Home  »  A Dictionary of Similes  »  John Greenleaf Whittier

Frank J. Wilstach, comp. A Dictionary of Similes. 1916.

John Greenleaf Whittier

Sat apart, as one forbid.

Beautiful as sky and earth,
When Autumn’s sun is downward going.

Blighted and forlorn, like Autumn waiting for the snow.

Lips as bloodless as lips of the slain.

A faint blush melting through the light of thy transparent cheek like a rose-leaf bathed in dew.

Bosom as white as
The foam-wreaths rise on the leaping river.

How brilliant and mirthful the light of her eye,
Like a star glancing out from the blue of the sky!

Burns, like a fiery star in the upper air.

Calm as a child to slumber soothed,
As if an Angel’s hand had smoothed
The still, white features into rest.

Changeless as heaven.

Clear as the unsoil’d mountain-rill.

Cling, as clings the tufted moss,
To bear the winter’s lightning chills.

Cold as the rank and wasting weeds, which lie in the pool’s dark bed.

Common as dew and sunshine.

Consuming like a vapor.

Crimson, like a sea of blood
Untroubled by a wave.

Dark as the brooding thundercloud.

Dark as the shroudings of a bier,-
As if the blessed atmosphere,
Like his own soul, was dim.

Adroop like a rained-on fowl.

Drunk as a beast.

How brilliant and mirthful the light of her eye,
Like a star glancing out from the blue of the sky.

Fair as in Mirza’s Bagdad dream.

As Pison was to Eden’s pair.

Familiar as our childhood’s stream
Or pleasant memory of a dream.

Fill like the shadow of a cloud.

Flee as the air.

Will follow thee,
As the ripple follows the bark at sea.

A forehead more pure than the Parian stone.

Free as our rivers are
Ocean-ward going.

Free to rise
As leaves on Autumn’s whirlwind borne.

Fresh as Spring’s earliest violet.

Fresh as the moon.

Glad as a soul in pain, who hears from heaven
The angels singing of his sins forgiven.

His voice as glad as April bird’s.

A glance like the sunshine that flashes on steel.

Glorious, like the seer-seen angel
Standing in the sun.

As the fox-hunter follows the sound of the horn.

The red man has gone like the mist on the air.

Graceful as the shawl-designs
Of Delhi or Umritsir.

Flit about as gracefully as a pickax in a sack.

His Heart
Gush’d like a river-fountain of the hills,
Ceaseless and lavish, at a kindly smile,
A word of welcome, or a tone of love.

Her heart is like an outbound ship
That at its anchor swings.

Hushed as the warm Numidian heaven.

Keen as a sabre from its sheath.

Kindles and burns,
Like a fiery star in the upper air.

A step as light as the summer air.

A redder light shone through the dell,
As if the very gates of hell
Swung suddenly ajar.

Link in sympathy like the keys
Of an organ.

From lips as the lips of Hylas sweet,
And moved like twin roses which zephyrs meet.

Loose as a cloud-wreath on the sky.

Love … as pure as Angel-worship, when the just
And beautiful of Heaven are bow’d in prayer!

Love as strong as that which binds the peopled Universe.

Motionless as an idol.

Motionless as rocks.

Like a living thing distressed.

A murmur like the winds that break
Into green waves the prairie’s grassy lake.

Music as sweet as the music which seems
Breathed softly and faint in the ear of our dreams.

Noiseless as if velvet-shod.

As a cloud of the sunset, slow melting in heaven,
As a star that is lost when the daylight is given,
As a glad dream of slumber, which wakens in bliss,
She hath pass’d to the world of the holy from this.

Pure as Angel-worship.

Red as the banner which enshrouds
The warrior-dead when strife is done.

Red as the naked hand of doom.

Returning like the Patriarch’s dove,
Wing-weary from the eternal sea.

True to rise as leaves on Autumn’s whirlwind borne.

Like spring-doves from the startled wood.

Sullen rush upon the air,
Such as the unseen wings of spirits make.

Sacred as a monarch’s hall.

Salt as the sea-wind.

Scattered … like chaff before the winnower’s fan.

Scattered like the chaff blown from the threshing-floor of God.

Sharply as the blow which breaks
Prison bolts and chains.

Silent … as the hush’d grouping of a dream.

Silent as despair.

Her smile is as a listening child’s
Who hears its mother’s call.

A smile which cheered—like the breaking day.

Soft as fall of thistle-down.

Soft as the flow of an infant’s breath. Miller

Soft as the landscape of a dream.

Soothingly as childhood pressed to bosom.

Spring forth like spectres starting from the storm-swept earth.

Staggering … like tiplers answering Father Mathew’s call.

Stainless white,
Like ivory bathed in still moonlight.

Still as a picture.

Stirs, like the trumpet’s call to strife.

Swayed as the reeds sway in the blast.

Sweet as the maiden’s dream of love.

Music as sweet as the music which seems
Breathed softly and faint in the ear of our dreams.

Sweeter than the song of birds,
Is the thankful voice.

Swift as the eagle’s glance of fire.

Tremble in the sunny skies,
As if, from waving bough to bough,
Flitted the birds of paradise.

A slight tremor in thy tone,
Like that of some frail harp-string blown
By fitful breezes, faint and low.

Turned, like a panther in his lair.

Turning like a windmill sail.

Turned, like Lot at Sodom.

Like sunflowers to the pure and best.

Unsullied as a cloistered nun.

Varied as varying Nature’s ways.

The tones of her voice, like the music which seems
Murmur’d low in our ears by the Angel of dreams.

Welcome to my tranced view,
As battle-yell to warrior’s ear.

White as the wings of prayer.

Stainless white,
Like ivory bathed in still moonlight.

Wide as human thought.

Wide as the difference between death and life.