and metaphysical impossibility.
  • Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought As doth eternity…
  • Let us open our leaves like a flower, and be passive and receptive.
  • There is an awful warmth about my heart like a load of immortality.
  • Don’t be discouraged by a failure. It can be a positive experience.
  • I think we may class the lawyer in the natural history of monsters.
  • Shakespeare led a life of allegory; his works are the comments on it.
  • I am sailing with thee through the dizzy sky! How beautiful thou art!
  • Fanatics have their dreams, wherewith they weave a paradise for a sect.
  • latest born and loveliest vision far of all Olympus’ faded hierarchy.
  • I shall soon be laid in the quiet grave – thank God for the quiet grave
  • O, sorrow! Why dost borrow Heart’s lightness from the merriment of May?
  • Conversation is not a search after knowledge, but an endeavor at effect.
  • Through buried paths, where sleepy twilight dreams The summer time away.
  • I have nothing to speak of but my self-and what can I say but what I feel
  • Some say the world is a vale of tears, I say it is a place of soul-making.
  • was it a vision or a waking dream? Fled is that music–do I wake or sleep?
  • What is there in thee, Moon! That thou should’st move My heart so potently?
  • Already with thee! tender is the night. . . But here there is no light. . .
  • Many have original minds who do not think it – they are led away by custom!
  • Through the dancing poppies stole A breeze, most softly lulling to my soul.
  • The imagination may be compared to Adam’s dream-he awoke and found it truth.
  • It ought to come like the leaves to the trees, or it better not come at all.
  • I would jump down Etna for any public good – but I hate a mawkish popularity.
  • You cannot conceive how I ache to be with you: how I would die for one hour…
  • For axioms in philosophy are not axioms until they are proved upon our pulses.
  • for the gentleness of old Romance, the simple planning of a minstrel’s song!
  • Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards, And seal the hushed Casket of my Soul.
  • Life is but a day: A fragile dewdrop on its perilious way From a tree’s summit
  • When it is moving on luxurious wings, The soul is lost in pleasant smotherings.
  • How beautiful, if sorrow had not made Sorrow more beautiful than Beauty’s self.
  • He ne’er is crowned with immortality Who fears to follow where airy voices lead.
  • I Cannot Exist Without You. I Am Forgetful Of Everything But Seeing You Again…
  • Every mental pursuit takes its reality and worth from the ardour of the pursuer.
  • His religion at best is an anxious wish,-like that of Rabelais, a great Perhaps.
  • Then felt I like some watcher of the skies when a new planet swims into his ken.
  • I never can feel certain of any truth, but from a clear perception of its beauty.
  • They shall be accounted poet kings / Who simply tell the most heart-easing things.
  • I will imagine you Venus tonight and pray, pray, pray to your star like a Heathen.
  • How does the poet speak to men with power, but by being still more a man than they
  • Like a mermaid in sea-weed, she dreams awake, trembling in her soft and chilly nest.
  • A man should have the fine point of his soul taken off to become fit for this world.
  • Much have I traveled in the realms of gold, and many goodly states and kingdoms seen.
  • When I have fears that I may cease to be, Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain.
  • A little noiseless noise among the leaves, Born of the very sigh that silence heaves.
  • Love in a hut, with water and a crust, Is – Love, forgive us! – cinders, ashes, dust.
  • Sweet are the pleasures that to verse belong, And doubly sweet a brotherhood in song.
  • Beauty is truth, truth beauty,-that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
  • Four seasons fill the measure of the year; there are four seasons in the minds of men.
  • When I have fears that I may ceace to be, Before my pen has gleaned my teaming brain”.
  • Four seasons fill the measure of the year; / There are four seasons in the mind of man.
  • Happy is England, sweet her artless daughters; / Enough their simple loveliness for me.
  • Real are the dreams of gods, and soothly pass their pleasures in a long immortal dream.
  • And when thou art weary I’ll find thee a bed, Of mosses and flowers to pillow thy head.
  • The feel of not to feel it, When there is none to heal it Nor numbed sense to steel it.
  • I wish I was either in your arms full of faith, or that a Thunder bolt would strike me.
  • She press’d his hand in slumber; so once more He could not help but kiss her and adore.
  • I am in that temper that if I were under water I would scarcely kick to come to the top.
  • …yes, in spite of all, Some shape of beauty moves away the pall From out dark spirits.
  • The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft; and gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
  • My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains/ My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk.
  • Health is the greatest of blessings – with health and hope we should be content to live.
  • But the rose leaves herself upon the brier, For winds to kiss and grateful bees to feed.
  • ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
  • O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been Cooled a long age in the deep-delvid earth…
  • But let me see thee stoop from heaven on wings That fill the sky with silver glitterings!
  • She hurried at his words, beset with fears, For there were sleeping dragons all around…
  • Its better to lose your ego to the One you Love than to lose the One you Love to your Ego
  • Whatever the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth -whether it existed before or not
  • The roaring of the wind is my wife and the stars through the window pane are my children.
  • Real are the dreams of Gods, and smoothly pass / Their pleasures in a long immortal dream.
  • Their woes gone by, and both to heaven upflown, To bow for gratitude before Jove’s throne.
  • You have absorb’d me. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I was dissolving.
  • Dry your eyes O dry your eyes, For I was taught in Paradise To ease my breast of melodies.
  • Tall oaks branch charmed by the earnest stars Dream and so dream all night without a stir.
  • The excellency of every art is its intensity, capable of making all disagreeable evaporate.
  • I never was in love – yet the voice and the shape of a woman has haunted me these two days.
  • Where the nightingale doth sing Not a senseless, tranced thing, But divine melodious truth.
  • I love you the more in that I believe you had liked me for my own sake and for nothing else.
  • Touch has a memory. O say, love say, What can I do to kill it and be free In my old liberty?
  • Neither poetry, nor ambition, nor love have any alertness of countenance as they pass by me.
  • Where are the songs of Spring? Aye, where are they? Think not of them; thou has thy music too.
  • Even bees, the little almsmen of spring bowers, know there is richest juice in poison-flowers.
  • Every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterwards carefully avoid.
  • Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? / Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,
  • To bear all naked truths, And to envisage circumstance, all calm, That is the top of sovereignty
  • I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections, and the truth of imagination.
  • His old right hand lay nerveless, listless, dead, Unsceptred; and his realmless eyes were closed;
  • He who saddens at thought of idleness cannot be idle, / And he’s awake who thinks himself asleep.
  • We have woven a web, you and I, attached to this world but a separate world of our own invention.
  • A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.
  • Land and sea, weakness and decline are great separators, but death is the great divorcer for ever.
  • Can death be sleep, when life is but a dream, And scenes of bliss pass as a phantom by? —“On death
  • Call the world if you please “the vale of soul-making.” Then you will find out the use of the world.
  • We read fine things but never feel them to the full until we have gone the same steps as the author.
  • In a drear-nighted December, Too happy, happy tree, Thy branches ne’er remember Their green felicity.
  • I don’t need the stars in the night I found my treasure All I need is you by my side so shine forever
  • I could be martyred for my religion. Love is my religion and I could die for that. I could die for you.
  • It appears to me that almost any man may like the spider spin from his own inwards his own airy citadel.
  • I have a habitual feeling of my real life having past, and that I am now leading a posthumous existence.
  • You might curb your magnanimity, and be more of an artist, and load every rift of your subject with ore.
  • Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?
  • soft embalmer of the still midnight, / Shutting, with careful fingers and benign / Our gloom-pleased eyes.
  • I have good reason to be content, for thank God I can read and perhaps understand Shakespeare to his depths.
  • I am convinced more and more day by day that fine writing is next to fine doing, the top thing in the world.
  • Nothing ever becomes real till experienced – even a proverb is no proverb until your life has illustrated it
  • I have met with women whom I really think would like to be married to a Poem and to be given away by a Novel.
  • I see a lily on thy brow, With anguish moist and fever dew; And on thy cheek a fading rose Fast withereth too.
  • Parting they seemed to tread upon the air, Twin roses by the zephyr blown apart Only to meet again more close.
  • Nothing is finer for the purposes of great productions than a very gradual ripening of the intellectual powers.
  • one of the most mysterious of semi-speculations is, one would suppose, that of one Mind’s imagining into another
  • magic sleep! O comfortable bird, That broodest o’er the troubled sea of the mind Till it is hush’d and smooth!
  • A drainless shower Of light is poesy: ’tis the supreme of power; ‘Tis might half slumbering on its own right arm.
  • Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know.
  • A drainless shower / Of light is poesy; ’tis the supreme power; / ‘Tis might half slumbering on his own right arm.
  • Severn – I – lift me up – I am dying – I shall die easy; don’t be frightened – be firm, and thank God it has come.
  • With a great poet the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration.
  • No one can usurp the heights… But those to whom the miseries of the world Are misery, and will not let them rest.
  • Poetry should… should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance.
  • I do think better of womankind than to suppose they care whether Mister John Keats five feet high likes them or not.
  • There is an old saying “well begun is half done”-’tis a bad one. I would use instead-Not begun at all ’til half done.
  • The Public – a thing I cannot help looking upon as an enemy, and which I cannot address without feelings of hostility.
  • for ten years, that I may overwhelm / Myself in poesy; so I may do the deed / That my own soul has to itself decreed.
  • Bards of Passion and of Mirth, Ye have left your souls on earth! Have ye souls in heaven too, Double-lived in regions new?
  • Is there another Life? Shall I awake and find all this a dream? There must be we cannot be created for this sort of suffering.
  • Failure is in a sense the highway to success, as each discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true.
  • Blessed is the healthy nature; it is the coherent, sweetly co-operative, not incoherent, self-distracting, self-destructive one!
  • So rainbow-sided, touch’d with miseries, She seem’d, at once, some penanced lady elf, Some demon’s mistress, or the demon’s self.
  • All breathing human passion far above, / That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloyed,/ A burning forehead and a parching tongue.
  • I equally dislike the favor of the public with the love of a woman – they are both a cloying treacle to the wings of independence.
  • A long poem is a test of invention which I take to be the Polar star of poetry, as fancy is the sails, and imagination the rudder.
  • The world is too brutal for me-I am glad there is such a thing as the grave-I am sure I shall never have any rest till I get there.
  • I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet.
  • Why employ intelligent and highly paid ambassadors and then go and do their work for them? You don’t buy a canary and sing yourself.
  • You are always new. The last of your kisses was even the sweetest; the last smile the brightest; the last movement the gracefullest.
  • So, when dark thoughts my boding spirit shroud, Sweet Hope! celestial influence round me shed Waving thy silver pinions o’er my head.
  • It is a flaw In happiness to see beyond our bourn, – It forces us in summer skies to mourn, It spoils the singing of the nightingale.
  • Or thou might’st better listen to the wind, Whose language is to thee a barren noise, Though it blows legend-laden through the trees.
  • I saw pale kings and princes too, Pale warriors, death-pale were they all; They cried- “La Belle Dame sans Merci Hath thee in thrall!
  • Praise or blame has but a momentary effect on the man whose love of beauty in the abstract makes him a severe critic on his own works.
  • Who would wish to be among the commonplace crowd of the little famous – who are each individually lost in a throng made up of themselves?
  • Philosophy will clip an angel’s wings, Conquer all mysteries by rule and line, Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine – Unweave a rainbow.
  • The only means of strengthening one’s intellect is to make up one’s mind about nothing, to let the mind be a thoroughfare for all thoughts.
  • It is a flaw / In happiness to see beyond our bourn, – / It forces us in summer skies to mourn, / It spoils the singing of the nightingale.
  • A poet is the most unpoetical of anything in existence; because he has no identity he is continually informing and filling some other body.
  • A man’s life of any worth is a continual allegory, and very few eyes can see the mystery of his life, a life like the scriptures, figurative.
  • Though a quarrel in the streets is a thing to be hated, the energies displayed in it are fine; the commonest man shows a grace in his quarrel.
  • I compare human life to a large mansion of many apartments, two of which I can only describe, the doors of the rest being as yet shut upon me.
  • To the very last, he [Napoleon] had a kind of idea; that, namely, of la carrière ouverte aux talents, – the tools to him that can handle them.
  • Shed no tear – O, shed no tear! The flower will bloom another year. Weep no more – O, weep no more! Young buds sleep in the root’s white core.
  • And there shall be for thee all soft delight That shadowy thought can win, A bright torch, and a casement ope at night, To let the warm Love in!
  • I love your hills and I love your dales, And I love your flocks a-bleating; but oh, on the heather to lie together, With both our hearts a-beating!
  • Poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one’s soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself, but with its subject.
  • I came to feel how far above All fancy, pride, and fickle maidenhood, All earthly pleasure, all imagined good, Was the warm tremble of a devout kiss.
  • I have two luxuries to brood over in my walks, your loveliness and the hour of my death. O that I could have possession of them both in the same minute.
  • You speak of Lord Byron and me; there is this great difference between us. He describes what he sees I describe what I imagine. Mine is the hardest task.
  • To Sorrow I bade good-morrow, And thought to leave her far away behind; But cheerly, cheerly, She loves me dearly: She is so constant to me, and so kind.
  • I will give you a definition of a proud man: he is a man who has neither vanity nor wisdom one filled with hatreds cannot be vain, neither can he be wise.
  • The excellence of every art is its intensity, capable of making all disagreeables evaporate, from their being in close relationship with beauty and truth.
  • Fast fading violets cover’d up in leaves; And mid-May’s eldest child, The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine, The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
  • ‘Tis the witching hour of night, Orbed is the moon and bright. And the stars they glisten, glisten, Seeming with bright eyes to listen- For what listen they?
  • An extensive knowledge is needful to thinking people-it takes away the heat and fever; and helps, by widening speculation, to ease the burden of the mystery.
  • fret not after knowledge – I have none, and yet my song comes native with the warmth. O fret not after knowledge – I have none, and yet the Evening listens.
  • …all my clear-eyed fish, Golden, or rainbow-sided, or purplish, Vermilion-tail’d, or finn’d with silvery gauze… My charming rod, my potent river spells…
  • I should write for the mere yearning and fondness I have for the beautiful, even if my night’s labors should be burnt every morning and no eye shine upon them.
  • … feeling well that breathed words Would all be lost, unheard, and vain as swords Against the enchased crocodile, or leaps Of grasshoppers against the sun…
  • It can be said of him, when he departed he took a Man’s life with him. No sounder piece of British manhood was put together in that eighteenth century of Time.
  • To feel forever its soft fall and swell, Awake for ever in a sweet unrest, Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath, And so live ever-or else swoon in death.
  • To set budding more, / And still more, later flowers for the bees, / Until they think warm days will never cease, / For summer has o’erbrimmed their clammy cells.
  • No stir of air was there, Not so much life as on a summer’s day Robs not one light seed from the feather’d grass, But where the dead leaf fell, there did it rest.
  • Ay, on the shores of darkness there is a light, and precipices show untrodden green; there is a budding morrow in midnight; there is triple sight in blindness keen.
  • No, no, I’m sure, My restless spirit never could endure To brood so long upon one luxury, Unless it did, though fearfully, espy A hope beyond the shadow of a dream.
  • To one who has been long in city pent, ’Tis very sweet to look into the fair And open face of heaven, — to breathe a prayer Full in the smile of the blue firmament.
  • There’s a blush for won’t, and a blush for shan’t, and a blush for having done it: There’s a blush for thought and a blush for naught, and a blush for just begun it.
  • There was an awful rainbow once in heaven: We know her woof, her texture; she is given In the dull catalogue of common things. Philosophy will clip an angel’s wings.
  • Poetry should surprise by a fine excess and not by singularity, it should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance.
  • … the open sky sits upon our senses like a sapphire crown – the Air is our robe of state – the Earth is our throne, and the Sea a mighty minstrel playing before it.
  • Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird! No hungry generations tread thee down; The voice I hear this passing night was heard In ancient days by emperor and clown.
  • I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.
  • The poetry of earth is never dead When all the birds are faint with the hot sun, And hide I cooling trees, a voice will run From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead.
  • God of the golden bow, / And of the golden lyre, / And of the golden hair, / And of the golden fire, / Charioteer / Of the patient year, / Where – where slept thine ire?
  • I wish you could invent some means to make me at all happy without you. Every hour I am more and more concentrated in you; everything else tastes like chaff in my mouth.
  • I find that I can have no enjoyment in the world but the continual drinking of knowledge. I find there is no worthy pursuit but the idea of doing some good for the world.
  • The uttered part of a man’s life, let us always repeat, bears to the unuttered, unconscious part a small unknown proportion. He himself never knows it, much less do others.
  • In the long vista of the years to roll, Let me not see my country’s honor fade; Oh! let me see our land retain its soul! Her pride in Freedom, and not Freedom’s shade.
  • I had a dove and the sweet dove died; And I have thought it died of grieving: O, what could it grieve for? Its feet were tied, With a silken thread of my own hands’ weaving.
  • When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face, Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance, And think that I may never live to trace Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance…
  • Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art– Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night And watching, with eternal lids apart, Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite.
  • No sooner had I stepp’d into these pleasures Than I began to think of rhymes and measures: The air that floated by me seem’d to say ‘Write! thou wilt never have a better day.
  • Here are sweet peas, on tiptoe for a flight; With wings of gentle flush o’er delicate white, And taper fingers catching at all things, To bind them all about with tiny rings.
  • Give me women, wine and snuff Until I cry out ‘hold, enough!’ You may do so san objection Till the day of resurrection; For bless my beard then aye shall be My beloved Trinity.
  • Young playmates of the rose and daffodil, Be careful ere ye enter in, to fill Your baskets high With fennel green, and balm, and golden pines Savory latter-mint, and columbines.
  • I shall soon be laid in the quiet grave–thank God for the quiet grave–O! I can feel the cold earth upon me–the daisies growing over me–O for this quiet–it will be my first.
  • … for, by all the stars That tend thy bidding, I do think the bars That kept my spirit in are burst – that I Am sailing with thee through the dizzy sky! How beautiful thou art!
  • Are there not thousands in the world who love their fellows even to the death, who feel the giant agony of the world, and more, like slaves to poor humanity, labor for mortal good?
  • Stop and consider! life is but a day; A fragile dew-drop on its perilous way From a tree’s summit; a poor Indian’s sleep While his boat hastens to the monstrous steep Of Montmorenci
  • Souls of poets dead and gone, What Elysium have ye known, Happy field or mossy cavern, Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern? Have ye tippled drink more fine Than mine host’s Canary wine?
  • The opinion I have of the generality of women–who appear to me as children to whom I would rather give a sugar plum than my time, forms a barrier against matrimony which I rejoice in.
  • Faded the flower and all its budded charms,Faded the sight of beauty from my eyes,Faded the shape of beauty from my arms,Faded the voice, warmth, whiteness, paradise!Vanishd unseasonably
  • I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for religion – I have shuddered at it. I shudder no more – I could be martyred for my religion – Love is my religion – I could die for that.
  • I have had a thousand kisses, for which with my whole soul I thank love—but if you should deny me the thousand and first—‘t would put me to the proof how great a misery I could live through.
  • My spirit is too weak–mortality Weighs heavily on me like unwilling sleep, And each imagin’d pinnacle and steep Of godlike hardship tells me I must die Like a sick Eagle looking at the sky.
  • The genius of poetry must work out its own salvation in a man; it cannot be matured by law and precept, but by sensation and watchfulness in itself. That which is creative must create itself.
  • As the Swiss inscription says: Sprechen ist silbern, Schweigen ist golden,- “Speech is silvern, Silence is golden;” or, as I might rather express it, Speech is of Time, Silence is of Eternity.
  • Dance and Provencal song and sunburnt mirth! On for a beaker full of the warm South, Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene! With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, And purple-stained mouth.
  • Wherein lies happiness? In that which becks Our ready minds to fellowship divine, A fellowship with essence; till we shine, Full alchemiz’d, and free of space. Behold The clear religion of heaven!
  • We have oftener than once endeavoured to attach some meaning to that aphorism, vulgarly imputed to Shaftesbury, which however we can find nowhere in his works, that “ridicule is the test of truth.”
  • What occasions the greater part of the world’s quarrels? Simply this: Two minds meet and do not understand each other in time enough to prevent any shock of surprise at the conduct of either party.
  • Closer of lovely eyes to lovely dreams, Lover of loneliness, and wandering, Of upcast eye, and tender pondering! Thee must I praise above all other glories That smile us on to tell delightful stories.
  • How sad it is when a luxurious imagination is obliged in self defense to deaden its delicacy in vulgarity, and riot in things attainable that it may not have leisure to go mad after things that are not.
  • … Who alive can say ‘Thou art no Poet – mayst not tell thy dreams’? Since every man whose soul is not a clod Hath visions, and would speak, if he had loved, And been well nurtured in his mother tongue.
  • When the melancholy fit shall fall Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud, That fosters the droop-headed flowers all, And hides the green hill in an April shroud; Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose.
  • Through the sad heart of Ruth, when sick for home She stood in tears amid the alien corn; The same that ofttimes hath Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
  • Deep in the shady sadness of a vale Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn, Far from the fiery noon and eve’s one star, Sat gray-haired Saturn, quiet as a stone, Still as the silence round about his lair.
  • A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness; but still will keep A bower quiet for us, and a sleep Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
  • In a drear-nighted December, Too happy, happy brook, Thy bubblings ne’er remember Apollo’s summer look; But with a sweet forgetting, They stay their crystal fretting, Never, never petting About the frozen time.
  • We must repeat the often repeated saying, that it is unworthy a religious man to view an irreligious one either with alarm or aversion, or with any other feeling than regret and hope and brotherly commiseration.
  • Let us away, my love, with happy speed; There are no ears to hear, or eyes to see, – Drown’d all in Rhenish and the sleepy mead. Awake! arise! my love and fearless be, For o’er the southern moors I have a home for thee.
  • If I should die, I have left no immortal work behind me — nothing to make my friends proud of my memory — but I have loved the principle of beauty in all things, and if I had had time I would have made myself remembered.
  • When old age shall this generation waste, Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” – that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
  • There is an electric fire in human nature tending to purify – so that among these human creatures there is continually some birth of new heroism. The pity is that we must wonder at it, as we should at finding a pearl in rubbish.
  • …I leaped headlong into the Sea, and thereby have become more acquainted with the Soundings, the quicksands, and the rocks, than if I had stayed upon the green shore, and piped a silly pipe, and took tea and comfortable advice.
  • Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades Past the near meadows, over the still stream, Up the hill-side; and now ’tis buried deep In the next valley-glades: Was it a vision, or a waking dream? Fled is that music:–do I wake or sleep?
  • This Grave contains all that was Mortal of a Young English Poet Who on his Death Bed in the Bitterness of his Heart at the Malicious Power of his Enemies Desired these words to be engraved on his Tomb Stone “Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water.”
  • Talking of Pleasure, this moment I was writing with one hand, and with the other holding to my Mouth a Nectarine – how good how fine. It went down all pulpy, slushy, oozy, all its delicious embonpoint melted down my throat like a large, beatified Strawberry.
  • let me lead her gently o’er the brook, Watch her half-smiling lips and downward look; O let me for one moment touch her wrist; Let me one moment to her breathing list; And as she leaves me, may she often turn Her fair eyes looking through her locks auburne.
  • I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for their religion– I have shuddered at it, I shudder no more. I could be martyred for my religion. Love is my religion and I could die for that. I could die for you. My Creed is Love and you are its only tenet.
  • To Hope “When by my solitary hearth I sit, And hateful thoughts enwrap my soul in gloom; When no fair dreams before my ‘mind’s eye’ flit, And the bare heath of life presents no bloom; Sweet Hope, ethereal balm upon me shed, And wave thy silver pinions o’er my head.
  • The imagination of a boy is healthy, and the mature imagination of a man is healthy; but there is a space of life between, in which the soul is in a ferment, the character undecided, the way of life uncertain, the ambition thick-sighted: thence proceeds mawkishness.
  • Sometimes goldfinches one by one will drop From low hung branches; little space they stop; But sip, and twitter, and their feathers sleek; Then off at once, as in a wanton freak: Or perhaps, to show their black, and golden wings Pausing upon their yellow flutterings.
  • Should Disappointment, parent of Despair, Strive for her son to seize my careless heart; When, like a cloud, he sits upon the air, Preparing on his spell-bound prey to dart: Chase him away, sweet Hope, with visage bright, And fright him as the morning frightens night!
  • I scarcely remember counting upon happiness—I look not for it if it be not in the present hour—nothing startles me beyond the moment. The setting sun will always set me to rights, or if a sparrow come before my Window I take part in its existence and pick about the gravel.
  • I never knew before, what such a love as you have made me feel, was; I did not believe in it; my Fancy was afraid of it, lest it should burn me up. But if you will fully love me, though there may be some fire, ’twill not be more than we can bear when moistened and bedewed with Pleasures.
  • I stood tip-toe upon a little hill, The air was cooling, and so very still, That the sweet buds which with a modest pride Pull droopingly, in slanting curve aside, Their scantly leaved, and finely tapering stems, Had not yet lost those starry diadems Caught from the early sobbing of the morn.
  • it struck me what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in Literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously – I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.
  • Knowledge enormous makes a God of me. Names, deeds, gray legends, dire events, rebellions, Majesties, sovran voices, agonies, Creations and destroyings, all at once Pour into the wide hollows of my brain, And deify me, as if some blithe wine Or bright elixir peerless I had drunk, And so become immortal.
  • A poem needs understanding through the senses. The point of diving in a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore; it’s to be in the lake, to luxuriate in the sensation of water. You do not work the lake out. It is an experience beyond thought. Poetry soothes and emboldens the soul to accept mystery.
  • I myself am pursuing the same instinctive course as the veriest human animal you can think of I am, however young, writing at random straining at particles of light in the midst of a great darkness without knowing the bearing of any one assertion, of any one opinion. Yet may I not in this be free from sin?
  • Don’t be discouraged by a failure. It can be a positive experience. Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterwards carefully avoid.
  • Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep, Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers.
  • He, who is gone, was one of the very kindest friends I possessed, and yet he was not kinder perhaps to me, than to others. His intense mind and powerful feelings would, I truly believe, have done the world some service, had his life been spared but he was of too sensitive a nature and thus he was destroyed!
  • My mind has been the most discontented and restless one that ever was put into a body too small for it…. I never felt my mind repose upon anything with complete and undistracted enjoyment- upon no person but you. When you are in the room my thoughts never fly out of window: you always concentrate my whole senses
  • Darkling I listen; and, for many a time I have been half in love with easeful Death, Called him soft names in many a muse’ d rhyme, To take into the air my quiet breath; Now more than ever seems it rich to die, To cease upon the midnight with no pain, While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad In such an ecstasy!
  • I am certain I have not a right feeling towards women — at this moment I am striving to be just to them, but I cannot. Is it because they fall so far beneath my boyish imagination? When I was a schoolboy I thought a fair woman a pure Goddess; my mind was a soft nest in which some one of them slept, though she knew it not.
  • You are always new. THe last of your kisses was ever the sweetest; the last smile the brightest; the last movement the gracefullest. When you pass’d my window home yesterday, I was fill’d with as much admiration as if I had then seen you for the first time…Even if you did not love me I could not help an entire devotion to you.
  • Give me books, fruit, French wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors, played by someone I do not know. I admire lolling on a lawn by a water-lilied pond to eat white currants and see goldfish: and go to the fair in the evening if I’m good. There is not hope for that -one is sure to get into some mess before evening.
  • This living hand, now warm and capable Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold And in the icy silence of the tomb, So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood, So in my veins red life might stream again, And thou be conscience-calm’d. See, here it is– I hold it towards you.
  • Solitude! if I must with thee dwell, Let it not be among the jumbled heap Of murky buildings: climb with me the steep,– Nature’s observatory–whence the dell, In flowery slopes, its river’s crystal swell, May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep ‘Mongst boughs pavilion’d, where the deer’s swift leap Startles the wild bee from the foxglove bell.
  • Who, of men, can tell That flowers would bloom, or that green fruit would swell To melting pulp, that fish would have bright mail, The earth its dower of river, wood, and vale, The meadows runnels, runnels pebble-stones, The seed its harvest, or the lute its tones, Tones ravishment, or ravishment its sweet, If human souls did never kiss and greet?
  • How astonishingly does the chance of leaving the world improve a sense of its natural beauties upon us. Like poor Falstaff, although I do not ‘babble,’ I think of green fields; I muse with the greatest affection on every flower I have know from my infancy – their shapes and colours are as new to me as if I had just created them with superhuman fancy.
  • Let us not go hurrying about and collecting honey, bee-like buzzing here and there for a knowledge of what is not to be arrived at, but let us open our leaves like a flower, and be passive and receptive, budding patiently under the eye of Apollo, and taking hints from every noble insect that favours us with a visit – sap will be given us for meat and dew for drink.
  • Though the most beautiful creature were waiting for me at the end of a journey or a walk; though the carpet were of silk, the curtains of the morning clouds; the chairs and sofa stuffed with cygnet’s down; the food manna, the wine beyond claret, the window opening on Winander Mere, I should not feel -or rather my happiness would not be so fine, as my solitude is sublime.
  • Nor do we merely feel these essences for one short hour no, even as these trees that whisper round a temple become soon dear as the temples self, so does the moon, the passion posey, glories infinite, Haunt us till they become a cheering light unto our souls and bound to us so fast, that wheather there be shine, or gloom o’er cast, They always must be with us, or we die.
  • I saw pale kings and princes too, Pale warriors, death-pale were they all; They cried—“La Belle Dame sans Merci Hath thee in thrall!” XI. I saw their starved lips in the gloam, With horrid warning gaped wide, And I awoke and found me here, On the cold hill’s side. XII. And this is why I sojourn here, Alone and palely loitering, Though the sedge is wither’d from the lake, And no birds sing.
  • Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird! No hungry generations tread thee down; The voice I hear this passing night was heard In ancient days by emperor and clown: Perhaps the self-same song that found a path Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, She stood in tears amid the alien corn; The same that ofttimes hath Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
  • We hate poetry that has a palpable design upon us – and if we do not agree, seems to put its hand in its breeches pocket. Poetry should be great & unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one’s soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself but with its subject. – How beautiful are the retired flowers! how would they lose their beauty were they to throng into the highway crying out, “admire me I am a violet! dote upon me I am a primrose!”
  • Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard Are sweeter: therefore, ye soft pipes, play on; Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d, Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone. Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare; Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss, Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve; She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!
  • For Poesy alone can tell her dreams, With the fine spell of words alone can save Imagination from the sable charm And dumb enchantment. Who alive can say, ‘Thou art no Poet may’st not tell thy dreams?’ Since every man whose soul is not a clod Hath visions, and would speak, if he had loved And been well nurtured in his mother tongue. Whether the dream now purpos’d to rehearse Be poet’s or fanatic’s will be known When this warm scribe my hand is in the grave.
  • Ask yourself my love whether you are not very cruel to have so entrammelled me, so destroyed my freedom. Will you confess this in the Letter you must write immediately, and do all you can to console me in it — make it rich as a draught of poppies to intoxicate me —write the softest words and kiss them that I may at least touch my lips where yours have been. For myself I know not how to express my devotion to so fair a form: I want a brighter word than bright, a fairer word than fair.
  • Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, And still more, later flowers for the bees, Until they think warm days will never cease, For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
  • I cannot exist without you – I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again – my Life seems to stop there – I see no further. You have absorb’d me. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I were dissolving… I have been astonished that Men could die Martyrs for religion – I have shudder’d at it – I shudder no more – I could be martyr’d for my Religion – Love is my religion – I could die for that – I could die for you. My creed is Love and you are its only tenet – You have ravish’d me away by a Power I cannot resist.
  • How I like claret!…It fills one’s mouth with a gushing freshness, then goes down to cool and feverless; then, you do not feel it quarrelling with one’s liver. No; ’tis rather a peace-maker, and lies as quiet as it did in the grape. Then it is as fragrant as the Queen Bee, and the more ethereal part mounts into the brain, not assaulting the cerebral apartments, like a bully looking for his trull, and hurrying from door to door, bouncing against the wainscott, but rather walks like Aladdin about his enchanted palace, so gently that you do not feel his step.
  • Ghosts of melodious prophesyings rave Round every spot where trod Apollo’s foot; Bronze clarions awake, and faintly bruit, Where long ago a giant battle was; And, from the turf, a lullaby doth pass In every place where infant Orpheus slept. Feel we these things? – that moment have we stept Into a sort of oneness, and our state Is like a floating spirit’s. But there are Richer entanglements, enthralments far More self-destroying, leading, by degrees, To the chief intensity: the crown of these Is made of love and friendship, and sits high Upon the forehead of humanity.
  • Four Seasons fill the measure of the year; There are four seasons in the mind of man: He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear Takes in all beauty with an easy span: He has his Summer, when luxuriously Spring’s honey’d cud of youthful thought he loves To ruminate, and by such dreaming high Is nearest unto heaven: quiet coves His soul has in its Autumn, when his wings He furleth close; contented so to look On mists in idleness—to let fair things Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook. He has his Winter too of pale misfeature, Or else he would forego his mortal nature.
  • When I have fears that I may cease to be Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain, Before high-piled books, in charactery, Hold like rich garners the full ripen’d grain; When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face, Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance, And think that I may never live to trace Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance; And when I feel, fair creature of an hour, That I shall never look upon thee more, Never have relish in the faery power Of unreflecting love;–then on the shore Of the wide world I stand alone, and think Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.
  • My passions are all asleep from my having slumbered till nearly eleven and weakened the animal fiber all over me to a delightful sensation about three degrees on this sight of faintness – if I had teeth of pearl and the breath of lilies I should call it languor – but as I am I must call it laziness. In this state of effeminacy the fibers of the brain are relaxed in common with the rest of the body, and to such a happy degree that pleasure has no show of enticement and pain no unbearable frown. Neither poetry, nor ambition, nor love have any alertness of countenance as they pass by me.
  • Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art— Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night And watching, with eternal lids apart, Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite, The moving waters at their priestlike task Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores, Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask Of snow upon the mountains and the moors— No—yet still stedfast, still unchangeable, Pillowed upon my fair love’s ripening breast, To feel for ever its soft fall and swell, Awake for ever in a sweet unrest, Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath, And so live ever—or else swoon in death.
  • Then on the shore Of the wide world I stand alone, and think Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

 

 

Robert Frost (quotes)

  • End is a gloomy word.
  • Nothing gold can stay.
  • Ants are a curious race
  • What we live by we die by.
  • Life is tons of discipline.
  • Freedom lies in being bold.
  • The only way out is through.
  • Nature’s first green is gold.
  • We ran as if to meet the moon.
  • Writing a poem is discovering.
  • The only way round is through.
  • Nature is always hinting at us.
  • The only way around is through.
  • I always entertain great hopes.
  • To be social is to be forgiving.
  • Good fences make good neighbors.
  • An idea is a feat of association.
  • Don’t be agnostic – be something.
  • Hell is a half-filled auditorium.
  • The only way out is to go through
  • A turning point in modern history.
  • If one by one we counted people out
  • Don’t be an agnostic. Be something.
  • I’m not a teacher, but an awakener.
  • The best way out is always through.
  • I am not a teacher, but an awakener.
  • All the fun’s in how you say a thing
  • I have miles to go before I sleep…
  • We love things we love what they are.
  • Let me be the one To do what is done.
  • One age is like another for the soul.
  • I am not a teacher. I am an awakener.
  • Humor is the most engaging cowardice.
  • I had a lovers quarrel with the world.
  • The artist in me cries out for design.
  • I never take my own side in a quarrel.
  • Love has earth to which she clings….
  • I’m not confused. I’m just well mixed.
  • All the fun is in how you say a thing.
  • Create and stir other people to create.
  • We’re either nothing or a God’s regret.
  • A poem begins with a lump in the throat
  • The only certain freedom’s in departure.
  • The footpath down to the well is healed.
  • Poetry is what gets lost in translation.
  • College is a refuge from hasty judgment.
  • I’ve had a lover’s quarrel with the world
  • The test is always how we treat the poor.
  • I have been one acquainted with the night.
  • The snake stood up for evil in the Garden.
  • The sidelong glance is what you depend on.
  • Nothing can make injustice just but mercy.
  • Is due to truths being in and out of favor.
  • Something there is that doesn’t love a wall
  • The sweet of bitter bark And burning clove.
  • A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom.
  • You can’t get too much winter in the winter.
  • One aged man – one man – can’t fill a house.
  • The land was ours before we were the land’s.
  • Freedom is when you are easy in the harness.
  • If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.
  • Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat.
  • I go to school the youth to learn the future.
  • I never feel more at home than at a ballgame.
  • We love the things we love for what they are.
  • All great things are done for their own sake.
  • To be a poet is a condition, not a profession.
  • Space ails us moderns: we are sick with space.
  • I write to find out what I didn’t know I knew.
  • I’d just as soon play tennis with the net down.
  • I go to school – to youth – to learn the future
  • A successful lawsuit is one worn by a policeman
  • I am one who has been acquainted with the night
  • Any work of art must first of all tell a story.
  • Anything more than the truth would be too much.
  • Pressed into service means pressed out of shape.
  • So dawn goes down to day/ Nothing gold can stay.
  • The fact is the sweetest dream that labor knows.
  • What are we? Young or new? We must be something.
  • One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.
  • ..flowers that fly and all but sing.
  • I play better tennis because the court is there.
  • Democracy is the best chance for the best people.
  • It’s God – I recognised him from Blake’s picture.
  • There’s nothing I’m afraid of like scared people.
  • Hope is not found in a way out but a way through.
  • You have freedom when you’re easy in your harness.
  • Education is hanging around until you’ve caught on.
  • Come grow old with me, for the best is yet to come!
  • A successful lawsuit is the one worn by a policeman.
  • Happiness makes up in height what it lacks in length
  • You, of course, are a rose– But were always a rose.
  • There are tones of voices that mean more than words.
  • If the writer does not cry, the reader does not cry.
  • Thinking is not to agree or disagree. That’s voting.
  • Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice.
  • You can be a rank insider as well as a rank outsider.
  • Thinking is not to agree or disagree. That is voting.
  • The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.
  • Thinking isn’t agreeing or disagreeing. That’s voting.
  • As a confirmed astronomer I’m always for a better sky.
  • In heaven we are all ghostwriters, if we write at all.
  • Style is less the man than the way a man takes himself.
  • Men work together, whether they work together or apart.
  • There is nothing as mysterious as something clearly seen
  • Any eye is an evil eye That looks in on to a mood apart.
  • When clever people ask me where I get a poem, I despair.
  • Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.
  • The ear is the only true writer and the only true reader.
  • Originality and initiative are what I ask for my country.
  • It’s God – I’d have known Him by Blake’s picture anywhere
  • Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.
  • Poetry is about the grief. Politics is about the grievance.
  • Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.
  • If society fits you comfortably enough, you call it freedom.
  • Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down.
  • Man that is of woman born is apt to be as vain as his mother
  • Poetry should be common in experience but uncommon in books.
  • I hate the idea that you ought to read the whole of anybody.
  • Let cloud shapes swarm, / Let chaos storm, / I wait for form.
  • Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.
  • Word I was in my life alone, / Word I had no one left but God.
  • Man that is of woman born is apt to be as vain has his mother.
  • I believe in teaching, but I don’t believe in going to school.
  • The people I want to hear about are the people who take risks.
  • An idea comes as close to something for nothing as you can get.
  • Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, and wants it down.
  • Affection is an overpowering craving to be compellingly sought.
  • Many lovers have been divorced By having what is free enforced.
  • A poet never takes notes. You never take notes in a love affair.
  • I still say the only education worth anything is self-education.
  • I could give all to Time except–except What I myself have held.
  • I would as soon write free verse as play tennis with the net down
  • Have courage and a little willingness to venture and be defeated.
  • I dwell in a lonely house I know That vanished many a summer ago.
  • The people I am most afraid of are those who are the most afraid.
  • I hope to leave behind a few poems it will be hard to get rid of.
  • Out alone in the winter rain, / Intent on giving and taking pain.
  • Every poem is a momentary stay against the confusion of the world.
  • I would not come in. I meant not even if asked, And I hadn’t been.
  • Nature’s never quite Sure she hasn’t erred In her vague design….
  • Oh, come forth into the storm and rout And be my love in the rain.
  • What makes a nation in the beginning is a good piece of geography.
  • Style is the mind skating circles around itself as it moves forward
  • I’m always saying something that’s just the edge of something more.
  • But I may be one who does not care Ever to have tree bloom or bear.
  • What is done is done for the love of it- or not really done at all.
  • Only God and I knew what I meant when I wrote it, now only God knows
  • I am not a nature poet. There is almost always a person in my poems.
  • The woods are lovely, dark, and deep but I have promises to keep….
  • A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.
  • For dear me, why abandon a belief Merely because it ceases to be true
  • One of the hardest things in life to accept is a called third strike.
  • Ends and beginnings—there are no such things. There are only middles.
  • More men die of worry than of work, because more men worry than work.
  • God once declared He was true And then took the veil and withdrew….
  • A champion of the workingman has never been known to die of overwork.
  • How many things have to happen to you before something occurs to you?
  • When work becomes play, and play becomes your work, your life unfolds.
  • If you’re looking for something to be brave about, consider fine arts.
  • A champion of the working class has never been known to die of overwork
  • I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
  • Poets need not go to Niagara to write about the force of falling water.
  • Memento mori and obey the Lord. Art and religion love the somber chord.
  • Poets like Shakespeare know more about poetry than any $25 an hour man.
  • The first thing I do in any town I come to is ask if it has a bookstore.
  • A breeze discovered my open book And began to flutter the leaves to look
  • I never knew what was meant by choice of words. It was one word or none.
  • The Moon for all her light and grace Has never learned to know her place.
  • I have wished a bird would fly away, And not sing by my house all day….
  • Like a piece of ice on a hot stove the poem must ride on its own melting.
  • Nobody was ever meant, To remember or invent, What he did with every cent.
  • A champion of the working man has never yet been known to die of overwork.
  • Poetry is a reaching out forward expression, an effort to find fulfillment
  • Heaven gives its glimpses only to those not in position to look too close.
  • An idea is a feat of association, and the height of it is a good metaphor.
  • Our very life depends on everythings’ recurring til we answer from within.
  • In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.
  • Time and tide wait for no man, but always stand still for a woman of thirty
  • Two such as you with such a master speed Cannot be parted nor be swept away
  • And of course there must be something wrong In wanting to silence any song.
  • Before I built a wall I’d ask to know what I was walling in or walling out.
  • What is required is sight and insight- then you might add one more: excite.
  • The dog barks backwards without getting up; I can remember when he was a pup
  • I dwell with a strangely aching heart In that vanished abode there far apart
  • The beauty of enmity is insecurity; the beauty of friendship is in security.
  • Far more violence has been done in obeying the law than in breaking the law.
  • Something we were withholding made us weak, until we found it was ourselves.
  • Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.
  • If you don’t know how great this country is, I know someone who does; Russia.
  • A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.
  • For hard it is to keep from being King When it’s in you and in the situation.
  • I hold it to be the inalienable right of anybody to go to hell in his own way.
  • The jury consist of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.
  • So was I once myself a swinger of birches. And so I dream of going back to be.
  • Earth’s the right place for love. I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
  • Time and tide wait for no man, but time always stands still for a woman of 30.
  • The sun was warm but the wind was chill. You know how it is with an April day.
  • I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.
  • There are few sorrows, however poignant, in which a good income is of no avail.
  • Not to sink under being man and wife, But get some color and music out of life?
  • The old dog barks backward without getting up I can remember when he was a pup.
  • Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.
  • I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.
  • You don’t have to deserve your mother’s love. You have to deserve your father’s.
  • Courage is of the heart by derivation, And great it is. But fear is of the soul.
  • For I thought Epicurus and Lucretius By Nature meant the Whole Goddam Machinery.
  • Tolerance is the uncomfortable feeling that in the end the other could be right.
  • You can be a little ungrammatical if you come from the right part of the country.
  • Time and Tide wait for no man,but time always stands still for a woman of thirty.
  • We dance around the ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows
  • Keep all ur troubles in ur own pocket. But, make sure that the pocket has a hole!
  • I’d like to get away from earth awhile / And then come back to it and begin over.
  • What is this talked-of mystery of birth. But being mounted bareback on the earth?
  • A poem may be worked over once it is in being, but may not be worried into being.
  • If there is one thing in life that I have learned about life it is… it goes on.
  • You can’t trust God to be unmerciful. There you have the beginning of all wisdom.
  • Poetry is what is lost in translation. It is also what is lost in interpretation.
  • We dance round in a ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows.
  • Take care to sell your horse before he dies. The art of life is passing losses on.
  • Than smoke and mist who better could appraise The kindred spirit of an inner haze?
  • A bird half wakened in the lunar noon Sang halfway through its little inborn tune.
  • Families break up when they get hints you don’t intend and miss hints that you do.
  • The trees that have it in their pent-up buds To darken nature and be summer woods.
  • Poetry is what gets lost in translation. It is also what is lost in interpretation.
  • We dance round in a ring and suppose, While the secret sits in the middle and knows
  • The question that he frames in all but words is what to make of a diminished thing.
  • Courage is in the air in bracing whiffs Better than all the stalemate an’s and ifs.
  • One luminary clock against the sky Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
  • When I was young my teachers were the old. I gave up fire for form till I was cold.
  • Unless you are educated in metaphor, you are not safe to be let loose in the world.
  • Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee, and I’ll forgive Thy great big joke on me.
  • It takes all sorts of in and outdoor schooling To get adapted to my kind of fooling.
  • How are we to write The Russian novel in America As long as life goes so unterribly?
  • The father is always a Republican toward his son, and his mother’s always a Democrat.
  • The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.
  • Let him that is without stone among you cast the first thing he can lay his hands on.
  • All there is to writing is having ideas. To learn to write is to learn to have ideas.
  • And nothing to look backward to with pride, and nothing to look forward to with hope.
  • Education doesn’t change life much. It just lifts trouble to a higher plane of regard.
  • Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favor.
  • Families break up when people take hints you don’t intend and miss hints you do intend
  • He burned his house down for the fire insurance and spent the proceeds on a telescope.
  • States strong enough to do good are but few. Their number would seem limited to three.
  • I never dared to be radical when young for fear it would make me conservative when old.
  • If the day ever comes when they know who They are, they may know better where they are.
  • A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.
  • A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age.
  • The middle of the road is where the white line is – and that’s the worst place to drive.
  • The world is full of willing people; some willing to work, the rest willing to let them.
  • A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point of doubtful sanity.
  • Forgive me my nonsense as I also forgive the nonsense of those who think they talk sense
  • There is little much beyond the grave, but the strong are saying nothing until they see.
  • Nothing is quite honest that is not commercial, but not everything commercial is honest.
  • But what would interest you about the brook, It’s always cold in summer, warm in winter.
  • Here are your waters and your watering place. Drink and be whole again beyond confusion.
  • No memory of having starred atones for later disregard, or keeps the end from being hard.
  • Possessing what we still were unpossessed by, Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
  • The truly educated can listen to any view without losing their temper or self-confidence.
  • As it is more blessed to receive, so it must be more blessed to receive than to give back.
  • Forgive me my nonsense, as I also forgive the nonsense of those that think they talk sense.
  • Next to nothing for use.But a crop is a crop,And who’s to say where The harvest shall stop?
  • Keep cold, young orchard. Goodbye and keep cold. / Dread fifty above more than fifty below.
  • My object in living is to uniteMy avocation and my vocationAs my two eyes make one in sight
  • Oh, give us pleasure in the orch-ard white, Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night.
  • Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away / You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
  • The rose is a rose, And was always a rose. But the theory now goes That the apple’s a rose.
  • I’ve given offense by saying I’d as soon write free verse as play tennis with the net down.
  • There would be more than ocean-water broken Before God’s last Put out the Light was spoken.
  • When I see birches bend to left and right… I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
  • The Vermont mountains stretch extended straight; New Hampshire mountains curl up in a coil.
  • Life must be kept up at a great rate in order to absorb any considerable amount of learning.
  • My goal in life is to unite my avocation with my vocation, As my two eyes make one in sight.
  • Let’s get my incantation right: “I wish I may, I wish I might” Give earth another satellite.
  • Now close the windows and hush all the fields: If the trees must, let them silently toss….
  • Nature is always hinting at us. It hints over and over again. And suddenly we take the hint.
  • But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.
  • They would not find me changed from him they knew – only more sure of all I thought was true.
  • Skepticism, is that anything more than we used to mean when we said, Well, what have we here?
  • Poetry is play. I’d even rather have you think of it as a sport. For instance, like football.
  • Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments. The intervals are the tough things.
  • For I have had too much Of apple-picking:I am overtired Of the great harvest I myself desired.
  • Some spirit to stand simply forth, Heroic in its nakedness, Against the uttermost of earth….
  • There never was any heart truly great and generous, that was not also tender and compassionate.
  • I am a writer of books in retrospect. I talk in order to understand; I teach in order to learn.
  • A definite purpose, like blinders on a horse, inevitably narrows its possessor’s point of view.
  • Summary riposte To the dreary wail There’s no knowing what Love is all about. Poets know a lot.
  • Not yesterday I learned to know The love of bare November days Before the coming of the snow….
  • Loyalty is that for the lack of which your gang will shoot you without benefit of trial by jury.
  • Both T.S. Eliot and I like to play, but I like to play euchre, while he likes to play Eucharist.
  • The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.
  • Being the boss anywhere is lonely. Being a female boss in a world of mostly men is especially so.
  • God turned to speak to me (Don’t anybody laugh); God found I wasn’t there At least not over half.
  • The difference between a job and a career is the difference between forty and sixty hours a week.
  • Skepticism,” is that anything more than we used to mean when we said, ”Well, what have we here?’
  • Bounds should be set To ingenuity for being so cruel In bringing change unheralded on the unready.
  • Love at the lips was touch As sweet as I could bear; And once that seemed too much; I lived on air.
  • The hurt is not enough: I long for weight and strength. To feel the earth as rough to all my length
  • My definition of poetry (if I were forced to give one) would be this: words that have become deeds.
  • You’ve got to love what’s lovable, and hate what’s hateable. It takes brains to see the difference.
  • loosely bound By countless silken ties of love and thought To everything on earth the compass round
  • A man will sometimes devote all his life to the development of one part of his body — the wishbone.
  • I could define poetry this way: it is that which is lost out of both prose and verse in translation.
  • I see for Nature no defeat In one tree’s overthrow Or for myself in my retreat For yet another blow.
  • No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.
  • Lovers, forget your love And list to the love of these She a window flower And he a winter breeze …
  • ”Skepticism,” is that anything more than we used to mean when we said, ”Well, what have we here?”
  • What you want, what you’re hanging around in the world waiting for, is for something to occur to you.
  • By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.
  • A person will sometimes devote all his life to the development of one part of his body – the wishbone.
  • The sister’s face Fell all in wrinkles of responsibility. She wanted to do right. She’d have to think.
  • No, in country money, the country scale of gain, The requisite lift of spirit has never been found….
  • There is no arguing with him, for if his pistol misses fire, he knocks you down with the butt end of it.
  • By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day
  • The difference between a man and his valet: they both smoke the same cigars, but only one pays for them.
  • Poetry is the renewal of words, setting them free, and that’s what a poet is doing: loosening the words.
  • There is absolutely no reason for being rushed along with the rush. Everybody should be free to go slow.
  • Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.
  • It’s a funny thing that when a man hasn’t anything on earth to worry about, he goes off and gets married.
  • Americans are like a rich father who wishes he knew how to give his son the hardships that made him rich.
  • Love is an irresistable desire to be irresistably desired.” “Poetry begins in delight and ends in wisdom.
  • Piling up knowledge is as bad as piling up money. You have to begin sometime to kick around what you know.
  • Two roads converged in a woods. He (Mitchell) took the one less traveled and that made all the difference.
  • Oh I kept the first for another dayYet knowing how way leads on to way,I doubted if should ever come back.
  • A true sonnet goes eight lines and then takes a turn for better or worse and goes six or eight lines more.
  • It’s hard to get into this world and hard to get out of it, and what’s in between doesn’t make much sense.
  • I turned to speak to God About the world’s despair But to make bad matters worse I found God wasn’t there.
  • Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
  • I turned to speak to God About the world’s despair; But to make bad matters worse, I found God wasn’t there
  • What an exciting age it is we live in With all this talk about the hope of youth And nothing made of youth.
  • The nearest friends can go With anyone to death, comes so far short They might as well not try to go at all.
  • Life is tons of discipline. Your first discipline is your vocabulary; then your grammar and your punctuation
  • New is a word for fools in towns who think Style upon style in dress and thought at last Must get somewhere.
  • A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain.
  • Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
  • I came from a very intellectual neighborhood. When we played cowboys and Indians as kids, I had to be Gandhi.
  • As for his evil tidings, Belshazzar’s overthrow, Why hurry to tell Belshazzar What soon enough he would know?
  • A mother takes twenty years to make a man of her boy, and another woman makes a fool of him in twenty minutes.
  • Lord, I have loved Your sky, Be it said against or for me, Have loved it clear and high, Or low and stormy….
  • I alone of English writers have consciously set myself to make music out of what I may call the sound of sense.
  • Everything written is as good as it is dramatic. It need not declare itself in form, but it is drama or nothing.
  • I have remained resentful to this day When any but myself presumed to say That there was anything I couldn’t be.
  • He knew a path that wanted walking; He knew a spring that wanted drinking; A thought that wanted further thinking
  • All those who try to go it sole alone, Too proud to be beholden for relief, Are absolutely sure to come to grief.
  • Of all crimes the worst Is to steal the glory From the great and brave, Even more accursed Than to rob the grave.
  • The land was ours before we were the land s. She was our land more than a hundred years before we were her people.
  • The land was ours before we were the land’s. She was our land more than a hundred years Before we were her people.
  • There is one thing more exasperating than a wife who can cook and won’t, and that’s a wife who can’t cook and will.
  • Nearly everybody is looking for something brave to do. I don’t know why people shouldn’t write poetry. That’s brave.
  • The worst disease which can afflict executives in their work is not, as popularly supposed, alcoholism; it’s egotism.
  • I end not far from my going forth By picking the faded blue Of the last remaining aster flower To carry again to you.
  • The chief reason for going to school is to get the impression fixed for life that there is a book side for everything.
  • The chance is the remotest, Of its going much longer unnoticed, That I’m not keeping pace With the headlong human race
  • I fail to see what fun, what satisfaction / A God can find in laughing at how badly / Men fumble at the possibilities…
  • Before now poetry has taken notice Of wars, and what are wars but politics Transformed from chronic to acute and bloody?
  • Belief is better than anything else, and it is best when rapt – above paying its respects to anybody’s doubt whatsoever.
  • Nature does not complete things. She is chaotic. Man must finish, and he does so by making a garden and building a wall.
  • Modern poets talk against business, poor things, but all of us write for money. Beginners are subjected to trial by market.
  • People are inexterminable like flies and bed-bugs. There will always be some that survive in cracks and crevices that’s us.
  • Humour is the most engaging cowardice. With it myself I have been able to hold some of my enemy in play far out of gunshot.
  • It looked as if a night of dark intent was coming, and not only a night, an age. Someone had better be prepared for rage…
  • Just specimens is all New Hampshire has,/ One each of everything as in a show-case/ Which naturally she doesn’t care to sell.
  • I cut my own hair. I got sick of barbers because they talk too much. And too much of their talk was about my hair coming out.
  • The greatest thing in family life is to take a hint when a hint is intended-and not to take a hint when a hint isn’t intended.
  • A man has got to keep his extrication. The important thing is not to get bogged down In what he has to do to earn a living….
  • I own I never really warmed To the reformer or reformed. And yet conversion has its place Not halfway down the scale of grace.
  • But this we know, the obstacle that checked And tripped the body, shot the spirit on Further than target ever showed or shone.
  • He says the best way out is always through. / And I can agree to that, or in so far / As that I can see no way out but through
  • Earth would soon Be uninhabitable as the moon. What for that matter had it ever been? Who advised man to come and live therein?
  • I often say of George Washington that he was one of the few in the whole history of the world who was not carried away by power.
  • Tree at my window, window tree, My sash is lowered when night comes on; But let there never be curtain drawn Between you and me.
  • This as it will be seen is other far / Than with brooks taken otherwhere in song. / We love the things we love for what they are.
  • Don’t join too many gangs. Join few if any. Join the United States and join the family- But not much in between unless a college.
  • Meditate nothing. Learn to contemplate. Contemplate glory. There will be a light. Contemplate Truth until it burns your eyes out.
  • Freud was way off base in considering sex the fundamental motivation. The ruling passion in men is minding each other’s business.
  • It was far in the sameness of the wood; I was running with joy on the Demon’s trail, Though I knew what I hunted was no true god.
  • The best things and best people rise out of their separateness; I’m against a homogenized society because I want the cream to rise.
  • Tree at my window, window tree,/ My sash is lowered when night comes on;/ But let there never be curtain drawn/ Between you and me.
  • I wonder about the trees. Why do we wish to bear Forever the noise of these More than another noise So close to our dwelling place?
  • These woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.
  • Talking is a hydrant in the yard and writing is a faucet upstairs in the house. Opening the first takes the pressure off the second.
  • No wonder poets sometimes have to seem/ So much more business-like than business men./ Their wares are so much harder to get rid of.
  • Unless I’m wrong I but obey The urge of a song: I’m-bound-away! And I may return If dissatisfied With what I learn From having died.
  • My apple trees will never get across And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. He only says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
  • It is only a moment here and a moment there that the greatest writer has. Some cognizance of the fact must be taken in your teaching.
  • I have been one acquainted with the night. I have walked out in rain – and back in rain. I have outwalked the furthest city light….
  • A voice said, Look me in the stars And tell me truly, men of earth, If all the soul-and-body scars Were not too much to pay for birth.
  • Only where love and need are one, And the work is play for mortal stakes Is the deed ever truly done For Heaven and the future’s sakes
  • Leaves and bark, leaves and bark, To lean against and hear in the dark. Petals I may have once pursued. Leaves are all my darker mood.
  • He thought that I was after him for a feather— The white one in his tail: like one who takes everything said as personal to himself.
  • Freedom is slavery some poets tell us. Enslave yourself to the right leader’s truth, Christ’s or Karl Marx’, and it will set you free.
  • Courage is the human virtue that counts most-courage to act on limited knowledge and insufficient evidence. That’s all any of us have.
  • The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.
  • The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.
  • Everyone asks for freedom for himself, The man free love, the businessman free trade, The writer and talker free speech and free press.
  • The problem for the King is just how strict The lack of liberty, the squeeze of the law And discipline should be in school and state….
  • All thought is a feat of association; having what’s in front of you bring up something in your mind that you almost didn’t know you knew
  • In spring more mortal singers than belong To any one place cover us with song. Thrush, bluebird, blackbird, sparrow, and robin throng….
  • Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference
  • That day she put our heads together, Fate had her imagination about her, Your head so much concerned with outer, Mine with inner, weather.
  • Yet some say Love by being thrall And simply staying possesses all In several beauty that Thought fares far To find fused in another star.
  • Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.
  • So when at times the mob is swayed To carry praise or blame too far, We may choose something like a star To stay our minds on and be staid.
  • The truth is the river flows into the canyon Of Ceasing-to-Question-What-Doesn’t-Concern-Us, As sooner or later we have to cease somewhere.
  • You’re searching… For things that don’t exist; I mean beginnings. Ends and beginnings – there are no such things. There are only middles.
  • The heart can think of no devotion Greater than being shore to the ocean- Holding the curve of one position, Counting an endless repetition.
  • Never discuss the poem you contemplate writing. It’s like turning on the outside spigot. It takes all the pressure off the upstairs bathroom.
  • An earthly dog of the carriage breed; Who, having failed of the modern speed, Now asked asylum and I was stirred To be the one so dog-preferred
  • You’re searching, Joe, for things that don’t exist; I mean beginnings. Ends and beginnings — there are no such things. There are only middles.
  • Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow.
  • Fortunately, we don’t need to know how bad an age is. There is something we can always be doing without reference to how good or bad the age is.
  • Evolution is like walking on a rolling barrel. The walker isn’t so much interested in where the barrel is going as he is in keeping on top of it.
  • The way a crow Shook down on me The dust of snow From a hemlock tree Has given my heart A change of mood And saved some part Of a day I had rued.
  • Style is that which indicates how the writer takes himself and what he is saying. It is the mind skating circles around itself as it moves forward.
  • I only hope that when I am free, as they are free to go in quest, of the knowledge beyond the bounds of life, it may not seem better to me to rest.
  • We cannot tell some people what it is believe, partly because they are too stupid to understand, partly because we are too proudly vague to explain.
  • The best way for a person to have happy thoughts is to count his blessings and not his cash. Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.
  • Summoning artists to participate In the august occasions of the state Seems something artists ought to celebrate. Today is for my cause a day of days.
  • I heard someone say he [Carl Sandburg] was the kind of writer who had everything to gain and nothing to lose by being translated into another language.
  • And were an epitaph to be my story I’d have a short one ready for my own. I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.
  • The first thing I do in the morning is to make my bed and while I am making up my bed I am making up my mind as to what kind of a day I am going to have.
  • Like a piece of ice on a hot stove the poem must ride on its own melting. A poem may be worked over once it is in being, but may not be worried into being.
  • For, dear me, why abandon a belief, Merely because it ceases to be true, Cling to it long enough, and not a doubt, It will turn true again, for so it goes.
  • … A nation has to take its natural course Of Progress round and round in circles From King to Mob to King to Mob to King Until the eddy of it eddies out.
  • The city is all right. To live in one Is to be civilized, stay up and read Or sing and dance all night and see sunrise By waiting up instead of getting up.
  • Nothing flatters me more than to have it assumed that I could write prose, unless it be to have it assumed that I once pitched a baseball with distinction.
  • Nations like the Cuban and the Swiss Can never hope to wage a Global Mission. No Holy Wars for them. The most the small Can ever give us is a nuisance brawl.
  • If one by one we counted people out For the least sin, it wouldn’t take us long To get so we had no one left to live with. For to be social is to be forgiving.
  • Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today; And give us not to think so far away As the uncertain harvest; keep us here All simply in the springing of the year.
  • But he had gone his way, the grass all mown, And I must be, as he had been – alone, As all must be, I said within my heart, Whether they work together or apart.
  • I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet When far away an interrupted cry Came over houses from another street, But not to call me back or say good-bye;
  • Why make so much of fragmentary blue In here and there a bird, or butterfly, Or flower, or wearing-stone, or open eye, When heaven presents in sheets the solid hue?
  • It should be of the pleasure of a poem itself to tell how it can. The figure a poem makes. It begins in delight and ends in wisdom. The figure is the same for love.
  • We disparage reason. But all the time it’s what we’re most concerned with. There’s will as motor and there’s will as brakes. Reason is, I suppose, the steering gear.
  • Have I not walked without an upward look Of caution under stars that very well Might not have missed me when they shot and fell? It was a risk I had to take-and took.
  • … War is for everyone, for children too. I wasn’t going to tell you and I mustn’t. The best way is to come uphill with me And have our fire and laugh and be afraid.
  • You’re always believing ahead of your evidence. What was the evidence I could write a poem? I just believed it. The most creative thing in us is to believe in a thing.
  • The tree the tempest with a crash of wood Throws down in front of us is not to bar Our passage to our journey’s end for good, But just to ask us who we think we are….
  • hushed October morning mild, Begin the hours of this day slow, Make the day seem to us less brief… Retard the sun with gentle mist; Enchant the land with amethyst…
  • You’ve got to be brave and you’ve got to be bold. Brave enough to take your chance on your own discrimination, what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s good and what’s bad.
  • You know how cunningly mankind is planned: We have one loving and one hating hand. The loving’s made to hold each other like, While with the hating other hand we strike.
  • For me the initial delight is in the surprise of remembering something I didn’t know I knew. I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing … is discovering.
  • He is all pine and I am apple orchard. My apple trees will never get across And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. He only says, “Good fences make good neighbors.
  • They cannot scare me with their empty spaces Between stars—on stars where no human race is. I have it in me so much nearer home To scare myself with my own desert places.
  • Trust him to have his bitter politics Against his unacquaintances the rich Who sleep in houses of their own, though mortgaged. Conservatives, they don’t know what to save.
  • The best way to hate is the worst. ‘Tis to find what the hated need, Never mind of what actual worth, And wipe that out of the earth. Let them die of unsatisfied greed….
  • Live life like its the last breath you take for that breath is the whole essence of living, the little things in life are what connects us to all the big things we live for
  • They cannot scare me with their empty spaces between stars — on stars where no human race is. I have it in me so much nearer home to scare myself with my own desert places.
  • Our life runs down in sending up the clock. The brook runs down in sending up our life. The sun runs down in sending up the brook. And there is something sending up the sun.
  • Live and let live, believe and let believe. ‘Twas said the lesser gods were only traits Of the one awful God. Just so the saints Are God’s white light refracted into colors.
  • Nothing not built with hands of course is sacred. But here is not a question of what’s sacred; Rather of what to face or run away from. I’d hate to be a runaway from nature.
  • The best thing we’re put here for’s to see; The strongest thing that’s given us to see with’s a telescope. Someone in every town, seems to me, owes it to the town to keep one.
  • Yes, and even for the past…that it will turn out to have been all right for what it was. Something I can accept. Mistakes made by the self I had to be or was not able to be.
  • It comes down to a doubt about the wisdom Of having children after having had them, So there is nothing we can do about it But warn the children they perhaps should have none.
  • Ah, when to the heart of man Was it ever less than a treason To go with the drift of things, To yield with a grace to reason, And bow and accept the end Of a love or a season?
  • The rain to the wind said, You push and I’ll pelt.’ They so smote the garden bed That the flowers actually knelt, And lay lodged–though not dead. I know how the flowers felt.
  • I shall be telling this with a sigh – Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference
  • My sorrow, when she’s here with me, thinks these dark days of autumn rain are beautiful as days can be; she loves the bare, the withered tree; she walks the sodden pasture lane.
  • But these are flowers that fly and all but sing: And now from having ridden out desire They lie closed over in the wind and cling Where wheels have freshly sliced the April mire.
  • Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth.
  • Before I built a wall I’d ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offence. Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That wants it down.
  • There are two kinds of teachers: the kind that fill you with so much quail shot that you can’t move, and the kind that just gives you a little prod behind and you jump to the skies.
  • I am assured at any rate Man’s practically inexterminate. Someday I must go into that. There’s always been an Ararat Where someone someone else begat To start the world all over at.
  • There is no love. There’s only love of men and women, love Of children, love of friends, of men, of God: Divine love, human love, parental love, Roughly discriminated for the rough.
  • Let those possess the land, and only those, Who love it with a love so strong and stupid That they may be abused and taken advantage of And made fun of by business, law, and art….
  • There is much in nature against us. But we forget: Take nature altogether since time began, Including human nature, in peace and war, And it must be a little more in favor of man….
  • But not gold in commercial quantities, Just enough gold to make the engagement rings And marriage rings of those who owned the farm. What gold more innocent could one have asked for?
  • Always fall in with what you’re asked to accept. Take what is given, and make it over your way. My aim in life has always been to hold my own with whatever’s going. Not against: with.
  • When I was young, I was so interested in baseball that my family was afraid I’d waste my life and be a pitcher. Later they were afraid I’d waste my life and be a poet. They were right.
  • There are three things, after all, that a poem must reach: the eye, the ear, and what we may call the heart or the mind. It is the most important of all to reach the heart of the reader.
  • Friends make pretence of following to the grave but before one is in it, their minds are turned and making the best of their way back to life and living people and things they understand.
  • Something sinister in the tone Told me my secret must be known: Word I was in the house alone Somehow must have gotten abroad, Word I was in my life alone, Word I had no one left but God.
  • Two such as you with such a master speed, cannot be parted nor be swept away, from one another once you are agreed, that life is only life forevermore, together wing to wing and oar to oar.
  • You don’t have to deserve your mother’s love. You have to deserve your father s. He’s more particular. The father is always a Republican towards his son, and his mother’s always a Democrat.
  • Now no joy but lacks salt That is not dashed with pain And weariness and fault; I crave the stain Of tears, the aftermark Of almost too much love, The sweet of bitter bark And burning clove.
  • Far in the pillared dark Thrush music went- Almost like a call to come in To the dark and lament. But no, I was out for stars: I would not come in. I meant not even if asked, And I hadn’t been.
  • Our lives laid down in war and peace may not Be found acceptable in Heaven’s sight. And that they may be is the only prayer Worth praying. May my sacrifice Be found acceptable in Heaven’s sight.
  • To Time it never seems that he is brave To set himself against the peaks of snow To lay them level with the running wave, Nor is he overjoyed when they lie low, But only grave, contemplative and grave.
  • The mind-is not the heart. I may yet live, as I know others live, To wish in vain to let go with the mind- Of cares, at night, to sleep; but nothing tells me That I need learn to let go with the heart.
  • Yes, of course [this age] is materialistic, but the only way to counteract it is to create spiritual things. Don’t worry yourself about the materialism too much. Create and stir other people to create!
  • I shall set forth for somewhere, I shall make the reckless choice Some say when they are in voice And tossing so as to scare The white clouds over them on, I shall have less to say, But I shall be none.
  • Nature’s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf’s a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay.
  • One of the lies would make it out that nothing Ever presents itself before us twice. Where would we be at last if that were so? Our very life depends on everything’s Recurring till we answer from within.
  • And one of the three great things in the world is gossip, you know. First there’s religion; and then there’s science; and there’s-and then there’s friendly gossip. Those are the three-the three great things.
  • The reason artists show so little interest In public freedom is because the freedom They’ve come to feel the need of is a kind No one can give them they can scarce attain The freedom of their own material….
  • It looked as if a night of dark intentWas coming, and not only a night, an age.Someone had better be prepared for rage.There would be more than ocean-water brokenBefore God’s last ‘Put out the Light’ was spoken
  • If you remember only one thing I’ve said, remember that an idea is a feat of association, and the height of it is a good metaphor. If you have never made a good metaphor, then you don’t know what it’s all about.
  • How many times it thundered before Franklin took the hint! How many apples fell on Newton’s head before he took the hint! Nature is always hinting at us. It hints over and over again. And suddenly we take the hint.
  • Why abandon a belief merely because it ceases to be true? Cling to it long enough and… it will turn true again, for so it goes. Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favor.
  • The figure a poem makes. It begins in delight and ends in wisdom…in a clarification of life–not necessarily a great clarification, such as sects and cults are founded on, but in a momentary stay against confusion.
  • Do you know, Considering the market, there are more Poems produced than any other thing? No wonder poets sometimes have to seem So much more businesslike than businessmen. Their wares are so much harder to get rid of.
  • ‘Warm in December, cold in June, you say?’ I don’t suppose the water’s changed at all. You and I know enough to know it’s warm Compared with cold, and cold compared with warm. But all the fun’s in how you say a thing.
  • The figure a poem makes. It begins in delight and ends in wisdom… in a clarification of life – not necessarily a great clarification, such as sects and cults are founded on, but in a momentary stay against confusion.
  • A name with meaning could bring up a child, Taking the child out of the parents’ hands. Better a meaningless name, I should say, As leaving more to nature and happy chance. Name children some names and see what you do.
  • You’ve often heard me say – perhaps too often – that poetry is what is lost in translation. It is also what is lost in interpretation. That little poem means just what it says and it says what it means, nothing less but nothing more.
  • It is absurd to think that the only way to tell if a poem is lasting is to wait and see if it lasts. The right reader of a good poem can tell the moment it strikes him that he has taken an immortal wound-that he will never get over it.
  • I am glad the invitation pleases your family. It will please my family to the fourth generation and my family of friends and, were they living, it would have pleased inordinately the kind of Grover Cleveland Democrats I had for parents.
  • The rose is a rose, And was always a rose. But now the theory goes That the apple’s a rose, And the pear is, and so’s The plum, I suppose. The dear only knows What will next prove a rose. You, of course, are a rose But were always a rose.
  • I am sure I have heard this several times from places I can’t recall, but it’s not already in the Gaia Quotes database, so I add this profound insight from the fields of psychological healing and spiritual evolution. It sure has helped me.
  • A poem begins with a lump in the throat; a homesickness or a love sickness. It is a reaching-out toward expression; an effort to find fulfillment. A complete poem is one where an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.
  • There is the fear that we shan’t prove worthy in the eyes of someone who knows us at least as well as we know ourselves. That is the fear of God. And there is the fear of Man -fear that men won’t understand us and we shall be cut of from them.
  • But strictly held by none, is loosely bound By countless silken ties of love and thought To everything on earth the compass round, And only by one’s going slightly taut In the capriciousness of summer air Is of the slightest bondage made aware.
  • At bottom the world isn’t a joke. We only joke about it to avoid an issue with someone, to let someone know that we know he’s there with his questions; to disarm him by seeming to have heard and done justice to his side of the standing argument.
  • Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire, I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.
  • Some say the world will end in fire,/ Some say in ice./ From what I’ve tasted of desire/ I hold with those who favor fire./ But if it had to perish twice,/ I think I know enough of hate/ To say that for destruction ice/ Is also great/ And would suffice.
  • If it were a dog, it would have bitten you already. Actual Twents: “At e ne hond was, dan e oew allange ebettene.” Meaning: Said to someone who is looking for something which is right under his nose.
  • Like a piece of ice on a hot stove the poem must ride on its own melting. . . . Read it a hundred times; it will forever keep its freshness as a metal keeps its fragrance. It can never lose its sense of a meaning that once unfolded by surprise as it went.
  • Haven’t you heard, though, About the ships where war has found them out At sea, about the towns where war has come Through opening clouds at night with droning speed Further o’erhead than all but stars and angels And children in the ships and in the towns?
  • I’d like to get away from earth awhile And then come back to it and begin over. May no fate wilfully misunderstand me And half grant what I wish and snatch me away Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love: I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
  • Diplomacy, n : 1. The patriotic art of lying for one’s country. 2. The art of letting someone have your way. 3. The art of saying ‘nice doggy’ until you can find a rock. A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age.
  • The strongest and most effective force in guaranteeing the long-term maintenance of power is not violence in all the forms deployed by the dominant to control the dominated, but consent in all the forms in which the dominated acquiesce in their own domination.
  • I do not see why I should e’er turn back, Or those should not set forth upon my track To overtake me, who should miss me here And long to know if still I held them dear. They would not find me changed from him they knew — Only more sure of all I thought was true.
  • Suddenly, quietly, you realize that – from this moment forth – you will no longer walk through this life alone. Like a new sun this awareness arises within you, freeing you from fear, opening your life. It is the beginning of love, and the end of all that came before.
  • We can make a little order where we are, and then the big sweep of history on which we can have no effect doesn’t overwhelm us. We do it with colors, with a garden, with the furnishings of a room, or with sounds and words. We make a little form, and we gain composure.
  • I don’t like to see things on purpose. I like them to soak in. A friend . . . asked me to go to the top of the Empire State Building once, and I told him that he shouldn’t treat New York as a sight-it’s feeling, an emotional experience. And the same with every place else.
  • I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree~ And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, But dipped its top and set me down again. That would be good both going and coming back. One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.
  • Nor is there wanting in the press Some spirit to stand simply forth, Heroic in it nakedness, Against the uttermost of earth. The tale of earth’s unhonored things Sounds nobler there than ‘neath the sun; And the mind whirls and the heart sings, And a shout greets the daring one.
  • A poet must never make a statement simply because it sounds poetically exciting; he must also believe it to be true.” – W. H. Auden “A poem…begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness…It finds the thought and the thought finds the words.
  • The line-storm clouds fly tattered and swift, The road is forlorn all day, Where a myriad snowy quartz stones lift, And the hoof-prints vanish away. The roadside flowers, too wet for the bee, Expend their bloom in vain. Come over the hills and far with me, And be my love in the rain.
  • The style is the man. Rather say the style is the way the man takes himself; and to be at all charming or even bearable, the way is almost rigidly prescribed. If it is with outer seriousness, it must be with inner humor. If it is with outer humor, it must be with inner seriousness. No other way will do.
  • The ear is the only true writer and the only true reader. I know people who read without hearing the sentence sounds and they were the fastest readers. Eye readers we call them. They get the meaning by glances. But they are bad readers because they miss the best part of what a good writer puts into his work.
  • I have wished a bird would fly away, And not sing by my house all day; Have clapped my hands at him from the door When it seemed as if I could bear no more. The fault must partly have been in me. The bird was not to blame for his key. And of course there must be something wrong In wanting to silence any song.
  • Fireflies in the Garden By Robert Frost 1874–1963 Here come real stars to fill the upper skies, And here on earth come emulating flies, That though they never equal stars in size, (And they were never really stars at heart) Achieve at times a very star-like start. Only, of course, they can’t sustain the part.
  • My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree Toward heaven still, And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill Beside it, and there may be two or three Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough. But I am done with apple-picking now. Essence of winter sleep is on the night, The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
  • People who read me seem to be divided into four groups: twenty-five percent like me for the right reasons; twenty-five percent like me for the wrong reasons; twenty-five percent hate me for the wrong reasons; twenty-five percent hate me for the right reasons. It’s that last twenty-five percent that worries me.
  • We get twitted now and then on how we made this country. Well, we took the whole business, of course. It’s not just that corner that we took from Mexico. When we got it all together, we got a very shapely country-the best continental cut in all the world, between the two oceans and in the right temperature zone.
  • The sun was warm but the wind was chill. You know how it is with an April day. When the sun is out and the wind is still, You’re one month on in the middle of May. But if you so much as dare to speak, a cloud come over the sunlit arch, And wind comes off a frozen peak, And you’re two months back in the middle of March.
  • Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day; And give us not to think so far away As the uncertain harvest; keep us here All simply in the springing of the year. Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white, Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night; And make us happy in the happy bees, The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
  • In A Glass of Cider It seemed I was a mite of sediment That waited for the bottom to ferment So I could catch a bubble in ascent. I rode up on one till the bubble burst, And when that left me to sink back reversed I was no worse off than I was at first. I’d catch another bubble if I waited. The thing was to get now and then elated.
  • Of course there is matter for remark in poems. Nobody denies that. But it must be solemnly laid on everybody in this world to make his own observations and remarks. That’s what we mean by thinking, and that’s about all we mean. A teacher says to a pupil “Watch me notice a few things in the next few months: let’s see you notice a few things too.”
  • When a friend calls to me from the road And slows his horse to a meaning walk, I don’t stand still and look around On all the hills I haven’t hoed, And shout from where I am, What is it? No, not as there is a time to talk. I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground, Blade-end up and five feet tall, And plod: I go up to the stone wall For a friendly visit.
  • Sentences are not different enough to hold the attention unless they are dramatic. No ingenuity of varying structure will do. All that can save them is the speaking tone of voice somehow entangled in the words and fastened to the page for the ear of the imagination. That is all that can save poetry from sing-song, all that can save prose from itself.
  • God made a beauteous garden With lovely flowers strown, But one straight, narrow pathway That was not overgrown. And to this beauteous garden He brought mankind to live, And said “To you, my children, These lovely flowers I give. Prune ye my vines and fig trees, With care my flowers tend, But keep the pathway open Your home is at the end.” God’s Garden
  • Our life runs down in sending up the clock. The brook runs down in sending up our life. The sun runs down in sending up the brook. And there is something sending up the sun. It is this backward motion toward the source, Against the stream, that most we see ourselves in, The tribute of the current to the source. It is from this in nature we are from. It is most us.
  • The poet, as everyone knows, must strike his individual note sometime between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five. He may hold it a long time, or a short time, but it is then that he must strike it or never. School and college have been conducted with the almost express purpose of keeping him busy with something else till the danger of his ever creating anything is past.
  • I have just been to a city in the West, a city full of poets, a city they have made safe for poets. The whole city is so lovely that you do not have to write it up to make it poetry; it is ready-made for you. But, I don’t know – the poetry written in that city might not seem like poetry if read outside of the city. It would be like the jokes made when you were drunk; you have to get drunk again to appreciate them.
  • I was under twenty when I deliberately put it to myself one night after good conversation that there are moments when we actually touch in talk what the best writing can only come near. The curse of our book language is not so much that it keeps forever to the same set phrases . . . but that it sounds forever with the same reading tones. We must go out into the vernacular for tones that haven’t been brought to book.
  • Poetry begins in trivial metaphors, pretty metaphors, “grace” metaphors, and goes on to the profoundest thinking that we have. Poetry provides the one permissible way of saying one thing and meaning another. People say, “Why don’t you say what you mean?” We never do that, do we, being all of us too much poets. We like to talk in parables and in hints and in indirections — whether from diffidence or some other instinct.
  • (Soft petals, yes, but not so barren quite, Mingled with these, smooth bean and wrinkled pea;) And go along with you ere you lose sight Of what you came for and become like me, Slave to a springtime passion for the earth. How love burns through the Putting in the Seed On through the watching for that early birth When, just as the soil tarnishes with weed, The sturdy seedling with arched body comes Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.
  • Scholars and artists thrown together are often annoyed at the puzzle of where they differ. Both work from knowledge; but I suspectthey differ most importantly in the way their knowledge is come by. Scholars get theirs with conscientious thoroughness along projected lines of logic; poets theirs cavalierly and as it happens in and out of books. They stick to nothing deliberately, but let what will stick to them like burrs where they walk in the fields.
  • hushed October morning mild, Thy leaves have ripened to the fall; Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild, Should waste them all. The crows above the forest call; Tomorrow they may form and go. O hushed October morning mild, Begin the hours of this day slow. Make the day seem to us less brief. Hearts not averse to being beguiled, Beguile us in the way you know. Release one leaf at break of day; At noon release another leaf; One from our trees, one far away.
  • Keats mourned that the rainbow, which as a boy had been for him a magic thing, had lost its glory because the physicists had found it resulted merely from the refraction of the sunlight by the raindrops. Yet knowledge of its causation could not spoil the rainbow for me. I am sure that it is not given to man to be omniscient. There will always be something left to know, something to excite the imagination of the poet and those attuned to the great world in which they live.
  • The Armful For every parcel I stoop down to seize I lose some other off my arms and knees, And the whole pile is slipping, bottles, buns, Extremes too hard to comprehend at. once Yet nothing I should care to leave behind. With all I have to hold with hand and mind And heart, if need be, I will do my best. To keep their building balanced at my breast. I crouch down to prevent them as they fall; Then sit down in the middle of them all. I had to drop the armful in the road And try to stack them in a better load.
  • Sarcastic Science, she would like to know, In her complacent ministry of fear, How we propose to get away from here When she has made things so we have to go Or be wiped out. Will she be asked to show Us how by rocket we may hope to steer To some star off there, say, a half light-year Through temperature of absolute zero? Why wait for Science to supply the how When any amateur can tell it now? The way to go away should be the same As fifty million years ago we came- If anyone remembers how that was I have a theory, but it hardly does.
  • GATHERING LEAVES Spades take up leaves No better than spoons, And bags full of leaves Are light as balloons. I make a great noise Of rustling all day Like rabbit and deer Running away. But the mountains I raise Elude my embrace, Flowing over my arms And into my face. I may load and unload Again and again Till I fill the whole shed, And what have I then? Next to nothing for weight, And since they grew duller From contact with earth, Next to nothing for color. Next to nothing for use. But a crop is a crop, And who’s to say where The harvest shall stop?
  • The Master Speed No speed of wind or water rushing by but you have speed far greater. You can climb back up a stream of radiance to the sky, and back through history up the stream of time. And you were given this swiftness, not for haste nor chiefly that you may go where you will, but in the rush of everything to waste, that you may have the power of standing still– off any still or moving thing you say. Two such as you with such a master speed From one another once you are agreed that life is only life forevermore together wing to wing and oar to oar.
  • When the spent sun throws up its rays on cloud And goes down burning into the gulf below, No voice in nature is heard to cry aloud At what has happened. Birds, at least must know It is the change to darkness in the sky. Murmuring something quiet in her breast, One bird begins to close a faded eye; Or overtaken too far from his nest, Hurrying low above the grove, some waif Swoops just in time to his remembered tree. At most he thinks or twitters softly, ‘Safe! Now let the night be dark for all of me. Let the night be too dark for me to see Into the future. Let what will be, be.
  • I have been one acquainted with the night. I have walked out in rain – and back in rain. I have out walked the furthest city light. I have looked down the saddest city lane. I have passed by the watchman on his beat And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain. I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet. When far away an interrupted cry Came over houses from another street, But not to call me back or say good-bye; And further still at an unearthly light, One luminary clock against the sky Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right. I have been one acquainted with the night.

 

 

George Santayana (quotes)

  • Art is a delayed echo.
  • One real world is enough.
  • Fear first created the gods.
  • Habit is stronger than reason.
  • Depression is rage spread thin.
  • Beauty is objectified pleasure.
  • Oaths are the fossils of piety.
  • .. is an internal rumor.
  • Wisdom comes by disillusionment.
  • A simple life is its own reward.
  • A friend’s only gift is himself.
  • It is wisdom to believe the heart.
  • Sanity is madness put to good use.
  • Nothing is so irrevocable as mind.
  • Wisdom comes from disillusionment.
  • The Bible is literature, not dogma.
  • Memory itself is an internal rumour.
  • Man’s most serious activity is play.
  • Heaven is to be at peace with things.
  • There is no dunce like a mature dunce.
  • Columbus gave the world another world.
  • Well-bred instinct meets reason halfway
  • The earth has music for those who listen.
  • Beware of long arguments and long beards.
  • Music is essentially useless, as is life.
  • In Greece wise men speak and fools decide.
  • It is the acme of life to understand life.
  • Oxford, the paradise of dead philosophies.
  • Docility is the observable half of reason.
  • The wisest mind has something yet to learn.
  • Only the dead have seen the end of the war.
  • The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.
  • The highest form of vanity is love of fame.
  • The living have never shown me how to live.
  • Eternal vigilance is the price of knowledge.
  • Chaos is perhaps at the bottom of everything.
  • Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect…
  • Sanctity and genius are as rebellious as vice.
  • The unforgivable sin is the refusal to pardon.
  • The Soul is the voice of the body’s interests.
  • It is a great bond to dislike the same things.
  • Theory helps us to bear our ignorance of facts.
  • America is a young country with an old mentality.
  • A country without a memory is a country of madmen.
  • Religions are the great fairy tales of conscience.
  • Man is not made to understand life, but to live it.
  • The idea of Christ is much older than Christianity.
  • The loftiest edifices need the deepest foundations.
  • Man is as full of potential as he is of importance.
  • I have no axe to grind; only my thoughts to burnish.
  • There is no right government except good government.
  • We do right enough darling, if we go wrong together.
  • To be brief is almost a condition of being inspired.
  • History is nothing but assisted and recorded memory.
  • There is nothing sweeter than to be sympathized with.
  • Life is judged with all the blindness of life itself.
  • All spiritual interests are supported by animal life.
  • The best men in all ages keep classic traditions alive
  • All beauties are to be honored, but only one embraced.
  • A child educated only at school is an uneducated child.
  • Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are.
  • The profoundest affinities are those most readily felt.
  • Life is not a spectacle or a feast; it is a predicament.
  • To turn events into ideas is the function of literature.
  • Our dignity is not in what we do, but what we understand.
  • In a moving world readaptation is the price of longevity.
  • All language is rhetorical, and even the senses are poets.
  • The quality of wit inspires more admiration than confidence
  • Art like life, should be free, since both are experimental.
  • Fun is a good thing but only when it spoils nothing better.
  • Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness.
  • Familiarity breeds contempt only when it breeds inattention.
  • Nonsense is so good only because common sense is so limited.
  • I have imagination, and nothing that is real is alien to me.
  • To keep beauty in its place is to make all things beautiful.
  • Love is at once more animal than friendship and more divine.
  • Never build your emotional life on the weaknesses of others.
  • My soul hates the fool whose only passion is to live by rule.
  • Nothing so much enhances a good as to make sacrifices for it.
  • The fact of having been born is a bad augury for immortality.
  • Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
  • An artist may visit a museum but only a pedant can live there.
  • Sometimes we have to change the truth in order to remember it.
  • Real unselfishness consists in sharing the interests of others.
  • Perhaps the universe is nothing but an equilibrium of idiocies.
  • Religion is the love of life in the consciousness of impotence.
  • An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world.
  • If pain could have cured us we should long ago have been saved.
  • An ideal cannot wait for its realization to prove its validity.
  • There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.
  • The true Christian is in all countries a pilgrim and a stranger.
  • Ideal society is a drama enacted exclusively in the imagination.
  • Never have I enjoyed youth so thoroughly as I have in my old age
  • Unmitigated seriousness is always out of place in human affairs.
  • The fly that prefers sweetness to a long life may drown in honey.
  • The hunger for facile wisdom is the root of all false philosophy.
  • Nothing can so pierce the soul as the uttermost sigh of the body.
  • A soul is but the last bubble of a long fermentation in the world.
  • Since barbarism has its pleasures it naturally has its apologists.
  • Skepticism, like chastity, should not be relinquished too readily.
  • Repetition is the only form of permanence that Nature can achieve.
  • Man has an inexhuastible faculty for lying, especially to himself.
  • The primary use of conversation is to satisfy the impulse to talk.
  • Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds.
  • It is easier to make a saint out of a libertine than out of a prig.
  • The great difficulty in education is to get experience out of ideas.
  • Our occasional madness is less wonderful than our occasional sanity.
  • The spirit’s foe in man has not been simplicity, but sophistication.
  • Reason in my philosophy is only a harmony among irrational impulses.
  • History is always written wrong, and so always needs to be rewritten.
  • Wisdom lies in taking everything with good humor and a grain of salt.
  • Self-assurance is contemptible and fatal unless it is self-knowledge.
  • America is the greatest of opportunities and the worst of influences.
  • I like to walk about amidst the beautiful things that adorn the world.
  • Work and love these are the basics; waking life is a dream controlled.
  • Eloquence is a republican art, as conversation is an aristocratic one.
  • For a man who has done his natural duty, death is as natural as sleep.
  • Reason and happiness are like other flowers; they wither when plucked.
  • The love of all-inclusiveness is as dangerous in philosophy as in art.
  • Philosophers are as jealous as women; each wants a monopoly of praise.
  • The one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again
  • Better not be a hero than work oneself up into heroism by shouting lies.
  • Perhaps the only true dignity of man is his capacity to despise himself.
  • A way foolishness has of revenging itself is to excommunicate the world.
  • The loneliest woman in the world is a woman without a close woman friend.
  • People never believe in volcanoes until the lava actually overtakes them.
  • The aim of education is the condition of suspended judgment on everything.
  • Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it.
  • love make us poets, and the approach of death should make us philosophers.
  • One’s friends are that part of the human race with which one can be human.
  • Society is like the air, necessary to breathe but insufficient to live on.
  • Those who speak most of progress measure it by quantity and not by quality.
  • What is false in the science of facts may be true in the science of values.
  • Character is the basis of happiness and happiness the sanction of character.
  • To me, it seems a dreadful indignity to have a soul controlled by geography.
  • It is a great advantage for a system of philosophy to be substantially true.
  • To drink in the spirit of a place you should be not only alone but unhurried.
  • The soul, too has her virginity and must bleed a little before bearing fruit.
  • For gold is tried in the fire and acceptable men in the furnace of adversity.
  • The works of nature first acquire a meaning in the commentaries they provoke.
  • It takes a wonderful brain and exquisite senses to produce a few stupid ideas.
  • Guard you thoughts as you would your wallet. Habit is stronger than reason.
  • Fanaticism consists of redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.
  • There is no greater stupidity or meanness than to take uniformity for an ideal.
  • Wealth, religion, military victory have more rhetorical than efficacious worth.
  • The Bible is a wonderful source of inspiration for those who don’t understand it.
  • The pint would call the quart a dualist, if you tried to pour the quart into him.
  • The existence of any evil anywhere at any time absolutely ruins a total optimism.
  • Tomes of aesthetic criticism hang on a few moments of real delight and intuition.
  • The word experience is like a shrapnel shell, and bursts into a thousand meanings.
  • Lovely promise and quick ruin are seen nowhere better than in Gothic architecture.
  • Beautiful things, when taste is formed, are obviously and unaccountably beautiful.
  • The truth is cruel, but it can be loved, and it makes free those who have loved it.
  • Existence is a miracle, and, morally considered, a free gift from moment to moment.
  • It is one thing to lack a heart and another to possess eyes and a just imagination.
  • Emotion is primarily about nothing and much of it remains about nothing to the end.
  • A man’s feet should be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.
  • To be an American is of itself almost a moral condition, an education, and a career.
  • It takes patience to appreciate domestic bliss; volatile spirits prefer unhappiness.
  • A dream is always simmering below the conventional surface of speech and reflection.
  • The theater, for all its artifices, depicts life in a sense more truly than history.
  • The dreamer can know no truth, not even about his dream, except by awaking out of it.
  • Intolerance is a form of egotism, and to condemn egotism intolerantly is to share it.
  • Columbus found a world, and had no chart save one that Faith deciphered in the skies.
  • Tyrants are seldom free; the cares and the instruments of their tyranny enslave them.
  • Philosophers are very severe towards other philosophers because they expect too much.
  • With an artist no sane man quarrels, any more than with the colour of a child’s eyes.
  • Manhood and sagacity ripen of themselves; it suffices not to repress or distort them.
  • Nothing can be meaner than the anxiety to live on, to live on anyhow and in any shape.
  • What is more important in life than our bodies or in the world than what we look like?
  • To call war the soil of courage and virtue is like calling debauchery the soil of love.
  • To know what people really think, pay regard to what they do, rather than what they say.
  • Religion in its humility restores man to his only dignity, the courage to live by grace.
  • It is always pleasant to be urged to do something on the ground that one can do it well.
  • The more rational an institution is the less it suffers by making concessions to others.
  • A sanctity hangs about the sources of our being, whether physical, social, or imaginary.
  • Half our standards come from our first masters, and the other half from our first loves.
  • We should have to abandon our vested illusions, our irrational religions and patriotisms.
  • Before you contradict an old man, my fair friend, you should endeavour to understand him.
  • Words are weapons, and it is dangerous . . . to borrow them from the arsenal of the enemy.
  • Animals are born and bred in litters. Solitude grows blessed and peaceful only in old age.
  • The body is an instrument, the mind its function, the witness and reward of its operation.
  • Tolerated people are never conciliated. They live on, but the aroma of their life is lost.
  • He thinks he believes only what he sees, but he is much better at believing than at seeing.
  • If artists and poets are unhappy, it is after all because happiness does not interest them.
  • There is nothing to which men, while they have food and drink, cannot reconcile themselves.
  • The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the older man who will not laugh is a fool.
  • The diseases which destroy a man are no less natural than the instincts which preserve him.
  • To understand oneself is the classic form of consolation; to elude oneself is the romantic.
  • Nature in denying us perennial youth has at least invited us to become unselfish and noble.
  • History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren’t there.
  • Prayer, among sane people, has never superseded practical efforts to secure the desired end.
  • Nothing can be lower or more wholly instrumental than the substance and cause of all things.
  • I believe in general in a dualism between facts and the ideas of those facts in human heads.
  • The effort of art is to keep what is interesting in existence, to recreate it in the eternal.
  • Philosophy may describe unreasoning, as it may describe force; it cannot hope to refute them.
  • Faith in the supernatural is a desperate wager made by man at the lowest ebb of his fortunes.
  • When men and women agree, it is only in their conclusions; their reasons are always different.
  • Boston was a moral and intellectual nursery, always busy applying first principles to trifles.
  • Beauty as we feel it is something indescribable; what it is or what it means can never be said.
  • For an idea ever to be fashionable is ominous, since it must afterwards be always old fashioned
  • It is not society’s fault that most men seem to miss their vocation. Most men have no vocation.
  • A fanatical imagination cannot regard God as just unless he is represented as infinitely cruel.
  • The combative instinct is a savage prompting by which one man’s good is found in another’s evil.
  • Men have feverishly conceived a heaven only to find it insipid, and a hell to find it ridiculous.
  • We crave support in vanity, as we do in religion, and never forgive contradictions in that sphere.
  • People are usually more firmly convinced that their opinions are precious than that they are true.
  • Periods of tranquillity are seldom prolific of creative achievement. Mankind has to be stirred up.
  • Experience seems to most of us to lead to conclusions, but empiricism has sworn never to draw them.
  • The Fates, like an absent-minded printer, seldom allow a single line to stand perfect and unmarred.
  • Before he sets out, the traveler must possess fixed interests and facilities to be served by travel.
  • To substitute judgments of fact for judgments of value is a sign of pedantic and borrowed criticism.
  • Nothing is really so poor and melancholy as art that is interested in itself and not in its subject.
  • The Difficult is that which can be done immediately; the Impossible that which takes a little longer.
  • Everything in nature is lyrical in its ideal essence, tragic in its fate, and comic in its existence.
  • As widowers proverbially marry again, so a man with the habit of friendship always finds new friends.
  • The passions grafted on wounded pride are the most inveterate; they are green and vigorous in old age.
  • If all art aspires to the condition of music, all the sciences aspire to the condition of mathematics.
  • It is rash to intrude upon the piety of others: both the depth and the grace of it elude the stranger.
  • Music contains a whole gamut of experience, from sensuous elements to ultimate intellectual harmonies.
  • Every real object must cease to be what it seemed, and none could ever be what the whole soul desired.
  • What religion a man shall have is a historical accident, quite as much as what language he shall speak.
  • Graphic design is the paradise of individuality, eccentricity, heresy, abnormality, hobbies and humors.
  • Advertising is the modern substitute for argument; its function is to make the worse appear the better.
  • To knock a thing down, especially if it is cocked at an arrogant angle, is a deep delight of the blood.
  • Fashion is something barbarous, for it produces innovation without reason and imitation without benefit.
  • That fear first created the gods is perhaps as true as anything so brief could be on so great a subject.
  • There are three traps that strangle philosophy: The church, the marriage bed, and the professor’s chair.
  • The mind of the Renaissance was not a pilgrim mind, but a sedentary city mind, like that of the ancients.
  • Mortality has its compensations; one is that all evils are transitory, another that better times may come.
  • The same battle in the clouds will be known to the deaf only as lightning and to the blind only as thunder.
  • The brute necessity of believing something so long as life lasts does not justify any belief in particular.
  • In the concert of nature it is hard to keep in tune with oneself if one is out of tune with everything else
  • Miracles are propitious accidents, the natural causes of which are too complicated to be readily understood.
  • Truth is a jewel which should not be painted over; but it may be set to advantage and shown in a good light.
  • Does the thoughtful man suppose that…the present experiment in civilization is the last world we will see?
  • The mediocrity of everything in the great world of today is simply appalling. We live in intellectual slums.
  • Religion is the natural reaction of the imagination when confronted by the difficulties in a truculent world.
  • In each person I catch the fleeting suggestion of something beautiful and swear eternal friendship with that.
  • To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.
  • Nothing you can lose by dying is half as precious as the readiness to die, which is man’s charter of nobility.
  • For Shakespeare, in the matter of religion, the choice lay between Christianity and nothing. He chose nothing.
  • Proofs are the last thing looked for by a truly religious mind which feels the imaginary fitness of its faith.
  • There is nothing impossible in the existence of the supernatural: its existence seems to me decidedly probable.
  • Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer.
  • Music is a means of giving form to our inner feelings, without attaching them to events or objects in the world.
  • Happiness is the only sanction of life; where happiness fails, existence remains a mad and lamentable experiment.
  • Music is essentially useless, as life is; but both have an ideal extension which lends utility to its conditions.
  • The need of exercise is a modern superstition, invented by people who ate too much and had nothing to think about.
  • Culture is on the horns of this dilemma: if profound and noble it must remain rare, if common it must become mean.
  • Children are natural mythologists: they beg to be told tales, and love not only to invent but to enact falsehoods.
  • Friendship is almost always the union of a part of one mind with the part of another; people are friends in spots.
  • Injustice in this world is not something comparative; the wrong is deep, clear, and absolute in each private fate.
  • The tide of evolution carries everything before it, thoughts no less than bodies, and persons no less than nations.
  • Let a man once overcome his selfish terror at his own finitude, and his finitude itself is, in one sense, overcome.
  • Science is nothing but developed perception, interpreted intent, common sense rounded out and minutely articulated.
  • It would hardly be possible to exaggerate man’s wretchedness if it were not so easy to overestimate his sensibility
  • By nature’s kindly disposition most questions which it is beyond a man’s power to answer do not occur to him at all.
  • To be bewitched is not to be saved, though all the magicians and aesthetes in the world should pronounce it to be so.
  • Popular poets are the parish priests of the Muse, retailing her ancient divinations to a long since converted public.
  • Man is a fighting animal; his thoughts are his banners, and it is a failure of nerve in him if they are only thoughts.
  • Thought is essentially practical in the sense that but for thought no motion would be an action, no change a progress.
  • People who feel themselves to be exiles in this world are mightily inclined to believe themselves citizens of another.
  • Prayer is not a substitute for work; it is an effort to work further and be efficient beyond the range of one’s powers.
  • Our knowledge is a torch of smoky pine That lights the pathway but one step ahead Across a void of mystery and dread.
  • To delight in war is a merit in the soldier, a dangerous quality in the captain, and a positive crime in the statesman.
  • why shouldnt things be largely absurd, futile, and transitory? they are so, and we are so, and they and we go together.
  • Even under the most favorable circumstances no mortal can be asked to seize the truth in its wholeness or at its center.
  • Men become superstitious, not because they have too much imagination, but because they are not aware that they have any.
  • There is a prodigious selfishness in dreams: they live perfectly deaf and invulnerable amid the cries of the real world.
  • There is a kind of courtesy in skepticism. It would be an offense against polite conventions to press our doubts too far.
  • Art supplies constantly to contemplation what nature seldom affords in concrete experience – the union of life and peace.
  • A great man need not be virtuous, nor his opinions right, but he must have a firm mind, a distinctive luminous character.
  • Friends need not agree in everything or go always together, or have no comparable other friendships of the same intimacy.
  • Parents lend children their experience and a vicarious memory; children endow their parents with a vicarious immortality.
  • Trust the man who hesitates in his speech and is quick and steady in action, but beware of long arguments and long beards.
  • The strongest feelings assigned to the conscience are not moral feelings at all; they express merely physical antipathies.
  • Spirituality lies in regarding existence merely as a vehicle for contemplation, and contemplation merely a vehicle for joy.
  • The degree in which a poet’s imagination dominates reality is, in the end, the exact measure of his importance and dignity.
  • That life is worth living is the most necessary of assumptions, and were it not assumed, the most impossible of conclusions.
  • It is a new road to happiness, if you have strength enough to castigate a little the various impulses that sway you in turn.
  • Facts are all accidents. They all might have been different. They all may become different. They all may collapse altogether.
  • I believe in the possibility of happiness, if one cultivates intuition and outlives the grosser passions, including optimism.
  • Love, whether sexual, parental, or fraternal, is essentially sacrificial, and prompts a man to give his life for his friends.
  • Bid, then, the tender light of faith to shine By which alone the mortal heart is led Unto the thinking of the thought divine.
  • The arts must study their occasions; they must stand modestly aside until they can slip in fitly into the interstices of life.
  • Nature drives with a loose rein and vitality of any sort can blunder through many a predicament in which reason would despair.
  • Every nation thinks its own madness normal and requisite; more passion and more fancy it calls folly, less it calls imbecility.
  • Poetry is an attenuation, a rehandling, an echo of crude experience; it is itself a theoretic vision of things at arm’s length.
  • Profound skepticism is favorable to conventions, because it doubts that the criticism of conventions is any truer than they are.
  • Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
  • Saints cannot arise where there have been no warriors, nor philosophers where a prying beast does not remain hidden in the depths.
  • The God to whom depth in philosophy bring back men’s minds is far from being the same from whom a little philosophy estranges them
  • To be happy you must have taken the measure of your powers, tasted the fruits of your passion, and learned your place in the world.
  • To attempt to be religious without practicing a specific religion is as possible as attempting to speak without a specific language.
  • The man who would emancipate art from discipline and reason is trying to elude rationality, not merely in art, but in all existence.
  • In unphilosophical minds any rare or unexpected thing excites wonder, while in philosophical minds the familiar excites wonder also.
  • The world is a perpetual caricature of itself; at every moment it is the mockery and the contradiction of what it is pretending to be.
  • When all beliefs are challenged together, the just and necessary ones have a chance to step forward and re-establish themselves alone.
  • It is right to prefer our own country to all others, because we are children and citizens before we can be travellers or philosophers.
  • A man’s memory may almost become the art of continually varying and misrepresenting his past, according to his interest in the present.
  • The human mind is not rich enough to drive many horses abreast and wants one general scheme, under which it strives to bring everything.
  • All the doctrines that have flourished in the world about immortality have hardly affected man’s natural sentiment in the face of death.
  • The only kind of reform usually possible is reform from within; a more intimate study and more intelligent use of the traditional forms.
  • Government is the political representative of a natural equilibrium, of custom, of inertia; it is by no means a representative of reason.
  • Language is like money, without which specific relative values may well exist and be felt, but cannot be reduced to a common denominator.
  • Our character … is an omen of our destiny, and the more integrity we have and keep, the simpler and nobler that destiny is likely to be.
  • Time is like an enterprising manager always bent on staging some new and surprising production, without knowing very well what it will be.
  • Do not have evil-doers for friends, do not have low people for friends: have virtuous people for friends, have for friends the best of men.
  • Beauty is a pledge of the possible conformity between the soul and nature, and consequently a ground of faith in the supremacy of the good.
  • Plasticity loves new moulds because it can fill them, but for a man of sluggish mind and bad manners there is decidedly no place like home.
  • The constant demands of the heart and the belly can allow man only an incidental indulgence in the pleasures of the eye and the understanding.
  • You and I possess manifold ideal bonds in the interests we share; but each of us has his poor body and his irremediable, incommunicable dreams.
  • A man is morally free when, in full possession of his living humanity, he judges the world, and judges other men, with uncompromising sincerity.
  • To reform means to shatter one form and to create another; but the two sides of this act are not always equally intended nor equally successful.
  • Skepticism is a discipline fit to purify the mind of prejudice and render it all the more apt, when the time comes, to believe and to act wisely.
  • The lover knows much more about absolute good and universal beauty than any logician or theologian, unless the latter, too, be lovers in disguise.
  • The irrational in the human has something about it altogether repulsive and terrible, as we see in the maniac, the miser, the drunkard or the ape.
  • It is in rare and scattered instants that beauty smiles even on her adorers, who are reduced for habitual comfort to remembering her past favours.
  • Men almost universally have acknowledged providence, but that fact has had no force to destroy natural aversions and fears in the presence of events.
  • It is veneer, rouge, aestheticism, art museums, new theaters, etc. that make America impotent. The good things are football, kindness, and jazz bands.
  • All living souls welcome whatsoever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible.
  • There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar: it keeps the mind nimble, it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor.
  • The Universe, so far as we can observe it, is a wonderful and immense engine; its extent, its order, its beauty, its cruelty, makes it alike impressive.
  • The world is so ordered that we must, in a material sense, lose everything we have and love, one thing after another, until we ourselves close our eyes.
  • Many possessions, if they do not make a man better, are at least expected to make his children happier; and this pathetic hope is behind many exertions.
  • The sophisticated concern about art sinks before a spontaneous love of reality, and I thank the photograph for being so transparent a vehicle for things.
  • Historical investigation has for its aim to fix the order and character of events throughout past time and in all places. The task is frankly superhuman.
  • Man is a gregarious animal, and much more so in his mind than in his body. He may like to go alone for a walk, but he hates to stand alone in his opinions.
  • A musical education is necessary for musical judgement. What most people relish is hardly music; it is rather a drowsy reverie relieved by nervous thrills.
  • Whoever it was who searched the heavens with a telescope and found no God would not have found the human mind if he had searched the brain with a microscope.
  • … so in love the heart surrenders itself entirely to the one being that has known how to touch it. That being is not selected; it is recognised and obeyed.
  • The pride of the artisan in his art and its uses is pride in himself…It is in his skill and ability to make things as he wishes them to be that he rejoices.
  • The vital straining towards an ideal, definite but latent, when it dominates a whole life, may express that ideal more fully than could the best chosen words.
  • Those who cannot remember the pastare condemned to repeat it. or: Those who have never heard of good system development practice are condemned to reinvent it.
  • It is true that I am carrying out various methods of treatment recommended by doctors and dentists in the hope of dying in the remote future in perfect health.
  • We must welcome the future, remembering that soon it will be the past; and we must respect the past, remembering that it was once all that was humanly possible.
  • To condemn spontaneous and delightful occupations because they are useless for self-preservation shows an uncritical prizing of life irrespective of its content.
  • Rejection is a form of self-assertion. You have only to look back upon yourself as a person who hates this or that to discover what it is that you secretly love.
  • Art is the response to the demand for entertainment, for the stimulation of our senses and imagination, and truth enters into it only as it subserves these ends.
  • All his life he [the American] jumps into the train after it has started and jumps out before it has stopped; and he never once gets left behind, or breaks a leg.
  • The line between what is known scientifically and what has to be assumed in order to support knowledge is impossible to draw. Memory itself is an internal rumour.
  • Knowledge is not eating, and we cannot expect to devour and possess what we mean. Knowledge is recognition of something absent; it is a salutation, not an embrace.
  • If clearness about things produces a fundamental despair, a fundamental despair in turn produces a remarkable clearness or even playfulness about ordinary matters.
  • There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval. The dark background which death supplies brings out the tender colours of life in all their purity.
  • A conception not reducible to the small change of daily experience is like a currency not exchangeable for articles of consumption; it is not a symbol, but a fraud.
  • Spirit itself is not human; it may spring up in any life… it may exist in all animals, and who know in how many undreamt-of beings, or in the midst of what worlds?
  • In the contemplation of beauty we are raised above ourselves, the passions are silenced and we are happy in the recognition of a good that we do not seek to possess.
  • A body seriously out of equilibrium, either with itself or with its environment, perishes outright. Not so a mind. Madness and suffering can set themselves no limit.
  • I leave you but the sound of many a word In mocking echoes haply overheard, I sang to heaven. My exile made me free, from world to world, from all worlds carried me.
  • In this world we must either institute conventional forms of expression or else pretend that we have nothing to express; the choice lies between a mask and a figleaf.
  • The muffled syllables that Nature speaks Fill us with deeper longing for her word; She hides a meaning that the spirit seeks, She makes a sweeter music than is heard.
  • My atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety towards the universe and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image, to be servants of their human interests.
  • If a man really knew himself he would utterly despise the ignorant notions others might form on a subject in which he had such matchless opportunities for observation.
  • The mass of mankind is divided into two classes, the Sancho Panza’s who have a sense for reality, but no ideals, and the Don Quixote’s with a sense for ideals, but mad.
  • Not to believe in love is a great sign of dullness. There are some people so indirect and lumbering that they think all real affection rests on circumstantial evidence.
  • Society itself is an accident to the spirit, and if society in any of its forms is to be justified morally it must be justified at the bar of the individual conscience.
  • The habit of looking for beauty in everything makes us notice the shortcomings of things, our sense, hungry for complete satisfaction, misses the perfection it demands.
  • It is a revenge the devil sometimes takes upon the virtuous, that he entraps them by the force of the very passion they have suppressed and think themselves superior to.
  • There are books in which the footnotes, or the comments scrawled by some reader’s hand in the margin, are more interesting than the text. The world is one of those books.
  • Uselessness is a fatal accusation to bring against any act which is done for its presumed utility, but those which are done for their own sake are their own justification.
  • Matters of religion should never be matters of controversy. We neither argue with a lover about his taste, nor condemn him, if we are just, for knowing so human a passion.
  • Is it indeed from the experience of beauty and happiness, from the occasional harmony between our nature and our environment, that we draw our conception of the divine life.
  • The traveller must be somebody and come from somewhere, so that his definite character and moral traditions may supply an organ and a point of comparison for his observations.
  • Artists have no less talents than ever, their taste, their vision, their sentiment are often interesting; they are mighty in their independence and feeble only in their works.
  • The philosophy of the common man is an old wife that gives him no pleasure, yet he cannot live without her, and resents any aspersions that strangers may cast on her character.
  • I feel so much the continual death of everything and everybody, and have so learned to reconcile myself to it, that the final and official end loses most of its impressiveness.
  • Though the heart wear the garment of its sorrow And be not happy like a naked star, Yet from the thought of peace some peace we borrow, Some rapture from the rapture felt afar.
  • To be boosted by an illusion is not to live better than to live in harmony with the truth … these refusals to part with a decayed illusion are really an infection to the mind.
  • At best, the true philosopher can fulfil his mission very imperfectly, which is to pilot himself, or at most a few voluntary companions who may find themselves in the same boat.
  • Love is a brilliant illustration of a principle everywhere discoverable: namely, that human reason lives by turning the friction of material forces into the light of ideal goods.
  • The working of great institutions is mainly the result of a vast mass of routine, petty malice, self interest, carelessness and sheer mistake. Only a residual fraction is thought.
  • Most men’s conscience, habits, and opinions are borrowed from convention and gather continually comforting assurances from the same social consensus that originally suggested them.
  • It is possible to be a master in false philosophy, easier, in fact, than to be a master in the truth, because a false philosophy can be made as simple and consistent as one pleases.
  • The tendency to gather and to breed philosophers in universities does not belong to ages of free and humane reflection: it is scholastic and proper to the Middle Ages and to Germany.
  • In any close society it is more urgent to restrain others than to be free oneself. Hence the tendency for the central authority to absorb and supersede such as are local or delegated.
  • If you prefer illusions to realities, it is only because all decent realities have eluded you and left you in the lurch; or else your contempt for the world is mere hypocrisy and funk.
  • I like to walk about among the beautiful things that adorn the world; but private wealth I should decline, or any sort of personal possessions, because they would take away my liberty.
  • A grateful environment is a substitute for happiness. It can quicken us from without as a fixed hope and affection, or as the consciousness of a right life, can quicken us from within.
  • The theatre, for all its artifices, depicts life in a sense more truly than history, because the medium has a kindred movement to that of real life, though an artificial setting and form.
  • The superiority of the distant over the present is only due to the mass and variety of the pleasures that can be suggested, compared with the poverty of those that can at any time be felt.
  • Nietzsche was personally more philosophical than his philosophy. His talk about power, harshness, and superb immorality was the hobby of a harmless young scholar and constitutional invalid.
  • Each religion, by the help of more or less myth, which it takes more or less seriously, proposes some method of fortifying the human soul and enabling it to make its peace with its destiny.
  • What better comfort have we, or what other Profit in living Than to feed, sobered by the truth of Nature, Awhile upon her beauty, And hand her torch of gladness to the ages Following after?
  • Religion is indeed a convention which a man must be bred in to endure with any patience; and yet religion, for all its poetic motley, comes closer than work-a-day opinion to the heart of things.
  • Religion should be disentangled as much as possible from history and authority and metaphysics, and made to rest honestly on one’s fine feelings, on one’s indomitable optimism and trust in life.
  • What renders man an imaginative and moral being is that in society he gives new aims to his life which could not have existed in solitude : the aims of friendship , religion , science , and art .
  • Nothing is inherently and invincibly young except spirit. And spirit can enter a human being perhaps better in the quiet of old age and dwell there more undisturbed than in the turmoil of adventure.
  • Nietzsche said that the earth has been a madhouse long enough. Without contradicting him we might perhaps soften the expression, and say that philosophy has been long enough an asylum for enthusiasts.
  • American life is a powerful solvent. It seems to neutralize every intellectual element, however tough and alien it may be, and to fuse it in the native good will, complacency, thoughtlessness, and optimism.
  • Gnomic wisdom, however, is notoriously polychrome, and proverbs depend for their truth entirely on the occasion they are applied to. Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it.
  • There is no greater stupidity or meanness than to take uniformity for an ideal, as if it were not a benefit and a joy to a man, being what he is, to know that many are, have been, and will be better than he.
  • Old age is as forgetful as youth, and more incorrigible; it displays the same inattentiveness to conditions; its memory becomes self-repeating and degenerates into an instinctive reaction, like a bird’s chirp.
  • Philosophy is a more intense sort of experience than common life is, just as pure and subtle music, heard in retirement, is something keener and more intense than the howling of storms or the rumble of cities.
  • The universe, as far as we can observe it, is a wonderful and immense engine…. If we dramatize its life and conceive its spirit, we are filled with wonder, terror and amusement, so magnificent is the spirit.
  • Each religion, so dear to those whose life it sanctifies, and fulfilling so necessary a function in the society that has adopted it, necessarily contradicts every other religion, and probably contradicts itself.
  • Old places and old persons in their turn, when spirit dwells in them, have an intrinsic vitality of which youth is incapable, precisely, the balance and wisdom that come from long perspectives and broad foundations
  • Professional philosophers are usually only apologists: that is, they are absorbed in defending some vested illusion or some eloquent idea. Like lawyers or detectives, they study the case for which they are retained.
  • Imagination is potentially infinite. Though actually we are limited to the types of experience for which we possess organs, those organs are somewhat plastic. Opportunity will change their scope and even their center.
  • There is nothing sacred about convention; there is nothing sacred about primitive passions or whims; but the fact that a convention exists indicates that a way of living has been devised capable of maintaining itself.
  • There must … be in our very nature a very radical and widespread tendency to observe beauty, and to value it. No account of the principles of the mind can be at all adequate that passes over so conspicuous a faculty.
  • Nothing can be meaner than the anxiety to live on, to live on anyhow and in any shape; a spirit with any honor is not willing to live except in its own way, and a spirit with any wisdom is not over-eager to live at all.
  • The profoundest affinities are those most readily felt, and though a thousand later considerations may overlay and override them, they remain a background and standard for all happiness. If we trace them out we succeed.
  • It is war that wastes a nations wealth, chokes its industries, kills its flower, narrows its sympathies, condemns it to be governed by adventurers, and leaves the puny, deformed, and unmanly to breed the next generation.
  • Experience is a mere whiff or rumble, produced by enormously complex and ill-deciphered causes of experience; and in the other direction, experience is a mere peephole through which glimpses come down to us of eternal things.
  • Catastrophes come when some dominant institution, swollen like a soap-bubble and still standing without foundations, suddenly crumbles at the touch of what may seem a word or idea, but is really some stronger material source.
  • Nature is like a beautiful woman that may be as delightfully and as truly known at a certain distance as upon a closer view; as to knowing her through and through; that is nonsense in both cases, and might not reward our pains.
  • What brings enlightenment is experience, in the sad sense of this word–the pressure of hard facts and unintelligible troubles, making a man rub his eyes in his waking dream, and put two and two together. Enlightenment is cold water.
  • To fight is a radical instinct; if men have nothing else to fight over they will fight over words, fancies, or women, or they will fight because they dislike each other’s looks, or because they have met walking in opposite directions.
  • . . . until the curtain was rung down on the last act of the drama (and it might have no last act!) he wished the intellectual cripples and the moral hunchbacks not to be jeered at; perhaps they might turn out to be the heroes of the play.
  • Civilization is perhaps approaching one of those long winters that overtake it from time to time. Romantic Christendom – picturesque, passionate, unhappy episode – may be coming to an end. Such a catastrophe would be no reason for despair.
  • It would repel me less to be a hangman than a soldier, because the one is obliged to put to death only criminals sentenced by the law, but the other kills honest men who like himself bathe in innocent blood at the bidding of some superior.
  • The little word is has its tragedies: it marries and identifies different things with the greatest innocence; and yet no two are ever identical, and if therein lies the charm of wedding them and calling them one, therein too lies the danger.
  • Each religion necessarily contradicts every other religion, and probably contradicts itself. Religions, like languages, are necessary rivals. What religion a man shall have is a historical accident, quite as much as what language he shall speak.
  • We need sometimes to escape into open solitudes, into aimlessness, into the moral holiday of running some pure hazard in order to sharpen the edge of life, to taste hardship, and to be compelled to work desperately for a moment at no matter what.
  • The truth properly means the sum of all true propositions, what omniscience would assert, the whole ideal system of qualities andrelations which the world has exemplified or will exemplify. The truth is all things seen under the form of eternity.
  • It is characteristic of spontaneous friendship to take on first, without enquiry and almost at first sight, the unseen doings and unspoken sentiments of our friends; the parts known give us evidence enough that the unknown parts cannot be much amiss.
  • The world is not respectable; it is mortal, tormented, confused, deluded forever; but it is shot through with beauty, with love, with glints of courage and laughter; and in these, the spirit blooms timidly, and struggles to the light amid the thorns.
  • It is a pleasant surprise to him (the pure mathematician) and an added problem if he finds that the arts can use his calculations, or that the senses can verify them, much as if a composer found that sailors could heave better when singing his songs.
  • Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual.
  • In endowing us with memory, nature has revealed to us a truth utterly unimaginable to the unreflective creation, the truth of immortality….The most ideal human passion is love, which is also the most absolute and animal and one of the most ephemeral.
  • A string of excited, fugitive, miscellaneous pleasures is not happiness; happiness resides in imaginative reflection and judgment, when the picture of one’s life, or of human life, as it truly has been or is, satisfies the will, and is gladly accepted.
  • My remembrance of the past is a novel I am constantly recomposing; and it would not be a historical novel, but sheer fiction, if the material events which mark and ballast my career had not their public dates and characters scientifically discoverable.
  • A conceived thing is doubly a product of mind, more a product of mind, if you will, than an idea, since ideas arise, so to speak,by the mind’s inertia and conceptions of things by its activity. Ideas are mental sediment; conceived things are mental growths.
  • An operation that eventually kills may be technically successful, and the man may die cured; and so a description of religion thatshowed it to be madness might first show how real and warm it was, so that if it perished, at least it would perish understood.
  • One of the peculiarities of recent speculation, especially in America, is that ideas are abandoned in virtue of a mere change of feeling, without any new evidence or new arguments. We do not nowadays refute our predecessors, we pleasantly bid them good-bye.
  • Men have always been the victims of trifles, but when they were uncomfortable and passionate, and in constant danger, they hardly had time to notice what the daily texture of their thoughts was in their calm intervals, whereas with us the intervals are all.
  • You cannot prove realism to a complete sceptic or idealist; but you can show an honest man that he is not a complete sceptic or idealist, but a realist at heart. So long as he is alive his sincere philosophy must fulfil the assumptions of his life and not destroy him.
  • …science is nothing but developed perception, interpreted intent, common-sense rounded out and minutely articulated. It is therefore as much an instinctive product, as much a stepping forth of human courage in the dark, as is any inevitable dream or impulsive action.
  • It is pathetic to observe how lowly the motives are that religion, even the highest, attributes to the deity… To be given the best morsel, to be remembered, to be praised, to be obeyed blindly and punctiliously – these have been thought points of honor with the gods.
  • There is no tyranny so hateful as a vulgar and anonymous tyranny. It is all-permeating, all-thwarting; it blasts every budding novelty and sprig of genius with its omnipresent and fierce stupidity. Such a headless people has the mind of a worm and the claws of a dragon.
  • To feel beauty is a better thing than to understand how we come to feel it. To have imagination and taste, to love the best, to be carried by the contemplation of nature to a vivid faith in the ideal, all this is more, a great deal more, than any science can hope to be.
  • Order, for a liberal, means only peace; and the hope of a profound peace was one of the chief motives in the liberal movement. Concessions and tolerance and equality would thus have really led to peace, and to peace of the most radical kind, the peace of moral extinction.
  • We are not compelled in naturalism, or even in materialism, to ignore immaterial things; the point is that any immaterial things which are recognized shall be regarded as names, aspects, functions, or concomitant products of those physical things among which action goes on.
  • A buoyant and full-blooded soul has quick senses and miscellaneous sympathies: it changes with the changing world; and when not too much starved or thwarted by circumstances, it finds all things vivid and comic. Life is free play fundamentally and would like to be free play altogether.
  • Advertising is the modern substitute for argument, its function is to make the worse appear the better article. A confused competition of all propagandas — those insults to human nature — is carried on by the most expert psychological methods — for instance, by always repeating a lie.
  • Towers in a modern town are a frill and a survival; they seem like the raised hands of the various churches, afraid of being overlooked, and saying to the forgetful public, Here I am! Or perhaps they are rival lightning rods, saying to the emanations of divine grace, “Please strike here!
  • Christianity persecuted, tortured, and burned. Like a hound it tracked the very scent of heresy. It kindled wars, and nursed furious hatreds and ambitions… Man, far from being freed from his natural passions, was plunged into artificial ones quite as violent and much more disappointing.
  • Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer; there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness.
  • Photography at first was asked to do nothing but embalm our best smiles for the benefit of our friends and our best clothes for the amusement of posterity. Neither thing lasts, and photography came as a welcome salve to keep those precious, if slightly ridiculous, things a little longer in the world.
  • … even if Lucretius was wrong, and the soul is immortal, it is nevertheless steadily changing its interests and its possessions.Our lives are mortal if our soul is not; and the sentiment which reconciled Lucretius to death is as much needed if we are to face many deaths, as if we are to face only one.
  • Religious doctrines would do well to withdraw their pretension to be dealing with matters of fact. That pretension is not only the source of the conflicts of religion with science and the vain and bitter controversies of sects; it is also the cause of the impurity and incoherence of religion in the soul.
  • O world, thou choosest not the better part! It is not wisdom to be only wise, And on the inward vision close the eyes, But it is wisdom to believe the heart. Columbus found a world, and had no chart, Save one that faith deciphered in the skies; To trust the soul’s invincible surmise Was all his science and his only art.
  • When a man’s life is over, it remains true that he was one sort of man and not another. A man who understands himself under the form of eternity knows the quality that eternally belongs to him, and knows that he cannot wholly die, even if he would, for when the movement of his life is over, the truth of his life remains.
  • The aim of life is some way of living, as flexible and gentle as human nature; so that ambition may stoop to kindness, and philosophy to condor and humor. Neither prosperity nor empire nor heaven can be worth winning at the price of a virulent temper, bloody hands, an anguished spirit, and a vain hatred of the rest of the world.
  • The wonder of an artist’s performance grows with the range of his penetration, with the instinctive sympathy that makes him, in his mortal isolation, considerate of other men’s fate and a great diviner of their secret, so that his work speaks to them kindly, with a deeper assurance than they could have spoken with to themselves.
  • Any attempt to speak without speaking any particular language is not more hopeless than the attempt to have a religion that shall be no religion in particular…. Every living and healthy religion has a marked idiosyncrasy. Its power consists in its special and surprising message and the bias which that revelation gives to life.
  • Memory itself is an internal rumour; and when to this hearsay within the mind we add the falsified echoes that reach us from others, we have but a shifting and unseizable basis to build upon. The picture we frame of the past changes continually and grows every day less similar to the original experience which it purports to describe.
  • Even the most inspired verse, which boasts not without a relative justification to be immortal, becomes in the course of ages a scarcely legible hieroglyphic; the language it was written in dies, a learned education and an imaginative effort are requisite to catch even a vestige of its original force. Nothing is so irrevocable as mind.
  • By “essence” I understand a universal, of any degree of complexity and definition, which may be given immediately, whether to sense or to thought…. This object of pure sense or pure thought, with no belief superadded, an object inwardly complete and individual, but without external relations or physical status, is what I call an essence.
  • The human race, in its intellectual life, is organized like the bees: the masculine soul is a worker, sexually atrophied, and essentially dedicated to impersonal and universal arts; the feminine is queen, infinite fertile, omnipresent in its brooding industry, but passive and abounding in intuitions without method and passions without justice.
  • To most people, I fancy, the stars are beautiful; but if you asked why, they would be at a loss to reply, until they remembered what they had heard about astronomy, and the great size and distance and possible habitation of those orbs. … [We] persuade ourselves that the power of the starry heavens lies in the suggestion of astronomical facts.
  • Logic, like language, is partly a free construction and partly a means of symbolizing and harnessing in expression the existing diversities of things; and whilst some languages, given a man’s constitution and habits, may seem more beautiful and convenient to him than others, it is a foolish heat in a patriot to insist that only his native language is intelligible or right.
  • The family is an early expedient and in many ways irrational. If the race had developed a special sexless class to be nurses, pedagogues, and slaves, like the workers among ants and bees, then the family would have been unnecessary. Such a division of labor would doubtless have involved evils of its own, but it would have obviated some drags and vexations proper to the family.
  • Happiness is impossible, and even inconceivable, to a mind without scope and without pause, a mind driven by craving, pleasure, or fear. To be happy, you must be reasonable, or you must be tamed. You must have taken the measure of your powers, tasted the fruits of your passion, and learned your place in the world and what things in it can really serve you. To be happy, you must be wise.
  • Truth is one of the realities covered in the eclectic religion of our fathers by the idea of God. Awe very properly hangs about it, since it is the immovable standard and silent witness of all our memories and assertions; and the past and the future, which in our anxious life are so differently interesting and so differently dark, are one seamless garment for the truth, shining like the sun.
  • Experience has repeatedly confirmed that well-known maxim of Bacon’s that ‘a little philosophy inclineth a man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion.’ At the same time, when Bacon penned that sage epigram… he forgot to add that the God to whom depth in philosophy brings back men’s minds is far from being the same from whom a little philosophy estranges them.
  • Sex endows the individual with a dumb and powerful instinct, which carries his body and soul continually towards another, makes it one of the dearest employments of his life to select and pursue a companion, and joins to possession the keenest pleasure, to rivalry the fiercest rage, and to solicitude an eternal melancholy. What more could be needed to suffuse the world with the deepest meaning and beauty?
  • Man alone knows that he must die; but that very knowledge raises him, in a sense, above mortality, by making him a sharer in the vision of eternal truth. He becomes the spectator of his own tragedy; he sympathizes so much with the fury of the storm that he has no ears left for the shipwrecked sailor, though the sailor were his own soul. The truth is cruel, but it can be loved, and it makes free those who have loved it.
  • In the Gospels, for instance, we sometimes find the kingdom of heaven illustrated by principles drawn from observation of this world rather than from an ideal conception of justice; … They remind us that the God we are seeking is present and active, that he is the living God; they are doubtless necessary if we are to keep religion from passing into a mere idealism and God into the vanishing point of our thought and endeavour.
  • The scientific value of truth is not, however, ultimate or absolute. It rests partly on practical, partly on aesthetic interests. As our ideas are gradually brought into conformity with the facts by the painful process of selection,-for intuition runs equally into truth and into error, and can settle nothing if not controlled by experience,-we gain vastly in our command over our environment. This is the fundamental value of natural science
  • I love moving water, I love ships, I love the sharp definition, the concentrated humanity, the sublime solitude of life at sea. The dangers of it only make present to us the peril inherent in all existence, which the stupid, ignorant, un-travelled land-worm never discovers; and the art of it, so mathematical, so exact, so rewarding to intelligence, appeals to courage and clears the mind of superstition, while filling it with humility and true religion.
  • History is always written wrong, and so always needs to be rewritten. …What is interesting is brought forward as if it had been central and efficacious in the march of events, and harmonies are turned into causes. Kings and generals are endowed with motives appropriate to what the historian values in their actions; plans are imputed to them prophetic of their actual achievements, while the thoughts that really preoccupied them remain buried in absolute oblivion.
  • The whole machinery of our intelligence, our general ideas and laws, fixed and external objects, principles, persons, and gods, are so many symbolic, algebraic expressions. They stand for experience; experience which we are incapable of retaining and surveying in its multitudinous immediacy. We should flounder hopelessly, like the animals, did we not keep ourselves afloat and direct our course by these intellectual devices. Theory helps us to bear our ignorance of fact.
  • It would be hard to conceive a system of instincts more nicely adjusted, where the constituents should represent or support one another better. The husband has an interest in protecting the wife, she in serving the husband. The weaker gains in authority and safety, the wilder and more unconcerned finds a help-mate at home to take thought of his daily necessities. Parents lend children their experience and a vicarious memory; children endow their parents with a vicarious immortality.
  • Incapacity to appreciate certain types of beauty may be the condition sine qua non for the appreciation of another kind; the greatest capacity both for enjoyment and creation is highly specialized and exclusive, and hence the greatest ages of art have often been strangely intolerant. The invectives of one school against another, perverse as they are philosophically, are artistically often signs of health, because they indicate a vital appreciation of certain kinds of beauty, a love of them that has grown into a jealous passion.
  • Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. In the first stage of life the mind is frivolous and easily distracted; it misses progress by failing in consecutiveness and persistence. This is the condition of children and barbarians, in which instinct has learned nothing from experience.
  • Never have I enjoyed youth so thoroughly as I have in my old age. In writing Dialogues in Limbo, The Last Puritan, and now all these descriptions of the friends of my youth and the young friends of my middle age, I have drunk the pleasure of life more pure, more joyful than it ever was when mingled with all the hidden anxieties and little annoyances of actual living. Nothing is inherently and invincibly young except spirit. And spirit can enter a human being perhaps better in the quiet of old age and dwell there more undisturbed than in the turmoil of adventure.
  • With you a part of me hath passed away; For in the peopled forest of my mind A tree made leafless by this wintry wind Shall never don again its green array. Chapel and fireside, country road and bay, Have something of their friendliness resigned; Another, if I would, I could not find, And I am grown much older in a day. But yet I treasure in my memory Your gift of charity, and young hearts ease, And the dear honour of your amity; For these once mine, my life is rich with these. And I scarce know which part may greater be,– What I keep of you, or you rob from me.
  • Christianity persecuted, tortured, and burned. Like a hound it tracked the very scent of heresy. It kindled wars, and nursed furious hatreds and ambitions. It sanctified, quite like Mohammedism, extermination and tyranny. All this would have been impossible if, like Buddhism, it had looked only for peace and the liberation of souls. It looked beyond; it dreamt of infinite blisses and crowns it should be crowned with before an electrified universe and an applauding God… Buddhism had tried to quiet a sick world with anesthetics; Christianity sought to purge it with fire.
  • There is (as I now find) no remorse for time long past, even for what may have mortified us or made us ashamed of ourselves when it was happening: there is a pleasant panoramic sense of what it all was and how it all had to be. Why, if we are not vain or snobbish, need we desire that it should have been different? The better things we missed may yet be enjoyed or attained by someone else somewhere: why isn’t that just as good? And there is no regret, either, in the sense of wishing the past to return, or missing it: it is quite real enough as it is, there at its own date and place.

 

Thomas Merton (quotes)

  • Whose silence are you?
  • Love is its own reward.
  • The root of war is fear.
  • Love is our true destiny.
  • A daydream is an evasion.
  • Love is its own reward….
  • Today will never come again.
  • Love is the door to eternity.
  • We do not exist for ourselves.
  • To be a saint is to be yourself.
  • The gate of heaven is everywhere.
  • Take more time, cover less ground.
  • Perhaps I am stronger than I think.
  • The goal of fasting is inner unity.
  • Love is an intensification of life.
  • The end of the world will be legal.
  • Our real journey in life is interior.
  • Humility is a virtue, not a neurosis.
  • When ambition ends, happiness begins.
  • Love is a special way of being alive.
  • Hurry ruins saints as well as artists.
  • Lovely morning! How lovely life can be!
  • For me to be a saint means to be myself.
  • The only unhappiness is not to love God.
  • Love winter when the plant says nothing.
  • It might be good to open our eyes and see.
  • We love the things we pretend to laugh at.
  • The tighter you squeeze, the less you have.
  • Love is the epiphany of God in our poverty.
  • Anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity.
  • My best writing has always been in journals.
  • You are made in the image of what you desire.
  • If you have love you will do all things well.
  • Love is perfect in proportion to it’s freedom.
  • Thinking prevents the unconscious from speaking.
  • Music and art and poetry attune the soul to God.
  • Infinite sharing is the law of God s inner life.
  • The biggest disease in North America is busyness.
  • We are already ONE. We just think we are separate.
  • The speech of God is silence. His Word is solitude.
  • A bad book about the love of God remains a bad book.
  • To be unknown to God is altogether too much privacy.
  • Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.
  • The God of peace is never glorified by human violence.
  • Action is the stream, and contemplation is the spring.
  • When you see God in everyone, then they see God in you.
  • No one is so wrong as the man who knows all the answers.
  • There is a logic of language and a logic of mathematics.
  • The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.
  • Life reveals itself to us only in so far as well live it.
  • A faith that is afraid of other people is no faith at all.
  • You cannot be a man of faith unless you know how to doubt.
  • The least of the work of learning is done in the classroom.
  • A faith that is afraid of other people is not faith at all.
  • The only way to make a man worthy of love is by loving him.
  • A man who fails well is greater than one who succeeds badly.
  • My spiritual goal is to one day walk into God and disappear.
  • The biggest human temptation is… to settle for too little.
  • Teach me to go to the country beyond words and beyond names.
  • The purpose of our lives is to find the purpose of our lives.
  • Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than about Him.
  • To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything.
  • Violence is not completely fatal until it ceases to disturb us.
  • What I wear is pants. What I do is live. How I pray is breathe.
  • What I do is live, how I pray is breathe, what I wear is pants.
  • In Silence God ceases to be an object and becomes an experience.
  • I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
  • The great thing, and the only thing, is to adore and praise GOD.
  • How far have I to go to find you in whom I have already arrived.
  • Happiness that is sought for ourselves alone can never be found.
  • We stumble and fall constantly, even when we are most enlightened.
  • God, my God, the night has values that the day never dreamed of.
  • The problem today is that there are no deserts, only dude ranches.
  • Man was made for the highest activity, which is, in fact, his rest,
  • Power always protects the good of some at the expense of all others.
  • Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
  • Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things.
  • To hope is to risk frustration. Make up your mind to risk frustration.
  • We cannot achieve greatness unless we lose all interest in being great.
  • The man of faith who has never experienced doubt is not a man of faith.
  • God, have mercy on me in the blindness in which I hope I am seeking You!
  • Zen insight is not our awareness, but Being’s awareness of itself in us.
  • The closer we are to God, the closer we are to those who are close to him.
  • We must slow down to a human tempo and we’ll begin to have time to listen.
  • If a man is to live, he must be all alive, body, soul, mind, heart, spirit.
  • We must slow down to a human tempo and we’ll begin to have time to listen.
  • The imagination should be allowed a certain amount of time to browse around.
  • In the end, it’s the reality of personal realtionships that save everything.
  • Wheels of fire, cosmic, rich, full-bodied honest victories over desperation.
  • If you yourself are at peace, then there is at least some peace in the world.
  • While some men see ordinary happenings, others see divine light and guidance.
  • If we seek paradise outside ourselves, we cannot have paradise in our hearts.
  • Meditation is one of the ways in which the spiritual man keeps himself awake.
  • Do not be one of those who, rather than risk failure, never attempts anything.
  • … but any fool knows that you don’t need money to get enjoyment out of life.
  • Every other man is a piece of myself, for I am a part and a member of mankind.
  • Conscience is the light by which we interpret the will of God in our own lives.
  • To be ordinary is not a choice: It is the usual freedom of men without visions.
  • The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God’s mercy to me.
  • The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly
  • In the spiritual life there is no such thing as an indifference to love or hate.
  • Duty does not have to be dull. Love can make it beautiful and fill it with life.
  • Contemplation is the loving sense of this life, this presence and this eternity.
  • When we are strong, we are always much greater than the things that happen to us.
  • Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.
  • Here is an unspeakable secret: paradise is all around us and we do not understand.
  • Every breath we draw is a gift of God’s love; every moment of existence is a grace.
  • Charity is without fear: having given all that it has, it has nothing left to lose.
  • Solitude is a way to defend the spirit against the murderous din of our materialism.
  • We are obliged to love one another. We are not strictly bound to “like” one another.
  • If you want to study the social and political history of modern nations, study hell.
  • A man searching for enlightenment is like a man sitting on an Ass in search of an Ass
  • Our whole life is a meditation of our last decision – the only decision that matters.
  • Christ is born to us today, in order that he may appear to the whole world through us.
  • Reason is in fact the path to faith, and faith takes over when reason can say no more.
  • To worship our false selves is to worship nothing. And the worship of nothing is hell.
  • God Himself begins to live in me not only as my Creator but as my other and true self.
  • Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.
  • Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.
  • God has brought me to Kentucky…the precise place he has chosen for my sanctification.
  • Because of their enmity you will be left alone. They will cast you out and forsake you.
  • There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.
  • The meaning of life is found in openness to being and “being present” in full awareness.
  • In our creation, God asked a question and in our truly living; God answers the question.
  • Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.
  • Advertising treats all products with the reverence and the seriousness due to sacraments.
  • Be human in this most inhuman of ages; guard the image of man for it is the image of God.
  • The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.
  • Love not only prefers the good of another to my own, but it does not even compare the two.
  • You are certainly one of the joys of life for all who have ever come within a mile of you.
  • But there is greater comfort in the substance of silence than in the answer to a question.
  • People have no idea what one saint can do: for sanctity is stronger than the whole of hell.
  • If Zen has any preference it is for glass that is plain, has no color, and is “just glass.”
  • Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say.
  • Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already I am.
  • We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves.
  • To find love I must enter into the sanctuary where it is hidden, which is the mystery of God.
  • Let us come alive to the splendor that is all around us and see the beauty in ordinary things.
  • Grains of error planted innocently in a well-kept greenhouse can become giant poisonous trees.
  • The peace produced by grace is a spiritual stability too deep for violence — it is unshakeable
  • Love is free; it does not depend on the desirability of its object, but loves for love’s sake.
  • There is not true intimacy between souls who do not know how to respect one another’s solitude.
  • The peace produced by grace is a spiritual stability too deep for violence, it is unshakeable
  • True happiness is found in unselfish Love, A love which increases in proportion as it is shared.
  • I have learned that one cannot truly know hope unless he has found out how like despair hope is.
  • Actions are the doors and windows of being. Unless we act, we have no way of knowing what we are.
  • A Christian is committed to the belief that Love and Mercy are the most powerful forces on earth.
  • Gratitude takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder.
  • There is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.
  • Be good, keep your feet dry, your eyes open, your heart at peace and your soul in the joy of Christ.
  • Prayer is not so much a way to find God as a way of resting in him…who loves us, who is near to us.
  • The degradation of the sense of symbol in modern society is one of its many signs of spiritual decay.
  • What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we cannot cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves?
  • And that is why the man who wants to see clearly, before he will believe, never starts on the journey.
  • Our destiny is to live out what we think, because unless we live what we know, we do not even know it.
  • love-why can’t you leave me alone? Which is a rhetorical question meaning: for heaven’s sake, don’t.
  • How do you expect to arrive at the end of your own journey if you take the road to another man’s city?
  • A man knows when he has found his vocation when he stops thinking about how to live and begins to live.
  • A life that is without problems may literally be more hopeless, than one that always verges on despair.
  • If we have not silence, God is not heard in our music. If we have no rest God, does not bless our work.
  • Prayer is not so much a way to find God as a way of resting in him…who loves us, who is near to us…
  • Nothing has ever been said about God that hasn’t already been said better by the wind in the pine trees.
  • We have what we seek, it is there all the time, and if we give it time, it will make itself known to us.
  • Technology is not in itself opposed to spirituality and to religion. But it presents a great temptation.
  • The sky is my prayer, the birds are my prayer, the wind in the trees is my prayer, for God is all in all.
  • Prayer and love are learned in the hour when prayer becomes impossible and the heart has turned to stone.
  • Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.
  • I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity … I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can.
  • Good moral actions are not enough. Everything in us, from the very depths, must be cleansed and reordered…
  • You pray best when the mirror of your soul is empty of every image except the Image of the Invisible Father.
  • If we are to love sincerely, and with simplicity, we must first of all overcome the fear of not being loved.
  • The real reason why so few men believe in God is that they have ceased to believe that even a God can love them.
  • It is in deep solitude and silence that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brother and sister.
  • The spiritual life is first of all a life. It is not merely something to be known and studied, it is to be lived.
  • A gentle sense of humor will be alert to detect anything that savors of a pious ‘act’ on the part of the penitent.
  • Violence is essentially wordless. and it can begin only where thought and rational communication have broken down.
  • I shall lead you through the loneliness, the solitude you will not understand; but it is my shortcut to your soul.
  • The simplest and most effective way to sanctity is to disappear into the background of ordinary every day routine.
  • May God prevent us from becoming “right-thinking men”-that is to say men who agree perfectly with their own police.
  • Ash Wednesday is full of joy…The source of all sorrow is the illusion that of ourselves we are anything but dust.
  • The light of truth burns without a flicker in the depths of a house that is shaken with storms of passion and fear.
  • People are in a hurry to magnify themselves by imitating what is popular- and too lazy to think of anything better.
  • The center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth.
  • For although God is right with us and in us and out of us and all through us, we have to go on journeys to find him.
  • The truth never becomes clear as long as we assume that each one of us, individually, is the center of the universe.
  • There is a subtle but inescapable connection between the “sacred” attitude and the acceptance of one’s in most self.
  • We have to have a deep, patient compassion for the fears of men and irrational mania of those who hate or condemn us.
  • If you want to have a spiritual life you must unify your life. A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all.
  • The greatest need of our time is to clean out the enormous mass of mental and emotional rubbish that clutters our minds
  • When you reread your journal you find out that your newest discovery is something you already found out five years ago.
  • It is in the ordinary duties and labors of life that the Christian can and should develop his spiritual union with God.
  • How can I be sincere if I am constantly changing my mind to conform with the shadow of what I think others expect of me?
  • We have to have a deep, patient compassion for the fears of others and irrational mania of those who hate or condemn us.
  • The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the other…. The whole purpose of life is to live by love.
  • The grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.
  • True encounter with Christ liberates something within us, a power we did not know we had, a capacity to grow and change.
  • He who hopes in God trusts God, Whom he never sees, to bring him to the possession of things that are beyond imagination.
  • It is when we love the other, the enemy, that we obtain from God the key to an understanding of who He is, and who we are.
  • I myself am part of the weather and part of the climate and part of the place … It is certainly part of my life of prayer.
  • The sacred attitude is, then, one of deep and fundamental respect for the real in whatever new form it may present itself.
  • The solution of the problem of life is life itself. Life is not attained by reason and analysis but first of all by living.
  • In the devil’s theology, the important thing is to be absolutely right and to prove that everybody else is absolutely wrong.
  • Our happiness consists in sharing the happiness of God, the perfection of His unlimited freedom, the perfection of His love.
  • The Holy Spirit is the most perfect gift of the Father to men, and yet He is the one gift which the Father gives most easily.
  • Fear narrows the little entrance of our heart. It shrinks up our capacity to love. It freezes up our power to give ourselves.
  • For perfect hope is achieved on the brink of despair, when instead of falling over the edge, we find ourselves walking on air.
  • Prayer is an expression of who we are…We are a living incompleteness. We are a gap, an emptiness that calls for fulfillment.
  • Our knowledge of God is perfected by gratiitude: we are thankful and rejoice in the experience of the truth that He is love…
  • Spread abroad the name of Jesus in humility and with a meek heart; show him your feebleness, and he will become your strength.
  • To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell.
  • There was this shadow, this double, this writer who had followed me into the cloister. He rides my shoulders I cannot lose him.
  • For our duties and our needs, in all the fundamental things for which we were created, come down in practice to the same thing.
  • For the ones who are called saints by human opinion on earth may very well be devils, and their light may very well be darkness
  • May we all grow in grace and peace and not neglect the silence that is printed in the center of our being. It will not fail us.
  • The deepest of level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless … beyond speech … beyond concept.
  • Contemplative living is living in true relationship with oneself, God, others and nature, free of the illusions of separateness.
  • Just remaining quietly in the presence of God, listening to Him, being attentive to Him, requires a lot of courage and know-how.
  • Art is not an end in itself. It introduces the soul into a higher spiritual order, which it expresses and in some sense explains.
  • …love triumphs, at least in this life, not by eliminating evil once for all, but by resisting and overcoming it anew every day.
  • The truth that many people never understand until it is too late is that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer.
  • One might say I have decided to marry the silence of the forest. The sweet dark warmth of the whole world will have to be my wife.
  • The real hope is not in something we think we can do, but in God, who is making something good out of it in some way we cannot see.
  • Today the artist has inherited the combined functions of hermit, pilgrim, prophet, priest, shaman, sorcerer, soothsayer, alchemist.
  • Each individual Christian and each new age of the Church has to make this rediscovery, this return to the source of Christian life.
  • Sincerity must be bought at a price: the humility to recognize our innumerable errors, and fidelity in tirelessly setting them right.
  • Show us your Christ, Lady, after this our exile, yes: but show Him to us also now, show Him to us here, while we are still wanderers.
  • We refuse love, and reject society, in so far as it seems, in our own perverse imagination, to imply some obscure kind of humiliation
  • Our minds are like crows. They pick up everything that glitters, no matter how uncomfortable our nests get with all that metal in them.
  • Zen is consciousness unstructured by particular form or particular system, a trans-cultural, trans-religious, transformed consciousness.
  • The fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the wind, and join in the general Dance.
  • For each one of us, there is only one thing necessary: to fulfill our own destiny, according to God’s will, to be what God wants us to be.
  • I will no longer wound myself with the thoughts and questions that have surrounded me like thorns: that is a penance You do not ask of me.
  • Humility sets us free to do what is really good, by showing us our illusions and withdrawing our will from what was only an apparent good.
  • I cannot make the universe obey me. I cannot make other people conform to my own whims and fancies. I cannot make even my own body obey me.
  • We do not want to be beginners [at prayer]. but let us be convinced of the fact that we will never be anything but beginners, all our life!
  • Jesus lived and died in vain if He did not teach us to regulate the whole of life by the eternal law of love. Gandhi, quoted in Merton, p. 38
  • The only right way: to love and serve the man of the modern world, but not simply to succumb, with him, to all his illusions about the world.
  • An author in a Trappist monastery is like a duck in a chicken coop. And he would give anything in the world to be a chicken instead of a duck.
  • But if you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I think I am living for.
  • No writing on the solitary, meditative dimensions of life can say anything that has not already been said better by the wind in the pine trees.
  • The artistic experience, at its highest, was actually a natural analogue of mystical experience. It produced a kind of intuitive of perception.
  • On Pride: This sickness is most dangerous when it succeeds in looking like humility. When a proud man thinks he is humble his case is hopeless.
  • In humility is the greatest freedom. As long as you have to defend the imaginary self that you think is important, you lose your peace of heart.
  • The peculiar grace of a Shaker chair is due to the fact that it was made by someone capable of believing that an angel might come and sit on it.
  • Love is not a mere emotion or sentiment. It is the lucid and ardent responses of the whole person to a value that is revealed to him as perfect.
  • The man who sweats under his mask, whose role makes him itch with discomfort, who hates the division in himself, is already beginning to be free.
  • Every man has a vocation to be someone: but he must understand clearly that in order to fulfill this vocation he can only be one person: himself.
  • It is by desiring to grow in love that we receive the Holy Spirit, and the thirst for more charity is the effect of this more abundant reception.
  • The greatest temptations are not those that solicit our consent to obvious sin, but those that offer us great evils masking as the greatest goods.
  • Life is not accomplishing some special work but attaining to a degree of consciousness and inner freedom which is beyond all works and attainments.
  • We are not converted only once in our lives but many times and this endless series of conversions and inner revolutions leads to our transformation.
  • Others can give you a name or a number, but they can never tell you who you really are. That is something you yourself can only discover from within.
  • We stumble and fall constantly even when we are most enlightened. But when we are in true spiritual darkness, we do not even know that we have fallen.
  • Be still: There is no longer any need of comment. It was a lucky wind That blew away his halo with his cares, A lucky sea that drowned his reputation.
  • I have only one desire, and that is the desire for solitude-to disappear into God, to be submerged in His peace, to be lost in the secret of His Face.
  • If there was no other proof of the infinite patience of God, a very good one could be found in His toleration of the pictures that are painted of Him.
  • Stop asking yourself questions that have no meaning. Or if they have, you’ll find out when you need to — find out both the questions and the answers.
  • We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God
  • I am earth, earth My heart’s love Bursts with hay and flowers. I am a lake of blue air In which my own appointed place Field and valley Stand reflected
  • Self-conquest is really self-surrender. Yet before we can surrender ourselves we must become ourselves. For no one can give up what he does not possess.
  • Now anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity. It is the fruit of unanswered questions. But questions cannot go unanswered unless they first be asked.
  • It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, though it is a race dedicated to many absurdities and one which makes many terrible mistakes.
  • In a world of noise, confusion and conflict it is necessary that there be places of silence, inner discipline and peace. In such places love can blossom.
  • A happiness that is sought for ourselves alone can never be found: for a happiness that is diminished by being shared is not big enough to make us happy.
  • We cannot possess the truth fully until it has entered into the very substance of our life by good habits, and by a certain perfection of moral activity.
  • Love in fact is the spiritual life, and without it all the other exercises of the spirit, however lofty, are emptied of content and become mere illusions.
  • People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.
  • Even the darkest moments of the liturgy are filled with joy, and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the lenten fast, is a day of happiness, a Christian feast.
  • It is true that we are called to create a better world. But we are first of all called to a more immediate and exalted task: that of creating our own lives.
  • To love blindly is to love selfishly, because the goal of such love is not the real advantage of the beloved but only the exercise of love in our own souls.
  • The humble person receives praise the way a clean window takes the light of the sun. The truer and more intense the light is, the less you see of the glass.
  • To love our nothingness we must love everything in us that the proud man loves when he loves himself. But we must love it all for exactly the opposite reason.
  • The cause of liberty becomes a mockery if the price to be paid is the wholesale destruction of those who are to enjoy liberty. Ghandi, quoted in Merton, p. 68
  • There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist fighting for peace by nonviolent methods most easily succumbs; activism and overwork.
  • Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward.
  • What is the use of praying if at the very moment of prayer, we have so little confidence in God that we are busy planning our own kind of answer to our prayer?
  • Music is pleasing not only because of the sound but because of the silence that is in it: without the alternation of sound and silence there would be no rhythm.
  • We do not exist for ourselves alone, and it is only when we are fully convinced of this fact that we begin to love ourselves properly and thus also love others.
  • Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false Self. We are not very good at recognizing illusions, least of all the ones we cherish about ourselves.
  • Modern man believes he is fruitful and productive when his ego is aggressively affirmed, when he is visibly active, and when his action produces obvious results.
  • I can depend less and less on my own power and sense of direction…It is so strange to advance backwards and get where you are going in a totally unexpected way
  • The whole aim of Zen is not to make foolproof statements about experience, but to come to direct grips with reality without the mediation of logical verbalizing.
  • Everybody has an instinctive desire to do good things and avoid evil. But that desire is sterile as long as we have no experience of what it means to be good….
  • That is God’s call to us – simply to be people who are content to live close to him and to renew the kind of life in which the closeness is felt and experienced.
  • This is the crucifixion of Christ: in which He dies again and again in the individuals who were made to share the joy and freedom of His grace, and who deny Him.
  • And the deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless. it is beyond words, and it is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept.
  • A humble man is not afraid of failure. In fact, he is not afraid of anything, even himself, since perfect humility implies perfect confidence in the power of God.
  • We must be true inside, true to ourselves, before we can know a truth that is outside us. But we make ourselves true inside by manifesting the truth as we see it.
  • Before we can realize who we really are, we must become conscious of the fact that the person we think we are, here and now, is at best an impostor and a stranger.
  • October is a fine and dangerous season in America. a wonderful time to begin anything at all. You go to college, and every course in the catalogue looks wonderful.
  • The evil in the world is all of our own making, and it proceeds entirely from our ruthless, senseless, wasteful, destructive, and suicidal neglect of our own being.
  • Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny….To work out our identity in God.
  • Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present, and unless you look for it in the present you will never find it.
  • My God, I pray better to you by breathing and walking than by talking, just as in choir I sing best when I am thinking about something else, or better still, praying.
  • For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self.
  • We cannot love ourselves unless we love others, and we cannot love others unless we love ourselves. But a selfish love of ourselves makes us incapable of loving others.
  • Saints are what they are not because their sanctity makes them admirable to others, but because the gift of sainthood makes it possible for them to admire everyone else.
  • How deluded we sometimes are by the clear notions we get out of books. They make us think that we really understand things of which we have no practical knowledge at all.
  • It is my belief, that we should not be too sure of having found Christ in ourselves until we have found him also in that part of humanity that is most remote from our own.
  • The first step toward finding God, Who is Truth, is to discover the truth about myself: and if I have been in error, this first step to truth is the discovery of my error.
  • Indeed, it is a kind of quintessence of pride to hate and fear even the kind and legitimate approval of those who love us! I mean, to resent it as a humiliating patronage.
  • True contemplation is not a psychological trick but a theological grace. It can come to us ONLY as a gift, and not as a result of our own clever use of spiritual techniques.
  • For if I am to love truly and freely, I must be able to give something that is truly my own to another. If my heart does not first belong to me, how can I give it to another?
  • A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.
  • The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.
  • The man who lives in division is living in death. He cannot find himself because he is lost; he has ceased to be a reality. The person he believes himself to be is a bad dream.
  • We live on the brink of disaster because we do not know how to let life alone. We do not respect the living and fruitful contradictions and paradoxes of which true life is full.
  • Not all of us are called to be hermits, but all of us need enough silence and solitude in our lives to enable the deeper voice of our own self to be heard at least occasionally.
  • There were only a few shepherds at the first Bethlehem. The ox and the donkey understood more of the first Christmas than the high priests in Jerusalem. And it is the same today.
  • The art of our time, sacred art included, will necessarily be characterized by a certain poverty, grimness and roughness which correspond to the violent realities of a cruel age.
  • To Serve the God of Love one must be free, one must face the terrible responsibility of the decision to love in spite of all unworthiness whether in oneself or in one’s neighbor.
  • Let me rest in Your will and be silent. Then the light of Your joy will warm my life. Its fire will burn in my heart and shine for Your glory. This is what I live for. Amen, amen.
  • When I pray for peace, I pray not only that the enemies of my own country may cease to want war, but above all that my country will cease to do the things that make war inevitable.
  • The selfishness of an age that has devoted itself to the mere cult of pleasure has tainted the whole human race with an error that makes all our acts more or less lies against God.
  • Life is this simple: we are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time. This is not just a nice story or a fable, it is true.
  • Grace is not a strange, magic substance which is subtly filtered into our souls to act as a kind of spiritual penicillin. Grace is unity, oneness within ourselves, oneness with God.
  • The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
  • But precisely this illusion that everything is “clear” is what is blinding us all. It is a serious temptation, and it is a subtle form of pride and worldly love of power and revenge.
  • Souls are like athletes, that need opponents worthy of them, if they are to be tried and extended and pushed to the full use of their powers, and rewarded according to their capacity.
  • There is no greater disaster in the spiritual life than to be immersed in unreality, for life is maintained and nourished in us by our vital relation with realities outside and above us.
  • Ours is a time of anxiety because we have willed it to be so. Our anxiety is not imposed on us by force from outside. We impose it on our world and upon one another from within ourselves.
  • To be alone by being part of the universe-fitting in completely to an environment of woods and silence and peace. Everything you do becomes a unity and a prayer. Unity within and without.
  • Love is not a matter of getting what you want. Quite the contrary. The insistence on always having what you want, on always being satisfied, on always being fulfilled, makes love impossible.
  • In an age where there is much talk about “being yourself,” I reserve to myself the right to forget about being myself, since in any case there is very little chance of my being anybody else.
  • To become attached to the experience of peace is to threaten the true and essential and vital union of our soul with God above sense and experience in the darkness of a pure and perfect love.
  • For pride, which is the inordinate attribution of goods and values and glories to one’s own contingent self, cannot exist where there is no contingent self to which anything can be attributed.
  • Do not be too quick to condemn the man who no longer believes in God: for it is perhaps your own coldness and avarice and mediocrity and materialism and selfishness that have chilled his faith.
  • Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience.
  • One of the strange laws of the contemplative life is that in it you do not sit down and solve problems: you bear with them until they somehow solve themselves. Or until life solves them for you.
  • The only influence that can really upset the injustice and iniquity of men is the power that breathes in the Christian tradition, renewing our participation in the Life that is the Light of men.
  • Death is someone you see very clearly with eyes in the center of your heart: eyes that see not by reacting to light, but by reacting to a kind of a chill from within the marrow of your own life.
  • One of the first things to learn if you want to be a contemplative is to mind your own business. Nothing is more suspicious, in a man who seems holy, than an impatient desire to reform other men.
  • The logic of the poet – that is, the logic of language or the experience itself – develops the way a living organism grows: it spreads out towards what it loves, and is heliotropic, like a plant.
  • The artist should preach nothing-not even his own autonomy. His art should speak its own truth, and in so doing it will be in harmony with every other kind of truth- moral, metaphysical, mystical.
  • In meditative prayer, one thinks and speaks not only with the mind and lips, but in a certain sense with one’s whole being… All good meditative prayer is a conversation of our entire self to God.
  • We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have – for their usefulness.
  • The true contemplative is one who has discovered the art of finding leisure even in the midst of his work, by working with such a spirit of detachment and recollection that even his work is a prayer
  • One has to be alone, under the sky, Before everything falls into place and one finds his or her own place in the midst of it all. We have to have the humility to realize ourselves as part of nature.
  • There is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace, my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find Him.
  • I refuse to be misled by any kind of a mirage about any alleged success of what I write. Those things are too easily exaggerated, and even when they are true, they always mean less than they seem to.
  • This is the greatest stumbling block in our spiritual discipline, which, in actuality, consists not in getting rid of the self but in realizing the fact that there is no such existence from the first.
  • The whole world has risen in Christ… If God is ‘all in all,’ then everything is in fact paradise, because it is filled with the glory and presence of God, and nothing is any more separated from God.
  • Do not look for rest in any pleasure, because you were not created for pleasure: you were created for joy. And if you do not know the difference between pleasure and joy you have not yet begun to live.
  • Pardon all runners, All speechless, alien winds, All mad waters. Pardon their impulses, Their wild attitudes, Their young flights, their reticence. When a message has no clothes on How can it be spoken.
  • ….it is of the very essence of Christianity to face suffering and death not because they are good, not because they have meaning, but because the resurrection of Jesus has robbed them of their meaning.
  • The most awful tyranny is that of the proximate Utopia where the last sins are currently being eliminated and where, tomorrow, there will be no more sins because all the sinners will have been wiped out.
  • My life is … a mystery which I do not attempt to really understand, as though 1 were led by the hand in a night where I see nothing, but can fully depend on the love and protection of Him who guides me.
  • I suppose what makes me most glad is that we all recognize each other in this metaphysical space of silence and happening, and get some sense, for a moment, that we are full of paradise without knowing it.
  • No matter how ruined man and his world may seem to be, and no matter how terrible man’s despair may become, as long as he continues to be a man his very humanity continues to tell him that life has a meaning.
  • The true inner self must be drawn up like a jewel from the bottom of the sea, rescued from confusion, from indistinction, from immersion in the common, the nondescript, the trivial, the sordid, the evanescent.
  • To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name.
  • If we examine ourselves carefully we shall see most of us have an enormous amount of unfinished business…We have to be free so that we can just step across the line and that’s it. That is what real freedom is.
  • Solitude is so necessary both for society and for the individual that when society fails to provide sufficient solitude to develop the inner life of the persons who compose it, they rebel and seek false solitudes.
  • We have the choice of two identities: the external mask which seems to be real…and the hidden, inner person who seems to us to be nothing, but who can give himself eternally to the truth in whom he subsists. (295)
  • The fruitfulness of our lives depends in large measure in our ability to doubt our own words and to question the value of our own work. The man who completely trusts his own estimate of himself is doomed to sterility.
  • Why do we have to spend our lives striving to be something that we would never want to be, if we only knew what we wanted? Why do we waste our time doing things which… are just the opposite of what we were made for?
  • Our real journey in life is interior; It is a matter of growth, deepening, and of an ever greater surrender to the creative action of love and grace in our hearts. Never was it more necessary to respond to that action.
  • They were in the world and not of it–not because they were saints, but in a different way: because they were artists. The integrity of an artist lifts a man above the level of the world without delivering him from it.
  • The world as pure object is something that is not there. It is not a reality outside us for which we exist….It is a living and self-creating mystery of which I am myself a part, to which I am myself, my own unique door.
  • The only trouble is that in the spiritual life there are no tricks and no shortcuts. Those who imagine that they can discover spiritual gimmicks and put them to work for themselves usually ignore God’s will and his grace.
  • If there is no silence beyond and within the many words of doctrine, there is no religion, only a religious ideology. For religion goes beyond words and actions, and attains to the ultimate Truth only in silence and Love.
  • What do I mean by loving ourselves properly? I mean first of all, desiring to live, accepting life as a very great gift and a great good, not because of what it gives us, but because of what it enables us to give to others.
  • Humble people can do great things with uncommon perfection because they are no longer concerned about their own interests and their own reputation, and therefore they no longer need to waste their efforts in defending them.
  • The geographical pilgrimage is the symbolic acting out an inner journey. The inner journey is the interpolation of the meanings and signs of the outer pilgrimage. One can have one without the other. It is best to have both.
  • God, Who is everywhere, never leaves us. Yet He seems sometimes to be present, sometimes to be absent. If we do not know Him well, we do not realize that He may be more present to us when He is absent than when He is present.
  • In the last analysis, the individual person is responsible for living his own life and for ‘finding himself.’ If he persists in shifting his responsibility to somebody else, he fails to find out the meaning of his own existence.
  • As long as I continue to take myself seriously, how can I consider myself a saint? How can I consider myself a contemplative? For the self I bother about does not really exist, never will, never did except in my own imagination.
  • It seems to me that the darkness that has troubled you … comes from one very serious source. Without wanting to be in conflict with the truth and with the will of God, we are actually going against God’s will and His teaching.
  • If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.
  • His justice is the love that gives to each one of His creatures the gifts that His mercy has previously decreed. And His mercy is His love, doing justice to its own exigencies, and renewing the gift which we had failed to accept.
  • You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.
  • To be truly Catholic is not merely to be correct according to an abstractly universal standard of truth, but also and above all to be able to enter into the problems and the joys of all, to understand all, to be all things to all.
  • Nevertheless, the liturgy of Ash Wednesday is not focussed on the sinfulness of the penitent but on the mercy of God. The question of sinfulness is raised precisely because this is a day of mercy, and the just do not need a savior.
  • Thinking about monastic ideals is not the same as living up to them, but at any rate such thinking has an important place in a monk’s life, because you cannot begin to do anything unless you have some idea what you are trying to do.
  • To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to the violence of our times.
  • It is both dangerous and easy to hate man as he is because he is not what he ought to be. If we do not first respect what he is we will never suffer him to become what he ought to be: in our impatience we do away with him altogether.
  • What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.
  • For the birds there is not a time that they tell, but the point vierge between darkness and light, between being and nonbeing. You can tell yourself the time by their waking, if you are experienced. But that is your folly, not theirs.
  • Yet it is in this loneliness that the deepest activities begin. It is here that you discover act without motion, labor that is profound repose, vision in obscurity, and, beyond all desire, a fulfillment whose limits extend to infinity.
  • One of the most important-and most neglected-elements in the beginning of the interior life is the ability to respond to reality, to see the value and the beauty in ordinary things, to come alive to the splendour that is all around us.
  • You will never be able to have perfect interior peace and recollection unless you are detached even from the desire of peace and recollection. You will never be able to pray perfectly until you are detached from the pleasures of prayer.
  • The gift of love is the gift of the power and capacity to love, and therefore, to give love with full effect is also to receive it. So love can only be kept by being given away, and it can only be given perfectly when it is also received.
  • The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt
  • The Hindus are not looking for us to send them men who will build schools and hospitals, although those things are good and useful in themselves–and perhaps very badly needed in India: they want to know if we have any saints to send them.
  • The mission of Christian humility in social life is not merely to edify, but to keep minds open to many alternatives. The rigidity of a certain type of Christian thought has seriously impaired this capacity, which nonviolence must recover.
  • The secret of my full identity is hidden in Him. He alone can make me who I am, or rather who I will be when at last I fully begin to be. But unless I desire this identity and work to find it with Him and in Him, the work will never be done
  • To desire Him to be merciful to us is to acknowledge Him as God. To seek His pity when we deserve no pity is to ask Him to be just with a justice so holy that it knows no evil and shows mercy to everyone who does not fly from Him in despair.
  • A superficial freedom to wander aimlessly here or there, to taste this or that, to make a choice of distractions, is simply a sham. It claims to be a freedom of “choice” when it has evaded the basic task of discovering who it is that chooses.
  • If our life is poured out in useless words, we will never hear anything, never become anything, and in the end, because we have said everything before we had anything to say, we shall be left speechless at the moment of our greatest decision.
  • a man can radically change his life and attain to a deeper meaning, a more perfect integration, a more complete fulfillment, a more total liberty of spirit than are possible in the routines of a purely active existence centered on money-making.
  • Curiously, the most serious religious people, or the most concerned scholars, those who constantly read the Bible as a matter of professional or pious duty, can often manage to evade a radically involved dialogue with the book they are questioning.
  • We assume that others are receiving the kind of appreciation we want for ourselves, and we proceed on the assumption that since we are not loveable as we are, we must become lovable under false pretenses, as if we were something better than we are.
  • The more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most.
  • Hurry ruins saints as well as artists. They want quick success, and they are in such a hurry to get it that they cannot take time to be true to themselves. And when the madness is upon them, they argue that their very haste is a species of integrity.
  • Faith is a light of such supreme brilliance that it dazzles the mind and darkens all its visions of other realities, but in the end when we become used to the new light, we gain a new view of all reality transfigured and elevated in the light itself.
  • Instead of hating the people you think are war-makers, hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed – but hate these things in yourself, not in another.
  • For the sinful self is not my real self, it is not the self YOU have wanted for me, only the self that I have wanted : And I no longer want this false self. But now, Father, I come to You in your own Son’s self … and it is He Who Presents me to You.
  • If a writer is so cautious that he never writes anything that cannot be criticized, he will never be able to write anything that can be read. If you want to help other people you have got to make up your mind to write things that some men will condemn.
  • The things I thought were so important — because of the effort I put into them — have turned out to be of small value. And the things I never thought about, the things I was never able to either to measure or to expect, were the things that mattered.
  • By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.
  • We who claim to love peace and justice must always be careful that we do not use our righteousness to provoke the violent, and in this way bring about the conflict for which we, too, like other men, are hungering in secret, and with suppressed barbarity.
  • The monk in hiding himself from the world becomes not less than himself, not less of a person, but more of a person, more truly and perfectly himself: for his personality and individuality are perfected in their true order, the spiritual, interior order.
  • God must be allowed the right to speak unpredictably…. We must find him in our enemy, or we may lose him even in our friend. We must find him in the pagan or we will lose him in our own selves, substituting for his living presence an empty abstraction.
  • Business is not the supreme virtue, and sanctity is not measured by the amount of work we accomplish. Perfection is found in the purity of our love for God, and this pure love is a delicate plant that grows best where there is plenty of time for it to mature
  • Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.
  • The only thing to seek in contemplative prayer is God; and we seek Him successfully when we realize that we cannot find Him unless He shows Himself to us, and yet at the same time that He would not have inspired us to seek Him unless we had already found Him.
  • We do not pray for the sake of praying, but for the sake of being heard. We do not pray in order to listen to ourselves praying but in order that God may hear us and answer us. Also, we do not pray in order to receive just any answer: it must be God’s answer.
  • The importance of detachment from things, the importance of poverty, is that we are supposed to be free from things that we might prefer to people. Wherever things have become more important than people, we are in trouble. That is the crux of the whole matter.
  • Every man becomes the image of the God he adores. He whose worship is directed to a dead thing becomes dead. He who loves corruption rots. He who loves a shadow becomes, himself, a shadow. He who loves things that must perish lives in dread of their perishing.
  • Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself, and if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself.
  • Every moment and every event of everyman’s life on earth plants something in his soul. For just as the wind carries thousands of winged seeds, so each moment brings with it germs of spiritual vitality that come to rest imperceptibly in the minds and wills of men.
  • October is a fine and dangerous season in America. It is dry and cool and the land is wild with red and gold and crimson, and all the lassitudes of August have seeped out of your blood, and you are full of ambition. It is a wonderful time to begin anything at all.
  • I seek to speak to you, in some way, as your own self. Who can tell what this may meanI myself do not know, but if you listen, things will be said that are perhaps not written in this book. And this will be due not to me but to the One who lives and speaks in both.
  • True encounter with Christ liberates something in us, a power we did not know we had, a hope, a capacity for life, a resilience, an ability to bounce back when we thought we were completely defeated, a capacity to grow and change, a power of creative transformation.
  • I am beginning to realize that “sanity” is no longer a value or an end in itself. If modern people were a little less sane, a little more doubtful, a little more aware of their absurdities and contradictions, perhaps there might be the possibility of their survival.
  • Contemplation is not and cannot be a function of this external self. There is an irreducible opposition between the deep transcendent self that awakens only in contemplation, and the superficial, external self which we commonly identify with the first person singular.
  • And of course most non-Catholics imagine that the Church is immensely rich, and that all Catholic institutions make money hand over fist, and that all the money is stored away somewhere to buy gold and silver dishes for the Pope and cigars for the College of Cardinals.
  • We must suffer. Our five sense are dulled by inordinate pleasure. Penance makes them keen, gives them back their natural vitality, and more. Penance clears the eye of conscience and of reason. It helps think clearly, judge sanely. It strengthens the action of our will.
  • From the moment you put a piece of bread in your mouth you are part of the world. Who grew the wheat? Who made the bread? Where did it come from? You are in relationship with all who brought it to the table. We are least separate and most in common when we eat and drink.
  • The things we really need come to us only as gifts, and in order to receive them as gifts we have to be open. In order to be open we have to renounce ourselves, in a sense we have to die to our image of ourselves, our autonomy, our fixation upon our self-willed identity.
  • The Lord did not create suffering. Pain and death came into the world with the fall of man. But after man had chosen suffering in preference to the joys of union with God, the Lord turned suffering itself into a way by which man could come to the perfect knowledge of God.
  • I stand among you as one who offers a small message of hope. . . there are always people who dare to seek on the margin of society, who are not dependent on social acceptance, not dependent on social routine, and prefer a kind of free-floating existence under a state of risk.
  • To those who have no personal experience of this revolutionary aspect of Christian truth, but who see only the outer crust of dead, human conservatism that tends to form around the Church the way barnacles gather on the hull of a ship, all this talk about dynamism sounds foolish.
  • Weaknesses and deficiencies . . . play a most important part in all our lives. It is because of them that we need others and others need us. We are not all weak in the same spots, and so we supplement and complete one another, each one making up in himself for the lack in another.
  • This act of total surrender is not merely a fantastic intellectual and mystical gamble; it is something much more serious. It is an act of love for this unseen person, who, in the very gift of love by which we surrender ourselves to his reality also makes his presence known to us.
  • In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers.
  • ..takes created things for ends in themselves, which they are not. The will that seeks rest in creatures for their own sake stops on the way to its true end, terminates in a value which does not exist, and thus frustrates all its deepest capacities for happiness and peace.
  • I came with the notion of perhaps saying something for monks and to monks of all religions because I am supposed to be a monk. … My dear brothers, WE ARE ALREADY ONE. BUT WE IMAGINE THAT WE ARE NOT. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are
  • If we live with possibilities we are exiles from the present which is given us by God to be our own, homeless and displaced in a future or a past which are not ours because they are always beyond our reach. The present is our right place, and we can lay hands on whatever it offers us.
  • For power can guarantee the interests of some men but it can never foster the good of man. Power always protects the good of some at the expense of all the others. Only love can attain and preserve the good of all. Any claim to build the security of all on force is a manifest imposture.
  • Learn how to meditate on paper. Drawing and writing are forms of meditation. Learn how to contemplate works of art. Learn how to pray in the streets or in the country. Know how to meditate not only when you have a book in your hand but when you are waiting for a bus or riding in a train.
  • The simplicity that all this presupposes is not easy to attain. I find that my life constantly threatens to become complex and divisive. A life of prayer is basically a very simple life. This simplicity, however, is the result of asceticism and effort: it is not a spontaneous simplicity.
  • The whole function of the life of prayer is, then, to enlighten and strengthen our conscience so that it not only knows and perceives the outward, written precepts of the moral and divine laws, but above all lives God’s law in concrete reality by perfect and continual union with His will.
  • For power can guarantee the interests of some men but it can never foster the good of man. Power always protects the good of some at the expense of all the others.  Only love can attain and preserve the good of all.  Any claim to build the security of all on force is a manifest imposture.
  • Peace cannot be built on exclusivism, absolutism, and intolerance. But neither can it be built on vague liberal slogans and pious programs gestated in the smoke of confabulation. There can be no peace on earth without the kind of inner change that brings man back to his “right mind.” p. 31
  • To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect on me is to live on the doorstep of hell. Selfishness is doomed to frustration centered as it is upon a lie. To live exclusively for myself, I must make all things bend themselves to my will as if I were a god.
  • To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect on me is to live on the doorstep of hell. Selfishness is doomed to frustration centered as it is upon a lie. To live exclusively for myself, I must make all things bend themselves to my will as if I were a god.
  • Let no one hope to find in contemplation an escape from conflict, from anguish or from doubt. On the contrary, the deep inexpressible certitude of the contemplative experience awakens a tragic anguish and opens many questions in the depths of the heart like wounds that cannot stop bleeding.
  • It is not only our hatred of others that is dangerous but also and above all our hatred of ourselves: particularly that hatred of ourselves which is too deep and too powerful to be consciously faced. For it is this which makes us see our own evil in others and unable to see it in ourselves.
  • The devil makes many disciples by preaching against sin. He convinces them that the great evil of sin, induces a crisis of guilt by which God is satisfied,” and after that he lets them spend the rest of their lives meditating on the intense sinfulness and evident reprobation of other men.
  • The silence of the forest is my bride and the sweet dark warmth of the whole world is my love, and out of the heart of that dark warmth comes the secret that is heard only in silence, but it is the root of all the secrets that are whispered by all the lovers in their beds all over the world.
  • We are not perfectly free until we live in pure hope. For when our hope is pure, it no longer trusts exclusively in human and visible means, nor rests in any visible end. He who hopes in God trusts God, Whom he never sees, to bring him to the possession of things that are beyond imagination.
  • Living is not thinking. Thought is formed and guided by objective reality outside us. Living is the constant adjustment of thought to life and life to thought in such a way that we are always growing, always experiencing new things in the old and old things in the new. Thus life is always new.
  • God has left sin in the world in order that there may be forgiveness: not only the secret forgiveness by which He Himself cleanses our souls, but the manifest forgiveness by which we have mercy on one another and so give expression to the fact that He is living, by His mercy, in our own hearts.
  • A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying [God]. It “consents,” so to speak, to [God’s] creative love. It is expressing an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore a tree imitates God by being a tree
  • Imagination has the creative task of making symbols, joining things together in such a way that they throw new light on each other and on everything around them. The imagination is a discovering faculty, a faculty for seeing relationships, for seeing meanings that are special and even quite new.
  • Imagination has the creative task of making symbols, joining things together in such a way that they throw new light on each other and on everything around them. The imagination is a discovering faculty, a faculty for seeing relationships, for seeing meanings that are special and even quite new.
  • Not only does silence give us a chance to understand ourselves better, to get a truer and more balanced perspective on our own lives in relation to the lives of others: silence makes us whole if we let it. Silence helps draw together the scattered and dissipated energies of a fragmented existence.
  • A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying [God]. It consents, so to speak, to [God’s] creative love. It is expressing an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore a tree imitates God by being a tree
  • The logic of worldly success rests on a fallacy: the strange error that our perfection depends on the thoughts and opinions and applause of other men! A weird life it is, indeed, to be living always in somebody else’s imagination, as if that were the only place in which one could at last become real!
  • Are they moved by a sense of human need for silence, for reflection, for inner seeking? So they want to get away from the noise and tension of modern life, at least for a little while, in order to relax their minds and wills and seek a blessed healing sense of inner unity, reconciliation, integration?
  • I am against war, against violence, against violent revolution, for peaceful settlement of differences, for nonviolent but nevertheless radical changes. Change is needed, and violence will not really change anything: at most it will only transfer power from one set of bull-headed authorities to another.
  • The pleasure of a good act is something to be remembered – not in order to feed our complacency but in order to remind us that virtuous actions are not only possible and valuable, but that they can become easier and more delightful and more fruitful than the acts of vice which oppose and frustrate them.
  • Persons are not known by intellect alone, not by principles alone, but only by love. It is when we love the other, the enemy, that we obtain from God the key to an understanding of who he is, and who we are. It is only this realization that can open to us the real nature of our duty, and of right action.
  • The married man and the mother of a Christian family, if they are faithful to their obligations, will fulfill a mission that is as great as it is consoling: that of bringing into the world and forming young souls capable of happiness and love, souls capable of sanctification and transformation in Christ.
  • For every gain in deep certitude there is a corresponding growth of superficial “doubt.” This doubt is by no means opposed to genuine faith, but it mercilessly examines and questions the spurious “faith” of everyday life, the human faith which is nothing but the passive acceptance of conventional opinion.
  • Very well, then: why are you attached to any one book, or to the words and ways of one saint when he himself tells you to let them go and walk in simplicity? To hang on to him as if to make a method of him is to contradict him and to go in the opposite direction to the one in which he would have you travel.
  • Do not be too quick to assume your enemy is a savage just because he is your enemy. Perhaps he is your enemy because he thinks you are a savage. Or perhaps he is afraid of you because he feels that you are afraid of him. And perhaps if he believed you are capable of loving him he would no longer be your enemy.
  • Do not be too quick to assume your enemy is a savage just because he is your enemy. Perhaps he is your enemy because he thinks you are a savage. Or perhaps he is afraid of you because he feels that you are afraid of him. And perhaps if he believed you are capable of loving him he would no longer be your enemy.
  • Surrender your own poverty and acknowledge your nothingness to the Lord. Whether you understand it or not, God loves you, is present in you, lives in you, dwells in you, calls you, saves you and offers you an understanding and compassion which are like nothing you have ever found in a book or heard in a sermon.
  • The whole purpose of spiritual direction is to penetrate beneath the surface of a man’s life, to get behind the fa√ßade of conventional gestures and attitudes which he presents to the world, and to bring out his inner spiritual freedom, his inmost truth, which is what we call the likeness of Christ in his soul.
  • Since no man ever can, or could, live by himself and for himself alone, the destinies of thousands of other people were bound to be affected, some remotely, but some very directly and near-at-hand, by my own choices and decisions and desires, as my own life would also be formed and modified according to theirs.
  • Each particular being, in its individuality, its concrete nature and entity, with all its own characteristics and its private qualities and its own inviolable identity, gives glory to God by being precisely what He wants it to be here and now, in the circumstances ordained for it by His Love and His infinite Art.
  • Life consists in learning to live on one’s own, spontaneous, freewheeling: to do this one must recognize what is one’s own-be familiar and at home with oneself. This means basically learning who one is, and learning what one has to offer to the contemporary world, and then learning how to make that offering valid.
  • The only true liberty is in the service of that which is beyond all limits, beyond all definitions, beyond all human appreciation: that which is All, and which therefore is no limited or individual thing: The All is no-thing, for if it were to be a single thing separated from all other things, it would not be All.
  • When your tongue is silent, you can rest in the silence of the forest. When your imagination is silent, the forest speaks to you. It tells you of its unreality and of the Reality of God. But when your mind is silent, then the forest suddenly becomes magnificently real and blazes transparently with the Reality of God.
  • It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers. The more solitary I am, the more affection I have for them. It is pure affection, and filled with reverance for the solitude of others. Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say.
  • It is easy enough to tell the poor to accept their poverty as Gods will when you yourself have warm clothes and plenty of food and medical care and a roof over your head and no worry about the rent. But if you want them to believe youtry to share some of their poverty and see if you can accept it as Gods will yourself!
  • Keeping a journal has taught me that there is not so much new in your life as you sometimes think. When you re-read your journal you find out that your latest discovery is something you already found out five years ago. Still, it is true that one penetrates deeper and deeper into the same ideas and the same experiences.
  • Who is willing to be satisfied with a job that expresses all his limitations? He will accept such work only as a ‘means of livelihood’ while he waits to discover his ‘true vocation’. The world is full of unsuccessful businessmen who still secretly believe they were meant to be artists or writers or actors in the movies.
  • The lights of prayer that make us imagine we are beginning to be angels are sometimes only signs that we are finally beginning to be men. We do not have a high enough opinion of our own nature. We think we are at the gates of heaven and we are only just beginning to come into our own realm as free and intelligent beings.
  • It is a kind of pride to insist that none of our prayers should ever be petitions for our own needs: for this is only another subtle way of trying to put ourselves on the same plane as God – acting as if we had no needs, as if we were not creatures, not dependent on Him and dependent, by His will, on material things, too.
  • I was not sure where I was going, and I could not see what I would do when I got [there]. But you saw further and clearer than I, and you opened the seas before my ship, whose track led me across the waters to a place I had never dreamed of, and which you were even then preparing to be my rescue and my shelter and my home.
  • In all His acts God orders all things, whether good or evil, for the good of those who know Him and seek Him and who strive to bring their own freedom under obedience to His divine purpose. All that is done by the will of God in secret is done for His glory and for the good of those whom He has chosen to share in His glory.
  • In humility is the greatest freedom. As long as you have to defend the imaginary self that you think is important, you lose your piece of heart. As soon as you compare that shadow with the shadows of other people, you lose all joy, because you have begun to trade in unrealities and there is no joy in things that do not exist.
  • At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will.
  • It is the will of God that we live not only as rational beings, but as “new men” regenerated by the Holy Spirit in Christ. It is His will that we reach out for our inheritance, that we answer His call to be His sons. We are born men without our consent, but the consent to be sons of God has to be elicited by our own free will.
  • Detachment from things does not mean setting up a contradiction between ‘things’ and ‘God’ as if God were another thing and as if creatures were His rivals. We do not detach ourselves from things in order to attach ourselves to God, but rather we become detached from ourselves in order to see and use all things in and for God.
  • To be risen with Christ means not only that one has a choice and that one may live by a higher law – the law of grace and love – but that one must do so. The first obligation of the Christian is to maintain their freedom from all superstitions, all blind taboos and religious formalities, indeed from all empty forms of legalism.
  • When I am liberated by silence, when I am no longer involved in the measurement of life, but in the living of it, I can discover a form of prayer in which there is effectively no distraction. My whole life becomes a prayer. My whole silence is full of prayer. The world of silence in which I am immersed contributes to my prayer.
  • The desire to kill is like the desire to attack another with a red hot iron. I have to pick up the incandescent metal and burn my own hand while burning the other person. Hate itself is the seed of death in my own heart while it seeks death of another. Love is the seed of life in my own heart while it seeks the good of another.
  • But the man who is not afraid to admit everything that he sees to be wrong with himself, and yet recognizes that he may be the object of God’s love precisely because of his shortcomings, can begin to be sincere. His sincerity is based on confidence, not in his own illusions about himself, but in the endless, unfailing mercy of God.
  • We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and God is shining through it all the time. God manifests Himself everywhere, in everything – in people and in things and in nature and in events … The only thing is we don’t see it … I have no program for this seeing. It is only given. But the gate of heaven is everywhere.
  • We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and God is shining through it all the time. God manifests Himself everywhere, in everything – in people and in things and in nature and in events … The only thing is we don’t see it … I have no program for this seeing. It is only given. But the gate of heaven is everywhere.
  • God utters me like a word containing a partial thought of him. A word will never be able to comprehend the voice that utters it. But if I am true to the concept that God utters in me, if I am true to the thought of Him that I was meant to embody, I shall be full of his actuality and find him everywhere in myself, and find myself nowhere.
  • Either you look at the universe as a very poor creation out of which no one can make anything or you look at your own life and your own part in the universe as infinitely rich, full of inexhaustible interest, opening out into infinite further possibilities for study and contemplation and interest and praise. Beyond all and in all is God.
  • My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me…you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
  • By my monastic life and vows I am saying no to all the concentration camps, the aerial bombardments, the staged political trials, the judicial murders, the racial injustices, the economic tyrannies, and the whole socioeconomic apparatus which seems geared for nothing but global destruction in spite of all its fair words in favor of peace.
  • The psychological impotence of our enraged generation must be traced to the overwhelming accusation of insincerity which every man and woman has to confront, in the depths of his own soul, when he seeks to love merely for his own pleasure.And yet the men of our time do not love with enough courage to risk even discomfort or inconvenience.
  • To know the Cross is not merely to know our own sufferings. For the Cross is the sign of salvation, and no man is saved by his own sufferings. To know the Cross is to know that we are saved by the sufferings of Christ; more, it is to know the love of Christ Who underwent suffering and death in order to save us. It is, then, to know Christ.
  • Consequently, the truth of God lives in our souls more by the power of superior moral courage than by the light of an eminent intelligence. Indeed, spiritual intelligence itself depends on the fortitude and patience with which we sacrifice ourselves for the truth, as it is communicated to our lives concretely in the providential will of God
  • The camera does not know what it takes; it captures materials with which you reconstruct, not so much what you saw as what you thought you saw. Hence the best photography is aware, mindful, of illusion and uses illusion, permitting and encouraging it – especially unconscious and powerful illusions that are not usually admitted on the scene.
  • Our technological society has no longer any place in it for wisdom that seeks truth for its own sake, that seeks the fullness of being, that seeks to rest in an intuition of the very ground of all being. Without wisdom, the apparent opposition of action and contemplation, of work and rest, of involvement and detachment, can never be resolved.
  • I am beginning to realize that “sanity” is no longer a value or an end in itself. The “sanity” of modern man is about as useful to him as the huge bulk and muscles of the dinosaur. If he were a little less sane, a little more doubtful, a little more aware of his absurdities and contradictions, perhaps there might be a possibility of his survival.
  • All men who live only according to their five senses, and seek nothing beyond the gratification of their natural appetites for pleasure and reputation and power, cut themselves off from that charity which is the principle of all spiritual vitality and happiness because it alone saves us from the barren wilderness of our own abominable selfishness.
  • The land which thou goest to possess is not like the land of Egypt from whence thou camest out… For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord…Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near…Why do you spend money for that which is not bread and your labor for that which doth not satisfy you?
  • The thing about Zen is that it pushes contradictions to their ultimate limit where one has to choose between madness and innocence. Zen suggests that we may be driving toward one or the other on a cosmic scale. Driving toward them because, one way or the other, as madmen or innocents, we are already there. It might be good to open our eyes and see.
  • We cannot master everything, taste everything, understand everything, drain every experience to its last dregs. But if we have the courage to let almost everything else go, we will probably be able to retain the thing necessary for us-whatever it may be. If we are too eager to have everything, we will almost certainly miss even the one thing we need
  • Zen enriches no one. There is no body to be found. The birds may come and circle for a while in the place where it is thought to be. But they soon go elsewhere. When they are gone, the “nothing,” the “no-body” that was there, suddenly appears. That is Zen. It was there all the time but the scavengers missed it, because it was not their kind of prey.
  • Contradictions have always existed in the soul of [individuals]. But it is only when we prefer analysis to silence that they become a constant and insoluble problem. We are not meant to resolve all contradictions but to live with them and rise above them and see them in the light of exterior and objective values which make them trivial by comparison.
  • In the natural order no matter what ideals may be theoretically possible, most people more or less live for themselves and for their own interests and pleasures or for those of their own family or group, and therefore they are constantly interfering with one another’s aims, and hurting one another and injuring one another, whether they mean it or not.
  • The thing about Zen is that it pushes contradictions to their ultimate limit where one has to choose between madness and innocence. And Zen. suggests that we may be driving toward one or the other on a cosmic scale. Driving toward them because, one way or the other, as madmen or innocents, we are already there. It might be good to open our eyes and see.
  • When society is made up of men who know no interior solitude it can no longer be held together by love: and consequently it is held together by a violent and abusive authority. But when men are violently deprived of the solitude and freedom which are their due, then society in which they live becomes putrid, it festers with servility, resentment and hate.
  • The question of love is one that cannot be evaded. Whether or not you claim to be interested in it from the moment you are alive you are bound to be concerned with love because love is not just something that happens to you: It is a certain special way of being alive. Love is in fact an intensification of life a completeness a fullness a wholeness of life.
  • Teach me to take all grace / And spring it into blades of act, / Grow spears and sheaves of charity, / While each new instant, (new eternity) / Flowering with clean and individual circumstance, / Speaks me the whisper of [God’s] consecrating Spirit. / Then will obedience bring forth new Incarnations / Shining to God with the features of [the Lord’s] Christ.
  • As long as we are on earth, the love that unites us will bring us suffering by our very contact with one another, because this love is the resetting of a body of broken bones. Even saints cannot live with saints on this earth without some anguish. There are two things which men can do about the pain of disunion with other men. They can love or they can hate.
  • One thing is certain: the humility of faith, if it is followed by the proper consequences-by the acceptance of the work and sacrifice demanded by our providential task-will do far more to launch us into the full current of historical reality than the pompous rationalizations of politicians who think they are somehow the directors and manipulators of history.
  • If you write for God you will reach many men and bring them joy. If you write for men–you may make some money and you may give someone a little joy and you may make a noise in the world, for a little while. If you write for yourself, you can read what you yourself have written and after ten minutes you will be so disgusted that you will wish that you were dead.
  • Only the man who has had to face despair is really convinced that he needs mercy. Those who do not want mercy never seek it. It is better to find God on the threshold of despair than to risk our lives in a complacency that has never felt the need of forgiveness. A life that is without problems may literally be more hopeless than one that always verges on despair.
  • I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now that I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.
  • Contemplation is life itself, fully awake, fully active, and fully aware that it is alive. It is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being. It is gratitude for life, for awareness, and for being. It is a vivid realization of the fact that life and being in us proceed from an invisible, transcendent, and infinitely abundant Source.
  • Silence has many dimensions. It can be a regression and an escape, a loss of self, or it can be presence, awareness, unification, self-discovery. Negative silence blurs and confuses our identity, and we lapse into daydreams or diffuse anxieties. Positive silence pulls us together and makes us realize who we are, who we might be, and the distance between these two.
  • If it so happened that I had once written a best-seller, this was a pure accident, due to inattention and naivete, and I would take very good care never to do the same again. If I had a message for my contemporaries, I said, it was surely this: Be anything you like, be madmen, drunks, and bastards of every shape and form, but at all costs avoid one thing: success.
  • If it so happened that I had once written a best-seller, this was a pure accident, due to inattention and naivete, and I would take very good care never to do the same again. If I had a message for my contemporaries, I said, it was surely this: Be anything you like, be madmen, drunks, and bastards of every shape and form, but at all costs avoid one thing: success.
  • See, see Who God is, see the glory of God, going up to Him out of this incomprehensible and infinite Sacrifice in which all history begins and ends, all individual lives begin and end, in which every story is told, and finished, and settled for joy or for sorrow: the one point of reference for all the truths that are outside of God, their center, their focus: Love.
  • We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and to create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest.
  • There are days when I am convinced that Heaven starts already, now, in this ordinary life just as it is, in all its incompleteness, yet, this is where Heaven starts.. see within yourself, if you can find it. I walked through the field in front of the house, lots of swallows flying, everywhere! Some very near me..it was magical. “We are already one, yet we know it not.
  • It is by the Holy Spirit that we love those who are united to us in Christ. The more plentifully we have received of the Spirit of Christ, the more perfectly we are able to love them: and the more we love them the more we receive the Spirit. It is clear, however, that since we love them by the Spirit Who is given to us by Jesus, it is Jesus Himself Who loves them in us.
  • I am willing to admit that some people might live there for years, or even a lifetime, so protected that they never sense the sweet stench of corruption that is all around them – the keen, thin scent of decay that pervades everything and accuses with a terrible accusation the superficial youthfulness, the abounding undergraduate noise, that fills those ancient buildings.
  • In any case, his religious teaching consisted mostly in more or less vague ethical remarks, an obscure mixture of ideals of English gentlemanliness and his favorite notions of personal hygiene. Everybody knew that his class was liable to degenerate into a demonstration of some practical points about rowing, with Buggy sitting on the table and showing us how to pull an oar.
  • My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following Your Will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
  • Words stand between silence and silence: between the silence of things and the silence of our own being. Between the silence of the world and the silence of God. When we have really met and known the world in silence, words do not separate us from the world nor from other men, nor from God, nor from ourselves because we no longer trust entirely in language to contain reality.
  • The danger of education, I have found, is that it so easily confuses means with ends. Worse than that, it quite easily forgets both and devotes itself merely to the mass production of uneducated gradtuates – people literaly unfit for anything except to take part in an elaborate and completely artificial charade which they and their contemporaries have conspired to call “life”.
  • In order to find God in ourselves, we must stop looking at ourselves, stop checking and verifying ourselves in the mirror of our own futility, and be content to be in Him and to do whatever He wills, according to our limitations, judging our acts not in the light of our own illusions, but in the light of His reality which is all around us in the things and people we live with.
  • There is in us an instinct for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of creative power. We seek to awaken in ourselves a force which really changes our lives from within. And yet the same instinct tells us that this change is a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, most personal in ourselves. To be born again is not to become somebody else, but to become ourselves.
  • Nonviolence seeks to ‘win’ not by destroying or even by humiliating the adversary, but by convincing [the adversary] that there is a higher and more certain common good than can be attained by bombs and blood. Nonviolence, ideally speaking, does not try to overcome the adversary by winning over [them], but to turn [them] from an adversary into a collaborator by winning [them] over.
  • But there is no substance under the things I have gathered together about me. I am hollow, and my structure of pleasures and ambitions has no foundation. I am objectified in them. But they are all destined by their very contingency to be destroyed. And when they are gone there will be nothing left of me but my own nakedness and emptiness and hollowness, to tell me that I am a mistake.
  • The deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless. It is beyond words, and it is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept. Not that we discover a new unity. We discover an older unity. My dear Brothers [and Sisters], we are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.
  • I believe we are going to have to prepare ourselves for the difficult and patient task of outgrowing rigid and intransigent nationalism, and work slowly towards a world federation of peaceful nations. How will this be possible? Don’t ask me. I don’t know. But unless we develop a moral, spiritual, and political wisdom that is proportionate to our technological skill, our skill may end us.
  • Our thought should not merely be an answer to what someone else has just said. Or what someone else might have said. Our interior world must be more than an echo of the words of someone else. There is no point in being a moon to somebody else’s sun, still less is there any justification for our being moons of one another, and hence darkness to one another, not one of us being a true sun.
  • The soul of man, left to its own natural level, is a potentially lucid crystal left in darkness. It is perfect in its own nature, but it lacks something that it can only receive from outside and above itself. But when the light shines in it, it becomes in a manner transformed into light and seems to lose its nature in the splendor of a higher nature, the nature of the light that is in it.
  • In order to settle down in the quiet of our own being we must learn to be detached from the results of our own activity. We must be content to live without watching ourselves live, to work with expecting immediate reward, to love without an instant satisfaction, and to exist without any special recognition. It is only when we are detached from ourselves that we can be at peace with ourselves.
  • … Nothing resembles reality less than the photograph. Nothing resembles substance less than its shadow. To convey the meaning of something substantial you have to use not a shadow but a sign, not the limitation but the image. The image is a new and different reality, and of course it does not convey an impression of some object, but the mind of the subject; and that is something else again.
  • The world of men has forgotten the joys of silence, the peace of solitude, which is necessary, to some extent, for the fullness of human living. Man cannot be happy for long unless he is in contact with the springs of spiritual life which are hidden in the depths of his own soul. If man is exiled constantly from his own home, locked out of his spiritual solitude, he ceases to be a true person.
  • It is not merely our own desire but the desire of Christ in His Spirit that drives us to grow in love. Those who seldom or never feel in their hearts the desire for the love of God and other men, and who do not thirst for the pure waters of desire which are poured out in us by the strong, living God, are usually those who have drunk from other rivers or have dug for themselves broken cisterns.
  • The primordial blessing, ‘increase and multiply’, has suddenly become a hemorrhage of terror. We are numbered in billions, and massed together, marshalled, numbered, marched here and there, taxed, drilled, armed, worked to the point of insensibility, dazed by information, drugged by entertainment, surfeited with everything, nauseated with the human race and with ourselves, nauseated with life.
  • Merely to resist evil with evil by hating those who hate us and seeking to destroy them, is actually no resistance at all. It is active and purposeful collaboration in evil that brings the Christian into direct and intimate contact with the same source of evil and hatred which inspires the acts of his enemy. It leads in practice to a denial of Christ and to the service of hatred rather than love.
  • Some of us need to discover that we will not begin to live more fully until we have the courage to do and see and taste and experience much less than usual… And for a man who has let himself be drawn completely out of himself by his activity, nothing is more difficult than to sit still and rest, doing nothing at all. The very act of resting is the hardest and most courageous act he can perform.
  • Each one of us has some kind of vocation. We are all called by God to share in His life and in His Kingdom. Each one of us is called to a special place in the Kingdom. If we find that place we will be happy. If we do not find it, we can never be completely happy. For each one of us, there is only one thing necessary: to fulfill our own destiny, according to God’s will, to be what God wants us to be.
  • Our God…is a consuming fire. And if we, by love, become transformed into Him and burn as He burns, His fire will be our everlasting joy. But if we refuse His love and remain in the coldness of sin and opposition to Him and to other men then will His fire (by our own choice rather than His) become our everlasting enemy, and Love, instead of being our joy, will become our torment and our destruction.
  • The most dangerous man in the world is the contemplative who is guided by nobody. He trusts his own visions. He obeys the attractions of an interior voice but will not listen to other men. He identifies the will of God with anything that makes him feel, within his own heart, a big, warm, sweet interior glow. The sweeter and the warmer the feeling is, the more he is convinced of his own infallibility.
  • At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our life, which is inaccessable to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us.
  • What does it mean to know and experience my own “nothingness?” It is not enough to turn away in disgust from my illusions and faults and mistakes, to separate myself from them as if they were not, and as if I were someone other than myself. This kind of self-annihilati on is only a worse illusion, it is a pretended humility which, by saying “I am nothing” I mean in effect “I wish I were not what I am.
  • In general, it can be said that no contemplative life is possible without ascetic self-discipline. One must learn to survive without the habit-forming luxuries which get such a hold on men today. I do not say that to be a contemplative one absolutely has to go without smoking or without alcohol, but certainly one must be able to use these things without being dominated by an uncontrolled need for them.
  • The most dangerous man in the world is the contemplative who is guided by nobody. He trusts his own visions.  He obeys the attractions of an interior voice but will not listen to other men.  He identifies the will of God with anything that makes him feel, within his own heart, a big, warm, sweet interior glow.  The sweeter and the warmer the feeling is, the more he is convinced of his own infallibility.
  • God, teach me to be satisfied with my own helplessness in the spiritual life. Teach me to be content with Your grace that comes to me in darkness and that works things I cannot see. Teach me to be happy that I can depend on You. To depend on You should be enough for an eternity of joy. To depend on You by itself ought to be infinitely greater than any joy which my own intellectual appetite could desire.
  • There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness. This mysterious unity and integrity is wisdom, the mother of us all, “natura naturans.” There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fountain of action and joy. It rises up in wordless gentleness, and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being.
  • There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness. This mysterious unity and integrity is wisdom, the mother of us all, “natura naturans.”  There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fountain of action and joy. It rises up in wordless gentleness, and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being.
  • You have got me walking up and down all day under those trees, saying to me over and over again, “Solitude, solitude.” And You have turned around and thrown the world in my lap. You have told me, “Leave all things and follow me,” and then You have tied half of New York to my foot like a ball and chain. You have got me kneeling behind that pillar with my mind making a noise like a bank. Is that contemplation?
  • Perhaps peace is not, after all, something you work for, or ‘fight for.’ It is indeed ‘fighting for peace’ that starts all the wars. What, after all, are the pretexts of all these Cold War crises, but ‘fighting for peace?’ Peace is something you have or do not have. If you are yourself at peace, then there is at least some peace in the world. Then share your peace with everyone, and everyone will be at peace.
  • Creation was given to people as a clean window through which the light of God could shine into people’s souls. Sun and moon, night and day, rain, sea, the crops, the flowering tree, all these things were transparent. They spoke to people not of themselves but only of Him who made them. Nature was symbolic. But the progressive degradation of humans led them further and further from this truth. Nature became opaque.
  • The Bible is not primarily a written or printed text to be scrutinized in private, in a scholar’s study or a contemplative cell. It is a body of oral messages, announcements, prophecies, promulgations, recitals, histories, songs of praise, lamentations, etc., which are meant either to be uttered or at least read aloud, or chanted, or sung, or recited in a community convoked for the purpose of a living celebration.
  • It is true to say that for me sanctity consists in being myself and for you sanctity consists of being yourself and that, in the last analysis, your sanctity will never be mine and mine will never be yours, except in the communism of charity and grace. For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self.
  • It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, now I realize what we all are . If only they [people] could all see themselves as they really are I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusions, a point of pure truth This little point is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody.
  • What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone, in the forest, at night, cherished by this wonderful, unintelligible, perfectly innocent speech, the most comforting speech in the world, the talk that rain makes by itself all over the ridges, and the talk of the watercourses everywhere in the hollows! Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it. It will talk as long as it wants this rain. As long as it talks I am going to listen.
  • Contemplation in the age of Auschwitz and Dachau, Solovky and Karaganda is something darker and more fearsome than contemplation in the age of the Church Fathers. For that very reason, the urge to seek a path of spiritual light can be a subtle temptation to sin. It certainly is sin if it means a frank rejection of the burden of our age, an escape into unreality and spiritual illusion, so as not to share the misery of other men.
  • Because You have called me here not to wear a label by which I can recognize myself and place myself in some kind of a category. You do not want me to be thinking about what I am, but about what You are. Or rather, You do not even want me to be thinking about anything much: for You would raise me above the level of thought. And if I am always trying to figure out what I am and where I am and why I am, how will that work be done?
  • A purely mental life may be destructive if it leads us to substitute thought for life and ideas for actions. The activity proper to man is purely mental because man is not just a disembodied mind. Our destiny is to live out what we think, because unless we live what we know, we do not even know it. It is only by making our knowledge part of ourselves, through action, that we enter into the reality that is signified by our concepts.
  • There are crimes which no one would commit as an individual which he willingly and bravely commits when acting in the name of his society, because he has been (too easily) convinced that evil is entirely different when it is done ‘for the common good.’…one might point to the way in which racial hatreds and even persecution are admitted by people who consider themselves, and perhaps in some sense are, kind, tolerant, civilized and even humane.
  • It’s a risky thing to pray and the danger is that our very prayers get between God and us. The great thing in prayer is not to pray, but to go directly to God. . . . The fact is, though, that if you descend into the depths of your own spirit and arrive somewhere near the center of what you are, you are confronted with the inescapable truth that, at the very root of your existence, you are in constant and immediate contact with the infinite power of God.
  • It is true that neither the ancient wisdoms nor the modern sciences are complete in themselves. They do not stand alone. They call for one another. Wisdom without science is unable to penetrate the full sapiential meaning of the created and the material cosmos. Science without wisdom leaves man enslaved to a world of unrelated objects in which there is no way of discovering (or creating) order and deep significance in man’s own pointless existence. (p. 4)
  • We know when we are following our vocation when our soul is set free from preoccupation with itself and is able to seek God and even to find Him, even though it may not appear to find Him. Gratitude and confidence and freedom from ourselves: these are signs that we have found our vocation and are living up to it even though everything else may seem to have gone wrong. They give us peace in any suffering. They teach us to laugh at despair. And we may have to.
  • I just remember their kindness and goodness to me, and their peacefulness and their utter simplicity. They inspired real reverence, and I think, in a way, they were certainly saints. And they were saints in that most effective and telling way: sanctified by leading ordinary lives in a completely supernatural manner, sanctified by obscurity, by usual skills, by common tasks, by routine, but skills, tasks, routine which received a supernatural form from grace within.
  • Memory is corrupted and ruined by a crowd of memories. If I am going to have a true memory, there are a thousand things that must first be forgotten. Memory is not fully itself when it reaches only into the past. A memory that is not alive to the present does not remember the here and now, does not remember its true identity, is not memory at all. He who remembers nothing but facts and past events, and is never brought back into the present, is a victim of amnesia.
  • After all, what is your personal identity? It is what you really are, your real self. None of us is what he thinks he is, or what other people think he is, still less what his passport says he is And it is fortunate for most of us that we are mistaken. We do not generally know what is good for us. That is because, in St. Bernard’s language, our true personality has been concealed under the ‘disguise’ of a false self, the ego, whom we tend to worship in place of God.
  • After all, what is your personal identity? It is what you really are, your real self. None of us is what he thinks he is, or what other people think he is, still less what his passport says he is. And it is fortunate for most of us that we are mistaken. We do not generally know what is good for us. That is because, in St. Bernard’s language, our true personality has been concealed under the ‘disguise’ of a false self, the ego, whom we tend to worship in place of God.
  • The modern child may early in his or her existence have natural inclinations toward spirituality. The child may have imagination, originality, a simple and individual response to reality, and even a tendency to moments of thoughtful silence and absorption. All these tendencies, however, are soon destroyed by the dominant culture. The child becomes a yelling, brash, false little monster, brandishing a toy gun or dressed up like some character he has seen on television.
  • If we wait for some people to become agreeable or attractive before we begin to love them, we will never begin. If we are content to give them a cold impersonal ‘charity’ that is merely a matter of obligation, we will not trouble to understand them or to sympathize with them at all. And in that case we will not really love them, because love implies an efficacious will not only to do good to others exteriorly but also to find some good in them to which we can respond.”
  • The devil is no fool. He can get people feeling about heaven the way they ought to feel about hell. He can make them fear the means of grace the way they do not fear sin. And he does so, not by light but by obscurity, not by realities but by shadows; not by clarity and substance, but by dreams and the creatures of psychosis. And men are so poor in intellect that a few cold chills down their spine will be enough to keep them from ever finding out the truth about anything.
  • What is ‘grace’? It is God’s own life, shared by us. God’s life is love. Deus caritas est. By grace we are able to share in the infinitely selfless love of Him Who is such pure actuality that He needs nothing and therefore cannot conceivably exploit anything for selfish ends. Indeed, outside of Him there is nothing, and whatever exists exists by His free gift of its being, so that one of the notions that is absolutely contradictory to the perfection of God is selfishness.
  • It is not humility to insist on being someone that you are not. It is as much as saying that you know better than God who you are and who you ought to be. How do you expect to arrive at the end of your own journey if you take the road to another man’s city? How do you expect to reach your own perfection by leading somebody else’s life? His sanctity will never be yours; you must have the humility to work out your own salvation in a darkness where you are absolutely alone…
  • As a magnifying glass concentrates the rays of the sun into a little burning knot of heat that can set fire to a dry leaf or a piece of paper, so the mystery of Christ in the Gospel concentrates the rays of God’s light and fire to a point that sets fire to the spirit of man. … Through the glass of His Incarnation He concentrates the rays of His Divine Truth and Love upon us so that we feel the burn, and all mystical experience is communicated to men through the Man Christ.
  • Day after day I read Freud, thinking myself to be very enlightened and scientific when, as a matter of fact, I was about as scientific as an old woman secretly poring over books about occultism, trying to tell her own fortune, and learning how to dope out the future form the lines in the palm of her hand. I don’t know if I ever got very close to needing a padded cell: but if I ever had gone crazy, I think psychoanalysis would have been the one thing chiefly responsible for it.
  • I had refused to pay any attention to the moral laws upon which all our vitality and sanity depend: and so now I was reduced to the condition of a silly old woman, worrying about a lot of imaginary rules of health, standards of food-value, and a thousand minute details of conduct that were in themselves completely ridiculous and stupid, and yet which haunted me with vague and terrific sanctions. If I eat this, I may go out of my mind. If I do not eat that, I may die in the night.
  • Paradoxically, I have found peace because I have always been dissatisfied. My moments of depression and despair turn out to be renewals, new beginnings. If I were once to settle down and be satisfied with the surface of life, with its divisions and its cliches, it would be time to call in the undertaker… So, then, this dissatisfaction which sometimes used to worry me and has certainly, I know, worried others, has helped me in fact to move freely and even gaily with the stream of life.
  • Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time, there would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed . . . I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other.
  • Things that are good are good, and if one is responding to that goodness one is in contact with a truth from which one is getting something. . . . The truth of the sunshine, the truth of the rain, the truth of the fresh air, the truth of the wind in the trees. . . and if we allow ourselves to be benefited by the forms of truth that are readily accessible to us instead of rejecting them as “merely natural,” we will be in a better position to profit by higher forms of truth when they come our way.
  • The friends of Job appear on the scene as advisers and “consolers,” offering Job the fruits of their moral scientia. But when Job insists that his sufferings have no explanation and that he cannot discover the reason for them through conventional ethical concepts, his friends turn into accusers, and curse Job as a sinner. Thus, instead of consolers, they become torturers by virtue of their very morality, and in so doing, while claiming to be advocates of God, they act as instruments of the devil.
  • And it is in this darkness, when there is nothing left in us that can please or comfort our own minds, when we seem to be useless and worthy of all contempt, when we seem to have failed, when we seem to be destroyed and devoured, it is then that the deep and secret selfishness that is too close to us for us to identify is stripped away from our souls. It is in this darkness that we find liberty. It is in this abandonment that we are made strong. This is the night which empties us and makes us pure.
  • Our Christian destiny is, in fact, a great one: but we cannot achieve greatness unless we lose all interest in being great. For our own idea of greatness is illusory, and if we pay too much attention to it we will be lured out of the peace and stability of the being God gave us, and seek to live in a myth we have created for ourselves. And when we are truly ourselves we lose most of the futile self-consciousness that keeps us constantly comparing ourselves with others in order to see how big we are.
  • Everything in modern city life is calculated to keep man from entering into himself and thinking about spiritual things. Even with the best of intentions a spiritual man finds himself exhausted and deadened and debased by the constant noise of machines and loudspeakers, the dead air and the glaring lights of offices and shops, the everlasting suggestion of advertising and propaganda. The whole mechanism of modern life is geared for a flight from God and from the spirit into the wilderness of neurosis.
  • The reality that is present to us and in us: call it being…Silence. And the simple fact that by being attentive, by learning to listen (or recovering the natural capacity to listen) we can find ourself engulfed in such happiness that it cannot be explained: the happiness of being at one with everything in that hidden ground of Love for which there can be no explanations…. May we all grow in grace and peace, and not neglect the silence that is printed in the center of our being. It will not fail us.
  • To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.
  • Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.
  • But it certainly is a wonderful thing to wake up suddenly in the solitude of the woods and look up at the sky and see the utter nonsense of everything including all the solemn stuff given out by professional asses about the spiritual life; and simply to burst out laughing, and laugh and laugh, with the sky and the trees because God is not in words, and not in systems, and not in liturgical movements, and not in “contemplation” with a big “C,” or in asceticism or in anything like that, not even in the apostolate.
  • Let me say this before rain becomes a utility that they can plan and distribute for money. By “they” I mean the people who cannot understand that rain is a festival, who do not appreciate its gratuity, who think that what has no price has no value, that what cannot be sold is not real, so that the only way to make something actual is to place it on the market. The time will come when they will sell you even your rain. At the moment it is still free, and I am in it. I celebrate its gratuity and its meaninglessness.
  • First, the desert is the country of madness. Second, it is the refuge of the devil, thrown out into the “wilderness of upper Egypt” to “wander in dry places.” Thirst drives man mad, and the devil himself is mad with a kind of thirst for his own lost excellence–lost because he has immured himself in it and closed out everything else. So the man who wanders into the desert to be himself must take care that he does not go mad and become the servant of the one who dwells there in a sterile paradise of emptiness and rage.
  • Therefore, doing the Stations of the Cross was still more laborious than consoling, and required a sacrifice. It was much the same with all my devotions. They did not come easily or spontaneously, and they very seldom brought with them any strong sensible satisfaction. Nevertheless the work of performing them ended in a profound and fortifying peace: a peace that was scarcely perceptible, but which deepened and which, as my passions subsided, became more and more real, more and more sure, and finally stayed with me permanently.
  • If nothing that can be seen can either be God or represent Him to us as He is, then to find God we must pass beyond everything that can be seen and enter into darkness. Since nothing that can be heard is God, to find Him we must enter into silence. Since God cannot be imagined, anything our imagination tells us about Him is ultimately a lie and therefore we cannot know Him as He really is unless we pass beyond everything that can be imagined and enter into an obscurity without images and without the likeness of any created thing.
  • The illusion that mechanical progress means human improvement … alienates us from our own being and our own reality. It is precisely because we are convinced that our life, as such, is better if we have a better car, a better TV set, better toothpaste, etc., that we condemn and destroy our own reality and the reality of our natural resources. Technology was made for man, not man for technology. In losing touch with being and thus with God, we have fallen into a senseless idolatry of production and consumption for their own sakes.
  • The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of contemporary violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activity neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.
  • When we are alone on a starlit night, when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children, when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet, Basho, we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash – at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the “newness,” the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, all these provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.
  • To some men peace merely means the liberty to exploit other people without fear of retaliation or interference. To others peace means the freedom to rob others without interruption. To still others it means the leisure to devour the goods of the earth without being compelled to interrupt their pleasures to feed those whom their greed is starving. And to practically everybody peace simply means the absence of any physical violence that might cast a shadow over lives devoted to the satisfaction of their animal appetites for comfort and pleasure.
  • Many poets are not poets for the same reason that many religious men are not saints: they never succeed in being themselves. They never get around to being the particular poet or the particular monk they are intended to be by God. They never become the man or the artist who is called for by all the circumstances of their individual lives. They waste their years in vain efforts to be some other poet, some other saint…They wear out their minds and bodies in a hopeless endeavor to have somebody else’s experiences or write somebody else’s poems.
  • My own personal task is not simply that of poet and writer (still less commentator, pseudo-prophet); it is basically to praise God out of an inner center of silence, gratitude, and ‘awareness.’ This can be realized in a life that apparently accomplishes nothing. Without centering on accomplishment or nonaccomplishment, my task is simply the breathing of this gratitude from day to day, in simplicity, and for the rest turning my hand to whatever comes, work being part of praise, whether splitting logs or writing poems, or best of all simple notes.
  • For now, oh my God, it is to You alone that I can talk, because nobody else will understand. I cannot bring any other man on this earth into the cloud where I dwell in Your light, that is, Your darkness, where I am lost and abashed. I cannot explain to any other man the anguish which is Your joy nor the loss which is the Possession of You, nor the distance from all things which is the arrival in You, nor the death which is the birth in You because I do not know anything about it myself and all I know is that I wish it were over – I wish it were begun.
  • You must realize that it is the ordinary way of God’s dealings with us that our ideas do not work out speedily and efficiently as we would like them to. The reason for this is not only the loving wisdom of God, but also the fact that our acts have to fit into a great complex pattern that we cannot possibly understand. I have learned over the years that Providence is always a whole lot wiser than any of us, and that there are always not only good reasons, but the very best reasons for the delays and blocks that often seem to us so frustrating and absurd.
  • The basic problem is not political, it is apolitical and human. One of the most important things to do is to keep cutting deliberately through political lines and barriers and emphasizing the fact that these are largely fabrications and that there is another dimension, a genuine reality, totally opposed to the fictions of politics: the human dimension which politics pretend to arrogate entirely to themselves. This is the necessary first step along the long way toward the perhaps impossible task of purifying, humanizing and somehow illuminating politics themselves.
  • I have my own way to walk and for some reason or other Zen is right in the middle of it wherever I go. So there it is, with all its beautiful purposelessness, and it has become very familiar to me though I do not know “what it is.” Or even if it is an “it.” Not to be foolish and multiply words, I’ll say simply that it seems to me that Zen is the very atmosphere of the Gospels, and the Gospels are bursting with it. It is the proper climate for any monk, no matter what kind of monk he may be. If I could not breathe Zen I would probably die of spiritual asphyxiation.
  • I would call the attention of the reader to the difference between “reason” and “reasoning.” Reason is a light, reasoning a process. Reason is a faculty, reasoning an exercise of that faculty. Reasoning proceeds from one truth to another by means of argumentation. This generally involves the whole mind in labor and complexity. But reason does not exist merely in order to engage in reasoning. The process is a means to an end. The true fulfillment of reason as a faculty is found when it can embrace the truth simply and without labor in the light of single intuition.
  • The basic problem is not political, it is a-political and human. One of the most important things to do is to keep cutting deliberately through political lines and barriers and emphasizing the fact that these are largely fabrications and that there is another dimension, a genuine reality, totally opposed to the fictions of politics: the human dimension which politics pretend to arrogate entirely to themselves. This is the necessary first step along the long way toward the perhaps impossible task of purifying, humanizing and somehow illuminating politics themselves.
  • First of all, although men have a common destiny, each individual also has to work out his own personal salvation for himself in fear and trembling. We can help one another to find the meaning of life no doubt. But in the last analysis, the individual person is responsible for living his own life and for “finding himself.” If he persists in shifting his responsibility to somebody else, he fails to find out the meaning of his own existence. You cannot tell me who I am and I cannot tell you who you are. If you do not know your own identity, who is going to identify you?
  • The man who fears to be alone will never be anything but lonely, no matter how much he may surround himself with people. But the man who learns, in solitude and recollection, to be at peace with his own loneliness, and to prefer its reality to the illusion of merely natural companionship, comes to know the invisible companionship of God. Such a one is alone with God in all places, and he alone truly enjoys the companionship of other men, because he loves them in God in Whom their presence is not tiresome, and because of Whom his own love for them can never know satiety.
  • We too often forget that faith is a matter of questioning and struggle before it becomes one of certitude and peace. You have to doubt and reject everything else in order to believe firmly in Christ, and after you have begun to believe, your faith itself must be tested and purified. Christianity is not merely a set of forgone conclusions. Faith tends to be defeated by the burning presence of God in mystery, and seeks refuge from him, flying to comfortable social forms and safe convictions in which purification is no longer an inner battle but a matter of outward gesture.
  • Once you have grace,” I said to him, “you are free. Without it, you cannot help doing the things you know you should not do, and that you know you don’t really want to do. But once you have grace, you are free. When you are baptized, there is no power in existence that can force you to commit a sin-nothing that will be able to drive you to it against your own conscience. And if you merely will it, you will be free forever, because the strength will be given you, as much as you need, and as often as you ask, and as soon as you ask, and generally long before you ask for it, too.
  • Place no hope in the feeling of assurance, in spiritual comfort. You may well have to get along without this. Place no hope in the inspirational preachers of Christian sunshine, who are able to pick you up and set you back on your feet and make you feel good for three or four days-until you fold up and collapse into despair. Self-confidence is a precious natural gift, a sign of health. But it is not the same thing as faith. Faith is much deeper, and it must be deep enough to subsist when we are weak, when we are sick, when our self-confidence is gone, when our self-respect is gone.
  • It is almost impossible to overestimate the value of true humility and its power in the spiritual life. For the beginning of humility is the beginning of blessedness and the consummation of humility is the perfection of all joy. Humility contains in itself the answer to all the great problems of the life of the soul. It is the only key to faith, with which the spiritual life begins: for faith and humility are inseparable. In perfect humility all selfishness disappears and your soul no longer lives for itself or in itself for God: and it is lost and submerged in Him and transformed into Him.

 

 

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (quotes)

  • [Science is] piecemeal revelation.
  • The best servant does his work unseen.
  • The Amen of nature is always a flower.
  • Snuffy old drone from the German hive.
  • Apology is only egotism wrong side out.
  • Science is the topography of ignorance.
  • Man has his will, but woman has her way.
  • Learn the sweet magic of a cheerful face.
  • Have the courage to act instead of react.
  • Don’t be ‘consistent,’ but be simply true.
  • Stupidity often saves a man from going mad.
  • O, might I vole to some umbrageous clump,–
  • Me wretched! Let me curr to quercine shades!
  • Effund your albid hausts, lactiferous maids!
  • Death tugs at my ear and says, ‘Live. I am coming.
  • America is the only place where man is full-grown!
  • Beware how you take away hope from any human being.
  • Youth longs and manhood strives, but age remembers.
  • Truth, when not sought after, rarely comes to light.
  • Nothing is so common-place as to wish to be remarkable.
  • Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.
  • Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness.
  • Rough work, iconoclasm, but the only way to get at truth.
  • A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.
  • You may have genius. The contrary is, of course, probable.
  • Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked.
  • Letter to Julia Ward Howe on her 70th birthday, 27 May (1889)
  • I hate paying taxes. But I love the civilization they give me
  • But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold.
  • Medical Essays ‘Current and Counter-Currents in Medical Science’
  • Some people are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.
  • Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
  • Civilization is the process of reducing the infinite to the finite.
  • Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
  • Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.
  • Wisdom is the abstract of the past, but beauty is the promise of the future.
  • Even a dog knows the difference between being kicked and being stumbled over.
  • A goose flies by a chart which the Royal Geographical Society could not mend.
  • A child’s education should begin at least one hundred years before he is born.
  • I would never use a long word, even, where a short one would answer the purpose.
  • Stillness of person and steadiness of features are signal marks of good breeding.
  • Controversy equalizes fools and wise men in the same way – and the fools know it.
  • For nothing burns with such amazing speed, As the dry sticks of a religious creed.
  • It’s faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living.
  • Simple people… are very quick to see the live facts which are going on about them.
  • Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.
  • Leverage is everything-don’t begin to pry until you’ve got the long arm on your side.
  • Without wearing any mask we are conscious of, we have a special face for each friend.
  • It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.
  • No families take so little medicine as those of doctors, except those of apothecaries.
  • A woman never forgets her sex. She would rather talk with a man than an angel, any day.
  • See how he throws his baited lines about,/And plays his men as anglers play their trout.
  • Do not be bullied out of your common sense by the specialist; two to one, he is a pedant.
  • Chicago sounds rough to the maker of verse. One comfort we have – Cincinnati sounds worse.
  • Sweet is the scene where genial friendship plays the pleasing game of interchanging praise.
  • Yes, child of suffering, thou may’st well be sure He who ordained the Sabbath loves the poor!
  • The world’s great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great men.
  • Every library should try to be complete on something, if it were only the history of pinheads.
  • The sound of a kiss is not so loud as that of a cannon, but its echo lasts a great deal longer.
  • To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.
  • A person is always startled when he hears himself seriously called an old man for the first time.
  • Youth fades, love droops, the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.
  • The mind of a bigot to the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour on it, the more it contracts.
  • The very aim and end of our institutions is just this: that we may think what we like and say what we think.
  • Life as we call it, is nothing but the edge of the boundless ocean of existence when it comes upon soundings.
  • Fresh air is good if you do not take too much of it; most of the achievements and pleasures of life are in bad air.
  • Trouble makes us one with every human being in the world – and unless we touch others, we’re out of touch with life.
  • People who honestly mean to be true really contradict themselves much more rarely than those who try to be ‘consistent’.
  • To reach a port we must sail, sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it. But we must not drift or lie at anchor.
  • The man who is always worrying about whether or not his soul would be damned generally has a soul that isn’t worth a damn.
  • Love is the master-key that opens the gates of happiness, of hatred, of jealousy, and, most easily of all, the gate of fear.
  • A man may fulfill the object of his existence by asking a question he cannot answer, and attempting a task he cannot achieve.
  • I like children; I like ’em, and I respect ’em. Pretty much all the honest truth-telling there is in the world is done by them.
  • There is no friend like an old friend who has shared our morning days, no greeting like his welcome, no homage like his praise.
  • Don’t you stay at home of evenings? Don’t you love a cushioned seat in a corner, by the fireside, with your slippers on your feet?
  • Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.
  • I hate facts. I always say the chief end of man is to form general propositions – adding that no general proposition is worth a damn.
  • Memories, imagination, old sentiments, and associations are more readily reached through the sense of smell than through any other channel.
  • The books we read should be chosen with great care, that they may be, as an Egyptian king wrote over his library,’The medicines of the soul.
  • A few can touch the magic string, and noisy fame is proud to win them: Alas for those that never sing, but die with all their music in them!
  • Every event that a man would master must be mounted on the run, and no man ever caught the reins of a thought except as it galloped past him.
  • Memory is a net: one that finds it full of fish when he takes it from the brook, but a dozen miles of water have run through it without sticking.
  • The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men – from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms.
  • Why can’t somebody give us a list of things that everybody thinks and nobody says, and another list of things that everybody says and nobody thinks?
  • Whatever comes from the brain carries the hue of the place it came from, and whatever comes from the heart carries the heat and color of its birthplace.
  • The Indian is but a sketch in red crayon of a rudimental manhood. To the problem of his relation to the white race, there is one solution: extermination.
  • The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce.
  • Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch; nay, you may kick it about all day like a football, and it will be round and full at evening.
  • The truth is that the whole system of beliefs which comes in with the story of the fall of man … is gently falling out of enlightened human intelligence.
  • The sea drowns out humanity and time. It has no sympathy with either, for it belongs to eternity; and of that it sings its monotonous song forever and ever.
  • What a blessed thing it is, that Nature, when she invented, manufactured, and patented her authors, contrived to make critics out of the chips that were left!
  • Fame usually comes to those who are thinking about something else – very rarely to those who say to themselves, ‘Go to, now, let us be a celebrated individual!’.
  • Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.
  • It is a good plan to have a book with you in all places and at all times. If you are presently without, hurry without delay to the nearest shop and buy one of mine.
  • Valedictory address to medical graduates at Harvard University on March 10, 1858. The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, Volume LVIII, No. 8, p. 158, March 25, 1858.
  • Man is born a predestined idealist, for he is born to act. To act is to affirm the worth of an end, and to persist in affirming the worth of an end is to make an ideal.
  • I firmly believe that if the whole material medica, as now used, could be sunk to the bottom of the sea, it would be better for mankind-and all the worse for the fishes.
  • Our brains are seventy-year clocks. The Angel of Life winds them up once for all, then closes the case, and gives the key into the hand of the Angel of the Resurrection.
  • I think that, as life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived.
  • For the simplicity on this side of complexity, I wouldn’t give you a fig. But for the simplicity on the other side of complexity, for that I would give you anything I have.
  • What we most want to ask of our Maker is an unfolding of the divine purpose in putting human beings into conditions in which such numbers of them would be sure to go wrong.
  • We call those poets who are first to mark, Through earth’s dull mist the coming of the dawn, Who see in twilight’s gloom the first pale spark, While others only note that day is gone.
  • What refuge is there for the victim who is oppressed with the feeling that there are a thousand new books he ought to read, while life is only long enough for him to attempt to read a hundred?
  • When I think of talking, it is of course with a woman. For talking at its best being an inspiration, it wants a corresponding divine quality of receptiveness, and where will you find this but in a woman?
  • Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern; it will come out a rose by and by. Life is like that – one stitch at a time taken patiently and the pattern will come out all right like the embroidery.
  • Don’t flatter yourselves that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. On the contrary, the nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become.
  • Science is a first-rate piece of furniture for a man’s upper chamber, if he has common sense on the ground-floor. But if a man hasn’t got plenty of good common sense, the more science he has, the worse for his patient.
  • A pun does not commonly justify a blow in return. But if a blow were given for such cause, and death ensued, the jury would be judges both of the facts and of the pun, and might, if the latter were of an aggravated character, return a verdict of justifiable homicide.
  • Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul, As the swift seasons roll! Leave thy low-vaulted past! Let each new temple, nobler than the last, Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast, Till thou at length art free, Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!
  • We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible. You cannot educate a man wholly out of the superstitious fears which were early implanted in his imagination; no matter how utterly his reason may reject them…
  • Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked. Good mental machinery ought to break its own wheels and levers, if anything is thrust among them suddenly which tends to stop them or reverse their motion. A weak mind does not accumulate force enough to hurt itself; stupidity often saves a man from going mad.
  • The year is getting to feel rich, for his golden fruits are ripening fast, and he has a large balance in the barns, which are his banks. The members of his family have found out that he is well to do in the world. September is dressing herself in show of dahlias and splendid marigolds and starry zinnias. October, the extravagant sister, has ordered an immense amount of the most gorgeous forest tapestry for her grand reception.
  • As we grow older we think more and more of old persons and of old things and places. As to old persons, it seems as if we never know how much they have to tell until we are old ourselves and they have been gone twenty or thirty years. Once in a while we come upon some survivor of his or her generation that we have overlooked, and feel as if we had recovered one of the lost books of Livy or fished up the golden candlestick from the ooze of the Tiber.
  • When men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe… that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas– that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment. As all life is an experiment. Every year if not every day we wager our salvation upon some prophecy based upon imperfect knowledge.

 

 

Geoffrey Chaucer (quotes)

  • Men love newfangleness.
  • Many small make a great.
  • Mercy surpasses justice.
  • Make a virtue of necessity.
  • The latter end of joy is woe.
  • To maken vertue of necessite.
  • Strike while the iron is hot.
  • This flour of wifly patience.
  • Time and tide wait for no man.
  • Abstinence is approved of God.
  • The bisy larke, messager of day.
  • Patience is a conquering virtue.
  • Hyt is not al golde that glareth.
  • In love there is but little rest.
  • If gold ruste, what shall iren do?
  • Many a true word is spoken in jest
  • No empty handed man can lure a bird
  • People can die of mere imagination.
  • By nature, men love newfangledness.
  • Murder will out, this my conclusion.
  • Pitee renneth soone in gentil herte.
  • All good things must come to an end.
  • Felds hath eyen, and wode have eres.
  • I am right sorry for your heavinesse.
  • Ther is no newe gyse that it nas old.
  • If gold rusts, what then can iron do?
  • So was hir jolly whistel wel y-wette.
  • For tyme y-lost may not recovered be.
  • Yet in our ashen cold is fire yreken.
  • He is gentle that doeth gentle deeds.
  • Ful wys is he that kan himselve knowe.
  • Mordre wol out, that se we day by day.
  • For profit would I all his lust endure
  • And she was fair as is the rose in May.
  • He was as fresh as is the month of May.
  • Mordre wol out, that see we day by day.
  • For tyme ylost may nought recovered be.
  • And for to see, and eek for to be seie.
  • Nature, the vicar of the Almighty Lord.
  • Death is the end of every worldly pain.
  • Every honest miller has a golden thumb.
  • And brought of mighty ale a large quart.
  • To keep demands as much skill as to win.
  • Oon ere it herde, at tother out it went.
  • Right as an aspen lefe she gan to quake.
  • There’s never a new fashion but it’s old.
  • Full wise is he that can him selven knowe
  • The smiler with the knife under the cloak
  • Of harmes two the lesse is for to cheese.
  • With emptie hands men may no haukes lure.
  • Full wise is he that can himselven knowe.
  • That he is gentil that doth gentil dedis.
  • Woe to the cook whose sauce has no sting.
  • Great peace is found in little busy-ness.
  • Go, little booke! go, my little tragedie!
  • It is nought good a sleping hound to wake.
  • The smylere with the knyf under the cloke.
  • Look up on high, and thank the God of all.
  • A love grown old is not the love once new.
  • I gave my whole heart up, for him to hold.
  • The guilty think all talk is of themselves.
  • And gladly would he learn, and gladly teach
  • First he wrought, and afterwards he taught.
  • If love be good, from whence cometh my woe?
  • We little know the things for which we pray.
  • One eare it heard, at the other out it went.
  • And then the wren gan scippen and to daunce.
  • Hard is the heart that loveth nought In May.
  • And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche.
  • The gretteste clerkes been noght wisest men.
  • If were not foolish young, were foolish old.
  • Min be the travaille, and thin be the glorie.
  • Eke wonder last but nine deies never in toun.
  • That field hath eyen, and the wood hath ears.
  • Truth is the highest thing that man may keep.
  • Trouthe is the hyest thyng that man may kepe.
  • The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.
  • Forbid us something, and that thing we desire.
  • The fields have eyes, and the woods have ears.
  • The life so short, the crafts so long to learn.
  • We know little of the things for which we pray.
  • In the stars is written the death of every man.
  • Who then may trust the dice, at Fortune’s throw?
  • I am not the rose, but I have lived near the rose.
  • Fie on possession, But if a man be vertuous withal.
  • The proverbe saith that many a smale maketh a grate.
  • The cat would eat fish but would not get her feet wet.
  • The greatest scholars are not usually the wisest people.
  • Time lost, as men may see, For nothing may recovered be.
  • He loved chivalrye Trouthe and honour, freedom and curteisye.
  • Habit maketh no monk, ne wearing of gilt spurs maketh no knight.
  • Everybody wants to go to the Super Bowl. Nobody wants to run laps.
  • Drunkenness is the very sepulcher Of man’s wit and his discretion.
  • There’s no workman, whatsoever he be, That may both work well and hastily.
  • Nowhere so busy a man as he than he, and yet he seemed busier than he was.
  • But al be that he was a philosophre, Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre.
  • For I have seyn of a ful misty morwe Folowen ful ofte a myrie someris day.
  • The devil can only destroy those who are already on their way to damnation.
  • Ther nis no werkman, whatsoevere he be, That may bothe werke wel and hastily.
  • Thou shalt make castels thanne in Spayne And dreme of joye, all but in vayne.
  • A yokel mind loves stories from of old, Being the kind it can repeat and hold.
  • I hold a mouses wit not worth a leke, That hath but on hole for to sterten to.
  • Filth and old age, I’m sure you will agree, are powerful wardens upon chastity.
  • What’s said is said and goes upon its way Like it or not, repent it as you may.
  • But al thyng which shineth as the gold Nis nat gold, as that I have herd it told
  • Ful wys is he that can himselven knowe! (Very wise is he that can know himself.)
  • Take a cat, nourish it well with milk and tender meat, make it a couch of silk…
  • What is better than wisdom? Woman. And what is better than a good woman? Nothing.
  • One shouldn’t be too inquisitive in life Either about God’s secrets or one’s wife.
  • And so it is in politics, dear brother, Each for himself alone, there is no other.
  • How potent is the fancy! People are so impressionable, they can die of imagination.
  • But all thing which that shineth as the gold Ne is no gold, as I have herd it told.
  • Ek gret effect men write in place lite; Th’entente is al, and nat the lettres space.
  • Yblessed be god that I have wedded fyve! Welcome the sixte, whan that evere he shal.
  • Whoso will pray, he must fast and be clean, And fat his soul, and make his body lean.
  • But manly set the world on sixe and sevene; And, if thou deye a martir, go to hevene.
  • But Christ’s lore and his apostles twelve, He taught and first he followed it himself.
  • This world nys but a thurghfare ful of wo, And we been pilgrymes, passynge to and fro.
  • Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote The droghte of March hath perced to the roote.
  • For thogh we slepe, or wake, or rome, or ryde, Ay fleeth the tyme; it nyl no man abyde.
  • And when a beest is deed, he hath no peyne; But man after his deeth moot wepe and pleyne.
  • The handsome gifts that fate and nature lend us Most often are the very ones that end us.
  • The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne, the’ assay so hard, so sharp the conqueryinge
  • One flesh they are; and one flesh, so I’d guess, Has but one heart, come grief or happiness.
  • In general, women desire to rule over their husbands and lovers, to be the authority above them.
  • One cannot be avenged for every wrong; according to the occasion, everyone who knows how, must use temperance.
  • ‘My lige lady, generally,’ quod he, ‘Wommen desyren to have sovereyntee As well over hir housbond as hir love.’
  • Women desire six things: They want their husbands to be brave, wise, rich, generous, obedient to wife, and lively in bed.
  • He that loveth God will do diligence to please God by his works, and abandon himself, with all his might, well for to do.
  • My house is small, but you are learned men And by your arguments can make a place Twenty foot broad as infinite as space.
  • Or as an ook comth of a litel spir, So thorugh this lettre, which that she hym sente, Encressen gan desir, of which he brente.
  • That of all the floures in the mede, Thanne love I most these floures white and rede, Suche as men callen daysyes in her toune.
  • Til that the brighte sonne loste his hewe; For th’orisonte hath reft the sonne his lyght; This is as muche to seye as it was nyght!
  • . . . if gold rust, what then will iron do?/ For if a priest be foul in whom we trust/ No wonder that a common man should rust. . . .
  • Seeke out ye goode in everie man, and speke of alle the beste ye can; then wil alle men speke wel of thee and say how kynde of hearte ye bee
  • For of fortunes sharp adversitee The worst kynde of infortune is this, A man to han ben in prosperitee, And it remembren, whan it passed is.
  • One cannot scold or complain at every word. Learn to endure patiently, or else, as I live and breathe, you shall learn it whether you want or not.
  • Loke who that is most vertuous alway, Prive and apert, and most entendeth ay To do the gentil dedes that he can, And take him for the gretest gentilman.
  • If a man really loves a woman, of course he wouldn’t marry her for the world if he were not quite sure that he was the best person she could possibly marry.
  • For oute of olde feldys, as men sey, Comyth al this newe corn from yer to yere; And out of olde bokis, in good fey, Comyth al this newe science that men lere.
  • For hym was levere have at his beddes heed Twenty bookes, clad in blak or reed, Of Aristotle and his philosophie, Than robes riche, or fithele, or gay sautrie.
  • He who accepts his poverty unhurt I’d say is rich although he lacked a shirt. But truly poor are they who whine and fret and covet what they cannot hope to get.
  • By God, if women had written stories, As clerks had within here oratories, They would have written of men more wickedness Than all the mark of Adam may redress.
  • For out of old fields, as men saith, Cometh all this new corn from year to year; And out of old books, in good faith, Cometh all this new science that men learn.
  • If no love is, O God, what fele I so? And if love is, what thing and which is he? If love be good, from whennes cometh my woo? If it be wikke, a wonder thynketh me
  • Love will not be constrain’d by mastery. When mast’ry comes, the god of love anon Beateth his wings, and, farewell, he is gone. Love is a thing as any spirit free.
  • Certain, when I was born, so long ago, Death drew the tap of life and let it flow; And ever since the tap has done its task, And now there’s little but an empty cask.
  • For in their hearts doth Nature stir them so Then people long on pilgrimage to go And palmers to be seeking foreign strands To distant shrines renowned in sundry lands.
  • In April the sweet showers fall And pierce the drought of March to the root, and all The veins are bathed in liquor of such power As brings about the engendering of the flower.
  • Alas, alas, that ever love was sin! I ever followed natural inclination Under the power of my constellation And was unable to deny, in truth, My chamber of Venus to a likely youth.
  • Yet do not miss the moral, my good men. For Saint Paul says that all that’s written well Is written down some useful truth to tell. Then take the wheat and let the chaff lie still.
  • Certes, they been lye to hounds, for an hound when he cometh by the roses, or by other bushes, though he may nat pisse, yet wole he heve up his leg and make a countenance to pisse.
  • Soun is noght but air ybroken, And every speche that is spoken, Loud or privee, foul or fair, In his substaunce is but air; For as flaumbe is but lighted smoke, Right so soun is air ybroke.
  • Purity in body and heart May please some–as for me, I make no boast. For, as you know, no master of a household Has all of his utensils made of gold; Some are wood, and yet they are of use.
  • At the ches with me she (Fortune) gan to pleye; With her false draughts (pieces) dyvers/She staal on me, and took away my fers. And when I sawgh my fers awaye, Allas! I kouthe no lenger playe.
  • Thus with hir fader for a certeyn space Dwelleth this flour of wyfly pacience, That neither by hir wordes ne hir face Biforn the folk, ne eek in her absence, Ne shewed she that hir was doon offence.
  • Fo lo, the gentil kind of the lioun! For when a flye offendeth him or byteth, He with his tayl awey the flye smyteth Al esily, for, of his genterye, Him deyneth net to wreke him on a flye, As cloth a curre or elles another beste.
  • Lat take a cat, and fostre him wel with milk, And tendre flesh, and make his couche of silk, And let him seen a mous go by the wal; Anon he weyveth milk, and flesh, and al, And every deyntee that is in that hous, Swich appetyt hath he to ete a mous.
  • Whan that Aprille, with hise shoures soote, The droghte of March hath perced to the roote And bathed every veyne in swich licour, Of which vertu engendred is the flour; Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth Inspired hath in every holt and heeth The
  • Patience is a conquering virtue. The learned say that, if it not desert you, It vanquishes what force can never reach; Why answer back at every angry speech? No, learn forbearance or, I’ll tell you what, You will be taught it, whether you will or not.
  • The Iyf so short, the craft so long to lerne, Thassay so hard, so sharp the conquenng. . . . . For out of olde feldes, as men seith, Cometh al this newe corn fro yeer to yere; And out of olde bokes, in good feith, Cometh al this newe science that men lere.
  • Men sholde nat knowe of Goddes pryvetee Ye, blessed be alwey, a lewed man That noght but oonly his believe kan! So ferde another clerk with astromye, He walked in the feelds, for to prye Upon the sterres, what ther sholde bifalle, Til he was in a marle-pit yfalle.
  • Who looks at me, beholdeth sorrows all, All pain, all torture, woe and all distress; I have no need on other harms to call, As anguish, languor, cruel bitterness, Discomfort, dread, and madness more and less; Methinks from heaven above the tears must rain In pity for my harsh and cruel pain.
  • A whetstone is no carving instrument, And yet it maketh sharp the carving tool; And if you see my efforts wrongly spent, Eschew that course and learn out of my school; For thus the wise may profit by the fool, And edge his wit, and grow more keen and wary, For wisdom shines opposed to its contrary.
  • The life so brief, the art so long in the learning, the attempt so hard, the conquest so sharp, the fearful joy that ever slips away so quickly – by all this I mean love, which so sorely astounds my feeling with its wondrous operation, that when I think upon it I scarce know whether I wake or sleep.
  • Remember in the forms of speech comes change Within a thousand years, and words that then Were well esteemed, seem foolish now and strange; And yet they spake them so, time and again, And thrived in love as well as any men; And so to win their loves in sundry days, In sundry lands there are as many ways.
  • For many a pasty have you robbed of blood, And many a Jack of Dover have you sold That has been heated twice and twice grown cold. From many a pilgrim have you had Christ’s curse, For of your parsley they yet fare the worse, Which they have eaten with your stubble goose; For in your shop full many a fly is loose.
  • For God’s love, take things patiently, have sense, Think! We are prisoners and shall always be. Fortune has given us this adversity, Some wicked planetary dispensation, Some Saturn’s trick or evil constellation Has given us this, and Heaven, though we had sworn The contrary, so stood when we were born. We must endure it, that’s the long and short.
  • There was the murdered corpse, in covert laid, And violent death in thousand shapes displayed; The city to the soldier’s rage resigned; Successless wars, and poverty behind; Ships burnt in fight, or forced on rocky shores, And the rash hunter strangled by the boars; The newborn babe by nurses overlaid; And the cook caught within the raging fire he made.
  • Of alle the floures in the mede, Than love I most these floures whyte and rede, Swiche as men callen daysies in our toun. . . . . Til that myn herte dye. . . . . That wel by reson men hit calle may The ‘dayesye’ or elles the ‘ye of day,’ The emperice and flour of floures alle. I pray to god that faire mot she falle, And alle that loven floures, for hir sake!
  • For there is one thing I can safely say: that those bound by love must obey each other if they are to keep company long. Love will not be constrained by mastery; when mastery comes, the God of love at once beats his wings, and farewell he is gone. Love is a thing as free as any spirit; women naturally desire liberty, and not to be constrained like slaves; and so do men, if I shall tell the truth.
  • But, Lord Crist! whan that it remembreth me Upon my yowthe, and on my jolitee, It tickleth me aboute myn herte roote. Unto this day it dooth myn herte boote That I have had my world as in my tyme. But age, alias! that al wole envenyme, Hath me biraft my beautee and my pith. Lat go, farewel! the devel go therwith! The flour is goon, ther is namoore to telle; The bren, as I best kan, now most I selle.
  • And as for me, thogh that I can but lyte, On bakes for to rede I me delyte, And to hem yeve I feyth and ful credence, And in myn herte have hem in reverence So hertely, that ther is game noon, That fro my bokes maketh me to goon, But hit be seldom, on the holyday; Save, certeynly, when that the month of May Is comen, and that I here the foules singe, And that the floures ginnen for to springe, Farwel my book and my devocion.
  • I wol yow telle, as was me taught also, The foure spirites and the bodies sevene, By ordre, as ofte I herde my lord hem nevene. The firste spirit quiksilver called is, The second orpiment, the thridde, ywis, Sal armoniak, and the firthe brimstoon. The bodies sevene eek, lo! hem heer anoon: Sol gold is, and Luna silver we threpe, Mars yron, Mercurie quiksilver we clepe, Saturnus leed, and Jupiter is tin, And Venus coper, by my fader kin!

 

 

Gertrude Stein (quotes)

  • Romance is everything.
  • There is no there there.
  • A diary means yes indeed.
  • One must dare to be happy.
  • This joy you feel is life.
  • Remarks aren’t literature.
  • art is the pulse of a nation.
  • I wish that I was where I am.
  • It is very easy to love alone.
  • You are all a lost generation.
  • Affectations can be dangerous.
  • Too few is as many as too many.
  • If you can do it then why do it?
  • We are always the same age inside.
  • Patriarchal Poetry makes mistakes.
  • Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
  • Near a war is always not very near.
  • Let me listen to me and not to them.
  • Any time is the time to make a poem.
  • Argument is to me the air I breathe.
  • Forensics is eloquence and reduction.
  • You attract what you need like a lover
  • I am I because my little dog knows me.
  • Forget grammar and think about potatoes
  • You never answer a question nobody does.
  • You have to know what you want to get it.
  • Every man is the maker of his own fortune
  • History takes time. History makes memory.
  • Once upon a time Baltimore was necessary.
  • It is always a mistake to be plain-spoken.
  • Silent gratitude isn’t very much to anyone.
  • A sentence is not emotional a paragraph is.
  • Nothing has happened today except kindness.
  • How I wish I were able to say what I think.
  • Action and reaction are equal and opposite.
  • It takes a heap of loafing to write a book.
  • You can either buy clothes or buy pictures.
  • it is a peaceful thing to be one succeeding.
  • Money is always there but the pockets change.
  • How likely are definitions to be pleasurable.
  • There are a lot of other things besides nouns.
  • America is my country and Paris is my hometown.
  • This is the place of places and and it is here.
  • When in a museum, walk slowly but keep walking.
  • When you get there, there isn’t any there there.
  • War is never fatal but always lost. Always lost.
  • You have to learn to do everything, even to die.
  • I love my love with a b because she is peculiar.
  • Art isn’t everything. It’s just about everything.
  • The artist works by locating the world in himself
  • Two things are always the same the dance and war.
  • Nature is not natural and that is natural enough.
  • There is no such thing as being good to your wife.
  • Success is the result achieved when nobody answers.
  • This is the lesson that history teaches: repetition.
  • Honesty is a selfish virtue. Yes I am honest enough.
  • Ladies there is no neutral position for us to assume.
  • Nature is commonplace. Imitation is more interesting.
  • There is no such thing as repetition. Only insistance.
  • Writing and reading is to me synonymous with existing.
  • I have been the creative literary mind of the century.
  • What is the answer? In that case, what is the question?
  • It is better to lose and win, than win and be defeated.
  • A masterpiece… may be unwelcome but it is never dull.
  • I understand you undertake to overthrow my undertaking.
  • In America, everybody is, but some are more than others.
  • The thing that differentiates man from animals is money.
  • I’ll always be Alice Toklas if you’ll be Gertrude Stein.
  • Scott Fitzgerald is the first of the last generation.
  • Before the flowers of friendship faded friendship faded.
  • Poetry consists in a rhyming dictionary and things seen.
  • Very likely education does not make very much difference.
  • If you knew it all it would not be creation but dictation.
  • Why should a sequence of words be anything but a pleasure?
  • I like a view but I like to sit with my back turned to it.
  • Men and girls, men and girls: Artificial swine and pearls.
  • When moneys in a purse in my own pocket / It means wealth.
  • As there was never any question there was never any answer.
  • If fishes were wishes the ocean would be all of our desire.
  • Love: the skillful audacity required to share an inner life.
  • There is no real reality to a really imagined life any more.
  • I think the reason I am important is that I know everything.
  • What is music. A passion for colonies not a love of country.
  • Cooking like everything else in France is logic and fashion.
  • Suppose no one asked a question. What would the answer be?
  • Nothing is more interesting than that something that you eat.
  • In France one must adapt oneself to the fragrance of a urinal.
  • The way to resume is to resume. It is the only way. To resume.
  • Oh, I wish I were a miser; being a miser must be so occupying.
  • A real failure does not need an excuse. It is an end in itself.
  • Do you know because I tell you so, or do you know, do you know.
  • Whoever said money can’t buy happiness didn’t know where to shop
  • Is it worse to be scared than to be bored, that is the question.
  • From the very nature of progress, all ages must be transitional.
  • Don’t write about what you don’t know even if you don’t know it.
  • In the morning there is meaning, in the evening there is feeling.
  • Anyone who marries three girls from St Louis hasn’t learned much.
  • But then of course a philosophy is not the same thing as a style.
  • It is the soothing thing about history that it does repeat itself.
  • August is a month when if it is hot weather it is really very hot.
  • It is a difficult thing to like anybody else’s ideas of being funny.
  • It is awfully important to know what is and what is not your business
  • Communists are people who fancied that they had an unhappy childhood.
  • A writer should write with his eyes and a painter paint with his ears.
  • each generation has something different at which they are all looking.
  • If you write a half hour a day it makes a lot of writing year by year.
  • Nobody knows what I am trying to do but I do and I know when I succeed.
  • French people do like good fighting, they like it better than anything.
  • Water astonishing and difficult altogether makes a meadow and a stroke.
  • I really do know that it can be done and if it can be done why do it…
  • What is the use of being a little boy if you are growing up to be a man.
  • Sculpture is made with two instruments and some supports and pretty air.
  • There are so many ways of earning a living and most of them are failures.
  • An audience is always warming but it must never be necessary to your work.
  • Literature – creative literature – unconcerned with sex, is inconceivable.
  • Nothing is really so very frightening when everything is so very dangerous
  • I like familiarity. In me it does not bring contempt-only more familiarity.
  • You are extraordinary within your limits, but your limits are extraordinary!
  • I like the feeling of words doing as they want to do and as they have to do.
  • Considering how dangerous everything is, nothing is really very frightening.
  • I am writing for myself and strangers. This is the only way that I can do it.
  • I do want to get rich but I never want to do what there is to do to get rich.
  • Counting is the religion of this generation it is its hope and its salvation.
  • One does not get better but different and older and that is always a pleasure.
  • A very important thing is not to make up your mind that you are any one thing.
  • The nineteenth century believed in science but the twentieth century does not.
  • Once upon a time the world was round, and you could go on it around and around.
  • Do not forget birthdays. This is in no way a propaganda for a larger population.
  • Generally speaking anybody is more interesting doing nothing than doing anything.
  • Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.
  • The creator of the new composition in the arts is an outlaw until he is a classic.
  • Nothing could bother me more than the way a thing goes dead once it has been said.
  • I always wanted to be historical, from almost a baby on, I felt that way about it.
  • Every day is a renewal, every morning the daily miracle. This joy you feel is life.
  • I write for myself and strangers. The strangers, dear Readers, are an afterthought.
  • It is not what France gave you but what it did not take from you that was important.
  • There is no beginning to an end / But there is a beginning and an end / To beginning.
  • I was somewhat drunk with what I had done. And I am always one to prefer being sober.
  • The deepest thing in any one is the conviction of the bad luck that follows boasting.
  • Poetry is essentially the discovery, the love, the passion for the name of everything.
  • I have heard Will Honeycomb say, A Woman seldom Writes her Mind but in her Postscript.
  • How do you like what you have. This is a question that anybody can ask anybody. Ask it.
  • there is art and there is official art, there always has been and there always will be.
  • Eating too much meat gives you indigestion and evil thoughts make you eat too much meat.
  • College professors have two bad traits. They are logical and they are easily flattered.
  • All the world knows how to cry but not all the world knows how to sigh. Sighing is extra.
  • I really do not know that anything has ever been more exciting than diagramming sentences.
  • Governing is occupying but not interesting, governments are occupying but not interesting.
  • Men cannot count, they do not know that two and two make four if women do not tell them so.
  • I could undertake to be an efficient pupil if it were possible to find an efficient teacher.
  • To write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write.
  • I rarely believe anything, because at the time of believing I am not really there to believe.
  • If you are a thinker, you will change the language. You will not use words the way others do.
  • There is no reason why a king should be rich or a rich man should be a king, no reason at all.
  • It is extraordinary that when you are acquainted with a whole family you can forget about them.
  • For a very long time everybody refuses and then almost without a pause almost everybody accepts.
  • If you are looking down while you are walking it is better to walk up hill the ground is nearer.
  • [On Ezra Pound:] A village explainer, excellent if you were a village, but if you were not, not.
  • Asparagus in a lean in a lean is to hot. This makes it art and it is wet weather wet weather wet
  • The difference between saints, forget-me-nots, and mountains, have to, have to, have to at a time.
  • Mostly every one is needing some one to be one listening to that one being one being one boasting.
  • I have always noticed that in portraits of really great writers the mouth is always firmly closed.
  • You look ridiculous if you dance You look ridiculous if you don’t dance So you might as well dance.
  • A creator is so completely contemporary that he has the appearance of being ahead of his generation.
  • Perhaps I am not I even if my little dog knows me but anyway I like what I have and now it is today.
  • One must either accept some theory or else believe one’s own instinct or follow the world’s opinion.
  • There is too much fathering going on just now and there is no doubt about it fathers are depressing.
  • The family is always the family but during vacations it is an extended family and that is exhausting.
  • The head-lines which do not head anything they simply replace something but they do not make anything.
  • Picasso once remarked I do not care who it is that has or does influence me as long as it is not myself.
  • One of the pleasant things those of us who write or paint do is to have the daily miracle. It does come.
  • It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing.
  • There ain’t no answer. There ain’t gonna be any answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer.
  • Anything one does every day is important and imposing and anywhere one lives is interesting and beautiful.
  • It is so friendly so simply friendly and though inevitable not a sadness and though occurring not a shock.
  • The subject matter of art is life, life as it actually is; but the function of art is to make life better.
  • Once more I can climb about and remind you that a woman in this epoch does the important literary thinking.
  • Name any name and then remember everybody you ever knew who bore that name. Are they all alike. I think so.
  • I was undone by my Auxiliary; when I had once called him in, I could not subsist without Dependance on him.
  • A saint is one to be for two when three and you make five and two and cover. A at most. Saint saint a saint.
  • If things happen all the time you are never nervous. It is when they are not happening that you are nervous.
  • It is inevitable when one has a great need of something one finds it. What you need you attract like a lover.
  • Disillusionment in living is finding that no one can really ever be agreeing with you completely in anything.
  • A little artist has all the tragic unhappiness and the sorrows of a great artist and he is not a great artist.
  • When I sleep I sleep and do not dream because it is as well that I am what I seem when I am in my bed and dream.
  • Human beings are interested in two things. They are interested in the Reality and interested in telling about it.
  • Since it could be done what was the use of doing it, and anyway you always have to stop doing something sometime.
  • Dogs are dogs, you sometimes think that they are not but they are. And they always are here there and everywhere.
  • It is natural not to care about a sister certainly not when she is four years older and grinds her teeth at night.
  • There is no such thing as a natural sentence but there is such a thing as a natural paragraph and it must be found.
  • I certainly do care for you Jeff Campbell less than you are always thinking and much more than you are ever knowing
  • A great deal of beauty is rapture. A circle is a necessity. Otherwise you would see no one. We each have our circle.
  • Argument is to me the air I breathe. Given any proposition, I cannot help believing the other side and defending it.
  • I have declared that patience is never more than patient. I too have declared, that I who am not patient am patient.
  • One never discusses anything with anybody who can understand one discusses things with people who cannot understand.
  • Hope in gates, hope in spoons, hope in doors, hope in tables, no hope in daintiness and determination. Hope in dates.
  • Supposing everyone lived at one time what would they say. They would observe that stringing string beans is universal.
  • Every adolescent has that dream every century has that dream every revolutionary has that dream, to destroy the family.
  • In the United States there is more space where nobody is than where anybody is. This is what makes American what it is.
  • Well money is not easy to describe. It is easy to lose but it cannot be lost, and no one can get really get used to it.
  • Everybody knows if you are too careful you are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something.
  • Animals in different countries have different expressions just as the people in different countries differ in expression.
  • That is what you are. That’s what you all are…All of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation.
  • I tell you old and young are better than tired middle-aged, nothing is so dead dead-tired, dead every way as middle-aged.
  • Writer or painter god-parents are notoriously unreliable. That is, there is certain before long to be a cooling of friendship.
  • It is natural to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes to that siren until she allures us to our death.
  • A conversation in English in Finnish and in French can not be held at the same time nor with indifference ever or after a time.
  • there is no pleasure so sweet as the pleasure of spending money but the pleasure of writing is longer. There is no denying that.
  • The phenomenon of nature is more splendid than the daily events of nature, certainly, so then the twentieth century is splendid.
  • You are so afraid of losing your moral sense that you are not willing to take it through anything more dangerous than a mud-puddle.
  • She always says she dislikes the abnormal, it is so obvious. She says the normal is so much more simply complicated and interesting.
  • There is no pulse so sure of the state of a nation as its characteristic art product which has nothing to do with its material life.
  • I cannot write too much upon how necessary it is to be completely conservative that is particularly traditional in order to be free.
  • Repeating is the whole of living and by repeating comes understanding, and understanding is to some the most important part of living.
  • A novel is what you dream in your night sleep. A novel is not waking thoughts although it is written and thought with waking thoughts.
  • Men … are so conservative, so selfish, so boresome, and … they are so ugly, and … they are gullible, anybody can convince them.
  • Money is always there but the pockets change; it is not in the same pockets after a change, and that is all there is to say about money.
  • Adventure is making the distant approach nearer but romance is having what is where it is which is not where you are stay where it is.
  • The first hope of a painter who feels hopeful about painting is the hope that the painting will move, that it will live outside its frame.
  • The only thing that is different from one time to another is what is seen and what is seen depends upon how everybody is doing everything.
  • When they are alone they want to be with others, and when they are with others they want to be alone. After all, human beings are like that.
  • Just before she died she asked, What is the answer? No answer came. She laughed and said, In that case, what is the question? Then she died.
  • More great Americans were failures than they were successes. They mostly spent their lives in not having a buyer for what they had for sale.
  • I know what Germans are. They are a funny people. They are always choosing someone to lead them in a direction which they do not want to go.
  • It is nice in France they adapt themselves to everything slowly they change completely but all the time they know that they are as they were.
  • A creator is not in advance of his generation but he is the first of his contemporaries to be conscious of what is happening to his generation.
  • To complicate things in new ways, that is really very easy; but to see things in new ways, that is difficult and that is why genius is so rare.
  • One of the things that I discovered in lecturing was that gradually one ceased to hear what one said one heard what the audience hears one say.
  • there are the two sides to a Frenchman, logic and fashion and that is the reason why French people are exciting and peaceful. Logic and fashion.
  • Some out of their own virtue make a god who sometimes later is a nuisance to them, a terror perhaps to them, a difficult thing to be forgetting.
  • It is extraordinary that whole populations have no projects for the future, none at all. It certainly is extraordinary, but it is certainly true.
  • A country house is not the same as a house in a country and a hotel in the country is not the same as a hotel in a town but is it in a small town.
  • I had a family. They can be a nuisance in identity but there is no doubt no shadow of doubt that that identity the family identity we can do without.
  • I like a thing simple but it must be simple through complication. Everything must come into your scheme, otherwise you cannot achieve real simplicity.
  • What is marriage, is marriage protection or religion, is marriage renunciation or abundance, is marriage a stepping-stone or an end. What is marriage.
  • A nice war is a war where everybody who is heroic is a hero, and everybody more or less is a hero in a nice war. Now this war is not at all a nice war.
  • There are two kinds of men and women, those who have in them resisting as their way of winning those who have in them attacking as their way of winning.
  • The nineteenth century was completely lacking in logic, it had cosmic terms and hopes, and aspirations, and discoveries, and ideals but it had no logic.
  • The times are so peculiar now, so mediaeval so unreasonable that for the first time in a hundred years truth is really stranger than fiction. Any truth.
  • You’ll be old and you never lived, and you kind of feel silly to lie down and die and to never have lived, to have been a job chaser and never have lived.
  • But the problem is that when I go around and speak on campuses, I still don’t get young men standing up and saying, ‘How can I combine career and family?’
  • The unreal is natural, so natural that it makes of unreality the most natural of anything natural. That is what America does, and that is what America is.
  • We know that we can do what men can do, but we still don’t know that men can do what women can do. That’s absolutely crucial. We can’t go on doing two jobs.
  • A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then after all little by little it grows nothing but vegetables, nothing, nothing but vegetables.
  • When you earn it and spend it you do know the difference between three dollars and a million dollars, but when you say it and vote it, it all sounds the same.
  • If everyone were not so indolent they would realise that beauty is beauty even when it is irritating and stimulating not only when it is accepted and classic.
  • To know what one knows is frightening to live what one lives is soothing and though everybody likes to be frightened what they really have to have is soothing.
  • you are brilliant and subtle if you come from Iowa and really strange and you live as you live and you are always very well taken care of if you come from Iowa.
  • More and more I am certain that the only difference between man and animals is that men can count and animals cannot and if they count they mostly do count money.
  • Everybody thinks that this civilization has lasted a very long time but it really does take very few grandfathers’ granddaughters to take us back to the dark ages.
  • . . . money . . . is really the difference between men and animals, most of the things men feel, animals feel, and vice versa, but animals do not know about money.
  • And identity is funny being yourself is funny as you are never yourself to yourself except as you remember yourself and then of course you do not believe yourself.
  • When I said. A rose is a rose is a rose. And then later made that into a ring I made poetry and what did I do I caressed completely caressed and addressed a noun.
  • I manage to think twice about everything / Why will they like me as they do / Or not as they do / Why will they praise me as they do / Or praise me not not as they do.
  • Explanations are clear but since no one to whom a thing is explained can connect the explanations with what is really clear, therefore clear explanations are not clear.
  • The contemporary thing in art and literature is the thing which doesn’t make enough difference to the people of that generation so that they can accept it or reject it.
  • I could never be one of two I could never be two in one as married couples do and can, I am but one all one, one and all one, and so I have never been married to any one.
  • There is a difference between twenty-nine and thirty. When you are twenty-nine it can be the beginning of everything. When you are thirty it can be the end of everything.
  • It is funny the two things most men are proudest of is the thing that any man can do and doing does in the same way, that is being drunk and being the father of their son.
  • If anything is a surprise then there is not much difference between older and younger because the only thing that does make anybody older is that they cannot be surprised.
  • Once an angry man dragged his father along the ground through his own orchard. ‘Stop!’ cried the groaning old man at last, ‘Stop! I did not drag my father beyond this tree.
  • That is what war is and dancing it is forward and back, when one is out walking one wants not to go back the way they came but in dancing and in war it is forward and back.
  • The thing that is most interesting about government servants is that they believe what they are supposed to believe, they really do believe what they are supposed to believe.
  • In America … who is to stop congress from spending too much money. They will not stop themselves, that is certain. Everybody has to think about that now. Who is to stop them.
  • You cannot go into the womb to form the child; it is there and makes itself and comes forth whole-and there it is and you have made it and have felt it, but it has come itself.
  • In a war everybody always knows all about Switzerland, in peace times it is just Switzerland but in war time it is the only country that everybody has confidence in, everybody.
  • The earth is the earth as a peasant sees it, the world is the world as a duchess sees it, and anyway a duchess would be nothing if the earth was not there as the peasant sees it.
  • Just as everybody has the vote including women, I think children should, because as a child is conscious of itself then it has to me an existence and has a stake in what happens.
  • … when there is a war the years are longer that is to say the days are longer the months are longer the years are much longer but the weeks are shorter that is what makes a war.
  • What was the use of my having come from Oakland it was not natural to have come from there yes write about it if I like or anything if I like but not there, there is no there there.
  • I just tell you and though I dont sound like it I’ve got plenty of sense, there aint any answer, there aint going to be any answer, there never has been any answer, that’s the answer.
  • I murmured to Picasso that I liked his portrait of Gertrude Stein. Yes, he said, everybody said that she does not look like it, but that does not make any difference, she will, he said.
  • it is nice that nobody writes as they talk and that the printed language is different from the spoken otherwise you could not lose yourself in books and of course you do you completely do.
  • Writers only think they are interested in politics, they are not really, it gives them a chance to talk and writers like to talk but really no real writer is really interested in politics.
  • I don’t envisage collectivism. There is no such animal, it is always individualism, sometimes the rest vote and sometimes they do not, and if they do they do and if they do not they do not.
  • I had always been so much taken with the way all English people I knew always were going to see their lawyer. Even if they have no income and do not earn anything they always have a lawyer.
  • One cannot come back too often to the question what is knowledge and to the answer knowledge is what one knows…. Knowledge is the thing you know and how can you know more than you do know.
  • Since the war nothing is so really frightening not the dark not alone in a room or anything on a road or a dog or a moon but two things, yes, indigestion and high places they are frightening.
  • This is the real thing of disillusion that no one, not any one really is believing, seeing, understanding, thinking anything as you are thinking, believing, seeing, understanding such a thing.
  • Superstition is believing that something means anything and that anything means something and that each thing means a particular thing and will mean a particular thing is coming. Oh yes it does.
  • A FEATHER. A feather is trimmed, it is trimmed by the light and the bug and the post, it is trimmed by little leaning and by all sorts of mounted reserves and loud volumes. It is surely cohesive.
  • I like loving. I like mostly all the ways one can have of having loving feelings in them. Slowly it has come to be in me that any way of being a loving one is interesting and not unpleasant to me.
  • I am I because my little dog knows me but, creatively speaking the little dog knowing that you are you and your recognising that he knows, that is what destroys creation. That is what makes school.
  • If the communication is perfect, the words have life, and that is all there is to good writing, putting down on the paper words which dance and weep and make love and fight and kiss and perform miracles.
  • Always it comes very slowly the completed understanding of it, the repeating each one does to tell it the whole history of the being in each one, always now I hear it. Always now slowly I understand it.
  • War is more like a novel than it is like real life and that is its eternal fascination. It is a thing based on reality but invented, it is a dream made real, all the things that make a novel but not really life.
  • The composition is the thing seen by everyone living in the living they are doing, they are the composing of the composition that at the time they are living is the composition of the time in which they are living.
  • A virgin a whole virgin is judged made and so between curves and outlines and real seasons and more out glasses and a perfectly unprecedented arrangement between old ladies and mild colds there is no satin wood shining.
  • “Native” always means people who belong someplace else, because they had once belonged somewhere. That shows that the white race does not really think they belong anywhere, because they think of everybody else as native.
  • Repeating then is in every one, in every one their being and their feeling and their way of realising everything and every one comes out of them in repeating. More and more then every one comes to be clear to some one.
  • Language as a real thing is not imitation either of sounds or colors or emotions it is an intellectual recreation and there is nopossible doubt about it and it is going to go on being that as long as humanity is anything.
  • The idea of enemies is awful it makes one stop remembering eternity and the fear of death. That is what enemies are. Possessions are the same as enemies only less so, they too make one forget eternity and the fear of death.
  • The reason why all of us naturally began to live in France is because France has scientific methods, machines and electricity, but does not really believe that these things have anything to do with the real business of living.
  • The whole duty of man consists in being reasonable and just I am reasonable because I know the difference between understanding and not understanding and I am just because I have no opinion about things I don’t understand.
  • If the stars are suns and the earth is the earth and there are men only upon this earth and anything can put an end to anything and any dog does anything like anybody does it what is the difference between eternity and anything.
  • More and more I like to take a train. I understand why the French prefer it to automobiling it is so much more sociable, and of course these days so much more of an adventure, and the irregularity of its regularity is fascinating.
  • You have to know what you want. And if it seems to take you off the track, don’t hold back, because perhaps that is instinctively where you want to be. And if you hold back and try to be always where you have been before, you will go dry.
  • Even the propagandists on the radio find it very difficult to really say let alone believe that the world will be a happy place, of love and peace and plenty, and that the lion will lie down with the lamb and everybody will believe anybody.
  • I am writing for myself and strangers. This is the only way that I can do it. Everybody is a real one to me, everybody is like some one else too to me. No one of them that I know can want to know it and so I write for myself and strangers.
  • I often think how celebrated I am. / It is difficult not to think how celebrated I am. / And if I think how celebrated I am / They know who know that I am new / That is I knew I know how celebrated I am / And after all it astonishes even me.
  • An audience is pleasant if you have it, it is flattering and flattering is agreeable always, but if you have an audience the being an audience is their business, they are the audience you are the writer, let each attend to their own business.
  • From the very nature of progress, all ages must be transitional. If they were not, the world would be at a stand-still and death would speedily ensue. It is one of the tamest of platitudes but it is always introduced by a flourish of trumpets.
  • It is funny that men who are supposed to be scientific cannot get themselves to realise the basic principle of physics, that action and reaction are equal and opposite, that when you persecute people you always rouse them to be strong and stronger.
  • it is all the question of identity. … As long as the outside does not put a value on you it remains outside but when it does put a value on you then it gets inside or rather if the outside puts a value on you then all your inside gets to be outside.
  • It is funny about money. And it is funny about identity. You are you because your little dog knows you, but when your public knows you and does not want to pay for you and when your public knows you and does want to pay for you, you are not the same you.
  • … there is no point in being realistic about here and now, no use at all not any, and so it is not the nineteenth but the twentieth century, there is no realism now, life is not real it is not earnest, it is strange which is an entirely different matter.
  • There are of course people who are more important than others in that they have more importance in the world but this is not essential and it ceases to be. I have no sense of difference in this respect because every human being comprises the combination form.
  • Americans are very friendly and very suspicious, that is what Americans are and that is what always upsets the foreigner, who deals with them, they are so friendly how can they be so suspicious they are so suspicious how can they be so friendly but they just are.
  • The minute you or anybody else knows what you are you are not it, you are what you or anybody else knows you are and as everything in living is made up of finding out what you are it is extraordinarily difficult really not to know what you are and yet to be that thing.
  • It is very natural that every one who makes anything inside themselves that is makes it entirely out of what is in them does naturally have to have two civilizations. They have to have the civilization that makes them and the civilization that has nothing to do with them.
  • Everywhere there was somewhere and everywhere there they were men women children dogs cows wild pigs little rabbits cats lizards and animals. That is the way it was. And everybody dogs cats sheep rabbits and lizards and children all wanted to tell … all about themselves.
  • It is very funny about money. The thing that differentiates man from animals is money. All animals have the same emotions and the same ways as men. Anybody who has lots of animals around knows that. But the thing no animal can do is count, and the thing no animal can know is money.
  • I simply contend that the middle-class ideal which demands that people be affectionate, respectable, honest and content, that they avoid excitements and cultivate serenity is the ideal that appeals to me, it is in short the ideal of affectionate family life, of honorable business methods.
  • One thing is certain the only thing that makes you younger or older is that nothing can happen that is different from what you expected and when that happens and it mostly does happen everything is different from what you expected then there is no difference between being younger or older.
  • There is no passion more dominant and instinctive in the human spirit than the need of the country to which one belongs…. The time comes when nothing in the world is so important as a breath of one’s own particular climate. If it were one’s last penny it would be used for that return passage.
  • Family living can go on existing. Very many are remembering this thing are remembering that family living living can go on existing. Very many are quite certain that family living can go on existing. Very many are remembering that they are quite certain that family living can go on existing.
  • … anybody is as their land and air is. Anybody is as the sky is low or high, the air heavy or clear and anybody is as there is wind or no wind there. It is that which makes them and the arts they make and the work they do and the way they eat and the way they drink and the way they learn and everything.
  • Before one is successful that is before any one is ready to pay money for anything you do then you are certain that every word you have written is an important word to have written and that any word you have written is as important as any other word and you keep everything you have written with great care.
  • there are many ways of eating, for some eating is living for some eating is dying, for some thinking about ways of eating gives to them the feeling that they have it in them to be alive and to be going on living, to some to think about eating makes them know that death is always waiting that dying is in them.
  • No sense in no sense innocence of what of not and what of delight. In no sense innocence in no sense and what in delight and not, in no sense innocence in no sense no sense what, in no sense and delight, and in no sense and delight and not in no sense and delight and not, no sense in no sense innocence and delight.
  • To be regularly gay was to do every day the gay thing that they did every day. To be regularly gay was to end every day at the same time after they had been regularly gay. They were regularly gay. They were gay every day. They ended every day in the same way, at the same time, and they had been every day regularly gay.
  • You will write if you will write without thinking of the result in terms of a result, but think of the writing in terms of discovery, which is to say that creation must take place between the pen and the paper, not before in a thought or afterwards in a recasting… It will come if it is there and if you will let it come.
  • The kind of loving women and men have in them and the ways it comes out from them makes for them the bottom nature in them, gives to them their kind of thinking, makes the character they have all their living in them, makes them then their kind of women and men and there are always many millions made of each kind of them.
  • The United States is just now the oldest country in the world, there always is an oldest country and she is it, it is she who is the mother of the twentieth century civilization. She began to feel herself as it just after the Civil War. And so it is a country the right age to have been born in and the wrong age to live in.
  • A saint a real saint never does anything, a martyr does something but a really good saint does nothing, and so I wanted to have Four Saints who did nothing and I wrote the Four Saints In Three Acts and they did nothing and that was everything. Generally speaking anybody is more interesting doing nothing than doing something.
  • I say that Hitler ought to have the peace prize, because he is removing all the elements of contest and of struggle from Germany. By driving out the Jews and the democratic and Left element, he is driving out everything that conduces to activity. That means peace … By suppressing Jews … he was ending struggle in Germany.
  • It always did bother me that the American public were more interested in me than in my work. And after all there is no sense in it because if it were not for my work they would not be interested in me so why should they not be more interested in my work than in me. That is one of the things one has to worry about in America.
  • It gave me a great notion of the credit of our present government and administration, to find people press as eagerly to pay moneyas they would to receive it; and, at the same time, a due respect for that body of men who have found out so pleasing an expedient for carrying on the common cause, that they have turned a tax into a diversion.
  • Coffee is real good when you drink it gives you time to think. It’s a lot more than just a drink; it’s something happening. Not as in hip, but like an event, a place to be, but not like a location, but like somewhere within yourself. It gives you time, but not actual hours or minutes, but a chance to be, like be yourself, and have a second cup.
  • After all everybody, that is, everybody who writes is interested in living inside themselves in order to tell what is inside themselves. That is why writers have to have two countries, the one where they belong and the one in which they live really. The second one is romantic, is is separate from themselves, it is not real but it is really there.
  • The funny part of it all is that relatively few people seem to go crazy, relatively few even a little crazy or even a little weird, relatively few, and those few because they have nothing to do that is to say they have nothing to do or they do not do anything that has anything to do with the war only with food and cold and little things like that.
  • There is something in this native land business and you cannot get away from it, in peace time you do not seem to notice it much particularly when you live in foreign parts but when there is a war and you are all alone and completely cut off from knowing about your country well then there it is, your native land is your native land, it certainly is.
  • The one thing that everybody wants is to be freenot to be managed, threatened, directed, restrained, obliged, fearful, administered, they want none of these things they all want to feel free ‚Ķ The only thing that any one wants now is to be free, to be let alone, to live their life as they can, but not to be watched, controlled and scared, no no, not.
  • It is very difficult in quarreling to be certain in either one what the other one is remembering. It is very often astonishing to each one quarreling to find out what the other one was remembering for quarreling. Mostly in quarreling not any one is finding out what the other one is remembering for quarreling, what the other one is remembering from quarreling.
  • … there was the first Balkan war and the second Balkan war and then there was the first world war. It is extraordinary how having done a thing once you have to do it again, there is the pleasure of coincidence and there is the pleasure of repetition, and so there is the second world war, and in between there was the Abyssinian war and the Spanish civil war.
  • Ezra Pound still lives in a village and his world is a kind of village and people keep explaining things when they live in a village…. I have come not to mind if certain people live in villages and some of my friends still appear to live in villages and a village can be cozy as well as intuitive but must one really keep perpetually explaining and elucidating?
  • No one is ahead of his time, it is only that the particular variety of creating his time is the one that his contemporaries who are also creating their own time refuse to accept. For a very long time everybody refuses and then almost without a pause almost everybody accepts. In the history of the refused in the arts and literature the rapidity of the change is always startling.
  • I think one is naturally impressed by anything having a beginning a middle and an ending when one is beginning writing and that it is a natural thing because when one is emerging from adolescence, which is really when one first begins writing one feels that one would not have been one emerging from adolescence if there had not been a beginning and a middle and an ending to anything.
  • Some men and women are inquisitive about everything, they are always asking, if they see any one with anything they ask what is that thing, what is it you are carrying, what are you going to be doing with that thing, why have you that thing, where did you get that thing, how long will you have that thing, there are very many men and women who want to know about anything about everything.
  • It is hard living down the tempers we are born with. We all begin well, for in our youth there is nothing we are more intolerant of than our own sins writ large in others and we fight them fiercely in ourselves; but we grow old and we see that these our sins are of all sins the really harmless ones to own, nay that they give a charm to any character, and so our struggle with them dies away.
  • Eating and sleeping are not like loving and breathing. Washing is not like eating and sleeping. Believing is like breathing and loving. Religion can be believing, it can be like breathing, it can be like loving, it can be like eating or sleeping, it can be like washing, it can be something to fill up a place when someone has lost out of them a piece that it was not natural for them to have in them.
  • One of the things that is most striking about the young generation is that they never talk about their own futures, there are no futures for this generation, not any of them and so naturally they never think of them. It is very striking, they do not live in the present they just live, as well as they can, and they do not plan. It is extraordinary that whole populations have no projects for a future, none at all.
  • A writer must always try to have a philosophy and he should also have a psychology and a philology and many other things. Without a philosophy and a psychology and all these various other things he is not really worthy of being called a writer. I agree with Kant and Schopenhauer and Plato and Spinoza and that is quite enough to be called a philosophy. But then of course a philosophy is not the same thing as a style.
  • But now well democracy has shown us that what is evil are the grosses t√™tes, the big heads, all big heads are greedy for money and power, they are ambitious that is the reason they are big heads and so they are at the head of the government and the result is misery for the people. They talk about cutting off the heads of the grosses t√™tes but now we know that there will be other grosses t√™tes and the will be all the same.
  • it is a surprising thing that the largest city in the world should have a population as gentle and pleasant and intimate and considerate and comforting as a little bit of a place where everybody knows everybody and everything, but astonishing or not it is perfectly true and the inhabitants of New York are just like that, and they are like that and this thing is a delightful, natural and gentle and sweet and comforting thing.
  • We talked about and that has always been a puzzle to me why American men think that success is everything when they know that eighty percent of them are not going to succeed more than to just keep going and why if they are not why do they not keep on being interested in the things that interested them when they were college men and why American men different from English men do not get more interesting as they get older.
  • Poetry is concerned with using with abusing, with losing with wanting, with denying with avoiding with adoring with replacing the noun. It is doing that always doing that, doing that and doing nothing but that. Poetry is doing nothing but using losing refusing and pleasing and betraying and caressing nouns. That is what poetry does, that is what poetry has to do no matter what kind of poetry it is. And there are a great many kinds of poetry.
  • Clarity is of no importance because nobody listens and nobody knows what you mean no matter what you mean, nor how clearly you mean what you mean. But if you have vitality enough of knowing enough of what you mean, somebody and sometime and sometimes a great many will have to realize that you know what you mean and so they will agree that you mean what you know, what you know you mean, which is as near as anybody can come to understanding any one.
  • Would I if I could by pushing a button would I kill five thousand Chinamen if I could save my brother from anything. Well I was very fond of my brother and I could completely imagine his suffering and I replied that five thousand Chinamen was something I could not imagine and so it was not interesting. One has to remember that about imagination, that is when the world gets dull when everybody does not know what they can or what they cannot really imagine.
  • A novel is what you dream in your night sleep. A novel is not waking thoughts although it is written and thought with waking thoughts. But really a novel goes as dreams go in sleeping at night and some dreams are like anything and some dreams are like something and some dreams change and some dreams are quiet and some dreams are not. And some dreams are just what any one would do only a little different always just a little different and that is what a novel is.
  • Sinclair Lewis is the perfect example of the false sense of time of the newspaper world…. [ellipsis in source] He was always dominated by an artificial time when he wrote Main Street…. He did not create actual human beings at any time. That is what makes it newspaper. Sinclair Lewis is the typical newspaperman and everything he says is newspaper. The difference between a thinker and a newspaperman is that a thinker enters right into things, a newspaperman is superficial.
  • Melanctha Herbert was always losing what she had in all the things she saw. Melanctha was always being left when she was not leaving others. Melanctha Herbert always loved too hard and much too often. She was always full with mystery and subtle movements and denials and vague distrusts and complicated disillusions. Then Melanctha would be sudden and impulsive and unbounded in some faith, and then she would suffer and be strong in her repression. Melanctha Herbert was always seeking rest and quiet and always she could only find new ways to be in trouble.
  • There is too much fathering going on just now and there is no doubt about it fathers are depressing. Everybody now-a-days is a father, there is father Mussolini and father Hitler and father Roosevelt and father Stalin and father Trotsky and father Blum and father Franco is just commencing now and there are ever so many more ready to be one. Fathers are depressing. England is the only country now that has not got one and so they are more cheerful there than anywhere. It is a long time now that they have not had any fathering and so their cheerfulness is increasing.

 

Horace (quotes)

  • Anger is brief madness
  • To teach is to delight.
  • Tear thyself from delay.
  • Anger is a brief lunacy.
  • Luck cannot change birth.
  • Words challenge eternity.
  • Every old poem is sacred.
  • The words can not return.
  • Hatched in the same nest.
  • Anger is a short madness.
  • A poem is like a painting.
  • Be smart, drink your wine.
  • Busy idleness urges us on.
  • Anger is momentary madness.
  • Leave the rest to the gods.
  • I shall not altogether die.
  • Books have their destinies.
  • I shall not completely die.
  • Take heed lest you stumble.
  • Dull winter will re-appear.
  • He can afford to be a fool.
  • The grammarians are arguing.
  • It is grievous to be caught.
  • Carpe diem. (Seize the day.)
  • Brighter than Parian marble.
  • Boy, I loathe Persian luxury.
  • Sapere aude. Dare to be wise.
  • Anger is short-lived madness.
  • Anger is a momentary madness.
  • Gold will be slave or master.
  • The same night awaits us all.
  • I teach that all men are mad.
  • To grow a philosopher’s beard.
  • We are free to yield to truth.
  • No man is born without faults.
  • Make a good use of the present.
  • What’s well begun is half done.
  • A crafty knave needs no broker.
  • Gloriously false. [Like Rahab.]
  • Don’t long for the unripe grape.
  • Drawing is the true test of art.
  • Humble things become the humble.
  • Virtue consists in fleeing vice.
  • The covetous are always in want.
  • In my integrity I’ll wrap me up.
  • Small things become small folks.
  • Never despair. [Nil desperandum.]
  • A picture is a poem without words
  • Remember to be calm in adversity.
  • The covetous man is ever in want.
  • I want to live, and die with you.
  • Don’t carry logs into the forest.
  • Nothing is achieved without toil.
  • Summer treads on heels of spring.
  • The bowl dispels corroding cares.
  • A man perfect to the finger tips.
  • An undertaking beset with danger.
  • Punishment follows close on crime.
  • A good resolve will make any port.
  • There is moderation in everything.
  • Fidelity is the sister of justice.
  • Mistakes are their own instructors
  • Poets wish to profit or to please.
  • A greater liar than the Parthians.
  • He who is greedy is always in want.
  • Rule your mind or it will rule you.
  • The glory is for those who deserve.
  • There is a middle ground in things.
  • Whatever advice you give, be short.
  • Plant no other tree before the vine.
  • Aiming at brevity, I become obscure.
  • Get money first; virtue comes after.
  • There is nothing assured to mortals.
  • Whatever your advice, make it brief.
  • Sometimes even excellent Homer nods.
  • Pleasure bought with pain does harm.
  • Joking apart, now let us be serious.
  • Nonsense, now and then, is pleasant.
  • A man of refined taste and judgment.
  • He is not poor who has a competency.
  • Whatever you want to teach, be brief.
  • We are all gathered to the same fold.
  • Even the worthy Homer sometimes nods.
  • Never without a shilling in my purse.
  • Begin, be bold and venture to be wise.
  • Being, be bold and venture to be wise.
  • Little folks become their little fate.
  • An accomplished man to his fingertips.
  • He will be beloved when he is no more.
  • Death is the last limit of all things.
  • Who then is sane? He who is not a fool.
  • Here, or nowhere, is the thing we seek.
  • In times of stress, be bold and valiant.
  • Life is largely a matter of expectation.
  • The man is either crazy or he is a poet.
  • I court not the votes of the fickle mob.
  • You must avoid sloth, that wicked siren.
  • Acquittal of the guilty damns the judge.
  • Life gives nothing to man without labor.
  • The fellow is either a madman or a poet.
  • Fierce eagles breed not the tender dove.
  • He is praised by some, blamed by others.
  • Frugality is one thing, avarice another.
  • Envy is not to be conquered but by death.
  • That best of blessings, a contented mind.
  • Be modest in speech, but excel in action.
  • In trying to be concise I become obscure.
  • A word once uttered can never be recalled.
  • I strive to be brief but I become obscure.
  • Subdue your passion or it will subdue you.
  • As crazy as hauling timber into the woods.
  • Those who covet much suffer from the want.
  • Seize the day, put no trust in the morrow!
  • Is virtue raised by culture, or self-sown?
  • Victory is by nature superb and insulting.
  • I was what you are, you will be what I am.
  • Those that are little, little things suit.
  • God made not pleasures for the rich alone.
  • Money amassed either serves us or rules us.
  • In labouring to be brief, I become obscure.
  • In love there are two evils: war and peace.
  • Labor diligently to increase your property.
  • Who has self-confidence will lead the rest.
  • Alas! the fleeting years, how they roll on!
  • Can you restrain your laughter, my friends?
  • Forgetful of thy tomb thou buildest houses.
  • In adversity, remember to keep an even mind.
  • Riches either serve or govern the possessor.
  • A word, once sent abroad, flies irrevocably.
  • Let him who has enough ask for nothing more.
  • And seek for truth in the groves of Academe.
  • No master can make me swear blind obedience.
  • Gladly accept the gifts of the present hour.
  • A good scare is worth more than good advice.
  • Lightning strikes the tops of the mountains.
  • All things considered, nothing is beautiful.
  • By heaven you have destroyed me, my friends!
  • Be not for ever harassed by impotent desire.
  • Fire, if neglected, will soon gain strength.
  • He tells old wives’ tales much to the point.
  • Heir follows heir, as wave succeeds to wave.
  • God has joined the innocent with the guilty.
  • In labouring to be concise, I become obscure.
  • I struggle to be brief, and I become obscure.
  • Nothing’s beautiful from every point of view.
  • Those who want much, are always much in need.
  • The ear of the bridled horse is in the mouth.
  • A hungry stomach rarely despises common food.
  • No, but you’re wrong now, and always will be.
  • Force without reason falls of its own weight.
  • The great virtue of parents is a great dowry.
  • The man is either mad, or he is making verses.
  • Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.
  • Patience lightens the burthen we cannot avert.
  • Force without judgment falls of its own weight.
  • The miser acquires, yet fears to use his gains.
  • Take as a gift whatever the day brings forth…
  • It is sweet to let the mind unbend on occasion.
  • No poem was ever written by a drinker of water.
  • In the word of no master am I bound to believe.
  • There are as many preferences as there are men.
  • He is always a slave who cannot live on little.
  • In a long work sleep may be naturally expected.
  • Learned or unlearned we all must be scribbling.
  • Even play has ended in fierce strife and anger.
  • An envious man grows lean at another’s fatness.
  • He who sings the praises of his boyhood’s days.
  • Hidden knowledge differs little from ignorance.
  • Do you hear, or does some fond illusion mock me?
  • Much is wanting to those who seek or covet much.
  • Once sent out, a word takes wings beyond recall.
  • Sweet and glorious it is to die for our country.
  • And take back ill-polished stanzas to the anvil.
  • In peace, a wise man makes preparations for war.
  • Even the good Homer is sometimes caught napping.
  • Flames too soon acquire strength if disregarded.
  • Death is the ultimate boundary of human matters.
  • Be prepared to go mad with fixed rule and method.
  • Adversity reveals genius, prosperity conceals it.
  • Captive Greece took captive her savage conqueror.
  • The secret of all good writing is sound judgment.
  • The drunkard is convicted by his praises of wine.
  • The arrow will not always find the mark intended.
  • We are just statistics, born to consume resources.
  • Fortune makes a fool of those she favors too much.
  • There are lessons to be learned from a stupid man.
  • The tendency of humanity is towards the forbidden.
  • Naked I seek the camp of those who desire nothing.
  • A wise God shrouds the future in obscure darkness.
  • Once begun, A task is easy; half the work is done.
  • Punishment closely follows guilt as its companion.
  • He who feared that he would not succeed sat still.
  • You will live wisely if you are happy in your lot.
  • I have erected amonument more lasting than bronze.
  • Strength without judgment falls by its own weight.
  • Kings play the fool, and the people suffer for it.
  • Lawyers are men who hire out their words and anger.
  • He has the deed half done who has made a beginning.
  • He has half the deed done who has made a beginning.
  • Remember to preserve a calm soul amid difficulties.
  • Knowledge without education is but armed injustice.
  • When you introduce a moral lesson, let it be brief.
  • Weigh well what your shoulders can and cannot bear.
  • Ridicule often cuts the knot, where severity fails.
  • If you are only an underling, don’t dress too fine.
  • It is not permitted that we should know everything.
  • Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work.
  • If matters go badly now, they will not always be so.
  • He wins every hand who mingles profit with pleasure.
  • Wherever the storm carries me, I go a willing guest.
  • When I struggle to be terse, I end by being obscure.
  • Smooth out with wine the worries of a wrinkled brow.
  • Silver is of less value than gold, gold than virtue.
  • Wine brings to light the hidden secrets of the soul.
  • Seize the day [Carpe diem]: trust not to the morrow.
  • What may not be altered is made lighter by patience.
  • When things are steep, remember to stay level-headed.
  • Fools through false shame, conceal their open wounds.
  • That destructive siren, sloth, is ever to be avoided.
  • To please great men is not the last degree of praise.
  • Add a sprinkling of folly to your long deliberations.
  • It’s a good thing to be foolishly gay once in a while.
  • Though guiltless, you must expiate your fathers’ sins.
  • He paints a dolphin in the woods, a boar in the waves.
  • I am not what I once was.
  • Who then is free? The wise man who can govern himself.
  • Welcome will arrived, the hour that was not hoped for.
  • He who has lost his money-belt will go where you wish.
  • Who after wine, talks of wars hardships or of poverty.
  • Shun an inquisitive man, he is invariably a tell-tale.
  • My age, my inclinations, are no longer what they were.
  • It was intended to be a vase, it has turned out a pot.
  • All men do not admire and delight in the same objects.
  • Who then is free? The wise man who can command himself.
  • I hate the irreverent rabble and keep them far from me.
  • Words will not fail when the matter is well considered.
  • All men do not, in fine, admire or love the same thing.
  • Necessity takes impartially the highest and the lowest.
  • I abhor the profane rabble and keep them at a distance.
  • The poet must put on the passion he wants to represent.
  • Despise pleasure; pleasure bought by pain in injurious.
  • Live as brave men and face adversity with stout hearts.
  • He who has begun has half done. Dare to be wise -begin!
  • To have begun is half the job; be bold and be sensible.
  • He who is upright in his way of life and free from sin.
  • Seek not to inquire what the morrow will bring with it.
  • It is difficult to speak of the universal specifically.
  • Even in animals there exists the spirit of their sires.
  • He has hay upon his horn. [He is a mischievous person.]
  • It is when I struggle to be brief that I become obscure.
  • It is your concern when your neighbor’s wall is on fire.
  • It is a sweet and seemly thing to die for one’s country.
  • A corrupt judge does not carefully search for the truth.
  • It is hard to utter common notions in an individual way.
  • Not worth is an example that does not solve the problem.
  • Riches are first to be sought for; after wealth, virtue.
  • Nothing is so difficult but that man will accomplish it.
  • It is good to labor; it is also good to rest from labor.
  • Betray not a secret even though racked by wine or wrath.
  • A cup concealed in the dress is rarely honestly carried.
  • He who would begun has half done. Dare to be wise; begin.
  • Wisdom is not wisdom when it is derived from books alone.
  • Undeservedly you will atone for the sins of your fathers.
  • It is your business when the wall next door catches fire.
  • The sorrowful dislike the gay, and the gay the sorrowful.
  • With you I should love to live, with you be ready to die.
  • A bad reader soon puts to flight both wise men and fools.
  • The envious man grows lean at the success of his neighbor.
  • Remember when life’s path is steep to keep your mind even.
  • The disgrace of others often keeps tender minds from vice.
  • Adversity is wont to reveal genius, prosperity to hide it.
  • Be ever on your guard what you say of anybody and to whom.
  • Scribblers are a self-conceited and self-worshipping race.
  • In avoiding one vice fools rush into the opposite extreme.
  • If things look badly to-day they may look better tomorrow.
  • Change but the name, and you are the subject of the story.
  • Designedly God covers in dark night the issue of futurity.
  • Desiring things widely different for their various tastes.
  • We are often deterred from crime by the disgrace of others.
  • For every folly of their princes, the Greeks feel the lash.
  • If you wish me to weep, you must first show grief yourself.
  • It makes a great difference whether Davus or a hero speaks.
  • As a rule, adversity reveals genius and prosperity hides it
  • What exile from his country is able to escape from himself?
  • If you wish me to weep, you yourself must first feel grief.
  • In going abroad we change the climate not our dispositions.
  • Despise not sweet inviting love-making nor the merry dance.
  • A leech that will not quit the skin until sated with blood.
  • He who has enough for his wants should desire nothing more.
  • Seize the day, and put the least possible trust in tomorrow.
  • Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future.
  • Only a stomach that rarely feels hungry scorns common things.
  • A host is like a general: calamities often reveal his genius.
  • Of writing well the source and fountainhead is wise thinking.
  • As riches grow, care follows, and a thirst For more and more.
  • Everything that is superfluous overflows from the full bosom.
  • How great, my friends, is the virtue of living upon a little!
  • What does it avail you, if of many thorns only one be removed
  • Friends fly away when the cask has been drained to the dregs.
  • Once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled.
  • Why harass with eternal purposes a mind to weak to grasp them?
  • Enjoy the present day, trust the least possible to the future.
  • Mediocrity is not allowed to poets, either by the gods or men.
  • A word once let out of the cage cannot be whistled back again.
  • Painters and poets have equal license in regard to everything.
  • Never despair while under the guidance and auspices of Teucer.
  • Death’s dark way Must needs be trodden once, however we pause.
  • He will be loved when dead, who was envied when he was living.
  • Help a man against his will and you do the same as murder him.
  • Enjoy the present day, as distrusting that which is to follow.
  • At Rome I love Tibur; then, like a weathercock, at Tibur Rome.
  • Bacchus drowns within the bowl – Troubles that corrode the soul
  • I put up with a great deal to pacify the touchy tribe of poets.
  • The musician who always plays on the same string is laughed at.
  • That corner of the world smiles for me more than anywhere else.
  • Busy idleness urges us on.
  • There are calumnies against which even innocence loses courage.
  • The changing year’s successive plan Proclaims mortality to man.
  • While I am sane I shall compare nothing to the joy of a friend.
  • In hard times, no less than in prosperity, preserve equanimity.
  • Dispel the cold, bounteously replenishing the hearth with logs.
  • Each day that fate adds to your life, put down as so much gain.
  • Be not caught by the cunning of those who appear in a disguise.
  • Your own safety is at stake when your neighbor’s wall is ablaze.
  • Cease to admire the smoke, wealth, and noise of prosperous Rome.
  • Enjoy in happiness the pleasures which each hour brings with it.
  • Oh! thou who are greatly mad, deign to spare me who am less mad.
  • The short span of life forbids us to take on far-reaching hopes.
  • The human race afraid of nothing, rushes on through every crime.
  • Who knows whether the gods will add tomorrow to the present hour?
  • Let us seize, friends, our opportunity from the day as it passes.
  • The more a man denies himself, the more shall he obtain from God.
  • Superfluous words simply spill out when the mind is already full.
  • While fools shun one set of faults they run into the opposite one.
  • Govern your temper, which will rule you unless kept in subjection.
  • The pleasure of eating is not in the costly flavor but in yourself.
  • In an evil hour thou bring’st her home. [You are marrying a shrew.]
  • He tosses aside his paint-pots and his words a foot and a half long.
  • He gains everyone’s approval who mixes the pleasant with the useful.
  • The mountains will be in labor, and a ridiculous mouse will be born.
  • citizens, first acquire wealth; you can practice virtue afterward.
  • Adversity reveals the genius of a general; good fortune conceals it.
  • No poems can please long or live that are written by water drinkers.
  • They change their skies, but not their souls who run across the sea.
  • In avoiding one evil we fall into another, if we use not discretion.
  • If you would have me weep, you must first of all feel grief yourself.
  • Mountains will go into labour, and a silly little mouse will be born.
  • Ridicule is often employed with more power and success than severity.
  • Those who go overseas find a change of climate, not a change of soul.
  • The cook cares not a bit for toil, toil, if the fowl be plump and fat
  • Whatever hour God has blessed you with, take it with a grateful hand.
  • I shall not wholly die, and a great part of me will escape the grave.
  • Clogged with yesterday’s excess, the body drags the mind down with it.
  • A good and faithful judge ever prefers the honorable to the expedient.
  • He will always be a slave who does not know how to live upon a little.
  • The Muse gave the Greeks genius and the art of the well-turned phrase.
  • Care clings to wealth: the thirst for more Grows as our fortunes grow.
  • In neglected fields the fern grows, which must be cleared out by fire.
  • Fiction intended to please, should resemble truth as much as possible.
  • Vain was the chief’s, the sage’s pride! They had no poet, and they died
  • As a true translator you will take care not to translate word for word.
  • Without love and laughter there is no joy; live amid love and laughter.
  • He, who has blended the useful with the sweet, has gained every point .
  • Let every man find pleasure in practising the profession he has learnt.
  • Mighty to inspire new hopes, and able to drown the bitterness of cares.
  • He makes himself ridiculous who is for ever repeating the same mistake.
  • No poems can please for long or live that are written by water drinkers.
  • If you drive nature out with a pitchfork, she will soon find a way back.
  • One night awaits all, and death’s path must be trodden once and for all.
  • As many men as there are existing, so many are their different pursuits.
  • Finally we have a victory, not only morally but also in a material sense,
  • The hour of happiness will be the more welcome, the less it was expected.
  • The impartial earth opens alike for the child of the pauper and the king.
  • When evil times prevail, take care to preserve the serenity of your hear.
  • Mountains will be in labour, and the birth will be an absurd little mouse.
  • Let the fictitious sources of pleasure be as near as possible to the true.
  • What impropriety or limit can there be in our grief for a man so beloved?.
  • What with your friend you nobly share, At least you rescue from your heir.
  • What do sad complaints avail if the offense is not cut down by punishment.
  • Be not ashamed to have had wild days, but not to have sown your wild oats.
  • His anger is easily excited and appeased, and he changes from hour to hour.
  • When you have well thought out your subject, words will come spontaneously.
  • If you cannot conduct yourself with propriety, give place to those who can.
  • Pale Death beats equally at the poor man’s gate and at the palaces of kings.
  • Ridicule more often settles things more thoroughly and better than acrimony.
  • Increasing wealth is attended by care and by the desire of greater increase.
  • Change generally pleases the rich.
  • The avarice person is ever in want; let your desired aim have a fixed limit.
  • Take away the danger and remove the restraint, and wayward nature runs free.
  • Teaching brings out innate powers, and proper training braces the intellect.
  • Consider well what your strength is equal to, and what exceeds your ability.
  • Anger is a momentary madness, so control your passion or it will control you.
  • It is the false shame of fools to try to conceal wounds that have not healed.
  • Good sense is both the first principal and the parent source of good writing.
  • He has not lived badly whose birth and death has been unnoticed by the world.
  • In vain will you fly from one vice if in your wilfulness you embrace another.
  • Posterity, thinned by the crime of its ancestors, shall hear of those battles.
  • While your client is watching for you at the front door, slip out at the back.
  • He that cuts off twenty years of life Cuts off so many years of fearing death.
  • No man ever properly calculates from time to time what it is his duty to avoid.
  • Be brief, that the mind may catch thy precepts, and the more easily retain them.
  • Boys must not have th’ ambitious care of men, Nor men the weak anxieties of age.
  • It is right for him who asks forgiveness for his offenses to grant it to others.
  • A person will gain everyone’s approval if he mixes the pleasant with the useful.
  • Not to create confusion in what is clear, but to throw light on what is obscure.
  • Catch the opportunity while it lasts, and rely not on what the morrow may bring.
  • You may drive out nature with a pitchfork, yet she’ll be constantly running back.
  • What has this unfeeling age of ours left untried, what wickedness has it shunned?
  • Come, let us take a lesson from our forefathers, and enjoy the Christmas holyday.
  • Happy is the man to whom nature has given a sufficiency with even a sparing hand.
  • Capture your reader, let him not depart, from dull beginnings that refuse to start
  • Drive Nature from your door with a pitchfork, and she will return again and again.
  • Now is the time for drinking; now the time to beat the earth with unfettered foot.
  • In the same [hospitable] manner that a Calabrian would press you to eat his pears.
  • If virtue holds the secret, don’t defer; Be off with pleasure, and be on with her.
  • Let your literary compositions be kept from the public eye for nine years at least.
  • Difficulties elicit talents that in more fortunate circumstances would lie dormant.
  • Let your character be kept up the very end, just as it began, and so be consistent.
  • The cask will long retain the flavour of the wine with which it was first seasoned.
  • No verse can give pleasure for long, nor last, that is written by drinkers of water.
  • Everything, virtue, glory, honor, things human and divine, all are slaves to riches.
  • Let those who drink not, but austerely dine, dry up in law; the Muses smell of wine.
  • Hired mourners at a funeral say and do – A little more than they whose grief is true
  • Mediocrity in poets has never been tolerated by either men, or gods, or booksellers.
  • Money is a handmaiden, if thou knowest how to use it A mistress, if thou knowest not.
  • Usually the modest person passes for someone reserved, the silent for a sullen person
  • Poets, the first instructors of mankind, Brought all things to the proper native use.
  • The populace may hiss me, but when I go home and think of my money, I applaud myself.
  • Many shall be restored that now are fallen and many shall fall that now are in honor.
  • Deep in the cavern of the infant’s breast; the father’s nature lurks, and lives anew.
  • He who preserves a man’s life against his will does the same thing as if he slew him.
  • Noble descent and worth, unless united with wealth, are esteemed no more than seaweed.
  • False praise can please, and calumny affright None but the vicious, and the hypocrite.
  • Curst is the wretch enslaved to such a vice, Who ventures life and soul upon the dice.
  • The one who prosperity takes too much delight in will be the most shocked by reverses.
  • When we try to avoid one fault, we are led to the opposite, unless we be very careful.
  • It is of no consequence of what parents a man is born, as long as he be a man of merit.
  • While we’re talking, envious time is fleeing: pluck the day, put no trust in the future
  • Be this thy brazen bulwark, to keep a clear conscience, and never turn pale with guilt.
  • Dismiss the old horse in good time, lest he fail in the lists and the spectators laugh.
  • Doctrina sed vim promovet insitam. Instruction enlarges the natural powers of the mind.
  • High descent and meritorious deeds, unless united to wealth, are as useless as seaweed.
  • The wolf dreads the pitfall, the hawk suspects the snare, and the kite the covered hook.
  • Even virtue followed beyond reason’s rule May stamp the just man knave, the sage a fool.
  • Riches with their wicked inducements increase; nevertheless, avarice is never satisfied.
  • Get what start the sinner may, Retribution, for all her lame leg, never quits his track.
  • A jest often decides matters of importance more effectively and happily than seriousness.
  • He wears himself out by his labours, and grows old through his love of possessing wealth.
  • Having no business of his own to attend to, he busies himself with the affairs of others.
  • The man is either mad or his is making verses.
  • The covetous person is full of fear; and he or she who lives in fear will ever be a slave.
  • You have played enough; you have eaten and drunk enough. Now it is time for you to depart.
  • Whom does undeserved honour please, and undeserved blame alarm, but the base and the liar?
  • One goes to the right, the other to the left; both are wrong, but in different directions.
  • I am frightened at seeing all the footprints directed towards thy den, and none returning.
  • Lighten grief with hopes of a brighter morrow; Temper joy, in fear of a change of fortune.
  • Evenhanded fate hath but one law for small and great; the ample urn holds all men’s names.
  • In Rome you long for the country. In the country you praise to the skies the distant town.
  • He is armed without who is innocent within, be this thy screen, and this thy wall of brass.
  • He appears mad indeed but to a few, because the majority is infected with the same disease.
  • However rich or elevated, a name less something is always wanting to our imperfect fortune.
  • When discord dreadful bursts her brazen bars, And shatters locks to thunder forth her wars.
  • Men more quickly and more gladly recall what they deride than what they approve and esteem.
  • I prayed only for a small piece of land, a garden, an ever-flowing spring, and bit of woods.
  • The muse does not allow the praise-de-serving here to die: she enthrones him in the heavens.
  • Nor has he lived in vain, who from his cradle to his grave has passed his life in seclusion.
  • Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans; it’s lovely to be silly at the right moment
  • Let the character as it began be preserved to the last; and let it be consistent with itself.
  • Be this your wall of brass, to have no guilty secrets, no wrong-doing that makes you turn pale
  • Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans. It is lovely to be silly at the right moment.
  • Whoever cultivates the golden mean avoids both the poverty of a hovel and the envy of a palace.
  • We are but ciphers, born to consume earth’s fruits.
  • The explanation avails nothing, which in leading us from one difficulty involves us in another.
  • Let your mind, happily contented with the present, care not what the morrow will bring with it.
  • Take too much pleasure in good things, you’ll feel The shock of adverse fortune makes you reel.
  • Faults are committed within the walls of Troy and also without. [There is fault on both sides.]
  • He has carried every point, who has combined that which is useful with that which is agreeable.
  • Cease to inquire what the future has in store, and take as a gift whatever the day brings forth.
  • Sport begets tumultuous strife and wrath, and wrath begets fierce quarrels and war to the death.
  • Drive Nature forth by force, she’ll turn and rout The false refinements that would keep her out.
  • How slight and insignificant is the thing which casts down or restores a mind greedy for praise.
  • I have lived: tomorrow the Father may fill the sky with black clouds or with cloudless sunshine.
  • Leuconoe, close the book of fate, For troubles are in store, . . . . Live today, tomorrow is not.
  • The Sun, the stars and the seasons as they pass, some can gaze upon these with no strain of fear.
  • Cease to ask what the morrow will bring forth, and set down as gain each day that fortune grants.
  • What can be found equal to modesty, uncorrupt faith, the sister of justice, and undisguised truth?
  • Glory drags all men along, low as well as high, bound captive at the wheels of her glittering car.
  • It is not enough for poems to be fine; they must charm, and draw the mind of the listener at will.
  • The body, enervated by the excesses of the preceding day, weighs down and prostates the mind also.
  • I never think at all when I write. Nobody can do two things at the same time and do them both well.
  • The shame of fools conceals their open wounds.
  • Avoid greatness in a cottage there may be more real happiness than kings or their favourites enjoy.
  • Let this be your wall of brass, to have nothing on your conscience, no guilt to make you turn pale.
  • Joys do not fall to the rich alone; nor has he lived ill of whose birth and death no one took note.
  • Avoid greatness; in a cottage there may be more real happiness than kings or their favourites enjoy.
  • For everything divine and human, virtue, fame, and honor, now obey the alluring influence of riches.
  • A stomach that is seldom empty despises common food.
  • It is said that the propriety even of old Cato often yielded to the exciting influence of the grape.
  • The man who has lost his purse will go wherever you wish.
  • Let it (what you have written) be kept back until the ninth year.
  • The envious pine at others’ success; no greater punishment than envy was devised by Sicilian tyrants.
  • Leave off asking what tomorrow will bring, and whatever days fortune will give, count them as profit.
  • Be this our wall of brass, to be conscious of having done no evil, and to grow pale at no accusation.
  • The power of daring anything their fancy suggest, as always been conceded to the painter and the poet.
  • Who can hope to be safe? who sufficiently cautious? Guard himself as he may, every moment’s an ambush.
  • With self-discipline most anything is possible. Theodore Roosevelt Rule your mind or it will rule you.
  • The horse would plough, the ox would drive the car. No; do the work you know, and tarry where you are.
  • Refrain from asking what going to happen tomorrow, and everyday that fortune grants you, count as gain.
  • Whatever things injure your eye you are anxious to remove; but things which affect your mind you defer.
  • All else-valor, a good name, glory, everything in heaven and earth-is secondary to the charm of riches.
  • I am not bound over to swear allegiance to any master; where the storm drives me I turn in for shelter.
  • It was a wine jar when the molding began: as the wheel runs round why does it turn out a water pitcher?
  • A heart well prepared for adversity in bad times hopes, and in good times fears for a change in fortune.
  • In Rome you long for the country; in the country oh inconstant! you praise the distant city to the stars
  • The trainer trains the docile horse to turn, with his sensitive neck, whichever way the rider indicates.
  • He is not poor who has the use of necessary things.
  • Poverty urges us to do and suffer anything that we may escape from it, and so leads us away from virtue.
  • Time will bring to light whatever is hidden it will cover up and conceal what is now shining in splendor.
  • Ah Fortune, what god is more cruel to us than thou! How thou delightest ever to make sport of human life!
  • He who has made it a practice to lie and deceive his father, will be the most daring in deceiving others.
  • Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant.
  • To have a great man for a friend seems pleasant to those who have never tried it; those who have, fear it.
  • Refrain from asking what is going to happen tomorrow, and everyday that fortune grants you, count as gain.
  • Does he council you better who bids you, Money, by right means, if you can: but by any means, make money ?
  • The man who makes the attempt justly aims at honour and reward.
  • He who postpones the hour of living is like the rustic who waits for the river to run out before he crosses.
  • Surely oak and threefold brass surrounded his heart who first trusted a frail vessel to the merciless ocean.
  • There are words and accents by which this grief can be assuaged, and the disease in a great measure removed.
  • That man scorches with his brightness, who overpowers inferior capacities, yet he shall be revered when dead.
  • Enjoy thankfully any happy hour heaven may send you, nor think that your delights will keep till another year.
  • The one who cannot restrain their anger will wish undone, what their temper and irritation prompted them to do.
  • She – philosophy is equally helpful to the rich and poor: neglect her, and she equally harms the young and old.
  • Of what use are laws, inoperative through public immortality?
  • What does drunkenness accomplish? It discloses secrets, it ratifies hopes, and urges even the unarmed to battle.
  • People hiss at me, but I applaud myself in my own house, and at the same time contemplate the money in my chest.
  • Knowledge is the foundation and source of good writing.
  • When I caution you against becoming a miser, I do not therefore advise you to become a prodigal or a spendthrift.
  • He who speaks ill of an absent friend, or fails to take his part if attacked by another, that man is a scoundrel.
  • One wanders to the left, another to the right. Both are equally in error, but, are seduced by different delusions.
  • He has won every vote who mingles profit with pleasure, by delighting and instructing the reader at the same time.
  • Marble statues, engraved with public inscriptions, by which the life and soul return after death to noble leaders.
  • Not to hope for things to last forever, is what the year teaches and even the hour which snatches a nice day away.
  • Let me posses what I now have, or even less, so that I may enjoy my remaining days, if Heaven grant any to remain.
  • Drive Nature out with a pitchfork, yet she hurries back, And will burst through your foolish contempt, triumphant.
  • They change their sky, not their soul, who rush across the sea.
  • In my youth I thought of writing a satire on mankind! but now in my age I think I should write an apology for them.
  • Poetry is like painting: one piece takes your fancy if you stand close to it, another if you keep at some distance.
  • Mix a little foolishness with your prudence: it’s good to be silly at the right moment.
  • If the crow had been satisfied to eat his prey in silence, he would have had more meat and less quarreling and envy.
  • Not even piety will stay wrinkles, nor the encroachments of age, nor the advance of death, which cannot be resisted.
  • While we’re talking, time will have meanly run on… pick today’s fruits, not relying on the future in the slightest.
  • Man learns more readily and remembers more willingly what excites his ridicule than what deserves esteem and respect.
  • Let not a god interfere unless where a god’s assistance is necessary. [Adopt extreme measures only in extreme cases.]
  • Gold loves to make its way through guards, and breaks through barriers of stone more easily than the lightning’s bolt.
  • One gains universal applause who mingles the useful with the agreeable, at once delighting and instructing the reader.
  • The consummate pleasure (in eating) is not in the costly flavour, but in yourself. Do you seek for sauce for sweating?
  • Those unacquainted with the world take pleasure in intimacy with great men; those who are wiser fear the consequences.
  • If you study the history and records of the world you must admit that the source of justice was the fear of injustice.
  • Fortune, delighting in her cruel task, and playing her wanton game untiringly, is ever shifting her uncertain favours.
  • What we learn only through the ears makes less impression upon our minds than what is presented to the trustworthy eye.
  • A wise God shrouds the future in obscure darkness.
  • Ye who write, choose a subject suited to your abilities.
  • You can drive nature out with a pitchfork, she will nevertheless come back.
  • You traverse the world in search of happiness which is within the reach of every man. A contented mind confers it on all.
  • For a man learns more quickly and remembers more easily that which he laughs at, than that which he approves and reveres.
  • All singers have this fault: if asked to sing among friends they are never so inclined; if unasked, they never leave off.
  • Think to yourself that every day is your last; the hour to which you do not look forward will come as a welcome surprise.
  • And Tragedy should blush as much to stoop To the low mimic follies of a farce, As a grave matron would to dance with girls.
  • Don’t yield to that alluring witch, laziness, or else be prepared to surrender all that you have won in your better moments.
  • Those who seek for much are left in want of much. Happy is he to whom God has given, with sparing hand, as much as is enough.
  • The work you are treating is one full of dangerous hazard, and you are treading over fires lurking beneath treacherous ashes.
  • Day is pushed out by day, and each new moon hastens to its death.
  • Pale death approaches with equal step, and knocks indiscriminately at the door of teh cottage, and the portals of the palace.
  • Do not pursue with the terrible scourge him who deserves a slight whip.
  • Sad people dislike the happy, and the happy the sad; the quick thinking the sedate, and the careless the busy and industrious.
  • Let us both small and great push forward in this work, in this pursuit, if to our country, if to ourselves we would live dear.
  • Fate with impartial hand turns out the doom of high and low; her capacious urn is constantly shaking the names of all mankind.
  • Misfortunes, untoward events, lay open, disclose the skill of a general, while success conceals his weakness, his weak points.
  • Alas, Postumus, the fleeting years slip by, nor will piety give any stay to wrinkles and pressing old age and untamable death.
  • In truth it is best to learn wisdom, and abandoning all nonsense, to leave it to boys to enjoy their season of play and mirth.
  • Choose a subject equal to your abilities; think carefully what your shoulders may refuse, and what they are capable of bearing.
  • Instead of forming new words I recommend to you any kind of artful management by which you may be able to give cost to old ones
  • There is a mean in all things; even virtue itself has stated limits; which not being strictly observed, it ceases to be virtue.
  • The lazy ox wishes for horse-trappings, and the steed wishes to plough.
  • Excellence when concealed, differs but little from buried worthlessness.
  • He despises what he sought; and he seeks that which he lately threw away.
  • Though your threshing floor grind a hundred thousand bushels of corn, not for that reason will your stomach hold more than mine.
  • In adversity be spirited and firm, and with equal prudence lessen your sail when filled with a too fortunate gale of prosperity.
  • If a man’s fortune does not fit him, it is like the shoe in the story; if too large it trips him up, if too small it pinches him.
  • If a man’s fortune does not fit him, it is like the shoe in the story; if too large it trips him up, if too small it pinches him.
  • One night is awaiting us all, and the way of death must be trodden once.
  • Rains driven by storms fall not perpetually on the land already sodden, neither do varying gales for ever disturb the Caspian sea.
  • The cautious wolf fears the pit, the hawk regards with suspicion the snare laid for her, and the fish the hook in its concealment.
  • Those who want much, are always much in need; happy the man to whom God gives with a sparing hand what is sufficient for his wants.
  • I beseech you to treasure up in your hearts these my parting words: Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.
  • Pry not into the affairs of others, and keep secret that which has been entrusted to you, though sorely tempted by wine and passion.
  • Shun to seek what is hid in the womb of the morrow, and set down as gain in life’s ledger whatever time fate shall have granted thee.
  • Better wilt thou live…by neither always pressing out to sea nor too closely hugging the dangerous shore in cautious fear of storms.
  • It is but a poor establishment where there are not many superfluous things which the owner knows not of, and which go to the thieves.
  • The lofty pine is oftenest shaken by the winds; High towers fall with a heavier crash; And the lightning strikes the highest mountain.
  • Why do you hasten to remove anything which hurts your eye, while if something affects your soul you postpone the cure until next year?
  • I would advise him who wishes to imitate well, to look closely into life and manners, and thereby to learn to express them with truth.
  • He will often have to scratch his head, and bite his nails to the quick. [To succeed he will have to puzzle his brains and work hard.]
  • It is courage, courage, courage, that raises the blood of life to crimson splendor. Live bravely and present a brave front to adversity
  • Never inquire into another man’s secret; bur conceal that which is intrusted to you, though pressed both be wine and anger to reveal it.
  • A shoe that is too large is apt to trip one, and when too small, to pinch the feet. So it is with those whose fortune does not suit them.
  • The body oppressed by excesses bears down the mind, and depresses to the earth any portion of the divine spirit we had been endowed with.
  • Our years Glide silently away. No tears, No loving orisons repair The wrinkled cheek, the whitening hair That drop forgotten to the tomb.
  • Avoid inquisitive persons, for they are sure to be gossips, their ears are open to hear, but they will not keep what is entrusted to them.
  • This is a fault common to all singers, that among their friends they will never sing when they are asked; unasked, they will never desist.
  • Who has courage to say no again and again to desires, to despise the objects of ambition, who is a whole in himself, smoothed and rounded.
  • Success in the affairs of life often serves to hide one’s abilities, whereas adversity frequently gives one an opportunity to discover them.
  • Virtue, dear friend, needs no defense, The surest guard is innocence: None knew, till guilt created fear, What darts or poisoned arrows were
  • Carpe diem! Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; make the most of what you have. It is later than you think.
  • Gold delights to walk through the very midst of the guard, and to break its way through hard rocks, more powerful in its blow than lightning.
  • We rarely find anyone who can say he has lived a happy life, and who, content with his life, can retire from the world like a satisfied guest.
  • Blind self-love, vanity, lifting aloft her empty head, and indiscretion, prodigal of secrets more transparent than glass, follow close behind.
  • Man is never watchful enough against dangers that threaten him every hour.
  • Many heroes lived before Agamemnon; but all are unknown and unwept, extinguished in everlasting night, because they have no spirited chronicler.
  • Snatch at today and trust as little as you can in tomorrow.
  • Nothing is difficult to mortals; we strive to reach heaven itself in our folly.
  • We hate virtue when it is safe; when removed from our sight we diligently seek it.
  • He who studies to imitate the poet Pindar, O Julius, relies on artificial wings fastened on with wax, and is sure to give his name to a glassy sea.
  • No man ever reached to excellence in any one art or profession without having passed through the slow and painful process of study and preparation.
  • Happy he who far from business persuits Tills and re-tills his ancestral lands With oxen of his own breeding Having no slavish yoke about his neck.
  • Not treasured wealth, nor the consul’s lictor, can dispel the mind’s bitter conflicts and the cares that flit, like bats, about your fretted roofs.
  • A portion of mankind take pride in their vices and pursue their purpose; many more waver between doing what is right and complying with what is wrong.
  • If you rank me with the lyric poets, my exalted head shall strike the stars.
  • Mingle a little folly with your wisdom; a little nonsense now and then is pleasant.
  • He who is always in a hurry to be wealthy and immersed in the study of augmenting his fortune has lost the arms of reason and deserted the post of virtue.
  • I hate the uncultivated crowd and keep them at a distance. Favour me by your tongues (keep silence).
  • Happy he who far from business, like the primitive are of mortals, cultivates with his own oxen the fields of his fathers, free from all anxieties of gain.
  • Neither men, nor gods, nor booksellers’ shelves permit ordinary poets to exist.
  • Imagine every day to be the last of a life surrounded with hopes, cares, anger, and fear. The hours that come unexpectedly will be so much more the grateful.
  • Whatever you teach, be brief; what is quickly said, the mind readily receives and faithfully retains, everything superfluous runs over as from a full vessel.
  • The brave are born from the brave and good. In steers and in horses is to be found the excellence of their sire; nor do savage eagles produce a peaceful dove.
  • Stronger than thunder’s winged force All-powerful gold can speed its course; Through watchful guards its passage make, And loves through solid walls to break.
  • Physicians attend to the business of physicians, and workmen handle the tools of workmen.
  • There is a fault common to all singers. When they’re among friends and are asked to sing they don’t want to, and when they’re not asked to sing they never stop.
  • Painters and poets, you say, “have always had an equal license in bold invention.” We know; we claim the liberty for ourselves and in turn we give it to others.
  • Pale death, with impartial step, knocks at the hut of the poor and the towers of kings.
  • Let him who has once perceived how much that, which has been discarded, excels that which he has longed for, return at once, and seek again that which he despised.
  • The foolish are like ripples on water, For whatsoever they do is quickly effaced; But the righteous are like carvings upon stone, For their smallest act is durable.
  • The mind that is cheerful in its present state, will be averse to all solicitude as to the future, and will meet the bitter occurrences of life with a placid smile.
  • What does drunkenness not accomplish? It unlocks secrets, confirms our hopes, urges the indolent into battle, lifts the burden from anxious minds, teaches new arts.
  • Strange – is it not? That of the myriads who Before us passed the door of Darkness through, Not one returns to tell us of the road Which to discover we must travel too.
  • The years, as they come, bring many agreeable things with them; as they go, they take many away.)
  • Often turn the stile [correct with care], if you expect to write anything worthy of being read twice.
  • Busy not yourself in looking forward to the events of to-morrow; but whatever may be those of the days Providence may yet assign you neglect not to turn them to advantage.
  • When putting words together is good to do it with nicety and caution, your elegance and talent will be evident if by putting ordinary words together you create a new voice.
  • Happy the man who, removed from all cares of business, after the manner of his forefathers cultivates with his own team his paternal acres, freed from all thought of usury.
  • The man who is just and resolute will not be moved from his settled purpose, either by the misdirected rage of his fellow citizens, or by the threats of an imperious tryant.
  • As a neighboring funeral terrifies sick misers, and fear obliges them to have some regard for themselves; so, the disgrace of others will often deter tender minds from vice.
  • Too indolent to bear the toil of writing; I mean of writing well; I say nothing about quantity.
  • A dowried wife, friends, beauty, birth, fair fame, These are the gifts of money, heavenly dame: Be but a moneyed man, persuasion tips Your tongue, and Venus settles on your lips.
  • What does not wasting time change! The age of our parents, worse than that of our grandsires, has brought us forth more impious still, and we shall produce a more vicious progeny.
  • They change their sky, not their mind, who cross the sea. A busy idleness possesses us: we seek a happy life, with ships and carriages: the object of our search is present with us.
  • Let hopes and sorrows, fears and angers be, And think each day that dawns the last you’ll see; For so the hour that greets you unforeseen Will bring with it enjoyment twice as keen.
  • For example, the tiny ant, a creature of great industry, drags with its mouth whatever it can, and adds it to the heap which she is piling up, not unaware nor careless of the future.
  • To have a great man for an intimate friend seems pleasant to those who have never tried it; those who have, fear it.
  • Remember you must die whether you sit about moping all day long or whether on feast days you stretch out in a green field, happy with a bottle of Falernian from your innermost cellar.
  • Had the crow only fed without cawing she would have had more to eat, and much less of strife and envy to contend with. [To noise abroad our success is to invite envy and competition.]
  • You must often make erasures if you mean to write what is worthy of being read a second time; and don’t labor for the admiration of the crowd, but be content with a few choice readers.
  • Joy, grief, desire or fear, whate’er the name The passion bears, its influence is the same; Where things exceed your hope or fall below, You stare, look blank, grow numb from top to toe.
  • I live and reign since I have abandoned those pleasures which you by your praises extol to the skies.
  • He that finds out he’s changed his lot for worse, Let him betimes the untoward choice reverse: For still, when all is said, the rule stands fast, That each man’s shoe be made on his own last.
  • The just man having a firm grasp of his intentions, neither the heated passions of his fellow men ordaining something awful, nor a tyrant staring him in the face, will shake in his convictions.
  • Cease to inquire what the future has in store, and to take as a gift whatever the day brings forth.
  • Receive, dear friend, the truths I teach, So shalt thou live beyond the reach Of adverse Fortune’s pow’r; Not always tempt the distant deep, Nor always timorously creep Along the treach’rous shore.
  • I will perform the function of a whetstone, which is about to restore sharpness to iron, though itself unable to cut.
  • Great effort is required to arrest decay and restore vigor. One must exercise proper deliberation, plan carefully before making a move, and be alert in guarding against relapse following a renaissance.
  • The man who is tenacious of purpose in a rightful cause is not shaken from his firm resolve by the frenzy of his fellow citizens clamoring for what is wrong, or by the tyrant’s threatening countenance.
  • There is a proper measure in all things, certain limits beyond which and short of which right is not to be found. Who so cultivates the golden mean avoids the poverty of a hovel and the envy of a palace.
  • He, that holds fast the golden mean, And lives contentedly between The little and the great, Feels not the wants that pinch the poor, Nor plagues that haunt the rich man’s door, Imbitt’ring all his state.
  • It is time for thee to be gone, lest the age more decent in its wantonness should laugh at thee and drive thee of the stage.
  • Who loves the golden mean is safe from the poverty of a tenement, is free from the envy of a palace.
  • Many terms which have now dropped out of favour will be revived, and those that are at present respectable, will drop out, if useage so choose with whom resides the decision and the judgment and the code of speech.
  • Why then should words challenge Eternity, When greatest men, and greatest actions die? Use may revive the obsoletest words, And banish those that now are most in vogue; Use is the judge, the law, and rule of speech.
  • Virtuosi have been long remarked to have little conscience in their favorite pursuits. A man will steal a rarity who would cut off his hand rather than take the money it is worth. Yet, in fact, the crime is the same.
  • It is no great art to say something briefly when, like Tacitus, one has something to say; when one has nothing to say, however, and none the less writes a whole book and makes truth into a liar – that I call an achievement.
  • The common people are but ill judges of a man’s merits; they are slaves to fame, and their eyes are dazzled with the pomp of titles and large retinue. No wonder, then, that they bestow their honors on those who least deserve them.
  • Abridge your hopes in proportion to the shortness of the span of human life; for while we converse, the hours, as if envious of our pleasure, fly away: enjoy, therefore, the present time, and trust not too much to what to-morrow may produce.
  • Sorrowful words become the sorrowful; angry words suit the passionate; light words a playful expression; serious words suit the grave.
  • In the midst of hopes and cares, of apprehensions and of disquietude, regard every day that dawns upon you as if it was to be your last; then super-added hours, to the enjoyment of which you had not looked forward, will prove an acceptable boon.
  • It is not the rich man you should properly call happy, but him who knows how to use with wisdom the blessings of the gods, to endure hard poverty, and who fears dishonor worse than death, and is not afraid to die for cherished friends or fatherland.
  • Few cross the river of time and are able to reach non-being. Most of them run up and down only on this side of the river. But those who when they know the law follow the path of the law, they shall reach the other shore and go beyond the realm of death.
  • Many brave men lived before Agamemnon; but, all unwept and unknown, are lost in the distant night, since they are without a divine poet (to chronicle their deeds).
  • What wonders does not wine! It discloses secrets; ratifies and confirms our hopes; thrusts the coward forth to battle; eases the anxious mind of its burden; instructs in arts. Whom has not a cheerful glass made eloquent! Whom not quite free and easy from pinching poverty!
  • drink is mighty! secrets it unlocks, Turns hope to fact, sets cowards on to box, Takes burdens from the careworn, finds out parts In stupid folks, and teaches unknown arts. What tongue hangs fire when quickened by the bowl? What wretch so poor but wine expands his soul?
  • He possesses dominion over himself, and is happy, who can every day say, “I have lived.” Tomorrow the heavenly father may either involve the world in dark clouds, or cheer it with clear sunshine, he will not, however, render ineffectual the things which have already taken place.
  • The poets aim is either to profit or to please, or to blend in one the delightful and the useful. Whatever the lesson you would convey, be brief, that your hearers may catch quickly what is said and faithfully retain it. Every superfluous word is spilled from the too-full memory.
  • Not even for an hour can you bear to be alone, nor can you advantageously apply your leisure time, but you endeavor, a fugitive and wanderer, to escape from yourself, now vainly seeking to banish remorse by wine, and now by sleep; but the gloomy companion presses on you, and pursues you as you fly.
  • How does it happen, Maecenas, that no one is content with that lot in life which he has chosen, or which chance has thrown in his way, but praises those who follow a different course?
  • When a man is just and firm in his purpose, The citizens burning to approve a wrong Or the frowning looks of a tyrant Do not shake his fixed mind, nor the Southwind. Wild lord of the uneasy Adriatic, Nor the thunder in the mighty hand of Jove: Should the heavens crack and tumble down, As the ruins crushed him he would not fear.
  • The aim of the poet is to inform or delight, or to combine together, in what he says, both pleasure and applicability to life. In instructing, be brief in what you say in order that your readers may grasp it quickly and retain it faithfully. Superfluous words simply spill out when the mind is already full. Fiction invented in order to please should remain close to reality.
  • I have reared a memorial more enduring than brass, and loftier than the regal structure of the pyramids, which neither the corroding shower nor the powerless north wind can destroy; no, not even unending years nor the flight of time itself. I shall not entirely die. The greater part of me shall escape oblivion.

 

 

William Blake (quotes)

  • As we are, so we see.
  • Exuberance is beauty.
  • Exhuberance is Beauty.
  • Life delights in life.
  • Imitation is criticism.
  • Shame is pride’s cloak.
  • As a man is, so he sees.
  • Celebrate your existence!
  • Energy is eternal delight.
  • Gratitude is heaven itself.
  • Joy and woe are woven fine.
  • You become what you behold.
  • Knowledge is Life with wings
  • One thought fills immensity.
  • Energy is an eternal delight.
  • Heaven is in a grain of sand.
  • The eye altering, alters all.
  • Time is the Mercy of Eternity
  • Opposition is true friendship.
  • Every harlot was a virgin once.
  • The cut worm forgives the plow.
  • Gratitude, in itself, is heaven.
  • To generalize is to be an idiot.
  • Art degraded, Imagination denied.
  • If a thing loves, it is infinite.
  • A dead body revenges not injuries.
  • Mere enthusiasm is the all in all.
  • Error is created; truth is eternal.
  • Execution is the chariot of genius.
  • None but blockheads copy each other.
  • The busy bee has no time for sorrow.
  • Dip him in the river who loves water.
  • I see through my eyes, not with them.
  • Joys impregnate. Sorrows bring forth.
  • Where there is money there is no art.
  • Every mortal loss is an immortal gain.
  • Expect poison from the standing water.
  • One law for lion and ox is oppression.
  • God is the poetic genius in each of us.
  • Hold infinity in the palm of your hand.
  • Nature has no outline. Imagination has.
  • Poetry fettered fetters the human race.
  • The eye sees more than the heart knows.
  • The fox condemns the trap, not himself.
  • The sound is forced, the notes are few!
  • What has reasoning to do with painting?
  • Active Evil is better than Passive Good.
  • He who wants, but doesn’t act, is a pest.
  • One Law for the Lion and Ox is Oppression
  • The mocker of Art is the mocker of Jesus.
  • The weak in courage is strong in cunning.
  • What is now proved was once only imagin’d
  • Mercy, Pity, Peace Is the world’s release.
  • More! More! is the cry of a mistaken soul.
  • The lust of the goat is the bounty of God.
  • The nakedness of woman is the work of God.
  • What is now proved was once only imagined.
  • What is now proved was only once imagined.
  • Where cheating is, there’s mischief there.
  • Your chimneys I sweep and in soot I sleep.
  • Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty !
  • The true method of knowledge is experiment.
  • The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God.
  • Travelers repose and dream among my leaves.
  • Without contraries there is no progression.
  • Work up imagination to the state of vision.
  • Excess of sorrow laughs, excess of joy weeps.
  • Excessive sorrow laughs. Excessive joy weeps.
  • The cistern contains: The fountain overflows.
  • The pride of the peacock is the glory of God.
  • The ruins of time build mansions in eternity.
  • They who forgive most shall be most forgiven.
  • Every year we are growing by leaps and bounds.
  • Death is terrible, tho’ borne on angels’ wings!
  • Each man is haunted until his humanity awakens.
  • Everything to be imagined is an image of truth.
  • To create a little flower is the labor of ages.
  • What has reason to do with the art of painting?
  • God only acts and is, in existing beings or men.
  • He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.
  • He who sees the Infinite in all things sees God.
  • If others had not been foolish, we should be so.
  • Mercy, pity, and peace, Are the world’s release.
  • The soul of sweet delight, can never be defiled.
  • The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.
  • To create a little flower is the labour of ages.
  • We are here to learn to endure the beams of love
  • Eternity is in love with the productions of time.
  • I am in you and you in me, mutual in divine love.
  • Jesus & his apostles & disciples were all artists
  • Painters are noted for being dissipated and wild.
  • The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.
  • When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy.
  • Great things are done when men and mountains meet.
  • The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.
  • The most sublime act is to set another before you.
  • The world of imagination is the world of eternity.
  • A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
  • All wholesome food is caught without a net or trap.
  • Art can never exist without naked beauty displayed.
  • Better to shun the bait than struggle in the snare.
  • For all eternity, I forgive you and you forgive me.
  • He who desires but does not act, breeds pestilence.
  • He who has suffered you to impose on him knows you.
  • Make your own rules or be a slave to another man’s.
  • Praises reap not! Joys laugh not! Sorrows weep not!
  • Can I see another’s woe, / And not be in sorrow too?
  • Drive your cart and plow over the bones of the dead.
  • Every tear from every eyeBecomes a babe in eternity.
  • Listen to the fool’s reproach! It is a kingly title!
  • Mechanical excellence is the only vehicle of genius.
  • Silent as despairing love, and strong as jealousy…
  • The fool who persists in his folly will become wise.
  • The voice of honest indignation is the voice of God.
  • All wholesome food is caught without a net or a trap.
  • Am not IA fly like thee?Or art not thouA man like me?
  • The Old and New Testaments are the Great Code of Art.
  • When Sir Joshua Reynolds died All Nature was degraded
  • A robin redbreast in a cage Puts all heaven in a rage.
  • Art is the tree of life. Science is the tree of death.
  • Christianity is art and not money. Money is its curse.
  • Does a firm persuasion that a thing is so, make it so?
  • First thought is best in Art, second in other matters.
  • In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.
  • May God us keep From Single vision and Newton’s sleep.
  • No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.
  • To cast aside from Poetry, all that is not Inspiration
  • Every tear from every eye / Becomes a babe in Eternity.
  • Everything that lives, lives not alone, nor for itself.
  • The best wine is the oldest, the best water the newest.
  • The glory of Christianity is to conquer by forgiveness.
  • Bring out number weight and measure in a year of dearth.
  • He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.
  • I must create a system, or be enslav’d by another man’s.
  • If the lion was advised by the fox, he would be cunning.
  • There is a place where Contrarieties are equally True…
  • Ages are All Equal. / But Genius is Always Above The Age.
  • Can I see a falling tear, And not feel my sorrow’s share?
  • Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead.
  • Every thing possible to be believ’d is an image of truth.
  • Every thing possible to be believed is an image of truth.
  • For everything that lives is holy, life delights in life.
  • He who has few things to desire cannot have many to fear.
  • Innocence dwells with Wisdom, but never with ignorance…
  • It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted.
  • Little Lamb, who made thee? Dost thou know who made thee?
  • Prudence is a rich, ugly, old maid courted by incapacity.
  • The rat, the mouse, the fox, the rabbet; watch the roots.
  • Where any view of money exists, art cannot be carried on.
  • It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.
  • Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.
  • A tyrant is the worst disease, and the cause of all others.
  • Every wolf’s and lion’s howl Raises from Hell a human soul.
  • Forgiveness of enemies can only come upon their repentance.
  • He who would see the Divinity must see him in his Children.
  • How can a bird that is born for joy Sit in a cage and sing?
  • The merchants are rich enough; Can they not help themselves?
  • The Whole Business of Man is The Arts, & All Things Common.
  • Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell There God is dwelling too.
  • Desperate remorse swallows the present in a quenchless rage.
  • General knowledges are those knowledges that idiots possess.
  • If Christianity was morality, Socrates would be the Saviour.
  • If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.
  • The fox provides for himself, but God provides for the lion.
  • There is no mistake so great as the mistake of not going on.
  • thus men forgot that all deities reside in the human breast.
  • To be an Error and to be Cast out is a part of God’s Design.
  • We are led to believe a lie When we see not through the eye.
  • Enlightenment means taking full responsibility for your life.
  • Everything is beautiful in its own way. Exuberance is beauty.
  • Humility is only doubt, / And does the sun and moon blot out.
  • I’m sure this Jesus will not do Either for Englishman or Jew.
  • It is the greatest of crimes to depress true art and science.
  • Mercy is the golden chain by which society is bound together.
  • One Power alone makes a Poet: Imagination. The Divine Vision.
  • see the world in a grain of sand … And eternity in an hour.
  • The Fool shall not enter into Heaven let him be ever so Holy.
  • The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.
  • Thou art a man God is no more Thy own humanity Learn to adore
  • To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love / All pray in their distress.
  • Where mercy, love, and pity dwell, there God is dwelling too.
  • Every man who is not an artist is a traitor to his own nature.
  • God and His Priest and King,…make up a heaven of our misery.
  • He who makes his law a curse, by his own law shall surely die.
  • If the Sun and Moon should doubt, / They’d immediately go out.
  • Tools were made and born were hands, Every farmer understands.
  • A skylark wounded in the wing, / A cherubim does cease to sing.
  • General good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite, flatterer.
  • Some are born to sweet delight, Some are born to endless night.
  • To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wildflower.
  • Wandering in many a coral grove, / Fair Nine, forsaking Poetry!
  • You never know what is enough unless you know more than enough.
  • He who shall hurt the little wren Shall never be beloved by men.
  • I can look at the knot in a piece of wood until it frightens me.
  • I see the Past, Present & Future existing all at once Before me.
  • Mutual forgiveness of each vice. Such are the Gates of Paradise.
  • Naught can deform the human race Like to the armor’s iron brace.
  • Nothing is real beyond imaginative patterns men make of reality.
  • The strongest poison ever known came from Caesar’s laurel crown.
  • He who kisses joy as it flies by will live in eternity’s sunrise.
  • He who would do good to another must do it in minute particulars.
  • I myself do nothing. The Holy Spirit accomplishes all through me.
  • If the Sun and Moon should ever doubt, they’d immediately go out.
  • Let man wear the fell of the lion, woman the fleece of the sheep.
  • The caterpillar on the leaf / Repeats to thee thy mother’s grief.
  • The imagination is not a state: it is the human existence itself.
  • A dog starved at his master’s gate Predicts the ruin of the state.
  • Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you.
  • Christ’s crucifix shall be made an excuse for executing criminals.
  • I am going to that country which I have all my life wished to see.
  • Love seeketh not itself to please, but for another gives its ease.
  • As a man is, so he sees. As the eye is formed, such are its powers.
  • I have conversed with the spiritual Sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill
  • Sooner strangle an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires.
  • Truth can never be told so as to be understood and not be believed.
  • Father, O father! what do we here In this land of unbelief and fear?
  • If you would help another man, you must do so in minute particulars.
  • My mother groaned, my father wept, into the dangerous world I leapt.
  • The stars are threshed, and the souls are threshed from their husks.
  • To the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.
  • Wisdom is sold in a desolate marketplace where none can come to buy.
  • You throw the sand against the windAnd the wind blows it back again.
  • He who replies to words of doubt doth put the light of knowledge out.
  • I am under the direction of messengers from Heaven daily and nightly.
  • I cry, Love! Love! Love! happy happy Love! free as the mountain wind!
  • Kill not the moth nor butterfly, For the Last Judgement draweth nigh.
  • You never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough
  • You throw the sand against the wind and the wind blows it back again.
  • A truth that’s told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.
  • He who doubts from what he seesWill ne’er believe, do what you please.
  • The vision of Christ that thou dost see Is my vision’s greatest enemy.
  • God forbid that Truth should be confined to Mathematical Demonstration!
  • Gratitude is heaven itself; there could be no heaven without gratitude.
  • He who doubts from what he sees Will ne’er believe, do what you please.
  • I do not like the man’s face. He looks as if he will live to be hanged.
  • I will not cease from mental fight Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand.
  • My Brother starv’d between two Walls,His Children’s Cry my Soul appalls
  • You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.
  • See what it is to play unfair!Where cheating is, there’s mischief there.
  • The Goddess Fortune is the devil’s servant, ready to kiss any one’s ass.
  • The Woman that does not love your Frowns Will never embrace your smiles.
  • Do what you will, this world’s a fiction and is made up of contradiction.
  • Each man must create his own system or else he is a slave to another mans
  • Enthusiastic Admiration is the first Principle of Knowledge and its last.
  • The child’s toys and the old man’s reasons are the fruits of two seasons.
  • The crow wished everything was black, the Owl, that everything was white.
  • The little ones leaped, and shouted, and laugh’d And all the hills echoed
  • Both read the Bible day and night, but thou read black where I read white.
  • How sweet I roamed from field to field, and tasted all the summer’s pride.
  • The crow wished everything was black, the owl, that every thing was white.
  • Great Men & Fools do often me InspireBut the Greater Fool the Greater Liar.
  • Harmony of colouring is destructive of art? it is like the smile of a fool.
  • He who shall teach the child to doubtThe rotting grave shall ne’er get out.
  • Nothing can be more contemptible than to suppose Public Records to be true.
  • On no other ground Can I sow my seed Without tearing up Some stinking weed.
  • Prisons are built with stones of Law. Brothels with the bricks of religion.
  • The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn of the crow
  • The lamb misused breeds public strife And yet forgives the butcher’s knife.
  • The man who never in his mind and thoughts travel’d to heaven is no artist.
  • When nations grow old the Arts grow cold And commerce settles on every tree
  • When thou seest an eagle, thou seest a portion of genius; lift up thy head!
  • The Child’s Toys and the Old Man’s ReasonsAre the Fruits of the Two seasons.
  • The naked women’s body is a portion of eternity too great for the eye of man.
  • As the air to a bird or the sea to a fish, so is contempt to the contemptible.
  • He who shall teach the child to doubt / The rotting grave shall ne’er get out.
  • The Errors of a Wise Man make your Rule Rather than the Perfections of a Fool.
  • Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.
  • Mere enthusiasm is the all in all… / Passion and expression are beauty itself.
  • And because I am happy and dance and sing,They think they have done me no injury.
  • Come live, and be merry, and join with me, To sing the sweet chorus of ‘Ha ha he!
  • The harlot’s cry from street to street / Shall weave old England’s winding-sheet.
  • To Chloe’s breast young Cupid slily stole, But he crept in at Myra’s pocket-hole.
  • And we are put on earth a little spaceThat we may learn to bear the beams of love.
  • Energy is an eternal delight, and he who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.
  • Forgive what you do not approve & love me for this energetic exertion of my talent
  • He who loves his enemies betrays his friends; this surely is not what Jesus meant.
  • Mysteries are not to be solved. They eye goes blind when it only wants to see why.
  • The hours of folly are measured by the clock; but of wisdom, no clock can measure.
  • The Desire of Man being Infinite, the possession is Infinite, and himself Infinite.
  • The ignorant Insults of Individuals will not hinder me from doing my duty to my Art
  • Thy friendship oft has made my heart to ache: do be my enemy for friendship’s sake.
  • Every Mortal loss is an Immortal Gain. The Ruins of Time build Mansions in Eternity.
  • I love hanging and drawing and quartering Every bit as well as war and slaughtering.
  • If you have formed a circle to go into,Go into it yourself and see how you would do.
  • why was I born with a different face? Why was I not born like the rest of my race?
  • Thy friendship oft has made my heart to ache; do be my enemy – for friendship’s sake
  • If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is – infinite
  • Man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.
  • The head Sublime, the heart Pathos, the genitals Beauty, the hands & feet Proportion.
  • What is the Divine Spirit? Is the Holy Ghost any other than an Intellectual fountain?
  • Mans desires are limited by his perceptions; none can desire what he has not perceived.
  • O! why was I born with a different face? / Why was I not born like the rest of my race?
  • They solved the problem of coexistence through the use of individual stereo headphones.
  • Those who restrain their desires, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.
  • Man’s Desires are limited by his Perceptions; none can desire what he has not perceived.
  • All the destruction in Christian Europe has arisen from deism, which is natural religion.
  • And we are put on this earth a little space that we might learn to bear the beams of love
  • The pure soul shall mount on native wings, . . . and cut a path into the heaven of glory.
  • We are not meant to resolve all contradictions but to live with them and rise above them.
  • Piping down the valleys wild, / Piping songs of pleasant glee, / On a cloud I saw a child.
  • Swedenborg is the Angel sitting at the tomb: his writings are the linen clothes folded up.
  • If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.
  • There can be no Good Will. Will is always Evil; it is persecution to others or selfishness.
  • When the doors of perception are cleansed, man will see things as they truly are, infinite.
  • Where others see but the dawn coming over the hill, I see the soul of God shouting for joy.
  • ‘Come hither, my boy, tell me what thou seest there?’ ‘A fool tangled in a religious snare.’
  • I heard an Angel singingWhen the day was springing,”Mercy, Pity, PeaceIs the world’s release.
  • I sometimes try to be miserable that I may do more work, but find it is a foolish experiment.
  • If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as if it is, infinite
  • Pride is a personal commitment. It is an attitude which separates excellence from mediocrity.
  • You’ve always had the power right there in your shoes, you just had to learn it for yourself.
  • Great things are done when men and mountains meet. This is not done by jostling in the street.
  • The essentials to happiness are something to love, something to do, and something to hope for.
  • The man who never alters his opinions is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.
  • The moon, like a flowerIn heaven’s high bower,With silent delightSits and smiles on the night.
  • Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius
  • Improvement makes strait roads, but the crooked roads without Improvement, are roads of Genius.
  • The Man who pretends to be a modest enquirer into the truth of a self-evident thing is a Knave.
  • They suppose that Woman’s Love is Sin; in consequence all the Loves & Graces with them are Sin.
  • Those who control their passions do so because their passions are weak enough to be controlled.
  • Without Unceasing Practice nothing can be done. Practice is Art. If you leave off you are lost.
  • A musician, an artist, an architect: the man or woman who is not one of these is not a Christian.
  • Dear Mother, dear Mother, the Church is cold, But the Ale-house is healthy and pleasant and warm.
  • I heard an Angel singing; When the day was springing, Mercy, Pity, Peace; Is the world’s release.
  • Imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow.
  • The moon, like a flower in heaven’s high bower, with silent delight sits and smiles on the night.
  • When a sinister person means to be your enemy, they always start by trying to become your friend.
  • He who pretends to be either painter or engraver without being a master of drawing is an imposter.
  • When a man has married a wife, he finds out whether / Her knees and elbows are only glued together.
  • Why stand we here trembling around, calling on God for help, and not ourselves, in whom God dwells?
  • For the Eye altering alters all;The Senses roll themselves in fearAnd the flat Earth becomes a Ball.
  • Grown old in love from seven till seven times seven,I oft have wished for Hell for ease from Heaven.
  • Some will say,Is not God alone the Prolific? I answer,God only Acts & Is, in existing beings or Men.
  • Why cannot the ear be closed to its own destruction? Or the glistening eye to the poison of a smile?
  • For the Eye altering alters all; The Senses roll themselves in fear And the flat Earth becomes a Ball.
  • Reason, or the ratio of all we have already known, is not the same that it shall be when we know more.
  • Some will say, Is not God alone the Prolific? I answer, God only Acts & Is, in existing beings or Men.
  • Such, such were the joys When we all, girls and boys, In our youth time were seen On the Echoing Green.
  • And is he honest who resists his genius or conscience only for the sake of present ease or gratification
  • Why a tender curb upon the youthful burning boy? Why a little curtain of flesh on the bed of our desire?
  • For Mercy has a human heart; Pity, a human face; Love, the human form divine; and Peace, the human dress.
  • Pity would be no more, If we did not make somebody poor. Mercy no more could be, If all were happy as we.
  • The apple tree never asks the beech how he shall grow, nor the lion the horse, how he shall take his prey.
  • Can I see another’s woe, and not be in sorrow too? Can I see another’s grief, and not seek for kind relief?
  • The apple tree never asks the beech how he shall grow, nor the lion, the horse, how he shall take his prey.
  • The selfish smiling fool, and the sullen frowning fool, shall be both thought wise, that they may be a rod.
  • Can I see another’s woe, and not be in sorrow, too? Can I see another’s grief, and not seek for kind relief?
  • For Mercy has a human heart Pity, a human face: And Love, the human form divine, And Peace, the human dress.
  • I feel that a Man may be happy in This World. And I know that This World Is a World of Imagination & Vision.
  • Sweet babe, in thy face Soft desires I can trace, Secret joys and secret smiles, Little pretty infant wiles.
  • Never seek to tell thy love; Love that never told can be. For the gentle wind does move silently.. invisibly.
  • A good local pub has much in common with a church, except that a pub is warmer, and there’s more conversation.
  • And I made a rural pen, And I stained the water clear, And I wrote my happy songs Every Child may joy to hear.
  • Hindsight is a wonderful thing but foresight is better, especially when it comes to saving life, or some pain!
  • The look of love alarms Because ’tis filled with fire; But the look of soft deceit Shall sin the lover’s hire.
  • I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.
  • In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.
  • The person who does not believe in miracles surely makes it certain that he or she will never take part in one.
  • Cruelty has a human heart, And jealousy a human face Terror, the human form divine, And secrecy, the human dress
  • For everything exists and not one sigh nor smile nor tear, one hair nor particle of dust, not one can pass away.
  • She who dwells with me whom I have loved with such communion, that no place on earth can ever be solitude to me.
  • Sleep, sleep, beauty bright,Dreaming in the joys of night;Sleep, sleep; in thy sleepLittle sorrows sit and weep.
  • Works of Art can only be produc’d in Perfection where the Man is either in Affluence or is Above the Care of it.
  • I have no name: I am but two days old. What shall I call thee? I happy am, Joy is my name. Sweet joy befall thee!
  • Then every man of every clime,That prays in his distress,Prays to the human form divine,Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.
  • How do you know but ev’ry Bird that cuts the airy way, Is an immense world of delight, clos’d by your senses five?
  • Never seek to tell thy love, / Love that never told can be; / For the gentle wind does move / Silently, invisibly.
  • Poetry, Painting & Music, the three Powers in man of conversing with Paradise, which the flood did not sweep away.
  • Sleep, sleep, beauty bright,Dreaming o’er the joys of night.Sleep, sleep: in thy sleepLittle sorrows sit and weep.
  • To my eye Rubens’ colouring is most contemptible. His shadows are a filthy brown somewhat the colour of excrement.
  • As the caterpillar chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs on, so the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys.
  • Embraces are comminglings from the head even to the feet, And not a pompous high priest entering by a secret place.
  • I must Create a System, or be enslaved by another Man’s; / I will not Reason and Compare; my business is to Create.
  • Earth, O Earth, return! Arise from out the dewy grass; Night is worn; And the morn Rises from the slumbrous mass.
  • Pity would be no more / If we did not make somebody poor; / And Mercy no more could be/ If all were as happy as we.
  • Sleep, sleep, beauty bright, Dreaming in the joys of night; Sleep, sleep; in thy sleep Little sorrows sit and weep.
  • The generations of men run on in the tide of time, but leave their destined lineaments permanent for ever and ever.
  • There certainly are moments in history when poets and painters connect so closely as to be one and the same person,
  • Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean, / The children walking two and two, in red and blue and green.
  • Without minute neatness of execution, the sublime cannot exist! Grandeur of ideas is founded on precision of ideas.
  • And I made a rural pen, / And I stained the water clear, / And I wrote my happy songs / Every child may joy to hear.
  • Demonstration, similitude & harmony are objects of reasoning. Invention, identity & melody are objects of intuition.
  • Joy and woe are woven fine, A clothing for the soul divine. Under every grief and pine Runs a joy with silken twine.
  • What is grand is necessarily obscure to weak men. That which can be made explicit to the idiot is not worth my care.
  • He’s a Blockhead who wants a proof of what heCan’t PerceiveAnd he’s a Fool who tries to make such aBlockhead believe.
  • In every cry of every man,In every infant’s cry of fear,In every voice, in every ban,The mind-forged manacles I hear.
  • There is a smile of love,And there is a smile of deceit,And there is a smile of smilesIn which these two smiles meet.
  • Think not thou canst sigh a sigh And thy maker is not by; Think not thou canst weep a tear And thy maker is not near.
  • To Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love All pray in their distress, And to these virtues of delight Return their thankfulness.
  • Tyger! Tyger! burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
  • When I saw that rage was vainAnd to sulk would nothing gain,Turning many a trick and wileI began to soothe and smile.
  • Children of the future AgeReading this indignant page,Know that in a former timeLove! sweet Love! was thought a crime.
  • I was in a Printing-house in Hell, and saw the method in which knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation.
  • Time is the mercy of Eternity; without Time’s swiftness Which is the swiftest of all things, all were eternal torment.
  • And I watered it in fears, Night and morning with my tears; And I sunned it with smiles, And with soft deceitful wiles.
  • Children of the future age Reading this indignant page Know that in a former time Love, sweet love, was thought a crime
  • It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity:Thus could I sing and thus rejoice: but it is not so with me.
  • But when he has done this, let him not say that he knows better than his master, for he only holds a candle in sunshine.
  • He’s a Blockhead who wants a proof of what he Can’t Percieve And he’s a Fool who tries to make such a Blockhead believe.
  • In every cry of every man, In every infant’s cry of fear, In every voice, in every ban, The mind-forg’d manacles I hear.
  • There is a smile of love, And there is a smile of deceit, And there is a smile of smiles In which these two smiles meet.
  • [L]et light Rise from the chambers of the east, and bring The honey’d dew that cometh on waking day. O radiant morning…
  • I was angry with my friend: I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe: I told it not, my wrath did grow.
  • The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands.
  • For where’er the sun does shine, And where’er the rain does fall, Babe can never hunger there, Nor poverty the mind appall.
  • The difference between a bad artist and a good one is: the bad artist seems to copy a great deal; the good one really does.
  • The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom…for we never know what is enough until we know what is more than enough.
  • Tiger! Tiger! burning bright / In the forests of the night, / What immortal hand or eye / Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
  • A man’s worst enemies are thoseOf his own house and family;And he who makes his law a curse,By his own law shall surely die.
  • Abstinence sows sand all over The ruddy limbs and flaming hair, But desire gratified Plants fruits of life and beauty there.
  • The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom… for we never know what is enough until we know what is more than enough.
  • And Father, how can I love youOr any of my brothers more?I love you like the little birdThat picks up crumbs around the door.
  • And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds and binding with briars my joys and desires. (from ‘The Garden of Love’)
  • Bring me my bow of burning gold!Bring me my arrows of desire!Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!Bring me my chariot of fire!
  • To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower Hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour.
  • When Sir Joshua Reynolds died All Nature was degraded; The King dropped a tear in the Queen’s ear, And all his pictures faded.
  • Fun I love, but too much fun is of all things the most loathsome. Mirth is better than fun, and happiness is better than mirth.
  • He who binds to himself a joy Does the winged life destroy; But he who kisses the joy as it flies Lives in eternity’s sun rise.
  • Bring me my bow of burning gold: Bring me my arrows of desire: Bring me my spear: O clouds, unfold! Bring me my chariot of fire.
  • His whole life is an epigram smart, smooth and neatly penned, Plaited quite neat to catch applause, with a hang noose at the end
  • I give you the end of a golden string, Only wind it into a ball, It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate Built in Jerusalem’s wall.
  • Invention depends altogether upon execution or organization; as that is right or wrong so is the invention perfect or imperfect.
  • To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.
  • When I tell any truth it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those who do.
  • Does the Eagle know what is in the pit Or wilt thou go ask the Mole? Can Wisdom be put in a silver rod, Or Love in a golden bowl?
  • If you cannot imagine with the mind’s eye much more than you can see with the mortal eye, you have a very poor imagination indeed.
  • The atoms of Democritus And Newton’s particles of light Are sands upon the Red Sea shore, Where Israel’s tents do shine so bright.
  • When I tell the truth, it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those that do.
  • Father! father! where are you going? / O do not walk so fast. / Speak, father, speak to your little boy, / Or else I shall be lost.
  • Without contraries is no progression. Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate, are necessary to human existence.
  • He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars: General Good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite and flatterer
  • When Sir Joshua Reynolds died / All Nature was degraded; / The King dropped a tear in the Queen’s ear, / And all his pictures faded.
  • Energy is the only life, and is from the body; and reason is the bound or outward circumference of energy. Energy is eternal delight.
  • white-robed Angel, guide my timorous hand to write as on a lofty rock with iron pen the words of truth, that all who pass may read.
  • All futurity seems teeming with endless destruction never to be repelled; Desperate remorse swallows the present in a quenchless rage.
  • England! awake! awake! awake! Jerusalem thy sister calls! Why wilt thou sleep the sleep of death And close her from thy ancient walls?
  • God appears, and God is Light,To those poor souls who dwell in Night,But does a human form displayTo those who dwell in realms of day.
  • Struggling in my father’s hands, Striving against my swaddling bands, Bound and weary, I thought best To sulk upon my mother’s breast.
  • You smile with pomp and rigor, you talk of benevolence and virtue; I act with benevolence and virtue and get murdered time after time.
  • Does the Eagle know what is in the pit / Or wilt thou go ask the Mole? / Can Wisdom be put in a silver rod, / Or Love in a golden bowl?
  • I give you the end of a golden string; / Only wind it into a ball, / It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate, / Built in Jerusalem’s wall.
  • Love seeketh not itself to please, nor for itself hath any care, but for another gives its ease, and builds a Heaven in Hell’s despair.
  • Love seeketh only self to please, To bind another to its delight, Joys in another’s loss of ease, And builds a Hell in Heaven’s despite.
  • The Bat that flits at close of EveHas left the Brain that won’t believe.The Owl that calls upon the NightSpeaks the Unbeliever’s fright.
  • The world of imagination is the world of eternity. It is the divine bosom into which we shall all go after death of the vegetative body.
  • And did those feet in ancient time Walk upon England’s mountains green? And was the holy Lamb of God On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
  • God appears, and God is Light, to those poor souls who dwell in Night; but does a Human Form display to those who dwell in realms of Day.
  • Knowledge of ideal beauty is not to be acquired. It is born with us. Innate ideas are in every man, born with him; theyare truly himself.
  • The Angel that presided o’er my birth Said, ‘Little creature, formed of joy and mirth, Go love without the help of any thing on earth’…
  • The grave is Heaven’s golden gate, And rich and poor around it wait; O Shepherdess of England’s fold, Behold this gate of pearl and gold!
  • The spirits of the air live on the smells Of fruit; and joy, with pinions light, roves round The gardens, or sits singing in the trees…
  • Every Night and every MornSome to Misery are born.Every Morn and every NightSome are born to Sweet Delight,Some are born to Endless Night.
  • To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour.
  • I have mental joys and mental health,Mental friends and mental wealth,I’ve a wife that I love and that loves me;I’ve all but riches bodily.
  • Men are admitted into heaven not because they have curbed or governed their passions, but because they have cultivate their understandings.
  • God, protect me from my friends, that they have not power over me. Thou hast giv’n me power to protect myself from thy bitterest enemies.
  • The Bat that flits at close of Eve Has left the Brain that won’t believe. The Owl that calls upon the Night Speaks the Unbeliever’s fright.
  • The hand of Vengeance found the Bed To which the Purple Tyrant fled The iron hand crush’d the tyrant’s head And became Tyrant in his stead.
  • He loves to sit and hear me sing, Then, laughing, sports and plays with me; Then stretches out my golden wing, And mocks my loss of liberty.
  • I looked for my soul but my soul I could not see. I looked for my God but my God eluded me. I looked for a friend and then I found all three.
  • Every Night and every Morn Some to Misery are born. Every Morn and every Night Some are born to Sweet Delight, Some are born to Endless Night.
  • How sweet I roamed from field to field, And tasted all the summer’s pride, Till I the prince of love beheld, Who in the sunny beams did glide!
  • I have mental joys and mental health, Mental friends and mental wealth, I’ve a wife that I love and that loves me; I’ve all but riches bodily.
  • What is it men in women do require? The lineaments of Gratified Desire.What is it women do in men require? The lineaments of Gratified Desire.
  • When the stars threw down their spears, and watered heaven with their tears, did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
  • Hear the voice of the Bard! / Who present, past, and future sees; / Whose ears have heard/ The Holy Word / That walked among the ancient trees.
  • This life’s dim windows of the soulDistorts the heavens from pole to poleAnd leads you to believe a lieWhen you see with, not through, the eye.
  • To generalize is to be an idiot. To particularize is the alone distinction of merit. General knowledge are those knowledge that idiots possess.
  • What is it men in women do require: The lineaments of gratified desire. What is it women do in men require: The lineaments of gratified desire.
  • But to go to school in a summer morn, O! It drives all joy away; Under a cruel eye outworn, The little ones spend the day In sighing and dismay.
  • But to go to school in a summer morn, Oh, it drives all joy away! Under a cruel eye outworn, The little ones spend the day in sighing and dismay
  • I care not whether a man is good or evil; all that I care / Is whether he is a wise man or a fool. Go! put off holiness, / And put on intellect.
  • How have you left the ancient love That bards of old enjoyed in you! The languid strings do scarcely move! The sound is forced, the notes are few!
  • This life’s dim windows of the soul Distorts the heavens from pole to pole And leads you to believe a lie When you see with, not through, the eye.
  • And now the time returns again: / Our souls exult, and London’s towers / Receive the Lamb of God to dwell / In England’s green and pleasant bowers.
  • But most thro’ midnight streets I hear How the youthful Harlots curse Blasts the new-born Infants tear And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse
  • Since the French Revolution Englishmen are all intermeasurable one by another, certainly a happy state of agreement to which I forone do not agree.
  • That the Jews assumed a right exclusively to the benefits of God will be a lasting witness against them and the same will it be against Christians.
  • When the stars threw down their spears, / And watered heaven with their tears, / Did he smile his work to see? / Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
  • Man has no Body distinct from his Soul; for that called Body is a portion of Soul discerned by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age.
  • When the voices of children are heard on the greenAnd laughing is heard on the hill,My heart is at rest within my breastAnd everything else is still.
  • Pay attention to minute particulars. Take care of the little ones. Generalization and abstraction are the plea of the hypocrite, scoundrel, and knave.
  • Man was made for joy and woe Then when this we rightly know Through the world we safely go. Joy and woe are woven fine A clothing for the soul to bind.
  • To some people a tree is something so incredibly beautiful that it brings tears to the eyes. To others it is just a green thing that stands in the way.
  • Let men do their duty and the women will be such wonders; the female lives from the light of the male: see a male’s female dependants, you know the man.
  • Poetry fettered, fetters the human race. Nations are destroyed or flourish in proportion as their poetry, painting, and music are destroyed or flourish.
  • For he hears the lambs innocent call.And he hears the ewes tender reply.He is watchful while they are in peace.For they know when their Shepherd is nigh.
  • Although wine when it is read somewhat lacks the savour of wine when it is drunk, wine remains a very pleasant thing both to read about and to chat about.
  • God keep me from the divinity of Yes and Nothe Yea Nay Creeping Jesus, from supposing Up and Down to be the same thing as allexperimentalists must suppose.
  • How can the bird that is born for joy Sit in a cage and sing? How can a child, when fears annoy, But droop his tender wing, And forget his youthful spring?
  • It is not because angels are holier than men or devils that makes them angels, but because they do not expect holiness from one another, but from God only.
  • The countless gold of a merry heart,The rubies and pearls of a loving eye,The indolent never can bring to the mart,Nor the secret hoard up in his treasury.
  • The fields from Islington to Marybone, To Primrose Hill and Saint John’s Wood, Were builded over with pillars of gold; And there Jerusalem’s pillars stood.
  • Colouring does not depend on where the colours are put, but on where the lights and darks are put, and all depends on form and outline, on where that is put.
  • The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the stormy sea, and the destructive sword, are portions of eternity, too great for the eye of man.
  • The Stolen and Perverted Writings of Homer & Ovid, of Plato & Cicero, which all men ought to contemn, are set up by artifice against the Sublime of the Bible
  • The countless gold of a merry heart, The rubies and pearls of a loving eye, The indolent never can bring to the mart, Nor the secret hoard up in his treasury.
  • Auguries of innocence “The emmet’s inch and eagle’s mile Make lame philosophy to smile. He who doubts from what he sees Will ne’er believe, do what you please.
  • He who does not imagine in stronger and better lineaments, and in stronger and better light than his perishing and mortal eye can see, does not imagine at all.
  • I thought Love lived in the hot sunshine,But O, he lives in the moony light!I thought to find Love in the heat of day,But sweet Love is the comforter of night.
  • Let every Christian, as much as in him lies, engage himself openly and publicly, before all the World, in some mental pursuit for the Building up of Jerusalem.
  • My mother bore me in the southern wild, And I am black, but O! my soul is white; White as an angel is the English child, But I am black as if bereaved of light.
  • Those who enter the gates of heaven are not beings who have no passions or who have curbed the passions, but those who have cultivated an understanding of them.
  • When the voices of children are heard on the green, / And laughing is heard on the hill, / My heart is at rest within my breast, / And everything else is still.
  • The fields from Islington to Marybone, / To Primrose Hill and Saint John’s Wood, / Were builded over with pillars of gold; / And there Jerusalem’s pillars stood.
  • The foundation of empire is art and science. Remove them or degrade them, and the empire is no more. Empire follows art and not vice versa as Englishmen suppose.
  • I thought Love lived in the hot sunshine, But O, he lives in the moony light! I thought to find Love in the heat of day, But sweet Love is the comforter of night.
  • My silks and fine array, My smiles and languished air, By love are driv’n away And mournful lean Despair Brings me yew to deck my grave: Such end true lovers have.
  • The modest Rose puts forth a thorn,The humble sheep a threat’ning horn:While the Lily white shall in love delight,Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.
  • To the eyes of a miser a guinea is more beautiful than the sun, and a bag worn with the use of money has more beautiful proportions than a vine filled with grapes.
  • As I was walking among the fires of Hell, delighted with the enjoyments of Genius; which to Angels look like torment and insanity, I collected some of their Proverbs.
  • Love is weak when there is more doubt than there is trust, but love is most strong when you learn to trust even with all the doubts. If a thing loves, it is infinite.
  • Since all the riches of this world May be gifts from the Devil and earthly kings, I should suspect that I worshipp’d the Devil If I thank’d my God for worldly things.
  • To the eyes of a miser a guinea is far more beautiful than the sun, and a bag worn with the use of money has more beautiful proportions that a vine filled with grapes
  • When my mother died I was very young, And my father sold me while yet my tongue Could scarcely cry weep weep weep weep. So your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep.
  • If you trap the moment before it’s ripe, The tears of repentance you’ll certainly wipe; But if once you let the ripe moment go, You can never wipe off the tears of woe
  • If you trap the moment before it’s ripe, The tears of repentence you’ll certainly wipe; But if once you let the ripe moment go You can never wipe off the tears of woe.
  • To open the Eternal Worlds, to open the immortal EyesOf Man inwards into the Worlds of Thought: into EternityEver expanding in the Bosom of God, the Human Imagination.
  • Where lambs have nibbled, silent moves the feet of angels bright; unseen they pour blessing, and joy without ceasing, on each bud and blossom, and each sleeping bosom.
  • Bring me an axe and spade, Bring me a winding-sheet; When I my grave have made Let winds and tempests beat: Then down I’ll lie as cold as clay. True love doth pass away!
  • Angels are happier than men and devils, because they are not always prying after good and evil in one another, and eating the tree of knowledge for Satan’s gratification.
  • But if at church they would give some ale. And a pleasant fire our souls to regale. We’d sing and we’d pray all the live long day, Nor ever once from the church to stray.
  • Thou fair-hair’d angel of the evening, Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains, light Thy bright torch of love; thy radiant crown Put on, and smile upon our evening bed!
  • Rose, thou art sick! The invisible worm, That flies in the night, In the howling storm, Has found out thy bed Of crimson joy; And his dark secret love Does thy life destroy
  • The pride of the peacock is the glory of God. The lust of the goat is the bounty of God. The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God. The nakedness of woman is the work of God.
  • If you have form’d a circle to go into, Go into it yourself, and see how you would do. They said this mystery never shall cease: The priest promotes war, and the soldier peace.
  • Winter! bar thine adamantine doors: The north is thine; there hast thou build thy dark, Deep-founded habitation. Shake not thy roofs, Nor bend thy pillars with thine iron car.
  • Then my verse I dishonor, my pictures despise, my person degrade and my temper chastise; and the pen is my terror, the pencil my shame; and my talents I bury, and dead is my fame.
  • Come o’er the eastern hills, and let our winds Kiss thy perfumed garments; let us taste Thy morn and evening breath; scatter thy pearls Upon our love-sick land that mourns for thee.
  • In your own bosom you bear your heaven and earth, And all you behold, though it appears without, It is within, in your imagination, Of which this world of mortality is but a shadow.
  • Innate ideas are in every man, born with him; they are truly himself. The man who says that we have no innate ideas must be a fool and knave, having no conscience or innate science.
  • What seems to be, is, to those to whom it seems to be, and is productive of the most dreadful consequences to those to whom it seems to be, even of torments, despair, eternal death.
  • The reason Milton wrote in fetters when he wrote of Angels and God, and at liberty when of Devils and Hell, is because he was a true poet and of the Devil’s party without knowing it.
  • What is the price of experience? Do men buy it for a song? Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No, it is bought with the price of all the man hath, his house, his wife, his children.
  • When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy, And the dimpling stream runs laughing by; When the air does laugh with our merry wit, And the green hill laughs with the noise of it.
  • The Britons (say historians) were naked, civilized men, learned, studious, abstruse in thought and contemplation; naked, simple, plain in their acts and manners; wiser than after ages.
  • Exuberance is Beauty.” “If a thing loves, it is infinite.” “Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.” “The lust of the goat is the bounty of God.
  • The Sick Rose O Rose, thou art sick. The invisible worm That flies in the night In the howling storm Has found out thy bed Of crimson joy, And his dark secret love Does thy life destroy.
  • I see the Fourfold Man; the Humanity in deadly sleep, / And its fallen Emanation, the Spectre and its cruel Shadow. / I see the Past, Present, and Future existing all at once / Before me.
  • Lo! now the direful monster, whose skin clings To his strong bones, strides o’er the groaning rocks: He withers all in silence, and his hand Unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life.
  • When the sun rises, do you not see a round disc of fire somewhat like a guinea? O no, no, I see an innumerable company of the heavenly host crying Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.
  • For I dance And drink and sing, Till some blind hand Shall brush my wing. If thought is life And strength and breath And the want Of thought is death Then am I A happy fly If I live Or if I die
  • Then the Parson might preach, & drink, & sing, And we’d be as happy as birds in the spring; And modest dame Lurch, who is always at Church, Would not have bandy children, nor fasting, nor birch.
  • You cannot have Liberty in this world without what you call Moral Virtue, and you cannot have Moral Virtue without the slavery of that half of the human race who hate what you call Moral Virtue.
  • The worship of God is, Honouring his gifts in other men each according to his genius, and loving the greatest men best; those who envy or calumniate great men hate God, for there is no other God.
  • Prepare your hearts for Death’s cold hand! prepare Your souls for flight, your bodies for the earth; Prepare your arms for glorious victory; Prepare your eyes to meet a holy God! Prepare, prepare!
  • Little fly, thy summer’s play My thoughtless hand has brushed away. Am not I a fly like thee? Or art not thou a man like me? For I dance and drink and sing, Till some blind hand shall brush my wing!
  • All pictures that’s painted with sense and with thought / Are painted by madmen as sure as a groat; / For the greater the fool in the pencil more blest, / And when they are drunk they always paint best.
  • Like a fiend in a cloud, With howling woe After night I do crowd And with night will go; I turn my back to the east, From whence comforts have increased; For light cloth seize my brain With frantic pain.
  • Rome & Greece swept Art into their maw & destroy’d it; a Warlike State never can produce Art. It will Rob & Plunder & accumulate into one place, & Translate & Copy & Buy & Sell & Criticize, but not Make.
  • Degrade first the Arts if you’d Mankind Degrade. Hire Idiots to Paint with cold light & hot shade: Give high Price for the worst, leave the best in disgrace, And with Labours of Ignorance fill every place.
  • He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars: general Good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite, and flatterer, for Art and Science cannot exist but in minutely organized Particulars.
  • The gulfing whale was like a dot in the spell. Yet look upon it, and ‘twould size and swell To its huge self, and the minutest fish Would pass the very hardest gazer’s wish, And show his little eye’s anatomy.
  • The vision of Christ that thou dost see is my vision’s greatest enemy . Both read the Bible day and night, but thou read’st black where I read white. His seventy disciples sent against religion and government .
  • I rest not from my great task! | To open the Eternal Worlds, | to open the immortal Eyes of Man | Inwards into the Worlds of Thought; | Into eternity, ever expanding | In the Bosom of God, | The Human Imagination
  • Does a firm persuasion that a thing is so, make it so?” He replied, “All poets believe it does. And in ages of imagination, this firm persuasion removes mountains; but many are not capable of firm persuasion of anything.
  • Rhetoric completes the tools of learning. Dialectic zeros in on the logic of things, of particular systems of thought or subjects. Rhetoric takes the next grand step and brings all these subjects together into one whole.
  • The Vision of Christ that thou dost see, Is my vision’s greatest enemy. Thine is the Friend of all Mankind, Mine speaks in Parables to the blind. Thine loves the same world that mine hates, Thy heaven-doors are my hell gates.
  • The human mind cannot go beyond the gift of God, the Holy Ghost. To suppose that art can go beyond the finest specimens of art that are now in the world is not knowing what art is; it is being blind to the gifts of the spirit.
  • Piping down the valleys wild, Piping songs of pleasant glee, On a cloud I saw a child, And he laughing said to me: “Pipe a song about a Lamb.” So I piped with merry cheer; “Piper, pipe that song again.” So I piped; he wept to hear.
  • The inquiry in England is not whether a man has talents and genius, but whether he is passive and polite and a virtuous ass and obedient to noblemen’s opinions in art and science. If he is, he is a good man. If not, he must be starved.
  • I see every thing I paint in this world, but everybody does not see alike. To the eyes of a miser a guinea is more beautiful than the sun, and a bag worn with the use of money has more beautiful proportions than a vine filled with grapes.
  • Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained; and the restrainer or reason usurps its place & governs the unwilling. And being restrain’d it by degrees becomes passive till it is only the shadow of desire.
  • Cruelty has a Human Heart, And jealousy a Human Face; Terror the Human Form Divine, And secrecy the Human Dress. The Human Dress is forged Iron, The Human Form a Fiery Forge, The Human Face a Furnace seal d, The Human Heart its hungry gorge.
  • The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their enlarged & numerous senses could perceive.
  • A DIVINE IMAGE Cruelty has a human heart, And Jealousy a human face; Terror the human form divine, And Secresy the human dress. The human dress is forged iron, The human form a fiery forge, The human face a furnace sealed, The human heart its hungry gorge.
  • A dog starv’d at the master’s gate Predicts the ruin of the State. A horse misus’d upon the road Calls to heaven for human blood. Each outcry of the hunted hare A fibre from the brain does tear, A skylark wounded on the wing, A cherubim does cease to sing.
  • If you, who are organised by Divine Providence for spiritual communion, refuse, and bury your talent in the earth, even though you should want natural bread, sorrow and desperation pursue you through life, and after death shame and confusion of face to eternity.
  • The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.
  • Thinking as I do that the Creator of this world is a very cruel being, and being a worshipper of Christ, I cannot help saying: ”the Son, O how unlike the Father!” First God Almighty comes with a thump on the head. Then Jesus Christ comes with a balm to heal it.
  • What is a wife and what is a harlot? What is a church and what is a theatre? are they two and not one? Can they exist separate? Are not religion and politics the same thing? Brotherhood is religion. O demonstrations of reason dividing families in cruelty and pride!
  • Autumn, laden with fruit, and stained With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st rest, And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe; And all the daughters of the year shall dance! Sing now the lusty song of fruit and flowers.
  • Want of money and the distress of a thief can never be alleged as the cause of his thieving, for many honest people endure greater hardships with fortitude. We must therefore seek the cause elsewhere than in want of money, for that is the miser’s passion, not the thief s.
  • Down the winding cavern we groped our tedious way, till a void boundless as the nether sky appeared beneath us, and we held by the roots of trees and hung over this immensity; but I said: if you please we will commit ourselves to this void and see whether providence is here also.
  • thou who passest through our valleys in Thy strength, curb thy fierce steeds, allay the heat That flames from their large nostrils! Thou, O Summer, Oft pitchest here thy golden tent, and oft Beneath our oaks hast slept, while we beheld With joy thy ruddy limbs and flourishing hair.
  • Nature in darkness groans and men are bound to sullen contemplation in the night: restless they turn on beds of sorrow; in their inmost brain feeling the crushing wheels, they rise, they write the bitter words of stern philosophy and knead the bread of knowledge with tears and groans.
  • Ah, sunflower, weary of time, Who countest the steps of the sun, Seeking after that sweet golden clime Where the traveller’s journey is done; Where the youth pined away with desire And the pale virgin shrouded in snow Arise from their graves, and aspire Where my sunflower wishes to go.
  • Commerce is so far from being beneficial to arts, or to empire, that it is destructive of both, as all their history shows, for the above reason of individual merit being its great hatred. Empires flourish till they become commercial, and then they are scattered abroad to the four winds.
  • Some say that happiness is not good for mortals, & they ought to be answered that sorrow is not fit for immortals & is utterly useless to any one; a blight never does good to a tree, & if a blight kill not a tree but it still bear fruit, let none say that the fruit was in consequence of the blight.
  • I asked a thief to steal me a peach: He turned up his eyes. I asked a lithe lady to lie her down: Holy and meek, she cries. As soon as I went An angel came. He winked at the thief And smiled at the dame- And without one word spoke Had a peach from the tree, And ‘twixt earnest and joke Enjoyed the lady.
  • Men are admitted into heaven not because they have curbed and governed their passions or have no passions, but because they have cultivated their understandings. The treasures of heaven are not negations of passion, but realities of intellect, from which all the passions emanate uncurbed in their eternal glory.
  • Acts themselves alone are history, and these are neither the exclusive property of Hume, Gibbon nor Voltaire, Echard, Rapin, Plutarch, nor Herodotus. Tell me the Acts, O historian, and leave me to reason upon them as I please; away with your reasoning and your rubbish. All that is not action is not worth reading.
  • I am more famed in Heaven for my works than I could well conceive. In my brain are studies & chambers filled with books & pictures of old, which I wrote and painted in ages of Eternity before my mortal life; and whose works are the delight & study of Archangels. Why, then, should I be anxious about the riches or fame of mortality?
  • LOVE’S SECRET Never seek to tell thy love, Love that never told can be; For the gentle wind doth move Silently, invisibly. I told my love, I told my love, I told her all my heart, Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears. Ah! she did depart! Soon after she was gone from me, A traveller came by, Silently, invisibly: He took her with a sigh.
  • I am really sorry to see my countrymen trouble themselves about politics. If men were wise, the most arbitrary princes could not hurt them. If they are not wise, the freest government is compelled to be a tyranny. Princes appear to me to be fools. Houses of Commons and Houses of Lords appear to me to be fools; they seem to me to be something else besides human life.
  • To me this world is all one continued vision of fancy or imagination, and I feel flattered when I am told so. What is it sets Homer, Virgil and Milton in so high a rank of art? Why is the Bible more entertaining and instructive than any other book? Is it not because they are addressed to the imagination, which is spiritual sensation, and but immediately to the understanding or reason?
  • I turn my eyes to the schools & universities of Europe And there behold the loom of Locke whose woof rages dire, Washed by the water-wheels of Newton. Black the cloth In heavy wreaths folds over every nation; cruel works Of many wheels I view, wheel without wheel, with cogs tyrannic Moving by compulsion each other: not as those in Eden, which Wheel within wheel in freedom revolve, in harmony & peace.
  • Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau! Mock on, mock on: ‘Tis all in vain! You throw the sand against the wind, And the wind blows it back again. And every sand becomes a gem Reflected in the beams divine; Blown back they blind the mocking eye, But still in Israel’s paths they shine. The atoms of Democritus And Newton’s particles of light Are sands upon the Red Sea shore, Where Israel’s tents do shine so bright.
  • Oh! why was I born with a different face? why was I not born like the rest of my race? when I look,each one starts! when I speak, I offend; then Im silent & passive & lose every friend. Then my verse I dishonour, my pictures despise, my person degrade & my temper chastise; and the pen is my terror, the pencil my shame; all my talents I bury, and dead is my fame. Im either too low or too highly prized; when elate I m envy’d, when meek Im despis’d
  • I went to the Garden of Love, And saw what I never had seen: A Chapel was built in the midst, Where I used to play on the green. And the gates of this Chapel were shut, And ‘Thou shalt not’ writ over the door; So I turn’d to the Garden of Love, That so many sweet flowers bore. And I saw it was filled with graves, And tomb-stones where flowers should be: And Priests in black gowns, were walking their rounds, And binding with briars, my joys & desires.
  • To Mercy Pity Peace and Love All pray in their distress, And to these virtues of delight Return their thankfulness. For Mercy Pity Peace and Love Is God our father dear. And Mercy Pity Peace and Love Is Man his child and care. Then every man of every clime That prays in his distress Prays to the human form divine: Love Mercy Pity Peace. And all must love the human form In heathen, Turk, or Jew. Where Mercy, Love and Pity dwell There God is dwelling too.
  • THE POISON TREE I was angry with my friend: I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe; I told it not, my wrath did grow. And I water’d it in fears, Night & morning with my tears; And I sunned it with my smiles And with soft deceitful wiles. And it grew both day and night, Till it bore an apple bright; And my foe beheld it shine, And he knew that it was mine, And into my garden stole When the night had veil’d the pole: In the morning glad I see My foe outstretch’d beneath the tree.
  • The Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel dined with me, and I asked them how they dared so roundly to assert, that God spoke to them; and whether they did not think at the time, that they would be misunderstood, & so be the cause of imposition. Isaiah answer’d, I saw no God, nor heard any, in a finite organical perception; but my senses discover’d the infinite in every thing, and as I was then persuaded, & remain confirm’d; that the voice of honest indignation is the voice of God, I cared not for consequences but wrote.
  • thou with dewy locks, who lookest down Thro’ the clear windows of the morning, turn Thine angel eyes upon our western isle, Which in full choir hails thy approach, O Spring! The hills tell each other, and the listening Valleys hear; all our longing eyes are turned Up to thy bright pavilions: issue forth, And let thy holy feet visit our clime. Come o’er the eastern hills, and let our winds Kiss thy perfumed garments; let us taste Thy morn and evening breath; scatter thy pearls Upon our love-sick land that mourns for thee.
  • Jerusalem (1804) And did those feet in ancient time Walk upon England’s mountains green And was the holy lamb of God On England’s pleasant pastures seen And did the countenance divine Shine forth upon our clouded hills And was Jerusalem builded here Among those dark Satanic mills Bring me my bow of burning gold Bring me my arrows of desire Bring me my spears o’clouds unfold Bring me my chariot of fire I will not cease from mental fight Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand ‘Til we have built Jerusalem In England’s green and pleasant land
  • I wander thro’ each charter’d street, Near where the charter’d Thames does flow, And mark in every face I meet Marks of weakness, marks of woe. In every cry of every Man, In every Infant’s cry of fear, In every voice, in every ban, The mind-forg’d manacles I hear. How the Chimney-sweeper’s cry Every black’ning Church appalls; And the hapless Soldier’s sigh Runs in blood down Palace walls. But most thro’ midnight streets I hear How the youthful Harlot’s curse Blasts the new born Infant’s tear, And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.